Monday, December 17, 2007

HOPE is a four letter word

First off, thank you everyone who left a kind message regarding my last post. It does a gals heart good to be told how well she can write. I humbly thank y'all.

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) 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 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 ahead of time 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 08, 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 06, 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 04, 2007

The Workshop

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 wanted to be part of a Christmas Card exchange?

It is one of my favorite things....receiving cards, especially at Christmas. (don't worry Gayle, you are getting one...!!)(Jane, I need your address...)(Trish, I need your new address).

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

(Yes, I sit on the floor...)

Monday, November 26, 2007

Culture Shock

I had spent the past ten years working in a predominately male environment. At the first plant I worked in Lex., not counting the Admin staff, I was one of four females in a work force of 250+. I was surrounded by testosterone and it was good. Truck drivers, merchandisers, the service department, warehouse staff, key account staff, regional staff, divisional staff, and the Mother of all Mothers Big Wigs from Atlanta, sales staff and area management and plant management....all men. A very masculine manly business this beverage business.

I attended my first sales meeting the first day on the job. Imagine my surprise, my shock, my jaw dropping disbelief that the entire sales staff, save the Advertising Director are women!

And as I met them one by one only one of them made me start praying, "Please dear God, don't let her be the one whose territory I am taking over." And, as much as I love irony, I was throwing a fit inside my little old head that yes yes yes, she has been covering the territory since is was abandoned several weeks ago and she has no intentions of helping one one iota.

The Advertising Director gets me in his office. "She is loved in that territory."

Yea. Yes, I can see that, by every man who has a breath of life left in him. The woman is a ex-beautician with mile high hair and perfect make up and boobs that are screaming to tumble out of her skin tight clothes.

"She is very anxious to help you as much as she can."

Oh yea, I noticed that when I requested to ride with her immediately that day she slipped out the back door and resurfaced seconds before a 1pm appointment in my territory.

I notice that she is more concerned with what the customers are saying about her. I tell her nothing, I tell the Ad Dir nothing, after all he is under some delusion about her being a team player. She is "its all about me" player.

This morning I felt my face beginning to flush and keeping my cool under wraps was taking enormous control. She ordered me to follow up with a customer she had taken care of and I asked, "what's up? Where is the ticket, what is the deal? Why are they receiving a free ad tomorrow?"

Today was day five I have spent in this brand new business. I can barely make out the rate cards, special inserts, Christmas Holiday specials, first time ad rates, full page, half page, quarter page...little 2 inches in classified (that sound sexy in a very perverse way). I know nothing and I am not so full of myself that I can't admit it. I know that it is like anything else, you have to learn and it is like training for a marathon, step by step.

She is a bitch and I know I am not the only one in the office to realize this. I am just the new girl, the lowest one on the totem pole.

Man oh man. Please never let me ever treat someone with such a cavalier attitude that says, "I don't care about you."

And I hear a lot of trash about this vixen out there and I know she knows.

I'm certain she is wondering what I am going to do.

Hell woman, I've been working with men for 10 years and I have learned a lot from them.....

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Back in the Saddle

("Not only will you be hiring a hard working, loyal, creative employee, you will also be getting a pretty fair amateur photographer". Note card sent to persuade him to hire me!)

I start a new job tomorrow and I am excited. After six months of farting around I am ready to get back to it! I was unable to resume my career with the Beverage company, as there are just no available positions I was willing to apply for. My husband kept asking me, "When are you going to get a J-O-B!??" And I would answer, "When I am good and ready!"

About two weeks ago my good Gal-Pal and I went out to an Antique Mall housed in a three story old High School in the Buechel area. It was as if I walked into store heaven where I wanted everything! I found the funkiest coffee table and two end tables with marble bottoms and golden cherubs holding the glass tops! I found a wooden table, the hand painted top protected by heavy glass, which was created at the St. James Court Art Fair. It was to die for! The best part of the Derby City Antique Mall is that their things are moderately priced!

It was a moment for me. I, who could care less about her surroundings as long as there is a garden out back, and a nice kitchen with a working stove, suddenly has been bitten by the bug.

I had to get a job to support my new habit.

I picked up the local newspaper, here-by renamed by me the Evening Star, flipped to the want ads and there it was.

I knew it was going to be there. "Advertising Executive needed for sales". I ripped off a resume, had to put it into a hand writen envelope because I can not figure out how to work my printer with addresses, mailed it immediately and then waited. He called, we set an appointment for Tuesday, I was offered the job on Wednesday and I start tomorrow.

At 8:30 am. I am doing the dance of joy. I believe I have died and gone to heaven!!! I am giddy with my luck. Since I have been forced to be at work by 7am(and sometimes earlier, like 6am!) for almost 10 years!! The next thing I will find out is that I am paid every other week. I might faint! I, who for almost 10 years was paid once a month!!

Anyway, I'm excited and looking forward to this new beginning and meeting a bunch of new people and face new challenges.

Oh yea, have a pay check again.

That beveled glass with delicate wood work china cabinet is calling to me.

Friday, November 09, 2007

No Flash in the Pan

It should come as no surprise that my husband loves the Movies. He can toss off the names of most B-Movie actors and the plots of obscure movies. He is amazing with his ability to quote dialog from movies, along with nuance and accent. He will sit in his seat in the dark movie theater and read all the credits, looking for the name of that actor that appeared in one brief scene just because....

So, it was no surprise to me when he calls me late Tuesday afternoon and asks me to meet him downtown to listen to a "talk" by the screen writer Robert Moresco (co-authored Crash) being hosted by Spalding University as part of their "Festival of Contemporary Writing".

I am so glad I went and I am so glad that I always carry around my Moleskine in my purse! I ended up taking three pages of notes.

Some of my scribblings.......

" Set up an "I need to protect my family"...need to test an idea with the character.

We are all driven by the things that own us....

Attempt to understand what demons the characters have propelling them..

Four ingredients for a story 1) story structure 2)plot 3)characters 4)theme

Writing is ability to ask the questions and come up with the answer...

Emotional price paid...."

Fascinating stuff.

More fascinating was the battery of questions "Bobby" took (please call me Bobby, he requested after being addressed as Mr. Moresco) related to the movie "Crash". People really and truly wanted to know about the Matt Dillon character, his take on racism, dialog questions and "how do I get my script read??"! I must admit, after seeing the movie I understood why it won the Oscar that year (this year? how time flies)because it touched me and made me ask questions of myself. And this crowd of people, around 200 of us, had lots of questions for him.

I've been up since 3am because of a bad dream! The story line was this....I got caught with illegal drugs and had to flush them down a sink. I was not taken to jail, but I was so worried about being hunted down on the "grid" because my heart was racing and beating so fast.

Pancakes anyone?

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

I got the Netflix Blues

Netflix is the only way to go when it comes to renting DVD's. The idea of a genius! I joined several years ago and have not set foot in a Blockbuster since.

At first, I had Netflix all to myself! Oh the joy of having all those chick flicks arrive and watched at my leisure. I even found some of my favorites from years gone by that rarely appeared on television and were never to be found at the local rental store!

Then Joe began to criticize my selections! And if I did not watch them in some preconceived respectable amount of time, he shipped them back and replace them with , what he refers to, as Real Man Movies.

In other words, I have lost control!

My BEFORE SUNRISE has been replaced by SLOW BURN.

My AURORA BOREALIS was replaced with WHY WE FIGHT.

My BOYNTON BEACH CLUB was tossed aside and TENACIOUS D arrived in its place.

I have to admit, some of his He-Man movies have been quite good. LETTERS FROM IWO JIMA is one of the boldest anti-war films I have ever seen. THE GOOD GERMAN was surprisingly good. BLOOD word, wow. Djimon Hounsou deserved the Oscar and was robbed.

And, some of my movies have sucked. I was bitterly disappointed with EVENING. I did not find any of the characters engaging with the exception of Toni Collette's role as the daughter. And it was excoriating watching Vanessa Redgrave wane away. And one of the principals, the pivotal character, I found so unsympathetic I was actually disappointed when he was not killed (on his first attempt!).

And then there was THE TIGER AND THE SNOW.

Sometimes I am not aware that the movie is going to be in sub-titles. I am typically annoyed that I am going to have to concentrate on "reading" the movie rather than developing opinions about plot and character. And when The Tiger and the snow began with Tom Waits playing piano at a wedding I had no idea what was in store for me.

I have not been so wowed over by a movie since LETTERS FROM IWO JIMA...which incidentally was in subtitles also.

For anyone who has not watched this movie yet (I think I must be one of the last since it was released in 2005), I will not ruin it for y'all...but I am so grateful to European directors who refuse to dumb down to their audiences. In other words, I never saw it coming!

I never saw it coming!!

Me, (who loves that American movies are dumbed down), who lives to lean over and whisper to Joe, "The Butler did it......."

I never saw it coming!

Wonderful film and once again the fight is on for control of the Netflix Queue.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Hodge Podge

It would appear the only posts I can get out these days are long here is another.

I made a trip to The Friends of the Library Book Cellar yesterday and spent a whopping $13.74. This is what I purchased after browsing for about an hour and a half and knew people were going to wonder if I had disappeared off the face of the earth.

My first find - The Foxfire Book - Anchor Books edition 1972.

I think this might be a first edition if a 1st edition is possible because most of the articles were published in the Foxfire Magazines. I do not think I owned this book back in the day, but I know many people who did and I think this is why I picked it out of the offerings in the US Travel section. Hmmmmmmm.....I think it may have been misfiled, but heck, this is the book Cellar! I sat in a large easy chair and began to thumb through the pages and was immediately absorbed reading about the people who contributed to this effort.

How can you pass over a book that walks you through treating a "rattlesnack" bite.

2) Daisy Bates in the Desert - A woman's life among the Aborigines by Julia Blackburn. I think I may already have this book in paperback. Sometimes I do that, going through my collection (which are housed in boxes for several years) I'll find multiple copies of stuff I did not realize I had purchased before! Continuing with my fascination with strong odd women who take a different path in life that is filled with challenge and adventure.

3) A Hilltop in Tuscany by Stephanie Grace Whitson. A novel about one of my favorite subjects, Italy. Prefer non-fiction, but what's a girl to do?

4) The memory Keepers Daughter by Kim Edwards. Have wanted to read this for a long time and for $3.00, now is the time.

5) Best Friends by Martha Moody. I'm a sucker for anything written about the 1970's. Redbook calls it a "terrific read'. I am on page 21 and about ready to move on to another book. I mean, who in 1974 brings a microwave to a dorm room? We have already breezed through their freshman year in college and nothing of any interest happened. I wonder if it is the same 1970's I went to college? I'll give it some more time, as it was a national best seller. I always want the sex, drugs and rock and roll, anti-war sentiment. I ain't feeling it.

6) Onward and Upward in the Garden by Katherine S. White - 1979. A book that encompasses the essays by E.B. White's wife published in the New York Times during the 1950's and 60's. I love garden books. And essays are the best!

7) Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden. My SIL was reading this book several summers ago and was suppose to pass it on to me. I loved the movie and am a firm believer that the book is always better than the movie.

8) Younger than that Now - by Jeff Durstewitz and Ruth Williams. This is a torn up large paper back that is actually an uncorrected page proof. "He was a rabble-rousing NY high school senior. She was the fiercely proud daughter of the Deep South. In 1969 these two strangers exchanged angry letters, igniting a lifetime friendship and an extraordinary personal chronicle of our time." Any book that has a Bob Dylan lyric as a title gets my $1.00. I'm certain I will find the dawn of the 1970's as I remember it in this book.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

The minutiae of the day

I'm feeling agitated for several reasons. The lawn mower will not start and I have a small blister on my finger from the obsessive compulsive yanking I did on the starter line. What is wrong with an electric starter? Why are lawn mowers so macho? I think it must be the spark plug and I have no idea how to check it out. Pull it out. Throw it out.

I went to Walmart to purchase Halloween candy and all that is left is concentrated at the entry doors. I purchased about $30 worth of the tooth rotting junk and I doubt I have enough! The smaller bags, generally 11.5 ounces were $1.92. The larger bags, 21 ounces, were $3.97. I think Walmart believes us to be idiots.

I think I have an animal taking up residence in the attic. Do you call it an attic even if only an animal can fit up there? I hesitate to tell J. because he will think I want him to crawl up there and investigate. Or at least stick his head up there and take a look with the flash light and report back to me. This reminds me of when my Mom had some animal in her "attic" and J and my daughter crawled up there. We naturally had to get an exterminator. It was all so long ago all I remember is calling the guy and him saying, "A coon up there?!" The proof was in the "droppings".

We did have a bunny and a ground hog in the back yard this summer. The ground hog was very fast. I would only catch him out of the corner of my eye as he made a mad dash for his "house" under the garden shed. We use to have squirrels when we lived in the older house several years ago. They would laugh at us and J. swears one of them threw him the "bird" one day. I've had squirrels throw nuts at me to get me to move....true story.

My daughter called mid-morning to ask me out to lunch and to spend quality time with me. This means she is broke and hungry. But, we did have a nice time which included a trip to The Fresh Market. She was sampling the jelly beans when a clerk makes a mad dash for us and presents her with a set of thongs and recommends the pomegranate as his favorite. 10% juice. I thought for certain we were to be chastised for having our hands in the jelly jar...but they are very cool there.

J. wants me to rearrange the garage because he says there is no reason to have a two car garage and not be able to get a car in there! That is a big chore and that is why I was trying to mow the lawn. Guess I'd rather do yard work that heavy lifting.

I slept later than usual this morning and missed the re-cycling pick up. For some crazy reason, they only pick up every other week and I have a load every week. They give you two bins for the recycling. I need five.

I'm beginning to be reluctant to post these days and have to rack my brain to come up with something. I once was over flowing with ideas, but that was before I realized the Internet is actually a small place.

Happy Halloween!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

A Bad Day for Grandma's

Another inspiration from Sunday Scribblings

I was blogging in March of 2004, but did not share this because it was just too emotionally overwhelming. I have my hand written journal in front of me and it outlines the events of that day, yet it does not capture the sheer terror I felt that evening.

When we called our brother to tell him Mom had had a heart attack we found out that my SIL's mother passed away,(after a long struggle with lung cancer), that same day. MY SIL said, "It was a bad day for Grandma's".

"N., L. and I sat all day in the waiting room while they operated on Mom. They took her for prep around 1030am and she refused to take off her rings. She said they had been on her hands for over 50 years and would not come off easily. The prep personnel told her that they had to be removed in case of swelling. Wouldn't she rather cut them off than loose a finger?

We waited and waited and waited some more. They were to bring her rings to us.

Around 230pm we had had enough and asked. We were told that Mom was in a sterile environment and we could not see her nor wait with her. Finally, they rolled her out and we we received the rings as they whisked her to the operating room.

We were then ushered to the heart surgery waiting room.

I think they began operating around 315pm.

We were kept informed throughout the afternoon. They surgical team called the waiting room with updates. "They have hooked her up to the by-pass machine". "They have begun working on her valve". "They are finished repairing the valve and are now beginning the by-pass".

All afternoon Doctors came into the waiting room and sat down with the each of the families and delivered the results of the operations. The room that was filled to overflowing earlier in the day, slowing began to dwindle down to a handful of concerned and strained faces.

Around 8pm a nurse came into the area and asked at the desk where the "SURNAME" family was sitting. We were asked to leave and enter an adjacent conference room and wait for the Doctor.

A feeling of cold dread flooded me. I felt as if I had taken a punch to the solar plexus. My brother asked if Mom was out of surgery and was told only, "The doctor will talk to you".

I knew my Mom had died on the operating table. That is why we were being shown into another room so that we would not upset the other families.

I sat down next to L. and began to pray. The dread was threatening to overpower me. I could not speak. I could not share my anxiety with L & N. But L. knew, my face said it all.

Sitting in total silence for the longest most excruciating five minutes, the Doctor finally burst through the door and announced that Mom was in recovery and had sailed through the operation.

I broke down into sobs of relief."

I have spent many hours, days and nights in hospitals over the past five or so years and I can only conclude that Hospitals are an evil necessity. The staff are at times kind and supportive, and at other times cruel and inaccessible. I have learned to ask a lot of questions and even challenge them if I think the situation warrants such an action. They are only human, not super humans or God's. They make mistakes, get tired, become cranky.

It's my Mom and Dad lying there.

A necessary evil.

Saturday, October 13, 2007


Brought to you by Sunday Scribblings

The very first job I ever had was assigned to me by my Drill Sargent Mother. And it was washing the dishes after the evening meal. Not only did I have to wash the dishes, I had to set the table and peel the potatoes. Being Irish, we had mashed potatoes with every meal, except Fridays which back in the day was still meatless. But I still had to wash the dishes.

As our family grew, the ordeal of washing the dishes grew!!

I was a feminist by situation and had many a futile argument with my mother over the division of "jobs" in our family. I was the oldest girl, and the next sister was 11 years younger than me. So I was saddled with all the girl stuff.

On the other hand, there were the boys, three of them. Their jobs were "shared" and included clearing the table, taking our the garbage, drying and putting away the dishes.

Taking out the garbage!! A 30 second chore that consisted of just walking down to the trash cans and tossing in a bag or two of gross stuff! What I would give to have that job rather than scrapping all the plates, washing all the utensils and plates and pots for eight people!! It took at the least a half hour.

I argued and argued about how unfair it all was. The boys just ignored me and went about their easy chores and more than likely watched more TV than me too.

I thought it was much easier to be a boy rather than a girl, something that remains pretty much true in most of the division of jobs and roles for the sexes.

Having children....need I say more.

God certainly has a good sense of humor.

Sunday, October 07, 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"!! To have 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.

Sunday, September 30, 2007


...brought to you by Sunday Scribbligs

Over 5,000 runners crammed in a single block of Vine Street under the Central Baptist Banner proclaiming the "START" line for the Midsummer Night Run. The evening was still aglow in the last washes of daylight as the start gun went off with a resounding BANG!!.

People began to surge forward slowly, bunched together heading towards the starting line which tweeted as you crossed indicating your chip had been activated. The slow paced walk quickened to a slow jog and then you were able to burst forward as the crowd began to

Three miles and one tenth till the FINISH LINE.

The sun set, the moon rose, the crowd of runners thinned as we made our way through the downtown streets of Lexington. The lead runners were headed home before I even reached the half way point.

Joe had run off long before, as his feet are bigger and can cover more ground than mine (that is my story and I am sticking to it).

It was hot, it was humid, it was sticky, and it felt as if I were running through syrupy air. Sweat dripped down my forehead and crept into my eyes. I tired to wipe it off with my sweaty hands. My lungs burned. I was passing people.

I rounded the fountain and headed down Main street.

The crowd was very thin now. The fast walkers, the parents running with baby buggies, the kids who ran like the wind then walked for a while then ran like the wind again....this was the pack I was with.

I rounded the corner and headed back down Vine knowing I was nearing the finish line. The sky above was pitch black now and the stars were out as I headed home.

The FINISH LINE loomed ahead, my heart surged and I was able to speed up. I was KICKING!!! Then I saw Joe, on the other side of the finish line, waiting for me, cheering me on!


The feeling can only be described as euphoric. A buzz that no drug in the world can match.

I was flying HIGH!!

That was one POWERFUL feeling. I have run dozens of races since, but nothing ever compared, not one of them ever came close to crossing that first finish line.

That was some POWERFUL stuff.

Thursday, September 27, 2007


I like this one, only I wish I had not put the peel and press letters on the bottom. I might un-peel and reapply with the ransom note style.

I tossed the postcard idea and have grabbed my blank note cards. The extra area makes all the difference.

I received my first one today! A fab water color....note card!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

A Rocky Start

The first collage postcard I attempted with a Back to School theme.

The second attempt.

The final one! This one made the cut. This is very hard to do when you have no idea what you are doing. I think it need a little something more. I'll look at it in the morning....maybe some glitter (lol). (I suck at this!!lol)

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

A Macabre Sight

To feed the beast that lives within me, I have been hanging out at the local Flea Markets, Peddler Malls, Antique & Collectible stores, Goodwill, DAV Thrift Stores, and in general, any store full of junk where $5 goes a long way.

I was astonished when I ran across this box of doll hands. They were sitting on the overflowing shelves of Craft things. I tried to sneak out my small digital camera but of course another shopper would choose that moment to enter the aisle and walk behind me several times obviously waiting for me to vacate the spot in front of all the cool and interesting stuff spilling from the shelves onto the floor.

I could not leave these doll hands behind!

My mind is spinning with the possibilities.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Woe is Me

I found via Sunday Scribblings this really cool web site called Dreamergirl. Absolutely stunning. Well, I was so inspired by the beauty that I thought I would join in on a postcard exchange.

I should have known better.

Now I am trying to teach myself how to make a creative and pretty postcard that will convey what Autumn means to me.

As I approached my glue sprayed canvas with my carefully cut out carnivorous looking flower that i was going to attach to replace the girls head, (I am working with Halloween theme on this card) I dropped it and it landed on a spot I definitely did not want! About a quarter off the card!!

Dang it.

So I just slapped on a deranged looking Tin Man and then sat back in horror at the image I had created. I slapped on another head....and now she looked like she had been beheaded!!

So I added some pretty words and took some aspirin.

This is hard work!

I will not be sending out this card!! But, it is my favorite so far!

Saturday, September 22, 2007

A Rose By Any Other Name

Thanks to Sunday Scribblings I have realized that in four years of pounding out posts, "Entries", essays, confessions, reports, travel experiences, memories shaded by time, and the occassional rant...there just isn't much I have not written about before.

From October 9, 2003.....

My name is Mary Theresa. My Mom named me in advance because it was her dream for me to become a Nun. Mary was never really truly mine. At the Catholic High School I attended there was Mary Anne, Mary Ellen, Mary Alice, Mary Beth, Mary Jane, Mary, Mary, Mary and Mary. You could yell "MARY" in the hallway and half the girls would turn to answer.

Why couldn't I have had my own personalized name? Exclusive to me, giving me a different sense and significance of self. And to others!

In my day dreams, I named myself dramatic, romantic monikers.

I named my daughter, Bridget...Theresa. Bridget conjures up images of sexy French girls even though its actually the female patron saint of Ireland. Not to mention the name of my Great Grandmother.

I was stumped when Bridget was born, so certain she was going to be a male. 23 years ago, when dinosaurs roamed the earth, you were not given the opportunity of knowing in advance the sex of your child. It was "PUSH, PUSH, PUSH.....its a GIRL!" I was so surprised. The entire last six months of carrying her, she had squirmed, kicked, and wiggled around so much I knew she was a boy.

My Mom named Bridget. I was clueless and half heartedly came up with Nicole. My mother balked and said "That's not an Irish name." And so, she became Bridget after a woman born in the 1800's.

No mistake was made, for she is most certainly a Bridget. Even the name rolls off the tongue and tickles the lips. It can be drawn out as in, "Brrrrrriiiidggggettttt..." or short and harsh "Bidgt". I like the way there are numerous ways to spell Bridget, therefore giving her the latitude to change her mood and/or her sense of self with the spelling.

I was one of six children. My moniker has always been "The oldest", and when my sisters were born, "The oldest girl". Now as my parents age, I still am the oldest and introduced as, "My oldest daughter". I never had a nick name like some other Mary's I knew. No Mollie or Missy or Sissy for me...just plain, Nun-like Mary.

I love the Internet for the wonderful pleasure of naming myself and giving myself great nicknames like HighwayStar, Drama Queen and AlphaWoman.

Yet, a rose by any other name.......

Thursday, September 20, 2007

First the eyes, then the knees, then....the mind!

Several years ago I was sprawled out on the floor of my living room reading a street map of Cincinnati and cursing. Muttering, "When did they start making these maps so small???!!" as I struggled to read the streets and make sense of a city, that quite frankly, didn't. It was with great reluctance and total denial that I began to suspect that my eyes were going!!

I had always been so vain about my good eyesight!

That was then. I did eventually go to an eye doctor and receive a pair of bona fide reading glasses. A couple of years later, my sister neglected to toss my suitcase in her car as she was taking me to the airport and ran over it! My first pair was greatly impaired.

It took me YEARS to return to the eye doctor and get another prescription. I had become hooked on the $1 glasses you could obtain from the Dollar Store. When you run them over with the car you think, "what the hell."

I actually got two pairs, one for reading and one for long distance. Because, now I needed bifocals.

Say it ain't so!!

The long distance pair I lost when we moved from Central KY to NE Indiana. They just never showed up at the new house. The reading glasses were always a thorn in my side as the lenses kept popping out of the frame! They were the smudgiest pair of glasses in the entire history of eye glass wear. Last year one of the arms broke. On occasion I will pop the lens back in, hook it over one ear, balance it on the bridge of my nose and see the way the Doc thought I should see.

Otherwise, it was those $1 glasses by the gross which I always got mixed up with Joe's who when ever he put a pair of mine on would say, "You really are blind, aren't you?"

This is how I found myself standing in the middle of a huge assembly line eye glass sweat shop looking around with my blurred vision for a sign that would lead me in the right direction.

I am turning into such a bitch.

My glasses would not be ready until hours later and I opted to pick them up the next morning.

When I get there, my glasses are not ready, they have to be sent out and will take two weeks.

"So much for the "same day" guarantee!" I quipped, with just enough edge that the poor customer service lady finally really looked me in the eye.

"Why the delay?"

"We have to send them out to get the gobbly gook stuff put on them so that you don't get the glare from the sun..." or something like that.

"I don't need it then, because I need those glasses to read." At this point, I needed those glasses immediately!!

OK, it will take 1/2 hour.

I came back three hours later and they could not find my glasses. Finally, the poor over worked Customer Service Lady came to grips with the situation and told me that in the process of making my glasses they had cracked one of the lenses and now would have to re-do them, take a seat and we will have them ready in a few minutes.

A good half hour later she called me over, away from the rest of the people in the large show- room/waiting room and told me my glasses could not be finished because the machine that puts a protective coating on the glass so I couldn't scratch them (do they have a coating for running them over?) has broken down.

I guess she thought I might blow.

All I could think about was when things went terribly wrong for me when I was working at The Beverage Company. And I took pity on her and told her I understood she was doing her job the best she could, and that it was the other people who were messing things up. I knew it took a lot of courage to give me the bad news and I had to give her a break.

For my acceptance of the situation and not causing a scene I got over 50 bucks knocked off the cost of the glasses and a free cleaning kit (14.99 retail).

And, the glasses are finally sitting on the bridge of my nose.

Not that much different from the $1 glasses, just cost 150 times more and I don't resemble a bug anymore.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

1,000,000 to 1 odds

...Or I collect National Geographics and have an essay for Sunday Scribblings

I am a woman on a mission. I have been scoping out all the used bookstores in the area. There are not that many of them which is surprising, or not surprising depending on how you view things.

Since mentioning the National Geographic obsession a few entries ago, I googled the teenager who sailed around the world in the 1960's and found his name, Robin Lee Graham. It was exactly as I remembered, he was 16 years old in 1965 and took off in a very small sail boat from Hawaii with the intent of a solo voyage around the world. I decided to try and track down the NG that told the story, which I found was April 1969.

I went to a local Goodwill store that has hundreds of the NG's on hand, but not the April 1969. On a hunch, I started to scan the titles of the contents which are displayed on the magazine spine, each one having four stories. On October 1969 I saw "Voyage" and pulled it.

My hunch payed off! It was the last of a series of three written by Robin about his incredible feat which incidentally took approximately five years!! The other two NG's were the April 1969 and October 1968.

So, I have been on a mission to find them locally. I have hit practically every used bookstore in the area. Sadly, I have found out that no one carries National Geographic any longer! It's hit or miss.

Today found me at a small used book store in Lyndon. A bookstore that I use to visit and purchase books when I lived here in the 1980's. Which I lost no time telling the woman who owned the store! Obviously, this meant more to me than her. I wonder how people can stay in business, to run a sole proprietor store and be so unfriendly! I asked about NG's and she directed me to a paltry few stacked in a hidden cob webbed corner. "I'm looking for October 1968!" I said, with too much enthusiasm because her sarcastic "good luck" made me think I was perceived as a nutcase.

She did have two 1968's out of 10, neither of them October.

I ended up at a Goodwill Store off Shelbyville Road going through three large drop off canvas containers. What fun!! For 50 cents each, I found some really great books!

I knew there was another Goodwill pretty close and the day was still early and beautiful so I drove over and to my pleasant surprise there were four of these large three feet by three feet containers outside!

Going through them is like digging for gold. My feet practically left the ground to get to the bottom of the "barrel". I had developed a system of stacking them on the edge between two, and then as I got closer to the bottom to begin tossing them in the other bin.

I found more treasures at the second Goodwill. I had six more books stacked up! I had only worked through two of the four when I lazily began to toss books right and left in the third one.

About in the middle of the books, toys, encyclopedias, coloring books, notebooks, magazines, and stuffed animals I spotted the familiar yellow spine of a National Geographic.

I said to myself, "It's October 1968", and then laughed hysterically at myself as we all do at these insane thoughts.

I lifted it out.

October 1968.

I gasped and looked around for someone jump up and down with and dance in celebration!

There was no one.

I did a little jig anyway and high fived the air and laughed at that damn woman in Lyndon! "Good luck" she had sneered at me and look at me now!!

Naturally, my next stop was to buy a lottery ticket.

I'll let you know tomorrow.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Sunday Scribblings


I never was a good student. During grammar school I had the misfortune of having two exceptional and amazing scholars in my class and try as I may, I never could get the best of them. Since the class size was only 12 students and for the most part remained so for the eight years, I believe this microcosm twisted my view of the real world. Therefore, I never gave much effort to excel. In my small private high school (once again, I was one student in a class of only 120) I found myself thrust among four Merit Scholarship Finalists. I was already well on the path that if I could not be Top Dog (though back then, Top Cat would be more apropos)then I was not going to try very hard.

Home work was completed during Home Room and study hall. If I had not studied enough for a History or Social Studies class, I faked an illness. I had to have an algebra tutor. I copied my Latin assignments from my BFF Laura. In other words, I was a nightmare for teachers. Not that different from the majority of my classmates.

There are certain moments of High School I remember. Tiny vignettes of people and place. Smoking in the bathroom, skipping classes and getting caught, detention class after school, riding the bus to downtown where I would have to ride the Greyhound Bus the last 12 miles home, being on a panel with Jose discussing transcendental philosophy, Latin class with Father S. who drove a Hot Rod and was very handsome and all of us girls shook our heads at the waste, the nun who was the librarian we called Rat, decorating homeroom doors, having the biggest crush in the history of crushes on the Dog.

The most vivid still holds certain emotions that are stirred. In Junior Year I found myself in a creative writing class. For perhaps the first and only time in the four years of my high school experience, I gave it my all. I was inspired by something that has happened to someone I knew that summer. I took his reality and experience and gave it the voice of a 12 year old girl.

Mrs. F sat at her desk and began to read the best of our efforts. She read two of them and paused before beginning the third and final. The best of the best.

I began to hear my words being read aloud by someone else. "It happened this summer, when the days were becoming so hot the tar was bubbling on the road......"

I was terrified and shamed for some unexplained reason. In my totally freaked out state I tried to glance around the class room. Mrs. F. had every ones attention. Hanging on her words, my words. And at the end, my pal Bonnie was crying.


"I'm going to be a writer" I vowed to myself.

Thirty some odd years later I sit here at my key board and wonder if....if I had pursued a writing career. If I had taken my life a little bit seriously, not a lot, just a little and talked to someone. Maybe someone then would have directed me towards journalism.

Instead, here I sit, still slightly terrified at people reading what I write.

Friday, September 07, 2007

How I Spent My Summer

There definitely is something different in the air. Perhaps it is the softening of the light. The shorter days. The magnificent sunsets. The children standing on the corner across the street from our home waiting on the bus. The familiar sound from oh so long ago, "BUSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS". No relief from the heat yet, but the cooler mornings hint of things to come.

The past three months have flown by and I remember them as a blur of activity. The last month I spent an enormous amount of time at my parents house helping out with things. Routine is the word of the day, every day in my Mothers home. When it was 2pm, it was nap time and subsequently quiet time for all.

One afternoon found me without a book. Now that is actually an oxymoronic statement seeing that I was in my mothers house. She is a retired librarian and the house is loaded with books. Yet, I found myself insistent on finding a biography of Beryl Markham she was reported as having. What a chore as I scoured all the book cases in the house twice and could not lay my hand on it.

"The garage!" I though in inspired desperation.

I did not find the book, but I did find stashed on the bottom shelf of her storage area (left side!!) a large box of old National Geographic.

I am addicted. I have read a multitude of them almost cover to cover except for the bug stuff, it does not interest me. The very first one I picked up was dated late 1970's and was explaining the cyclic nature of weather. It seems that we were on the end of a very cold 50 years! Amazing stuff.

I have read the 1953 issue (amazingly an unadorned black and white cover with a gold border) about the first men to set foot on the top of Mt. Everest, Sir Edmund Hillary and a local from Napal named Tanzeng Norgay. It was fascinating stuff and furthered my passion for reading ALL OF THEM!

Sunken treasure outside Bermuda (1964), Saudi Arabia (1966), Robert Redford (1976) retracing the footsteps of Butch Cassidy over the west and meeting the real Butch's sister! Could St. Brenden have discovered the Americas 600 years before anyone else in a boat made from hides? Well, some Irishmen reenacted the route and by God the answer would be yes! New Orleans (1971) still recovering from Hurricane Camille in the area and at that time an alarm was spoken about the Ninth Ward. Eskimo's in Canada.

When I was a kid my Mom received two magazines in the mail, Time and National Geographic. I recall turning the pages and being in awe of all the natural beauty in the world. I vividly remember an article about a 17 year old kid making a solo journey around the world in a sail boat. I remember a cat as his only companion.

Oh the places you'll go!

This summer found me in Sweden, Norway, Egypt, Ireland, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Chile, Bermuda and many more.

And I never left my Mom's living room.

And that's how I spent my summer.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Beauty of the Bounty

I am really stoked today. Lot's of good things happening.

The best thing being that I have finally cracked the CSA club and gained admission! CSA stand for Community Suppported Agriculture and in a nutshell, you pay in advance for a weekly share of the bounty!

I could not locate a CSA in Ft Wayne. That does not mean one does not exist, it means I could not hunt it down.

On Wednesday I will receive my first "box". I can not wait!

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

The $59,000 Car

At least it was 20 years ago. Our new addition to the fleet.

Joe's new toy.

The Sonata is mine, all mine!!

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Fascinating Stuff

So, I was visiting with my Aunt yesterday, the one with the fractured pelvis. Thankfully, she was recovered and healed enough to return to her apartment in downtown Lexington.

We are sitting in her small living room just getting settled when she asks me, "So what have you been doing lately that is fascinating?"

Why this questions takes me by surprise I don't know, but it did. Maybe because there is nothing fascinating I am doing lately!!

The image that leaped into my mind were my adopted rose bushes, the 21 damn bushes I have been trying to keep alive this horrid, torrid, breathless, over powering, arid summer. I have now have had roses thrust upon me three times from three different gardens. Some may say roses are easy to grow, but take it from me, they are not. I have fooled around with them all summer long. Through Japanese beetles, black spot, yellow leaves, under watering, over watering, dead heading and cutting back. Now as I am entering into the end of the summer I breath a sigh of relief.

Next year I will begin in April and not mid-June!

Look at my poor garden gloves. These are my third pair of the summer - granted I have tended two gardens, one here and the other in Ft. Wayne - I realize I need to spend more on garden gloves.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Things That Go Bump in the Night

I reminisce about the sleep of my childhood. Those nights that began with such difficulty not wanting to end an adventurous action packed day. Tossing and turning punching the pillow creating day dreams that would ease into sleep, my boyfriend would be Sugarfoot or Dr. Kildare. They would be older but would see the potential blossom of sultriness that lay ahead.

Then the sleep of the dead.

I can't buy a night of uninterrupted sleep. Well, maybe I could, maybe I should.

Awake at 2am and then the worrying begins....

My parents

My daughter


Job situation



My husbands job situation ...........

Sleep returns in time but is once again interrupted around 4am and the worries and anxieties begin again.

Where are those "day dreams" that transfer to night dreams? I can't conjure up a one.

Where is Sugarfoot when you need him?

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

You Wanna Ramble

Ahhhh, another photo from the past. This is the brood (sans Omega, she must have been an infant at the time). What I have found the most interesting about these photo's is how I remember all these dresses! This was a white number, lace overlay, with scalloped edges and had tiny blue ribbons around the neck line. I loved it and at the time of this wearing, I was growing out of it! Look at those shoes, I loved them too. I was not allowed high heels and these flats were so cute. I believe I tried to die them pink and ruined them.

We were on vaca and were visiting relatives in NYC and area. This is taken in front of Grandma's house in the Bronx. It was a small house and I marvel that my Mom shared a room with her two sisters. They slept in the same bed. My Aunt M. says my Mom's feet were always in her face! When we spent the night we were allowed to "camp out" on the screened front porch. I remember vividly watching a black and white movie about a Mummy and being scared to death all night long.

Sweet memories.

We are on vaca for the next eight days. We are going to Cincinnati for a few days, catch a Red's game, visit the Aquarium, revisit all the old haunts on the Kentucky Side.

That is if I go. I have been spending a lot of time at Mom's house helping out, spending the night. This all has been brought on by my Aunt who lives very close by, falling and fracturing her pelvic bone. Mom is trying to take care of Dad and Auntie M. It is too much for her and us kids are trying to relieve some of the stress.

Bridget and I have taken her wedding dress to a consignment shop and they have given it the place of honor in the display window. I drove by the other day and the sun was causing the tiny jewels in the tulle skirt to sparkle. I teared up.

I have started to look for a job and had an interview the other day. He was a professional head hunter for this company. Wow. I was not prepared and as usual, was way too honest. But, practice will make perfect or at least help me realize that I have to get better at putting a spin on the truth.

I'm really thinking that I may not pursue another stressful job, but seek something totally different. Go in a different direction.

I died my hair ....again.... this time a less dramatic shade of dark brown. It looks great, (thank you Gayle). I was early for the interview and spent a few minutes in Barnes and Noble. Before heading off I stopped in the bathroom and when I looked in the mirror I thought, " look great!" Nice feeling.

Bought my first Moleskine journal. I went to several of the larger bookstores but they were not to be found! I finally located on at a small independent book store on Bardstown Road. It is now tucked in my purse and at ready.

My yard is a wreck. My house is a wreck. I borrowed my brothers car over the week-end and upon returning it my nephew took me home. I invited him in for the tour and as I was leading him around I saw the house through his eyes. My God!! I need to mow the lawn, even though we have had little rain, it has an unkempt look. But, the roses are in bloom and look stunning.

As I said, just a ramble.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

"Across the Milky Way..."

Sitting at Omega's kitchen table Sunday morning, a cup of java at near and a donut in the other hand leisurely reading the Lexington Herald Leader (love that paper) and coming across the printing of the top ten books of all time, submitted by us! the readers.

I shuddered at some of the books on the list. Yuck. But one mans Yuck is another favorite.

So here is my Yuck list.... (after number one, in no particular order)

1) To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. I have read this book over and over and never tire of it. Wonderful read, wonderful story, wonderful characters and a life lesson that all on the face of the earth need to be reminded of every so often.

2) Prodigal Summer, Barbara Kingsolver. Made me want to return to school and study biology even though I was terrible at it the first two times...(sort of). Three stories intertwined in the same area of the Appalachian mountains.

3) The Magic Bus: An American Odyssey - Douglas Brinkley. Made me want to go out and discover America on a literary tour and write about it. Darn, already been done.

4) Atlas Shrugged - Ayn Rand. When I read this in High School I realized I had a brain if I could understand and enjoy a book of this scope and magnitude. It made me seek out thick books. The thicker the better.

5) Any Human Heart - Wm Boyd. This book was suggested to me by a friend I met at AOL-J-Land (who has since disappeared ) because it was a study in one mans life. Wonderful wonderful wonderful. I cried at the end for a long time.

6) The Story of Live Dolls - My all time favorite book as a child that I would check out of the library over and over and dream and wish and pray that my dolls would come to life.

7) Into the West - Berly Markham. A companion to Out of Africa only in the sense that both were written by women in Africa at the same time, seemingly in love with the same man, and knew each other. A absolutely stunning book. Prose at its best.

8) Under the Tuscan Sun - Frances Mayes. This book opened my eyes to the wonder genre of travel writing. I read it a long time ago, way before the movie. I looked forward to watching to movie on DVD and when I finally got my hands on it I could not go beyond the first 20 minutes as it was such a detour from the book. Anyway, I loved the book and it set me off on an insatiable quest to read all nonfiction travelogue books about Italy. Thank you Frances.

9) The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafron. 500 pages that I could not put down! A sheer delight of a story, plot, characters, and story telling. I did not want this book to end even though I rushed through the final chapters to the conclusion of one of the best stories I have ever read!

10) Travels with Fortune - Christina Dodwell - This book began my love affair with all books African thus kicking open the door about a zillion African books. This lady, (English)when she was a tender 20 something (late 60's early 70's), went to Africa and boated down the Congo with another English girl. When her traveling buddy decided to return home and get married..Christina forged ahead on a horse named Fortune! She was alone with a tent and a horse! Unbelievable and wonderful.

I could never have a top ten list and not include Gone with the Wind, which I did. I love that book too, but have included most books I have recently read or totally impacted my reading habits.

Any one else got a top ten best book list?

P.S. - Seabiscuit by Laura Hillenbrand -

Thursday, August 16, 2007

I'm not a Very Good Blogger Anymore

In preparing for the family reunion the other weekend I put together many photo albums bursting with pictures that spanned 10 decades. I ran across many snap shots that I had never seen before like the one above. It was one of a group of three shots. As I examined it searching for some hint of who the heck it could be the realization that it was my Dad's mother caused me to gasp out loud. She is the demure long haired nymph with the cap on the left. I flipped the photo over and sure enough, "Molly, 1920".

She is so lovely.

I've written about "Nana" before.

It seems I've written about everything "before". I am running out of stuff and my life is so boring right now there is nothing worth documenting on these pages.

I get up in the morning and every day seems like a Saturday. This whole summer seems like a Saturday that never ends! At first it was very cool and a lot of fun. Now I am in total alarm at how I have wiled away the summer and still, still have unpacked boxes in the garage.

I realize with a reluctant flash of self awareness, (because the Irish are impervious to analysis)(which always reminds me of the time a therapist told me I was one of the most totally "un-aware of self" personalities she had ever encountered...?), that I need to find a job so that my life resumes a type of sorely needed rhythm.

So, until I emerge from this fog, all I got are pictures of the past.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Circa 1970

I really shouldn't title this post "circa" because I know exactly it is July 1970. My two brothers are on their way to NYC (this use to be they way you boarded a plane!!) to meet up with my Auntie M. and then on their way to Europe for two weeks. One week in Paris, the second in London.

I was to go. I was invited.

I said, "No thanks, I'd rather spend this summer with my friends."

Do I remember a thing from my summer of 1970? Actually I do. It is the summer I went hog wild and ran with Susie. I spent the summer riding around in her black Bug, neither of us with a license. (hence my header, because I loved that Black Beetle and the adventures that went with it).....

Yet, I think I made a big mistake. Looking at this picture I envy those two kids who hold those memories of theatre in London and standing in front of the masterpieces of the Louvre. I wonder if my life would have been changed. I wonder if I would have developed a different perspective of the world. Would I have realized, that summer, that I lived in a small fish bowl and the world was a large ocean with possibilities that boggle my small town mind.

Instead, I insulated myself in the dramas of a 17 year old readying herself to be a senior in High School.

I missed out on the chance of a life time.

I traded it for a handful of memories and experiences that molded my life. It could have been a different set of experiences.

If I had to do it all over again (knowing what I know today) I would be in that picture with my brothers getting ready to board that plane. I would have been the one in a dress...a very short dress.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Dial "M" for Mom

Last night my phone rang around 830pm. It was my daughter B. just wanting to talk. I knew this phone call would come sooner or later on Sunday, as the rent is due. And...blah blah blah, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.

And it was in the middle of Big Brother. Now, I don't know if I love or hate Evil Dick. I think I love him. And I know that I think Eric is kind of squirrely but I guess you would have to be to go along with the crazy twist CBS thought up for this season to keep us watching. With all that being said, I use to hate Jen but now I feel like everyone in the house has a bee up their bonnet for her just because she is different. And kind of ....dare I say it...real.

Anyway, I am in the middle of BB and I tell Bridget I will call her back. The aggravation can wait.

I honestly thought she would call me back (as usual).

But she didn't.

Around 945pm the phone rings, I glance at caller ID, it's her.

"Hello" I say in the most drone voice I can muster, and immediately I felt bad knowing the kid is having a hard time and it's hard for her to ask me to help her out and answering the phone in that tone of voice would hurt her feelings.

There was a long hesitation on the other end and finally, "Hello...." A male voice...."I know this is going to sound crazy, but I am at the Magnolia Bar at 2nd and Magnolia, I went outside to smoke a cigarette and saw this phone in the middle of the road."

"It's my daughter's phone! I bet it flew off the top of her car!"

"So, I thought I would call and try and get it returned."

I said something like, "That is so kind of you."

He said, "I guess I could mail it to her, or someone could ...."

"Where are you again, 4th and Magnolia?"

"Second and Magnolia, at the Mag Bar."

"Would it be safe to leave it at the bar until I can get it tomorrow?"

He yells, "Hey Mike, can I leave this phone behind the bar until tomorrow?....he says sure, it will be okay."

"What is your name?"


"Ben, you are an angel. I don't know how to thank you enough."

"You're welcome. I was stationed in the Navy in San Diego and lost my phone. Some person found it and called my Mom in Louisville and mailed it to her. So, I saw this phone in the the road and thought....hell, it's time to pay it forward."

Like a dummy, I did not ask him for his last name nor phone number so Bridget could thank him.

She is going to go talk to Mike and see if she can connect with him that way.

And by the way......yes she did need to talk to me about an advance for her rent....I KNEW IT!!

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Dear Anonymous

What happened to my veil of anonymity?

Isn't the Internet suppose to be so huge that you can be virtually lost forever in here?

One of my friends (hi Gayle!) told me that he husband thought I was taking big risks by revealing so much about myself on this blog.

I draw the line at totally blurting out my real name!!

MM, you are going to have to send me your e-mail address. Mine is in the "about me" section.

I remember you but I'm trying to remember who your close friends were (besides Doug), but I know that we attended the same parties hosted by Don Fawn (did I spell that right?) at Wildcat Bay during those endless summers of the mid-70's. (didn't every body?).

Friday, August 03, 2007


This is the week-end we have been anticipating for months. The big Family Reuion to celebrate my Mom's 80th birthday (a month early, but who cares)(She calls it her Un-Birthday Party).

I have been pouring over family photographs to put together a montage for the event tomorrow. I think they came out fairly well. There were literally thousands and thousands of photo's to choose from. In addition to the two picture boards, we have assembled several photo albums.

A beautiful life expressed in pictures.

But, this gathering of relatives from far and wide is not without its share of difficulties.

My Aunt arrived a week early to "help out". It has been ..... there is not way to say anything delicate about the upheaval in my Mom's home since her arrival. Thank God, my brother from NYC also is in my parents home, so perhaps it is not as bad as it first appears.

Yet, there is plenty of drama. My Aunt is at the age where she holds nothing back when she has an opinion.

And she is very prone to throwing people under the bus.

Yesterday it was my turn, and when I arrived at the homestead to continue with the various odds and ends associated with getting a 2000 sq. foot house in order to receive 50+ relatives and friends, an eerie silence greeted me.

The Angel (Dad's care taker) was hanging laundry on the clothes line in the back yard. Immediately I knew something was afoot because she always will run to greet me. I entered the house from the garage and my Mother was sitting at the kitchen table in a trance like posture, going through "papers".

"Aunt M. is in the bedroom, she has been ill all night. Go see if she is alright."

"Okay, as soon as I haul in all this stuff."

"M. landed into "The Angel" this morning about the bathroom. She said that you said she should be cleaning it daily." (Ooooppppps, yes I did and I had purchased a very easy, light sponge mop that would make swabbing the deck several times a day simple and efficient....). "She was vicious in her attack on "The Angel". She said that with her nursing back ground, she should know how to clean a bathroom. "The Angel" has been crying all morning. She loves Aunt M. and has taken this very hard."


The day before I had about been asphyxiated throwing Clorox on the bathroom floor trying to rid the small area of the smell that accompanies my fathers infirmity. I thought I was going to die. My eyes were watering and I was breathing the fumes as I furiously scrubbed the tiles. I thought I was harming my lungs and worried about it rest of the day. (my family has a tremendously long history of horror stories involving lung mishaps). Then Joe reminded me of the time in Cancun after the hurricane when he dumped a bucket of bleach on his head thinking it was water. He assured me that if he could survive that I would survive my small (in comparison)brush with danger.

I hugged The Angel and just mumbled that I heard her heart had been broken. "She's old" is all she said as she entered the house.

Anyway, things shifted yesterday for The Angel. More about her at another time.

When she left for the day, Aunt M emerged from the bed room feeling much better and she and I began to go through the multitude of photographs and she seemed happy. She tried to engage me in conversation about The Angel and what had transpired that morning.....I just blew it off. I will have to mend the bridges with The Angel next week.

But, the truth is the truth. That bathroom needs to be cleaned several times a day!

Today is Bridget's birthday and I have offered to buy her a new outfit for the party tomorrow. So far, she has not called me yet to commence shopping. How unlike her!!

Family arriving to the Louisville airport all day long!

Party Alert Tonight.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Family...Stronger than Dirt

My daughter came across the river for a visit yesterday and brought her laundry. All 200 pounds of it. She left around midnight and I got up around 3am and am finishing it up for her...I am on the third load.

When I say it was a mountain of laundry, I do not exaggerate. She defended herself by saying she hates a laundry mat, that the laundry room in her last apartment was nasty, that she spent $15 at the laundry mat because those dryers eat money!

Naturally it reminds me of me when I was that age. I hated the laundry mat too, and I swear, I would go through every item of clothing I owned before making the long trek to the washers and dryers. I thought I had hit the big time when ever I was able to live in an apartment that included a W&D.

We also dyed her hair. I should have examined the box a little bit closer when I picked it up as a surprise for her today. It is not disastrous or anything, but it looks nothing like the picture on the box. She looks great though despite the mess up.

My kitchen is torn up, my detergent is low, my water bill will be high....but the day is priceless.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

If I were a Tourist Visiting the Bluegrass...

If I were to spend one day in Central Kentucky I would be certain to hook up with a Horse Farm Tour Company. Central Kentucky is the heart of the Thoroughbred Industry and if one is lucky enough to visit this piece of heaven on earth, having a tour guide to take you to places the average Joe is not allowed is a must.

I believe they are several hours long and will take you to the farms, a trip through downtown, and a stop at Keeneland.

If you decide to do the tour on your own, you have to go to the Keeneland Horse Track. It is so beautiful, it will stay with you forever and every other horse track will pale in comparison. I believe there are horses there year round training in early morning, when the heat is low. I know the kitchen and gift shop are open year round. You may even catch some horse sales in the summer. Racing is only in April and October, the season being only three weeks each.

If you do not want to stray far from I-75, you can hop off at the Kentucky Horse Park expect to stay all day taking in all the exhibits and checking out all the activities. Man-O-War is buried there and a magnificent statue of the Greatest Horse that ever raced graces his grave. Lot's of horse activities going on there all the time, horse shows, jumping competition, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.

If you are adventurous and want to see the second most famous industry in Kentucky, you can take tours of the Bourbon Distilleries in the area, Wild Turkey, Four Roses, Buffalo Trace, Woodford Reserve, Jim Beam, Heaven Hill, and the crème de la crème of all bourbons, Markers Mark.

Another fabulous place of interest and not to be missed is the Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill. It is outside Lexington, going down a most beautiful country highway about 30 miles out into God's Country on the Kentucky River. The village has pretty much been restored to its original simple beauty. Local artisans are on hand creating furniture, candles, glass, brooms (there is nothing that can compare to a Shaker broom) and other items of interest in the Shaker way. The food is beyond delicious at the restaurant (I use to be a waitress there after my first year in college and I gained 10 pounds on the corn bread, lemon pie, and squash casserole). It is a step back in time.

Since you are close, you may as well go see Old Ft. Harrod . When we were kids and our cousins would visit us from the North, we would always include a trip to the Fort. Why? Because they would enact Indian fights!!! I'm not certain if they still do this, but when I was kid, it was soooooo cool.

There is also Fort Boonesboro, made famous by the long running tv program in the 1960's...Daniel Boone!

Me? I would include a trip to the Lexington Cemetery because it is the most breathtaking landscaped place of rest in the area. Spectacular!

I would go to the Arboretum because I love it.

I would go to the downtown library and head downstairs to the Friends of the Library Book Cellar.

If I had the time, I would head to the Irish Acres Antique House located at Nonesuch in an old school house. I would have lunch there.

If I felt like it, I would head to Ashland, Henry Clay's home and tour the gardens and the mansion.

Then I would head to Hall's on the River for catfish and hot banana peppers.

And the trip would not be complete with out visiting the Joseph-Beth Booksellers at Lexington Green. This bookstore has grown over the years, but still maintains its unique style of presenting books .... friendly. There may be a zillion Borders and another zillion Barnes and Nobles, but first there was Jo-Beth and no one has been able to copy it yet.

I'd exhausted by now, and if I were younger I'd be ready to hit the night life. Maybe a movie at the last movie theater standing in downtown, The Kentucky Theater to see if the Troubadour Series was on and if not, to catch a movie.

Then after that, I would have a night cap at Cheapside Bar and Grill and maybe listen to some music and have a snack.

I'd be exhausted by now and have to be carried to the car.

Sunday, July 15, 2007


..... and grow old wanting to get back to”
John Ed Pearce quote

Yesterday I went "home" to visit with Mom and Dad and help get the house in order for the big family reunion next month to celebrate my Mom's 80th birthday. Before heading to the house, I took a trip into Lexington because....I miss it.

Now I did not really "grow-up" in Lexington, though it was the big city we always went to for serious shopping. The Sears store use to be in downtown Lex and that was usually a destination. As was the Stewards, Wool Worth's, Wennekers Shoes , Wolfe Wiles. There were numerous movie theatres in downtown, and the McCory's, the music shop, the record shop, the bakery, art shop. You get the idea, this was the pre-Mall period.

Since I was sent to the Catholic High in Lexington (and not allowed to go to school with all my friends!)I went to the downtown area every afternoon to catch the Greyhound Bus for the ride home every afternoon for several years. I spent a lot of time hanging out downtown.

When I return, especially after this several year absence, the feeling of peace that comes over me is surprising. I think it is the most beautiful place on the face of the earth. All is right with the world. All the planets are aligned. All the little marbles are nestled in the holes.

The Malls did arrive in Lexington and the stores fled to survive.
Yet, what remained survived and today the downtown area is vibrant and always a destination for me when given the chance. I visit my favorite bookstore, the Friends of the Library Cellar, where books are donated in droves, as well as discarded library books. Years (and years) ago I felt this store was my private treasure, but now a days, every body knows and goes. Still, I can lay my hands on most everything. Yesterday I ran across "West with the Night" by Beryl Markham. I read this book earlier this year from the public library in Ft Wayne and I have to confess, I was tempted to not return it, claim I lost it, and pay the penalty. Now for $2.50 she is mine.

I timed it so I would arrive when the farmer Market would be in full swing. What started as a handful of local farmers and vendors on the intersection of Vine and Limestone has grown to two solid city blocks.

I went for the flowers.

Thursday, July 12, 2007


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 rail road track.

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 and to hell with Miss Garmen.