Wednesday, February 28, 2007

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

This is a family photograph of my Dad's side of the family (sans all the teenagers except tall T.). I came across it while frantically going through several boxes of precious stuff looking for my marriage license.

I sat back on my heels and studied the picture for a long time.

It is my Grandmother's, whom we all called is Nana's 80th birthday party. It is 1971 I believe. Nana does not look too good. I think she had been on a hunger strike because earlier (maybe in 1970)she had been diagnosed with TB and whisked off to hospital hell in another county. She was separated from her beloved pip of a dog, Pogo, and it nearly killed both of them. Both took to not eating. Pogo recovered. Nana did not.

My Auntie M is standing to our right of Nana. Auntie M is almost a pure albino. Almost, her eyes are blue. When Mom and Pop got married, Grandma (Mom's Mom) was thoroughly against the marriage because she feared the gene would cause us children to be albino.


My Mom is behind Nana and Dad is next to her. I grin from ear to ear when I see her high forehead and razor sharp cheek bones. See the sassy looking Coleen in the front row smiling smugly with the golden pigtails, my sister Kit, she looks just like Mom now. Ha!! Sort of, high forehead and cheekbones.

My Dad and his brother stand side by side, both looking dapper. My uncle is a MD, my Auntie M is a PhD, and my Dad holds a masters in analytical chemistry. Kudos to Nana who raised the kids on her own after her husband abandoned them in NYC during the 1920's.

Next to Uncle Richard is Aunt Virgina. Look at that daring neckline on Aunt V!! Next to V. is her youngest daughter M.

Then my two sisters, dressed like twins. My mother always made their clothes and dressed them alike. Much to their chagrin. Omega, the youngest with the "let's get this over with fast, there is cake and punch right behind me!!" look on her face...well she is just too adorable.

Then Mr. Independent, my bro P., with the red shirt and braces. He was incorrigible in so many ways. When he was about three or four one of Mom's friends called. This friend lived at the intersection where our small catholic grammar school was located, about 3/4 of mile away from our home.

"Hello Theresa, where is P.?"

"He's outside playing."

"Well, Theresa, I have to tell you he is outside on the sidewalk on his tricycle making his way to the school."

At other times the phone would ring in the middle of the night, "Theresa, do you know where P is?"

"He is upstairs in his bedroom."

"No he is not! He has climbed down the tv antenna and rode down the street on his bicycle.'

He was a devil.

The tall drink of water is my Brother T who is now in NYC. He is the only teenager who attended the shindig. He always was a good son. Next to him is the devil incarnate, my cousin B. You can tell by that smirk on his face that he is hell and vinegar.

I'm missing and my cousin M. (Nana's namesake is missing) is with me. I had just gotten my drivers license and I'm certain we were driving around town or I was working at the swimming pool as a lifeguard.

I am disappointed with my teenage self to not have attended the party.

There are other missing also. My bro N, and four other cousins.

I have been studying this picture for clues. But there is no mystery there. There is love flowing out of the group, even though it looks like uncle R is talking and my Dad is agreeing with something.......

My Dad. How I miss being able to talk to him without shouting (he has lost most his hearing) and talking about the most inane subjects.("How are you feeling? Would you like to watch a John Wayne movie? This is your granddaughter Bridget).

This is how he appears to me when I have dreams about him.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007


That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet."

Yesterday I finally broke down and went to the Social Security office and officially and irrevocably changed my name.

As I signed the official document with my new name, initials followed by my husbands surname, I felt a sense of sadness. I had been my birth name all my life, all my adult life, and all the other lives that I have compressed into these 50 odd years. For the span of a lifetime does seem like many lifetimes. They are linked together by birth and family, event and surprise (surprise! you're pregnant!), occasions and occupations, locations and vocations, from childhood to adulthood.

For a lifetime could quite possibly be compared to a rock skipping across the surface of a lake to finally sink to the bottom after a valiant projection, defying gravity and dancing across a smooth glass like surface, skipping with a child like mirth and for those moments suspended in time, then heading to the bottom with a satisfying "plunk".

How often have I said, "That was a life time ago"?

Or "In another life time." ?


Changing my name was not easy. In my professional career I have hyphenated it because most people know me by my maiden name. My over zealous supervisor changed my name in our data base immediately after I was married. Pretty soon when my customers would call the 800 number for me (our call center is in Tampa, those people don't know me from Britney Spears)they were informed no one worked for THE COMPANY by that name!

So I guess it is about time I accept the fact that my life(s) before marriage is truly behind me. (I will be married three years this May).

I have to get over it.

Sunday, February 25, 2007


Another post inspired by Sunday Scribbling.

Disclaimer - I'm no Angel. I'm going to spend a lot of time in Purgatory (if I'm lucky).

Last year I signed up to be a Senior Angel through the Chemo Angel Network. I was made aware of this organization because one of Founding Mothers of Blogging on AOL was diagnosed with lung cancer and she was given tremendous support from this group. When I went to the web site I noticed that they also were seeking volunteers for Seniors. Due to the situation with my Dad, I felt compelled to sign on for a Senior.

Since last May, I have been sending my lady cards, postcards, packages, pictures, letters etc. etc. etc. She is in a nursing home in Mid-America and without family, as well as I can tell from the profile they sent me.

I hear nothing in return. Unless I ask about her health situation then I receive several short lines from the Nursing Home. I receive a newsletter from the Chemo Angel organization. It is a message board of sorts that is e-mailed to all of us daily. From this I gather that it is not unusual for the Sender to not hear from the Receiver. It is essential that we understand that if we doubt for one minute what we are doing is making a difference, we are mistaken.

After several months of participating in the program I began to experience a very strange feeling. A feeling of betrayal. Of being a hypocrite. I was puzzled. I had this thought that slashed through my mind every time I slipped a card in the mail or was posting a package.

Charity begins at Home.

Why was I finding it so easy to help and encourage a stranger? If I lifted my eyes at our family gatherings every month, I would see my 84 year old Aunt sitting across the table from me who is every bit as deserving of my attention. More so.

I have been carrying this guilt for several months. Not a huge guilt, but a niggling guilt.

Last month Aunt M. was not feeling well.....this whole episode deserves an entire entry for itself......and she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer.

I was able to immediately begin to send her cards of encouragement and packages under the guise of Valentines goodies. I have been practicing for months now and know just what to do.

Yet I still have this question and this puzzlement that causes me to wonder why it seems so easy to help strangers than those around us?

Friday, February 23, 2007


I am wondering about blogs. Actually, what are the elements that make up a good blog? I have been surfing blogs the usual ways, through the Random button on The Worlds Greatest Blog, surfing Blog Explosion, blog jogging from the favorite blog section of other blogs, and investigating the blogs of those who comment on those journals I consider excellent....and I find that those who comment on thus mentioned blogs have equally interesting blogs.

Why do I use the word "excellent"? I understand what I consider excellent and entertaining, enlightening, and interesting others would consider long winded, bland and dull. Maybe.

Some journals that are highly read, get off the charts hits, and are the Golden Child. I just don't get it. But that is me, and I already know, one of me is enough.

I think that you have several camps of bloggers. There are those who seek to educate us. I know this appeals to many people, but I am not interested in politics or being preached to. Then there are the "how to" blogs, such as photography, cooking and knitting. Once again, interesting to some, and to me every so often. I only despair on the camera and photography. My photography has taken a dive. I am ashamed of it anymore!

The there are those daily bloggers. Something for everyone. Meme's and Themes! How do they do it, I don't know!

My favorites, the ones I consider excellent, are the Journals. Those who write to expel the demons, to explain themselves, to share themselves, to write for the joy of the word on the page, to learn about themselves. I find these so fascinating that I am compelled to read them as long as they are throwing it out there.

I think that I began writing because the Blogoshpere was new and I felt that adding my voice would be like throwing a bottle into the ocean. Not true. Recently I had several comments about a post I wrote several years ago about my College Experience. The commentor was from that era, from that culture, and from that Place. Sometimes you are fooled into thinking the world is a large place, only to hear your name being called out half way around the world. (granted, Mary is a pretty common name, but it is very disconcerting to know that there is always someone somewhere at ready to tell your Mother on you).

Saturday, February 17, 2007


Sunday Scriblings!

What a wonderful site. I have been thinking about the theme since seeing the word put up several days ago and have played around with several different spins. But it all comes back to one thing every time, the biggest crush I ever had while in High School. He was the Hunkiest of the Hunks. And I am very tempted to put his picture up here just because I want you all to see that his beauty transcends generations. (I'm thinking about it...I may embed it at the end).

Instead of writing a new post, I am going to go back in history and pull out PART II from the series I did two years ago.

Addicted to Love PART II

Fast forward to High School. A little background is needed. I went to a Catholic High School located in a city I did not live in. This High School had six elementary schools that fed into it. A total of only 400 students at that time. I knew only two people at the school the first day I set foot across the ugly faded blood red doors that led into the foyer adjacent to the front office. Neither of them were in my class. I was on my own....not for the last time in my life either.

I cannot remember the first time I saw him. If I could remember that moment, I'm sure that I was struck deaf, dumb and blind by his radiant beauty. His golden hair, his penetrating blue eyes, his slightly klutzy manner. He was a god. I referred to him as THE DOG to all my closest friends. They all knew I was severely crazy over him. I worshiped him from afar. I hung around the hallway closest to his homeroom just to catch a glimpse of him. I was so in love with him that I even joined the track team to be close to him.

He was two grades ahead of me and he was my world for two years. No one else mattered. The fact that he never knew I existed did not phase me. If he ever looked at me, which I am certain he did because who cannot notice someone worshipping you all the time for two years, I froze like a deer in headlights.

The strongest memory that has survived occurred at the water fountain outside the gym. My best friend, Karen, rushed over to me during study hall with a DOG alert. Sent to me in the form of a note...."Dog sighting in office." I got excused out of study hall and ran to the water fountain to get a drink waiting for him to walk by. I waited and waited, the water running and running. I was there for what seemed an eternity before giving up.

As I turned, abruptly...he was right behind me waiting to use the water fountain. I came close to knocking him down which thank God I did not. The stream of water I spewed all over him was quite enough.

I thought I was going to die.

Years later at our 20 year reunion, one of my teachers Mrs. W. made the remark to all with in earshot. "That J.S.............I had such a crush on him!"

Et Tu.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Sisterhood of the Second Hand Coat

I've known for sometime that my coat is missing the front buttons. It does not stop me from wearing it. Somewhere in the recesses of my mind I have the idea that I will one day find the correct replacement buttons, but not yet. I wrap the coat tightly around me in the icy wind, (it is 6 below this morning), and my trusty white extra super long soft angora scarf is twisted around my neck several times, the ends sometimes getting caught in the car door.

I found this coat in the second hand store on the corner of Alexander and Versailles Road. Only it was considered a consignment shop then. It was the first of many that I began to frequent. I always have found that amusing, because I started haunting them when I had reached a point in my professional career where I could shop anywhere I chose. And I chose them.

I was on a frenzied search to find such a coat because of what had happened at my Mom's.

How and why, I'm not certain, but 20 years ago my Mom's friend gave her some clothes that were meant to be thrown away, but they knew my Mom would find someone who would appreciate them.

Among the donation was a vintage cashmere Navy Pea Coat from the Korean War. I immediately fell in love with it. It fit ..... okay. It was a medium man's size, and was large on me (at the time) but the way it felt! The way it hung on you, it draped its length around you and snuggled up to you, it embraced you.

The way it made you feel! Beautiful and elegant. Like wrapped in magic. People noticed you and smiled at you. Admired you in your striking coat.

I loved that coat, and so did Omega.

I was never able to sneak, beg, borrow, or steal that coat away.

In a snit, I went and found my own man's cashmere coat. The cashmere is not as soft, and it is not nearly as elegant. It does not have the magic humming in its threads. Yet, I have held on to this coat for all these years and I wear it today. It is the warmest coat I have ever owned.

I hung it up on the back of the door in our office. It is too beautiful a coat to hand on a hook!! And as I run my hand down the back of the coat, smiling at the touch of the cashmere under my palm, marveling that I have owned this coat for so many years and it still looks great.

Except for the missing buttons.

And the bits of stray angora attached to its back. And maybe the tiny holes along the sleeve that only I know about.

I wonder if Omega still has her magic coat?

I must remember to ask.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007


Blizzard of 2007

Yesterday morning found me driving to an account. The snow was falling in an alarming manner, minimal traffic on the roads, the roads themselves horrible. I must admit that I was not terrified (as this Southerner has been in the past). I just keep repeating, "Damn the roads are awful" out loud to myself. And the occasional, "Idiot!!!" as vehicles came flying by me. Why did I have this misplaced sense of duty? I finished up at that account and hightailed it home.

A snow day!! It was great! Wonderful. Relaxing to watch the snow fall and drift up against the house. The snow was literally swept off the roof and deposited in the front yard. I could not open the door this morning due to three feet of snow directly in front.

And another snow day today! So the hatchet job waiting at work was put off for two days. It will be waiting tomorrow, I suppose.

I'll have my camera with me tomorrow and try and take some fabulous shots of this beautiful winter wonderland before the thaw is upon us.

Monday, February 12, 2007


There is a lot more in the air today than a blizzard. Word is that tomorrow my company shall announce massive lay-offs. Seems we are not making enough money. I don't have a lot to say about it right now, maybe tomorrow.

I have my nine year anniversary with Them this week. I find a lot of irony in that. Do I think I will receive a pink slip? Who knows? We just admitted a 22 year old girl into our department. If I go and she stays...well, I can spell LAWSUIT.

At first I was apprehensive about The Girl. You know how they are at that age, a know it all that you can't tell a thing to. She has been with the company for six months, spent on the other side of the business, the one I tried out summer of 2005 and hated! As time has moved on I have developed a soft spot for her. She is smart as a whip and oh so young!

The Smart Aleck thinks she does not much of a sense of humor. I think she just needs to feel comfortable with us before she lets it all hang out. And Smart Alecks sense of humor is based on his Poke Face and totally dead on delivery. He is going to be the Boy Who Cried Wolf one of these days, as I take everything he says as a lie.

There is no way in hell he will receive the boot. He will head up our department in time. Dang it all, he is my daughters age. While the so-called passing of the torch was going on in December (our Sales Center manager was promoted to a much larger facility in the south. I miss him terribly because his Tennessee accent trumped my Kentucky accent 100 times over. It was music to my ears most the time, and I miss that) when in the midst of a conversation we were all having regarding the more than likely retirement of our immediate superior, Mr. Tennessee turned to me and said, "You don't want to manager people do you."

"Hell no". I responded.

And that is the truth. I would be either the worst manager ever or the best Bitch with A Big Stick.

Tomorrow there is a blizzard headed our way.

A storm in more ways than one.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Valentines Day Lollapaloosa

I recently heard what the "average" person spends on Valentines day. I was not very shocked at the sizable amount when I consider how much I spend on this day! As you can see, I have an abundance of cards to mail out. I think everyone I have ever known is on my list!

Added to that is the boxes of candy I will put in the mail as I no longer live close enough to hand deliver them. And flowers to my Mom.

I should be allowed to purchase stock in the Post Office.

I am left with the dilemma of what to get the Hubs. I am seriously thinking of purchasing a TiVo for him verses signing up for the Comcast service.

I hate handing Comcast any more of my money! I could easily go on a rant here, but I will spare you all.

I'm going to a Pilates class that night, so dinner out is out. It will probably be a zoo out there anyway.

Friday, February 09, 2007


I've been terribly busy this week.

For it was during this week that my day in court finally arrived. To think it was in August that I received my ticket for running a red light! It amazes me how time flies and the calender months seem to just flutter away into oblivion. My memory of time is definitely influenced by my youth and measured in how many days till Christmas. It moved like frozen molasses. And I am now living in a place that allows me to know just how slow that really is!

I find myself in a court room. I find myself sitting behind the desk in front of the judge. Kind of cool. Like television. I have been in the jury box, I have been in the audience, and by God, I have been at the podium stating my excuses, but never seated in the hot seat, in a trail of all ridiculous thing. Defending myself. Client and laywer.

It was not a trial. It was a travesty of justice. Nothing I said made a bit of difference. Under intense cross examination of the officer who was stationed under the traffic light, I was able to get my point across that he and I were looking at two different lights! He finally said (in exasperation at my relentless questioning) that he could turn, which he demonstrated, totally twisting his body and reaching behind, showing the judge where the alleged traffic light was located, and hit the light with an imagery stick.

I had him. If only I had a lawyer I may have gotten out of it.

But alas, the judge, who is a woman and I firmly believe is in bed with the police department, ruled in favor of the Plaintiffs.

She asked if I had anything to add.

Only one resentful eye lock with her, that Bitch.

I could have told her I was having a heart attack, or a bee attack (much more realistic) and was taken to the hospital after being served my ticket. I guarantee she still would have ruled in favor of the police.

I have to admit, ever since the Incident at Coldwater, as it has become known, I am much more cognizant of those pesky turning lights.

Friday, February 02, 2007


Another post inspired by Sunday Scribblings.......

My mother had a lot of children. Six of us to be exact. As was usual in the South, we had a lady that came in and helped Mom with the cleaning once a week. Her name was Mae. She was with our family for over 18 years.

Mae was the last of a line of cleaning ladies that Mom hired. There is something so special about Mae that all of us recognized it then and even as I sit here and type I am smiling atthe memories. I loved her very much. We shared a variety of secrets over the years beginning when I was a teenager.

My room was my sanctuary and I was one messy teenager. I imagine that Mae dreaded heading into the dungeon that doubled as my room. God I was messy! Back then, I was too busy with other things to care much about the condition of my room.

Mae would come to the house on Fridays and would fill a jar full of water and place it in the refrigerator. "My ice water" she called it and would drink out of it all day. She would sit for down for lunch and if I were home (Friday was generally the day my Mom would be volunteering at the school, Stamp Club, the library...always on a Friday) I would join her and we would share a tuna fish sandwich and talk about the Soap Operas. It was as if those characters were our neighbors down the street, "Did you see what that old Rachel said to Mac?" and we would be off and running on the shocking plot deviations and who was having an affair with who.

I would be sly about having my room cleaned, I hated having anyone touch my stuff, and I would volunteer to clean it myself to save her the trouble and allow her to sit a spell in the living room and watch the soaps. My Mom always knew when I cleaned my room. Clothes would be hidden under the bed, and things stuffed into the large walk in closet. The sheets on the bed would not have been changed. And the vacuum job on the carpet was less than perfect.

But, she never got on Mae about it...just me!!

I had three brothers who had a hoard of carefully hidden crime magazines. (Detective Crime Magazine?) I can't remember the exact names, but it had pictures of women with their clothes being ripped off with a man holding a knife to their throat. Pretty heady stuff! I had one hidden under my mattress. Unfortunately that was the day Mom and Mae turned my mattress.

Oh the shame. My face still burns with the humiliation.

As Mae aged she came to the house and just flung a rag around and washed the floor. Mom still paid her and put money into a social security account. My Mom challenged all Mae's customers to follow her lead, and if memory serves correctly, there were a lot of upset ladies in our community over my Mothers progressive ways.

Mae began to age so that even the feeble attempts at cleaning the house became too much and she no longer came over. I would come home from school in the fall or visit home from all the zillions of places I lived, I would sometimes make a trip to the orchard, purchase apples and make several pies.

I would go into the area of town that Mae lived, which was a little community outside the city on a beautiful country road called Huntertown. The turn off was just before the Bluegrass Parkway crossed under the old Pike. Mae and her husband Hiawatha lived in a tiny two room house that was heated by a coal burning stove. Mae had Parkinson's disease in her later years, she would sit bundled up in blankets close to the pot belly stove, a walking cane in one shaking hand.

She loved the pies and the visit. I would bring Bridget with me and Bridget would climb into her lap and let Mae pet her.

Every time I left her, walking out the door as a teenage on some mission, or as an adult to head back to my comfortable life, I'd say, "'Bye Mae".

Every time she would laugh and purse her lips and wag a finger at me, "Don't you say good-bye to me! You say, I'll see you around!".

She died right before Christmas many years ago. The ground was frozen so solid that the burial had to be postponed till the ground thawed up a bit. Mom, Bridget and I went to service and I remember it as if it were yesterday. Her granddaughter Marcia (who is my age) sang Mae's favorite gospel hymn. Her beautiful voice soared over all of us and caused considerable sobbing from Mae's son's. Finally Marcia's father stood and begged her to stop. We were all in sobs.

My thoughts leaving that tiny church on the frigid December day was this...

"I'll see you around Heaven, Mae."