Tuesday, May 29, 2007

The Banger Sisters

Not that we ever banged Rock Stars.....

Yet, the title of that movie, and loosely based on the premise, my dear old friend Cathy and I have not seen each other for a good 20 years plus, and at one time, for a long time, we were inseparable. She lives a life in Louisville that excludes me, and by chance I found her on line at Classmates.com.

We met at Murray State University when we were both freshman. We were the first group of girls installed in Clark Hall, long standing a dormitory for men. (and I use the word men loosely for freshman boys back in the day). Also, back in that day, the only boy/girl dormitory was just introduced! And it was so cool to be assigned into that dorm. Naturally, I was not! Though I did smoke my first joint on top of that high rise .... actually it was a home made bong out of an empty toilet paper dispenser and tin foil. Another story for another time.

Actually, I have been found by another friend from that era, Robbie, also through classmates.com. She sent me an e-mail in September of last year and I just discovered it several days ago!!

Obviously, she did not drink very much, nor do excessive amounts of mind altering drugs, because she is already writing things like, "Do you remember....?...."Ahhhhhh, noooooooo, are you sure you went to school in the 1970's?"

Pictures to follow.

Back to the Banger Sisters.

I was to meet her at the Beatle Festival on the Belvedere this past week-end. I even called her, forgoing the much easier and less stressful e-mailing. (when you have not spoken nor had contact with someone for 20 years, there usually is a reason...another story for another time).

In the past, in my youth, I would tell you I was going to do something, and then not follow through. Good intentions and all that jazz. Since basing my professional life in sales, that inclination to wiggle out of stuff by the "I'll call you" line has gone by the way side. Even when I don't want to, I do.

Even when I want to but am apprehensive, I do.

Who does not have voice mail on their cell phones? Who can not receive a text message? I called and called all afternoon of the day of the meet.

I wanted to jump to the conclusion that she just blew me off, but I have decided to give her the out that I was trying her land line and not her cell phone.

Anyway, I was so hurt that it took me 24 hours and a good four mile brisk walk to get the sadness out of my system.

Joe said, "Maybe your time table was not her time table."

Maybe not.

It still hurts.

Later: Damn if I didn't receive another e-mail from a long lost buddy from Murray State today via classmates.com.

Saturday, May 26, 2007


This weeks Sunday Scribbling's Submission......

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

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

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

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

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

"Your Mom's calling you!"

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


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

The next day we did it all over again.

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

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

Friday, May 25, 2007

Life Interrupted

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

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

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

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

And dancing!

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

"I need to have a key made."

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Once again, I am running out of time.

Monday, May 21, 2007

How I spent my week-end.

We bought a house. At least we put in an offer on a house.

I'm finding out purchasing a house is very similar to a chess game. You make an offer, they make a counter offer, you make an offer on house choice #2 to see how it goes. If house #2 makes this move, you make move A. If house #2 makes that move, you make move B.

Then you ask for the piano.

Besides that we went out to eat and celebrate our anniversary (a week later) on Bardstown Road. I had three chocolate martinis...about two too many....and we walked home. How nice to live within walking distance!

If our offer is excepted (no doubt about that) we will live on the Indiana side of the River and remain in Hoosier land.

Imagine that.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

How did this happen?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I have too much of my frugal Mother in me.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Don't Cry For Me Indiana - Part II

I sometimes think I am absolutely nutso. I have spent a small fortune on the yard, as I have in the past, just as if I were going to continue to live here another summer. My only restraint is I did not plant tomato's this season.

I was astonished to realize the azalea bush/plant I added last year is showing some life after the long and bitter winter! And the tubular begonia's I have positioned on the front porch are flourishing!

The hanging plant I purchased last year is still alive! It's alive!! And taking up residence again on the front porch. She has new neighbors from the local nursery, the one right down the street that I drove past every day for a month until I was satisfied they were readying to open.

I love that place! The plants are spectacular and even I have to try hard to kill them! Mains is one of the best things this little suburb of Ft. Wayne has going for it.

The first summer when I stumbled in, it was preparing to close down for the season. I was instructed to grab a wagon and cram as much stuff as possible in it and pay only $15 at check out.

I did not believe her, thought I had misunderstood and repeated what she had just told me. She nodded and pointed toward the wagon.

I've been in love ever since.

Last year they raised the price to $20, but I didn't care. A tremendous bargain is a tremendous bargain.

Mains Nursery is one in a million. I doubt I will ever find such a magical piece of heavens garden again.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Ramblin' on my Mind

Another weekend that went by in a rush of activity and I look at the calendar and see it's Tuesday already. Have I caught my breath? No, and the next weekend is looming head.

I am becoming slightly frantic about finding a house in the Louisville area. I think I have offended my first realtor when I told her my husband wanted to look in Louisville because he had a bad experience with a bridge when he was a child. No, I didn't actually say that, but he is concerned with the traffic problems associated with the limited bridge situation from Southern Indiana to Louisville.

We never worried about bridges while in Newport across from Cincinnati. Oh yea, they have seven bridges. I think Louisville has two....with a possible third on the drawing board.

The first realtor is not licensed in Ky. I hooked up with a character on Saturday and we looked at several homes in the eastern part of Jefferson county, because they fit into my budget. I was not impressed with any of them.

I want to go back to Indiana. Isn't that a shocker coming from my fingers!!

I found the most delicious house on the Internet last night. An older home with tremendous character and a clawfoot tub! Hardwood floors, sunroom, large yard with patio, mud room (love mud rooms). I want to look at it! But it has two drawbacks...only a bath and half, and the kitchen! My God! It looks like something right out of the 1930's. One sink!! Never renovated???? Or is it chic retro?

And so it goes.

The other house I loved, the one with the jungle for a back yard and built in bookcases, well, as funky as it looks, for some reason I feel the word "Money pit" when I consider plumbing, furnace and that stuff.

Buying a home is a thrill and a bitch. You are always on the look out for why it won't work, rather than a way to make it work.

I hope Therese will take me back.

Thursday, May 10, 2007


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

That sounds about right,doesn't it?

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

(God I miss my Dad)

But, I remember. And my brothers remember.

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

"Time to GET UP!!"

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

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

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

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

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

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

He was late for work everyday for four years.

I remember him shaking his head and smiling about that.

He use to remember what a handful I was.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007


Spring has made her grand entrance and as the temperatures began to rise I find myself drawn into the back yard. One of the reasons I agreed to purchase this house is because I am smitten with the garden and the general beautiful landscaping that Beth, and before Beth, her mother, had lovingly bestowed on his home.

I was dismayed at the state of the back yard! The weeds had taken over. I pulled and pulled, enough for four bags. The back yard is enormous with the gardens spread along two borders and three corners, not the mention the side of the house, and the front yard. But I was just focused on the back yard.

As I pulled weeds trying to tell the difference between a weed and a fragile perennial trying to wake up to the warmer weather, I found little treasures spread throughout the weeds.

Beth's surprises!

I was afraid that the yard would never return to the spender when under Beth's (and Beth's Mom). When I first was introduced to the yard it was ablaze in color. When we moved in the back yard was alive with day-lilies, iris, lilac, back eyed susans, a lavender bush, roses, and color every where.

I was alarmed at bleak state of affairs that greeted me last April. Weeds weeds and more weeds.

Patience is a virtue, and it paid off. My anxiety was misplaced and in time the back yard burst into glorious life.

I once again wander around the back yard and fight the weed's, once again pulling four bags worth of pesky weeds. I have planted several flats of annuals. I now know to pull those weeds that sort of look like domesticated floras on the verge of flowering. Yes, flowering into horrible prickly yellow flowers of death! I know to get rid of that prolific weed that smells like lemon. It has taken over the back

corner, but I have grieved only briefly that I might be pulling a real bona fide plant. The roots are too deep and the plant is every where. The worms love the roots of that dang weed....I spent considerable amounts of time freeing them from the root ball.

It will all be worth it in the end, this labor intensive back yard. Someone else will end up loving it.

I find that it is enjoyable, pleasant and soothing in the beginning, putting your hands into the dirt and seeing how lovely the garden will look in time. But the labor involved!! Every day you have to check it, water it, pull weeds, feed, mulch, snap off dead heads...

It becomes a chore really fast, and by mid summer the weeds are thriving and I feel like a brown thumb.

But, it is spring, I am finding the little treasures left behind in Beth's garden, and for a short time, I'll feel like a master gardener.

Sunday, May 06, 2007


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

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

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

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

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

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

Time to find a new candy store.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I'm going to miss Miss Abby.

Saturday, May 05, 2007



How I am spending my First Saturday in May.

Oh, doing nothing.

I should be getting the house in tip-top order because it goes on the market Monday. And I have been cleaning the kitchen. I have been over paying my next door neighbor kid to mow the lawn. I should over pay him, our lawn mower is blowing oil and Joe only got the front mowed last week. After several inches or rain, then glorious sunshine for several days, the back yard is a jungle.

I was concerned, but only slightly. I had a feeling the middle school hunk in the making next door would need some pocket change.

He did not let me down.

I went shopping before all the above, first to the South Side Farmers Market which I have been looking forward to visiting for a month now! The market is just warming up for, just beginning to awake from the long winter months to share the earths bounty with the local residents.

I scored some asparagus and a small bottle of my favorite bee-honey hand lotion. Yes, she has lost half her bees. No, they have no idea why. She has not raised her prices from last year. A very pleasant surprise.

Then I decided that I had to start photographing Fort Wayne. That my favorite places were begging me to immortalize them on my digital camera.

And dang it, I'm tired of my 55-300 lens.

So I go to the local camera shop and emerge with a new lens.

I can't wait to use it.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

I've Been A Very Bad Girl

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"But that will kill the tree!" I exclaimed

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

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

That Tree Killer just does not get it.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Splendid Isolation

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

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

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

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

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

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