Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy new year!

So fun to count down the new year with thousands of people!

15 minutes!

We have a clear view of the ball. Raining lightly. Huge crowd...zillions of people...everyone laughing and happy.

We r caged but happy

Police let us into a great cage....that is....the one right next to our hotel.

We can see the ball. People singing and laughing. A few scattered umbrellas. The people next to us have been in the cage for about an hour and look really cold....but most folks look like snowmen....all bundled up.

Hitting the streets....lots of folks lined up already

We r plastered next to a window and out of a cage for now.

Everyone starts hooting and hollering in a mile long wave! It's stupid but cool.

People are starting to practice kiss.

Heading out to party


Oh my gosh it's so exciting.

The crowds are incredible! It's pretty warm out and the snow melted.
The police cage you up in half block sections....Once you are inside
you can't get in or out. The crowds are caged up right now up to 47th
street ...(the ball drops on 42nd)....we are back in the hotel and
watching the streets. As the crowds get closer ...we will head out.

Ton's of police....they seem rather used to it all...they are all wearing multiple guns and it looks like each of them has a stun hub wondered how they keep they're pants up....with all that weighty equipment hanging from their belt.

Fortifing ourselves......

People are already lining up in the square. Phooey not me ... We just
had a wonderful early dinner with an excellent syrah at Trattoria
dell' of my favorite places. My hub noticed I was sitting right in front of a naked man's me to pick such a

With a belly full of pasta and wine....I'm a happy camper. People are
tootings horns already and lots o'folks are laughing and smiling.

We're watching the crowd because we are aiming to see the ball drop from
51st street. The hotel doorman says we must check hourly to see how
fast the street is filling up.

So far we're good to roam yet.


Whoa..... Just looked out the window. Hundreds of police bunched
together. Must be getting their assignments????

I wonder if the police are all from NYC? Does the city have that many

Afternoon of the Eve

The snow stopped and it's warmed up. Despite the buildup of police
and folks.....I'm happy to be here .

Was grumpy this morning, not because of the weather, but for some reason was still miffed about our dining experience last night.

Went to a restuarant called Milo's recommended by a friend. He said it was casual but it was dressy casual and we were undressed. The waiter apparently thought he would punish us for the slight and in comparison to the next table our service was crappy....yet we were
paying the same $$$$.

My blood starting to boil especially when we sat there and he ignored us. It was one if the few times I told hub to cut the tip....finally free from the place....I was immediately almost knocked over by one of these bitch women in a long fur cost.

Ever since we arrived here...I've been pushed aside by women wearing long fur coats......what? there a rule here that says if u want to be a pushy bitch your uniform du jour is a long mink?

So when this one pushed me last night I spun around and was ready to have an altercation... Just then my hub rubbed my arm and calmed me down. So I behaved.....but I did let hub know what I intended to say....he rolled his eyes and I felt better.

Oh and just so u would know....the B- woman was wearing a grade of mink equivalent to squirrel..... Lol.

Good Morning New Years Eve

Big fast fluffy snowflakes said hello this am.....this should!!!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The hive is hummmmming

If you imagine Times Square as a bee hive and imagine the queen bee called her bees home .....that's how Times Square feels right now.

Every hour more and more people are congregating and buzzing around.
The sidewalks are full and don't even think of eating anywhere close to the Square unless you're very patient and prepared to wait a long time.

Our solution to the building hive was to catch a subway down to Soho.

What a fun hip eclectic place and the crowds were mild. In no time ...we had found not only a great a pizza place but lots of stores to duck into....from hat shops to bone shops to art shops. I
bought my Obligatory New Years eve sunglasses and if course my fuzzzy boa.

We decided to take in some history and toured an old synagogue on the lower east side. To get there, we walked through some real untouristy streets in Chinatown....small shops ...lots of local shoppers and goods on the street...a bit tough and a litte seedy but cool.

Back to the hotel to rest. Helicoptors buzzing around....police sirens blazing here and there....and the hotel left Eve instructions which tells us not to break open our windows and sit on the ledge. Okay I never thought of sitting on a 2 inch ledge!!

I believe he did do it....many times

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Going to Macys..... or get ur elbows ready

I've never been shopping at Macys here in NYC and today was bargain hunting day. There were thousand of folks there. I forgot it was the big after Xmas sale. There were so many people I couldn't shop for myself but when I got into the men's section I felt my elbows get limber and nudged my way into some great bargain tables for the men folks. All things they needed. I was a happy camper. I didn't even mind the bone chilling walk back to the hotel. Passed through TimesSquare and preparations for the big party are under way . There are zillions of us Ball-party people around. Tomorrow we r going to head down to Soho and see if we can lose most of them. This part of town is a Zoo.

Red balls?

Truly it was so cold ..I'm surprised the balls didn't turn blue.

Brrrrrrrrrr. NYC

After a rough start to the day.... The train ride from DC to NYC was
lovely. Everything worked....I got my tickets from the kiosk.... We
found the right gate and I had purchased a business class ticket so we
were In a spacious car with lots o' leg room. I curled up in my seat
and pulled out a pleasant fiction book. The three hour ride zipped by.

If I was cozy and sleepy me 4 seconds in the NYC outdoors was
like a hard slap in the face. Holy Shit. ..... It's cold !!! 20
degrees plus a stiff windchill.

But despite the weather, our luck held out. Our room was ready before
check in time.... And we have a corner room with two sets of windows
and a 16th floor view of BroAdway.

Not that's just too cool because I live to leave the drapes open and
use the city lights as night lights.

One way Not to start a day

Fire. Fire. Leave your room immediately.

The bright strobe light starting flashing in our room and the fire
alarm wailed.

Let's go hon .....I actually thought my hub my sleep through this.

I put my long coat on.... Grabbed my purse and wild
Hawaiian leggings sticking out.

Opened the door and saw other confused folks. Shit we were on the
top floor of the hotel.

The lights were on so it was easy to find the stairs. There were lots
of foreign visitors and it was obvious one family didn't know what to

Come come. I waves to them and they followed

Half way down they announced an all clear. We turned around and
climbed up 4 flights of stairs. We took along folks who looked
confused v y the message.

So at 230am.....with heart hammering ......I got back in bed.

Fat chance I could fall back asleep.

The alarm sounded a few hours later and I just pulled on clothes and
headed out with hub to catch a train to Nyc.

Sent from my iPhone

Monday, December 28, 2009


Tonight....a splurge....a wonderful dinner in the hotel. pure joy.....conversations to ease drop on!

The table next to us....old blue bloods....and a source of two hours worth of entertainment ....all Georgetown their late 70's.....they sold their house in the Hamptons (and made a killing).....their son in his penthouse apartment in Trebeca is having a decorator "freshen" the place......oh that quick jaunt to Switzerland was so lovely this fall....and how tragic some of their friends are winding down in the party circuit...can you imagine....Doris has to schedule her fetes around her kidney dialysis appointments...Mon Dieu!

The couple to the left of us were French and stoic.....and a very spoiled little girl and her father.....two tables away..... made quite a scene because the girl demanded toast....not bread from the basket in front of her...but toast....and daddy decided to make a quite a scene because somehow the hotel had not anticipated his little darling's need for toast at 8 pm. So they made some toast and when the waiter brought the cherry-flavored sprite...she changed her mind and wanted apple juice.

Towards the end of our meal....the gentleman starting playing the piano softly.....and I was grateful....for a full and happy tummy.....a hot flush from excellent wine and champagne and the wonderful chef who sent a delicate plate of fine chocolates out as a apres dessert.

Tomorrow morning .....bright and early......down to Union Station to catch a train for NYC.

I found the giraffes!!

I found the was a small thing but somehow made me very happy.

When I was in Africa a few years the middle of Niger in a place where there are only a few outcroppings of rock in a sea of desert.....we came upon the largest rock art carving in the world...the giraffes of Niger. They were beautiful but made you feel unsettled.....because the artists carved what they knew and lived with...meaning these creatures had walked here....when the desert was a savannah....lush with some trees and grass. How surreal to stand in a desolate section of the desert and see the remnants of a lush land that vanished.

People fear for the giraffes of Niger...they fear vandalism....theft....political the National Geographic ordered three exact casts made of the rock art to preserve them. They keep one of the cast in their outdoor garden.

At first I couldn't find them....but then just when I was about to return to the indoor museum....I saw them. Tooo far away to touch....the replicas seem ghostly compared to the real rock of the desert.....but they were here....a bit of Africa and a bit of my a windy cold courtyard in Washington D.C

The cast in Washington DC
What I saw in the desert

Sunday, December 27, 2009

I really do more than stand in front of monuments

Gorgeous day. Blue skies and cool. Visited the Holocaust museum.
Puzzling and sad. How could this have happened? Perhaps greed.
Every victim was stripped of everything and that was sold or taken by
others. Even the hair that was shaved from their heads was sold by
bales to stuff pillows and mattresses . An excellent lunch at the
American Indian museum then hub and I parted ways to wander. Maybe I
took some interesting pics guess i'll know when I get home. Ouch ouch
my poor legs hurt from 8 hours of walking. Think I'll read a book
and soak in the tub and eat the little chocolates they left on my

Saturday, December 26, 2009

I'm here in DC

Our hotel is right across from the White House and it really is! The
Obamas left a note on the gate saying they are sorry to have missed
us . All the snow melted in last night's rain. Yippee. No ice or
snow to navigate.
Can't wait to start being a tourist in the morning.

After a long day of travel things can be fuzzy

Friday, December 25, 2009

New York New York (okay and DC and Boston and Syracuse and Long Island) ...I'm a coming!!

What's this in the ol' heart today???

Joy and'm heading out to New York and Times Square for New Year's Eve and places beyond.

To get in the spirit....Let it rip Frank!

Hey and isn't this apropos:

Start spreadin' the news,
I'm leavin' today (actually tomorrow)
I want to be a part of it,
New York, New York

These vagabond shoes are longing to stray
Right through the very heart of it

I wanna wake up in a city that doesn't sleep
And find I'm king of the hill, top of the heap

These little town blues are melting away
I'll make a brand new start of it, in old New York

If I can make it there, I'll make it anywhere

It's up to you , New York, New York !!!!!!!

Thursday, December 24, 2009


Totally blown away by this movie....which the men folks made me go see tonight.
Story...a tad predictable....but you don't care.
New wish.....a blue body and a long sexy

Surprise surprise

Oh my gosh...I just signed a contract to sell my parent's house!!!

Vacate by the end of January.

Monday, December 21, 2009

My mother's chandelier....

Stories are sticky.

A story is stuck on my mother's chandelier.

She purchased the glittery crystal when I was in college. She flipped the inaugural switch during a Xmas party. The family oooohed and ahhhed to see the light dance through hundreds of pieces of cut glass. I remember the ohhs and ahhs...but I also remember the sharp pain in my heart that evening.

My mother loved to shop at Marshall Fields during the holidays. The venerable Marshall Fields was an icon of sophistication and wealth in downtown Chicago. Tasteful wreaths and decorated Christmas trees filled every niche of the store. As you walked down the aisles, the delicate yet earthy smell of new leather gloves and wallets mixed with woodsy perfumes stacked on the glass counters. My mother looked like she was born to stroll in this store....always wearing a tailored suit with high heels...her soft brown beaver jacket nonchalantly draped over her hand. Her purse always matched her shoes.

As a child, I was dressed like a princess when I went shopping with her. I wore dresses with bow tie backs and white lacy ankles which showed off my black patent leather shoes. I can still remember the sound of my little heels clicking on the marble floors. Sometimes when she stalled at a counter, I would rub my heel onto the floor etching a temporary letter or black mark on the smooth surface. She never scolded me for elfish behavior....since that would draw attention to the fact that I wasn't perfect.

The year the chandelier arrived I was a sophomore in college. My mother insisted we go shopping downtown. Like other twenty year old college girls at the time, I wore flannel shirts with jeans and scruffy shoes. A big sweatshirt substituted for a coat or jacket. A purse was lame so I stuffed my pant pockets with the few essentials I needed.

I didn't dress this way to inflame my mother....flannels and jeans were simply the uniform of the times. When I slid into the passenger seat of the car, my mother looked at me and hissed. In every stage of my life, my mother was dissatisfied with me. I knew my casual outfit was not the correct visual counterpoint she wanted to her expensive classic suit but I really didn't own anything she would consider acceptable.

We rode in silence to Fields and parked the car in the dimly lit garage she favored. As we headed into the store, I saw her brace her shoulders as if to prepare herself for the disapproving looks of her well-dressed sisters when they spotted me next to her. She would not be pitied.

I strolled behind her and watched her shop....buying nylons for herself....checking out new handbags and then, as usual, she would spy the stand with the heavy duty string handled Marshall Field's shopping bags. She would insert two pennies into the metal coin box which requested 25 cents per bag and take three bags........two for purchases and one "just in case" which she folded and stored in one of the bags.

She loved Estee Lauder colognes and powders and I could sense her excitement as we reached the cosmetic counters. She dabbed samples on her wrist and questioned the saleslady about face creams. Finally, she looked over at me.

"Why don't you pick out some lipstick."

I smiled and shrugged, " I don't wear lipstick."

She frowned.

"Then pick out some nail polish." I pulled my hands out from the pockets of my puffy down vest and showed them to her. "I don't wear nail polish."

She turned and faced me.

Her anger radiated through her suit.

"No man is ever going to love you or want to marry you."

She wagged her finger at me.

"You're just plain."

The clerks, the customers, everyone turned around and stared at me. My mother turned back to the counter.

I had this surreal feeling.... like a brilliant white spotlight was shining down on me. A part of me wanted to address the if I was a actress explaining the character she was locked into..... "Look I am....the plain girl.....the unlovable young woman but underneath I'm wonderful.... interesting ...full of potential"......but nothing came out of my mouth.....and everyone returned to their business. The light faded and I pretended to be drawn to some amazing potion on the next counter.

I don't remember the rest of the afternoon. I don't remember if we talked or when we got home or what I did. I do remember sitting under the glittery chandelier eating dinner and wondering if my mother had cursed me. Would I, the plain woman, ever love or marry?

But I was not cursed.

I brought to her home a man or two....eventually a husband.....and then children.

But even with a ring on my finger and grandchildren running in her house, she would take me into the dining room and point to the shimmering crystal fixture. "When I die, I want you to take this chandelier and put it in your dining room." Some years I'd chuckle ...other years I'd hurt mother still thought I was plain.

So when she died, I took the chandelier down and wrapped it in a soft Alpaca fur rug she had and tied it together with a sturdy rope. I put the fixture behind my living room couch for six months. I didn't think much about it....occasionally I cringed when I thought of the ornate gold fixture mixing with my eclectic dining room....but I felt compelled to grant her this wish.

Two weeks ago, I announced to my hub it was time.

I cleared the dining room of the boxes and placed the furry bundle on the dining room table. Of course, the fixture proved to be difficult....misaligned...not fitting the brace....and each time I held the light up for my husband to make an adjustment, crystals would rain down on my head.

Finally it was up.....I flipped the switch for a few seconds to see if the lights worked then flipped the switch off. A few days later, when the house was empty, I set up shop on my dining room table. I switched out the light bulbs to bulbs with less watts. I wiped off smudges on hundreds of crystals and methodically rehung them. I bought silk lamp shades to soften the stark candelabra.

When I finished working on the fixture, I turned it on for a few minutes and studied it.

I felt nothing.

Each evening before I went to bed, I would go into the dining room and flip the lights on.

I learned the exact position on the dimmer where the crystals turned to fiery prisms.

Still I had no opinion till last night. I stood in my jammies in the dining room and slid the dimmer to it's prism moment and smiled.

It was beautiful. Stunning. Odd. Incongruent with the rest of the decor and I loved it..... because deep in my soul...I knew I didn't need it. There was no plain jane to conquer, no glitter deficeit.

There is love based on need and there is loved based on choice.

It was my choice to love this sparkly funky fixture. It is pretty and that's all there is to it.

And I forgive my mother....for the insecurities she wanted to instill in me....and the hopes she harbored for a different type of daughter.

It is my mother's chandelier....but it is my house.



A tipping point.......
no matter how much snow and cold and ice winter throws at us.....
each day a little lighter.....
finally hope.

Monday, December 14, 2009

A special week and day

It has been a quiet, beautiful and joyous week.

I purposely chose not to blog because I wanted to concentrate on my studies and my feelings.

This weekend...I converted to a different faith....a faith I feel reflects my soul.

The ceremony was both challenging and beautiful.

First you're asked a series of thoughtful questions which explores how much and how well you are ready to accept your new faith.
Then, you're led before the congregation and your new religious name is announced. Liora....which means "I have a light."

The rabbi blesses you and then the congregation surrounds you so you're at the center of a circle. A few more prayers are said then everyone congratulates you. I hugged and kissed each person in the circle....which included my family.....and then I was asked to say a few words.
My speech only took a few minutes to write..... it flowed right out of my heart and onto the tips of my fingers which hit the keyboard without pausing.
More hugs and more kisses after the ceremony......then a wonderful lunch with fresh from the frying pan Latkes (potato pancakes) a quiche, bagels .... and a wonderful cake. The cake was a little hazardous....the icing was so deep stained anything...including your fingers/hand for the rest of the day.
The second part of my conversion will take place in Boston in a few weeks where I will ceremoniously dunk in "living waters" ...fresh natural waters in a gorgeous private spa-like room.
I have to scrub every inch of myself and be free of jewelry, make-up or anything artificial.
Butt naked...just like I was when I came into this world....I'll enter the waters while a rabbi behind a screened wall says some blessings over me and with me. It symbolizes your new life...and also symbolically.... washes away your hurts and sorrows.
The one difficult moment in the day was deciding which prayer to end my speech with....I didn't choose this one....but it was a close second.
This is an hour of change.
Within it we stand uncertain on the border of light.
Shall we draw back or cross over?
Where shall our hearts turn?
This is the hour of change, and within it,
we stand quietly
on the border of light.
What lies before us?
Shall we draw back, or cross over?
I choose to cross over.

Monday, December 07, 2009

We all want to be.....

Downtown....heading for an event this evening.....
looked up and smiled.....
who doesn't want to be Mr. Cool on Main Street?

Sunday, December 06, 2009

I think I'm getting interested in Golf..........

Tiger's got a big muscle

Mindy Lawton, a 34-year-old waitress, claims to have had a year-long affair with Tiger Woods filled with regular sex in a range of locations.

According to Lawton, Woods is quite the lover. He is "very well endowed" and "knows his way around the bedroom.

On a scale of ten I would give him 12," she tells News of the World. Lawton's sister, Lynn, adds that Mindy described their sex as "extremely good."

Woods was fond of sleeping with her in numerous locations -- from parking lots to the shower to the garage.

Friday, December 04, 2009

A little bit more Tiger Woods

You've heard and read about it.....on and on....but hey have you seen the Chinese animation version?

In this get two scenarios.....the first one where he has an accident and his wife comes over to help and the second...where he's escaping from a angry blond with a golf club.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Southern charm.....

Have deer butt.

Need doorbell.

Live in the South.

What can I say....we are a creative people down here.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Sweet Kitty

She buried her head in my arms and purred...just a little.

The vet gently took her paw and injected the medicine which stopped her breathing so quickly ...I didn't even realized she had died. Her body was so soft and relaxed and warm.
I tried to control my sobs....and I did somewhat...but when you hold things too likes something breaks inside you.

I was driving her to the vet to have him look at a wound on her lip that was growing larger and starting to bleed. Half way there....she made a strange noise and when I glanced over at her carrier ....all I could see was blood....a huge amount of it.

I hit the gas....passed a car in the no pass zone up a hill.....and just grabbed her when I hit the vet's office.

Both vets came instantly and gave each other "the look." I was a nurse....I know the look.

She was conscious but bloody....the vet felt a mass in her little skinny belly. He gave me options...but there weren't really any. The wound...most likely cancer...the mass ...another lump...her rabid appetite and weight loss in the last two weeks....and obviously she was starting to hemorrhage from someplace.

I kept shaking my head....I couldn't believe what was happening......yet despite her growing weakness....she nudged my hand to pet continue her scratchies....which I did.

I asked for a few minutes.... walked to the car to call my hub....but I couldn't speak. He's a smart man though...a sobbing wife on the phone calling from the vet....he figured it out.

I cried all evening and tossed and turned all night.

She had been my little friend....we were attached to each other....but I haven't been around much the last 9 months....and even since I got back home three weeks ago....I have been so busy....I obviously didn't put two and two together...her reclusive behavior...her appetite...I supposed knowing she had cancer a week or two wouldn't have changed this outcome...but I would have given her much more love and attention....which she deserved....matching her life long devotion to me with more of my time.

Sweet sweet kitty.


Monday, November 23, 2009

Naughty Naughty girls....

Sounds like Paula Deen and her guest are checking out naughty nighties at one of those sex parties.....with all their moaning and groaning.....and bad girl voices......

instead the Queen of Butter and her friend are concocting the "heart attack" sandwich.....

Lord help me....I feel all tingly.....

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Yoga and Alcohol....or how you can finally attain and sustain those difficult Yoga positions

Here we have a yogi holding a difficult position.

Caption reads: Yogacharya Ivengar in Setubandha Sarvangasana

This version of the posture requires considerable strength in the neck, shoulders and back requiring years of practice to achieve.


Here a gentleman attempts the same position under the influence.

Note: he is under supervision.

Sort of.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Down to my pasties..........

My life has been like a strip tease the last two years....

and today I'm down to my pasties.

I resigned my position at the bookstore where I've worked for 7 years.

Haven't actually worked at the store since the day my dad had his stroke last February....but I was technically on the roster and could have worked during the upcoming holiday rush.

I love books....I love the potential each one excite or thrill or teach you ....but I actually loved the people I worked with even more than the books....sometimes in work work with all the same type of people....for example...when I was a core work group was my fellow nurses....even though they were all individuals....there's a certain uniformity in working with the same professionals, who have the same educational background and job goals....but let me tell you.....working in a bookstore was like working in Disneyland....there's a character around every corner....whether its your workmates or the customers. There's drama....there's pressure...there's problems.....and there's not one person who is handling it the same way. I loved that....I loved the diversity....the new folks....the core group of "old timers"....and the age range which spanned from baby faced 18 year olds to a woman in her seventies.


I am home now for the first time mentally in almost a year......and I wanted to focus on my family when they come back conversion which is just around the disorganized house oozing stuff.....and even my upcoming trip to the East Coast.

Telling my former manager I would not work the holidays and would end my employment was like shedding, yet again, another very personal part of myself....only this time it was a voluntary shed instead of a yank by life.

When I walked out of the truly unemployed.....I felt almost naked....stripped down to pasties and a G string. I kept thinking to myself....Gina....there's not much left girl.

And just then....a cold motherfucker wind blew across the parking lot and I realized I better start looking around for some new clothes.....cause if you pop your pasties....the show's over.

"Oops...there goes my job."

Friday, November 13, 2009

Zap to the eyeball.

I have a bad eye.

I decided to go for lasik surgery because I'm always afraid that if I lost my contact I'd be stranded somewhere....unable to drive home.

Even when I had a backup or two with me, I'd still worry. What if my bag got lost or stolen? How was I going to get a contact in the middle of the Sahara desert or even in New York City at 10pm on a Friday night?

So I went for procedure's very quick.....less than two minutes with a laser....and I spent the evening mumbling a few ouches....but nothing severe...more like a deep irritation that disappeared by morning.

Today....I can see close and a few feet away with no problem....but my distant vision is a bit fuzzy yet. The doc told me to give it at least a week or two to settle. I probably can see better right now than I did without my contact....but still it would be nice to see clearly....since that was the reason I went to surgery.

Hell it's tough to be patient all the time isn't it?

10 mg of Valium and I'm quite a party girl...
my hub said I was laughing at everything.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Booby Prize

Those cranes....mechanized arms....for 50 cents........used to reach for soft plush toys....but someone in Japan has brought new joy to the idea of getting the "booby prize."

So hassle free hooks "not tonight".......almost makes a guy want to abandon the real thing.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Grand finale

My lone Ginkgo tree started to rain leaves today. During a few moments of sun, I rushed out with my camera and took a picture of the translucent leaves before they tumbled from their places.

Ginkgoes shed their leaves if the entire tree decided to throw off its foliage in one elaborate grand finale in stark contrast to the slow tease of the nearby Oaks.

Like a swarm of yellow butterflies....the leaves fluttered down from the highest branches and swirled around the lawn and street.

Each leaf seemed to quake in its final moments, a final jig to life, before it turned soft and limp.

So much loss much to be done before spring.

Friday, November 06, 2009

Perfect fall day

It is a perfect southern fall day.




Green. Red. Yellow. Brown.

Crispy, soft.


I slept in till 8:30.....then lingered.....warm and content in my bed.

I drank a mug of strong coffee and headed out the door...not to work or do errands...but for a walk.

When I returned, I sat on my dad's old bench, now in our driveway, drenched in sunlight. The rough dark red wooden boards radiated heat.

I took off my sweatshirt....then my t-shirt....and laid back on the tough wood in my sports bra ...feeling the sun in unfamiliar midsection.....under my arms.

I feel like I've emerged from a pool of pain and anguish.

So much and so many tears.......such a long long year.

Perhaps I will mimic mother nature....shed......go dormant....conserve my energy...and begin dreaming of a new life.... a new start in spring.
A lone ginko leaf fell onto the hood of my car....and rested there.... in the sky's reflection.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

I fear pictures tell the story

This is how my parent's house looked after I renovated it.
Lots of Space.

This is what my house looks like now....a dining room that is
filled to the brim........

A three car garage with two spaces filled with stuff from my parent's house.


Wednesday, November 04, 2009


I am home.

I am happy to be home.
I am happy to sleep in my own bed
and stumble over all my own stuff.
I am home.
I am happy to be home.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The Good Daughter

I thought when my parent's died I said goodbye.

I was there....I kissed them....through a river of tears I said goodbye.

But it is 9 months later....and I am still saying goodbye.

Goodbye to mom's red leather boots, to dad's tools, to mom's coats, to a hundred cardboard boxes dad stored just in case he needed one, to old pens, to a tattered towel, a crumpled Kleenex in a suit pocket....on and on it goes.

In a few hours, I'll sign papers to set in motion the big their house where they lived for 40 years. In this real estate market the house probably isn't going to change hands quickly, but the signature on the paper starts the tear that will break the matter how long it takes.

The house looks good. The kitchen/family room...actually beautiful.

Yesterday, another person told me I should have just sold the house "as is".....but I wonder if I needed to fix and repair this house to erase the guilt I felt.

My parents were so sick and they died so quickly....they were each in hospice only days before the end....and I as their only child....inherited everything... their money, their possessions ...their house.

Perhaps in some way....I needed to work on this house....I needed to clean and repair and break down at the end of the 14 hour workd day in exhaustion to be able to accept what they left to me.

People take care of aging parents for years and I intensely took care of my parents for three months.

Since I couldn't show them how hard I would have worked for them...or how dedicated I would have been to them no matter how long they both lived after dad's stroke....I poured my energy and my heart into what was left of them....their house...and though their possessions are dispersed....the house remains.....the garage door is painted....the house numbers are new...the new wood floor shines...the cracks are fixed, the shed is painted.

What I couldn't do for them....I did for the house....something they loved and cherished.

People will go through this house and nod at the cleanliness....the tidiness....the modernization. They will nod mentally to the former owners who kept the house in such good shape. They will nod to my parents for their good taste even though they don't know them.

And tomorrow I will nod I head home....I have made the home they loved beautiful again....and maybe the work won't pay off in dollars...but it will pay off a debt I owe to them.

I wanted to be the good daughter. Now I am.


Monday, October 26, 2009

Moses calling.....

"Is this Gina?"


"This is Moses. I have your wood."


"Moses from the Floor Store."

"Oh, thank heavens!"

And just like that I was freed....and without a single plague.

The only thing keeping me here in Chicago.....was the floor.

Thanks to Moses....I've got wood ....and tomorrow morning the installation team arrives to set it in place.

Then I'm free....I sign the contract to sell my parent's house on Wednesday....I pack my belongings ...and head home.

Of course I'm not entirely free....I'll visit Chicago every month to check the house till its sold.....there's clothes to donate and sort through.....but for the most part....the house is finished.

This evening I visited a friend....and the first thing she asked me was "What are you going to do now with your life?"

"I...I...I..." I didn't know what to say.

I know there's a mountain of boxes at home to unpack.....receipts to go to scan....but there is also the unfamiliar.....the idea that I won't have to spend every day and most of my waking hours on my parent's affairs..... I can actually think about me.

It's's been 9 months since dad had his stroke...the same length of time as an average carried me for 9 months.....and now I've returned the favor and carried them to the end of their life over the same length of time.

Exodus....Me and Ozzie the Wonder Dog in 48 hours.

"This is an easy threats....just 600 square feet of Brazilian Cherry."

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The Queen of Caulk

I can caulk anything.
Really....when you are repairing/renovating an old house....caulk is your friend....your white lifeline.
Hole? Separation? Unsightly gap?
A tiny cord or perhaps even a big ol' dollop of caulk can solve the problem....okay.... maybe not solve the problem completely but make it look a hell of a lot better.
And trust me....there's a skill in squeezing out a clean brilliant white some ways it's like good sex.... you need a firm grasp and a wet finger to get it just right.
Not all caulk is the same and what you apply it with shows your skill level.
Tube of caulk....that's for amateurs and the hesitant....when you're confident and skilled... you go for the gun....a nice metal gun which loads a tube of gooey forgiveness.
And how interesting all this helpfulness can be washed away with water....after all the chemicals I've been using in the last few months to remove or clean's wonderful to stick a dirty hand or finger under the faucet and find my fingers and hand intact.
I'm down to the kitchen....the house has been painted.....the hardwood floors exposed...the carpets cleaned....and the backyard is tidy......a little caulking ....a little painting....and THE FLOOR...and the queen of caulk gets to hang up her crown and head on home.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Good bye Diva Kitty

She looked scared.

My mom's diva kitty.....princess of the known universe.....dominatrix over other cats....looked small and confused in the volunteer's arms.

Despite many attempts to find someone to adopt her, I couldn't find anyone to take her. So I brought her to the Humane Society today. She was terrorizing my old cat so much Old Kitty became anorexic and is now on anti-depressants and she was chasing my mom's other cat we adopted. Our hallways reverberated with hissing and cat songs all day long.

So I brought her back to Chicago in hopes they could find her a good home. She had, of course, been angelic the last two days. 15 minutes into the trip to Chicago, she figured out how to pull the zipper back on the cat carrier and was loose in the car. She rode shotgun for the next 9 hours....occasionally jumping over the passenger seat to sit next to Ozzie the Wonder Dog in the backseat. Once we arrived at my parent's house, she followed me around....and with no one to chase ....she was charming. But she can't stay here.....and she can't be at our I felt backed up against the wall.

I was already in tears when I reached the front door. A policeman...about 6'4" and about as wide....held open the door with one hand and cradled a tiny orange and white tabby kitten in the other.

"They're good people here," he said...obviously seeing my tears.

"There's even hope for this one." The little squinty-eye kitty cried pathetically.

The "Intake" volunteer was kind and assured me Diva Kitty was very adoptable. Declawed, cute and healthy looking.....she had the air of a cat who had been loved and taken care of......rather than a stray.

They asked for a 30.00 donation and I added more to the check in memory of my parents.

"Do you want me to send an acknowledgement to them?"

"No, they are...........gone."

Floodgate open.

I cried into my hand while waiting for the last paper to sign.

Sometimes when I give away their things....I like going through their death the cat away....watching some of their beloved belongings leave the house and get stuffed into a stranger's van......or even receiving some of their junk mail. "Peter you're almost running out of time to renew your subscriptions."

Running out of time. Peter already ran out of time as did Irene.

Despite a long to-do list.....when I came back to the house....I reopened the sofa bed....climbed in and put all the covers on top of me and cocooned.

The dark and warm was soothing again the bite of lonliness that gnawed on me.

Eventually Ozzie the Wonder Dog poked his nose at the blankets and when I didn't stir...he pawed the blanket.

I reached my hand out and his soft wet nose shot into my palm. He pumped my hand for scratchies. He was probably hungry.

I tossed the blankets off.....made Ozzie dinner, peed, and peered into the refridge to see what I could make for dinner.

Sometimes all you can keep moving. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Monday, October 12, 2009

Prayer to the House Gods

Dear House Gods...
I'll be back in Chicago tomorrow and I need your help.
I've got to finish all the repairs/remodeling in the next two weeks so I can get the house up for sale by the end of October.
It will be the last shot of the season and the first-time home owner's credit will expire soon.
I know I've been angry at you.......for all the work...all the discoveries of things that needed to be done.....but I guess it's not your's mine.... or maybe we should blame the Home and Garden Channel....where whole houses and fantastic projects are completed in no time with plenty of smiles and little cash.
All I wanted to do was some repairs and renovations to make the house look move-in ready in today's market.....the house would stand above the crowd and sell quicker.
Looking back, maybe I should have taken that first ultra low ball offer and sold it "as is".....but .....I kept fixing and modernizing because I needed to honor my parents....I needed to show them for the last time that I loved them......and respected them...and that I would do the best with what they left me.
I know....I am a horrible business woman....I should have taken the money...handed the house over and said "Amen."
But I didn't.......and you know this isn't the first time in my life...that I have stuck my neck out for my heart and what I felt in I need you to smile down upon my efforts and place a nice family or couple in this home. People who would cherish it like my parents cherished it.....they were so proud of their house...and they loved it so much....they illogically choose to stay in it....even though they were getting too frail to take care of it.
And yes...I have "ulterior" motives.....I want to go home....I want to go back to my my kitchen and garden gods....and I want to restart my life after this long pause in order to help my parents leave their lives.
So House me find the hardwood flooring on sale Wednesday....let it be in stock and shipped within the week...send decent painting guys who will fix the walls and paint the bedrooms so I am proud instead of exasperated by their work. Help me find the strange little knob that makes the screen door work....and most of all help me with those fucking kitchen cabinet doors. Let my paint brush somehow magically erase the uneven base I created through my experimentation....may we have the right cabinet latches so I don't have to go out and buy 68 different ones....let the kitchen drawers match so someone doesn't stand there and say "What the fuck?" and let it stop raining so I can spread a little mulch on the flowerbeds.
To assist you, I will bury a statue of St. Joseph upside down and facing the house.
But please..... do not tell my new congregation that I am reverting to old Eastern Euro religious customs for luck.
Work with me House me pass this shelter.....clean and tidy and functional another family who will grow to love you and bring you much delight.
Oh and just a little reminder....please help me get there nodding off in Missouri....I appreciated those noisey little bumps but geez...they scared the shit out of me and Ozzie the Wonder Dog.