Tuesday, February 28, 2017

What Should We Do?

The cats out of the bag, aliens arrived in January, but with the new president and all, few have noticed. Indescribable beings are among us observing. We’re seldom aware that something is different, amiss, so we keep talking and ignoring the signals.
What do they want? Who can tell? Is this a collective hallucination? It could be.
Reports of earthquakes in areas with no increase in seismic activity or the feeling of your eyes being jerked back and forth were the first anyone noticed the anomaly. It still feels weird trying to tell you about it. I mean who believes old ladies? After all, everybody knows we go crazy after a certain age. For me it was thirteen, but anyway something is out of place after one of these events. The last time on my porch I saw a big yellow clay pot. Dang if that didn’t make me happy; I couldn’t believe my good fortune and then I looked again, strange stuff, right?

I feel compelled, but I’m scared to tell all I know. This was just the beginning; other things that happened make you want to scratch your head and say, “Huh?” Just as these events got my attention, well, things got spooky. Now, I’ve been known to scare myself into a rapid pulse and sweaty fingers, but this wasn’t it. I’m like in a trance observing this. No, I can’t tell you. Sorry.

Get Over It While We Can

Whites are racist. Blacks are thugs. Orientals are smart but untrustworthy. “I’d like to slap the next white woman I hear saying black lives matter,” the black celebrity said. Do we hear ourselves? And yet we say that God created us all.
Who are you? What are you? With pride and defiance, we cling to our myths of greatness, of why we’re better than you.
Paint all whites with the brush of white privilege to demean their successes or suffering, to say,”We’ve had it worse” brings out the poor me in every hardship case, so the argument becomes who has it worse. Is the goal to claim the title of who had it worse?
Poor whites for too long have comforted themselves by looking down on the “niggers,” while rich people refer to us all as the great unwashed. Arrogance and pride rule our dealings with others, whether we believe ourselves better or don’t want to be seen as less.
When I was a kid I couldn’t figure out who I was or where I fit in since most of my friends were Irish or Italian or Polish; plus in New Orleans, there was always an assortment of black people around. I, on the other hand, am a mixed breed of Irish, Hungarian, Austrian (although we refer to ourselves as German, we’re from the same town as Hitler) and as it turns out my orphan grandmother from upper New York state was French and American Indian. Everybody has a culture except a mix breed; that’s how it seemed to me.
Under the watchful eyes of my German grandfather on Sundays, the family gathered to eat, play games, help out as needed, or just hang together. I learned to ride a bicycle in front of grandparents, aunt and uncles, and cousins. Family love and camaraderie interrupted by a move to Chicago didn’t give me time enough to absorb it as part of my culture.
By contrast, my mom’s family seemed a scrappy lot who didn’t really like each other, so I began to focus on my friends’ families.
Every group of people doing the same daily routines as everybody else put their own spin on it. From cooking to mealtime rituals our little differences imprint who we are in a way that fascinates me still.
According to folks I’ve known, I’ve been a Jewish want to be and a black want to be, as well as East Indian and Latin. Who you are, is of great interest to me. By learning about others it helps me put into perspective who I am.
Dining in a humble home in Appalachia, eating home grown vegetables and the steer that grew in the back yard gave me as much pleasure as any formal dinner by a famous chef. In either event, I wouldn’t change a thing.

Haven’t we all been to parties where someone spouts, “When I look at you I don’t see black;” this being one of the most well-intended bits of sophistry I’ve ever heard. Yes, this is a friend, a wonderful person you see; blah, blah, blah.
How can you say that you don’t see this woman’s beautiful ebony skin? Yes, they’re black, or brown, or red; there’s beauty in all.

Here’s the deal; we’d better start embracing the little differences between earthlings. Aliens are coming to rape and impregnate our men. No earthling squabble is going matter. 

Monday, February 27, 2017

Bye-Bye Bread

No bread for three weeks except for one violation a week ago, which caused my eyes to swell and nose to run, so there’s no doubt that I should avoid bread. No warm toast in the morning or sandwich at lunch, and forget about a roll with dinner; that’s so sad. Boo-hoo!!
I’ll have no oyster Po-boys in New Orleans, but who needs anything other than oysters? Will I have the strength to turn down the bread basket with dinner? Who knows?
I can’t seem to get enough carbs from vegetables; twice the past week I’ve had low blood sugar with pre-headache flashing lights before my eyes. Fried bananas with cinnamon cured it tastefully. All these raw vegetables don’t fill me up, so for the first time in a couple of years, I’ve been eating meat. Skirt steak, kale, spinach, cucumber, and artichoke made a wonderful salad; just the kind of entrée that makes me want to order dark chocolate cake for dessert.  I sautéed a whole container of chicken livers for breakfast; none were saved for the dogs.

My back hurts hard today, but it’s raining so no surprise. My morning stretches help and soon I’ll at the gym lifting weights and feeling good. 

Sunday, February 26, 2017


My life has developed a fairly even pace. Tears are no longer a regular part of the program and after a lifetime of being half of a we, I’m comfortable enough going alone.
A widower once told me to strive towards contentment. I’m pleased with the life I’ve led, so now that time has eased the pain of my loss, I am content or as content as an old overachiever ever gets.
With my wonderful Aunt Margaret gone I have less in Louisiana to share warm feelings. Ever since I left New Orleans at the age of twelve, I’ve wanted to return to live at least part of the year. Until I’m ready to move I hope to develop a cadre of friends.
The first couple of weeks with you were awesome. I can’t thank you enough; that time was a gift to my spirit. We obviously weren’t meant to live in close proximity, but when treated to small doses of each other it would be good?
Yes, it’s all about friends. Into my life many lovely people have come and gone; I’ve been blessed. Some of my favorite people shared a mutual interest or passion, which for me has always had something to do with dogs.
In this new phase of life, I’m exploring possibilities. I see the last quarter of my life as empty pages waiting to compliment an interesting life.
I’ve learned that a fine acquaintance becomes a friend after the first altercation/disagreement. My gratitude for allowing me your sofa and into your life is enormous; you always were a good guy in my book. I hope you remember the good times as well as I do.
In two weeks I’ll be having oysters in Amite with Margaret’s sister, and then the Tennessee Williams, which comes before the French Quarter Fest. I love New Orleans. Bookstores, blues, jazz, writers’ groups, and City Park, I can’t wait. Perhaps you’ll meet me for coffee?

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Shall We Continue

Anyone who tells you being old is a state of mind isn’t yet old enough to know. At best we have aches and pains to deal with, at worst its terminal illness and death; that’s our reality.
Yesterday was my husband’s birthday; he would have been seventy-four. He turned seventy on his last live birthday; his friend, Pablo threw a fine party for him. It pleases me to remember how happy my darling was that day.
At ninety-four, my mom is healthy enough that she’s optimistically reaching for one hundred. A happy dotage living among her offspring; can you picture all the happy old bubbies/abuelas in the world? We love them. They gave shape to the character of our generation. My mom was a child of the Great Depression whose pain I could see clearly when she told stories of relief shoes and food lines.
If we were to pick a favorite, most instrumental woman in our life, mine would be my father’s sister, my aunt Margaret, who at eighty-eight begged me to help her die. I turned cold when I heard her ask. In one of my more selfish moments, I told her I couldn’t jeopardize my soul by such an act and how she could do it by herself if that was her true intention; she never did, but ten months later God took her.
At some point for all of us, the end will be the option. Deal with it or be a big pussy about it, nothing changes.
All I know is that if this is to be my last sunset, I don’t want to be in the house watching TV. To look at someone, smile, and be happy compensates for enduring many aches. To say, thank you for the small things people do for me gives me pleasure.
Blessed with the time to contemplate how others have helped me or been kind, I find myself extraordinarily grateful.

Until unable, I shall as we said in the late seventies or maybe early eighties, keep on truckin!

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Bad Back Getting Better

To rid myself of back pain, that’s what I want. Let’s face it; you know it hurts when all you want to do is lay in bed. Contrary to my negative self-image, I’m not a lazy person.
In my fifties, I practically ran my business from my water bed. Without pain pills, I never would have been able to show my dogs to a win. Over a lifetime injuries large and small accumulate in the body. A little ouch here, a little ouch there bones record, giving us bone spurs and arthritis later.
Medical doctors gave me pain pills. Osteopathic doctors and soft tissue therapy helped bit by bit; oh, I best not forget my wonderful acupuncturist without whom I might not be walking.
From a young age an iron worker built like a body builder beat me regularly; being in car accidents, thrown by horses, and other adventures added more than a fair share. Life is a participation sport; you’re going to take some licks.
In my fifties I felt old, ancient; I didn’t know how my aunt then in her seventies could go on weekend trail rides. Strong pain medication fortified me on the few short rides I did.
In my fifties and envisioning a time in assisted living or a nursing home felt bitter. Hated it! Fifty, you could call that my decade of surgeries; after the last, I wasn’t healing. My darling, the man with debilitating pain took such good care of me.
I have read that if your grip is so weak you can’t open a water bottle, you’re at risk of a heart attack. Arthritis in my hands prevented me from bottle opening. The statement made me think the end is near.
Here’s where sing halleluiah enters the picture for me; since exercising for the last four years back pain that had once crippled me becomes less all the time. As muscles tighten holding my fat stuff in a better position, I hurt less.
At times I’d given up and quit only to return to exercise when it hurt more. To exercise after my husband died demanded every bit of will I had left. So much of me wanted to say, “F--- it.”
What does a never give up person do when they get old?
You marshal on as you learned to throughout your life.

So now under flesh that shakes like Jello, I have some solid muscle. Approaching seventy feeling way better than fifty is fantastic. When you tame a pain that medicated with strong pain relievers slows to a four level into three aspirins will cover stronger pain, you can cope with it just fine. Decreasing the jiggle may be a never ending journey, but who cares? I can carry a bag of dog food in the house without hurting. 

Monday, February 20, 2017

Remembering When

At the lowest point in my life point in my life when I needed to find my way, an almost stranger volunteered to let me stay on his sofa. I thanked the kind heart and thought about it.

From First Communion at Holy Rosary to the last cup of coffee at the Morning Call in City Park I needed New Orleans to heal my spirit. At my home in Puerto Rico I l languished; I needed to hear the trumpet play with young musicians practicing on Popp’s Band Stand.
Expecting to stay on the sofa in a cozy one bedroom apartment with an almost stranger for three months could be considered crazy. New Orleans held a collage of family memories from a time before I married. Watching horses run in the morning at the Fairgrounds, could there be a better way to spend a morning on summer vacation? I had to touch base with memories connecting me to my life before my husband.
The first night on the man’s sofa had me like a cat on a hot tin roof but became comfortable. I enjoyed hearing a masculine Southern voice and he enjoyed talking; we were off to the races. We spent a day naming hit records from the sixties; neither one of us would quit. My host tended to be competitive, which challenged me even in the depths of my lethargy. We laughed; it surprised me that I could have a good time with a strange man.
We spent too much time together becoming familiar too quickly. I don’t mean physically familiar; he was a gentleman. By our senior years, we come with some rough edges as well as lovely smoothies.

Jazz, the Blues, poetry readings, writers’ clubs, and festivals filled our time together; we laughed a lot. He loved to read to me what he’d just finished writing at two am; oddly, I enjoyed his enthusiasm and didn’t mind hearing, “Oh, you’re awake; let me read this to you.”
Our friction points could have been doused had distance been available. In the end, he thought I was calling him as he put it, a bad boy. Not at all, he’s too damn old to be called a boy, a bad man he’s definitely not; his intentions were good. We were not meant to spend three months with me on his couch, but sincerely, thanks for trying.
My husband had died a scant ten months before I arrived at your door. You have no idea how insane being alive without my soulmate felt or how much I just wanted to die. This great time for me to be in New Orleans was not a good time to flirt with getting close.

Given a different set of circumstances, I believe we could have become good friends. We could sign a non-aggression agreement in blood; what do you say? 

Friday, February 17, 2017

Not Too Bad is my Best These Days

As usual, the morning web post told me how to lose weight and reduce inflammation; apparently, I’m doing everything right. Hot dog!!
No, I’m not going to bitch about how fat I still am; I feel good and all things considered, I’m happy. But a woman likes to look good in her clothes and dumpy doesn’t do it for me. Remember the fire hydrant looking villains from Dr. Who, the Daleks? I look like a Dalek wearing a wig and a dress; that’s no one’s best image. But at sixty-eight who cares?
Hoping to go to Spain next year, so I’m practicing my Spanish attempting short sentences whenever possible, but all I hear is, “Don’t worry you don’t have to speak Spanish; I speak English.” Where were they ten years ago when my Spanish was practically non-existent? I’ve learned a good number of words in Spanish, so when someone says a whole paragraph to me and I don’t recognize a word, it overwhelms me with a feeling of stupid. 
Congratulate me for abstaining from bread for two whole, long weeks. Twice my sinuses have drained suddenly and dramatically with a foul taste in my mouth and stomach. The first time I thought it was an allergic reaction, but no swelling in the morning. After the second bout of drainage, I noticed that sinus areas were not as tender to my touch. Halleluiah! That was getting aggravating.

The results for all my hard effort came in the form of blood pressure in the normal range and reasonable test scores. My cholesterol tested a tad high, so I adjusted my diet accordingly, I believe.
Who knew I’d retire in time to be alone and almost broke trying to stay healthy, but there you have it. It’s funny that in my productive years I gained a fortune to lose it as my golden years began; what I miss most is my husband’s loving presence, but even that loss no longer holds the screaming sadness of nightmares.
It’s time to admit I’m glad to still be alive and healthy. My life has been filled with love and my career spent in pursuit of my passions; I’ve been blessed. Money comes as a byproduct of being good at something people want; it’s an ethical way to a good living. It’s also no guarantee to being able to keep what you’ve earned when rich crooks walk among us. Yes, I’m still pissed; you’d think I’d learn to get over things.
This weekend will go to the dogs, which makes me happy.
Please, enjoy yours.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Fighting Arthritis Pain

Off and on, sometimes excellent and other times lackluster, over the last four years I’ve exercised regularly; my back doesn’t hurt as badly, but it still hurts and I’m still fat. At the moment I’m grinding a tennis ball into a pressure point in my back for all I’m worth; ain’t life grand?
 As older people we stand differently, a little crooked or maybe slightly humped with head forward; in my fifties, I began a mean dowager’s hump. Arthritis limits range of motion or causes pain; taut muscles try to align the body correctly. This hurts, but then it gets better; that’s my priceless reward.
Rolling your head one way and then the other, a common part of stretch routines, tells where that devil arthritis invaded the neck. Have you ever rolled your head to a sudden “ouch” stop? Surprise, there it is and it hurts.
Swollen face and achy joints in the morning demanded I do something, so two weeks ago I had my last piece of bread. About five days bread free severe withdrawal struck. I got so crabby I couldn’t stand myself. I wanted to go kick a can. My symptoms had caused me to give up my prized comfort food; oh, harsh world.
In the last two weeks, I haven’t woken severely swollen; that’s good. Swelling around my eyes may be ever so slightly decreased or it may just be wishful thinking.
I had bread at every meal; the smell, texture, and feel of it on the tongue gave joy to the day. Cream cheese on kale doesn’t have the same ring as cream cheese on toasted French bread or on a toasted bagel with lox. In another week it should be out of my system so I can test if it’s bad for me. It just gets better. Vegetables replacing bread in my diet must be a good thing; just never mind how sad it makes me feel.
Pain-free, that’s my goal.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Love Affair With Parks

Sitting in a shady city park with statues, and flowers, and people passing, I resonate with peace and excitement at the same time; how delicious!
I remember having lunch in a small park in downtown Chicago when I worked in the Loop. The stress and boredom of meaningless job drained into the trees. As teenagers, we’re required to hold at least one job we hate; right?

From the age of eight when I first saw Spanish moss hanging from ancient live oak trees, I fell in love with City Park in New Orleans, which remains on the top of my list.
The tree lined park, Plaza Antonia Quinones can be proud of its beauty with a fountain and a stage for horns from the San Juan Philharmonic playing tonight.

Havana’s wonderfully ornate light poles delighted me as I strolled with my dearest friend through the park in the shade of overwhelming statues adorning Cuban government buildings. Horse drawn carriages offering tours were under scrutiny by my brave animal advocate friend.

She boldly strode up to a man whose horse kept licking its lips. “Go immediately to a water trough; your horse needs water.”
Have you ever seen a senior lady with her back up? She radiated command. Those ladies who have ever gotten their backs up know what it’s like to be so filled with moral outrage your eyes are bloodshot. The water station was visible from where we stood. The man dutifully complied.
Havana also had beautiful horses and carriages. I insisted on riding with a handsome dappled gray. What is it with women and beautiful horses? My heart skips that beat, sweet!
Where ever I go I spend time in local parks; only one gave me bad vibes. I left quickly. On the island I call home watching loving families play in the parks and on the beaches remains a great time soaking up vibes.

Memory took me down many paths in many parks. Considering how important parks have been in my life I pray that people running the world realize how important they are to my stability.  

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Things Break

At the sound of water suddenly rushing from the roof on a sunny day I hit hyper drive going from WTF to panic; grabbed the phone to call my handyman on my way down my steep driveway to turn off the water.
Out of breath from the return trip, I saw that did nothing to stem the tide. Handyman’s outgoing message simply said, “Call again.” I turned off the line to the roof tank; nothing. I stood there with my mouth open calling the handyman again while watching two hundred gallons flow down the sidewalk. The last thing I need before going on a trip is an unexpected expense; this had big bucks written all over it.
I jumped in the car, as I pulled around the house my handyman and his brother-in-law drove up the driveway.
“Water’s really coming out of there,” he said.
Ok, he understands the problem, I thought.
“What happened?” You could find out by going up the ladder, I thought, but instead simply turned my palms up in the universal I don’t freaking know position. When under stress you have a propensity to sarcasm body language tends to be a better choice.
With sweaty palms, I motioned them up the ladder saying, “Tu digame.” You tell me. In the last few years, I’ve had a couple of trips screwed up by unexpected expenses. This always seems to come just before or after budgeting out a trip. I live frugally eating simple meals at home and don’t shop for sport. Going to the gym costs less than a dollar a day; gas gobbles up more of my budget than I’d like, but there’s nothing like an emergency to decimate the purse.
Lifelong neighbors, brothers-in-law worked in tandem beautifully, almost like a dance. Before long I enjoyed watching the precision teamwork; my anxiety lessened somewhat. The flow slowed gradually to a halt.
Excluding next month’s water bill, the minimal damage was done this time. Seniors barely get by and now with inflation increasing and income decreasing; has anyone seen the movie, Soylent Green? The great character actor, Edward G. Robinson died shortly after this performance with a shocking ending.
Anyway, my pulse slowly returned to normal and I’m calming down. See you in the movies.

Friday, February 10, 2017


If the awkward silence in this room gets any louder I going to have to turn down off hearing aide, once said laughter and witticisms follow. The person who diffuses tension in the room, that’s me.
I make goo-goo faces at babies. I smile and nod at people passing by; I am a weirdo.
I love what God has made. Where I live reminds me each day; this is a beautiful valley.  
I don’t understand perfection, but there’s good and bad in all of us to varying degrees. Beauty in each of us is in the eyes; it’s a spark in which souls unite and then depart. When I see that beauty in someone’s eyes I feel my soul’s been given treasure.
Do you know how many dead eyes I peer into before the treasure?

Some days not many, people are better than popular opinion. In people I find good; I told you I was a weirdo. ;)

Thursday, February 9, 2017


This morning my almost ancient aunt told me, “You were so brave; I’d put you on the back of my Standardbred mare and we’d be off. Cars would pull along side us to see the horse and the cute three-year-old in my lap. You loved it; do you remember?”
She sighed; I could hear her smile. Anita was but a teenage girl when we first met and I was just a baby, her big brother’s first born.
New Orleans, at least where grandpa and dad’s sisters lived, allowed horses, chickens, goats, and miscellaneous farm animals.
“Every time I saw you; you wanted to go riding. You were the bravest little girl.”
What I do remember is my mother being fit to be tied by some of the things young auntie did with me. Anita was daring, the way teenagers are daring; who better for a little girl to imprint on?

The time she spent with me creating memories is the currency of our long lasting relationship. I adored being with this warm Southern woman; still, do. 

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Love of My Life

Morning mist clings to the lake. Chirping birds cheer my spirit. Sunlight filtered through the trees reminds me of pleasant mornings throughout my life. A new day, I can cherish or screw up any way I want; what’ll it be?
The pleasantness of morning, that’s something I seldom, had time to savor during my working years. Now, coffee and cooing doves can be leisurely enjoyed. Retirement, that’s something I didn’t really want.
After my husband, my business was the most important thing in the world to me. I enjoyed the challenge of the problems of the day and happy dogs in my care made me feel useful. Had Kirt died before I retired, I’d still be there working today, but that didn’t happen.
He could no longer tolerate cold weather; his hands turned into painful claws in fall. We couldn’t wait for winter. We had to go south. I didn’t want to leave my home of thirty years or my business that gave me a sense of self-satisfaction, but I loved my husband so much more.
Before a cold spell, we loaded the car, said goodbye, and headed to New Orleans. The Great Recession had made business difficult. Many of my clients were in financial crisis and I had to carry some of my bread and butter accounts; holding on was hard, but I managed to squeak along. Sooner or later we’d get past this, but Kirt suffered so much that fall. There was nothing else to do.
My heart beat for that man; nothing mattered except getting him where he could be more comfortable. New Orleans, a stop on the way to our house in Puerto Rico turned into the place he lost a toe. Dr. Davila of the New Orleans VA counseled me, as well as taking great care of Kirt. I’d always wanted to retire to New Orleans so when the time came to leave I went to City Park for a good pout.
Why is it you hear of so many guys retiring, moving to warm weather, and then a couple of years later you hear they died? Someone told me she heard that Smoki our cat died, that we put him to sleep. He purred on my lap well past my husband. Rumors are funny.
You never really know how some else feels, but you can get so close; it’s like you are two halves of the whole. He felt like he was in paradise the last two years of his life here where the spectacular sunrise and sunset was a pause for celebration.
His soul soared over this valley in his dreams, as his body withered.  The love of my life died.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Bitch of the Day

Aging is a funny thing. I’ve spent most of my life growing up or at least growing into the person I wanted to be. Unlike some people, I’ve never quite had full satisfaction with that, but still, consider myself a work in progress. Now my memory falters, my face is falling, and my joints ache.
A box of thank you letters and citations remind me that I’ve been a good person. Smiling photos speak of happy times with loved ones long gone. Being a caring, responsible adult required effort; being an asshole always seemed easier, but that wasn’t who I wanted to be.
Negativity and problems entered every day; I called it proof of life. Each morning my staff brought their personal problems to work; one woman’s son was on duty in Iraq, so who could blame her? Every morning I listened to one complaint; I called it the bitch of the day.
After hearing one complaint, we were required to focus on having fun with the dogs brought for day care. Did I tell you I loved my work? But the point is after getting it off my chest; I need to move on to the positive possibilities in this day.
As a retired person, I have the luxury of focusing my day on what I choose, thanks to Social Security.
A scientist, Carl Maslow wrote about a hierarchy of needs people had to have a fulfilled life. Food, water, and air are obviously the most basic needs. When those needs are met we get to explore who we are and what we want. When you work all day, who has time?
Most folks my age will attest to the problems we share in our golden years. Putting into our trust fund allows us to search for the gold in our lives.
What’s NOT funny about aging is having some greedy asshole mess with your trust fund, speaking of which I vote Congress give back what they borrowed with interest.
And that’s my bitch of the day. I’m going to the movies.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Remembering New Orleans

MY annual trek to New Orleans begins to occupy my mind. City Park where I spent much time as a kid will be one the first places where I’ll return to sit under ancient live oaks remembering a grandmother, aunts, and uncles sharing family times in the beautiful park.

One family picnic under the live oaks still vivid I sat at the table across from my Uncle Lou and Aunt Margaret with potato salad and chicken on my plate.
“How do ya like yur chicken?” Uncle Lou asked in his deep Southern drawl. I loved my Uncle Lou as much as I did my daddy. Lean and fit with premature salt and pepper hair and twinkling blue eyes, he charmed everyone.
“Good chicken, Uncle Lou,” I replied with a big smile for my favorite uncle.
“Y’all like that chicken? It’s good, yeah?” He waited for my vigorous nod of approval.

“Ya remember the baby chicks y’all got for Easter?”
No reply; I didn’t remember.
“Ya don’t remember the colored chicks grandpaw gave you and your brother for Easter?”
Oh, yeah, I remembered how we and our cousins were given these colored chicks that the boys chased around the yard and after my little brother stepped on his, it ran with its head hanging down before it died and the adults gathered up the rest and put them away.
I shook my head; I remembered the Easter chicks, which felt kind of weird, but I didn’t know why. I wasn’t much more than eight.  
“Patty, how do you like your chick?”
I hadn’t seen the chick since Easter, so I looked as confused as I felt. I didn’t want to look stupid in front of my Uncle Lou. I didn’t understand a thing about the stress I felt and now the rest of the table had picked up on the conversation so all the adults were looking at me. City Park one the scenes of my early epic I don’t want to be in the spotlight moments, one of those moments when you just don’t get it.
“Patty, that’s yur Easter chick; how ya like it?”
Uncle Lou seemed to be so pleased to tell me. I looked at the tender thigh on my plate; my eyes felt like they popped out of my head, tears flew along with me from the table to the car where I sat bawling until my mother brought me back to the table to finish my plate.

Life’s teachable moments seldom went smoothly, but that’s how it goes. After lunch my dad and uncle to the kids off to explore the park, where I learned to never ever go near a gray goose nest again.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

60's People Do You Hear Me?

I want to be checking prices for car rentals and hotel rooms in cities I haven’t seen yet. Finding free concert venues should be my priority or at least searching for something that registers more than a yeah, so what on my joy meter.
In my life, I walked the walk, as we used to say. While still in my teens I went door to door collecting for cancer research. My dad died of lung cancer at the age of forty-two.
Marches in Chicago against the war in Vietnam frequently had me in attendance, as did later marches for equal rights, and various issues of the day. We have the right to protest, but nonviolently.
I will confess to being a blind sheep just wanting to live my life and munch my grass. A Democrat would get into office and do a few things for the people and I’d feel reassured that all was well in my world, which I had enough damn trouble handling.
After the Great Recession bankers should have been arrested and put on trial. That didn’t happen and that was a huge freaking clue as to how corrupt the system is. This didn’t happen under Obama’s term; I could cry.
Trump may have been a blessing in that our eyes are being opened to our masters behind the curtains. Things I didn’t understand in the presidencies of men I admired when you add the control layer of the man behind the curtain, the controlling world economics, all become clear.
Whenever I imagined it before I thought an elite occult layer controlling us too fantastic, but I’m just one of the ninety-nine per cent; what do I know?
Allow me to live out my life in peace. Don’t privatize or otherwise mess with my Social Security. And don’t threaten our children with bullets like Kent State. The sadness of that day still lives in my heart. Those were our children killed in our homeland.  

This is a battle for your future; the young will figure it out as best you can just like we did. 

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Upset, Wait

Greedy rich and powerful are only kept in check by government regulation or revolution. For those who worship money, there is never enough. If you have a dime they want it.
Most of us just want to get by, to enjoy a life with love, beauty, family, or whatever floats your boat. Frankly, I’m only money motivated when I don’t have any; otherwise, I’m busy following my passion. We don’t all rise to filthy freaking rich because we have other motivations or we simply don’t have the talent.
Contrary to popular opinion, the guy who dies with the most toys doesn’t win; you’re still a dead asshole.
We need to see that people willing to step on others for money are sick; that’s twisted. Some people go from a computer in the garage to the top of the heap doing what fascinates them; those people give back in meaningful ways and I admire those folks.
Have you seen shows on TV about hoarders; people who collect something until the house overflows with their treasure. Obsessed deal makers could they be the opposite end of the same stratagem?
Before the days of Workman’s Comp Laws my grandfather, an ironworker, was injured at work severely enough that he could no longer work. Five or six days a week, he hobbled the streets with his cane collecting bottles for the deposit. He resolutely did this even after his family was grown and doing fine on their own. It could be raining and the man would go walking; I thought him obsessed, but when my dad came back from grandpa’s funeral with a wooden keg filled with silver dollars I was pretty impressed.
The bankers and the deal makers control the lower classes when well under control they shake us like a piggy bank. Removing laws that hold them accountable for dealing in bad faith, and then privatize Social Security; OMG it’ll be a vampire’s orgy.

The only thing I can think is thank God I’m old and don’t have long to go; or maybe, I just worry too much.

Friday, February 3, 2017

Respect and Strength

After his accident, when he could no longer work my husband dealt with self-worth and identity issues. Who he saw himself as directly linked to his job. To me, my man was so much more, but men identify with a job description.
When Kirt could no longer function he lost identity and couldn’t hold his own, a couple of his buds came over to trim the yard. They discussed how they’d approach the problem. Kirt tried to get a word in only to be told, “Don’t worry; we’ll take care of it.”
“But, Guys, Guys, you need to know.”
They waved him off with a friendly dismissive and went to work whacking weeds. My husband turned to me.
“They wouldn’t listen to me,” he said helplessly.
“Now, you know what it feels like to be a woman,” I shrugged.
A short time later the two men flew out of the bushes with arms flailing wildly. They found the vine Kirt tried to tell them about. My husband had been devalued by his group. I felt his pain and saw it in his eyes.
My forehead slid into my eyes, my cheeks into my neck, which fell into my boobs that drooped to my belly bouncing against the door. If a man identifies with his work, a woman’s looks wrap up her self-worth.
My husband frequently told me I was beautiful and every day told me he loved me. He valued me and now I must find value in me or perish because who the hell else cares?
To find your inner strength you must have it. I always thought myself strong, but now old and emotionally alone, where is that strength?
I fought for my causes. I worked hard for a good life. I took care of my family. All of these things build character; I am nothing if not a character. Who I am has been determined by more than twenty-five thousand days. Some days have beaten me to a pulp, others I’ve scored and heard the roar of the crowd in my head.
I’m old and forgetful, but I’m the author of 25,000 days and counting. My history tells me the strength is in here.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Do Not Take Our Social Security

The last Republican president cost me the rewards of my economic life in the Great Recession. Trickle down economics turned out to be piss in my boot and here we are again.
I put my energy into the American Dream. A series of real estate investments along with a successful dog business put us into the upper middle class.
Kirt as many country people did, went to the city, got the best job he could and held on for dear life. I watched him work his way from sitting at a table rewinding armatures for a just above minimum wage company to trusted and valued employee at Zack Heating and Air Conditioning in Cicero, Illinois. This was a proud shop of skilled, valued employees, all union members who took pride in their mom and pop shop.
Because my husband put into his pension and Social Security, I can enjoy my old age if I’m very careful, so I have a second reason to be wary of a bunch of rich men lined up against me.
One thing I share with the Trump folks is a misery; dissatisfaction hardly covers how I feel about the recession and bankers getting away with it. Yes, I’m pissed.
I’m a liberal, always have been, so I don’t see the current president as the savior my right wing friends do; but I want to give him a chance. Like it or not we have him for his term, so we must get on with it.
Republican presidents have earned my respect from time to time. Y'all aren’t always terrible. Having been a business owner most of my working life, I identify with the Republican mindset more than you’d think.
I’ve lived my working life and contributed to society as well. The years I have left should be for me and my wishes. When my husband and I did our life planning, this was our fall back position. In a few months, I’ll be sixty-nine, a hell of a time to contemplate starting over on yet another level.
When the mindset is win or lose, fairness doesn’t factor into; does it? The Republicans I know are good people. I need to see the “leaders” in a different light, one that doesn’t threaten me. 
My friend, Sperry in a Facebook post referred to liberal fear mongering. I read so much over the top shit from both sides that I’m frantic and don’t trust either side. We lived by the rules, paid our dues; don’t pull the rug out from under us, but with a win or lose mindset fair never enters.