Saturday, May 21, 2005

Crystal Clear

I just got back from my eye exam and my vision has -- amazingly -- not changed since my last exam. I'm pretty damned blind -- just not more blind than I was.

What makes this amazing is that I'd not been there in two years AND I'd managed to stretch a year's worth of contacts for double that. Bad for my eyes? Supposedly. They say that. I'll let you be the judge.

I think my husband was embarrassed with I got up and moved away from all the coughing/sneezing people. Why? If I were the one yakkin' up a lung I would expect people to keep me at a distance!

The optician's name was Katrina and she was quite likable, athough she never shut up and had the cadence of someone who'd been hitting the Starbucks. All I got was if my glasses were not in my Wednesday I need to call her and say, "Giiiiirl, whazzup with that?

And even though I'm half blind, it was clear the eye doctor was still a hottie!

Just Call Me Cleopatra...and Join Me In Denial.

I like to think I'm a realist. Like many people, I can certainly see the mistakes of others quite clearly. I'm certainly not afraid to tell people how I see their lives and choices. (Yes, I do have friends...why do you ask?)

But when I look at my own life, I can see a fairly long list of times where I've been in complete denial. If I am being at all honest I can say that denial is my number one coping skill.....for better or worse.

I think it goes back to childhood and situations I could not change. As some point it became easier to just pretend the bad thing -- whatever that was -- was not happening. Or that things were not as bad as they seemed.

Traditionally, it is only in retrospect that I can pronounce something a crappy situation or see how dire my situation was in the past. When I do think of some of the things I went through I'm amazed. I can only credit a determination not to give up and complete denial as the reasons I made it through.

When I was younger -- early twenties -- I moved in with my best friend and her mother. I'd had a rough time of things and the only conditions of my staying there was paying rent and counseling to deal with my past. Okay. Well, my friends mother said she knew an agency that would counsel me for very little -- her best friend ran the place.

After a while it should have been clear that the living arrangements were not working out. My friend tended to blame her indescretions on me and her mother began to look at me in a less than favorable light. Still, I denied it and refused to see the writing on the wall. As was my pattern, I told myself that if I tried hard enough things would be fine. I blew off statements with an edge as my paranoia.

They were Jewish and took my friend's(who eventually became my "lovah" and then husband)gift of a mini-Christmas Tree as a sign of disrespect. He also gave me cookies and one of those International Foods Coffees (celebrate the moments of your life,) and all sorts of cookies. Since I'd been there the mom and my friend would mark various items as theirs...and I was good with this.

I wanted to share all my goodies with them 'cept I wanted the coffee for me. So I put my name on it. I walked 5 miles home from work in winter the nest night to find that they'd retaliated by marking everything in the house...including aspirin and toilet paper...with their names.

Now denial or not, even I knew this was not good. I actually did not say anything until my friend's mom went up for bed and then I asked my best friend...the person I'd been loyal to through a lost of crazy days, what was going on. I'd waited because I was confused and wanted to talk to my friend privately, but this was used against me to call me sneaky.

The next day I was giving until February first to get out. I was working a crappy telemarketing job and did not know where I would go. I had my friend (future "lovah"/hubby)but I did not want to move in with the guy out of no choice.

I was told I was a "taker," and not a "giver." I have many faults, but I'll tell you true: when I give my love and loyalty to someone I give them everything I have. ('Cept my frickin' coffee!)Of all the things she could have accused me of, nothing could be less accurate.

In the intervening weeks it became quite clear that they were somehow privy to information that I'd only told my counselor. They keep dropping comments until it was clear that they had seen my records...or heard it all from someone who'd spied for them.

I am a very clean person, but they'd leave me notes about not putting my feet on their couch. They gave a whole list of insane rules to a young woman who was just trying to keep her head above water and make a life for herself.

I was on utter denial of how much this hurt me. And how I was still hurting from my (first) estrangement from my mother.

I found an ad for a woman who had a room for rent in her house for $55.00 dollars a month...she lived about half a mile away from where I was staying. My friend and her mom refused to let me have some of my stuff until the phone bill showed up...the bill that I'd always paid my share of...classic. Even after I gave them my money it was hard to get my stuff. AND I found out from my grandmother that they had a little TV which was mine and I did not know had been sent to me.

So in late January I walked with a garbage bag of clothes -- many of them with mysterious bleach stains that my friend and her mom swore they knew nothing about -- and a bottle of champagne. (For the life of me I do not recall where I got that bottle) to my new dwelling.

Now I love animals and am good with them but my new landlady had two aggressive, protective Dobies. They would not let me in the door unless someone told them it was okay. There were a couple nights I had to sit on the porch until someone let me in. (Denial, denial.)

I spent my first several days there locked in my room 'cept for when I was working. I holed up in there eating chips and reading The Stand., denying there was any reason to be depressed. I considered crawling out the window of my room to avoid the dogs.

As the weeks went on I finally got the dogs to like me based on the fact that I fed them a lot...out of my own pocket. The woman was a -- um, what do you call it? -- crack whore. Well, escort was how she referred to it. Her best friend was a 300 lb co-whore. They were always leaving co-whore's kids with me -- not asking, just slipping out.

The woman, D-, would come to my job and ask for rent whether it was quite due or not. If I told her I could did not have it at work, she'd ask me if I had any money hidden, and assure me I could trust her.

She got her phone disconnected and used mine. Her special men friends would call MY phone and demand to speak to her. She ran my bill up so high my credit rating took a beating for years. She also stole my birth certificate...and I really don't want to know what happened there.

There were other people who lived in the house...her teen daughter and her ex-husband. The ex was there because the ho tried to kill her daughter and it was either that or lose custody. (There was a son who lived with a grandmother.)

Did I mention denial?

One of the Dobies became more vicious due to medical issues she would not treat. I ended up passing a bad check at the vet -- one of her checks -- because I could not see the poor thing suffer. I got a friend of mine to drive me and the dog and Zeus spent the whole time growing a couple inches from our faces. It took the vets two tranq shots to get him to lose consciousness and they were not touching him any other way.

A big treat for me was going to the Big Lots across the street or on payday springing for a corned beef sandwich. I could cry now thinking about how I made a ceremony over a sandwich. It was a change from Ramen Noodles and Mac and Cheese. (I'd learned you could eat for a week on $7.00)

Well, D- failed to pay the mortgage and got us all evicted. I felt I had no choice and I called my mother to find out my dog had died a couple days before. She let me move in with eventually went bad again. (We'll just call that another story.)

The funny part was that some of the things that my friend and mom gave me and made me feel like they were so wonderfully charitable were things my mother had secretly given them to give to me. They failed to mention that.

It was only in retrospect that I could be pissed or sad over any of this...I was just too busy trying to survive. I think it was the utter denial that allowed me not to give up. The fact that I was unable to see how sad it was to be giddy over a sandwich was how I put one foot in front of the other.

And there was learning and growth. Even though things fell apart with my mother again eventually, the daughter that moved back in with her was different. I paid rent and worked 2 jobs and had matured. Although things became bad between us again I knew I could be strong.

The sad part is that because of the strength I found I became unwilling to sell my soul for her approval. Don't get me wrong... I was not a perfect daughter and she s not completely at fault in the problems we had -- I'm not claiming that, but I came to a point where I could not prostrate myself before her and beg for her love again. I wanted to be her daughter but not at the cost of my dignity and self-esteem. I made a decision that she would have to make some effort to make amends with me. I would meet her more than half way, but she had to take a step in my direction. I'm still waiting for that step.

Now people who are paying attention might point out I should have just moved in with my friend of the Coffee and Christmas Tree in the first place. Yep. That damned hindsight.

Want to know the kicker? I've run into my friend and her mother twice and both times my friend did not recognize me. The first time was at an animal adoption event I was working. My friend began to ask me questions and I look at her mother and see her eyes freakin' knows me, but the woman who called me her sister does not. I excused myself and I assume her mother pointed out to her what she missed. Another time was at a restaurant.

It made me think of that scene in Roots where Sandy Duncan did not recognize Lesie Uggams...who was supposedly her best friend back in the day.

At least Leslie Uggams got to spit in her drink!

Friday, May 20, 2005

When Love Has a Body Count.

I have a greyhound. These are wonderful dogs! I love my greyhound. But I wish she would stop killing or maiming things.

Well, it's not her fault. She's fast, a sighthound, and has a prey drive -- which is a nice way of saying she sees little animals that are not in her family and wonders if they taste like chicken, and because she is soooo fast the little things completely time their escapes wrong. Basically greyhounds are hardwired to do this -- if not all, most. Fish gotta swim, birds gotta fly, greyhounds have to chase little bunnies...

Right now hubby is at The Michigan Humane Society where I used to work, turning in a bird she grabbed a hold of, and hoping it can be rehabbed. She seemed to have hurt its wing but hopefully not beyond repair.

Gee, thank God there are no wild animals in rural northern Minnesota. Actually was just talking to a friend of mine at the shelter, and speculating on how I should handle it when we are there. Her suggestion was probably to just let the dog finish it. Ewww! But what are the options since there are no shelters around there?

Thank You For Allowing Me To Share My Gory Story.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

It's Alright Being Little Bitty 'Cause Alan Jackson Said So In A Song.

Little Bitty

Have a little love on a little honeymoon
You got a little dish and you got a little spoon
A little bitty house and a little bitty yard
Little bitty dog and a little bitty car

Well, it's alright to be little bitty
Little hometown or a big old city
Might as well share, might as well smile
Life goes on for a little bitty while

A little bitty baby in a little bitty gown
It'll grow up in a little bitty town
Big yellow bus and little bitty books
It all started with a little bitty look

Well, it's alright to be little bitty
Little hometown or a big old city
Might as well share, might as well smile
Life goes on for a little bitty while

You know you got a job and a little bitty check
Six pack of beer and television set
Little bitty world goes around and around
Little bit of silence and a little bit of sound

A good ole boy and a pretty little girl
Start all over in a little bitty world
A little bitty plan and a little bitty dream
It's all part of a little bitty scheme

Well, it's alright to be little bitty
Little hometown or a big old city
Might as well share, might as well smile
Life goes on for a little bitty while.

Lyrics by Tom T. Hall

Okay, I have pictures of the house we'll be renting. The little bitty house. Wanna see? Yeah, you do. 'K. This is the front and back where my husband will do immediate yardwork:

This is my living room..never noticed my husband was crooked before? Was he standing on one leg?!:

Here is my really itty bitty bathroom:

Although there is apparently a shower in my basement.

Okay, here is my itty bitty kitchen which I find charming and adorable actually:

The only problem is I've been planning my kitchen for years, and even though this is just temporary until we get established and find a house, not one thing I bought for my dream kitchen is blue. Much is yellow. I even bought a yellow radio. (In fact, I read somewhere that blue is not an appetizing color because -- with the exception of blueberries -- edible things tend not be be blue.) I can ditch the table cloth though and see what other colors are happening in that wall paper...

Here was the 2nd choice for a rental. If I would have had to schlep my dogs down those stairs in 20 below weather...shudder!

That's it!

Want Soup?

It's a grey and gloomy day. I'm getting the weather that my husband got yesterday. And, since he'll be home soon, he will be reunited with it.

Such a lazy day. The dogs are passed out. I want to pass out too. I should straighten up. LOL, greet my hubby with a martini. 'Cept he already took the martini glasses and the shaker to MN. I can only offer him a bottled water or some flat Mountain Dew.

I don't have a kitchen table either. It's in MN -- stored in my grandmother's basement. The irony is the place we will be renting HAS a table. My grandmother's basement has a table. I have no table. I have no couch. I just have wooden chairs and a mattress. Oh, and a pool table we don't want, the woman who bought the house does not want, and which is going to be a bitch to get rid of -- damn.

Oh, and I have many stacks of things to pack. And a can of lentil soup.

I'm Back. (Did You Even Notice I Was Gone?)

I took my profile picture down last night because there was an implication -- on another board -- that it might scare small children. But hey, scaring small children sounds like great fun.

'Sides. I have it on good authority I'm cute. (Thank you, Stevie Wonder.) Plus, this person isn't passing out their picture for evaluation. So judge me by my heart and my words: not on my vivid blue eye, ripe lips, great legs, and willingness to do anything when intoxicated.
The Management.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Odds and Ends. (New Friends, New Home, Vacationing With Pets.)

I added a couple more links to the right. Last Girl on Earth and Panther Girl at The Dog's Breakfast. I was reading them every day, and had to go looking for the links, so it's more for me than for you guys. Deal!

I found Deni(Last Girl) through Blog Explosion and she just seems to have such fire and I'm glad to "know" her. (Does putting "know" in quotes make it seem like I'm claiming I know her in the Biblical Sense...because that's not what I'm aiming for! Though she's cute.)

In comments on Deni's blog I mentioned having a Greyhound and she asked if I knew Panther Girl. I said something like, "No, but most people with Greyhounds do tend to know each other." Turns out I do know her fairly well from Greyhound boards. I've always liked her a lot because she is honest and speaks her mind. Her blog is damned entertaining!

Hubby has picked the house we'll be renting. Small town, not a lot of choices, but he made the best choices out of what there was. 2 bedrooms, 1 bath, mostly fenced in yard, big livingroom. Wood floor.

One of the first priorities is to get the yard fully fenced. Having a Greyhound, this is almost a must. They cannot be off leash in an open area because if they bolt they are near impossible to catch -- they also have really poor himing skills. Tying them out is also a no-no due to their speed they could basically snap their necks if they go to run.

I'm glad about the wood floor. Everyone is housebroken but the 16 year old is somewhat incontinent due to medications and just plain old age. I was terrified of carpeting 'cause I fully believe that when you have pets and either rent or take them to a motel, cabin, etc... you are obligated to be ambassadors for all pet owners. It makes me angry when so many places are no longer pet friendly because of the irresponsibility of others.

Although my grandmother lives in the town, when we've visited we've traditionally rented a cabin so as to not inconvenience her. And then she stays at the cabin with us as a minivacation. There were many resorts in the area that would not rent to people with dogs because they felt that other renters would not like it. I sent a few heated letters saying that I don't want to have adjacent cabins to people with children because that ruins the experience for me. Don't get me wrong -- I understand "No Pet Policies" -- but some of the wording offended me.

There were another category of resort that said something to the effect of people being able to bring their pets "if they must." They were also off of my list. If I bring my dogs they are guests, and I don't take them where they are not welcome.

We found 2 wonderful places though where the owners were very pet friendly. It was nice to feel that my dogs were welcome and could meet other dogs.

The first place we rented for many years was an unassuming marina (Gruben's on Lake Vermilion) with cabins but we loved it. The woman who ran it was wonderful and while some of the cabins were humble, they were also clean and cozy. We were really able to make ourselves at home, she gave us our privacy, and the cabins were well-stocked! Just as you were wishing the cabin had an item for cooking or whatnot, you'd open a drawer and "voila!" It was also there, while watching Riley playing with other dogs, that my husband told me we could get a second dog as soon as we got home. (Little did he know what chaos would ensue once the multiple dog floodgate opened!)

The last time we were there we rented at another resort to be a little closer to the town. We missed Gruben's, the cabin was not as well-stocked, but the view was stunning, and they were very pet friendly. A lot of the resorts there have mini-stores or bars and this place was no exception...when we went to their store we had to step over this huge slumbering dog in the doorway! And for the life of me I cannot recall the name of the place!

(Does anybody have their own recommendations for dog friendly vacation spots?)

Anyhow,I cannot believe that a week from now I'll be in my new (but temporary until we are ready to buy) home. I've been whining about moving so much that I cannot believe it's almost at an end.

Save a Tree...Pay The Cashier.

Does anybody here try to consistently use recycled products? How is that working for you?

I'm wondering what to do when we move. The nearest place we can consistently get earth conscious products is a 40 minute drive. My husband has this weird issue with being able to buy more than a few days worth of items.

We used to have the strangest arguements about buying groceries; he could not comprehend that, while grocery bills seem high, buying food on a daily basis or getting carry-out was more expensive. I got hoarse from explaining that he eats every day and will continue to eat every pay the damned cashier! He just feels more comfortable nickel and diming the money away.

My point is that there is no way I can see him buying TP and paper products in the bulk we need without hyperventilating. I'l have to give a modified version of the grocery argument: You wiped your ass today, you will wipe your ass tomorrow -- pay the cashier.

The whole thing with recycled products is they ARE getting better, and I think they're worth buying, but they still are not quite cottony soft. I think it's an interesting topic what personal comforts people will and will not give up for the greater good.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Been There, Done That...And Then I Woke Up.

Recurring dreams. Trying to figure out the rhyme and reason...break the code.

When I was a little girl I used to dream of flying. I've read that flying dreams are supposed to be happy, but they never were for me. In the dreams I wore a tin the Tin Man in the Wizard of Oz...but they started (I think) before I saw the movie. The recurring part of the dream is being on the ground...about to play, about to be happy...and suddenly (and against my will) I would lift off the ground. And I would be sad.

For years now I've had various versions of a dream where the third floor of a house or building is bad...haunted by evil. Sometimes it's beautifully decorated but there is just something cold, dirty, scary...out of place. I had a friend explain very astutely what certain elements of the third floor dream mean...but not the actual meaning of it being the third floor.

I dream about my mother a lot; about her loving me some day. Sometimes about her hating me. These dreams happen in cycles. But they always come back. It makes me wonder if you ever work through an estrangement like that. Do you ever let go of the baggage?

One of the saddest dreams I ever had was about someone poisoning my dogs. I look at them and they look at me with love and trust, but I know it's too late. I know I can't save them.

I dream about the house I lived in as a child...going back there and finding happiness. Like I left there too soon...had something left to do?

I have dreams of someone breaking into my house. It used to be where I always escaped. Now in the dreams I escape but worry that they are harming my pets. Of course I have the element where I cannot manage to call 911...keep hitting the wrong buttons.

(What the hell is it with me and houses?)

Some days I wake up happy and other days depressed. On those days -- feeling either extreme of emotions -- I wish I could know what last I dreamt.

If there is a heaven...and a God...when you die do you finally get all the pieces to the puzzle? Do you get to smack yourself on your incorporeal forehead and say, "OH! That's what it all meant! Thank you!"

While typing the last paragraph the words, "In search of answers to questions unknown." I did what any chick with a laptop would do when they cannot recall the source...I Googled it. John Denver, Calypso. The lyrics are really appropriate...amazing how the mind works:

To sail on a dream on a crystal clear ocean
To ride on the crest of a wild raging storm
To work in the service of life and the living
In search of the answers to questions unknown
To be part of the movement and part of the growing
Part of beginning to understand...

Like the dolphin who guides you
You bring us beside you
To light up the darkness and show us the way
For though we are strangers in your silent world
To live on the land we must learn from the sea
To be true as the tide
And free as the wind-swell
Joyful and loving in letting it be.

Monday, May 16, 2005


I know I've been talking a lot about moving. And I know that some of you are just getting to know me, and maybe some of it doesn't make sense to you yet.

The place I'm moving is Ely Minnesota. While I grew up in the Detroit area part of my family is from Ely, and it's always seemed like home to me. I can't explain it beyond saying that when I'm there I'm at peace.

My grandmother lives there's her hometown. She came to the Detroit area during WWII to work in the factories. I sound out a couple years ago that she was a tank inspector...she would make sure all the nuts and bolts were in place. I guess some of the guys would get mad, thinking she was too picky, but she wasn't about to approve a defective tank with her brother fighting in the war.

Anyhow, she moved back to Ely in the 80s (to take care of HER mother) and I want to be close to her and able to help her out. And now it looks like it's time for that.

The town was initially a mining town. I cannot imagine working in a dark pit, and I guess suicide rates were pretty high. The town was founded by Swedes and Slavs. My family is Slovenian. My great-great uncle (I think that's right) was the sheriff for a while, and looked a lot like Clint Eastwood.

The area is also surrounded by clean lakes and beautiful forests. There are areas which have not changed since prehistoric times.There is something primitive and timeless about the area.

All of this is my way of making this song about the town make sense. The following (sappy!) song always makes me cry -- and it has a tendency to come on the radio as we are leaving the town so my hubby has to deal with extra waterworks. The song reminds of of the history and heritage of the town and all the things I love and cherish about the place that my heart calls home. I'd dearly like to share it with you all.

I Could Grow Old in Ely.

For those of you wondering about the Mukluk reference: Steger Mukluks.

Attn Citrus

If you read this...please, please email me - my email address is in my profile.

Going Greek (Yogurt).

I have an addiction. Greek Yogurt. It's true. For those of you who've never had the pleasure let me shine light into the darkness of your existance.

Greek yogurt is thicker than the watery gunk which passes for yogurt in the states. It has this amazing creamy consistencty. Sweetened with honey, and with some fruit mixed in, it tastes sinful and decadent and wonderful, and you can't have any because it's all mine.

In fact, you can add anything that you like...fruit, nuts, peanut butter, granola, cereal...all of the above. (Who am I to judge what a consenting adult wants to do with their yogurt?)

It's healthy and a snack of it (Yogurt, Honey, Fruit) is under 300 calories. You have an excellent source of protein, calcium, and vitamins. Studies have shown -- as the Dairy Association tells us all the time -- that people who get 3 servings of dairy calcium weigh on average 12 pounds less than those people who do not get enough.

The best source is Trader Joe's. They stopped selling it for a while and there was a there was a gnashing of teeth and much wailing in the land from me, and all the people I'd hooked on it's creamy perfection, but now it's back, Baby!

The brand is called Fage Total.

But it might as well be called:

Whiskers on Kittens and Warm Woolen Mittens.

I was tagged by Cyn (who was tagged by Shari, who was tagged by holymotherofgod) to list my 10 Favorite Things. Then I'm supposed to tag four other people, but looking over my list it seems like most people have recently done something similar....Hmmmm....

1. Cuddling with a pet.
2. Waking up to feel my husband covering me with a blanket.
3. Writing something tasty, interesting, sexy, funny...
4. Lakes
5. Forests.
6, Bubble baths with wine, a book, chocolate, candles, and music.
7. Singing off-key to music.
8. Buffy
9. Arguing/debating

Okay, 4 tags...with a twist. It's evolution! (And each person who does this should personalize their tags in a similar fashion.)

Leesa (Peace of My Mind)10 Favorite Photos -- yours, someone elses, or a combo.

Diana (Seeking Clarity): 10 Books (or Short Stories) Which Effected Your Life.

Deni (Last Girl): 10 Favorite Places in New York.

Citrus (CitricCritic): 10 Favorite Sayings or Quotes.


Sunday, May 15, 2005

Swinging Bachelorette

Hubby left for our new hometown to look at the rental possibilities and make a decision. I stayed home with the pets because it seemed the best decision.

Our 16 year old Sheltie, Cindy, is touch and go from day to day. It would be unfair to take her on more than one 800+ mile trip (each way), and to board her at a kennel, or even have a pet-sitter come in. Too confusing and if something went wrong...

So my grandmother will be seeing my grandmother before I do!! Dammit. And I miss him...funny how that works.

My husband drives me bonkers...a million little things like a Chinese Water Torture, but he's a good guy and I feel his absence when he's not around. I bolster myself with the fact that I will not hear him snore for a few nights. (Although with the decimel levels he reaches...)

So I'm really outnumbered. 4 dogs, 3 cats, and a guinea pig...they're are all looking at me funny and I sense I could have a mutiny on my hands. I heard the greyhound saying something to the grey cat something about "dog and cat and guinea pig coming together to bring an end to opppression..." There was also something about "storming the kitchen."

I think I'll sleep with one eye open.
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