Thursday, December 15, 2005

darn tree-rats

My love for birds has deepened in recent months. Consequently, my contempt for squirrels has increased twofold.

The other day, Ryan helped me trim some low-hanging branches off the arborvitae in order to prevent the squirrels from lowering themselves onto the bird feeder, stuffing themselves into the bowl of seed and scaring the birds away.

Those beady-eyed little buggers responded with an angry act of retaliation:

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

my life in a Christmas nutshell:

Band practice, choir practice, ensemble rehearsal, set design and building, staff meetings, planning meetings, Dessert Theater, Cantata, dress rehearsals, Christmas Eve services, Christmas Day services. Shopping, wrapping, knitting, cooking, mailing packages, inevitable familial conflict. Exhaustion.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Row B

Don't forget to vote today!

Saturday, October 22, 2005


I cleaned out some of my closet today - tried on some things I haven't worn in a while. Conclusion: I have gained weight. I have hovered around 115-120 lbs. my entire adult life up 'til now. My size 6's are scandalously too tight to be worn in public. Ugh. My size 8's? Getting there. Let's just hope this is an unusally bloated monthly bloat, coupled with the inevitable weight gain caused by the side effects of The Pill. Please, please, please. I can't afford a new wardrobe. Ugh. And please let the rain let up so I can go outside and exercise! I'll scare myself into being a size 6 again - just weight wait.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

northern exposure

It has been raining for nearly two weeks straight.

Initially, I thought the majority of our time up in the North Country would have to be spent shopping and eating (pity). We hoped for a break in the dampness long enough to do a little hiking over the weekend, in the Adirondacks, while visiting Old Forge. We were lucky, and for a few hours on Monday, the rain let up just enough so we could spend the afternoon hiking around Moss Lake.

The air was brisk and healing, despite its saturation. Parts of the trails were flooded, which forced us to circumnavigate quite frequently. After we had to ford a flooded-out bridge, Ryan spotted a "Caution" sign whose irony did not escape us, and we had a hearty laugh.

Now, I am depressed to be home again, even though the weather here is slightly better than in the mountains. We have no Autumn color yet, for which we have both been desperately waiting. Also, this was the last vacation get-away of the year...I used the last of my vacation days, and now the Christmas grind starts. Hopefully, if our work/school schedules allow, Ry and I will be able to take a few day trips on Saturdays to local areas to hike. We'll need to, I'm sure, the closer we get to December.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

the perfect day

Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower. - Albert Camus

Tuesday, Ryan and I packed a picnic, and with the dog, headed to Chimney Bluffs for a day of hiking.

The weather being unusually warm for October, we frolicked on the beach, waded in the water, and coaxed Harley in for a swim.

We hiked to the tops of the peaks and looked out over breath-taking vistas of land and lake.

Monday, September 19, 2005

rococo clouds

The later sunrise is sometimes the only redeeming thing
cooler-weather mornings.
7:30 am now is when the sun is mid-sky on its way up.

When the sun-rays pour down through the changing red maples
lining the street, I feel I could never leave the North.

(Giovanni Battista Tiepolo, Allegory of the Planets and Continents, sketch, 1752, oil on canvas, 73 x 54 7/8 inches (185.4 x 139.4 cm), Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY)

Monday, September 12, 2005

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Come Fall,



The rain is here; hope evaporates with humidity.
Motion is an escape:
landscapes change, purposes temporarily shrouded.

Chills. Adrenaline. Frenetic movement.

The promise of fulfillment.

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

short and sweet

I enjoyed an editorial I read in the paper yesterday. The writer pleaded, "I'll take my chances with the terrorists, but please protect me from the oil companies."

I couldn't agree more. The approaching $3.00 for a gallon of gasoline is out of control.

As Ryan and I were discussing last night, isn't this what the war in Iraq is really all about? Now all these people - soldiers and civilians - are dead, and we don't even have their g-d oil. Isn't that what G.W. wanted in the first place? The oil? Well, Mr. President, the oil companies are all reporting record profits and those of us who have a half an hour commute back and forth every day are starting to suffer. Pretty soon we won't be able to afford gas to get to work. Then we won't be able to support our families because we can't get to work. Then you'll have an even bigger problem on your hands.

What are you going to do about it?

Friday, August 12, 2005

an iffy day to be a Lutheran

This afternoon, the ELCA assembly will vote on their sexuality policies...whether or not to bless same-sex unions, whether or not to allow the future ordination of practicing gay men and women in committed relationships, and what to do about those gays and lesbians already ordained, both celibate and non. This vote will be the culmination of fours years of research and study by an appointed task force.

This is an interesting time. Technically, I am an employee of the ELCA because I work for a Lutheran church in the ELCA synod. Therefore, the results of these votes will have an impact on me, in one way or another. There is talk of a schism, like the Anglicans and the Episcopalians, but I don't think we are in danger of that.

I am an advocate for tolerance and inclusion. I believe in unity and acceptance and civil rights. I hope the ELCA will make the right decision.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

dreams, the 'wavelength', the father-daughter bond, and other assorted stuff...

Last night I had a dream I was being chased by a creepy, red-bearded old man. I had to run through forests and swim through a lake to escape him. He was shifty-looking...bald, but with a bad comb-over, no moustache, just the beard. I couldn't quite tell if he had all his teeth or not, from the quick glances I had to throw over my shoulder. I was, after all, being menacingly pursued by a stranger. I reached safety when I got to a base of Marines in the area, who captured my potential assailant, handcuffed him, and led him away.

That's all I remember, but I wonder if this dream has any significance. Usually I am not one for heavy analysis. It used to interest me, and my personal library even contains a few books on dream interpretation. However, I never really gave much credence to it. What I do find befuddling, though, is that every once in a while, I experience something that might be deja vu, or might not be. When I experience this sensation, usually I feel that whatever is happening to me at the moment is something about which I had previously had a dream. I wouldn't say this occurs frequently; just often enough to alarm me in a way that makes me stop what I am doing at the moment, and try desperately to recall the dream. It never works.

The 'Wavelength':
An interesting phenomenon, indeed.

That is what I refer to when a close friend and I say the same thing (or IM the same thing, more likely) at the same time. This only occurs with a few people in my life, specifically Julia, with whom I have been friends with for almost more years than I can count. Also, it happens quite often with Ryan, with whom I haven't been friends with quite as long as Julia, but with whom I have some other unexplained, "cosmic" connection. More recently, I have developed 'the wavelength' with Lauren, who moved away to North Carolina a couple of weeks ago. It seems only natural, I suppose. (She is my younger sister's best friend of many years, my younger brother's girlfriend, and very much like my second sister.) Yesterday afternoon, while I was composing a letter to Lauren, the phone rang. She was on the other end of the line, and when I told her I was right in the middle of writing her, we had a good chuckle about it, and a host of, "Oh my God, that is SO weird!"

The father-daughter bond:

Does it really even exist outside of the negative, teen angst-ridden form?

There are very few things my father and I agree on (my mother's bad habits), and countless things about which we disagree (mostly politics).

Those who know me well know what a rocky relationship I have had with my father over the years. Lately, it has gotten a little touchy because dear old Dad is in dire need of a hip replacement. To the point where his "sunny" disposition is in serious jeopardy. My mother, sister, and I have been nagging my father to just have the darned operation already, to make the rest of us less miserable being around him. He has put it off for several years now. But, Eureka! This morning when I spoke to my mother on the phone, she told me he is as ready as can be and will do it right after the first of the year. (He'd do it sooner, except there's some issue with the insurance or something.) He'll be laid up for 6 weeks, post-op. And what will he do during this recovery time? "Learn guitar. Heidi can teach me."


My father actually wants to learn something from me? Immediately I was suspicious upon learning this information. Maybe because it'll be cheap...he won't have to pay for lessons. In the beginning, of course. My guitar skills are minimal, but at least I can explain some very basic concepts, and oh boy am I going to make him learn theory.

I am more like my father than I care to admit...I am very stubborn, especially when I am certain I am right about something. My mantra sometimes is: Just because it's not the way I would do it doesn't mean it's wrong. Perhaps we will be able to learn from each other.

The other assorted stuff:
1. Tomorrow Ryan and I are going to Buffalo to attend the memorial service for Julia's grandmother. My condolences to her family. I first her grandmother when we were in grade school. At Julia's wedding last summer, I had a chance to re-acquaint myself with her...she was an energetic spit-fire, full of spunk. I liked her very much. I've been asked to bring my keyboard for a little back-up, moral support. I'm not exactly sure what I'll be doing, but whatever it is, I am honored to be a participant in the service.

2. I was looking at our co-blog after noticing someone had left a comment. Boy, did I get fired up! "Anonymous" said, "Read your blog, think you'd like this website", with a link. So I click the link. Do you KNOW where it took me?!? 60 Second Mortgage Quotes. This is what the world of self-expression through blogging has come to: unsolicited advertising. Spam comments on blogs. How utterly offensive.

And that's all I have to say about that.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

returning to the routine and mundane

Our last day was bitter-sweet. By the time Tuesday came, I was desperate for my babies. There was time for one last swim before packing the car and and making the 2 1/2 hour trek home.

Why oh why did we have to come home?

Back to work, back to dryness, back to heat and humidity...

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Salutations from Sackets

Who knew we would have internet access here?

Ryan and I decided it would be fun to co-blog and share some photos and anecdotes of our vacation with friends. However, since he brought his laptop, we have to post on his blog.

Go look here for a day-by-day account of our adventures.

I'll be back in a week.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

rain, rain, go away...

Only another couple of hours before we leave for vacation!

After I pick Ryan up, we'll grab brunch with my Mom and my "other sister", Lauren, who will be moving to North Carolina this Saturday while we're away.

I'll miss Lauren terribly, but who will I miss more? My 3 babies.

See you in a week!

Saturday, July 23, 2005

4 days and counting

As I mentioned in my previous post, our vacation is drawing near. I've posted a photo I took this past October, when we were last up in Sackets. I've never been there during the Summer months, so I am eagerly awaiting the swimming and sunning and sailing, and the long, romantic walks on the beach. *sigh* Is it Wednesday yet?

Thursday, July 21, 2005


Well, I'm over it.

Tuesday was a rough day, as Ryan can attest. I left his house in tears that afternoon, not fully aware of why I was upset, where I was going to go once I got in my car, or how long I would drive aimlessly. He chased after me. After persuading me to come back inside to talk, I felt better. He is unwavering in his support and comedic efforts which always make me laugh. By this, I mean how he crosses his eyes, puffs out his cheeks, and does 'tune in Tokyo'. It never fails. Only the ridiculously absurd seems to send me into hysterics. (Also, the competing Sean Connerys that he and Ben do are equally effective.)

Thanks for all the love, you guys and gals.

It's less than a week now till Ryan and I leave for our much-anticipated vacation in Sackets Harbor. In the meant time, I have much to get in order...the shopping, the loose ends at work tied up, the planning, etc. I am so excited I can hardly sit still. When was the last time I actually went on vacation for a whole week? Not since my month abroad in Australia/New Zealand, and that was, um, 13 years ago this month. Eek.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005


I haven't known what to write about lately. The blahs of summer heat have usurped all creativity, dried up all motivation. But I am feeling more like myself these days, compared to how things were last summer. I feel like I know myself again and that is ok to be how she is; how I am.

Yesterday marked two years since Ex's hospital admission to the psych ER at St. Joseph's. This day haunts me, which may explain the nausea I experienced last night, the uneasiness of the last few days, knowing the inevitable anniversary was approaching.

Why is it that this happens? Why do we "celebrate" the painful anniversaries as well as the joyous ones? Haven't I have healed?

I remember....hours of waiting, dozens of doctors, Ex's incoherence exacerbated by not knowing where he was or what was happening to him...the painful shot of Haldol he would only take in the bicep, rather than the traditional rear-end shot, and his clouded words as he drifted out of consciousness: "Don't leave me."

Which I, of course, did.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

1. Grab the book nearest to you, turn to page 18, find line 4, Write down what it says:
"He noticed instead how her hair looped in slack, slovenly strands over her rather beautiful ears..." from Women in Love by D.H. Lawrence

2. Stretch your left arm out as far as you can. What do you touch first?
Hot air.

3. What is the last thing you watched on TV?
An old episode of Law and Order.

4. WITHOUT LOOKING, guess what time it is:

5. Now look at the clock; what is the actual time?

6. With the exception of the computer, what can you hear?
The fan on high speed. Some birds outside.

7. When did you last step outside? What were you doing?
A half an hour or so ago, to water the plants and do a little weeding.

8. Before you came to the Web site you're seeing this on, what did you look at?
Julia's Blog.

9. What are you wearing?
Black tank top, long pink skirt with little red flowers.

10. Did you dream last night?
I think I had a dream about my dog but I can't remember for sure.

11. When did you last laugh?
A few hours ago when Ryan was singing a Frank Zappa song about dental floss to me.

12. What is on the walls of the room you are in?
Three calendars, two tapestries and a eucalyptus wreath I made myself.

13. Seen anything weird lately?
Yes! A stranger taking a chug out of Ryan's beer the other night when we were out with friends. The boys were outside while the girls chatted inside and got hit on by a guy who had the worst pick up lines ever: "I own a cat ranch..." and "I once had a 12 foot tapeworm hanging out of my ass..."

14. What is the last film you saw?
Beyond the Sea

15. If you became a multi-millionaire overnight, what would you buy first?
Waterfront property.

16. If you could change one thing about the world, regardless of guilt or politics, what would you do?

17. Do you like to dance?
Not anymore, really.

18. Imagine your first child is a girl. What do you call her?
No babies.

19. Imagine your first child is a boy. What do you call him?
Again, no babies.

20. Would you ever consider living abroad?
Yes, if our country keeps going in the direction we're headed.

Saturday, July 02, 2005

love = books

I love books. I horde them, covet them. I read whenever I have a free moment, which isn't often these days. I also love to knit (my newest hobby), but when I'm knitting I feel guilty for not reading. I started a database of my book collection. Several years ago, I discovered I was reading things twice and three times without really realizing it till I was halfway through the book, so now I also write down in a notebook the titles I've finished and the dates I finished them.

Anyway, I was just now reading the blogs I visit usually every day. On on of my stops, I noticed that Jennifer has read 38 titles this year. Jeez! Now I feel inadequate. Where does she find the time? I have a lowly 9 to my credit. I can't really read more than 2 at a time, and sometimes not even that. Anyway, here's a list of what I've read this year, so far:

1. Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim by David Sedaris(02/05)
2. Sleeping with Schubert by Bonnie Marson (02/05)
3. Driven to Distraction - Recognizing and Coping with ADD by Dr. Edward M. Hallowell, MD (03-04/05)
4. Life of Pi by Yann Martel (04/05)
5. America's Women - 400 Years of Dolls, Drudges, Helpmates, & Heroines by Gail Collins (05/05)
6. Leap of Faith: Memiors of an Unexpected Life by Queen Noor (05/05)
7. The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd (06/05)
8. Intrusions by Ursula Hegi (06/05)
9. The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough (06/05)
10. The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje (07/05)
11. Mrs. Kennedy by Barbara Leaming (08/05)
12. Amy and Isabelle by Elizabeth Strout (08/05)
13. A Lady, First: My life in the Kennedy White House and the American Embassies of Paris and Rome by Letitia Baldridge (08/05)
14. A Book of Common Prayer by Joan Didion (09/05)
15. The Ebony Tower by John Fowles (09/05)
16. The Hundred Secret Senses by Amy Tan (10/05)
17. Saint Maybe by Anne Tyler (10/05)
18. The Witches of Eastwick by John Updike (10/05)
19. Earthly Possessions by Anne Tyler (11/05)
20. The Aguero Sisters by Cristina Garcia (12/05)

Maybe I'd better step it up a notch!

I need to clarify something for all concerned parties. When I say I love and horde books, that is with the exception of $500 worth of flight books, technical text books about electricity and currents and other stuff that has absolutely no meaning for me. I don't horde these kinds of books.

It was Franz Kafka who said, "I think we ought to read only the kind of books that wound and stab us. A book must be the axe for the frozen sea inside us."

Friday, July 01, 2005

another Friday meme

this time, from Becca:

1. Using your Current Initials, choose a different name for yourself:

Hannalore Esme Wystan.

2. If you were born outside of your era, when would you want to be born?
Early 1800's in Vienna, Salzburg, or a wealthy family of the aristocracy, of course.

3. If you ran a store, what would you sell/have?
Books, yarn, and tea. There would be a mass of plants and greenery everywhere, and soft, red sofas on which you can rest your bum.

4. What part in a movie would you love to play?
The lead character in a movie about my life.

5. In your opinion, why do people suck?

6. If you had your own state, what would you put on your new quarter?
Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton on one side, and a picture of Seneca Falls on the other.

7. What's the oldest article of clothing you own?
A floor-length, brown velvet gown that my mother wore the day she and my father got engaged. That was in 1970.

8.What piece of furniture have you replaced the most?
Well, all of it, since I gave mine away to my brother and sister when they moved.

9. What instrument do you wish you could be more than great at?

10. Record, Tape or CD?

11. What do you think would be the best concert ever?
Tori Amos, the Indigo Girls, Midnight Oil, Ben Harper, and Diana Krall.

12. What is the best part of your favorite movie?
When the Christ-like figure gives the new slave Juda Ben-Hur a sip of water in the desert.

13. What do you think is the most over-rated candy ever?
Candy is gross.

14. If you were writing out your will, who would you give your CD collection to?
Classical would go to Ben and Susan; Jazz would go to Ryan; Alternative would go to my sister and Lauren for them to fight over. I'd give them all to Julia except she probably already has most of them.

15. If you could only debate two topics the rest of your life, what would they be?
Women's Issues (i.e. contraception and abortion, equality, etc.) and Religion.

16. Out of your friends, who would you say you are most jealous of, artistically?
Well, Sue is a wonderful visual artist. Beth has a great sense of style, and Anne is very crafty. How do I choose?

17. Most jealous of....intellectually?
I'm not really that jealous, but Ben's intellectual horsepower is sometimes astonishing.

18.What do you collect?
Books and plants.

19. What is broken that you have, that you wish was fixed?
The scanner funtion on my Epson printer.

20. What do you do when you're home, sick?
Sleep and read.

21. Story behind your username?
"Battlemaiden" is the literal German translation of my given name.

22. Current Favorite Article of Clothing?
Do shoes count? I am in love with my Birk clogs.

23. Line from the last thing you wrote for someone?
So, I write what I cannot say aloud.

24. A famous person you have met?
Tony Randall.

25. Favorite way to waste time?
Making collages of digital photos to send to my sister in Tennessee.

that sinking feeling in the pit of the stomach when you just know something is wrong

Probably, it's nothing.
Abnormal test results.
Follow up in three months.
Please don't ask questions now, I'm not prepared to answer them.
R. says not to freak out, but I'm nervous.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

and in other news

I can't seem to sleep all the way through the night lately.

At first, it was the heat. Then it was the raucous morning wake up screeches by the grackles perched in the tree immediately outside my bedroom window. Also, I have regrettably been drinking a large mug of ice water while reading before sleep every night. What's wrong with that, you ask? This results in me sitting bolt upright at about 4am with the urgency to sprint down the hall to the bathroom, stubbing my toe or bumping my head on a doorframe nearly every instance.

Not this morning, however. So, you ask, what woke you up today? Well, I'll tell you. At exactly 4:50am I awoke to the sound of some unknown seriously drunken stranger making his way down the street, retching loudly with every step.


Was anyone else completely disgusted to find the Michael Jackson acquittal plastered all over the front page of the paper? Who cares? Why is this news worthy of a front page headline??

Also, to add to my dismay, it seems the closest appearance Ms. Amos will make to our fair city is Saratoga. Or, I suppose, if feeling adventurous, we could travel to Cleveland for a show. Only I'm not ready to go back there yet. What is a girl to do?

Sunday, June 12, 2005

The book meme, via Julia

Answer on your own blogs, please, and spread the love. The questions!

Name three books on your book shelf. One from each end and one from the middle.
1. The Bonfire of the Vanities by Tom Wolfe
2. All Creatures Great and Small by James Herriot
3. Herzog by Saul Bellow

What reading material is in your bathroom?
A giant book of old NY Times crossword puzzles and various LL Bean Catalogs.

Favorite authors and why.
-Margaret Atwood - my favorite of all time, for exploring female relationships with men in so many different ways. I relate to her writing moreso than to any other author I've read.
-David Sedaris - for making me laugh out loud while reading.
-Erica Jong - for writing about sexual relationships with fearless candor.
-Jeannette Winterson - her work is visual to me...her lush, artfully descriptive language is unlike any I've ever read.
-Susan Dodd - weird, highly unusual plot lines.
-F. Scott Fitzgerald - what an incredible story teller.
-Alice Walker - beautiful truth in her work.

Least favorite authors and why.
Danielle Steel! Such awful trash! I don't understand how she can stand to write the same book over and over again.

What author is over rated?
See above. Also, apologies, but I don't like Tom Clancy.

Would you (have you) picked up a woman (or man) in a bookstore?
I never have, and I guess I won't now, either.

Do you eat while you read? If so what'?s your food of choice?
Depending on when I'm reading..If it's at night, usually I just have ice water or tea. If in the morning or afternoon, I have cereal or lunch while reading.

Name one book you'?d recommend for someone searching for meaning or insight or inspiration.
Well, I can only speak from experience. Some books that I've read that were life changing are: Fear of Flying by Erica Jong, Written on the Body by Jeanette Winterson, & Cat's Eye by Margaret Atwood. There is something universal to me in all these novels.

Name one book you'?d recommend for a day on the beach or a rainy day in the house.
Beach: Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris
Rainy Day: Sophie's Choice by William Styron

Do you judge a book by its cover?
Usually only at the used-book sales at libraries around town. You know, those $3-for-everything-you-can-fit-in-a-Wegman's-grocery-bag sales. Since you have to fight the hordes of people for books in a limited amount of time, I pick up anything that looks remotely interesting.

In the bookstore, what section do you head to first?
Usually the Barnes & Noble bargain basement. It's exciting to see how many hardcovers you can get for $20-$30.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

chronicle of a birth-day

A mother quietly gave birth - her first - alone, while a father played nine holes.

Awakened by the dog, whining at the foot of the bed. Maybe she was just nervous about the paper boy outside. Nope, whining continued till I got up, took her downstairs for her nature call. I stood at the back door staring blankly at the porch while the dog wandered around in the grass, sniffing everything...plastic chairs, chiminea, patio floor. I thought about getting some coffee and staying up to watch the sunrise. Why, I don't know. There are too many trees in the way, anyway.

Jammed black and white piano-shaped pillow over ear to block out the noisy birds waking up. Tossed and turned. Could not get back to sleep.

Remembered dream about large bugs - black and yellow striped arthropods; long, chitinous bodies, no wings, 6 legs; dark green, waxy schefflera plant leaves protruding from sides. When dead, either from natural causes or the fly swatter, they dry up into black mounds, stuck to the wall.

Checked e-mail. From The Writer's Almanac: It was on this day in 1870, in London, Charles Dickens dropped dead at his chair at the dinner table. He died of a stroke, or apoplexy as it was called then. He was 58 years old. In the months before he died, he must have already suffered a stroke. He spoke in his letters of weakness and deadness on the left side and of not being able to pick up things with his left hand.

Phone call from sister in Tennessee.

Phone call from high school friend now in the insurance business.

Phone call from aunt in Ohio.

Phone call from brother in Maryland.

Celebratory dinner at Shamrock Jack's. I had a fantastic Mediterranean shrimp dish, with sun-dried tomatoes smothered in goat cheese. Yummy. Ryan had Coq au Vin. Shamrock Jack Pale Ale, craftbrewed by Custom BrewCrafters, completed the meal.

Beer run.

8:04pm Birks and more knitting lessons. Also, more beer consumed.

Quiet time for reading, then bed.

No other thoughts to report.

Thanks to all who remembered.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Ah, Summer.

There is nothing like a good game of pugilistic Scrabble to welcome the warm nights of June.
(Lauren, Ryan, & Sue)

Friday, June 03, 2005

friday meme

TEN Random Things About Me:
10. I wash my hair every other day.
9. I hate cartoons.
8. I rarely wear shorts in the summer.
7. I already have tan lines from my favorite flip flops.
6. I make my bed every day, even if it's right before I go to sleep at night.
5. I would take in every stray animal I found, if I could.
4. I want to go Vegetarian permanently, but I like cheeseburgers too much to give them up.
3. I will not attend my 10 year high-school reunion this year.
2. I forgive easily.
1. I go on and on about how I hate mushy romantic movies, but I secretly really do like them. And cry while watching every time.

NINE Ways To Win My Heart:
9. Cook for me.
8. Take me out for a beer.
7. Talk about classical music with me. Sincerely.
6. Love animals.
5. Have compassion for people.
4. Make me laugh.
3. Engage me in thoughtful conversation or a heated debate, even if we disagree on something.
2. Be silly with me.
1. Read and love the same books as me, or recommend new ones.

EIGHT things I want to do before I die:

8. Be published.
7. Visit Cornwall, England.
6. Take an Alaskan cruise.
5. Own a house on the beach somewhere, or at least have a pool.
4. Learn the cello.
3. Have a baby. Maybe. I don't know.
2. Kiss the Blarney Stone.
1. Pray at the Wailing Wall.

SEVEN ways to annoy me:
7. Make racist comments or jokes.
6. Talk about Rush Limbaugh.
5. Forget to clip your toenails. (Boys, this means YOU!)
4. Don't use your turn signal.
3. Post anonymous comments.
2. Don't say what you really mean.
1. Hold a grudge.

SIX things I believe in:
6. Love.
5. Same sex marriage.
4. Lots of alone time.
3. A good cry.
2. Mothers really do know everything.
1. Nothing heals better than hugs and kisses.

FIVE things I'm afraid of:
5. Reckless drivers with road rage.
4. Becoming embittered with age, like some older adults I know.
3. Having to drive in really bad snowstorms.
2. That I will have to move out of this country eventually because of the religious right.
1. The day my dog dies.

FOUR favorite things in my room:
4. My book collection.
3. My matching antique furniture.
2. My plants.
1. My embroidered red suede comforter.

THREE things I do everyday:

3. Play with the animals.
2. Check e-mail.
1. Tell people I love them.

TWO things I want to do right now:
2. Have lunch - I'm starving.
1. Knit, knit, knit.

ONE person I want to see right now:
1. I really miss my brother.

(Yes, I stole this. From Spacedog.)

Thursday, June 02, 2005


I gave up living my life by other peoples' rules a long time ago.

I am about to discuss something I don't normally talk about, except with the people to whom I am closest, but I think maybe now is the time to let it breathe...

When my soon-to-be-former-husband was diagnosed with Schizophrenia a week after our wedding two years ago, my life came to a screeching, seriously whip-lashed halt. Suddenly, in addition to being a newlywed, I became a full-time mother and caregiver. He couldn't work so I worked more. I kept the house and yard up while working 60 hours a week, while making sure we went to the doctor every week, sometimes twice a week. Eventually, our house had to be sold and we had to move. The relationship became stale, resentful, cold, and very, very unhappy.

The worse things spiraled out of control, the more I thought about divorce. As soon as I talked about the idea openly, I was met with disapproval from a lot of people, including some of my own family: How can you even think about such a thing while he is obviously so sick and helpless? What about your marriage vows, for better or for worse, in sickness and in health, which you made in front of God and everyone you know? How can you be so selfish? He needs you.

He needed me, but what I needed seemed inconsequential and insignificant, unimportant and unnecessary by comparison. Taking care of myself was dead last. I felt like I was spirit was drying up and disappearing, not to mention my physical self. I lost weight...I hovered near 100 pounds for several months. There was no color in my face, no light behind my eyes. Gaunt-looking and exhausted, I ignored the bathroom mirror at all costs, probably to avoid myself and the guilt I felt.

It is excruciating to tell the person to whom you are married that you don't love him and no longer wish to be married...that this marriage is dying a slow and agonizing death and you wish to be free to care for your soul before it is extinguished. The honest-to-God truth is that I didn't want to have to have a first marriage to fully understand what my personal limitations are. Like everyone else, I wanted to do things right the first time. Thus, the consequences for ignoring my heart and what my inner voice constantly whispered were insufferable.

What it really is all about is self-sacrifice versus self-preservation. I chose to preserve. I can't say people were stunned when I left my husband, but I sensed the head-shaking and finger-wagging, the frowns of admonition, the whispers and staring.

I have been an admirer of Ayn Rand's since I first read Atlas Shrugged, some years ago while I was still in college. I find her philosophy of Objectivism especially helpful and comforting whenever I feel a wave of guilt coming on. Rand said: "My philosophy, in essence, is the concept of man as a heroic being, with his own happiness as the moral purpose of his life, with productive achievement as his noblest activity, and reason as his only absolute."

So, I live my life by what I think is right and by what makes me happiest. I do not do things simply because they are expected of me, or because other people think I should behave in a certain manner. I have gained a tremendous amount of strength and self-reliance in the last two years from my experiences, and now I am proud to claim them.

*National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI)
*The Ayn Rand Institute - The Center for the Advancement of Objectivism

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Now is the Month of Maying

In the last three weeks or so, I have:

1. Baked copious amounts of bread.

Better than Beard's. Maybe.

2. Learned how to knit.

3. Kept watched over our new friend and her babies.
Lola the Robin
Lola's Baby

Saturday, May 21, 2005

really not MIA

I'm still here.

With the advent of Spring, I'm spending much more time outside and generally being much more productive. There's something about that sun shining away that really gets my blood flowing. That means limited blogging.

Let's see...what have I been up to? You'll find out soon enough, when I come back with photos to post. It'll be soon, I promise.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

it's finally Spring

And I have my first sunburn of the season. Ouch.

Friday, May 06, 2005

uh oh

Last night I dreamed I gave birth. To fraternal twins. Eek.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

recent inspiration

T.S. Eliot has long been my favorite poet. I discovered him in High School in my AP English class and have been smitten ever since. In college I composed part of a song cycle with some of his text. I found it yesterday, revised a little of it, and found myself itching to finish it. Anyone know where I can find a publisher? And how do I actually get permission to use the text? Hmm.

I love this...

Garlic and sapphires in the mud
Clot the bedded axle-tree.
The trilling wire in the blood
Sings below inveterate scars
Appeasing long forgotten wars.
The dance along the artery
The circulation of the lymph
Are figured in the drift of stars
Ascend to summer in the tree
We move above the moving tree
In light upon the figured leaf
And hear upon the sodden floor
Below, the boarhound and the boar
Pursue their pattern as before
But reconciled among the stars.

-from Burnt Norton (No. 1 of 'Four Quartets'), T.S. Eliot

Thursday, April 28, 2005

note to self

Please remember to check the pockets of your jeans for missing chapsticks before doing the wash. More importantly, please check for missing chapsticks before putting your clothes in the dryer. You will be glad I reminded you.


Because i am in a very crabby mood today.....

Some things that really, seriously make me want to punch someone in the face:

1. Cold, clammy feet.
2. Smokers.
3. People who don't take care of their health.
4. The incorrect usage of pronouns. See this post.
5. Misspellings and typos in the newspaper. (Aren't those people supposed to be professionals?)
6. People who don't use their turn signals when driving.
7. Unemployment.
8. George W. Bush.
9. People who swoon over shoes and/or handbags.
10. People who unnecessarily spend $90,000 on a Hummer and then get free gas from the government.
11. Ass-kissers.
12. People who say they will do something and then don't do it.
13. Animal cruelty.
14. PMS.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

since i haven't felt like all

Stolen from Courtney:

1. What is your name? If you don't know already, I'm not going to tell you.
2. What color underwear are you wearing now? None.
3. What are you listening to right now? The din from the computer and the wind outside.
4. What are the last 2 digits of your phone number? Why?
5. What was the last thing you ate? 2 cups of coffee and a banana.
6. If you were a crayon what color would you be? Shiseido Red.
7. How is the weather right now? Windy and overcast.
8. Who was the last person talked to on the phone? Ryan.
9. The first thing you notice about the opposite sex? The hands.
10. Favorite Food? Mexican. Or maybe pasta. And I love Mediterranean. Oooh, I love to eat!
11. Favorite Drink? Beer. Are you kidding?
12. Favorite Alcoholic drink? See above.
13. Favorite place to shop? Thank goodness for Amazon one-click.
14. Hair Color? Blonde, but slowly turning brown with age.
15. Eye Color? Blue.
16. Do you wear contacts? Sometimes.
17. Top or bottom? Top.
18. Favorite Month? Any month with no snow.
19. Favorite Fast Food? EW!
20. Last Movie you Watched? "Payback" with Mel Gibson (there was a Mel Gibson marathon on TBS the other day).
21. Favorite Day of the Year? See #18.
22. Are you too shy to ask someone out? Never.
23. Summer or Winter? Summer.
24. Hugs or Kisses? Um.....?
25. Chocolate or vanilla? Definitely chocolate.
26. What books are you reading? "America's Women" by Gail Collins & "Is Paris Burning?" by Larry Collins (see sidebar on the right)
27. What's on your mouse pad? The Kurzweil logo.
28. Favorite Board Game? Trivial Pursuit.
29. What did you do last night? Cooked dinner, did work, and watched Letterman till I fell asleep.
30. Who inspires you? Usually my moods.
31. Butter, Plain, or salted popcorn? Extra butter, please.
38. Favorite Flower? Purple Coneflower.
39. What do you say when you wake up in the A.M? I have to pee.
40. Do you still talk to your best friend from middle school? Oh Lord, yes.
41. What's on your desk? The computer, the mouse dock, a lamp, loads of post-it reminders, usually a cat or 2.
42. Rock Concert or Symphony? Symphony, unless it's Tori.
43. Play or Opera? Opera.
44. Have you ever fired a gun? Yes, at my father's insistence.
45. Do you like to travel by plane? Sure.
46. Right-handed or Left-handed? Righty.
47. Smooth or Chunky Peanut Butter? Creamy.
48. How many pillows do you sleep with? 4
49. City and State you were born in? None of your g-d business.
50. Ever hitchhiked? Never.

Monday, April 18, 2005

something you may not know about me

I am severely allergic to MSG.

I found out the hard way.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

it might not be as bad as it looks

We've got a full tank of gas, half a pack of cigarettes, it's dark, and we're wearing our sunglasses. Hit it.

last 10 songs on itunes:
1. Ruby Soho - Rancid
2. Untitled 1 - Keane
3. That's Just What You Are - Aimee Mann
4. Cheesecake Truck - King Missile
5. Almost - Sarah Harmer
6. Chariot - Gavin DeGraw
7. Happier - Guster
8. Fit But You Know It - The Streets
9. God Trying To Get Your Attention - Keb Mo
10. Into the Light - Cause & Effect

Wednesday, April 13, 2005


on the defensive
anxious and impatient
curiously crushed


Saturday, April 09, 2005

decision made

The ghosts, who have been sleeping for years, will continue to rest. Provoked, uninvited, buried. But now, a few last words before they are dead forever...

it was almost
a new beginning
the things i tried to vow: be nicer, get healthy
stop fucking around

and then one evening,
high, hot, humid
suddenly it was there grabbing hold to keep me
to see what i had missed
to feel what once was loved
but now i can't remember
why planets collided
it seems i only knew it from across the pillow

Friday, April 08, 2005

getting crafty

I was skeptical when my mother presented me with a gift certificate for Spirit Work, a local knitting/design/yarn-selling shop. I didn't want to learn how to knit. Rather, I wanted to learn to crochet! Yes, crochet. It sounds so much more sophisticated (it's French, after all, right?) than knitting. Spinsters knit and I am definitely not a spinster.

Despite my protests, I went on their website to check and see when the next beginner class starts. What a relief.

Check out what we're going to learn how to make:

My mind can rest easy knowing I will not be toting around a bag of yarn for tissue-box cozies and potholders and other Havisham-y type creations. Whew.

Thursday, April 07, 2005

some things that made me smile today

1. A blast from the past. (10:49am)

2. The 10 degree temperature difference between home and rehearsal. On the warmer side, that is. It was so nice that I managed to get in a 20 minute walk before we started practice. (5:11pm)

3. A spectacular sunset. (7:16pm)

4. WBER: Cars and Guitars by Tori (my favorite!), followed immediately with Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now by The Smiths (her favorite!). Oh, the irony! (7:26pm)

5. Unconditional love and understanding. (11:18pm)

6. Reel Big Fish's cover of It's Not Easy from Pete's Dragon. (11:38pm)

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

a political prayer

Dear Tom DeLay,

May the fleas of a thousand camels infest your crotch and may your arms be too short to scratch.


(At least someone in Texas agrees with me.)

Friday, April 01, 2005

some words about grammar

I want to talk about pronouns.

Pronoun usage in daily conversation has gone straight down the crapper. And I mean it. I'm no grammarian myself, but I know when to say 'so-and-so and I' or 'so-and-so and me'. This is only partially because of grade school teachers. Mostly it is because of my mother, who actually is a grammarian.

Since when has the usage of 'so-and-so and I' in place of the proper 'so-and-so and me' become so socially, conversationally acceptable? It's deplorable. Some people may not care, but it makes my skin crawl. I physically shudder and sometimes condescendingly roll my eyes and shake my head if I temporarily forget myself in public.

Par exemple:
Hugo gave the tickets to Penelope and I. Wrong! Hugo gave the tickets to Penelope and ME. (It is also correct to say Penelope and I got the tickets.)

This will be a fun weekend for Sylvester and I. Wrong again. This will be a fun weekend for Sylvester and ME. (It is also correct to say Sylvester and I will have a fun weekend.)

Please people, let's get it right! Stop embarrassing yourselves. You are smarter than this.

(Just in case you don't believe me or think I need to re-take the third grade, here is a website to help you hone your pronoun-creating skills.)

Thursday, March 31, 2005

my thoughts on the plight of Terri Schiavo

I am so gosh-darn sick and tired of hearing about Terri Schiavo.

Thank goodness the poor woman finally died today, the way she wished. I hope. I am disappointed that her husband, Michael Schiavo, did not allow Terri's parents to witness her passing. But then again, I know what it's like to be at war against one's in-laws. Hopefully, we do not know all of the circumstances. In such a difficult struggle that has been systematically exploited by the media, our scarily Evangelical-becoming government, and the overzealous pro-lifers looking for a "cause", it is my sincere hope that some family privacy has been maintained through unquestionably very delicate moments.

This whole ordeal sickens me. In the last week or so, I have had colorful discussions related to the Terri Schiavo situation with friends and family members. My personal opinion is that of Michael Schiavo's, and maybe for more personal reasons than I like to admit. Yes, the man has a girlfriend and children by the girlfriend, but legally he was still responsible for his wife. I do not know why he chose not to divorce Terri, or get an annulment, or separation, or whatever, aside from the obvious inability of Terri to sign any paperwork. Perhaps he is a raging egomaniac obsessed with power struggle. Or perhaps he really was a caring, loyal husband devoted to seeking the fulfillment of his former wife's wishes. I don't really care to pick apart Michael Schiavo's motives or intentions.

What really steams me is the pro-lifer argument: it is amoral, sinful, against God, etc. to remove the feeding tube and let Terri die. Couldn't it be argued that all of this...the heart attack leading to Terri Schiavo's brain damage and persistent vegetative state, the long legal fights, the money, the pain, the removal of the feeding tube and its reinsertion a few years ago, the final removal of the tube days ago, and finally her death this morning...couldn't it be argued that all of that was "God's Will"? If the heart attack and subsequent brain damage were indeed God's Will in the first place, then who are we to interfere with that? Who are we to keep poor Terri Schiavo from going home to God?

Her parents, I think, were not "good Christians" with respect to this argument. They were scared and selfish. They clung to a pretty lifeless daughter for 14 years because they were too weak to accept the Will of God. Instead, the created a 14 year legal distraction for themselves so they wouldn't have to deal with reality.

Read a column from the Editor of Newsweek here - confusing law with theology.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

is Easter over yet?

Haven't been around much, I know. I'll be gone till at least Monday...I'm swamped with services and rehearsals. See you next week.

Friday, March 18, 2005

Thursday, March 17, 2005

the arguement for and against babies

Most of my friends are married, in long-term relationships with no desire for marriage, or engaged to be married. Most of my friends also don't want children. Susan, a few weeks ago, asked me if I wanted to have kids. Out of nowhere. I almost gagged on my beer. This past Friday, in my somewhat drunken haze, I vaguely recall asking Ben if he and Susan would still be friends with me if I had kids eventually.

Currently, I am undecided on the issue, but it's also a dialogue I've been having with myself a lot lately...

In the eyes of our society and culture: Isn't it the most natural thing in the world for women to have babies? Isn't that what is expected of them? Are women somehow less feminine if they elect not to give birth? Is there something wrong with a woman if she doesn't want to have children?

These are just a few of the questions volleying around in my brain.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

i still have the breath i thought i would lose

you know the shape my breath will take before i let it out

i am awake, my body
i awake, my body
awake my body

comes from you

make me forget
make me remember

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Another proposal...

...and she said "yes".
Congratulations and best wishes to my oldest friend and his fiancee, who were engaged over the weekend!

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

English Genius
You scored 100% Beginner, 100% Intermediate, 93% Advanced, and 88% Expert!
You did so extremely well, even I can't find a word to describe your excellence! You have the uncommon intelligence necessary to understand things that most people don't. You have an extensive vocabulary, and you're not afraid to use it properly! Way to go!

My test tracked 4 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:
You scored higher than 61% on Beginner
You scored higher than 70% on Intermediate
You scored higher than 47% on Advanced
You scored higher than 96% on Expert
Link: The Commonly Confused Words Test written by shortredhead78 on Ok Cupid

escaped just in time

It seems that my former hometown of Cleveland is one of the most depressed cities in the nation. According to an article in Men's Health, Cleveland received a big fat "F" and ranks at #92 in a list of 101. (Worth noting - Buffalo came in at #11 and got a B-. How'd that happen?!)

Other interesting facts:
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the city landed the No. 1 rating in terms of big-city poverty in the United States. It was also ranked as the worst major city for children to live in, and it was the 20th most dangerous city in the country, according to Morgan Quitno Press, a Lawrence, Ka.-based publishing and research company. Cleveland landed in the top 10 list of cities where living is difficult. A study from the Rockefeller Institute said Cleveland is among a handful of American cities where major urban hardship has existed for decades. Men's Health also listed Cleveland as one of the flabbiest cities in the United States in October.

While there are specific things about the city that I miss terribly (the Orchestra, the CMA, the MOCA, Coventry & Tommy's, Tower City, etc.), contrary to popular belief (and you know who you are), I do NOT want to move back.

So there.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Happy Birthday, Beth!

Monday, March 07, 2005

pierre le gique

I seriously dislike running into people I know in public.

It is impossible for me to walk into Wegman's without seeing someone I know. It happened again this afternoon, and I was alone so I couldn't pretend I didn't notice my high school AP French teacher the 3 times we passed each other because I was too busy chit-chatting with my companion.

First, it was on the way in to the store. Maybe this was excusable, because I wasn't really sure if it was him. After all, it's been nearly 10 years since my last day of high school. I also can't remember if I actually went to French class that day. (I skipped a lot of classes senior year.)

The second time I passed him, I was on the way to the pet food aisle for a supply of guinea pig kibble and dog treats for Harley. He was stopped at that podium-station thing near the pharmacy, talking with a uniform-clad employee. He looked right at me; we made eye contact. I kept right on walking.

Then, the third time he passed me, I was in the, ahem, tampon aisle. I prayed he wouldn't stop to talk.

I guess it wouldn't have been that big of a deal to talk to him. He wasn't a bad teacher and it wasn't a horrible class. Of course, he had his little pets, but who could blame him when he had not one male student in that class? He was pretty cool about a video 2 classmates and I once made for a class project. If I remember correctly, in it we were supposed to demonstrate the usage of a particular verb tense. Anyway, we dressed up as hippies and "simulated" smoking pot while lip-singing along to Neil Diamond's Cracklin' Rosie.

Thursday, March 03, 2005


I have not felt like writing lately.

There has been plenty of typing, but I have not been motivated at all to actually pick up a pen and write something on paper. I wish this wasn't the case, because I don't much trust my memory for things I don't tell anyone.

I may not remember, even next year, how last week I picked up and took a little trip and didn't tell anyone. Which is something I promised I'd never do again. Not after a certain incident in Philadelphia a few years ago. I also may not remember how my moods and emotions have been drastically fluctuating for just under a week. I hope, at least, that's only hormonal.

For me, this winter has been nearly unbearable. Mother Nature teases with her quick rays of sunshine before yanking them back and choking them out with her clouds...a day or two above 30 degrees, then we are plunged back into frigidly dry ice-walls of cold air.

I don't leave the house unless necessary.

I eat too much chocolate ice cream.

I sleep too late in the day.

I don't care enough.

On Tuesday I forced myself to go outside. Armed with my digi, I took some photos of the neighborhood under the blanket of snow that fell Monday night. Everything was a dull white and grey. Even the red, blue, yellow, and brown houses neighboring mine looked bleak and colorless. I tried - I really did - to see the beauty, but the snow seemed contrived. Hollow. Dubious.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

here we snow again

What better way to welcome in the month that gives us the first day of Spring than with a monster snowstorm?

At least someone's enjoying it.

Saturday, February 12, 2005

a soulmate of a different kind

Last night, over some Brooklyn East India Pale Ale, I discovered my literary soulmate.

Lauren stopped over to drop off some ice cream. I handed her a beer, and asked her if she'd finished The Dark Tower books she'd been reading. At Christmas, I had agreed to loan her my David Sedaris collection when she'd finished The Dark Tower books my brother gave her. So, after I went upstairs to pluck Sedaris off the book shelf, we got to talking, and Lauren, who was an English Lit. major at St. Lawrence, rattled off a bunch of stuff while I sat there in total, utter amazement:

"Have you ever read any Margaret Atwood?"

I clutched my hands to my heart and replied, "Are you freaking kidding me?!"

My mother smiled with recognition. "Heidi's loved Margaret Atwood for years. Since high school."

"Cat's Eye is my favorite. I had to read The Edible Woman for class, and after that I was hooked."

"Oh my God. I have every Atwood book ever published except for the one that's out of print. As soon as I unpack, they're yours." I said this with some trepidation. I had just relinquished my collection of maybe 20 books, including fiction, non-fiction, poetry, and essays.

We also talked about Ayn Rand (someone who brought Ryan and me together several years ago), Wally Lamb, Toni Morrison, Alice Walker, Erica Jong, and William James. But the real kicker came towards the end of our conversation.

"You know who else I really like?" Lauren asked. "I had to read her for class, too. She's British. Jeannette Wilson? No, Winter? Winterson?"

I shrieked. "OH MY GOD. She wrote Written on the Body, which has to be one of my favorite books of all time. You can have that one, too. You have to read it."

It was nearing 10pm and both Ryan and I had completely forgotten about eating dinner. We were so engrossed in our literary discussion. And as Lauren stood up to put on her fleece and roll a cigarette, I felt like a new person in a way; refreshed and hopeful.

Lauren said it best: "How often do you recommend a book to a person who replies, 'Oh, I've already read that. And loved it. It changed my life.'?"

I have. Once.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

temporary catharsis

I didn’t want to talk to anyone last night. Not friends, not lovers, not family. Not even the dog.

Earlier yesterday afternoon, I broke down right over this keyboard here and just sobbed. And I don’t really know why. Mood? No sun + cold + too much snow = Very Bad Mood. Circumstance? Maybe. It just came out, without any warning. Hard.

It’s tough for people around me to understand why this happens, especially when I can’t even explain it myself. It’s not like I was actively searching for something cathartic. It only lasted about two minutes and I didn’t really feel better afterward.

Maybe what I need is a spiritual re-centering. That’s something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately. I seem to always be moving in one direction, spiritually, while many of the people I know are going completely opposite of that, if they’re going someplace at all. Often, I feel lost. I struggle with this sort of thing quite frequently – there are people close to me who seem to not even have a spiritual center. Not that I believe one is necessary in order to lead a fully satisfying life. But I’ve observed that these people seemingly appear empty on the outside. What’s on the inside, of course, is a whole different story.

So, yesterday, as was required of me, I went to church. In the past, Ash Wednesday has always meant something to me. There have been times while in church I’ve been almost paralyzed by sadness and hope at the same time. Last Easter, for example, I cried like a baby during the triumphant processional Jesus Christ is Risen Today, complete with full organ stops, antiphonal brass choir exchanging praises from balcony to altar, and a truly astonishing choir whose sounds echoed magnificently off the stone walls of the church. I guess I was hoping to be so moved again last night.

I sat on the organ bench during the imposition of the ashes wondering if I should go forward to receive them. From dust you came, to dust you shall return. Sometimes in church I feel like a foolish hypocrite. I question things. I doubt. I stay up till 4:30am debating St. Anselm and Pascal’s Wager. I elected to stay put, and as I watched everyone in the sanctuary form a line, I noted that they all looked a little bit like possessed disciples. Zombies, almost, with eyes glazed over, doing something only because it was expected of them.

Then came the sermon and I thought God came down and bonked me right on the head. Was the Pastor really looking at me the whole time? He talked about how people, during Lent, have a chance to really start over. He commented the most common item in a household next to or near the front door is a mirror. That’s so you can check to make sure before going out that your exterior is arranged and flawless. While your interior may be falling a part. I swear he was looking right at me.

Sure, I have guilt. I’m learning even still, more than a year after my life actually did fall apart, not to feel guilty for choices that I know were the right ones. The Pastor continued in his message, saying that when Jesus said ‘give up everything and follow me’, he really meant everything. In addition to your home, your money, your possessions, your time, he also meant your guilt. And your sorrow. And your burdens. When I think about it, this seems like an awful cop-out. This stuff is mine; I earned it – burdens, baggage, emotional scars and all. You mean to tell me I have to give them up to follow Jesus? Humans have a hard time letting go of things as it is, much less giving something up for someone else: C’mon, Jesus, I’ve decided my mother will never again make me feel like an irrational teenager when she whines about being too helpless to do anything super mundane like take out the trash. While we’re at it, here’s my crappy car with 200,000 miles on it, my unpaid school loans, the fight I had last week with my sister, and all the times I’ve unintentionally put my foot in my mouth and really bruised some feelings. Let’s go!

As if.

I feel like since all these things are mine, I should be able to handle them on my own and not bother or trouble anyone else with them. Who would want them anyway? (Apparently, Jesus does.) Perhaps it’s my stubborn nature.

I thought what I really wanted to say, when I first started writing, was that I was depressed yesterday and didn’t want to talk to anyone and that was that. I planned to mention how I came home from church last night, munched on some avocado on whole wheat, let the dog out, and read and finished the new David Sedaris book in 3 ½ hours before finally turning out the light at around 1:30am.

I guess I had more to say. The nice thing about not talking to anyone is that if you listen deeply enough, you’ll tell yourself exactly why it is you are upset. So, I’m upset because I’m off my spiritual pathway and going to church last night didn’t help. Or did it? While I may appear to some as having most of my stuff together, so to speak, there is a daily inner battle going on inside me. I’ve never aggressively tried to conceal what bothers me; I just don’t talk about it until I'm ready.

I also have never had a mirror near or next to the front door.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005


if i hear one more thing about valentine's day, i'm going to vomit.

Old musicians never die, they are just disconcerted.

I read in this morning's paper that Karl Haas died on Sunday. Why am I always the last to know these things? I always thought I was rather up-to-date in my knowledge of current events, but alas, this slipped right by me.

Anyway, Karl Haas was the host of Adventures in Good Music, syndicated world-wide, and produced by my favorite old hometown radio station WCLV-104.9 FM in Cleveland.

An excerpt from Haas' obituary:

Robert Conrad, the President of Cleveland radio station WCLV, which has produced and distributed Adventures in Good Music since 1970, said, "Throughout his broadcasting career, Karl Haas had the knack of informing and delighting his listeners with his vast knowledge of
music, ranging from humor to etiquette and everything in between. And who can forget his penchant for punning the titles of his programs "The Joy of Sax", "Baroque and in Debt", "May the Source be With You" and "No Stern Untoned"? Karl leaves a valuable legacy of music appreciation that is unparalleled. And because his programs are timeless, WCLV will continue to make these priceless musical treasures available to radio stations.

You can read the obituary in its entirety here.

Monday, February 07, 2005


i have cramps and i'm pissed, so don't fuck with me.

Friday, February 04, 2005

that's something, at least

we'll see what happens now

I've been diligently working on some arranging for Good Friday. Yes, already. I only had about 3 weeks after Christmas to breathe and recover before diving right in again for Lent and Easter. Such is the life of a church musician. But despite all the complaining I do, I so love my job. That is something I am proud to say. Really, there's nothing I would rather do. While at home, I spend most of my time in front of a score laying out parts for whatever assortment of musicians have come forward expressing a desire to perform at any given time. And, while at work, what I do makes people feel good. Every time. Myself included.

Thursday, February 03, 2005


the day the music died

Last night on my way home from practice I caught Fresh Air on the radio. Terry Gross was interviewing The Godfather of Soul. He's 71 and boy does he sound like it. But man can he still sing...the gruffness goes away as soon as he croons a few bars of whatever pops into his head.

I learned several things last night about The Hardest Working Man in Show Business:
1. He was married 3 years ago to one of his back-up singers, and has a toddler son with her.
2. He used to fine his musicians money for not being dressed properly (shoes un-shined, suits not pressed, etc.), playing wrong notes, or in general, just 'not getting it'.
3. He gave both Bootsy Collins and Maceo Parker their starts, back in the late '60s.

How about that?

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

a long weekend

Friday - fish fry from Kithno's, fire, wine, fiery stomach ache
Saturday - Chicken French, Butch Cassidy & the Sundance Kid, decaf English Breakfast
Sunday- pasta with tomatoes, roasted red peppers and artichoke hearts, Glory, wine, every 4 hours
Monday - Sausage corn chowder, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Sam Winter Lager


Thursday, January 27, 2005

a marital discussion

As everyone knows, I am a huge junkie. Last night on my way into practice, I was listening to an interesting commentary on All Things Considered:

How Straight Couples Are Riding on the Coattails of Gay Rights
by Heather Dune Macadam

In Massachusetts, many private employers are phasing out their domestic partner benefits over the next few years, on the logic that since gays can now marry in Massachusetts, there is no need for benefits for unmarried partners -- gay or straight. Commentator Heather Dune Macadam says that if straight couples in Massachusetts want to share health insurance, they ought to get married instead of taking advantage of rights that gays have worked hard to earn. (You can listen to the story by clicking the above link.)

It is food for thought. Earlier, Ryan and I started discussing marriage as a government institution vs. as a religious institution. I find it curious how marriage means different things to different people. I, personally (an employee of the Lutheran ELCA), think it's more critical that married couples are recognized by the government rather than the church.

In the Lutheran church, the act of marriage is more for ceremonial purposes than is seen as merely a confirmation of the legal marriage. In other words, walking down the aisle is just for show.

Admittedly, I had a Protestant church wedding. But I also had a civil ceremony in front of a judge first. Even though I am now separated, on the road to divorce, and probably slightly jaded in my view of marriage, I still think this is an important argument to consider. I guess I don't understand how, for example, one can be morally opposed to the concept of marriage because it is seen by the majority of society as a religious institution, when really isn't it about what the 2 involved parties believe? If you both believe it to be more of a legal bond than a religious bond, why not just go to a judge and just do it?

Realistically, how does being recognized as a married couple by the church help you, aside from the obvious getting into Heaven thing? The church doesn't give you a break on taxes. The church won't acknowledge someone's power of attorney, will it? The church doesn't provide financial assistance to you for life if your spouse dies.

So who cares? Get married so at least you can get cheaper health insurance. But only if your betrothed doesn't repulse you, because let me tell you, divorce is not's a big pain in the ass.

Comment away.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

tummy troubles...

...and I'm not sure if it's nerves, or the slightly undercooked cheeseburger I ate last night.

Monday, January 24, 2005

snow, snow, snow

This was the view Saturday night leaving the birthday celebration at the Grill. Yes, I actually hung my head out the window of the moving vehicle to snap this photo.

Yesterday, I arrived at work, after an hour-long commute (which normally takes me 25 minutes) on treacherous highway, to this:

1. An unplowed parking lot, snowplow stuck in snowbank, the irony of which needs no words.
2. The front door of the building frozen shut. I had to sit in my car and wait for someone else to show up to help me get the door open.
3. These words from the Pastor: "Oh, you didn't need to come in today. I was going to call you last night, but I forgot."

'Nuff said.

Friday, January 21, 2005

the driveway of endless moments


a fifteen years to life sentence.

i feel like i am just waking up.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

bbq and blues

Friday, Lauren and I went out to Brockport to hear Ryan play a gig at the Merchant Street Smokehouse.

While the food was decent at best, (go to Sticky Lips or the Dino instead), Lauren and I had a great time people-watching. Especially the overzealous under-agers and groupies dressed for 70 degree weather rather than 20 degree weather. Check out the rabid fan in the photo on the bottom (in the gray sweatshirt).

The band was entertaining...good original tunes, adequate covers. We thoroughly enjoyed it, especially the "less bass, more harmonica". The crowd seemed to like it, too; meanwhile Lauren and I were having trouble enough with the idiot bartender who wouldn't give Lauren our $1 draughts for Ladies' Night. Sometimes complaining actually is effective - in this case we got a round of free drinks!