Sunday, August 28, 2011

Proper Opossum Massage

It is important that you don't just take up all that negative energy, but that you convert it as a healer, and the return it to the Opossum.

Crafty crafters! Oh my GOSH! Oh my GOSH!

She's having craftgasms!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

A year of change

My cousin has her great great grandmother's day book - a ledger that she wrote in each day between 1889 and 1909 when she died.  This woman was married to my great great grandfather's younger brother who died of typhoid leaving his widow and two small children for her to raise.

The journal is an eye opening look into a person's grief.  Without her husband, then her father, and then each of the boys as they married, she sees a bit of her life chip away.  Most poignant are two rituals that she goes through on two different nights each year.  Each New Years she states her name and her age and she asks for God to take her; she cannot bear another year.  And on the date that is the anniversary of her wedding day, she sets a dinner place for her husband who died thirty years before.  It's the same routine on these days. This was her life - a day to day enduring of the stuff of life.

I was thinking about her when I was last sitting down with my crazy doctor, who tells me that I am far less crazy than I was a year ago.  We discussed how the world changed for me a year ago today.

It was the day I learned that Mom was sick - real sick and it wasn't going to end well.

Anyhow, the doctor said that today would be a difficult day for me and I am prepared, but I think I'm going to be OK.

In the nine and a half months that Mom has been gone I have had more good days than bad, more good memories than bad.

I still miss her, but I am at peace.  I still reach for the phone when I want to tell her something, but the shock of not being to reach her has passed. 

The worst part of any of this is the feeling that you get when both parents are gone. You are now alone at the front of the line, there is no one blocking your view.  Life takes on a whole new clarity as mortality stares you in the face.

If I have to find something to take away from this day is that she went quick, her dementia help to shield her from the inevitable, and that I am lucky man to have had her as my mother because was an original, not a pale copy of anyone else.

Grief strikes us all differently and its unpredictability is its sharpest edge.  We never know how or when it will hit, we only can predict how we feel at a moment and expect that in the future.  I always thought that when this day came I would be a wreck.  But talking about it and writing about it and seeing your support for me in this transition has helped me a great deal. And that, I am grateful.

From here I'll keep taking one day at a time, but as I get closer to the year anniversary passing of her death - the traditional end of mourning in Jewish life, I will be more careful about wishing away time, I will work more on serving the living instead of mourning the dead and I will enter a new phase of life - that of simply being in the moment in hopes of keeping that moment alive in my life longer than it was before.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The chosen car of the Chosen People

In Cleveland's east side Jewish community in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s, the car of choice (if you couldn't afford a Cadillac) for the chosen people was an Oldsmobile. 

And not just any Oldsmobile, but an Oldsmobile from Abe "A.D." Pelunis.  (The A.D. stands for always dependable!")

My father owned two of them - a 1966 four door Delta 88 Holiday hardtop, and then a 1967 Delta 88 Hardtop four door.  The story on the 1966 was dad bought and brought it home.  Six weeks later it was stolen.  When they found what was left of 1966 Delta,  the 1967's had been delivered so he bought the same model in the same color. The car lasted forever.  When Dad made the jump to a used 1969 Cadillac in 1970, the Olds went to my brother, then to the next brother.  When it was last seen it was junked in Pheonix sometime in the 1970s.

In the 1970s, the midsize Olds Cutlass became synonymous with Bubbies living in University Heights.  Thousands of Jewish grandmothers (and grandfathers) bought Cutlass sedans and coupes from Mr. Pelunis.  The parking lot at May's on the Heights looked like an Oldsmobile lot on sale days.  So were the temple lots.

And why were they so popular?  They were dependable, affordable, and they were nicer than Chevrolet's or Ford's or Plymouths, but not as ostenatious as a Buick or Chrysler. And Oldsmobile said that you had arrived and could have nice things, but you didn't overpay.

From 1959 to 1968 Old's full-size cars had a forward edge as they tried to appeal to younger buyers. By 1969, they pretty much threw in the towel - the full size cars grew to resemble larger and more dour interpretations of what the aging client base wanted.

And to me, this is why the brand died.  At some point everyone's grandmother or grandfather bought an Oldsmobile.  Nice but not too showy.  And when GM striped the car of dependability, what was the point of even owning one?

Oldsmobiles are not common like they used to be.  Finding a good one is like finding a needle in a haystack.

I like a good challenge.

Gut check

I have a gut, this is not it - but its a nice one - and I checked.  Details to follow...

Saturday, August 20, 2011

"The Good Chair"

We just got it back from the upholsterers!

I found this chair - one chair of a three piece Edwardian parlor set (the other pieces are a rocker, and then a two set settee) - at one of the local resale stores just after the floors in the house were finished.  While it had great lines, and great wood tones, the old upholstery was so awful (dull YELLOW material with dirty looking white flocking, with diamond tufting on the back) that I couldn't even take a picture of it.  And even though it's missing its casters, which lowered the chair about two inches, the fit on the chair was very comfy - especially the arms - your just fall into it. 

Good used furniture in Central Ohio is really pricey, and I paid more than I should, but I loved the lines.  It's not really girly looking; it has some weight to it while not being over bearing. 

So while we had it in its original state, we named it "The Good Chair" after the one in the Addams Family and people simply couldn't wait to sit in it because it is throne-like.

So when it came to changing the fabric the husband said "I don't care - just stay away from anything that would make it look like you bought it from Belle Watling's Sporting House.

I love deep reds - deep crimson, or a deep claret makes me lose control - but the husband is right.  Too much red and it looks like you went to the garage sale at the local whore house.

I had been gone to Fabric Farms for our club chair and the ottoman redo,  and loved the work, but I wasn't finding a fabric I loved.  I thought about leopard, and that would have been fun for five minutes.  And I thought about a gray green with deep brown and dark gold accents (it was stunning) but it was too modern.  Then Bernie - the man who owns the store said "Don't forget to look through our sale materials - $4-6 dollars a yard" and I thought "Yeah, right."

And then I found the fabric - $4 a yard!  Bernie never lets you down.

It has every jewel tone imaginable.  So I bought it and planned to do it myself, until I got into the chair and found it had been rebuilt once before and incorrectly.  The springs needed retied and the burlap webbing (both sets) was bad.   And then I found that horsehair had turned to powder, etc.  So I took it back to Bernie, who is a doll, and said "Fix it."

And he did.

When we went to get it today we got ten feet inside the store and walked right past it.  I did a double take.  We didn't even recognize it!  I was stunned.  It's gorgeous.  Drop dead stunning.  And I had one of the smiles on my face that just wouldn't quit.

I have good taste.  I have even better color sense.

The husband too was amazed. 

So now we are searching for a set of four antique casters that will work with this chair.  We found sets of three, but no fours. 

But with as good as this chair came out, I'm feeling lucky!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

There are plans, and there is reality

Because today is a late schedule day, and I didn't have be in the office until 10AM, the way I had planned things was that I would sleep in to 7:30, enjoy a cup of coffee on the front porch wild reading the Columbus Dispatch, then I do some vacuuming, red up the place, and the go to work.  Simple, right?

Instead, at 7:30 AM the painter is knocking at the back door because the husband forgot to unlock the garage that the painter is painting. This of course ate into my TODAY Show time.  I gathered up the paper and went outside to enjoy my front porch and within 20 seconds the next door neighbor was over dropping off the food for Russell (Rocky the Wonder Dog's best friend) since Russell is spend the evening at our house.  We chatted because I really like our neighbors.  But by the time the chatting came to and, there went my newspaper time and it had eaten significantly into the housekeeping portion of the morning.  So I tossed that idea and went upstairs to do my morning routine.

No sooner than I was undressed than the doorbell rang.  It was the painter and he forgot his wallet and we were out of paint.  Well I had no money for more paint, and I wasn't about to give him my debit card so off I went in my car to Lowe's at 9AM.  I called the office and spoke with the boss and said I would be a few minutes late.  He said fine.  But no sooner than I got to the end of the driveway that I noticed that the whole street was bumper to bumper and stopped because an American Van Lines truck was unloading the possessions of a renter at the double at the end of the block.  Fabulous.

Fifteen minutes later the police showed up and forced the van liner to move.  That placed me at Lowe's at 9:20.  I grabbed the cans took them in and got a match on the paint, paid for the cans and was home by 9:35.  Into the house, grabbed a quick shower, dressed and made it to work at 10:01:00.

And then my boss says: "You didn't need to call in if you are a minute late."

So that has been how my day is progressing.  How is yours?

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

One Cortisone Shot and I Feel Like Flipping Superman!

The saga of cripple me and the shouldfer from Hell continues.  I know about a month ago I said that there was surgery in my future, but we had an issue with torthopediciac surgeon's staff and that plan was defenestrated when they lost the doctors notes and the wouldn't return phone calls for THREE FLIPPING WEEKS!

Needless to say that my pain was great, and it almost drove my husband insane as he listened to my moaning - and it wasn't good moaning either.

So I went to the Ortho guy who sewed the Husband up after he detached his bicept tendon and this guy says that my rotator cuff isn't the issue, but that the bone spur in my should is. Then he shows me the X-Ray and says "It says so - right here."

Son of a bitch!

So we came up with a two fold plan.  First he shot me with Cortisone, and two I'm doing physical therapy.

Normally the shots don't effect me and make me crazy. but this one did.  I didn't sleep a wink last night and this morning I was up with the chickens and had the whole down stairs vaccumed before you say Anna Maria Alberghetti. 

And oh my dear GOD!  But I just feel like I just want to go out and beat my chest like Tarzan!  FUCK YEAH! This is how it must have felt to be Wally Cox! No wonder those weight lifters get a rush out of this shit!

This afternoon I had my first physical therapy session on my shoulder.  Luckily there was PT place of sound repute around the corner.  And that is where we come to "Jamie" the manual therapist.  Beautifully handsome Jamie.  He has the face of a porn star and the body to match.  And through his shirt, I am happy to report, nipples like gum drops. (Just for you, Peenee) Sigh.

Today was all about range of motion, and going over the excercises that I have to do with girly weights to strengthen the muscles in the left shoulder.   Then he put the ice jacket on my shoulder.  Heaven!

As I was leaving, Jamie pointed out that I could schedule my appointment him or one of his staff.  I chose him, snatch.

Since I don't have a picture of Jamie, he's one of Ben Cohen who is even more beautiful and sticks up for whimps like me, and is against bullying.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

In these hard times...

Diversification is the first word in surviving the worst possible outcome.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Serenity? Not quite yet...

...I have noticed that since attending the Shaker Heights Class of 1981 reunion that my overall mood keeps improving with each day.  Not that I'm manic, but overall things seem less dire in life - the financial crisis excepted.  It was so great being able to release all those years feelings. I've also discovered that my Mom left me one thing not in her will - my dysfunction level is dropping faster than the stock market.

What I've also discovered is that since Mom's death, the auction, the sale of her house, our remodeling projects and now the reunion I have been really, and seriously tired.  Physically and mentally just worn out and exhausted, but for the right reasons.

Along those same lines we're coming up on the one year anniversary of Mom's diagnosis, which will mark the beginning of about 70 days of reflection leading up to the one year anniversary of her death.  I bring this up because people tell me that missing her begins to become a bit easier after crossing that milestone.  I hope, we'll see.

In other news, the husband is at home today - the first day of summer with perfect temps and humidity waiting on yet another contractor.  Once "Ron" is done with his projects then we have just one more job for the fall which is the laying down of new gravel on the drive way before winter.

Today at work a major manufacturer of safe's and banking equipment sent two employees to our office to take back the machinery that "brain trust" in programming were designing a platform interface for our clients.  Normally when this type of equipment comes in, they send a couple bears in to do the job. 


Today we had Daddy Bear and His Big Hot Dumb Son.  Both of them were pure meat, and the three of us gay guys in the office took great pleasure at seeing them HEAVE and WALK and NUDGE the two-ton vault and computer onto their great big fork lift and load it on the truck. And this is but one reason why I love men: because they look good working and working it.  This is not one of  the guys, but you get the idea:

Please note: This image has been edited to avoid showing genitals and violating Blogger's rules on such .  Anyhow, use your imagination - its always more fun!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The saddest record album cover in the world.

This is from my adopted hometown of Marion Ohio.  I wonder if Baikenage has this mournful album in her collections...

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Saturday Night on Sunday Morning

We were guests of a lovely woman last night for her annual Kahiki party in her AMAZING backyard.   Seredipity reigned supreme: my husband works with the daughter of our hostess; and our next door neighbor knows her through the Fraternity of the Moai, of which he is the Grand and Exalted Pooba.  We regret that we didn't bring our bathing suits as the pool was wonderful.  The owners parrots were dancing in their cages to the sounds of Tiny Bubbles,  sung by an enchanting strolling musician and his Hawaian guitar.  The yard is a little bit-o-Polynesia and our evening was enchanted.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

And yet another reason to distrust the French

I found this disturbing record album cover on another site, and normally I just laugh it off and go on, as such things generally amuse me. 

Not this one.

It fucking freaked me out.  Like Mickey Rooney freaks out Donna Lethal.  Like the idea of being trapped in an elevator during a black out with Leon Andre Talley freaks out TJB (or any of us for that matter).   Look at that woman's figure? Christ on a cracker - that is an interesting shape!

Still, I thought, I should not judge these people on their side show appearances - no, I should seek a more enlightened approach.

So I found this:

And I listened and I found that in fact the picture on the album lies about this avant guard trio; they are really an atonal DUO! That's right. Evidently they are a blind family. But the mother on the cover is just trickery to get you to buy the album. Or maybe she was just wandering about the studio during the photo set. She is nowhere to be found singing!

So once again, the French have led us to the cultural trough only to spit in our eyes and laugh at our passion for truth in advertising. To hell with you frog bastards!  Have you no shame?

Friday, August 5, 2011

Neighborhood Gossip: America's most hated woman...

... is rumored to be staying with relatives on the street behind our house.

'Tis true, my chickens!  We've been wondering why there have been news crews and satellite trucks cruising our pocket neighborhood.  One of the neighbors finally got fed up and asked them "what Hell are you doing here?"  Well, evidently, the news crews received a tip off from what they called a credible source that the "Tot Mom" is staying with family on the street behind us.

Really?  And why our pocket neighborhood?

The camera crew answered that "Because this is the last type of place where anyone would think to look for her."

"Well," says our neighbor, "if you're here and looking for her, it can't be that far fetched that she would be here, right?"

Like buzzards circling a fresh kill sight, they're still out there.  And seriously, if you were her, would you stay in the last place on earth if there were camera crews looking for you?  I think not.

Still, Cookie thinks we need a block party so we can search our neighbor's homes for the Tot Mom.  Either we'll put this rumor to bed, or we'll drive her out.  Either is a win for the neighborhood and a loss for the neighborhood gossips.

Monday, August 1, 2011

When you speak of this one day Alec, and you will...

Today I ran over to the local "high end" resale shop to see what they rolled out onto the floor after their annual BIG SALE that helps them get rid of the stuff that no one will buy under normal circumstances.

As I rounded the corner where the cheapy flatware and office equipment is staged, there before me was the most beautiful beefy young man that I could imagine - and he was hovering over an old blond wood RCA International hifi unit that was pristine.  He must have sensed my aura, or my eyeballs drilling into the open cuts of hi tank top (where I spyed - as Mr. Peenee would say - nipples like gumdrops) either way he looked up at me quite quickly.  I was so enraptured by his good looks, and those nipples were on my mind - that all I could say was "nice piece you got there."

Then I heard a groan.  A thin woman, was seated behind him and was annoyed both at her weak signal and his caressing this record player.  "Alec, can we go?"

The young man smiled and told her in a minute.  "Do you know anything about this?"  He seemed excited that anyone would know what it was or how it worked.

The record player?  Sure. I explained that my parents had one like it.

"It's a really old stereo, right?" he asked in a way that made me realize that I was dealing with someone who had no idea what he had his hands on.

I briefly explained that it wasn't a stereo, but a hifi record player with an international band radio.  High quality and pricey stuff in it's day - a true bargain at $300 considering it's condition - mint and intact.  One thing, however confused him.

"What's this thing?" he asked holding up the 45 adapter.  I exaplained that you slipped this over the mechanical spindle so you could stack up five or six records and that the record player would once the arm retracted automatically drop the next record and then play that next record, and then repeat the process.

"We used to stack up records so you had something like continous play."

Then he looked me in the eyes and said "You mean this thing is mechanical?"  Oh, those are not the words that I had been longing for.  I felt very very old.

After about 15 minutes "Alec" said that he thought that it was really neat and that he was going to buy it because - and get this - his GRANDFATHER had shelves of LPs ("I think they'ere a special kind of record") and it would be really cool to play them on this.  Chelsea - his girlfriend - was too entranced by her texting to even notice what we were talking about.

I excuse myself and continued shopping.  Taking in this whole store takes some time, so as I rounded my way out of their scratch and crap section in the back I saw Eric at the cashiers.  He smiled and waived.

I imagine that at some point, Eric will invite his friends over to see his HiFi and I magine that they will marvel at it's neanderthal engineering and its mechanical ways.  As he tells the world about the middle age man who took his hifi virginity from him and showed him a whole new world filled with tubes, spindals and something called stacking 45 singles upon his spindle.

And when he speaks about this, and I know that he will one day; Eric, please be kind.