Friday, October 31, 2003

Come with me
All Hallow's night
We'll frighten everyone in sight...


Happy Halloween Everyone

Note: No cats were injured in the making of this costume

Thursday, October 30, 2003

...and things that go bump in the night

of ghoulies and ghosties

Cannot let Halloween pass with out at least one true ghost story.

Years ago my mother and I took a scenic drive through New England. One stop was the village of Concord in Massachusetts. We liked Concord so much we stayed three nights and two day at the historic Concord Inn. The first night we slept there I woke up in the middle of the night wondering why my mother was sitting at the foot of my bed. I remember what a struggle it was for me to wake up. I felt like I was drowning in sleep and fighting my way back up to consciousness. When I finally awoke enough to look at the end of my bed I could see no one but I had the distinct feeling that someone was sitting there. I was confused and looked over to my mother’s bed expecting it to be empty and was surprised to see her form bundled up in the bedding. The second I realized she was still in her bed, whatever was sitting at the end of my bed disappeared. The next morning I said nothing to my mother because I did not want to frighten her.

The next night I again woke up but this time because I had the feeling someone was standing at the head of my bed and staring down at me. Again I had to struggle to wake up and as I did I could feel whomever standing there turn and walk away from the bed and into the bathroom. When I was fully awake I looked over at my mother’s bed and saw that she was asleep in it. I then got up to check to see if anyone was in the bathroom but, I can’t explain this, when I got closer to the bathroom I knew no one was in there so I turned and walked across the room to the door to the hallway. As I passed my mother’s bed I woke her up and she asked me what I was doing. I said checking to see that the room door was locked. It was and I went back to bed and slept though the rest of the night.

The next day at lunch I told my mother that I thought our room was haunted and she surprised me by saying she knew. How? Because she woke up that first night and saw something sitting on the end of my bed. Why didn’t she tell me? Because she did not want to frighten me. Her instincts were right, after hearing this I was very, very frighten. The whole thing was creeping me out. We had eaten dinner at the hotel dining room the last two nights and had become friendly with our server so we decided to ask her if the hotel was known to be haunted the next time we saw her.

When we got back to the hotel around four in the afternoon, I looked into the dining room on my way up to my room and saw our server setting up the room for dinner. I went over to her and, after a little small talk, asked her if the hotel was haunted. She hesitated and then said yes, the daughter of the man who built the hotel supposedly haunted the bridal suite.
“Where is the bridal suite?”
"Right above your room."
I looked at her stunned and say, “Well, she’s dropping down to visit me,”
I told her what was happening and then went up to my room to get ready for dinner.

By the time we returned to the dining room the story of my encounter with the hotel ghost had spread to the other dinners and I was asked many questions about what I had seen. I was hesitant to talk about it because the more I talked about it the more anxious I got. By the time I went to bed that night I was a wreck and lay in bed silently asking the ghost not to visit me that night because she was scaring the bejesus out of me. She must have been listening because she did not visit and I slept through the night.

Monday, October 27, 2003


I wonder if other dogs think poodles are members of a weird religious cult
-Rita Rudner

And They Call It Puppy Love

I’ve been watching The Ellen Degeneres Show week day mornings. Well, recording it and watching it later. I hate to sit through commercials anymore. I watch mostly because I love her monologues. Listening to her is like having a friend invite you for a drive around the block in their car. You take off and the next thing you know you are driving down a street you’ve never been on before, making turns onto other roads from a direction you never expected, and, seemingly, meandering around with no direction. Right when you think you are lost, you pull up in front of your own house, delighted with the ride you have just taken.

Anyway, in the first weeks of the show she talked about her new puppy and started a contest to give the puppy a name. A week later she had a list of the top five names suggested by her audience. On the list was the name Lucy. When I heard that I groaned. The next step was for the audience to pick either this name or one of the other four names on the list. When the wining name, Lucy, was announced I started yelling at the television, “NO, NO, NOT THAT ONE, YOU FOOLS!”

Ok, lets talk about dog names. The first mistake humans make is using a Baby Names book to find names for their dogs. Baby Names books list names for babies, what they mean, and where they came from. For instance, under Lucy in a Baby Names book it says Lucy means “bringer of light.” How sweet, not a bad name for a baby. But that is the meaning if you are naming a human baby. If you are naming a puppy you should use a Puppy Names book because human names have a different meaning in dog world. In a Puppy Names book, Lucy means something like (how can I put this nicely) “airhead, duffus, goofball,” take your pick. Every dog named Lucy that I have ever met has been all of the above.

Lucys are sweet but they chew everything they can get their paws on. Lucy’s are balls of way to much energy. Lucy’s cannot walk up the stairs without tripping. Lucy’s never listen to you. Lucy’s think you are just playing when you scold them. If you let a Lucy off leash they will take off running until they are out of sight. Lucy’s are everything a puppy should be but the problem is they never out grow being puppies.

My friend has a dog he named Lucy who was suppose to be a bird hunting dog; a dog that finds the bird and then points it, keeping the bird frozen until the hunter gets there to shoot it. This Lucy would find the bird, point it for a couple of seconds the pounce because she like to watch the bird fly away.

I have another friend with a dog named Lucy who, when he took her on a run, leaped out of the truck and made a made dash across a field and disappeared. Three days later my friend got a call from a man in Denver (180 miles away) saying he had Lucy. She didn’t run all the way to Denver, she only ran about 40 miles before she caught a ride.

Other Lucys I have met have been just as big of a pain, in a loving way, as the others. So, when we got our second dog I knew enough not to name her Lucy. Instead I named her Emma. If you look in a Baby Names book it says Emma means “healer of the universe.” If you look in a Puppy Names book it says, “See Lucy.”

Emma is the sort of dog that if she had been our first dog we would never have got another one. When we brought her home we did not know we were getting the devil dog from hell. The first thing we found out was if you put your hand anywhere near her it was like putting your hand in a box of snapping turtles. After one week I saw the inside of Emma’s mouth more times that I had ever seen the inside of our dog Kate’s mouth in seven years. The second thing we found out was any time you put her in her kennel she turned into the “Taz,” the cartoon Tasmanian devil. She would race around bouncing off the walls of the kennel making it knock and rock. If you told her to stop and be quiet she would just bark at you, “You’re not the boss of me!” You’re not the boss of me!”

That puppy had a mind of her own. One thing we tried to teach her was she had her own bowl of dog food and Kate had her own bowl too. Each was to eat out of her own bowl only. Emma liked to eat out of Kate’s bowl, even after she learned she was not supposed to do this. One day I caught her eating out of Kate’s bowl and she took off running though the house. She ran out of the kitchen, into the bedroom, through the living/dining area, and back into the kitchen on her way to the basement. As she passed Kate’s bowl (without seeming to slow down) she grabbed another mouth full of food and then raced down the steps to the basement. This was the kind of thing that would make me want to beat her but at the same time want to laugh.

One day I told her to stop doing something and she stood there looking me straight in the eye barking, “You’re not the boss of me!” So I grabbed her, squatted over her and held her down on the ground. She struggled to get up but I said no. She barked at me to let her up but I said no. She struggled some more but I said no. She got angry and barked furiously at me to let her up. I quietly said no. This went on for 15 minutes and then she stopped moving and started to cry. I let her up and she trotted ten steps away from me and turned facing me as she sat down. She sat there looking at me with a baleful expression on her face and then got up and came over to me and sat between my legs, not looking at me. I petted her and quietly talked to her and told her she was a good dog. She leaned against me and then looked up and me and licked my face. I cuddled her some more and after a bit she went into her kennel and went to sleep.

I would like to say after this things got better but they didn’t change that much. Emma still tried to be in charge. Emma still did things that made me want to beat her and at the same time want to laugh. But now that she is older, 22 months, she seems to be out growing the Lucy behavior. She is a loving, funny animal who I would not trade for any other dog.

Emma at one year old on a cold December day

Wednesday, October 22, 2003


It is quality rather than quantity that matters
Seneca (5 BC - 65 AD),

Zen and the art of clothes shopping

"Bud" Neusteter died this week. His family owned Neusteter’s clothing store in Denver on the corner of 16th and Stout back when downtown Denver was the place to shop. I remember walking through the big brass revolving door at the entrance with my mother and past the sales clerks (always dressed in black) to the elevators at the back of the stores. While waiting for the elevator to arrive I would examine the murals depicting fashionable women painted on the walls. The place was elegant and every time I went in I knew I was entering a “grownup store.” No messing around, these people where serious about what went on in there. The grownup business of buying and selling quality clothing.

My mother always shopped there, even when we were not doing well money-wise, which was most of the time. My mother was smart and always said that if you buy cheap you pay more in the long run because cheap never lasted long. She would hit all the large department stores, Neusteter’s, May D&F, I Magnin’s, The Denver Dry, on the days they were having sales. She was definitely into the Zen of shopping. She never went with the idea that she had to buy something. She was willing to wait if what she wanted wasn’t at a price she was willing to pay. If the article of clothing wasn’t there the next time she came in, well then, she wasn’t meant to be the one to buy it.

My mother had the knack of finding the greatest things on sale. I don’t care how many women had been through the racks or piles of clothes first; she could walk in, stick her hand somewhere in the pile or rack of clothes and find something that everyone else missed. A designer jacket, originally $200 for $21.95, a hand beaded blouse for $7.50. It was like she was being rewarded for her Zen like philosophy of shopping. People would marvel at the bargains she could find. “Something is not a bargain just because it’s cheap,” she would say, “it is only a bargain if the quality is good.” That is why she could shop at Neusteter’s one day and Goodwill the next. If you are willing to look, you can find quality things at a good price anywhere.

Monday, October 20, 2003


Made a couple of changes to the sidebar. I removed Iraq Today because they are making it "subscription only" on the stories I seem to want to read. I've added a new blog, Fly in the Honey. A blog that Rune, at Queen of Cups, mentioned on her site. Great blog, well written, check it out. And finally, I've added a new section called, "Just For Fun," a list of sites I visit for (what else?) fun.

Sunday, October 19, 2003


Tell me what you eat, and I will tell you what you are
Anthelme Brillat-Savarin

"There were siven Dimmycrats in Hinsdale County...ya et five of them..."

We have a guest blogger today, my 13 year old niece. She doesn't know she is blogging today but has been sending me e-mails all weekend and I would like to share them with you. It seems she has just found out about that Colorado anti-hero Alfred E. Packer and his deeds. She was so inspired by this story that she has been writing songs about it all weekend. Here are the e-mails she sent me.

First e-mail: Subject- It's me.

This is a true story. It happened in the 1800's anyway I wrote the lyrics myself! Tell me if you like it!

The Packer Bunch (to the tune of Brady bunch)

Here's the story of a guy named Packer

Who wanted to go up to Breckenridge

He brought along some men who were miners too

In hopes of finding gold

Here’s the story of their long journey

And how they got to an Indian camp

Then they decided to brave a blizzard

Of snow and ice and cold

Eventually they all got hungry

And there was only so much food to eat

So Packer killed them all and ate them up

And that’s the way that they became the Packer Bunch!

The end

Second e-mail:Subject-Song 2

The Trial

Packer: Please don't hang me, I'm not a bad man
Living with myself is hard to stand
It just was hard to live without food
and Humphries leg looked mighty good
I didn't kill them I'm not bad
It was Bell and now he's dead
I actually killed Bell, yes it's true
He was coming at me so I shot him good
Hit him right square in the head (taps head)
And wouldn't you know it now he's dead.

Jury: He doens't seem like such a bad guy
Packer: I'm not
Procecusion(interviening with new tune): He is!, he killed his fellow men
Are you going to let him kill again
Make sure he pays for murder
Jury(talking): Come to think of it, Youre right
Proc.: I'm right?
Jury: You're right
(Song picks up again to original tune)Judge our sentence is death penalty
We can not let this man run free
He could kill and eat our kids
Judge( speaking now): What do you say to that Packer
Packer: Aww ****!
Judge: You shall be hanged till your Dead! Dead! Dead!

Third e-mail: Subject-Songs part 3

Super Duper De do

Humphries: I’m hungry

Swan: I’m cold

Miller: I can’t believe we went through all this just to get some gold

(beat picks up)Packer: Don’t worry Don’t frown

Turn that sad face upside down

I’ll climb on top of the mountain

And everything ‘ll be Super Duper Dee do.

Miners: He’ll climb to the top of that hill

Packer: I’ll see how close we are to the next town

Miners(except swan who’s not moving) He’ll see how close we are

Packer: Now how is that for everybody

Humphries: That’s great

Noon: That’s good

Miller: That’s super

Miners: Super duper Dee Do

(Humphries nudges Swan beat continues awkwardly)

Noon: Swan this is you line. Swan?

(music comes to an abrupt halt)

Noon: He’s dead.

Packer: Well um okay lets wrap up this song and I’ll be on my way to the hill. Bell you can fill in for Swan. We were on Super Duper Dee Do. (music starts up again)

Bell: That’s sure a great solution. It’s Super Duper Dee do!

Miners: Super Duper Dee do!

Packer (not singing): Now don’t go eating each other while I’m gone. Ya hear?

(every one laughs even though it’s not meant as a joke)

Thank You

Packer: Snow is falling steadily

Miners: We can’t find a warm place to sleep

Chief Ouray (talking): You sleep here.

Humphries: Thank (barbershop quartet)

Noon: Thank

Miller: Thank

All miners: You (beat picks up)

Packer :( spirit fingers) we just want to thank you

Bell: For the hospitality

Miners: Dum dum dum

Packer: We just want to thank you

Noon: For letting us stay

Miners: Dum Dum Dum

Packer: We just want to thank you

Humphries: For every thing

Miners: Woo

Packer: Anyway we’d just like to say

Thank you, thank you every day.

Chief Ouray: You stop sing or I have squaw slit throats.

Packer: Geez some ones a negative Nancy!

To my niece:
Thank you, sweetie, you are very talented.

Saturday, October 18, 2003


The wise man is he who knows the relative value of things
William Ralph Inge

Gotta Go, Gotta Go, Gotta Go, Go, Go

I just got back from the town 36 miles to the south of me. That’s 72 miles roundtrip.

(Gotta, go, gotta go, gotta, go, go, go)

I just drove there yesterday. Seventy-two miles, roundtrip.

(Gotta, go, gotta go, gotta, go, go, go)

I told my husband I was going because I forgot to pick up a few things when I was there yesterday, which is true, but there was nothing that I need right away. I just wanted to drive. Just needed to get in my car and drive.

(Gotta, go, gotta go, gotta, go, go, go)

Get in my car and drive that straight black-ribbon of highway and watch as it rolls under my car and spools out behind me. Drive and watch the grain elevators shrink in my rear view mirror as I race away from them. Drive and watch as a translucent half moon rushes to keep up with me. Drive under a cloudless blue sky that hovers over me like a large inverted cup.

(Gotta, go, gotta go, gotta, go, go, go)

As I drive I pass any moving vehicle that is traveling less that five miles an hour over the speed limit.
Crap, I am behind a minivan in the No Passing Zone. I watch as the solid yellow line on my side of the road ends and is replaced by the dash-dash-dash yellow line that means it is safe to pass.

(Gotta, go, gotta go, gotta, go, go, go)


I drive into the Wal-Mart parking lot. Hurry in. Shop quickly. Hurry out. Drive over to Mickey D’s. Wolf down a cheeseburger, fries, and a Coke.

(Gotta, go, gotta go, gotta, go, go, go)


(Gotta, go, gotta go, gotta, go, go, go)


(Gotta, go, gotta go, gotta, go, go, go)


Because I’ve got those little town blues.

(Gotta, go, gotta go, gotta, go, go, go)

Because I am tired of being surrounded by small town people who know the price of everything but the value of nothing.

On the drive home I pass only once, a slow moving farm truck.

Thursday, October 16, 2003


Vanity is the quicksand of reason
George Sands
Just finished catching up on the blogs I read. At Rashunda's site she had this link, Awful Plastic Surgery, and I hate to admit I spent a half hour there. The shame, the shame.

Wednesday, October 15, 2003

Stories Of My Birth

He not busy being born is busy dying
-Bob Dylan

My story. I was born dying. I came into this world weighing three pounds- two ounces and then dropped down to two pounds-eleven ounces. I was starving to death. My mother’s placenta was rotting away so I had not been getting enough nourishment in the womb. I was put into an incubator and stayed there for the next three-weeks, trying to decide if I wanted to stay in this world or not.

My mother’s story. She was back in her hospital room after giving birth to me when one of the nurses who helped in the delivery came in and while patting her hand, said, “ It’s ok, Mrs. Shannon, I baptized the baby for you.” My mother thought that was a strange thing for her to do but did not think anything more about it. Then a few minutes later the other nurse who had helped with the delivery came in, took my mother’s hand, and said, “It’s ok, Mrs. Shannon, I baptized the baby for you.” Now my mother was a little concerned, but she was still a little groggy after giving birth so what the nurse had said did not upset her too much. Next, her doctor came in and took her hand saying, “It’s ok, Jeannie, I did an emergency baptism on the baby.” At that point my mother realized something was wrong. She was 23 years old.

My father’s story. My father was in the Navy on a ship floating off the coast of Korea when he got a message that his wife had given birth to a baby girl who weighed three pounds-two ounces. My father went down to the ship’s galley and asked the cook to show him a three pound ham because he want to see how big a three pound baby would be. He was 25 years old.

These stories about my birth always make me smile. I don’t know why.

Tuesday, October 14, 2003

Opportunities are usually disguised as hard work, so most people don't recognize them
Ann Landers
Here is an e-mail I sent this morning:

"I am writing to you because I have a question. I was in Denver last weekend and stopped at the new Taco John’s on 58 Ave. near 1-25 for lunch. I have not been in a Taco John’s for years and did not expect too much. The first thing I noticed was how clean the building was. The second thing I noticed was that the prices were higher than at Taco Bell. Then I ordered two tacos and found them to be tastier than Taco Bell’s tacos. At that point I did not mind the higher price because the service was excellent. I decided to eat at Taco John’s instead of Taco Bell from now on.

Yesterday I was in _____ and suggested to my husband that we stop for lunch at the new Taco John’s on Highway ____and he agreed. We were driving down Highway ___ and could see Taco John’s when we got about a city block away. We turned into the parking lot, which had only two vehicles parked in it, parked, got out, and went inside. The first thing I noticed was there was no one behind the counter. The second thing I notice was the older couple standing in front of the counter looking at the menu. The third thing I noticed was that I could hear a couple of employees taking in the rear and when I looked back there I could see the lower half of one employee beyond the food assembling equipment. We waited for a couple of minutes for someone to come to the counter but nothing happened. Standing there I remembered when we came down the street to the restaurant I did not see any one turn into the parking lot and when we got to the parking lot no one was getting out of any of the vehicles to go inside. So I figured the couple in front of us had been there a few minutes before we got there. Where the heck were the employees? I got angry and loudly asked, “Can we get some service up here?” I was looking at the employee who’s lower body I could see as I said this and I did not see him react to what I said, he and whoever he was talking to were too deeply involved in there conversation to hear me. My husband was annoyed by this and said we should just leave, so we did, going across the street to the McDonalds.

I don’t understand what happened at the Taco John’s in _____. I live in the area and I know this is a brand new restaurant. I also know there is a Wendy’s, a Subway, and a McDonalds across the street and a Dairy Queen on the other side of a gas station next to your building. I know the _____ restaurant is not doing that great, the parking lot was almost empty while Wendy’s and McDonalds were full. I know that the Taco John’s is on the “wrong “ side of the street from the Interstate. By which I mean, when you come off the highway Taco John’s is on the left side of the street. You have to pass by the McDonalds and the Wendy’s on the right to get to Taco John’s. These are all fast food restaurants like Taco John’s and the last thing you want to happen is for people to walk out of the restaurant mad enough to say they are never coming back. This was my husband’s plan but I decide to write to you instead. All because of that great lunch I had in Denver.

All fast food restaurants are the same. I mean you serve fast food. The only thing you can do to distinguish your restaurant from the others is have better service. People are not going to see the food is also better until they try it and if the service is bad they are never going to try the food. So, my question is, which restaurant are you? If it the one in Denver then I will tell other people how good Taco John’s is and how I am going to eat there from now on. If it is the _____ restaurant then I am never going to eat in your restaurants again and will tell people why.


I am tired of bad customer service in this country. Part of the problem is employees who think they are doing the people they work for a favor by being there at all. What happened to the concept of doing a job well just because you are suppose to do a job that way? People seem to think that the amount of effort they put into a job is related to how much they are being paid. A minimum wage job deserves minimum effort. What happened to pride in your work? What happened to taking pride in yourself for a job well done?

Bad customer service is not just the fault of the employees, it can also be the fault of the management. I am waiting to see how Taco John's responds to my letter.

Monday, October 13, 2003

Yeaaa, it rained. :)
But just enough to clear the air and settle the dust. :(
Good morning, everyone. Still windy here and the temp is in the 40's (F). The weather service is predicting rain today. Something we need badly as we are at "near drought conditions." I was talking to a friend last week and he said that right now we need a lot of rain because the sub-moisture is gone. Which means when you dig into the soil you do not hit moist earth under the dry top. He had been digging four foot deep post holes and the soil was powdery dry to the bottom. Please rain, please rain, please rain.

Friday, October 10, 2003

Got to write fast

Big, big, wind + old, old telephone lines = sporadic internet connection.
So I will just steal something from Easy Bake Coven's blog to keep you amused.
A link to Spiders on drugs.

Thursday, October 09, 2003

We have a couple of surveys going on in Blogland today. One at Blue Witch's site to find out what the most common star signs of bloggers are and whether or not bloggers keep diaries. Over at Coopblog, Elsie is doing a quick sex survey. Be brave- go do it. Scroll down a bit on both sites to find the surveys.
Left Over Camino Story

A one point, during a windy/rainy day in the Pyrenees, I was walking up a steep slope to where J an B were waiting for me. J was watching me with the kind of a smile on his face that a parent gives to his child when she is doing something that is sweet in its stupidity. As I walked up the slope the wind whipped my rain poncho around and in between my legs, making it difficult to walk. When I finally stumbled to the top of the slope J reached down and tied together the two ends of the poncho hanging down on the left side of my body. Then he walked around to the other side of me and reached down to tie those two ends together, too. When he finished I just stood there staring at him.

When I was four my father took a job down in South America. He flew down first and then a little later my mother flew down with my brother, sisters, and I. At that time flying was still a special way to travel and I remember wearing one of my best dresses, white dress socks, and a shiny pair of Mary Janes. I also remember how the horsehair stuffing in the seat poked through the fabric causing the back of my stretched out legs to itch. Each row of the aircraft was made up of four seats, two on each side of the aisle. I was in an aisle seat next to a very large man wearing a suit and tie. Who knows how big he really was since all grown-ups looked like giants to me at that age.

This was when airlines still served their meals on real china and gave everyone silverware and cloth napkins. My tray included a drinking glass of milk and the man sitting next to me got a cup of coffee. I started eating my food as he was pouring cream into his coffee from a small pitcher. He then picked up two sugar packs from his tray, looked down at me, and asked if I wanted to try something delicious. I nodded yes and he tore open the sugar packets, poured them into my glass, picked up his spoon and stirred the sugar into my milk. Then he picked up my glass and handed it to me. I took a sip.

My taste buds reacted like a pinball machine that had just rung up enough points for an extra game, “Ding!, Ding!, Ding!, Ding!.” This was the most wonderful thing I had ever tasted. It was better that soda pop. It was better than ice cream. How did he think to put sugar in milk? He must be the smartest man in the world. I stared up at him in awe, grateful he had shared this secret with me. I felt the same thing as I stood there looking at J after he tied the ends of my poncho together.

Wednesday, October 08, 2003


Disbelief in magic can force a poor soul into believing in government and business
- Tom Robbins
Welcome to the Hotel California

Arnold won! What were they thinking? Good thing he can never be president of the country. If I were Bush, I'd start worrying. I think this is a sign that the two party system in this country is dying. Right now both parties are just two sides of the same coin. Their first loyalty is to their own parties. How many times have I heard Bush referred to as "the Republican President," as if he only represents his political party and not our country. We look like fools to the rest of the world already, and Arnold wining doesn't help.

Tuesday, October 07, 2003


Every artist dips his brush in his own soul, and paints his own nature into his pictures
-Henry Ward Beecher
I did my morning walk through the fog. Fog is rare here, we get it maybe three times a year. This morning I noticed for the first time that when it gets foggy like this, it's like walking in a Turner painting. Then I realized that Turner painted what he saw and was not being creative when he did his landscapes with that haze over everything. Since I grew up in an area where the humidity never got above 30%, everything was always in sharp focus. Turner's work had a dream like quality for me, but this morning I could see what Turner saw and it was beautiful.
Finally rested enough to feel like writing something today. Those short trips to Denver always exhaust me. The turn around is too quick. The emotional roller coaster wasn't easy either. Arie's funeral was bittersweet. I reconnected with people I haven't seen in years while never forgetting the reason we were all there. The funeral was a celebration of Arie's life which meant lots of loving stories about Arie, singing, and laughter. It was long, three hours, but that's what happens when a bunch of politicians are allowed to get up in front of people and talk. Since it was Arie they were talking about, some just could not be brief. A lot of love in that church. My sister and I did very well until the casket rolled by us at the end then we lost it and cried. Arie will be missed.

Thursday, October 02, 2003

I am leaving for Denver this afternoon. Arie Taylor's funeral is tomorrow morning. I won't be writing anything more until next Monday. Have a good weekend everyone.
My horoscope today.
Others can run their lives on lies if that's what makes them happy. Honesty works for you. You might make a name for yourself by being so open in such a secretive environment. You might also make a nuisance of yourself by constantly breaking some kind of social contract. And if a candid observation ruins your credibility, perhaps it's best that you're no longer involved. You work so well alone, anyway. Instead of holding your breath for an apology, just forget that anybody owes you one.
- By

I love the synchronitic quality of my life. :)

Wednesday, October 01, 2003


Children begin by loving their parents; as they grow older they judge them; sometimes they forgive them
-Oscar Wilde
What we know about our parents is based on the stories they have told us or the stories we have heard about them. The week before last, when I got back from Denver, there was a large manila envelope waiting for me. It was addressed to my father. Why am I getting mail addressed to a man dead 30 years? Then I looked at the return address and see that it was from National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis, Missouri. Last April I had written them asking for copies of all of my father’s military records, so long ago I had forgotten about it. Finally, they are here.

I sent away for this information because I realized I actually know very little about my father and almost nothing about his time in the Navy. With my mother’s passing there is no one left who could tell me anything about him. I sent away for these records thinking maybe the Navy could.

I sat down and pulled out a stack of about 100 pages of copies and started going through them. The first page was a copy of his Notice of Separation from the Navy at the end of WWII. It said that he entered the Navy in 1942 (at the age of 16) but he had lied about his date of birth to get in- something I already knew. Two things surprise me, first, that he only finished the 8th grade and, second, that he was an apprentice cobbler before he enlisted. I flip through more pages and find another surprise; my father worked for his father, my grandfather, for a year before he enlisted. I had been told my grandfather had left his family and disappeared when my father was very young.

As I flip through the pages I keep seeing my father’s signature and this fascinates me. For some reason this makes him seem more real than I every thought of him before. Then I find a copy of his fingerprints and he seems even more real, a person now, not just a memory. I keep flipping. Another big surprise, a form that shows my father living at the same address as my grandfather and grandmother. So, not only did my father work for his father, but also my grandparents were still living together when my father went into the Navy. Why did my grandmother lie about this?

I see these pages are not in any logical order. I find separation forms jumping back and forth in time. Reenlistment forms doing the same thing. A Descriptive List that show at age 22 he was 5ft 10 inches tall and then one at age 20 saying he was 5ft 8 inches tall. Leave records, rating marks records, transfer records, summary of service records, and then one form stops me dead. A Report of Beneficiaries dated 1946 showing my father as being married. I thought he and my mother got married in 1948. Then I look at the name- it is not my mother’s. What? He was married before my mother? I stop reading and call my sister up and tell her what I have in front of me, and what I have just learned. We both have the same question.

Our father walked out on us for good when I was 13 years old. We only saw him once after that when I was 16. He stayed for a day bringing my sisters and I tiny gold miraculous metals blessed by the Pope, my brother a large portable short-wave radio, and my mother a check for $200 that bounced higher than a Super Ball when she tried to cash it. After that we never saw him again. At this point my mother seriously started to look for him to get the child support he owed for his five children. She had the help of the Colorado Governor’s Office and five years later found him. When the courts told him he owed child support he denied having any children or being married to my mother. Then he changed his story and said he was the father of my two younger sisters but not the father of my brother, my older sister, or me (very strange since my sister and I were born in Naval Hospitals and our brother was born in the hospital our father was born in), he still insisted he was never married to my mother. The reason for these bizarre statements became clear when my mother found out my father had remarried. The only thing is, he never divorced my mother. My grandmother always insisted my father was never married to my mother and now my sister and I wonder if she was telling the truth when she said this because she knew my father had been married before, and she knew he never divorced what we now know was his first wife.

My sister ask me if there is anything about our mother in all these papers I have and I quickly turn the pages looking for my mother’s name. I find two forms, one a reenlistment form (no date) that shows my mother as his next of kin and his wife. It also says she was living at the same address as my grandmother. Poor Mom. The other form is dated June of 1950 and is a certified statement in which my father swears that my mother is his wife, that they got married 6-2-48 in Charleston, Mass, and that he had one child, my older sister. Why did he have to sign this? Was his first wife making some sort of claim? Was this the Navy’s way of clearing the whole thing up?

My sister and I are surprised to find out our father was married before but not that he may have been married already when he married our mother. We already knew Dad was a bigamist, we just never suspected he may have been a bigamist more than once.

It’s funny, with all the things I have learned, the information that touches me the most is that, on one form, he listed his leisure time activities as reading and sports, and that he played the saxophone. I always thought I got my love of reading from my mother and here my father says he enjoyed reading too. That he played the saxophone makes me think of my sister who plays the clarinet. I never thought my father contributed any thing to my siblings or me and I find out he passed on his love of reading and his musical talent.

So, the story of my father’s life changes, does knowing this change me? No, I am still who I am. My father is not who I thought he was though, but that doesn‘t matter either. Last week Blue Witch and I pinged in and out of the start of a conversation about time travel. I asked if we would we want to visit the past if we found out what we remembered was not really the way it was. We never got to an answer. Our lives are made up of stories and so is our past. It is only when we cannot let go of these stories that they can cause us pain.