May 31, 2009


Forgive me as I have been out of pocket for a little while.

I thought I'd tell you about my sister - that's right, I have a sister. Her name is Joyce. She is my only sibling - my younger sister. She has been at some times my best friend and at other times my worst enemy, but she is my sister.

When she was 27 she was diagnosed with Uterine cancer which had begun to spread to other areas of her reproductive system necessitating a complete hysterectomy. Following that, she suffered from various kidney ailments, a prolapsed bladder and other aches and pains. For the last 15 or so years, she has also suffered from being bi-polar.

Low self esteem caused her to date men who abused her, and the mental issues caused her to abuse alcohol and drugs, which in turn resulted in her stealing money to feed her habit. After two stints in jail, she had finally begun to turn her life around.

For the first time in his short life, she was always and without question putting her young son first. He is 7. She was going to school, pulling all A's and enjoying life. However, two weeks ago, she learned that her cancer was back and it had compromised both her kidneys and bladder. She decided that she would decline any treatment as she did not want to suffer in what appeared to be her last days.

One thing she loved to do more than anything else was ride. She - like many of us - loved to feel the wind through her hair and on her face from the back of a motorcycle. All someone had to do was roll up on a bike and she was eager to jump on even if it were just for a ride around the neighborhood.

She and I have been getting along well, until Tuesday when we were fighting about something stupid and I would not take her calls, and did not respond to her emails or text messages. Wednesday I was traveling and packing for a trip on Thursday. I never did talk to her.

On May 21, 2009, a Thursday afternoon she went for a bike ride with a friend. While traveling on a stretch of highway probably at 65 or 70, maybe more, an SUV pulling a boat pulled smack out in front of them. Billy, the driver of the bike had time to reach around and hold my sister and he took the entire impact. They hit the boat so hard that it was knocked right from the SUV. Billy had to be cremated.

My sister died instantly when her head hit the pavement. She had a broken hand, a small scratch on her face, some bruising on the right side of her face and head from the impact with the road, and road rash on her arms and torso - but she was otherwise intact because Billy had wrapped his body around hers. He was the instrument used to take her before her suffering began anew.

I wasn't home when this happened. I was in Texas with one of my dearest friends. I'm not sure my folks will ever forgive me for that, despite the fact that it was out of my hands. While my folks deal with their grief, they are at times angry with me for any number of things and angry at each other for the rest. They will never be the same.

My nephew, who lived with my folks, is now with his dad. It kills me.

I am not the only one to have lost a loved one under tragic circumstances, which I realize, but I only know my own grief. My days and routine have changed, the way I deal with my family has changed. I am sure that I have changed.

My sister was only 30. Her 31st birthday is in three weeks. If you'd known her, you would have loved her. Everyone did, whether you wanted to or not. Her funeral viewing hours were packed with grieving men - none of whom had a chance, all of whom she made to feel they did. If it wasn't so tragic, it would have been comical.

She was 30 - and we'll never be the same.


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May 18, 2009


My cat died today . . . while I was in NYC. We don't know why or how. He was fine and now he is dead. Of course, we don't know how old he was.

This cat was the world's greatest cat. hands down. It helped that he thought he was a dog, refused to use a litter box and would meow at the door to be allowed out to do his business.

This cat - and let me tell you - I HATE CATS - except for this one. I am really very allergic to cats. The husband worked late nights in a restaurant. Christmas week 2003, he was taking trash out of the kitchen and saw a cat that looked as if he had been starving - he clearly wasn't a very good tom cat. He gave him some scraps and went back to work. Around 1 a.m. he took the last trash out and the cat was still there. It had stayed and waited for him, when it saw him, it got excited and followed the husband back into the kitchen.

The husband, seeing he was starving, and knowing the cold would likely kill the cat, stuck him in a banana box and brought him home. My first reaction was - the cat will live outside, but since it is cold, he can be in the garage.

We didn't have food for the cat, so we fed him left over beef stew. When he stuck around the next day, we gave him more. We named him Stew because it fit.

Stew slept in the garage for about a week, whereafter he migrated to the basement. We'd let him out to do his business and he'd disappear for a long time. Each time, he'd come back matted, limping, bloody. That damn cat not only could not fend for himself in the wild, but he got routinely trounced by the neighbor's female cat.

The time for ball-removal had come. I scheduled an appointment to take Stewie to the vet. The night before the appointment, he disappeared. The morning of his appointment, just before I canceled it, I heard mewing at the door. He had drug himself home after what appeared to have been a bloody battle. His eye had been ripped open and all the vitreous fluid was leaking out. We took him to the vet. He got antibiotics, got neutered, and they put a patch over his eye. I was told to schedule another appointment so that they could remove the eye.

I didn't. His eye healed and was clouded over. He was blind in that eye. However, over the years, it appears it had cleared in spots - I suspect he was able to see light changes and shadow.

Anyway, he never roamed again. He stuck to our yard with a resolve seldom seen in cats. He waited for me to come home. He'd purr like a freight train when I'd bend down and scritch his ears.

Soon, he was living in the house and playing with the dogs. We were a big furry family. He was my cat. Seriously, I am not sure how it happened, but he was mine. He somehow knew I was allergic and didn't really rub against me or nuzzle my face. But every night, he'd climb into my chair with me and sleep. Or, he'd sit on my feet and sleep. Wonderful friend, that cat.

But the thing I loved the most, what really made it seem as if he'd chosen us to be his family was the Boy.

The Boy was barely a year when Stewcat entered our lives. He'd crawl to the cat and bite him. He'd drag the cat around the house by its leg or a tail. That cat would close his eyes, and make a face like he was smiling. he'd go completely limp and let the Boy do whatever he wanted to him. then, he'd stand up, nuzzle the boy and walk away. When the Boy was older and walking, he'd drag the cat behind him. Again, it was as if the cat would go limp and enjoy the ride. You could almost hear him thinking, "do what you want to me, but just love me." THE PURRFECT cat. He really was a special kitty.

In the mornings, he'd wake me up with a small scritch on the door to my room. I'd let him in and he'd watch me go through my morning routine. He'd sit on my bed or under my dresser while I dressed and then he'd sit on my shoes before I'd make it out the door. As if he was aware that I needed silent company in the morning. Late at night, when I worked while everyone else slept, he'd sit on a chair in the dining room right next to me and watch me work.

He was a fun kitty. The Boy once had chicken nuggets for dinner and left one on the table. The cat sat on a chair under the table and reached up with a paw and tapped and felt around on top of the table until he found that nugget. He stole it and ate it happily.

A bowl of cereal or a container of yogurt would cause him to fly instantly to your side. He was always allowed to lick the yogurt container.

He slept with the evil dog. They were best buds, playing together, sleeping together. Running through the yard together. He thought he was a dog.

He'd follow as the Boy would run through the yard, or ride his bike or quad. he'd keep a close watch on everything going on.

I can't believe he's dead and I am here. Everyone said one minute he was fine, rolling in the yard and the next he was dead. I tend to think he may have gotten into some poison.

I will miss my cat. My buddy, who would roar like a freight train and growl like a dog, at the dogs, and talk to me when it was late - as if he was admonishing me to go to bed.

If I believed in reincarnation, I'd think he was a part of my family long ago. It was as if he was a perfect fit. Goodbye my furry friend. I never thought I'd fall in love with a cat but I did.

As if it could not get worse - I asked the Boy to take care of my cat for me while I was gone. He's been a wreck since I have been gone - no one has told him about the cat. I don't want him to think it is his fault. I'll tell him when I am home. When I can be there. He loved that cat as much as me.



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Woody Allen

I am told that Woody Allen sued American Apparel for $10 million dollars for putting up this billboard (looks like a satire/social statement to me . . .since American Apparel doesn't sell Hassidic garments) . . . Besides, as if Woody could be Der Heylikker Rebbe anyway - there's only one, and he's been dead a number of years. . . If it smells like a parody . . . must be a parody.

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I am also told that American Apparel was forced by its insurers to settle this lawsuit for $5 million.

I keep "reading" all these stories about Woody not doing endorsements, but . . . I "saw" him in a commercial for NYC and i "saw" him in an ad in Japan in a kimono and an ad in Italy for telephones and I "read a book" that said he did ads in Europe . . . another Hollyweirdo who dismisses all of us here in the good ole USofA for the broader minds of Europe eh? *snicker*

Interesting no? I thought so. . . ahem. . .

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May 06, 2009

Out of Pocket

As I will be out of pocket until at least the second week of June. . . away from my baby . . . away from my pups . . . away from my baby . . .

I thought I'd throw in a classic Oddy nostalgia piece . . . cause I spoke to the subject yesterday and we are getting together for drinks before I leave for parts unknown . . .


My first love . . . well second to pom-vodka martini's neat . . . was Hair. I called him Hair - his hair was as long as mine. I have likely blogged on him many times before, in fact, I am likely repeating myself here.

He moved into my school district in the 5th grade. That's right. I fell in love in the 5th grade. We became fast friends, if only because he shared my snarky and self-deprecating humor. His older brother had a decent ride and he'd ride us home from school now and then.

We got on great. My folks worked, so we were latch-key kids. His moms sat on the couch and ate cookies, smoked cigs and drank herself into a daily stupor, mine worked . . . we were kindred.

I fought for him - you know the new kid in school, the cute, mysterious boy who'd maybe hide in the closet with you and get to first . . . or second base . . .probably just first . . . Long story short, I won.

He was my best friend and by the time we reached the 7th grade and full-on puberty . . . he was my boyfriend. My "boyfriend". That sounds so trite and meaningless. It was more than that. He was quite possibly (at that time) the other half of my soul. In fact, to this very day, he is my oldest and one of my dearest friends.

The 7th grade brought the onset of school dances, boy-girl sleep overs and strip poker! ;-) We broke up by the end of the year, though we remained friends. We were back together as a "couple" by the 10th grade - sorta. We'd had a heart to heart during one of our marathon soap-opera watching sessions. We'd decided, as teens often dramatically do, that those we love-leave so we'd not "commit" because then neither of us would leave. Our attempts at profound existential statements at the age of 14 or so were not that well-thought through.

That summer I left for the beach for two weeks. He'd found another while I was gone. . . sorta. . . I brought home a gift for him - an airplane made of beer cans - one of the kitchy souveniers from a street vendor and all was right in our world.

I was thinking about that tchatchky the other day. I'd asked myself whether it'd survived our childhoods. Like a time capsule of a more innocent summer. That summer where we'd sit in the dark in the trailer park he lived in and play guitar and sing - doing our best renditions of Janis or Van or Jim Morrison or whatever was out at the time. Camp fires at the lake, sneaking a toke or a beer or going for a joy ride.

When I'm down . . . really, really low, I think about that summer. I sing the soundtrack to Hair the musical and I think about how much fun we had being kids.

I wonder if my child will have that much fun being a kid. The world is a scary place. The ideas espoused and the views supported by those currently in power scare me . . . and I wonder . . . I wonder if my child or other kids will ever be able to have that much fun being a kid ever again. So I get low. Because I don't think I'd trade that summer and its memories for anything and I want my kid . . .even if he shouldn't be . . . I want him to have at least some of that kind of fun.

And when I'm low, really low, I will think of Hair . . . contemplate the cosmos and where our place is in it . . . and imagine that the tchatchky beer can airplane is still out there somewhere helping some kid have a great summer.

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