Warmth

I often go outside with my dog Bixby, when he makes his last pre-bedtime bladder letting.    He’s still not used to having yard and I suppose he feels more secure when I’m out there with him, so as he’s sniffing around looking for just the right place to mark his arc, I just kind of stand there .     I live in a community with few streetlights.     It’s  a lovely gated place, a little on a rural side, but that’s part of its appeal.    Wildlife abounds, deer and their axis cousins walk freely everywhere….other critters too, …and perhaps that explains   why almost every yard is a xeriscape.   Well, that and a definitive lack of rainfall.

Sorry, stream of consciousness running amuck, here.

So, when I’m outside with Bixby, its like this wonderful  zen moment.    I can’t see it, but I can hear the waterfall on the other side of the pool.    There’s something about the sound of its steady flow that lulls me into a rare sense of….well, for lack of a better word,  “all-rightness”.    Trust me,   peaceful moods around my here, especially lately are more rare than  total solar eclipses.

Bixby gets braves and takes his urges farther back in the yard.   I raise my ankle length caftan enough to dip my foot in the pool.   Niiiiiiiice.    The water is so warm.    My senses are heightened because I can see so little, but I feel, do much..    The night air in late August, despite the heat,  has a  feeling of underlying seasonal change in it.   Football season starts soon.    It’ll be sweater weather  too and Halloween will kick off the three-week month holiday season.       All of this comes with tepid water and a breeze  that blows warm with a hint of things to come.

I look around at what little I can see.    This house      It’s stunning, it’s cursed, I’m blessed, it’s haunted by the idiocy by its previous owner.    I’m proud it,  it’s the best decision I’ve ever made,  the worse decision, which  morphs into buyers remorse.    I love it, I hate it  and the renovation is taking forever.

Then,  Bixby comes running back toward the patio, obviously lighter, and I can make out in the dimness that he has a smile on his face.   This pleases me.    I step out of my pool and when I do, the fringe of my caftan gets wet and hits the back of my calf with each step.  I’m not annoyed by it, instead…, I’m heartened by it.     I take 13, steps to reach my reach my  patio then to the door of my house .

A mere 13 steps to realize that despite  my fears and concerns, each damp step reminds that at the very least, I’ve taken a chance.      Alone.

So, I think in the end, I’ll  be okay and all it  took to convince me was a pool, a mortgage, the obliteration of my savings, a dampened caftan and a dog’s nightly adherence to  nature’s calling.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Conversation With My Mother

8:23 AM Saturday

(the phone rings; I know who it is)

LK: Hello Mother

Mother: Well, three cheers for caller ID!

LK: Nope, I knew it was you.

Mother: How?

LK: The phone started weeping.

Mother: Oh my, my! Now, that’s cute AND funny. Score one for my youngest daughter.

LK: How are you?

Mother: Concerned.

LK: About what?

Mother: You, mostly.

LK: And to what do I owe this maternal display?

Mother: You’ve got a birthday coming up soon and I’m a little worried about your current situation.

LK: Mother, I’m fine. You have nothing to worry about.

Mother: But you’re not working!

LK: Yes I am. I’ve got about three separate and very steady free lance writing gigs!

Mother: Those aren’t real jobs.

LK: Mother, they are real jobs and they pay me well. Your problem is that you don’t understand the concept of freelance. Just because you don’t understand what I do, does not negate the legitimacy of what I do.

Mother: You work from home; you have no interaction with co-workers, no benefits and I know for a fact there are time when you work wearing a T-shirt with no bra and shorts.

LK: That’s on a good day!

Mother: That shows you have no self-respect.

LK: But I’M WORKING IN THE PRIVACY OF MY OWN HOME!!!!!!!!!

Mother: That doesn’t matter. You should live graciously. I bet you eat straight off the stove.

LK: When I cook, yeah..I do, sometimes.

Mother:    That’s absolutely barbaric. And I bet when you order out or have something delivered you probably eat on your bed or on the sofa in front of the TV?

LK: Yep.

Mother: Well, I don’t. I prepare myself three square meals a day and when I eat, I sit down at the dining room table and I use my good china and a linen place mat and napkin. After I walked out on that sperm donor I call your father….

LK: He left you.

Mother: That’s always been just  a rumor. Anyway, when I left him, and again….when I did,  I made a vow that single life wouldn’t prevent me from living a good life. You should do the same.

LK: Our lives are completely different, Mother.

Mother: Yes–in that I have one and you don’t!

LK: Funny, but I see that in reverse. At least I’m trying to do something with my life.

Mother: I resent that.

LK: And I resent that you’re implying that I’m a lesser human because I do  things differently. .

Mother: But well, itscobvious in some ways you’re obviously not happy.

LK: No I’m not! I don’t even know where you’re getting this. I’m perfectly okay.  I just don’t live conventionally–but that’s according to you….

Mother:   You just said okay.    Not happy and  that’s what concerns me. You’re going to be ____ years old. And you’re not married and…

LK: And Mother, do not finish that sentence.

Mother: Yes I will. I WILL finish this sentence and many others before we end this conversation. You have to face certain realities, Laurie. Thirty years ago you’d either be considered a closeted lesbian or an old maid. Both if you lived in New York.

LK:  What?   Why New York?

Mother:  Don’t  interrupt.   You’re not as young as you used to be. In fact, the odds are stacked against you. As it is, I read recently  that a woman like stands a better chance of being strangled by red-headed Lithuanian terrorists at a Latvian tampon factory on. Thursday afternoon during a hail storm as opposed to  than finding a suitable companion, much less a man to marry.

LK: That sounds oddly specific.

Mother: Well, it’s true. And I’m getting older too and I’d like to exit this earthly plane knowing you’re fine and will be in good hands after I’m gone.

LK: I am fine, Mother.   I’ve bought a car, a house…I’ve even travelled to that  opinionated, anti-single woman place called New York you speak of.   And I’ve been there alone…many times.

Mother:   You just answered you’re own question.    You went there alone.    Look, just aim higher.  Get  a real job with  an office and a security badge and benefits.

(I frantically shove a bite sized mini-Baby Ruth in my mouth.    A minor substitute with no-Xanax in the house)

LK: (chewing) Again, I’m fine. I don’t want to work ( swallow) in a corporate environment any more. The thought of doing a nine-five gig on some nondescript floor of some nondescript hi-rise downtown makes me ill. And I’m making money.

Mother: But it can’t be that much. And what progress are you making?

LK: Progress? I’m making great progress. Important people are seeing a different side of me. I’m making headway in the area of writing. I’m getting published. That’s what I want to do with my life. I want to be a writer, Mother.

Mother: But that’s not a real profession!

LK: What are you talking about? You read books all the time and magazines, too. You watch sitcoms and TV news…the content of each of those books…the magazines and those shows you love so much are ALL the handiwork of writers, Mother.

Mother:   Well, I don’t see your name on any closing credits.

(I’m seething by now and trying to maintain control without shouting, “There’s a rest home in your future!!!”)

I take a deep breath.

LK: So?

Mother:     Make me feel better by making an income with  a real job.

LK: I should make you feel better? That’s what I live for, Mom. And if I were to do that…for you…what kind of job would you recommend?

Mother: Any old job.

LK: You, of all people, are telling me to get any old job? Then, would a fast food gig be good enough? You wouldn’t care if I worked at a McDonald’s?

Mother: Just as long as you were the manager.

LK: That’s just so typical. I’d have to be the manager, wouldn’t I? I couldn’t just be a shift worker. God forbid! How would that look to your friends?   How could you justify being the Mother of a fast food worker?

Mother: We’re not talking about me.

LK: Aren’t we? You’re actually quite proud of me and who I am. You know it’s true. You loved it when I was on TV and radio. You also love that I’m a writer. An award winning writer, too.    That bothers you too..  thatvIm damn good at.    Butbyourvoridecfir me only exists when you convey it’s to your friends. But somehow all of that gets lost when it comes to telling me anything to mynface. You can’t tell me you’re proud of me. You couldn’t if you tried.   Instead , you have some distorted need to let me know that you don’t think I’m quite good enough…for anything.

Mother: I never wanted you to get a big hard.   Besides, it’s called humility, Laurie. Something I’ve always stressed with you.

LK: No, its called being a torpedo parent and THAT’s about the ONLY thing you’ve ever been consistent with and that’s  a form of control and it’s all you’ve got left. My sisters and I are three adult women that you can no longer manipulate. So, you’re relegated to ego-punches. That’s all you’ve got left in your arsenal.

Mother: We’re not talking about me and quit trying to blame your inadequacies on everyone else. You’re accountable for your own happiness.

LK: And that would be accurate if I was unhappy. I’m not but you can’t seem to get that through your head. Who are you trying to convince here- me or you?

Mother: I have nothing to do with this. I’m merely holding up a mirror of truth to your face.

LK: We’ve always had different versions of “the truth”, Mother.

Mother: Yes, in that I’ve always known it and you haven’t.

LK: If I’m good at denial Mother, I learned it from you.

Mother: That is such a lie!! I have NEVER denied anything in my life. I just choose to ignore certain things. That makes life easier. Like when I divorced that cheating bastard I call your father….

LK: He divorced you.

Mother: No, I divorced him. The court got it wrong.

LK: Why do you talk about him like that to me?

Mother: I speak the truth.

LK: But he’s still my father. I’m half him.  You diminish me as a person by saying those things about him.

Mother: No I don’t and that’s that psycho nonsense from that crazy old TV coot, Dr. Bill…

LK: Dr. Phil

Mother: Whatever and don’t you defend your father, either. Have you forgotten that he walked on you when he walked on me?

LK:  I’m aware of his departure from my life everyday.   But that was 40 years ago, That’s almost half of my life.  .    You make me crazy, Mother!!

Mother: And you make me tired.

LK: OK, enough about Daddy.

Mother: I should say so.   Anyway,  I still think you should try to get out of that tiny and probably filthy apartment and get a job that requires getting out.  You need the interaction. I know what’s right for you. I always have and you never have.

LK: You don’t know me at all, do you?

Mother: I know you perfectly well. And you’re a…..

  • LK: No, you don’t know me. You’ve never known me. I want to write…I need to write. If you knew me you’d know my need to explore the many facets of my creative side and you’d support instead of putting me down because God forbid I should ever be better than you at anything, but I am and that kills you.

Mother: Now you wait one minute, Missy. I ‘m creative. I decorated a six bedroom home.

LK: That’s not the same thing. Besides, if you really knew me, you’d know how much you hurt me with the things you say to me. You’d know how much conversations like this take a chunk out of my soul.

Mother: I tell you these things for your on good. And one more thing, your insolence hurts me.

LK: My insolence?

Mother: You’re insolence. And you’re ungrateful.

LK: Why couldn’t I have been an orphan?

Mother: I can arrange it.

LK: ENOUGH!!! Stop it….Now!

For a few seconds, we say nothing, caught up in the deafening silence of recoil.

LK: Look Mother, I don’t want to fight.

Mother: Who’s fighting?

LK: We are.

Mother: I don’t see it as fighting. I’m just trying to give you motherly advice.

LK:  Then we will most definitely have huge fight if you continue “advising” me, alright? My life is different from yours. You’re lucky. Very lucky. You live a very comfortable life. You don’t have to work. You’ve never have had to work, but I do. I’m tired of broadcasting and as I continue to evolve, so do my hopes and dreams and desires. And right now, I want and need to try my hand at something different.

Mother: But it’s awfully late in the game for a single woman to be trying “something different”. Is that a gamble a woman like you should to take?

LK: What do you mean by “a woman like me”?

Mother: Well, you’re not getting any younger, either and frankly, you’re losing your looks.

LK: What?

Mother: I agree there’s nothing wrong with brings self-sufficient, but at what price? There’s no honor in being 60 and single or 40 and single for that matter.   And in your case, you’ve never married. You need to be married. You need to get your life in order.

LK: For one thing, marriage will not get my life in order. You should know. You’re divorced.

Mother: We’re not talking about me.

LK: This is exasperating, Mother! You’re  exasperating! My life is fine. My life is—–(I don’t complete the sentence. I’m getting very angry, something that happens a lot when I talk to my mother. But I try a different tack this time. I take a deep breath .  In doing so, I allow myself to regain composure) OK, if you want me to be self-sufficient and you think my trying to be a writer at this stage of my life is silly then you could eliminate that pesky working part and just give me my inheritance now.

Mother: (silence)

(Mercifully, The Sound of “Call Waiting” beep can be heard on both lines)

LK: Well, Mother, someone is calling in..

Mother: And I’m still mulling over that orphan crack. You really need to think long and hard about what you said. You should apologize with some flowers. You know I’m getting up there and won’t be around much longer.

LK: Can I get that in writing?

Mother: That can also be arranged.

LK: I have to go, Mother.

Mother: Have you talked to you sisters lately? What was that story you were writing for that magazine?

(She won’t hang up. She actually wants to talk!!!  What to do? What to do? “Call Waiting” clicks again)

LK: Mother I have to go (I think fast) It’s uh…it’s…uh….it’s Daddy calling.

Mother: Good lord, what does he want!!! Then I definitely want off the line. Besides, I need to go to my lawyer’s officer.

LK: For what.

Mother: After this conversation, I’m amending my will.

LK: You do that, Mom. And later on, I’ll be calling Information to get a particular phone number.

Mother: Whose?

LK: Dr. Kervorkian’s

Mother:    Very funny.   Give that worthless son of a bitch I call your father, my deepest indifference.

LK: Already done. Goodbye mother.

Mother: Think about what I said, Laurie. I mean it. Listen to me. Remember, I’m your mother.

As if I could ever forget THAT detail.

I hang up and once the line is clear, the phone rings immediately. It’s not my father. We haven’t spoken in years. I don’t recognize the number calling in, but it doesn’t matter. It mercifully got me off the phone with my mother.

LK: Hello?

Phone Solicitor: Hello, Miss Kendrick? I’m assuming it’s Miss Kendrick based on the fact that I have no information indicating you are married or…..

I say nothing and just hang up on the guy in mid-sentence. That was the last thing I needed to hear.

I sit there for a few minutes; a million thoughts swirl in my head.

I then pick up the phone and start dialing a number I know so very, very well.

First ring….

Second ring…

LK: Hi Cindy.   Laurie Kendrick here.     Does Dr. Brandson have any time to  possibly squeeze me in for an emergency session today?  ,I’m really feeling the need to talk.    I…I just really need my shrink.

Cindy:   What happened?

LK: My mother called me.

Cindy:  Oh my!    Well, in that case, can you be here in ten minutes?

 

 

 

 

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We Need Help

As a country.    Would that we could find a psychiatrist’s couch big enough.

I’m watching the scat about to hit the  fan in Boston and there’s a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach.   It sickens me because there IS a moral equivalency on both sides of hate fueled racism, regardless of who threw the first punch.   If this is difficult to understand, you’re either delusional or not evolved enough as a human.   I almost envy you.    It’s gut wrenching, to watch a hate- stitched blanket of our making.      Here’s the reality:   If you’re a Democrat and you see in these ridiculous riots an Antifav member hit a pro Trump protestor over the head and you feel the slightest bit of satisfaction, that he deserved it whether you vocalize it or not, then you prove even on the slightest Level that what the Democrats deny–that moral equivalency exists. I guess that’s my biggest gripe in all of this. There’s so much hypocrisy coming from protestors who hate Robert E Lee without knowing why. They have no concept of history. This is just means for violent sociopaths on both sides, to exercise their pathologies. And before this gets adversarial, and threatens relationships of all kinds, I read some thing that resonated with me personally. There are ways to combat the abject idiocy the alt left and the alt right—-just think for yourself.

But no., that can’t happen.     So, this country is about to implode.      I saw something different in Charlottesville.   There’s a lot of anger coming from people who used to protest with their wallets. I’m talking about the white flighters and various people of ethnic persuasions who have for years, been abandoning urban areas in droves.    They moved because of fear and  there’s no right or wrong reason for wanting to leave.     Fear is real.

Hate is real and what we we have to admit is that as errant humans, hate exists in everyone’s heart and even in the texture of their souls. The only difference is that most sane, civilized people don’t act on it.

I hate slavery….slavery of all kinds. I hate what happened in the Antebellum South. I hate that Jews have been enslaved and murdered en mass for millenia. I despise how early American in NYC and other cities in the Northeast treated newly emigrated Italians and The Irish. I hate that our forefathers forced the Chinese to do the grueling work it took to build this country’s first railway system. I’m sorry that almost 70 years ago, our leaders felt it necessary to inter Japanese Americans in camps after we entered the Pacific Theater in WWII. And we can’t forget how Latinos were treated, especially along Mexican border states. Not to mention the Portuguese, Puerto Rican’s…….

And women. Even Rosa Parks acknowledged this part of the prejudicial equation.

Yes, it was horrible and unfair and inhumane but it also happened, and it happened so long ago. We cannot be revisionist historians. Sadly, what happened, happened and if we forget the past, we’re doomed to repeat it and if we don’t let go of certain aspects of the past, we’ll never get ahead. Why can’t these sociopaths on both sides of the issue see this???      And we can’t spend our lives being perpetual apologists or career victims. or race baiters of all colors, but there’s money and political gain in feeling this way. All completely reprehensible based in its greed and insincerity.

This has been made into a political battle.     Left vs right.    Racists Republicans vs Racist Democrats.   This is really only about right and wrong.    Hate of any kind is wrong.    But that’s not enough for race baiters on both sides.      It’s just an excuse to garner votes, to incite violence, to prove your mental shortcomings.

Personal Admission : As a chubby woman, I don’t like going to museums and seeing Rueben’s portraits of zaftig women being one myself…BUT…I’m not going to throw paint on them or demand they be taken down because they’re oppressive or offensive to overweight post menopausal broads. And the reason why? Because during Ruebens time, chubby women were highly sought after by men because that meant their families were wealthy enough to feed them. They would have substantial dowaries as brides. So, if you learn the truth, the facts, the history behind all things, it can make all the difference in the world.

I don’t think any historical statue should ever  be removed.   Malcolm X was a hate monger and wantedvti eradicate people like me from the face of the earth, but he was a hero to some.   Put up a statue, make it a shrine.   I’d ignore it.   He meant nothing to me.    So, keep all historical  statues intact and fortified  with fact based plaques stating who they are what they did and why they did what the did at that particular point  in history.     And then we learn from history as opposed to trying to destroy it because its contra to the narrstive we need kept alive.

Our ignorance is no excuse for violence.

I don’t know what the answer is, but I know what it isn’t. Tearing down statues of Confederate generals isn’t the answer…it’s just vandalism that’s fanning angry flames;,the very angry, disenfranchised flames which got Trump elected. Think about it. Trump’s win was as much a revolt as it was an election.  Things will only worse…MUCH worse as the the color of the tide of anger and resentment changes.

 

The God Principle

To please my 87-year -old church-going mother, I went to church with her this morning.    She’s Methodist.    I was raised Catholic, something she had to do….she upon marrying her Catholic  husband, she had to sign a piece of paper m relinquishing the religious indoctrination of her three daughters in an era that was pre-Vatican 2.     We would be raised Catholic, but Catholic-light.  We’d go to mass every Sunday,  but we were a bit cavalier about it.    Daddy wasn’t that devout and mother poo-pood Catholic dogma.  So, in order to try to introduce a little Jesus into my life as opposed to learning about growing up and marrying a nice Catholic boy and bringing into the world more Catholics, I’d go to all these Methodist and Presbyterian events.   I get confused sometimes and boy, would these punchy protestants  give me hell if I’d innocently forget where I was and instinctively cross myself after one of their prayers.

I haven’t been to Mass in I don’t know how long, but recent enough to still see the differences.   There were still no calisthenics…..no kneeling, standing, sitting.     At this service, we sat mostly and sang hymns that I’d heard played at the funerals of Protestant relatives.    I didn’t hear any kind of homily, sermon…..just songs.     As in song, after song that I didn’t know.

Jesus was mentioned in said , but they all struck me as odd.    It was if the ubiquitous  “they” were really trying hammer home ( pun intended) Jesus’ death  and how God sacrificed ‘his son’ for our sins.   I listened to discordant lyrics about glorifying dying, blood, slow painful deaths on old rugged crosses,  more dying and  being forsaken by Daddy one minute, then asking that HE forgive them (the Roman soldiers, I suppose) for not knowing what they’re doing.

So, here’s my question: was Jesus in on all this or not?

Isn’t it odd that an unseen force that spoke to Abraham and Moses and smited with alarming frequency and  also who gave Noah a crash course in animal husbandry, sacrificed his “human” son who was just a regular Yossef, perusing the towns and villages of Zion while performing miracles.   Yet the Son died, knowing he would die, knowing one of his disciples would betray him due and he also knew that for a  lack of a better word, he’d reanimate after three days and no one would ever see him again except in every Catholic church, on the occasional piece of toast…in an oil spill at a machine shop or in a tree or tortilla.

Believers say there’s evidence of Jesus’ existence in every one, in everything.   Ok.   That’s Christianity, but what’s with the Trinity?    The Father, Son and The Holy Ghost?     It’s almost like Christianity is this convoluted  Rube Goldberg -like contraption.     One begat one, but you can’t get into Heaven without believing in the other and the Holy Ghost or Spirit which seemingly gets little to no ink in Christianity, is what—–the glue that holds this trifecta together???

My mother is very Methodist.  It’s like she’s placed herself in a safe little Methodist bubble as if nothing can happen  to her as long as she’s in the company or dealing with other Methodists—-from  car dealers, attorneys, CPA’s, to boutique owners.   She wisely allows for a Jewish allowance when it comes to doctors and health specialists.

Meanwhile, back at the Methodist sing a long, these people seemed so content to belt these terribly gory songs. I just shook my head and listened to songs about happy lepers and who were blind but could see after being such a  wretch, but now  can noe see.

I don’t know what I believe.     It’s not a being, an entity, but it seems to be more like force–a very, very strong energy.    It smarter than me, bigger than me, knows me well enough to have a response to every question.    I pray for a handsome husband and a million bucks.    He’s God, not a miracle worker, but it is indeed a higher power?      I feel certain that  I’ve felt evidence of it.    Or maybe luck is God.  And coincidence is God.   Failure, success, heartache, fleeting joy, physical pain, neurosis, staph infections, katydids and eyelashes are all God.

But then there’s Jesus.    And his governance and force in your life, versus blaming him because for bad things because of free will.  Are Calvin and pre-determination  are wrong.?     Or are our Presbyterian friends right and free will  simply can’t be.

My father is a rather  hostile born againer.  . He’s born again and has involved himself in the Pentecostal mindset.    I can’t even address that entire issue properly mainly because the question  mark over head is so large my large it casts the shadow over my iPad.    So enough on that.

God came easy to me.    Jesus didn’t….not even as a kid.   Too much magic.  It didn’t fly with the Catholic version which came with guilt nor did the Methodist version which was frequently accompanied  by a covered dish casserole. .

I believe in something, but what?   And if I believe in something, what does make me?  Does it even have a name?   I know it’s  not an alien, or a cloud formation.    The Pope and I aren’t close, I think I’d scare a rabbi and an Imam would do run to the  arms of the nearest Jew.   Buddhists.   Nah, arthritic knee.  Too much climbing.  Wiccans?   Not enough appreciation for trees.

I don’t know.

More to be examined, debated, deliberated later.  Thanks for any input.   And please no proselytizing or judgy name calling.     Have an opinion or have none at all, but please be respectful.    You wouldn’t want to be  smited, would you?

I have an app for it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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About God

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Who, what, where is God?    Do you believe he’s the long, white-haired, Chuck Heston looking guy Michaelangelo  painted?    Or do you believe without the need for any kind of personification?

If you believe, what is God to you and why?     And must you attend church in order to be completely square the Big Guy….or Big Gal upstairs?

If you don’t believe, why?     Would you consider yourself an agnostic with doubts or are yiunan atheist certain there’s no divine force playing  chess with our lives?

Fear not, you won’t be judged.  There are no wrong answers.    I only ask because there have been a lot of trials in my life this past year  and during a nightly swim under the lilac skies of the Hill Country at twilight, I thought about my ever evolving concept of God  and wondered are we being punished when life is difficult or rewarded when things go smoothly.

Your  thoughts, please.

 

 

 

My Dilemma

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I’ve not been around much lately, not that the few readers I have left would notice, but it’s been a crazy month.   I bought a new house  and I’m also in the process of prepping my old one for sale.   All it needs is a good cleaning and the waiting begins.

Cleaning…key word here .  Therein lies my dilemma.

I like art.  The real stuff, the kitschy stuff.    Expensive works  and five dollar posters in expensive frames.    And that goes for objects d’art, too.     My style is very eclectic and somehow, it all works.      So when I started packing, I noticed several damaged pieces.   For example, two sizeable chips in a Baccarat crystal oblisk.     I don’t include the brand name to brag or be pretentious,, but merely to prove the value of the kind of things I’m finding damaged.   There were other items too…to many to include here, but all damage was at the hands of a human.   Most of the things were too heavy for my dog or cats to have caused and in some cases I’d find shards of the broken item neatly piled behind it in an attempt to hide it.      I adore my furry children and I’m certain they could be members of animal Mensa if one existed,  even if their little brains could conceive the idea which is absurd even for me to contemplate, it’s impossible for two paws with dew claws to, pile shards of broken crystal or porcelain, then try to hide it behind the broken object.

I didn’t have many guests over  at my other home, so for many weeks on end, I was there all the time and my housekeeper was there once a week.    Just the two of us.   And I  assure you, I wasn’t passing time juggling Baccarat oblisk.

So, I met family for lunch today and when I got home, I found a rare, delicate shell on a crystal base, broken with pieces of the shell shoved inside what was left of the shell.  It was stunning at one time, and yeah, a bit pricey.

I placed it earlier this week, on the bathroom counter in all its loveliness and my housekeeper came Wednesday and she’s the only other person who’s been in my home in a week.

She only speaks Spanish and is semi-literate.    But my Spanish….especially after a couple of drinks is very good, so “the” conversation began.     I told her I was going to ask her a very serious question and that her answer had to be honest.    I tried to explain to her that response could  be a career decision.    Hard to translate that.  Anyway,  she denied everything at first, then I started citing specific examples  and she hemmed and hawed then finally confessed and said yes, she’d damaged things.

I asked her why she didn’t tell me.     She said was scared to tell me because she knew what she broke was expensive.   I then asked her how she could, in all good consciousness, break valuable things, my things, things that I worked long and hard to buy, things that meant something to me, yet not say a word and take home a paycheck?

She said because she wanted the money.    I blew up.   The top of my head is imbedded in an 18 foot ceiling.    Damn, now I gotta hire someone new to clean that.   But seriously, I was livid.

Now, I will admit, I paid her very well, treated her like a queen.   Remnants of Liberal guilt perhaps.    I gave her new clothes, a designer bag….TV, a clothes dryer, jewelry for Christmas.   I’ve helped members of her family and friends and acquaintances…..all undocumented, but kids were involved and well, I couldn’t help BUT help and the help they needed was immediate and they literally didn’t have the time to wait for illegal alien bureaucratic assistance.

Her last words to me that no matter how or why this went down, it was worse for her because she “needed the money” and I was lucky because ” I have money”.

Hhhhhmmmmm….I don’t remember hiring Bernie Sanders.

Her audacity was appalling.   Fucking entitlement and what’s worse, I was responsible for creating most of it.   When will we realize as a society that  giving away too much in in order to be kind, to right a wrong or assuage one’s guilt, negates the positives of working.   The integrity one receives  from earning power.   I was livid, hurt, felt used,  deceived and like an idiot.    I had the responsibility and the right to terminate her, yet felt the conflict  of how that would  affect her familial income.    Then, I allowed myself to see the reality once again: she’d been terribly dishonest to me…..repeatedly…..and for all the wrong reasons.

What was left of my cranium bounced off a soon to be replaced ugly ass rustic ceiling fan.

Another troubling factoid—this woman is completely sucked in by the Hispanic division  of a well-known company that sells everything from soap to make-up to plows.   It’s also a well known scam and a pyramid scheme  that’s somehow allowed to remain in operation.   She would  mop with a headset on listening to their tripe, learning their mindset:   how to sell and make money and be liberated from debt and heartache on their terms,     I heard a little of the schpiel and I swear it was nothing short of  a Spanish version of  “Arbeit  macht frei”, a German phrase meaning “work sets you free”.    The slogan is known for appearing on the entrance of Auschwitz and other Nazi concentration camps.   And she believes this crap,  hook, line and el sinker.

So, with this in mind and knowing she lied to me and basically  stole from me, I told her I should take her to court  to recover losses, but that I wouldn’t because her obvious ignorance about everything was punishment enough.

We started texting by then and I stared at that particulars  sentence for a while.  Initially, and felt it to be almost cruel, but I guess I didn’t feel that bad about it.   CLICK.   It was sent.   I don’t feel bad about it, mainly because it’s true.   Not because she’s Hispanic—or semi literate….don’t even start that crap.   It’s because she’s ignorant of correct human behavior and decency.     She was ignorant,  by choice perhaps, of the repercussions of knowingly destroying  property and lying about it, because it would affect her bottom line.      She seemed to be so sweet and  kind, but she wasn’t .   Nor was she trustworthy  or honest  and then had this shocking resentful attitude at being caught.      She saw nothing wrong in breaking things, hiding them, not disclosing her sctuins — even if by accident, and taking a paycheck.    No guilt,  no remorse…only when she got caught and only then after forcing her to face her mistakes.    She obviously missed this company’s mandatory lectures on integrity.   Apparently, you need to pay for courses on how to think like this company needs  you to think.   She showed me a brochure once.   All I could think of was Jim Jones and his Guyana cyanide-laced KoolAid death fest.

Lemmings.

She isn’t a dumb woman, but clearly, not very bright either, not in this sense.

Finally, she managed to eek  out a single gracias which read as if it took great effort and with that, our three- year relationship ended.   She’s now free to peddle her fake wears and mindset to other gullible people who like her, only care about not giving a damn about anyone but themselves.

So here I am,  two weeks into a house that was/is rife with problems….now this.  I’m rapidly losing faith in my fellow man, my ability to trust people and doubting my own judgement.    I’m combatting my own idiocy daily.     THAT’S my real dilemma.

Ah well.    Just another costly, costly life lesson learned while permanently enrolled at the University of Laurieland.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Something For Walter

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I must request that you indulge me in something.

I need to take a break from the madness; my madness and remember someone who was very close to me.  Someone I miss a great deal.

Walter Minter Tarpley was my best friend.

We had a strangely initmate love/hate relationship that only a gay man and a straight woman can have.  Our disagreements could divide a nation; our good times often bordered on criminal, but life with Walter was so much fun.    My life with him was amazing.

He didn’t believe in much, except that a good time was had by all .    His circle was small and I always felt quite honored to have stood at one of the corners.   Circle in a square; square in a circle and somehow, it…we always fit.     He could be extremely cavalier at times and his carelessness bothered me, but then again, he made me realize that I wasn’t really the hip, happenin’ chick I thought I was.   He was liberall;  Tim Robbins liberal.   I was Conservative and becoming more so as each year passed.  It had gotten to the point that I was inching toward being politically on par with Elizabeth Dole, save for the fuel injected Southern hair.

We argued about the ever growing abyss between the two parties, but we learned to sway the topic if politics reared its head.   And despite our differences, we cared a great deal for each other.   Our first outing together was  Halloween in 2005.  We made a vow that we would always spend Halloween together.   We had a wonderful time that night and the next day, I had a tough time working because I kept laughing at the things we’d done..said…felt.  I remember thinking that day that we’d be friends forever; but forever only lasted two years.

He died on July 4th 2007, a mere nine days after being diagnosed with AIDS-related pneumocystis pneumonia.

We used to go out and make merry every Halloween and frankly, I can’t let another one go by without honoring my best friend and remembering how his life cand death, altered the course of mine.

I wrote this post exactly ten years ago years ago.     I republish it today.

For Walter.

Twenty years ago, I dreamed of meeting one  special man that I could be friends with for the rest of my life…one man to laugh with, cry with….share my most intimate thoughts with.

He was given to me on a warm and sunny August day in 2005.

Walter came into my life quite by surprise, but hardly by accident. He sent me an e-mail at the radio station where I worked. It took no time at all for us to become friends and when we did, I found that I adored Walter.  He was devilishly handsome, brilliant, crass but polished, opinionated, fearless, acerbic, openly gay and hilarious.

To me, he was Perfection.

He was also a tortured soul. As was I, when we met. One would think that two fractured people would just create a pile of emotional shards. But that wasn’t the case with us. We seemed to provide the bonding needed to keep each other together. I think it was laughter that served as the consummate adhesive. We became best friends.

My relationship with Walter was rather cloistered. Few people understood our connection. I’m not sure even we understood the degree of our closeness. That was fine with us; we preferred it that way. When other people listened to us speak, it was as if we were speaking Esperanto. We jokingly said we spoke “TarKen”; our own language which was interspersed with many expletives and the requisite “Filthy” and “Dirty”, all spoken in a feigned British accent we used.

Few “got us” and that was OK.  We held on to each other, only letting go only when the other stepped free, but even so, the bond was never completely broken.   We were content  knowing that we’d found each other. We were happy to have found a certain “punctuation” to the paragraph of our lives.

We just clicked; my cup to his saucer—mismatched, chipped and crazing down the center, but still beautiful, even in it’s damaged state. Perfectly flawed.

Walter entered my life at a time I needed him most. He brought joy and laughter where there was none. He helped me learn to live again.   In fact, he was best time I’ve ever had. He felt like home. Comfortable, safe and secure. Like a hug, accented with the aroma of freshly baked chocolate chip cookies, wrapped in a soft, familiar blanket.   He never dismissed me or made me feel anything less than extraordinary.

He was never aloof, nor did he ever exist passively in my life. He was a willing participate–fully involved, concerned and more importantly, he was there when I needed him. We were good about being there for each other. Walter understood that Life is inconvenient. So is Love. Neither will ask for permission and both can be obtrusive.   Still, he was never too busy for me, even when I was.  He was kind in the sense that he never decreed me as anything other than one of his very best friends. What an incredible honor!

Make no mistake, we had issues.  We had our disagreements which were legendary. And vicious!! Imagine a film recording of Joan Crawford telling off the board of Pepsico on a continuous loop that plays at painful decibels.We never stayed mad at each other;  at least, not that long.

Ultimately with Walter, I always felt loved. Unconditionally so. I could be thin, pudgy, hair perfect or teased up to a dizzying Elsa Lancaster’s Bride of Frankenstein height. I could be sans make-up or with a full compliment and wearing something that fashion-wise, would’ve have been considered only luke-warm from five seasons earlier. That didn’t matter.

To Walter, I was always just Laurie. No pretense.

To me, he was always Walter. No pretense.

One night he asked me why I couldn’t have been born a gay man. On that particular day, I had to fire six members of my staff. I was crying in his arms. I was wearing this silk blouse with, pink feather scuffs. I looked up at him, mascara streaming down my face and said, “Take one look at me, Walter. Look at what I’m wearing then take a gander at my make-up! I have to ask you, what makes you so sure I’m not?”

Our friendship was enduring and so incredibly special.  We had this idea that we’d grow old together. That we’d live long enough to comb gray hair, use our AARP discounts at dinner, complain about arthritis and those damn kids and their crazy music. We thought surely one day, I’d be Blanche to his Baby Jane. Aging wouldn’t matter as long as we could view the process through each other’s eyes. Together.

But the Universe had other plans. It gave me Walter, but the one thing it couldn’t give me was a relationship with him that could be measured in years. He was only in my life for a mere 23 months. That was all. Even though I have many brilliant memories that could rival the most dazzling, star-filled constellations, I felt this was and still is so incredibly unfair.   I wasn’t ready to say goodbye. I’m still not. My first hello to him–seemingly uttered just yesterday– still resonates on my lips!!

I wanted more time.  No, I needed more time for one last look at his wonderfully handsome face; one more chance to absorb the warmth of his smile; to hear that wicked, wicked laugh; to read his soulful eyes; to feel the touch of his hand.

I grapple with the Divine more than I care to admit and when Walter got sick, I felt angry.  When he died, I felt cheated.  I’m told that people are put in our paths for special reasons.  Sometimes,  it’s to force us to give of ourselves and sometimes it’s for us to receive.   If so, then that means sadly, tragically, these beautiful, divine human gifts must also leave our lives for special reasons.     Why Walter left mine is something I’ll never, ever understand,  but I know why he came into my life. And that was to save my life  and as a result, I’m a much wiser and richer woman for my all too brief experience with this angel.

I love Walter and always will.

His death cannot negate my feelings or the relationship I’ll continue to have with him. The love lives on because I do. And I live on because this precious man gave me a reason to do so.   His friendship in many, many ways gave my life back to me.

I went to his memorial service and saw his ravaged body lying in the coffin.   He would’ve hated that.   He would’ve loathed how his make-up had been applied and how badly he looked.   I made myself look at him,  I needed to see him one last time.   I fought the urge to cry as I touched his withered and drawn face.   I stood there and actually mustered a smile for a few fleeting moments as I thought about the strange, cyclical nature of life and how for every mortal journey, death is the final destination.

This was Walter’s time to die, but unlike so many people, Walter also knew how to live.  And for an all too brief moment in time, his beautiful life intersected mine.

And I am so incredibly grateful.

Twenty years from now, I’ll dream of how I met that one  special man who I wanted to be friends with for the rest of my life…one man I laughed with, cried with…shared my most intimate thoughts with.

And I’ll remember how he was taken from me on a warm and rainy July day in 2007.

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