Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Me Myself I

I am a woman but I have never roared.
I'm horny.
I think you're awesome.
I love zebras.
I want a dog.
I'm working for the Clampdown.
I'm the fifth Ramone.
I'm pretty cool.
I'm a huge dork.
I love artichokes.
I am creative.
I'm Italian.
I'm Polish (but we don't talk about that)
I love my hair.
I love my tattoos.
I never went to college but I'm still fucking smart.
I need you in my life.
I love Halloween.
I hate looking at myself.
I want you here with me.
I have secrets even my BFF's don't know.
I need more sleep.
I need more sex.
I can't stand liars.
I have no idea if this feedburner thing is working.
I love to cook.
I'm painfully honest, always.
I will not leave you.
I am beautiful.
I think you're a tool.
I secretly really dig my big tits.
I want to succeed.
I want you to succeed.
I think vampires are sexy as hell.
I think the Exorcist was the scariest thing I ever saw.
I can watch The Stand over and over and over (and read it too).
I'm tired.
I'm an orgasm addict.
I want you to be healthy.
I hate oranges.
I am happy.
I love Peter Murphy.
I am sad.
I am confused.
I am self confident.
I can be really stupid sometimes.
I am self conscious.
I think of you often.
I am an artist.
I love baseball.
I love Joe Strummer.
I hate football.
I'm sorry.
I wanna be sedated.
I have cold feet... literally.
I hate myself for loving you.
I love Mike Ness.
I think this is getting too long.
I want to go to Italy.
I hope you know.
I think you're an asshole.
I wish I knew.
I want to stick to a diet.
I have asthma.
I miss my Grandma.
I love my sister but she never has my back.
I wish my parents didn't need me so much.
I want to travel more.
I try not to hate people, but some people make that difficult.
I want more work.
I am going to end this now.
I love you.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Orlando Airport Fun

You've read about hell at the airport in Cleveland.  This is about an experience I had at the airport in Orlando.  I was on my way home, for good this time, after my dad's illness.  I had to get home and get my house ready because he and mom were moving in.  I was, as I had been before, on stand by.  It's a little trickier in Orlando.  Tricky maybe isn't the right word, but there are a lot more people all trying to get home from Disney or whatever, so stand by could have you sitting there for who knows how long until you finally get on a plane.  I checked in without incident and found a seat to wait out my fate.

I was just sitting there, kind of daydreaming about all that had happened in the last eight weeks when an older gentlemen sat down next to to me.  I glanced over at him.  Then again.   And then again.  And finally I said, "excuse me, but are you Bob Feller?"  He looked at me with a smile and said, "yes I am" and put his hand out for me to shake.

If you're not from Cleveland or not a big baseball fan, you may not know who Bob Feller is, so let me enlighten you.  Bob Feller is the winningest pitcher in Cleveland Indians history.  He is a Hall of Famer.  He is a living legend.  And he is my mom's all time favorite player ever and I've been hearing about how great he is my whole life.  In the days when mom took the bus to the old Cleveland Municipal Stadium and sat in the bleachers for 25¢.  If I heard that once, I heard it 5,000 times.

Bob fucking Feller!!!   I was pretty excited.  He is known nowadays as a curmudgeonly old coot who remembers ever single stat he ever put out.  But to me, he was nice as could be.  Not the least bit cranky or curmudgeonly.  We talked for a good 10 minutes.... about my dad, about his son he was visiting and the speech he had made while in Orlando.  About my mom being his biggest fan and about how I may or may not get on the plane.  He was so kind and very content to sit and talk to me until the plane started boarding.  He was in first class so he was called to board first.   And as he got up to leave, he turned back to me and said, "I hope you got on the plane."  I thanked him and resumed my wait.  I was so taken with just talking to him, I never even thought to ask for an autograph or to take a picture.  Doh!

A woman sitting nearby, who apparently witnessed my excitement at meeting him, turned to me and said, "Who was that?"  I looked at her with an "are you kidding me look" and said, "That was Cleveland Indians Hall of Fame pitcher Bob Feller!"  She replied, "well I guess that made your day."  Damn right it did!  Coming off the worst eight weeks of my life, and probably the most horrendous airport experience I will ever have, hunkering down next to a legend is pretty fucking sweet! 

I did get on that plane and when he saw me boarding he gave me a big smile and said, "you made it" with a thumbs up.  Bob fucking Feller!!!

Sunday, October 17, 2010


(inspired by "Hope")

I wish you were still here.
I wish that I didn't cringe whenever I saw a picture of myself.
I wish my vacation had cleared my head.
I wish you could read me better.
I wish someone could hear me.
I wish we could play together.
I wish I could help you.
I wish I were a better writer.
I wish I could take away the pain, yours and mine.
I wish I could rid you of cancer.
I wish things weren't so complicated.
I wish you could be honest with me.
I wish I didn't cry so much.
I wish you knew.
I wish I had more sex.
I wish I had money to invest in my business.
I wish you could see what is in my heart.
I wish I didn't have so much anxiety.
I wish you would come to see me.
I wish you didn't depend on me so much.
I wish I didn't have to hide so much of what I feel.
I wish you were over her.
I wish you were here more.
I wish I could touch you.
I wish there was an escape hatch.
I wish I could see the future.
I wish I hadn't wasted years of my life on you.
I wish I knew my path.

Thursday, October 7, 2010


When?  When will my business become the success I know it can be?  When will I lose the weight I want to lose?  When will my parents realize that I can't always be at their beck and call?  When am I going to get more sex?  When will my needs be a concern to anyone, including myself?  When is there joy?  When is pain released?   When do I get to live?

The answer is within me and only me.  My business becomes a success when I work harder to make it one.  I lose the weight when I stick to the plan before me.  When I exercise.  When I do what I have to do to make it happen.  It's not a difficult concept.  It's just one that I overlook sometimes.  Taking care of me?  Why that's just crazy talk.

My parents, well that's a different story.   For the most part, I am all they've got.  My brother and sister bailed on the situation before it became a situation.  Now they are both happily out of state where they can call me and bark out orders about what they think I should be doing to help our parents and I get to tell them to shut the fuck up until they are back here again and living my life.  They wonder why I'm not doing more.  They wonder why my dad is so sedentary.   They wonder why my mom is such an enabler.  They can wonder until the fucking cows come home.  Until you are here, walking that mile in my shoes, you have no fucking say.  My other brother, the one that lives here still, he's got his hands full with two kids and a terminally ill father in law that lives with them, so I cut him some slack on picking up my slack with our parents.

The reality is, my dad lost his leg and in turn lost his interest in anything other than sitting on his magic lift chair in his living room staring at anything on the TV.  I go there every Wednesday and he's watching fucking Bonanza on TV Land!   His mind is turning to mush because he has zero stimulation of any kind and my mom would rather let him do whatever he wants to do because if she pushes him he gets angry and she can't deal.  When he got sick and was in Florida, I did everything.  I talked to the doctors, I asked questions, I prompted them for different meds, I took notes.  My mother was in shock and if she hadn't been, she would have sat there passively like she was doing anyway.  She comes from a time where doctor knows best and you just accept what they are saying.  But I come from a time where I question everything.  One thing I said over and over to my mom then was, "you have to be your own advocate" and it never sunk in.  She still needs everything explained to her, over and over again.  She cannot figure out the simplest things on her own.  She refuses to wear her glasses when I take her shopping so if I'm not there, she's buying the wrong item, she's using an expired coupon, she's buying moldy strawberries.  It's like having two almost 80 year old children in two very different ways.

My dad's three favorite words are "I can't" and "no."  He is perfectly capable of many things but he would rather not do them.  Until recently he would sit in bed and my mom had to bring him a basin, a cup of water and his toothbrush so he could brush his teeth in bed.  He refused to stand at the bathroom sink.  Why?   No one knows because he has no answer other than, "I can't."  Yes he can.   He has a prosthetic leg and he can stand, he can walk.  He does this now because he was forced back into physical therapy and was made to do it there.  But he still won't stand at the bathroom sink to shave.  He does this at the kitchen table.  My mom won't do anything to change it and quite frankly, I refuse to get involved in it.  They don't live with me anymore.  They have to do these things and figure stuff out on their own.

About a month ago, some family members were driving to Chicago to see my Great Aunt L, my Grandma's last remaining sibling.  They asked my parents to go and my mom was hesitant.  So mom's cousin says, "why don't you get Lalia to bring you guys?"  Really?  I'm just available at the drop of a hat to drive my parents to Chicago because someone else wants them to go?  Why didn't she volunteer to drive my parents, take care of my dad's needs, push his wheelchair, make sure everywhere we go is handicap accessible?   Why do people think I'll be able to just drop whatever is going on in my life and go?  It's things like this, that drive me crazy and fill me with resentment.

How does one step back from a situation that is so close to you but that is burning you out in every way possible?   In three years since this new chapter of life began, it has felt like the biggest part of my life.  When you're taken for granted, how do you get your life back without breaking all ties and hurting people you love?  I want my life back.  I want to work more, have more sex, have more fun, travel, meet people, see friends, go places.  I'm 44 years old and sometimes it feels like my life is over. 

The answers are within me.  I just have to find them.  Pity Party over.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Did She Really Say That?

Grandma was about 89 at the time.  She was living in the house she had lived in for well over 50 years.  The small bungalow that I have so many joyous memories of.  The tiny house with two kitchens.  It is a prerequisite if you're Italian to have two kitchens, the main one and a second one in the basement.  We do a lot of cooking.

On this particular visit, I was hanging out with Grandma after work and she had, of course, made me some fucking delicious dinner.  I don't remember what it was, but I know it was great because it was always great.  After we ate, we went into the living room to have espresso and talk.  She started to tell me about my cousin T and his wife G.  Gina was very pregnant with their first and they had come by for a visit a few days before.  Grandma was really put off because G was wearing a rather short skirt for someone in her condition.  G's also a big freakin whore, so you know, a miniskirt at 8 months pregnant isn't a big shocker.   It wasn't to me anyway.  But this was not something Grandma was down with.  She was disgusted by it in fact.  So disgusted that she said these words to me, "And there she was, sitting on my sofa with her legs spread and her pussy hanging out."  And I choked on my espresso!

It's not that I wasn't used to Grandma using colorful language.  Good Lord she could cuss with the best of them when she wanted to!   Hmmm... there's another thing I have in common with her.  But to hear an 89 year old woman saying "pussy," there was just something very hilarious and unsettling about it at the same time.   God love her.  I sure do.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Two Years

It was two years ago today that I lost one of the most important people in my life, my Grandma Angelina.  She was only three weeks away from her 100th birthday but I don't think you would ever have known that by looking at her.  She had gotten ill in February of '08, suffering a perforated bowel, a complication for diverticulitis.  She was rushed to the hospital in the wee hours of the morning and had emergency surgery.  Perforated bowel is pretty serious, in anyone, and she was 99 at the time.  Many don't survive it.  She did.  But it's not a surprise really.  This is the same woman, who at 90 years old, had a triple bypass and valve replacement, earning her a spot in medical journals for not only undergoing that intense of a surgery at her age, but surviving and thriving. It was a stroke she suffered a few months after the perforated bowel, in September that ultimately claimed her.  And even when she couldn't talk and couldn't move one side of her body, I still thought maybe she would pull through.  She always did before, why not this time too?

She came to the United States from Palermo in April of 1909 when she was just a baby.  She arrived at Ellis Island on the ship called Columbia.  This is a picture of the actual ship she was on.

I want to share her with you.  I want you to know her, see her.  This is a family portrait taken in 1925.  Everyone in this photo (except for the 3 adults who are seated) are siblings of my Grandmother's.  In the front from left to right are Theresa, Lucia, the baby is Charles, and on the end, Nick.  Behind Theresa is Biago, then my great Grandparents, my Grandfather (Salvatore) and then Caroline.  Standing in the back is Carmella and Angelina.  My Grandfather is included because he was married to Angelina by this time.  An arranged marriage where he was about 14 years older than she was. 

Married at 15, a mother at 16 and so far ahead of her time.   She always worked, whether it be in a factory, in a beverage store, in a Chicken Delight (a place my uncle owned, kind of a competition of KFC some 40 years ago), a pizza place or any other number of restaurants she cooked in.  When she worked at my uncle's Chicken Delight, she got so sick of chicken she rarely ever ate it in her later years.  But she wasn't the chicken fryer there.  No, what she made was her amazingly delicious pizza.   I don't remember much about the place, but I always remember her pizza.  There is no better.  

To me, she was always larger than life, even though she was only about 4 ft. 5 inches tall.  She was fierce.  That is probably the best word I could use to describe her.  Fierce in every way.  I hardly knew my Grandfather, he died when I was seven years old and I was always just a little afraid of him.  I knew him sick, and I knew him with a very heavy Italian accent.  But I never really spent a lot of time with him.  It's kind of funny but when you think of Italian women, especially old country Italian women, you probably think of little short stocky women, wearing black dresses and a veil on their heads, carrying a rosary and a church book or bible.  This was not my Angelina.  My Grandfather was a church goer so my Grandma would drive him to the door of the church and then leave.  Then she would come back an hour later to pick him up.  I never knew why she didn't go in but now I wish I had thought to ask her.  It wasn't something I ever really thought about though.  She just didn't go.  And relate to that.  As soon as I was old enough to make my own decisions about whether or not to go to church, I stopped going.  But she believed in God.  Whenever I talked to her she told me she thanked the Lord a hundred times a day that she was still alive, still sharp, still able to do things for herself.  She had some, but not a lot, of religious symbolism in her house.  A cross here, a statue of Mary there.  And she never, ever ate meat on any Friday all year long.

Writing about her is difficult.  I can guess that reading it probably is too.  I feel like I'm all over the map and not making sense.  If that's what's happening, I hope you can bear with me and understand how hard it is.  She is someone I miss every day of my life.   I want to tell you about her humor.  I want to tell you funny stories.  I want to tell you about how much she taught me, not just in the kitchen but about the kind of woman I want to be.  I want to tell you about her food.  I want to tell you what holidays were like at her house.   But I realize with so much to say about her, that this particular entry will have to be a to be continued kind of thing.  So for now I'll leave you with the knowledge that she was someone I loved intensely, admired greatly, and miss painfully.