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HAPPY BIRTHDAY AUNT LORRAINE

My Aunt would be 85 today if she had lived.  Of all of my dead relatives my Aunt talks to me the most.  For too many years I have focused on her prickliness.  The fact that her and my father called me dumb dumb and knucklehead until I was thirty or that on her death bead she said “I had a niece, she never failed to dissapoint me” have attracted all of my attention. But if I am honest, I am being quite unfair to my dear Aunt Lorraine.  My father and aunt never left my grandparent’s house and I visited there every weekend.  My aunt, when I was growing up was a business woman.  She was a store manager for Weilbolts Department Store and later a buyer. Many Saturdays I would ride the “L” downtown with my Aunt and go to work with her.  I would help her on the floor and even make sales. No matter what she called me she treated me like I could do anything.  My Aunt perhaps more than my mother was my example that a woman could do anything.

After she was forced to retire she began to refinish furniture.  She was meticulous.  She did beautiful work.  Whenever I am at Savers or a garage sale I have to pick out the furniture that I would buy for her if she was still here. But what was truly amazing was how she could make cookies.  Everything was beautiful and perfect.  She was not quick.  She would often criticize me for how quick I was and therefore sloppy.  But she had to ask me to make the Spritz cookies.  She could not operate the Spritzer because she was not quick. She would make the most amazing sweet potatoes.  She would saute them in butter and brown sugar for twenty minutes until they were perfectly evenly covered with the brown sugar glaze.

If I’m honest I miss my Aunt the most. In honor of my Aunt I think I will attempt to create one of her glorious cookie plates, maybe for Thanksgiving , maybe for the Christmas Party.  I know that I cannot recreate her sweet potatoes so I won’t even try.  I might be able to come close on the cookies.

Happy Birthday Aunt Lorraine.  Thank You.

I THOUGHT I HAD TIME

My friend Kris Blake died last night.  Paul just called me.  I haven’t seen Kris in years.  I’ve talked to her a few times.  I loved Kris Blake.  See I haven’t seen her or talked to her because of the alcoholism.  I’m not sure if it was because of her alcoholism or mine.  Kris was the smartest woman I knew, really.  She was brilliant, alive and funny.  She was also a pain in the ass.  I had my first wedding at Kris and Paul’s.  I went to their house every other weekend when I was separating from my first husband.

Kris and Paul’s house was magic.  That was true when I was drinking and when I wasn’t.  I remember one time when I was staying the night.  We were out in the hot tub.  She was telling me a story about her mother.  That she had just got back from bumming around Europe for months she called her mom and said that before she came home she wanted to go to a concert near by where they lived in New York.  But her mom said “Oh Kris, there will always be another concert”.  She looks at me “Remember that Carla…..  Another Concert, it was Woodstock”.   On another night I was there with Jeanne.  Jeanne was probably 5 or 6.  I think I had already stopped drinking, so probably six.  Wiley and Zack were there.  We were sitting around and the kids were walking in the field with tall grass.  It was twilight, the fireflies were visible.  All of a sudden the kids come running saying there were monsters in the grass.  They had disturbed some deer.  It was magic.  I know some people think I’m good at creating magic but I had nothing on Kris.  She found magic or magic found her.

One of the last times I saw her we had gone out to help her and Paul when there was a flood.  She and I took a boat around the house.  There were fish jumping where her yard was suppose to be.

So why has it been so long since I’ve seen her.  Because I didn’t know if she would be drunk.  I could talk to her about a plan to come see her at 11:00 and have her be drunk by 1:00.  She showed up drunk to Jeanne’s baby shower.  I knew I had to stop drinking when I got mad at Kris for not drinking at an occasion where I wanted to use her as an excuse to drink.

But here’s the point of all of this.  I thought I had time.  I thought I had time to reconcile.  I was going to write her a letter to tell her that the reason I did not call her was not because I didn’t love her but because I did.  It was I could not bare to see her drunk.  Recovered(ing) alcoholics  have little tolerance for addicts.  I don’t know why.  All I know is that I couldn’t see her.  But I could have written the letter and I didn’t.  I thought I had time.

REMEMBER

I wanted to remind myself today that when I was young and until I got lost in responsibility what my favorite scripture was.

TODAY IS THE DAY THAT THE LORD HAS MADE; REJOICE AND BE GLAD IN IT.  Psalm 118:24

 

I will try to remember…..

GOVERNOR, A WORD…..

I am sure you would consider me part of your 47%.  Normally I let things like this go but I am having a hard time swallowing this.  This is for a number of reasons.  First being that I have always and still do work harder than you.  I was raised by a single mother.  Although poor, we never received government assistance. I have worked since I was 12.  Until I went to college I put all of my earnings in the pot to pay the mortgage.   I suppose I accepted government aid when I went to college on a Basic Educational Opportunity Grant, Thank You Richard Nixon.  I went to Law School on government loans, which I paid off when I was 50.

I built my own business because I believed I needed to use my Law Licence to help people and not just make money.  I have run that business for 25 years.  I have paid employees, worker’s comp insurance, unemployment insurance and withholding taxes.  I volunteer over 20 hours a month.  I provide low-income people legal services.

Governor one to one you would have nothing on me, yet I have more respect for you than you do of me.  There I feel better.

TALKING TO THE DEAD

I’m thinking of my friend Michael a lot today.  It will be a year this Saturday that his beloved wife and my friend Kate died.  I have always said grief takes a year based on my own experience and what my mother told me.  I think it is going to take Michael longer.  I certainly don’t know how he feels because my partner is alive, but every-time I think about him I tap into this unbelievable ocean of grief.  Its so powerful I have to will myself away from it.  My own experience with grief has made me very awed by it.  Far more powerful than anger yet I think you can make friends with it somehow.  I am reminded of  “Torch Song Trilogy”. Arnold  Ma… I miss him.
: Ma: Give yourself time, Arnold. It gets better… But, Arnold, it never goes away. You can work longer hours, adopt a son, fight with me, whatever… it’ll still be there. But that’s all right, it becomes a part of you, like learning to wear a ring or a pair of eyeglasses. You get used to it. And that’s good. It’s good, because it makes sure you don’t forget. You don’t want to forget him, do you? 

I think I do this by talking to the dead.  I talk to my dead relatives while I wash the dishes in the morning.  Yes, they talk back.  I don’t know if it is really their spirits or my memories of them, but it gives me comfort.  I talk to Kate when I am looking at “big girl dresses”  at Savers, but only the Savers on Lake Street.  The other Savers is in the suburbs. Yes she talks back.  She has talked me into somethings and out of somethings.  Is it her?  is it my memory of her? does it matter?  It makes me feel better.  It makes me remember her.  She is one of the dead who walk with me.  She is too large in spirit to be a pair of glasses she is more like a flowing orange and purple robe.

Talking to the dead, I recommend it.

REVEREND CARLA

Last week Eric called me to ask whether I had the authority to marry people.  He and Shannon are getting married, what a glorious thing to happen.  I said no.  I have since become ordained online.  So I will perform the wedding.

I have to say that I have never felt completely confident in my abilities as a lawyer.  I have always thought I was lacking. But I believe I was born to be a minister.  I know how to create ritual.  I know how to channel the spirits and give them voice.  I love scripture.

More to come.

EMPTY NEST

Jeanne is moving out of the house next weekend.  I can’t ignore the fact that this is hard for me.  But what’s that about.  Is it about missing her?  Sure it will be different but in exchange of the seeing her face in the morning at the breakfast table I get to stop by her new house with gifts.  I get to help her create her next step.  I know this is necessary for her to be who she needs to be.  I certainly have seen the alternative.  My brother would kick me right in the ass if he knew I was even writing this.

So what is this about really?  Is it about mortality?  Is it about the fear that it will no longer be my job to make everything ok?  I think I have a hard time with this because I don’t know what it is like to be in Jeanne’s shoes.  I was always kind of on my own.  By the time I was Jeanne’s age I paid for everything on my own.

Am I letting my feelings of not having someone take care of me keep me from do what I am supposed to be doing?  It’s still my job to make her transitions easy for her.  So I am hereby giving myself a kick in the ass.

THE PATH

It’s been a rough week.  Starting with my worry about my nephew.  Worried that his family tree would bite him in the ass.  That threat seems to be less now.  But what did I do… I bought two bags of potato chips and a jar of blue cheese dressing.

ADDICTION

I walked into Savers today and spent 50 dollars.  We have no money.  I came home and ate a bag of chocolate covered appricots.  I am addicted to every fuckin thing.  The only reason I have never become adicted to pot is that it makes me stupid.  Thank God I never tried speed. Seriously does moderation exist in my spiritual-biological make up.  The answer is no.  I go o to 150 in thirty seconds.

Well I suppose the good news is that both of my binges today felt like binges.  I recognized them as binges.

BREAKING THE CYCLE

 

My brother Walter and I have been proud of ourselves for these many years that we weren’t our brother.  Walter never fell into the pit of addiction out of shear will.  I did fall but got out at age 40.  I thought myself different than Ted, who was addicted to crack not alcohol and hadn’t put a career or family together like I had before he quit (knock on wood) at age 50.  Well call me stupid.  I actually believed that we could make a difference that we could by example keep these kids from going down this road. 

Well we can’t.  Now I still believe we might make a slight difference but it’s still their road