Stephanie, Houses Don’t Feel…

24 02 2010

Somedays it seems like my anthropomorphism* towards places is overwhelming.
For instance, six years later, I still think about the house I grew up in… hoping it’s being treated well and that it’s happy.
I know that homes are inanimate, but my belief system leads me to understand that everything has a purpose/feelings.
Yeah, yeah, I know.

ANYWAY, Buffalo (proper) is pretty much a dying city. Empty homes, desolate lawns, substandard living conditions; you heard about Extreme Home Make Over, right?
I subscribe to a number of  why-does-this-happen?!?! newsletters/websites where various people highlight the blight and ask why.
And in making myself all boo-hoo and sad, I read these posts and look at the homes/business that once were and also wonder why.
So, over at Broadway-Fillmore Alive! this video was posted:

It just breaks my heart.
No, really.
I see these homes and I think about the history involved… kids learning how to walk on their wood floors, board games played in living rooms, angry teenagers stomping up stairs, the excitement of a first home, birthday parties, baths in clawfoot tubs, pianos in the den with singalongs, love letters written in bedrooms… if the walls could talk!
Now, I know houses don’t feel, but I still can’t help but think of an older home smiling, wanting to help, feeling proud that it’s doing it’s job: keeping the family safe, dry, warm… akin to “The Giving Tree”.
And I just imagine them feeling sad, left behind, lonely, hurt when the family moves or is evicted. Or when his window eyes are broken. And his door boarded up. And getting The Red Mark of Death**

Photo by David Torke (

Yes,  I understand we can’t save all the abandoned homes/buildings… it doesn’t help me to feel any less sad for the houses… who can’t feel….

* I’ll save you the trouble: the act of giving human qualities to objects/places/things that aren’t human. e.g. Houses don’t “feel”; polar bears don’t “talk”
** Housing speak for condemned

Points a la Bullets (or not)

2 11 2009

Well, things have achieved normality again… or as normal as I can expect them to be.

Work is insanely crazy which makes me just want to go home and sleep, but alas…

Spent most of the weekend wondering how my house gets so trashed when we don’t have people over and I’m [feeling like I’ve been] constantly cleaning.

Sunday continued in our “typical Sunday” fashion. Watched the Buffalo Bills make asshats of themselves, mulched leaves, yelled at Bailey to stop running in the swampland that is our backyard, washed the dog, changed into jammies, had dinner, went to bed.

Saturday was Halloween and we went to Teppo and Charlotte’s house for a party.


lookin' right purty

(‘scuse the camera phone photo… knowing how these things get, I wasn’t about to have my camera lost/ruined/flooded/dropped)
We I made chicken wing dip* and served it as roadkill. I picked up a toy dog, cut open the tummy, removed stuffing and inserted the dish of dip. People were scared to eat it; knowing that I almost ALWAYS bring chicken wing dip.
Anyway, Steve ended up getting a bit too into character and by midnightish, I was assisting him out to YOT.

Despite the approching deadline, we do not have Eurorail passes nor hotels for London or Dublin…

Between The Grief Diet** and actually GOING to the gym, I am feeling progress. Despite that stupid scale not moving. And my trainer quitting (I have a new trainer I’m trying this evening.. I think he has a mullet if it’s who I think it is. Deets to come). And being so busy that I have to make myself go for the half hour. My bag is in the trunk, hopefully I will be able to go right from work and get some cardio in before Mullet makes me cry.

* -2 8oz packages of cream cheese, softened
– 1 bottle (wazzat, 16oz?) blue cheese
– 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
– 2 large cans of chicken breast (found near the tuna in most stores)
– Hot sauce to taste
DO NOT go all low fat or it won’t melt right or taste right.
Mix everything together and bake at 350 for about 20 minutes, until gooey and bubbly.

** Being really sad and not wanting to eat. You’ll be happy to know that when I’m eating, it’s fairly healthy.

Talk About Getting The Final Word…

19 10 2009

While at the pavilion at the cemetery, someone from the military was there making a speech about all the kick-ass service grandpa did.
At the end of it, she mentioned that he had received a purple heart; that’s a medal for being injured during combat.
A whisper comes over the crowd! “We had no idea!”

At the luncheon, Mom and I were talking about the award.
“Gee Mom, why was everyone so surprised to hear he got the purple heart?”
“Even Grandma didn’t know that!”, she commented.
“What are you talking about?”, I ask.
“What makes you think that he got hurt during the war?”, Mom asks, looking confused/interested.
“He told me that he got his junk shot off and that’s why he had an ostomy bag!”
“He did what?”, as Mom tries to contain her laughter.
“He told me that he got shot in the junk! I’ve been telling my friends that Grandpa got his junk shot off and Grandma stayed with him!”
“No honey, he had prostate cancer.”

Back at Grandma’s and knowing Grandpa, I ask my other cousins what they were told.
The two older boys were told that while sleeping, Grandpa was stabbed with a bayonet.
The younger cousin was told that Grandpa was attacked by a cougar or a tiger; depending which day it was.

That man hook-lined-and-sinkered all of us.
Pretty sure I can hear him slapping his knee and laughing.

Not to Make Light of the Situation…

14 10 2009

Understandably, I was a bit emotional yesterday when I called Steve.
Of course he picked up mid-wail and this made him laugh.
After he got home and I went though crying phase 207, he mentioned that the following scene reminded him of what I sounded like.


14 10 2009
Ill Miss You

I'll Miss You

Grandpa, 79, died Tuesday October 13, 2009 at home. Grandpa was born on November 8, 1921 in Waynesboro, PA . He met Anna, his wife to-be when he was 15 years old. They have been happily married since 1942. Grandpa leaves behind his wife of 67 years, Anna and four children: George R. (Rob) III (Judy), Chryle Ann (deceased 1994), Susan (Jerry) and Karen . He also leaves seven grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his brother, Lucien , sister Jane , and daughter Chryle. Grandpa graduated from Waynesboro High School in 1941 where he ran track and played football under coach Rip Engle. He spent his summers working with the Civilian Conservation Corps before joining the U.S. Army. Grandpa also helped organize and played semi-professional football for the Waynesboro Tigers. Grandpa is a retired Army Sergeant First Class. During WW II, he served in the South Pacific with the 5th U.S. Air Force, island hopping from southern tip of New Guinea to Luzon, Philippines. He also served in the Korean Conflict with the PA National Guard’s 176th Armor Self-Propelled Artillery from Puson to the Iron Triangle. He received numerous combat ribbons and awards. In October 1943, Grandpa crossed the Equator and went through the initiation to receive his “shellback” from King Neptune. He worked as Chief, Small Arms Repair Shop. His love was auctioneering. He was offered the opportunity to conduct an auction sale for surplus Army, Navy and Air Force equipment which subsequently led to becoming the first DoD government auctioneer. That career move transferred him to the Defense Supply Agency in Cameron Station, VA, and in 1962 to Battle Creek, MI, where he helped start the Defense Property Disposal Service. His auctioneering career spanned over 20 years. He conducted DoD government auctions in most States, including Hawaii and Alaska. He was a two-time recipient of the Defense Meritorious Civilian Service Award; the Civilian of the Year (1965), and the “Million Mile” Award from United Airlines. He was youth counselor, Boy Scout Leader, Binder Park Zoo docent, volunteer at Kellogg Forest, avid hunter and fisherman. He owned and operated a nursery. Since retirement he traveled extensively including a travel trailer trip to and from Alaska. He is a member of the Westlake Presbyterian Church; a 32nd degree Mason, V.F.W. and a Kentucky Colonel. He received the “Lion of the Year” award from Everglade City, FL Lion’s Club. His smile and humor will be missed by all.  Memorial contributions may be given to American Cancer Society.

(edited to respect our privacy, but not for grammar.)

…, part 2

13 10 2009
then and now (er, then)

then and now (er, then)

Stolen Borrowed from my uncle’s facebook page… the second photo is a bit older (probably about 10 years, ish), but they used that photo for EVERYTHING.
(He was 87, his birthday would have been next month)

Scarring Memory:
Grandpa always had His Chair.
Oh, you know the one…
Well, one time while I was over, he was sitting kitty-corner in his chair… it was warm out.
And I saw grandpa’s junk fall out of the side of his shorts.
Kinda surprised I didn’t switch teams, ifyouknowwhatImean.

13 10 2009

I get to see mom and dad.
Maybe it’s still peak foliage time in the mid-west…

My grandfather passed this morning.

Grandpa was quite the shutterbug, so I enjoyed sending him photos, especially with the awesome hardware. I just placed an order with doubles and triples to send over…

Grandpa was a traveler. When he’d come to visit, he’d pretend to put curses on my friends and me. Chanting and waving his hands, he’d mumbo-jumbo and declare we were cursed!
He had the only remedy known to man!
Reaching into his pocket, he’d pull out a roll of LifeSaver Candies, insisting that we partake; the only way to break the curse.

in case they dont have Life Savers in your neck of the woods...

in case they don't have Life Savers in your neck of the woods...

And the World Makes a Complete Circle

30 12 2008

Last night, we’re enjoying a dinner together, laughing, having a dandy time, when he gets up to use the restroom.
While he’s gone, a song comes on the restaurant’s stereo.
A song that takes me back.
Back to a place I do not want to be.
A place I have not been in a long time.
A place I was pretty sure I had conquered.

In an instant, I am transformed.
I am angry.

This funk stayed with me for a few hours last night, dissipated by some lovin’.

Today, while in a meeting, we discussed what to do about the surplus of out-dated cell phones.



And that’s how I started a Cell Phone Recycling drive for “Call to Protect”.

(Please note: The abuse was YEARS ago and not by Steve and I do not blame anyone, so it’s not your bad.  You know who “you” are.)

If Only I had Listened Closer…

9 07 2008

There are a number of crystal clear memories I have of my childhood.
Many of these memories are uncovered when I hear a song I haven’t heard in years (or decades).
One of those memories came back to me this morning while listening to XM44:Fred- the “New Wave” station.

Dad used to be a computer technician, back when computers had to be repaired, via cottering (sp?), instead of having boards changed or replacing the entire unit.
I don’t remember much about his job in particular, except that more often then not, it sucked and made him frustrated.
We always used music as a form of therapy and I clearly remember there’d be times when Dad would BLARE “Birth School Work Death” by The Godfathers, over and over and over and over again, yelling just as vehemently to the first playing as the twenty-seventh.
I remember being at the “School” phase and thinking “Yeah, so what’s the big deal?”.

Now I am at the “Work” phase with a “Death” phase closer then I’d like to acknowledge and now I know what the big deal is.

This is life does not match the “Adulthood is Fun!” pamphlet I was given during childhood.

So I present, for those of you who do not know said song….

“Birth School Work Death” by The Godfathers

Been turned around till I’m upside down
Been all at sea until I’ve drowned
And I’ve felt torture, I’ve felt pain
Just like that film with Michael Caine
I’ve been abused and I’ve been confused4
And I’ve kissed Margaret Thatcher’s shoes
And I been high and I been low
And I don’t know where to go

Birth, school, work, death
Birth, school, work, death

And heroin was the love you gave
From the cradle to the grave
Boys and girls don’t understand
The devil makes work for idle hands
I cut myself but I don’t bleed
‘Cause I don’t get what I need
Doesn’t matter what I say
Tomorrow’s still another day

Birth, school, work, death
Birth, school, work, death

Yeah I been high and I been low
And I don’t know where to go
I’m living on the never never never
This time it’s gonna be forever
I’ll live and die don’t ask me why
I wanna go to paradise
And I don’t need your sympathy
There’s nothing in this world for me

Birth, school, work, death
Birth, school, work, death

Birth, school, work, death
Birth, school, work, death
Birth, school, work, death
Birth, school, work, death

“Grow Up!” or When it’s Beyond Your Issues

16 06 2008

Without getting into too many details and hopefull not being too vauge, there’s major weighty stuff going on in StephanieLand.

I’ve never been close with my father’s side.  It’s not for lack of trying (on my part) but with the exception of my uncle in California (who is actually cool) and my uncle in Ohio (who hasn’t been a dick to me, but was to my Dad), I do not communicate with any of the rest of his family.  Not that I talk to Cali/Ohio, but they would accept a phone call.
Dad’s sisters have always been unusually cruel to me and thus, I’ve cut them out of my life, which sadly means that I’ve cut my cousins (who may actually be cool) out of my life.

Well, my one cousin was very ill when she was younger and then she went into like, some kind of remission or something, but now, whatever she had is back.  I can openly say “whatever” because I don’t actually know what it is and I hear it third or fourth party.
So, instead of my Evil Aunt calling my Dad (whom she called ALL THE TIME whenever my cousin was younger and having issues… and that’s the only time she called), EA calls her other brother, who then calls my Dad.
Dad calls EA and she gets back to him all whiney (par for the course) and I hear my cousin is really bad off.

Okay, despite what happened between her and Dad, this isn’t about them anymore, it’s about the daughter.  You’re telling me that despite your daughter being so very sick, you can not pick up the phone and call your brother, whom you relied so heavily upon previously, to let him know what’s going on.

Jesus Christ, get over yourself.

(P.S. yeah, I still have a lot of anger issues to deal with between EA and I, but even I am teetering on calling her, not talking about me or her, and seeing how my cousin is.  And then, when the enviable happens, I’m torn about going and not going.  Guess it depends if Dad goes…)