Tell me something good

That song was spinning in my head all through last night after the DJ played it at our annual zoo volunteer party and many of us danced like the silly ladies we can be. Lincoln Park Zoo-the only free and privately supported zoo in North America- runs at the behest of benefactors and volunteers and it always makes me smile to see so many wonderful people gathered together to cheer each other on in our efforts. Last night we had a couple of volunteers who were honored for 35 (THIRTY-FIVE) years of service and then the one who is well into her nineties got up and danced. Another of my docent friends in her nineties will be doing the Hancock Hustle in a few weeks- the annual race up ninety four floors of steps to the top of the John Hancock Building- and then she’s on to the Senior Olympics. I wonder if the Chinese in those games only look like they are 60?


In any case, at somewhere around half the age, this summer has worn me out. Wende had commented that the shoe photo in the last post was so evocative. Well, the pile of shoes changed, rearranged, had additions (Lego Bionicles doing battle in them) and subtractions, but the past few weeks I would say the definite theme around here is lots of shoes by the doors. Monday evening was the first time in a month the house wasn’t full of charming guests and I came home from the zoo and collapsed. For the most part, company is good fun but we have some MAJOR LIFE ISSUES going on here, at the two year anniversary of our move to Chicago. I’m not at liberty yet to discuss much but suffice it to say it’s been hard to catch up with Rich, as our life plans change almost daily, when he’s been in and out of town and there are all those shoes by the door. All I have to say is that my BCBS better stay in effect long enough for me to get my mammogram and bone scan the beginning of September. Well, that’s not all I have to say. I have long involved and heated discussions in my head at night, mostly in French, while “Tell Me Something Good” hums in the background. When I should be sleeping.

(Yes, we had youngsters here, too. Say! Don’t you think McCloud is looking svelte? I have him on a radical dietary course that involves no gluten and no carbs- in other words, raw protein with vitamins. This is per the Big Cat keeper at the zoo after it looked like McCloud was headed precipitously for feline diabetes. So, like any BIG cat, he’s now eating as nature intended and thriving, while losing 2 pounds in a month. He still weighs in at 21.2# but he’s no Princess Chunk. In this photo, he’s trying to decide if eau de adolescent shoe leather will work in a pinch.)

And then there was the night last week in L.A. when the band was mobbed by ten sheriff’s department cars and all those officers with weapons drawn. That happened when someone’s son, who shall remain nameless here if not in the L.A.Times, found himself locked out of the friend’s house where they were crashing after their show at 3 am. He decided to try a window at the back and an enthusiastic member of the neighborhood watch started to yell. The neighbor wouldn’t let him explain that he was from Ann Arbor, where musicians always forget keys and such and just climb in windows with abandon and soon, everyone was outside, on the ground, face down in their skivvies. No charges for wrong doing but a short and somewhat alarming night. That made the paper, along with a great review of their show. The great reviews do continue-take this one for example: And if the spotlight shone the hardest on one person, it was baritone saxophonist Dan Bennett, who took the most solos and whose blowing felt like it might take the roof off the venue. They’ll be dragging off tour in just a few days (Keri! Kathy! they’re in your neck of the woods tomorrow night and next!) and then have a chance to breathe deeply for a bit as they see what develops as a result of this best tour ever.

I rarely write about my lovely stepdaughters, not wanting to violate their privacy. (Obviously, it’s my God-given right to violate Dan and Abby’s privacy.) But here’s a hug, a kiss and a nod to the one who celebrates today one year of hard work: hard on a daily basis, and working on a daily basis, to overcome a very difficult personal challenge. Her father and I are hugely proud of her.

Bud is heading off to the hospital in Marquette tomorrow for a complete shakedown. He’s got some issues with his aortic valve and decisions need to be made about the best course of action there. Also, he’s having some issues with his stoma. Bud gave up his bladder to cancer about 40 years ago and back then they didn’t rebuild the bladder- you just got an ostomy bag to collect urine. Isn’t he amazing? Still flinging around the dock and climbing on the roof to tear off three layers of shingles? (Get DOWN, Bud…). Anyway, even with meticulous care I suspect there’s a lifetime dose of adhesive that he has far exceeded and his skin is having some breakdown issues that are aggravated by the sting of diabetic urine. I’m hoping they can come up with something creative there that still gives him room to tear around as he does. Bud and I have a trip planned to Massachusetts mid-September to visit my brother Bruce and it coincides nicely with lobster season so I need Bud to be in good form for the trip.

Our biggest worry these past days- one that has really sort of rendered me silent beyond asking people if they need more towels or food? Misha. As I wrote in my last post, Misha had just gotten his green card following the immigration interview and he headed off for Russia. He had been saving money for a year in hopes that he would have this opportunity to go and visit his grandmother and parents one more time before he reached the cutoff date (early this September) when the Russian army would pluck him up at customs, green card or no, and ship him off to parts unknown for mandatory military service that is so brutal that Amnesty International is actively involved. Young Russian recruits are starved, beaten, commit suicide and are otherwise treated as hostages by their own government.

And so, in my last post Abby was visiting friends and family here in the Midwest and Misha was visiting his in the south of Russia down by the Black Sea, near the Georgian border. The first few days they were able to talk via a phone card and the internet but since the recent fighting and bombing over there, Abby can’t reach him. He’s due to return soon and the two of them start classes at USF the end of this month- but no news is bad news. Please say a little prayer or cast some of your good karma in their direction. Young love shouldn’t suffer these kinds of worries.

(For those of you who have linked here with Saturday shopping challenge, I thank you! I’m still doing Saturday 20.00 shopping challenge, too, but in the face of insecurity, I’m spending all my money on flowers. I know: you wish you had my 1974 shorts and zoo hat style.)

I’m heading off on retreat for a few days. It’s not only that I can’t stand life all unsettled and worrisome; I need a break from people. The Blue Angels started their fly-bys this morning for the annual airshow this weekend and I can’t think. They buzz directly over the tomatoes on the balcony. What better time to head over to the Lake Michigan dunes and skinny dip under the full moon with that wonderful group of women known as BCMA? They don’t count as people; they are my soul sisters and if I don’t want to talk for four days it will be fine with them. Of course, one glass of wine and one beach bonfire and I’ll be ready to pour my heart out and laugh about it all. While I am there, Rich will visit with our daughter in Ann Arbor and the cats will cower under the bed. Full report and photos upon my return.

(I fear the bombers and jets of the airshow will shake all my tomatoes loose. Actually, this balcony scene is a good paradigm for my life right now. Have you ever seen such a mess? Not enough room to grow, not enough light to grow, everything all tangled and precariously staked against disaster, and yet- we’re getting more than we need and they are delicious. I have two heirlooms, one a purple roma that is over the top great and the usual bazillion sweet cherries. three plants total.)

19 responses to “Tell me something good

  1. Oh dear, we will keep happy safe thoughts for Mischa going until we hear from you that all is well. Hang in there, everyone. And try to enjoy the time at the lake–you deserve it!

  2. Sounds like your lake time is long overdue.
    Ditto on the “hang in there”.

  3. Oh my, and here I thought you were probably over in China watching the Olympics. So many concerns…praying for Misha’s safe return and for Bud and for you as you seek your retreat.

  4. Vicki, honey, I was sure you were in China. And now I find out that you have been enmeshed with ISSUES. You are right: no news is bad news. I will be thinking about Abby and praying for Misha’s safe return. Please let us know when you hear something.

    I miss you!

  5. I think you’ve got the greenest thumb ever…..maybe two of them.

    Tell Rich to stop keeping secrets from you or it’s no heirloom tomato for him.

  6. I would have thought you were in Beijing!

    Mischa will get daily prayers until I hear that he is safe. I envy you that retreat.

    I am off to attend my 50th high school reunion…..woohoo.

    There’s tomato envy here in Raleigh tonight…..LOL

  7. Tell you something good? Ella had her second birthday!

  8. Hmmm, is any publicity for a band good publicity, like it is for movie stars? Skinny-dipping in Lake Michigan? I’d need a heated wetsuit before I immersed myself in Lake Michigan, day or night.

    Hea, I did my Saturday shopping thing and composed my last blog about it. You should check it out. Everyone who’s commented thus far has been impressed, even, I think, that nemesis of Wolverine fans.

  9. After reading this post, I get the feeling that you just came up for air for a sec and are now back underwater treading for dear life. Kind of like Michael Phelps swimming with goggles full of water. I am, however, convinced that you will emerge all the stronger and clutching that gold medal in both hands. Praying for Abby, Mischa, Dan and all those you love. Don’t leave us hanging though, let us know as soon as Mischa makes contact again.

  10. PS. McCloud looks dashing. The big cat diet is working wonders.

  11. A prayer going up for Misha… and Abby.

    It seems that life uncertainties is all there is these days and at our agees! Like you.. I am REALLY tired of it!

  12. Tell you something good, eh? That’s a challenge since I’m kind of in a downer myself. Well, the zoo sounds wonderful, and Dan’s show–but not the afterwards. The market is great, and flowers are important to the soul. The minute you wrote Georgia I started getting heart palpitations. I hope that you hear good news soon. Since you’re dreaming in French, I’ll leave you with this: Je t’aime.

  13. I haven’t been able to grow anything this year. Your bounty is wonderful!

    Praying for Abby and her sweet Mischa.

  14. I wish I had something good to tell you. I do have a heart full of wishes for Mischa’s safe return. I am thinking of you and hope your time away is restorative and renewing.

  15. You are something amazingly good, Vicki! Your life, writing, and insights slay. Leave ’em wanting more, indeed! (Less is more regarding news of Ann Arbor, however. Furthermore, I thought nobody ever had to ask a person if they were from AA, because the person would find a way to tell you, long before you cared to ask.)

    Your penultimate sentence is a profound double entendre. (I’m trying to impress Miz S and Margaret.) And now I want an heirloom tomato sandwich!

    That promised full report and photos of the upcoming skinny dipping business has me a tad unnerved.

    Prayers and Lutheran karma are being sent up and out for Bud, Abby, and Mischa!!!


  16. Good vibes sent out to Mischa and Abby for his safe return – still mostly cling to the Unitarian-Universalist in me! – and to Bud’s health, too.

    Your tomatoes look so yummy, I’m so jealous.

    Be well, you.

  17. Thinking of you. No time to have a long response but you’ve got a lot on your plate and I’m sending you some happy energy. Hoping for the best for Misha and Abby.

  18. Consider it prayed.

    And something good is fresh tomatoes that you grew yourself. I can’t think of many things better than that.

  19. Misha update yet? Thinking of you and Abby.

    And I need that all protein diet for Rocky. As long as it doesn’t involve me doing extra cooking.

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