Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Prometheus; "I Caused Mortals To Cease Foreseeing Their Doom."

I read the stories of Blago's lawyers recently visiting him in prison.  They reported that he's, "bonding," with his cell mate.  An unfortunate choice of words.  He's washing dishes in the kitchen.  I love washing dishes.  It's so peaceful.  He's bulking up by working out.  I wish I had more time to do that.  The only positive thing I could think of was that it's nice to know it only takes 5 weeks or so to bulk up.  In my mind it takes years, so I never start.  He's running around in circles, which keeps him fit and tan.  I run around in circles all day, but I'm not tan....or fit.   

It really does sound like a peaceful existence.  He's making friends.  I read that he's even offered to teach Greek Mythology classes.  Honestly, did anyone know you could sign up for Greek Mythology class in prison?  

If you're looking at spending 14 years in prison, away from your family and your life, the only thing that must hold you together is hope.  Hope that your appeal comes through.  Hope is a good thing.  I keep hoping the next lottery is mine to win.  Blago hopes this will be his first and only summer away from home.  His first class in Greek Mythology could center on Pandora's Box.  It's been way too long for me to get this right, but if I remember correctly, the story goes something like this.  Zeus trapped all the good spirits in a box and entrusted the box to Pandora. When Pandora opened it, the good spirits left, and abandoned mankind in their flight to heaven.  Elpis is the only good god remaining among mankind.  Elpis is Hope.  Prometheus was the god who molded mankind out of clay.  He said he allowed Elpis to remain on earth. "Yes, I caused mortals to cease foreseeing their doom.  I caused blind hope to dwell in their breasts.  As long as man lives and sees the light of the sun, let him count on hope."  

I was grocery shopping today.  I'm grateful to find so many great choices on the shelves.  The bread was warm, there were 4 different pies in the bakery, and I picked up fresh flowers. A plain can of tuna at the prison commissary would destroy any hope I could muster.   I even picked up a bottle of gin!  I'm trying out a gin & tonic at home.  Love my freedom.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

That Which Won't Kill Me, Postpones The Inevitable; So Drink Up!

The last time I drank was 1978 in Acapulco.  Too many tequila sunrise drinks.  I danced through an earthquake. I've only had wine since then.   What a pity.

It's time I learned how to drink.  The guys I work with have a pretty good idea of what makes a perfect cocktail and we're on the road, so what better adventure than learning the art of ordering a proper mix.  One fella described how his mom would ask him to make her a Whiskey Sour. "Two maraschino cherries, please."  Loved the '60's when my cousins would get together and play while the adults sat around the basement wet bar.  

I'm always the one at a banquet or wedding asking the other women what they're drinking.  I haven't a clue what to order.  So the first night out I ordered an iconic drink, a Gin & Tonic.  Superb taste and I loved the anchovy stuffed olives.  The key is making it with Bombay Sapphire gin.  The next night I ordered a classic Martini.   It was so smooth, it made the pearls on my neck feel warm.  The after dinner drink I fell in love with is a B&B Liqueur.  God bless the Benedictine monks who came up with this.  I tried a Whiskey Sour, but it's not for me, even with the extra cherry.  The overall winner was a Long Island Iced Tea.

Last night, the table next to me asked what the beer choices were.  They jumped at Leinenkugel's Summer Shandy.  It's a wheat beer laced with fruit.   It dawned on me that it's going to be a long time before Blago can enjoy one.  The waiter brought my Summer Shandy and I raised the glass to freedom!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

"Hell Is Other People." NO EXIT

This week I'm working as a consultant for a Chicago jeweler.  I've been buying estate jewelry in Cleveland, Ohio.  There are three of us working with families who are selling family treasures, and dad's military souvenirs.  We work in small hotel meeting rooms as we travel from suburb to suburb.  Think, "Pawn Stars," meets, "American Pickers."

Each room has had a door with the sign, "No Exit."  I laughed as it reminds me of the 1944 existentialist French play by Jean Paul Sartre by the same name.  The play has been performed in English under the titles, "No Way Out," and "Dead End."  

The play is the source of one of Sartre's most famous quotations, "Hell is other people."  It's a depiction of the afterlife in which three deceased characters are punished by being locked into a room for eternity.  In other words, "certain people can be the most effective form of hell."  You know where I'm going with this.

The fellas that I'm working with are the best in their field.  They're smart.  They're fun.  One week with them is all I can take. I'm grateful that we get along, but I'm grateful that this isn't for eternity.  If you work with someone every day, be grateful that you can go home at night and not see them again 'til the dawn.  

Blago has three cell mates.  No break for him.  They're together all day, all night, and somewhere in the middle.  There's no exit, no way out. 

Monday, April 16, 2012

Blagovevich One Month Later; What's Worse? Grey Hair or Mac Attack?

I had some explaining to do the other day.  My husband found out I'm writing about Blago.  "What the hell is wrong with you? Why are you wasting your time like this?"  I can't help it.  It's not being wasted.  Last night we went to dinner.  I had worked all weekend in the cold and rain.  It was nice to sit in a comfy booth. The waitress said something that really perked me up.  "Do you want your potatoes baked, mashed, or fried?"  I've always taken that question for granted.  Now I realize it's pretty special to have that choice.  Who said my time's being wasted?

It's been one month since Blagojevich walked through those prison doors.  Time  to touch up my grey.  It's not going to be a pain in the neck for me.  I can't help but think it's about that time for Blago as well.  Watching the grey grow in isn't going to be about vanity for him.  Each centimeter of grey hair is a measure of the length of time he's been away from home.  

His attorney has said that Blago is having a hard time sleeping.  He has three cell mates.  I don't think it's the cards he dealt himself that keeps him up, or borrowing a quote from Charlie Brown, "Sometimes I lie awake at night and ask, where have I gone wrong?" There's a toilet in the room.  How would you be able to sleep if three other guys were using the toilet that sits a few feet from your head?  I've been grateful each night as I pull the covers over myself.  

Have you ever had a, "Big Mac Attack?"  I haven't.  I've had a, "Whopper With Cheese Attack."  It happens every few months.  All of a sudden, I NEED one.  I could stand to lose a few pounds, but I'm not obese.  I just love food.  When I was pregnant I had an intense craving for a Sizzler Steakhouse baked potato.  Go figure.  One night, I literally stopped for a baked potato on my way to a dinner party.  What does Blago do when the attack hits?  This is the question I ask myself on his first month in prison.  There's a crazy show called, "Mob Wives."  One of the characters is the niece of a mob guy who spent time in jail.  She told a story that actually haunts me.  The guy she was visiting had a craving for pork chops cooked with Italian spices.  She went to see him in prison with pork chops hidden under her breasts.  Cooked, with Italian spices. 

No offense, but I don't think Blago's wife could pull that off.  I'm just grateful that I'm able to indulge when the attack hits me.  

Thursday, April 12, 2012

April Showers Bring Gratitude For Work. If Patti Blagojevich Can Do It, So Can I.

April showers will hit the area this weekend.  Baseball games are going to be rained out.  Those May flowers will start doing their dance underground.  I'll be working.  I sell antique jewelry at local markets.  The best part is finding a perfect piece for a customer. The worst part is dragging boxes, glass cases, and complicated display stands from the truck to the space.  I'll be loading my truck in the garage.  I'll be unloading in thunderstorms.  It's cold.  Think of Goldie Hawn standing in the rain and the mud in "Private Benjamin" when she cries out, "I wanna have LUNCH!"

In my past life I worked in a field that called for a briefcase, a proper lunch, a crisp white blouse.  Today, I work in open fields filled with tents that hold antique treasures.  I love it.  There's a rush when an older gal calls me to visit her when she's ready to sell her jewelry.  There's a rush when I wrap a piece from that collection and hand it to a shopper.  I'm grateful that I've found a way to help financially support my family.  I did it on my own.  I taught myself certain skills that would be hard for most folks to appreciate, way before American Pickers, and Storage Wars came along. 

I've read the stories that Blago called around for job opportunities for his wife if someone special was elected to fill the vacated Senate seat.  He was asking in the neighborhood of $150,000.  There's the allegation that Patti B. received lots of cash for her brokerage services to one of Blago's friends.  What are friends for? 

So now, Patti's dad is most likely the one who pays the mortgage and the girls' private school tuition.  Patti is strong.  I like the way she fights for her kids, her husband, her house.  I'm sure she's secretly grateful every night before she sleeps that she's not in prison as well.  She should be. She was happy to eat the tarantula, because it was less painful than biting the bullet of going to jail.  But I love that she ate it in order to financially support the family.  She doesn't want her dad to help.  

I'll be grateful for every customer who comes out to the LaPorte Antique Show this weekend.  When I'm loading the truck, in the cold, I'll be grateful that I can do this on my own terms.  Hopefully, I'll be one step closer to paying the orthodonist.  

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Silence Is F-ING Golden!

Easter brunch at my house was a fiasco.  My husband took his parents to Mass so he could help his dad walk into church without a wheelchair.  His folks live a few hours away and he wanted to spend time with them.  The kids and I met my mom for Mass at her church.  All good.  Who knows if this is the last time we'll spend Easter together.

The rest of the day made me long for the days when the kids were young and the only thing they expected from Easter was an egg hunt in the back yard.  Now they asked if I had prepared mimosas.  Really?  No.  I have orange juice, though.  The two older girls had to leave early for work, and I thought brunch meant a spinach tart, and a quiche.  "Why all the egg dishes?  Where's the ham.  The potatoes."  It just went downhill.  No joy.  Just complaints at the table.  The table wasn't set properly.  The coffee didn't have the right amount of cream.  The cookies were burnt.  All I heard were strange noises coming from people I didn't recognize.  The girls left for work.  My son came in the kitchen and hugged me.  REALLY hugged me.  Thank you.  

Later, I had dinner with my mom, husband, and son.  Ham, potatoes, the Master's golf tournament.  I noticed how quiet it was as I washed the dishes that night.  So calm.  Yesterday morning I had coffee at the kitchen table.  I looked out at the green lawn.  The beautiful blossoms on this gorgeous spring day.  Shhhhh.  Listen.  It's quiet.  Same thing happened this morning.  Only this time I had my Tribune, coffee, burnt cookie.  No radio.  No sounds.  

I think the finest lyrics ever written were in Simon & Garfunkel's, "Sounds of Silence."  For me it's not the darkness, but the early morning that turns out to be, "my old friend."  I'm so grateful for this time.  I don't think there's really any silence for Blago.  Noise everywhere.  Clinking, yelling.  Maybe for him it's the darkness that brings calm.  When he runs outside. When silence does come, he'll realize that he had what was F-ing golden the whole time.  

Friday, April 6, 2012

Will I Be Around When Blagojevich Is Freed From Prison?

There's a Blago Countdown Clock out there.  It's a countdown generator you can find at Punch in the date of release, and you are staring at the years, months, days, seconds as they tick away towards freedom for the former governor.  Eric Zorn, from the Chicago Tribune, published this on-line.  I took a look at it, and had the same reaction as someone who wrote, "It's like a countdown for your life.  Put in some future date that you reasonably expect to live, and then watch the seconds count down.  It puts things in perspective."  Yikes.   That's why I started this gratitude blog with Blago in mind.  Keeping things in perspective.  On the day before he was heading to prison, he declared his gratitude for everything good he had accomplished, and for those who had been there for his family.  I declared my gratitude that I'm not Blago. 

My friend told me that she actually wondered if she would live long enough to see Blago walk out of jail.  She's in her late '50s.  "Anything can happen."  I told her Blago won't be in that long.  She'll be here.  Those seconds are still ticking away in the back of my mind.  Yikes. Wasn't I supposed to be making plans to see the Iguazu Falls in South America?  Maybe after I pay the orthodontist.  Really.

Huge decision ahead of me.  Work in the garden tomorrow or go to my son's baseball game?  I guess the weeds will be around for the rest of the year.  Let's play ball!  Just keeping things in perspective.  

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Never Let The Dessert Cart Pass You By!

There was a story told by a very good friend of Jackie Kennedy.  They would always lunch together.  One afternoon, as the dessert cart was being wheeled past their table, Jackie asked the server to stop.  As she picked out a treat, her friend instantly knew something was wrong.  Never ever did they eat dessert. 

Jackie shared the fact that she had cancer and declared, "What was the point of all that exercise?"  

My very good friend, J., and I went out to lunch last week.  So grateful to sit with her and catch up on our lives.  As we were being seated, we passed the cooler that was filled with homemade pies. Not only did we order the pecan special, but we ordered it with ice cream.  Why not.  

Today, my daughter and I had lunch together.  Funny that she turned to me and said, "We really should order dessert."  My god, the cheesecake was the best.  Why not.

Remember, there are no dessert carts in prison for Blago to choose from.  Probably none in heaven, either. I'll be grateful each time I get a chance to stop one.  What's the point of letting it pass you by?