gunstream girl

Location: Cleveland, Ohio, United States

I'm a Southerner, born and bred (though you'd never know it from my accent, I'm told). I like to eat 'til I'm tired out from eating, hear good storytelling 'til I can recite the stories in my sleep (Stories have to be told or they die, and when they die, we can't remember who we are or why we're here.), watch people, look at sparkly things, listen to good bluegrass music, dream about owning a dog, tell crazy stories about my family, and organize things.

31 May 2005


I've got an addiction.

To Spider Solitaire.

Morning, noon, and night I'm clicking those cards.

I do the easiest level possible (one suit) and cheat (show available moves) my way through the rounds, so it's not as if there is much of a challenge there.

It's soothing to me somehow. Best of all, I don't have to lay out the board.

Sometimes I play until I win, and then challenge myself to win a set or three games in a row.

I've got really interesting stories to share from the holiday weekend, but alls I can think about is playing one more game before I sign off for the night.


26 May 2005

Mr. Henderson

I had 7 voice mail messages waiting on me when I got home yesterday. Generally speaking, this is sort of surprising, but not really. I usually get two or three canned messages from Condi Rice (or someone calling on her behalf), two or three wrong calls, and occasionally a work-related message.

But yesterday was different.

The sixth message was from Jan, my boss. She called to tell me that her dad had died yesterday. And to please call her.




Mr. Henderson. In his mid-80s, I believe. Worked for American Greetings for most of his adult life. Served in the military for the other part of it. As a typist. Could type an absurd number of words per minute. Passionate about gardening, dahlias especially.

I fell in love with Mr. Henderson after knowing him for just a short time. I was still unpacking boxes from my move to Ohio when the doorbell rang. He was standing at the front door with the biggest bunch of prize-winning dahlias, fresh from his garden, that I have ever seen. Just standing there with a goofy grin on his face like he was coming to call on me.

He was battling with dementia in his later years. It was so hard to know and understand him this way.

He had an uncanny ability to love the unlovely. His (and Jan's) collection of worms. His tyrannical cat, Christina (who terrorized me on more than one occasion, I assure you). All people.

He was raking up oak pollen strands in his back yard when he died. Jan had given him a stop watch to wear. He was only allowed to work for short spurts so he wouldn't overexert himself (he had a weak heart). He'd set it for 30 minutes, then work in his yard. Nearing his 30-minute allotment, he collapsed.

Not too long ago my nephew, Charlie, was in an airplane and wanted to look for Mandy and Dutch (recently deceased family members--one human, one canine) while they were flying around in heaven (the clouds). It is so simple and comforting, his perspective.

Because my work requires me to spend so much time in the air, I like to use that time to reflect on friends and family that I love and miss. Sometimes, I daydream as we float through the clouds. So many soft pretty pictures emerge. Princesses, the shape of an elephant, memories of my childhood, a sihouette of a big cat....

Maybe, just maybe, if I look hard enough, I can find Mr. Henderson there just above the stratus ones and between the two fat cumulus ones, leaning on his hoe in the most beautiful dahlia garden you've ever imagined.

23 May 2005

Domestic Disputes Meet the Streets

So, there's a piano moving truck outside of my window. It's seems strange enough. The walls are so thin in my apartment---I can't imagine anyone wanting to have a piano inside of their place. I just hope whoever is ordering it is good. Bad piano practicing is not as bad as a squeaky violin or a drum set, nevertheless I'm not too keen on having Poor Piano Skills as my newest neighbor.

Aha. The recipient enters stage left. She runs over to the piano moving truck. Looks as if she's out on a morning jog. She has a really springy ponytail.

Enter character number two. Marcus. I'll discover his name later in the story. He's the frontman for the moving company, apparently (he meets and greets the customer). He pulls out his clipboard to verify the delivery with the recipient. At the same time he lights a cigarette and asks the girl signing for the piano if she was associated with the blue Jeep that kept following them on the way over.

She's a little confused. The ponytail bobs left and right. Her grasp of the English language isn't so great. They chat about the delivery; then, I guess, she goes away.

Two moving guys begin to shift things around in the truck to unload her piano. Seems fairly ordinary, so I dial up Jennie (she offered to help me with setting up my blog).

(I should note that I work from my home office, so I spend a lot of time in here, observing the events of my intersection. I enjoy it. I grew up more or less in the middle of nowhere, so it's a bit of a treat to have so much activity 'out there' for me to enjoy. Better than watching grass grow, I assure you. It's nice. I become the silent observer. Three floors of safety between me and the street. It's like I have my own reality TV show every day. The snow trucks drive by, or the lawnmowers and construction equipment kick off the day (depending on the season). Next is a quiet stretch, followed by the lunch rush, a bit of an afternoon lull, and then the kids get off of school. They are always up to something. After a while, things die down, then the 5 o'clock rush hits. I piddle around my kitchen for a while, flip through a book, then return to the front room to hear the goings on at the bar across the street. Sometimes I tune in directly. Sometimes I prefer for it to all unfold in the background.)

Nearing the end of my phone conversation with Jennie, three other characters must have arrived on the scene below me. Two Cleveland Heights police men, and the very husky lady wearing construction boots at stage right that is bellowing all manner of accusations from across the street. "Stop following me! Why don't you stop following me?! Look at me when I speak. Yeah, you."

Randy, one of the piano movers, has somehow gotten involved. Must have happened when I was on the phone. He's wearing one of those croaker things that's made of spongy stuff that hold your sunglasses around your neck. Is that what they're called?

The two policemen aren't doing much. They waffle a bit---what will become their role? Crowd control? Counsel? They pace around and write very important things (apparently) on little steno pads. So, they're present. But not really.

Husky is now pleading her case. "He approached the vehicle!" "He approached the vehicle!" (You have to read that with a very harsh, thick Clevelander accent. Sort of long and drawn out, too. Read it With Strength and Conviction, as Julia Child would say.)

The argument escalates. So, there's some yelling. Randy keeps insisting that she is crazy. She's yelling out a number.

"Sir, I know. 2!1!6!7!4!3! (I'll leave the rest out for her privacy though Randy the mover insists that she's lying about the number, whatever it is, and dials it up on his cell (with flourish) to prove to the cops that she's nuts)"

She beckons Marcus over to her side of the street. He looks back at Randy and sort of dawdles over. She whispers something conspiratorial (it appears) into his ear. He walks away from her and shakes his head.

He motions to his men. They start up the truck and roll away.

She remains with the police men. Still yelling. Other parts of the story emerge that I can't quite piece together...."Danny" got killed. Someone got sued. And now she has 21 million dollars. And she has so much money that she doens't have to worry about her things getting stolen. Now she's clasping her hands and saying, "Sir, I understand that you don't know the whole story. God Bless You. Imagine that you pull into a gas station, swipe your card and then the man steals your credit card. Just imagine with me for a minute...........

The cops grow weary of her babble and walk away midsentence.

She, disgruntled, I think, storms over to her Jeep and drives away.

It's 59 degrees outside according to my desktop weather icon. Lawnmowers cut the grass in the distance. My regular street sounds resume. It's starting to rain. I think I'm cold and am considering heating the kettle for a cup of tea.


22 May 2005

Readership, Meet My Pets

The picture you'll find one or two posts below (I think) is one of my ecosphere (Tommy gave it to me for Christmas this past year since I'm always bellyaching about not being able to have a pet.)

If you'll look closely, you can see three little tiny brine shrimp, Ruby, Onyx, and Pearl (really, you can just see two of them...and that's a stretch. They're no bigger than the white moon-shaped part of your thumbnail).

So my little shrimp(S) live in this totally contained ecosystem on my desk--it's a perfect pet, the ecosystem. Never have to feed or water the thing. Just sit back and enjoy it when I happen to be in town. Only maintenance required is to occasionally scrape a magnet across the outside of the sphere to wipe off the algae that's building up on the inside.

I named them by their coloring. Ruby, not surprisingly, has a reddish tint to her little body, Onyx has a big black vein in his back, and Pearl is sort of see-through. There used to be a fourth shrimp. I went away for several days on a work-related trip. Upon my return, I found the floating remains of Opal's skeleton inside of the sphere. Poor Opal. Ahhh, the circle of life. (Too bad, too, as opal is my favorite (semi-precious)gemstone.)Admittedly, it's not quite the same effect as a warm-blooded pet.

But they're pretty funny, you have to admit.

Ruby, Onyx, and Pearl.

Meditation on blue

Why meditation on blue?

About a year ago, Jan (my boss) told me that sometimes she likes to meditate on the color blue.

First thought that popped into my head: Every day you surpirse me with your weirdness. Why did I move to Ohio to work with you?


I don' t know.

Maybe it's not such a bad idea after all.

Blue's never been high up on my list.

Poor old Blue (already, two associations).

When I consider all of the blues I've known, I find such quiet, powerful intensity there....Persons. Places. Music. Time. Feelings. Experiences. Vibrancy of life. Chill of death (on that topic, orange is the color for me).


Well, it's interesting enough to consider.

Perhaps I'll share more later.


To Blue.