Category Archives: Uncategorized

the reward of fear

If they had not told me I was ugly, I never would have sought my beauty.  If they had not told me that they would break me, I never would have learned I’m unbreakable.   If they had not told me that they were trying very hard not to be mad at me, I wouldn’t have known that they failed.  

 

 

“We live in Bozeman,” my facebook friend Lanny wrote me.  “Stop by.  Sarah and I would love to see you.”

lanny wrote "william clark and the shaping of the west" which is an incredible account of how this dude did the lewis and clark expedition and other things.  i have a william clark plush toy i take everywhere on my journeys.  william clark has a facebook page which lanny runs.  ain't that neat?

lanny wrote “william clark and the shaping of the west” which is an incredible account of how this dude did the lewis and clark expedition and other things. i have a william clark plush toy i take everywhere on my journeys. william clark has a facebook page which lanny runs. ain’t that neat?

I arrived in Bozeman expecting saloons, hitching posts, wood sidewalks and the clop-clop-clop of horses.  Instead, there had been some geographical hocus pocus because Bozeman is basically a very sweet, charming college town with soigne restaurants and trendy clothes stores. It looked to be imported from Massachusetts except for the mountains at a distance.

“I could get used to this,” I thought.

To be fair, greater Bozeman seemed to stretch a mere four blocks in every direction, but that was so much larger than any ville I have been in for the past week so I was impressed.

I followed the directions Lanny gave until I got to the part where I was to follow the switch backs.

wow, just drive up to the edge of the side of the mountain, then do a u turn and go to the other side.  yikes!

wow, just drive up to the edge of the side of the mountain, then do a u turn and go to the other side. yikes!

I am scared of heights.  Sky rise hotels I’m the one asking for the second floor.  All of the West Virginia by ways spooked me.  I have never been to the top of Willis Tower even though I lived in the Chicago area 53 years.

I cried all the way up to Lanny’s house because at every turn I thought I was going to fly over the edge of the road and tumble down the mountain.

Shortly after I arrived, Sarah returned from a grocery trip.

“How do you DO it?”  I cried.

“Oh, you get used to it,” she said.

And she’s absolutely right.

After I left the Joneses, I traveled up to Canada to Banff.

a sixties show f-troop included a cameo appearance from a character from banff.  the town was pronounced banf-f-f-f because it is a little confusing about what to do with the extra f.

a sixties show f-troop included a cameo appearance from a character from banff. the town was pronounced banf-f-f-f because it is a little confusing about what to do with the extra f.  i had such a crush on ken berry.  is he my soulmate?

 

in Banff, I visited my facebook friend Madame X.  Madame X doesn’t want me to use her name because she has a stalker ex-boyfriend.  She’s even changed her name on facebook in order to shield herself from him.  I totally sympathized.  We had a wonderful evening in town and the next morning we climbed Sulphur Mountain.  There is a series of switchbacks up the 7500 elevation mountain.  There were spots when I would look down and cry.  There were spots where I told myself that it was okay, I have lived a long, lovely life and I have two great sons to show for it.  There were spots when I counted my steps “one, two” and then stopped and started over.  This wasn’t altitude sickness, this was naked fear.

But there was a weird part of me that was proud that I was keeping up with Madame X.  After all, she’s an adorable, athletic twentysomething year old.  Here I am fifty four years old and I’m keeping up.  Then we got to the peak.

“Sorry I was pretty slow,” Madame X said.  “But I twisted my ankle a few days ago.”

Wow.

Still, I got up the mountain. I even sat on top for a bit and even looked down.  But now I had a problem.. . . how to get down.  i am a western girl used to switchbacks but not quite ready for the ride back down.  Maybe you’re afraid of something–lightning, clowns, spiders.   I believe you are not afraid that you are inadequate, but your deepest fear is that you are powerful beyond measure.  xxoo

 


big, bigger, biggest

i’m pretty much a city girl and a scaredy cat so the combination means i have had major anxiety attacks all through south dakota, wyoming and montana.  jeez, there’s so much open space.  on the other hand, some of the folks i’m meeting i wouldn’t trust taking to times square without a significant dose of ativan—for them.

everything in south dakota is bigger, including the pets.  this dinosaur on a leash is outside 1880 town in jackson county south dakota!

everything in south dakota is bigger, including the pets. this dinosaur on a leash is outside 1880 town in jackson county!

 

a few years ago my italian friend federico cenci was writing a book about my grandfather and i invited him to stay in my home in winnetka, illinois.  he stayed for a month and we traveled to the university of illinois rare books and manuscripts library for extra material. mostly, he worked in the guest room. one afternoon he asked if we could take a day trip somewhere to see the sights.

 

big shout out to winnetka, illinois which was my home for close to a quarter century!

big shout out to winnetka, illinois which was my home for close to a quarter century!

 

“where would you like to go?”  I asked federico.

“mount rushmore,” he replied.  “i’d like to see the presidents.”

“uh, you understand mount rushmore is like a three or four day road trip?”

actually, mount rushmore is a fourteen hour and twenty six minutes 930 miles road trip if traffic is perfect, you’re wearing depends, no doz is delivered through an i.v., and you trick out the back of the car with an endless tank of gas.

federico was crestfallen.

“i’m sorry,”  i said.  “name somewhere else you’d like to see.”

“niagra falls,”  he said, brightening considerably.

niagra falls is wonderful but it’s still a good nine hours and eighteen minutes under the same conditions described.

in a rough justice compromise, we drove to chester, illinois to visit the birthplace of popeye comics creator e c seger.

federico hosted a website devoted to e c seger's beloved popeye.  in chester, we took pictures of the popeye statues.

federico hosted a website devoted to e c seger’s beloved popeye. in chester, we took pictures of the popeye statues.

 

federico returned to rome and finished his book.  on any given day, he can drive from rome to milan (5 hours, 13 minutes), make arrangements for brunch in pisa (3 hours 36 minutes), or spend a weekend in naples (2 hours 11 minutes).   his idea of how large the united states is/was a bit skewed.  oddly, i have the same problem.  i just had no idea how many miles get tucked up under my tires.

 

so this morning i pulled into the parking lot of the mount rushmore national park outside keystone, south dakota.  the usual tour buses of japanese tourists and refugees from aarp.   families with kids who are more interested in the concessions stand.  a lady berating the staff because she wanted to climb either lincoln, washington, teddy or tommy.  the teenagers taking selfies.  i sat down on a bench and took it all in.  and thought to myself…..i gotta tell federico that i made it.

but of course, i have verizon phone service so i couldn’t.

 

 

 


wilson, stewart and the madoffs

darren wilson.  tony stewart.  both men have been on my mind this week and not just because i’m in the badlands.  both men are in the news and have had their lives destroyed by events that took place within just a few minutes.  i don’t think either of them are bad men but they will always be known for their bad act.

 

by all accounts, darren wilson was a perfectly ordinary suburban cop with nary a disciplinary action taken against him.  he encountered michael brown on a ferguson street and within minutes he had shot michael dead.  rioting, outrage, and possible murder and federal civil rights charges against him.

by all accounts, darren wilson was a perfectly ordinary suburban cop with nary a disciplinary action taken against him. he encountered michael brown on a ferguson street and within minutes he had shot michael dead. rioting, outrage, and possible murder and federal civil rights charges against him.

 

tony stewart ran over and killed racer kevin hart as hart walked out onto the track to confront stewart.  prior to this incident, stewart was known as an aggressive driver but offtrack was considered a teddy bear.

tony stewart ran over and killed racer kevin hart as hart walked out onto the track to confront stewart. prior to this incident, stewart was known as an aggressive driver but offtrack was considered a teddy bear.

 

i feel sorry for both men because both will always be thought of as murderers.  they played by the rules most of their lives, well, at least aside from the few minutes of crazytown.  wilson is in hiding with his family.  even if he escapes legal consequences, he’s going to have a permanent crimp in his neck from looking over his shoulder. tony hasn’t raced since the accident and lives for the moment in seclusion.  i can’t imagine him ever having the focus and courage to drive again.

let's say you are a professional in a position of trust--like, say, a lawyer or investment advisor--and let's say you use your client's money as if it were your personal checking account.  do it once, okay, that's troubling.  do it twice, whoa there!  do it three times and we get to call you bernie madoff.

let’Das say you are a professional in a position of trust–like, say, a lawyer or investment advisor–and let’s say you use your client’s money as if it were your personal checking account. do it once, okay, that’s troubling. do it twice, whoa there! do it three times and we get to call you bernie madoff!

.i don’t feel sorry for the madoffs of the world, but i feel sorry for tony and darren.  but i gotta ask–


packed to be home!

for an agoraphobic, i sure do get around!  today, i’m heading into des moines and from there i’m striking north for canada. i’ll be out of the country for close to a full month with a catch me if you can schedule–

in 2011, i made a new year's resolution  to spend facetime with every one of my then 325 facebook friend within the calendar year.  it was an adventure and in one 17 day period, i circumnavigated the globe and visited friends in 11 countries.  my passport is a mess.

in 2011, i made a new year’s resolution to spend facetime with every one of my then 325 facebook friend within the calendar year. it was an adventure and in one 17 day period, i circumnavigated the globe and visited friends in 11 countries. my passport is a mess.

 

so how do you pack for a month long trip?  i do it in two bags, one that serves as my office and one for my clothes.  i buy hanes three pack t-shirts and good news is that they are cheap enough that i consider them disposable.  i am a huge fan of reversible clothing.  i like baby wipes for everything, including the inevitable disasters. . . .

 

i always take with me my william clark doll.  william clark was a fearless adventurer, famously traveling from st. louis to the northwest coast with his friend merriweather lewis and the lahmi shashone woman sacajawea charbonneau.  i bet he was a big believer in baby wipes, especially since sacajawea had her son jean-baptiste with her!

i always take with me my william clark doll. william clark was a fearless adventurer, famously traveling from st. louis to the northwest coast with his friend merriweather lewis and the lahmi shashone woman sacajawea charbonneau. i bet he was a big believer in baby wipes, especially since sacajawea had her son jean-baptiste with her!

some of my friends are very much like me and are afraid to leave the house.  jeez, i spent most of my life with anxiety attacks that kept me trapped in my house.  in the year 2011, i learned to get out of the house.  when someone asks me how i did it, it’s very simple:  you have to make your car your home.  you have to make your seat on the plane your home.  you have to be exactly where you are and make that part of the universe yours.  you are entitled to peace and calm and a sense that you are welcomed by everyone.

 


the comedian’s club

robin williams is upstairs at the comedian’s club, hanging with chris farley, john belushi, tony hancock, doodles weaver and freddie prinze. . .

NOT the freddie prinze having a bitchfest with keiffer sutherland.  his father, freddie prinze, was the star of the popular seventies show  "chico and the man" which was canceled when freddie prinze shot himself to death.  in front of his manager dusty snyder.  who must have been in therapy for years.

NOT the freddie prinze having a bitchfest with keifer sutherland. nope, i’m talking about his father, the star of the popular seventies show “chico and the man” which was canceled when freddie prinze shot himself to death. in front of his manager dusty snyder. who must have been in therapy for years.

 

robin had family–children and a loving wife susan.  he had success–well, except for the very unfortunate movie patch adams.  and he left four movies in varying degrees of completion.  including a sequel to mrs. doubtfire and another in the night at the museum franchise.  he was a spokesman for st. judge’s children’s hospital.  family, creative success, purpose–he had it all.  and then on sunday evening, he tried to kill himself by slitting his wrists.  unsuccessful at doing anything more than inflicting superficial wounds, he used a belt and a closet door and hung himself.

i have struggled, particularly this past year.  with thoughts that i have no purpose, that i have lost some vital connections with my family, that the world would be quite a bit better without me.

in other news, this particular snake was counting on me.  i fed him, gave him water, but he died.  wow, disposing of his body was quite an enterprise.    the apartment smells to high heaven because the blowflies deposited larvae before i did.

in other news, this particular snake was counting on me. i fed him mice, gave him water, but he died. wow, disposing of his body was quite an enterprise. the apartment smells to high heaven because the blowflies deposited larvae before i got the courage to pick up mr. snake and put him in a garbage bag. 

 

 

i know what it’s like to wake up and think “i’m still here.  it’s not time to die.  God, can’t this end?”  but i have always known that i wouldn’t do anything to harm myself because i don’t want to harm my sons, my stepson, my stepdaughter, and my exhusband that way.  and sometimes, just that is enough to keep me going.

so i gotta ask. . .

we miss you, and i’m sorry that there wasn’t anything that could make you stay. . . what is it about the funniest people hiding the greatest sadness?  maybe comedy is a compensation for sadness.

i hope you're having a wonderful time hanging out at the comedian's club.

i hope you’re having a wonderful time hanging out at the comedian’s club.

 


dear linda

dear linda, 

yes, i’m roughly your age so i definitely identify.  you split with the hulk and then you felt a little lonely, a little less than the beauty you once were, a little lost and vulnerable.  and then you met charlie.

charlie hill?  bg mistake.  you let him live with you, you gave him an allowance, you took his engagement ring.  oh, wait, you purchased the ring.  jeez, just to be told you're pretty?  been there, sistah!

charlie hill? everybody told you it was a big mistake.  he was eighteen years old and he didn’t get with you because of your pretty hair or your delightful smile.  it was all about the benjamins, baby!  and ps his hair is a big mistake too.

 

linda, everybody thought you were pathetic.  they thought he was a gold digger and that was certainly true.  you gave him an allowance, you bought him cars and watches, i bet you paid for every meal.  and when you got engaged, you were the one to buy the ring.

you guys split up and you were generous with what you let him keep–some cash, the bentley, and the engagement ring.  it was humiliating and painful, i’m sure.  but then there was worse to come.  he has sued you for 1.5 million dollars, claiming that you forced him to work for free on your property and on your boat for nearly four years.  one point five million, four years, that’s $375k per year of charlie’s time.

here's a picture of charlie working on your boat.  i have photoshopped out the gun to his head.

here’s a picture of charlie working on your boat. i have photoshopped out the gun to his head.

 

please, linda, you did what you did because you weren’t doing the one thing you needed to do, something my mom taught me about being independent and loving yourself.

i sure do feel for you.  it’s tough when you reach the age when the bag boy at the grocery store doesn’t even bother with a bit of a flirt.  but no more charlies. a vibrator and a joel osteen positive mental attitude video should be sufficient.

sorry, charlie.  with or without a comma.

sorry, charlie. with or without a comma.

 

love you linda,

yours,

arlynn

 

 


supercar saturday!

i never used to pay attention to cars.  they were merely receptacles for people, pets and my cosmetics case to get around in.  then i fell in love–

i bought my car, a 350z with a chromillusion finish,  from a kid in naperville.  dude was holding back the tears when i gave him the cash.  of course, anybody would feel that way saying goodbye to this sweet ride.  but it takes a lot of tender loving care.  only the finest handwash for this baby!

i bought my car, a 350z with a chromillusion finish, from a kid in naperville. dude was holding back the tears when i gave him the cash. of course, anybody would feel that way saying goodbye to this sweet ride. but it takes a lot of tender loving care. only the finest handwash for this baby!

 

now that i’m pretty much living out of my car, i really appreciate it all the more.  the past several saturdays i’ve been taking my sweetass car to shows.

people who are just as in lust with their cars gather together to ogle each other's rides.  my car is not technically a supercar.  in fact, it's a cheap ride that has a fancy paint job.  but the folks at supercar saturdays and v12 automotive have invited me to the bannockburn show on this coming saturday!

people who are just as in lust with their cars gather together to ogle each other’s rides. my car is not technically a supercar. in fact, it’s a cheap ride that has a fancy paint job. but the folks at supercar saturdays and v12 automotive have invited me to the bannockburn show on this coming saturday!

 

 

generally, car shows are a guy thing.  but my friend carolyn quinn is coming in and we will be the thelma and louise of the joint.  minus the finale–

a friend, a true friend, might just be willing to hold your hand in the toughest times.  thank you carolyn and thank you to all my friends!

a friend, a true friend, might just be willing to hold your hand in the toughest times. thank you carolyn and thank you to all my friends! 

 


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