Archive for the ‘family’ Category

Pleased And Appalled

Back in February, my mother sent me a rather large check for my birthday. The check came in an envelope with my mother’s name on the return address sticker. A note was enclosed written on my mother’s stationery. My mother died eighteen months ago.

My father is a very frugal man. He doesn’t like to waste anything. He uses my late mother’s checking account. He signs her name to checks. The checks are processed because my father never notified the bank that my mother had passed. There no sense wasting perfectly good checks! My father has never had a checking account, and at age ninety, I doubt he ever will. He will continue to use my mother’s account until he dies.

So what does an unemployed man do when he suddenly receives an economic boost? One would think he would pay the utilities, stock the pantry and make a few house payments. Not this unemployed man. I bought a piece of art. I also made a sizeable charitable donation in the hope that I will soon have income, and will be able the use a charitable deduction on the 2017 taxes. There’s nothing like planning for the future. And being charitable hopefully brings me some good karma for the job search. But buying more art? I should be seeing an addiction therapist. Thankfully, I still have a large balance in my emergency fund which takes covers my expenses. I’m sure Suze Orman would be simultaneously pleased that I have an emergency fund and appalled I bought art.

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Off To Prison

Back in March of 2012, my parents had a home invasion by a neighbor. It was an ordeal that ended with a SWAT team storming the neighbor’s house. The case finally went to trial in January. The man pleaded guilty to three assault and robbery charges. He is facing a fifteen-year prison term. Sentencing is set for March 10th. The man continues to live two houses away from my father. Since the trail, the police increased patrols in the neighborhood and occasionally do a welfare check.

It was a violent crime along with being a tragic event. What’s even more tragic is the man is schizophrenic and is being sent to prison instead of a mental health facility. The court has deemed the man is not crazy enough (I’m not sure of the correct medical or legal term) for a mental health facility because he has followed a court order to stay on medication. He has presented as normal in court hearings. Off to prison he goes. Will justice be served?

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He’s A Slob

My brother and nephew have been here since Thursday. They leave Tuesday night. It’s been fun but my nephew is a slob. He decided he didn’t want to share a bed with his father so he’s been sleeping on the sofa in the living room.
There’s an unused closet and dresser in the guest bedroom. Clearly, his parents didn’t teach him how to be proper houseguest.

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A Thoughtful Gift

My father called on Saturday to tell me he mailed a Southern Living cookbook to me he found while cleaning out one on my late mother’s stashes. I was touched my father thought I would like to have one of my mother’s cookbooks. I’m sure it will smell like cigarette smoke when it arrives and, without a doubt, spend a few weeks in the garage airing out.

My father filled up the recycling bin with copies of Better Homes & Gardens magazines my mother was saving. He still has a few more years of the magazine to recycle which will take several weeks.

My mother bought Better Homes & Gardens every month at grocery store. I don’t know why she didn’t subscribe to the magazine. It was just another one of my mother’s quirks. She read it cover to cover. Perhaps it was her way of escaping her suburban life as wife of a man she hated and mother of three kids who drove her to Valium at an early age. I can still picture my mother sitting in the living room smoking an Old Gold cigarette while reading the latest issue of Better Homes & Gardens. She would be off in a dream world as the ash on her cigarette grew longer and longer while a cup of weak coffee sitting on the end table turned cold. It was a sure sign TV dinners would be served that evening.

I remember looking at those magazines and wondering why our house didn’t look like the pictures in the magazines. None of the decorating tips or garden ideas were ever implemented in our house or garden. My father left all decorating decisions up to my mother because that was a woman’s job. Just like answering the telephone was the wife’s responsibility. Deciding on a paint color or a fabric tortured my mother. It took ages for my mother to make decision. The house I grew up in had mismatched furniture in most rooms. The only room that looked halfway decent was the dining room only because my mother bought the whole room display at the furniture store. Pictures were hung in odd groupings too high on the wall (Perry insists on sixty inches from the floor to the center of the artwork). A woman who devoured Better Homes & Gardens couldn’t decorate a room to save her life.

I had the important things like a house to live in, utilities, a bed, and food on the table. It just wasn’t like the pictures in a magazine.

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Is He Gay?

I’m hitting the galleries tonight with Paddy, Bradley and Jacqueline. Jacqueline is a friend of Paddy’s who’s a hairstylist, dancer, yoga teacher and art collector. London may meet up with us along the way. Perry is still out of commission. Double A is going to services while Mack will be slaving away at Crate & Barrel.

After the galleries, the gang is going to a bar on South Broadway to check out a guy Jacqueline is dating. Jacqueline thinks her new guy may play on my team. She’s taking the gays to meet the guy and get our opinion. If the gays think he’s gay, she drops him. If the gays think he’s straight, she’s going to sleep with him. This should be an interesting evening.

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Ending With A Sweet Treat

Paddy and I met Perry at the art museum last night. The Asian Art Association held a welcome reception for the new curator of Asian art. Paddy and I arrived later than expected due to horrendous traffic going into downtown for the annual holiday parade. I was the youngest person in the room. That is, until Paddy walked in five seconds behind me to claim the title.

We stayed at the reception for a short time and then hightailed it over to the Santa Fe arts district. Our first stop was Mai Wyn Fine Art to check out Mai’s new work. It’s a small, but pleasing, show. Next, we crossed to street to check out the new juried show at Point. Brenda LaBier has a striking nude self-portrait in the show (click here for a cropped image). She’s laying down a piece of red fabric that’s been laid on top of a frozen lake. Fox footprints dot the snow beside her. She laid on the ice for forty-five minutes trying to get the right shot. That’s dedication to one’s art. Before leaving for the Navajo Arts District, we admired Michael Dowling’s work in the main gallery. The man is a master.

Over at Navajo, we took in a highly conceptual show at Pirate. None of us understood the show. Perry warned us not to get into a conversation with the artist as he would talk all night. We had other shows to see so time was of the essence. Stops were made at Next, Zip37 and Edge. Nothing excited us so we motored over to Ironton Gallery in RiNo.

Ironton has thirty-one watercolors by Matt Holman on display. The works create a single, wordless narrative about the journey of life and love. This is another great show to see. Perry introduced Paddy and me to David Menard, an artist who shows at Point. I have admired David’s work for a while. It was a treat to have a conversation about his work. I also got the meet his girlfriend, Heidi Jung, who is an artist represented by Michael Warren Contemporary. I have also admired Heidi’s work but had never met her. Heidi and I also had a nice chat. It turns out she used to work in my former neighbor’s furniture showroom in the design center.

After Ironton, Paddy and I dropped Perry off at the museum parking garage. We stopped for desert at Blackbird on the way back to my house.

It turned out to be a great night. I saw stellar art. Talked with Brenda and her pal, Tracy (another very talented artist). Met two artists whose work I have admired for a while, but never had a chance to meet. And ended the evening with a sweet treat.

It was a great way to end a hellish work week.

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Flowers For The Grave

My late mother’s birthday was last week. I called my father on my mother’s birthday. My father had just returned home from taking flowers to my mother’s grave. I found this to be a nice gesture but it left me puzzled. My childhood was filled with my parent’s intense arguments. My mother was mean to my father up until she could no longer speak. I don’t ever remember my father buying flowers for my mother. Why would he take flowers to her grave? I didn’t ask my father this question. It’s a question that will remain unanswered.

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