Saturday, December 20, 2008

Home for the Holidaze...

This was our first Christmas tree - circa 1981 or 82 (Lisa?). We had to hide it my sister's bedroom so that my grandmother wouldn't see it, and so the cats wouldn't eat (and then poop) tinsel. Even the little Star of David wouldn't have made her any happier about our decision to try out this "tree" thing.

It's funny to see Rappaport's wrapping paper - and even some Paper Moon (whatever happened to that company? They made the BEST paper products!)

Oh, and that vase to the left? Let's just say we were a liberal (or maybe "parentally clueless"?) household... and for any future employers who may see this photo, just remember that it was taken about 30 years ago! See the 8-track tapes to the right? They were probably "TV Theme Songs of the 70's" and "A Jackson 5 Christmas".

Yeah, we knew how to celebrate the holidays- with or without that vase.

Monday, December 8, 2008

"Whatever colors you have in your mind...
I'll show them to you and you'll see them shine." - Bob Dylan (duh)

These are some of the newer earrings for Podunk Princess Designs' highly anticipated 2008 holiday season shopping frenzy! I know we're in a recession - I just like making pretty things - and they happen to be locally made AND affordable too!

These earrings, a whole lot of gorgeous necklaces, and other similar designs (meaning made by ME) are now available at Sundrees in Trumansburg (OMG - if you have never been there, go! It is so worth the visit!) and at the Julie Stone Salon in Downtown Ithaca and soon to be Ithaca's favorite contemporary clothing and gift emporium, Fibers and Fantasy (on the Commons).

Thank you. Come again!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Porcupine Farm Revisited

This is my husband Chris on a perfect Sunday morning at the farm. We're finally moved into the new house and he's closing on the Podunk Road house next week. I'm all "yea", but I know it's been tough for him to leave so many memories behind. Even our old dog, Spud (below), is buried in the grape vine. We were planning SpuddyBuddy White and SpuddyBuddy Red, but by the time we moved we just had some lame cruddy-duddy grapes.

Chris the first one to admit that he's ready to let a lot of the past become the past, but it would sure be nice to have been able to take some of the more special trees with us.

I never thought I'd marry who man who loved planting trees, and farming, and chopping wood. Growing up in NYC, we always "had someone do" whatever it was that needs to be done, from painting bedrooms to installing wall units and swing sets. I married a man who actually "does it" - it's like marrying the superintendent, but not having to live in a basement apartment! His garage is full of tools and projects and skill saws and a whole lot of crap that he just can't stand to throw away. That's fine - it's his space, but I could do without the life-size Molson bikini girl winking at me through the window.

I am so getting a life-size Bobby Labonte cut-out for my studio space!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Podunk Princess Designs

Podunk Princess Designs is an "umbrella term" that refers to my numerous creative projects (read: jobs) , the most important (and lucrative) being "Jewelry for My Generation".

Right now, a large selection of earrings and necklaces is available at SUNDREES, a great little gift shop right in Trumansburg! If you haven't been there, GO! It's totally worth the trip.

I also have a selection of jewelry at Julie Stone Salon in downtown Ithaca. It's an AVEDA salon, so you know it's good!

A separate website is in the works! I know you can't wait. In the meantime, I will try to post photos of new pieces as they roll off my assembly line.

The necklaces below are all sterling silver and semi-precious stones. With necklaces priced between $45 and $75, my jewelry is completely affordable and really fun. My friend Abby wore the middle one to a party and got two dates! It was the necklace, not her awesome personality.

Friday, October 10, 2008

The Adventures of Skipper and Slouch

Oliver (white) and Dodger (black) are our "rescue dogs", although we didn't really rescue them... we won them. When over 70 people apply to the SPCA to adopt two poodles (well, one poodle, one spoodle) that have been together since they were born (to a breeder), it's more like a lottery jackpot than a rescue. They were willingly given up by a family that didn't want them anymore. They came to us as Tony and JJ and we immediately renamed them. We don't know the details of their first two years of life, but we've had them for about four years now and they never cease to crack us up! The first photo photo was taken the day we brought them home... I call it "who are you and will you love us?"

They are two peas in a pod... one dog in two bodies.
Yin and Yang. They have two totally different personalities, but they are inseparable. They have to be together at all times, or at least kept in each other's sight. Even at the vet, they have to be on the table together or they panic.

I call them Skipper (Oliver) and Slouch (Dodger). Or Comet and Cupid, Piglet and Eyeore - whatever happens to come to mind watching them interact with each other. Whether they're curled up together in a black and white, furry ball or chasing each other around the picnic table, they are completely in tune to each other's movements, no matter how subtle. They are typical twins, but obviously not identical in looks or in personality.

Oliver is extremely happy-go-lucky and not a good listener. Nothing fazes him. Not even skunks... and THAT was a horrible night! Actually a horrible week as the scent lingered in my clothes, glasses, and car keys for a long time! I used to kinda like the smell of skunk... now it makes me nauseous as it brings back the memory of vomiting all over the house.
He's definitely the alpha dog. And he knows it! He's like the kid in class whose name has to be repeated over and over by the teacher.

Dodger, on the other hand, is a bit neurotic. We think he had a pretty damaging experience in his puppy years. He shakes a lot and is extremely timid. He's the lover... he needs constant reassurance that he is indeed a "good dog".

I call him "Slouch" because his hind legs are too long for his body, so he walks like an old man with hemorrhoids, all hunched over... compared to Oliver's "Skipper" walk, where his back legs actually trip up his front legs. Together, they look like Piglet and Eyeore walking into a Milne sunset. (I know it's Pooh an Piglet, but Dodger is much more like Eyeore.)

Best medicine: when I had cancer, Dodger never left my side.
The only picture of me going through chemo is this one, with Dodger splayed out on top of me... protecting me, loving me, and keeping me safe and secure. Although he looks like he's doing a "Hey y'all", he was my best medicine. For as little love he may have (or not) received as a puppy, he sure gives a lot of affection. I treasure this photo because it reminds me of how much I (we) have all been through in the last three years, and how much I love my boys. All of them!

Chris and the boys - Summer 2008

Oliver and Dodger in their usual state of togetherness.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Apartment 10-A

This is where I grew up.

944 Park Avenue.

Apartment 10-A.

That would basically be the whole tenth floor as shown, as 10-B was the whole back half of the building - which I actually would have preferred as I would have been able to survey the P.S. 6 schoolyard to see if anyone was "hanging out". (Before puberty, "hanging out" meant playing stick ball... after puberty, "hanging out" meant "pining for John Denoia"). As it was, I could lean out one of the alley windows (see that sliver?) and listen for the sound of dribbling basketballs or well hit softballs. I got really good at recognizing particularly sexy voices and the spurting fizz of beer can pop tops... ummm, as a teenager I mean.

I experienced many "firsts" in that schoolyard. It defines me in inexplicable ways. Like a sorority sister's collection of yearbooks or a chef's recipe box of sauce stained index cards.

My world inside that schoolyard was the dynamic opposite as the one that moved below my bedroom windows, which are the two windows all the way to the left. I think that's my old air conditioner, which would now be my step-mother's, but I wouldn't really know because I haven't been welcomed into that apartment since my dad passed away a few years ago (wow, this could be a long one...).

The doormen, the shopping bags, the private school cliques fresh off their buses, the yellow blur of taxi cabs. I would much rather be blowing up Scooby Doo thermoses with M-80's on Halloween or waiting for John Denoia to pull up on his ten-speed and flash a grin to make me stutter.

Once upon a time...
My parents moved into apartment 10-A in the late 50's (maybe early 60's) with a newborn baby (my sister) and ready for "happily ever after". My father was securely and passionately attached to the family business - his uncle, my great uncle, was Harry Winston (can I say that without getting sued?) - and my mother, for the 15 short years I knew her at least, was a perfect lady.

"Happily ever after" never really came for them and this blog is very much a result of that derailment, but it is also and exploration into how I went from Park Avenue to Podunk Road.

And I have had a lot of fun... oh yeah, and breast cancer... along the way.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Where Do You Draw the Pink Line?

October scenery... fall foliage, denim jackets and fleece vests, back-to-school item overload... and the pink ribbon. I get it. Shit, I got it! But "shave for a cure" razors ??? Come on! And quite frankly, can't "Shower for Cure" foaming gel cover the whole routine?

I rant because I can... I mean, I've "honked for a cure" I've kept a pink daily calendar with a matching "HOPE-FAITH-COURAGE" ballpoint pen, and I may have even succumbed to "cookies for a cure" when Pepperidge Farm added pink shading (and to be fair, a Susan G. Komen promise) to their packaging.

All of these "marketing causes for a cure" actually evoke a terribly sad response... memories of earning the ribbon and the hidden memories that can only be remembered three years later.

I DO believe in Pink Ribbons being used when necessary... the background for Leigh Hurst's "Feel Your Boobies Campaign", tattoos for those who have earned the medal that is the ribbon, and clothes and crafts created from the emotional need to incorporate the ribbon (although all of you charm bracelet people need to take a break!)...

So please consider this a PSA for the Society to Prevent the Abuse of the Pink Ribbon. I know there are great websites out there to educate the consumer (who just likes pink!), so please use them!

Now... as it IS October... and there is no denying the ubiquitous pink ribbons infiltrating the spooky black and orange landscapes.... please take a few moments and "Watch This Video for a Cure"! This is a semi autobiographical tribute to the most inspirational people I know - those individuals fighting... and mostly winning.... their battles with cancer.

And please pass it on. Especially this month... let all of these pink ribbons mean something!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Welcome to my life tattoo...

"I expect I'll regret ya, but the skin graft man won't get ya... you'll be there when I die... tattoooooo" (who else? Pete Townshend)

20 years between my shoulder blades... three years since I knew I wanted a pink ribbon, and 20 minutes for my best friend, Liza, to agree to her first ink!

Thank you to Jayson at Holy Mother Tattoo in Atlanta.

Liza has been my BFF for almost 35 years. 'Nuff said.

They'll be lots of posts - Liza was a NYC chick too... we were baaaaaaad... like good baaaaaaaad.

Those posts might need parental discretion, though...

I don't think her husband will be all that psyched for my next trip down... we're getting the Fiorucci angels! It's so us.

Stay tuned!

Friday, September 19, 2008

The Great Gig in the Sky

"Out of my way, it's a busy day...I've got things on my mind..."

In memory of Rick Wright (Pink Floyd) who recently died of cancer... put on Dark Side of the Moon's "Great Gig in the Sky" and crank it!

And "Time" and "Echoes"...

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Who is Kyle Busch and why does he keep following me?

This is an ongoing story, so keep checking back until it's a full article. Note that this was written at the height of Kyle Busch's amazing season...

I find it ironic that when people (who "know" me) ask how I could possibly be into NASCAR, and I use the analogy of Dead Tour, or just say "Jerry died", my response is often met with a blank look of "whuh?".

Follow me here... or as our friend Scott would say after a show, "follow me, I'm not tripping"... maybe ya had to be there... anyway...

One of my favorite Grateful Dead tapes is the infamous Watkins Glen soundcheck from '73. My copy, with a lovingly handwritten set list on a cream colored, Calvin and Hobbes cardstock cassette cover, was played until it was almost inaudible. It made the words "Watkins Glen" cool before I had ever even seen a NASCAR race.

Now that I live about 15 miles from Watkins Glen, I've had a bit more education and a lot more of an appreciation for stock car racing, or more specifically NASCAR.
And the similarity to Dead Tour is amazing.

Sure I have a huge crush on Bobby Labonte... like preteen hippie chicks didn't pine for Bob Weir.

Okay, here are some of my observations:

#1: The NASCAR season is like Spring, Summer, and Fall tours combined.... and the finale of the Race for the Chase at Miami-Homestead is a harder ticket to score than a pass to the New Year's show in California!

The first races of the season reveal the drivers to watch much like Spring tour unveiled new (and old, dusted off songs) as well as Jerry's health. Sponsors fine tune their cars' color schemes just like guest keyboardists are scheduled in advance. Basically, there's a specific time line that evokes the same excitement...and disappointments.

#2: You remember the feeling when Phil dropped the "bomb", or when Jerry soloed to the stars, and the music impaled you with joy? Sit trackside as 43 cars swarm past you going 160 mph. This isn't like the neighbor without a muffler, or the pizza delivery boy with the new Bose speakers... this is a guttural, rhythmic pounding and it evokes goosebumps. If it were music, it would be the Who (with Keith Moon).

#3: Roadies, Sound Techs and Pit Crews. Not much would get done on the track or on the stage without them. They are the blood, sweat, and (maybe not so many) tears. They get the music playing and the drivers on course, the instruments tuned and the tires inflated. Listen to some driver/crew communication and you'll here more "good job, buddy's" than at a dog training school.

#4: What will they open up with? What will they close the first set with? What about second set? Will we get a St. Stephen? What about the encore??? These questions buzz around the Grateful Dead stadium parking lot much like the drivers' qualifying runs and resulting pole positions invite statistically hopeful conversations about driving strategy throughout tailgating groups at the track.

Are you seeing any similarities here?

There are more... I'm just tired... and I gotta go catch highlights of an amazing race at Dover!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Everything's Coming Up Boobies...

I've said it before and I'll say it again... everything looks like boobies after a mastectomy! The linzer tarts, the frosted ceiling lights, wall-mounted fire hydrants (the kind built for two hoses)... Sometimes I'm not even conscious of the fact I've just thought "see? boobies" out loud.

Exhibit A: The dogs' Kongs. Just fill with peanut butter and enjoy! Hey, if I were a poodle, I'd love them too. It was just a bit jolting to have this vision greet me first thing in the morning...two angry, painful nipples. At least we give the dogs creamy peanut butter.

Exhibit B: Laguna agate at the Jewelbox. Now these aren't necessarily boobs I would want. As a matter of fact, they kinda remind me of what I got rid of in 1986. Voluntarily. These are the DDD's of a mature woman. You can tell by the rings... like a tree trunk.

Exhibit C:  Australian Opal. This is like seeing boobs in a cloud formation. Opals photograph oddly in that opals are 3-D, but when I look at this opal, I see a mermaid... hiding in her magical sea...but you only see her mid-section. Some people see Bart Simpson's eyes... which come to think of it, look like boobs!

Exhibit D:  Don't even ask...

Exhibit D:  It's a hard knocker life.

Wow, I really need to find something more re-constructive to do with my time.  
Maybe a gallery show. Or a wall calendar.
It is so when other people send me photos for the collection.
Awareness - It works! Time to update the collection:

Exhibit E: Contributed from Mike: Thanks! Must be nippy in Southern California!

Exhibit F: I became quite the Picasso on the treadmill training for the Avon Walk.

Exhibit G: October Cover Photo Reminder through iPhone apps. These don't leak.

Exhibit H:  Remnants of a Chardonnay. My empty wine glass. Pushing it? I love living in the Finger Lakes! 

Exhibit G: Champagne Diamond Nipples. I'll take 'em!

There are still a few hummus appetizers, decorative lamp fixtures and NYC silhouetted water tanks in my files. Will post when I find. Maybe a photo exhibit at the coffee shop?

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Do You Smell That?

My friend Abby has no sense of smell.

I can think of a hundred reasons to be jealous...#98 being the horrifying realization that farmers spray liquid cow manure on their fields... in the steamy summer... and we live in corn country.

But I've known Abby for over 25 years, and I still forget that she can't smell coffee brewing, or coconut suntan oil, or the lone scared skunk in the woods a mile away. So whenever we visit, whether it's me road-tripping to the city, or her hitching a ride to Ithaca, I try to envision (or ensmell) a life without olfactory influence, and am astounded at how much I take my nose for granted. I am constantly putting my smelly foot in my mouth with "doesn't that smell good?" or the KFM classic "christ, did a cow die in here?", but Abby doesn't mind my gross negligence in underscoring her double-edged sword of a handicap. She just calmly reminds me that she does not have a sense of smell. And I love her for that. I can fart (or "frot" as we Winstons call it) all I want to if I wanted to, but shouldn't forget that she isn't deaf for God's sake... come on, guys... she's single! Isn't that a perfect quality to be looking for in a woman???

And you can have foot odor from hell!

Abby is one if the original reasons I "hyperspaced" my way into Ithaca, as she earned her writing degree at Ithaca College in the 80's... but our friendship originally began at, of all places, a Weight Watchers Camp - Camp Colang in 1985.

Our bond was sealed when we realized we had actually dated (which in summer camp terms means "we made out with him in the woods a few times") the same guy (a camp owner's son) during the summer of '84, when we became bunkmates in the infamous Collegiate House - a fabulous place where you can be a camper at 21.

There is whole chapter about the camp/food/diet experience in Abby's bestselling book (and Facebook group) Teenage Waistland. One of Abby's coolest claims to fame is her naming of Ben & Jerry's Karamel Sutra ice cream. And although she can admire the comically enormous pint-shaped, cardboard cutout of her flavor, pop-art colors and all... in her 30' by 32' studio apartment in the Village... she cannot smell chocolate!

And that is one smell I would wish for her to experience... among others... fresh brownies, Girl Scout Cookie shots, exotic chocolate body oil...Hershey, Pennsylvania...

Hmmm... maybe not having a sense of smell is a good thing.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Kid Fears: A Survivor's Story

When I was first diagnosed with breast cancer, I never thought "I'm going to die"... I moaned "oh, this is gonna suck". And then I thought "well, at least I'll finally get my perky B's".

Maybe it was this kind of positive attitude that kept me going... and going... and going... to doctors, to labs, to surgeons, to "drip trips"(chemo), through scientific tunnels of treatment... I watched a whole season of Reno 911! on my ipod in waiting rooms, I pointed out spelling and grammatical errors on signage to hospital staff while on gurneys, and I pushed my morphine button like a contestant on Jeapordy in my hospital bed... and when the tube came loose and a puddle of morphine formed on the floor, you better believe I let them know damn well I wasn't going to pay for it.

Three years later, I still tear up thinking about those months, but I don't cry for myself. Sure, I recall painful moments and I feel my still healing muscles tense up, but I'm sadder when I think about all the people who aren't here three years later.

I am very vocal about early detection. I was 39 and it was my first mammogram.

I am on the board of directors for the Cancer Resource Center of the Finger Lakes (formerly the Ithaca Breast Cancer Alliance), and I have become a sort of touchstone in our community. I have been interviewed for numerous articles, I have been a guest celebrity judge for Cayuga Radio Group's "Ithaca Idol" at the Tompkins County Relay for Life... twice... and I had the honor of being the keynote speaker for the Relay for Life Kick Off Dinner... which happened to fall on my birthday.

For that presentation/speech, I decided to make a film about my experience at the Young Survival Coalition's annual conference. It is semi-autobiographical, but I was incredibly inspired the most amazing people I have met... young survivors.

Please watch this film, "Kid Fears: A Survivor's Story"... note that music does come in about 30 seconds in... and pass it on...

Thank you.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Nipples or No Nipples....

Technically speaking, can I be considered "topless" if I don't have nipples? Not that I ever would... it's just a thought.

After my reconstruction, I decided to forgo the nipples. I just couldn't deal with the thought of another surgery... and more tape and more gauze and more creams and ointments. And I'm used to them now. Just round, flesh bumps with some visible rippling from the saline pack... and without nipples. I'm like a lumpy Barbie Doll... ok, maybe not.

The funny thing is that after a while EVERYTHING starts to look like nipples! My dad once ordered two linzer tarts and I almost peed my pants when I saw them on the plate... two flat, powered boobs with raspberry jelly nipples. And it didn't stop there. Any ceiling light section in a giant homegoods store resembles an overhead, frosted glass boob catalog... the dogs' "kongs" drying in the dish rack look like enormous red, rubber nipples... pretty much anything round and displayed in pairs looks like boobs now.

One night at dinner, soon after my implants were complete, my dad and my husband had a debate over whether or not I should get nipples. I found it humorous that I was not actually invited to join the conversation. My dad insisted I get them because it would "complete" the process, while my husband understood the stress the surgeries were causing me. I finally said, "They're my tits, and I'll decide how to decorate them!" And that was the end of that.

So nipples or no nipples?

I'd rather have linzer tarts!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Daddy's Little Girl

This is a tribute to my father, Richard Winston. I read this at his memorial service:

"The last time I spoke about my dad in front of people was 30 years ago… for a third grade assembly at Birch Wathen School. With our classmates’ parents in attendance, we each gave a presentation about the person we admired most. I spoke about my dad. I got his birthday wrong. I bragged that he used to play for the olden day Yankees. And even then, my illustration had his hairline starting three quarters back from his forehead. At the end of my speech, I introduced him to the audience, and he stood up from his fifth row folding chair… and everyone clapped… it was a moment of shared pride that I will never forget.

This… is another testament to my father’s character… his charisma… his life.

And this is just some of what I would like to add today about the person I admired most.

My dad was handsome. He was funny, and he was kind. He was also forgivably consistent.

Like how he called every woman “cookie pie” with such charm that they forgave him for not remembering their names. Eventually they realized they were all cookie pie… or, um, we were all cookie pie. My dad lived on one big Pepperidge Farm!

And how he was always tidying, straightening, futzing… I can’t remember him ever walking by a picture frame he didn’t straighten, or a television antenna he didn’t adjust. At “work”, his desktop was perfectly organized. The edges of his papers lined up to a micro-meter, and no dust spec had a life span longer than the sweep of his beautifully manicured hand. At “play”, he handled the treasures in his fishing tackle box with the same meticulous care he gave to rare gems and jewels. Lures and bobbers became his diamonds and pearls… his rods and reels, the beautiful bodies they were designed to adorn.

If you ever had the pleasure of watching my dad order a hamburger, you’d have seen his adorably amusing Jackie Mason persona order the bun “let me tall ya, a little buttah on both sides, lightly toasted, if you could”… and then you’d just pray he’d leave a good tip!

Almost every person here has shared smiles with my dad. You may have called him a friend, a colleague, a brother, an uncle, a cousin, a golf buddy, a patron, a partner… you may have even called him in cards… but I called him Daddy, and as Daddy’s Little Girl, I can tell you I always called when I was going to be home late! Collect.

My dad was a pillar of unconditional love.

He didn’t get too mad when I once mistakenly pilfered his prized Liar’s Poker roll of twenties… just like I hadn’t gotten too mad when I didn’t get that chimpanzee for my 5th birthday.

My dad’s motto was “whatever makes you happy”… Some would say I was spoiled… a silver glitter Ludwig drum set (which didn’t exactly make for nicer neighbors)… Bally table pinball machine… skateboards, bowling balls, ice hockey equipment… a Bloomingdale’s credit card at 12… a brand new Chevy Camaro at 18… an apartment overlooking the Hudson River, so I’d have my own place (and not have to give up my really cool job at Tower Records)… with a furniture budget more than most college tuitions…

He even scored me a sixth row center seat to see The Who perform Tommy at Radio City Music Hall in 1989… my dad just wanted me to be happy.

Come on… spoiled? Let me remind you… I never did get that chimpanzee…

On car rides with our family, my sister and I could pick the music…hell we could even drive the car… at 5 years old… sitting on his lap… and well… that nice police officer could tell you the rest... My dad is also solely responsible for my appreciation of the most important automobile feature of all… the princess seat! You know it as a center armrest… imagine my joy when we eventually got a car with a princess seat in the back! For my sister.

My dad could make boo-boos go away with a kiss… really… but he knew that colds and flu’s required FAO Schwartz. He smartly realized that the only cure for my summer camp homesickness was to just bring me home…midsummer. He told me later that he did it because missed me just as much.

He recognized the symptoms of meningitis as more than just an “I don’t want to go to school today” headache… and when I had to call him this past June with my diagnosis of breast cancer, he reacted with a cool calm collected “well, you’re not going to go to any Podunk surgeon”, like Ithaca doctors only treated farm animals… so he and Susan mapped out a course of action that demanded nothing less than the best in the world for his baby girl. That “best” is here today as well with his family.

In retrospect, my diagnosis was an unlikely gift… it gave me a frequency of quality time with my daddy… more in the last 8 months than we had shared in the last 8 years. I saw the bond between him and my husband, Chris, solidify… in hospital waiting rooms, in midtown cafes, at the rooftop bar of the Peninsula Hotel… and through weekly phone calls when they’d just “check in” with each other. How many little girls can actually say that their dads approved of their husbands 110%? I know that my dad not only approved, but was satisfied I had married someone so much like himself… oh no, I married my dad? How did I get so lucky?

So here I stand, 30 years later, speaking again about the person I admired most...
A devoted father, a loving husband, a gentle caring soul… he was a friend to everyone who knew him… and if he were here today, he would stand up shyly, give a little wave, blow me a kiss… sit back down in his fifth row folding chair… knowing how proud I am to have him as my dad."

In memory of

Richard Alan Winston
June 12, 1927 - March 15, 2006

Monday, July 21, 2008

Baseball Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend

Diamonds... considering our great uncle was "The King of Diamonds" (not sure if I can even use his name anymore because it's actually been copyrighted), it is ironic that my sister, Lisa, chose a career that celebrates the diamond, the baseball diamond.

Red Sox fans may recognize the guys in the photo (Terry Francona and Brad Mills) , but to me that Spring night in the late 90's in Clearwater, they were just my sister's friends buying us my birthday dinner. My sister was covering the minor leagues for Baseball Weekly and I got to tag along for a few days.. a very cool few days! Who knew they would go on to win multiple World Series? Well, actually, my sister probably did... she knows EVERYTHING about baseball. Her blog is her current project (although it takes away from our Scrabulous tournaments), and I only WISH I could blog like that!

Bottom line: my sister is THE queen of minor league baseball. She's been doing it since before some of the players she covers were born!

And this is my "tribublog" to her. My big sister rocks!

Now go check out her blog!

Friday, July 18, 2008


I have a jiggy "i" on my keyboard and it's making me nuts.

The problem began when my dog's paw skimmed my keyboard and jarred off the i key. For a long time, I just figured out how to type an i by using just bit more pressure not unlike trying to learn an A# to the F3rd or something in piano lessons.

Then a friend fixed my keyboard so that I at least had an i, but it was really sensitive, and I found words spelled with one i now had little picket fences of iiiiiiiiiii's.

If it were almost any other letter, it would not cause a problem. But the i happens to hover right under the middle finger on my right hand...and I have a Thinkpad with a toggle, not a fingertip pad (those pads will make orthopedic surgeons millions... those and flip flops...), so the iiiiiiiiii's appear as peripheral movement... and often cause more than just a few typois... (left for effect) ...I often end up at strange websites, and my password almost ALWAYS has to be re-entered.

I began to just rely on the red dotted line signaling "oops" under the misspelled word.

It is wreaking serious havoc on my need to be as rhythmically grammatic as possible in my prose. These i's are horrid little speed bumps, sticking to an alibi of a "green lighted" word according to spellcheck (which I am now adding to my dictionary as a word!).

(Anyone have the time and energy to help me fix the problem once and for all? For free?)

I also want to rid the world of the misused apostrophe... maybe I'll start a Facebook group...

In the meantime, please enjoy the photos on this page of images from around Ithaca while I ponder my next rambling:

Just kidding. the last one's from Vegas.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008


There are three anniversaries that many cancer survivors observe.

The first is the day of diagnosis. For me, that will always be the day after father's day. It doesn't even need a numerical date.

The second is the day of surgical operation, the bodily invasion. For me, it was a double mastectomy on July 18, 2005. In many ways it is a birthday, or a re-birthday, not an anniversary - because the first thing I saw when I woke up was my father and my husband at the foot of my bed, smiling the smiles of those who just got a thumbs up from a surgeon.

I often think of that moment and of my dad's jubilantly anxious grin, and I believe it was the exact same one he wore the day he heard "it's a girl" on March 28, 1966. My birthday. On July 12, 2005, I was reborn into my father's waiting arms.

The third is the day the "all clear" sirens sound and the non-stop needles and dread subside for a while. For me, that day was October 6, 2005, my sister's 46th birthday. Our mother died when she was 46, and so my sister was about to surpass my mother's lifespan - and I would resume catching up.

Five months later, my dad passed away from complications from a fairly routine surgery. It had something to do with his heart. Maybe it was too big, or too full. As daddy's little girl, I owned the twinkle in his eyes. I was his little star - maybe too often a comet - but his heart was the one thing I never wanted to break.

I was at his bedside when that heart beat for the last time. I know he knew I was there - that my hair was growing back a curly silvery gray, that my husband would take over responsibility for taking care of me, and that I was totally healthy - his healthy, baby girl - with arms waiting to hug him one last time.