Sylvia Archive: Worry-Free Hotline

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Thursday, January 9, 2014

Bit Of A Correction

At the far right is the 6 flat apartment building that I lived in, to the left is Marie Jo’s house. Her family lived in the basement apt.

The red brick two-flat was where Marlene lived, which of course reminds me that Marlene set herself on fire, accidentally. (We made a tiny club house in a back porch closet and she lit the candle when she was alone.) My mother and I could see her aflame from our dining room window. By the time my mother found her shoes, Marlene’s mother had put out the fire with her bare hands. She wore large bandages on them. I think her injuries were worse than Marlene’s but I’m not sure. I think I was so overwhelmed that Marlene’s mother would save her daughter with her bare hands and her love that I couldn’t remember Marlene at all.

Congress buildings


Report By A No Show

I was to arrive at Ragdale this afternoon. Laura was going to give me a lift. But her car is stuck to the street. She assures me it is stuck. She can’t move it, even back and forth. It starts, but that’s only to tease her. I called the residency director to give him an update. I thought I might just check on my room assignment while had him on the line. “Oh, no we didn’t give you the room in the main house, we gave you the big one with all the wall space!” Of course they meant well, but I asked to have the studio in the main house because walking in the dark to the other studio may possibly lead to my falling in the absolute night and being found much later. You know, like in the spring. There’s not a lot of foot traffic on the grounds. I am trying to arrange to start my residency on Thursday where rising temperatures will allow me better odds of surviving an after dinner stroll.

Meanwhile of course I am terrifically bored at home, having cleaned everything and packed everything and being like ready!!!

I decided to go to the bank this morning to test the temperature and the state of the streets. I found that even with two pair of gloves on, my hands threatened to stop working. I got to the bank and noticed that there was a small truck parked in the lot. There was a ladder leading from the truck to the roof. “Not good,” I thought, but kept moving. There was a sign on the door “Closed due to weather.” I went home.

The good news is this morning I got on to Google maps and printed out an image of my old block on Congress Street. I have a new idea of how I want to start the second half of my memoir. I will move, in my memory, two doors west of my house to the house of my best friend Marie Jo and her family. I will describe the part of my childhood that is filled with their presence. From the veteran who lived upstairs with his wife (part of the family) and was found to be a serial molester of little girls in the neighborhood (mainly he touched them, laughed maniacally and ran away), to M.J.’s mother who attacked her husband’s paramour with unfortunate but not lasting results, to M.J.’s nervous breakdown and my first sight of Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis on television and my exposure to the double entendre in song and my first glass of wine.

Marie Jo's and Nicole's


Petition Time

Here’s an anti-Citizens United petition of Senator Al Franken’s passed on by Hillsmom.  Thanks!



Citizens United was a disaster. It opened the floodgates for corporations to write big checks to fund right-wing special interest attacks, helping them pour $719 million into the 2012 elections.

The question is, what are we going to do about it? How are we going to stuff this “corporations are people, elections are auctions, democracy is for sale” mess into the Dumpster of Bad Ideas?

Here’s how: A constitutional amendment that puts power back in the hands of the people. The actual, human people.

Sign the petition to join me in calling for a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United.

– Al Franken

Al Franken

Sylvia Archive: Post-Christmas

Still have the tree up? This goddess may or may not be helpful.

post christmas strip

Dealing With Race And History In Film

Sometimes I just forget to read Flavorwire, which is why I am glad I am subscribed to it. I subscribed long ago, probably for frivolous reasons – anyway, reasons that are unavailable to me now. With the subscription comes great articles emailed to me weekly, such as a mind-opening essay by Tyler Coates.

Why did I know that I would not go to see 12 Years A Slave? Why did I so regret seeing The Butler when I knew it would be a very annoying feel good movie, not about a racial inequality but about a composite black man. I hated Forrest Gump. Imagine my chagrin at watching another Forrest Gump only with black people reprising the Tom Hanks role. Both movies managed to undercut the power of many of the important events in our history by placing a ringer into the narrative. These are two movies that I wish I had walked out of while the credits were still playing.


Sylvia Archive: Interest

This fortune teller sees a woman’s credit card future. Click the comic if you want to see, too.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014


A long lost friend of Connie’s sent her these end of life regrets.

I was happy to note that I did not share all of them. I have different one’s. One of the regrets that gave me pause was: “I wish I had the courage to live a life true to myself.” I would change that to : “I wish I could have had several lives to be true to. “I wish I had married more times. I wish I discovered a mate for life who had gone away for a long time and would now be coming home.” The trouble with regrets is that they usually are not fine-tuned enough and don’t take into account changing conditions.

Here’s Connie’s friends list:

Interspersed with the mundane mantra about grandchildren and travels, she sprinkled these 5 life regrets:

“I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends” – that was one of the top five regrets people have at the end of their lives, according to an article I read recently.

“I wish I hadn’t worked so hard” was another of those end-of-life regrets.

One of those life-end regrets in fact was, “I wish I had let myself be happy.” —
“I wish I had allowed myself to express my feelings.”

“I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the one others expected of me.”

Don’t Give A Fig

I always read the Most Emailed Stories From NPR.

They rarely let me down. Here’s one I couldn’t care less about. In fact, it gives me life new purpose. Listing things that I don’t give a fig about may keep me young, unless it’s already too late.



Posts From The Prairie

or My Studio Next Door To The Kitchen

Did I forget to tell you that I was accepted at Ragdale (An artist residency in Lake Forest, Ilinois) for 3 weeks, starting January 6? Yes! I will not be somewhere warm, but I will be in the studio right next to the kitchen. It’s the best because people hang out in the kitchen, and I don’t have to walk to a studio in the dark and cold (oh how dark it is in the country in the evening. My flashlight didn’t make a dent in the darkness last time. Perhaps there will be too much noise in the kitchen and it will tempt me and ruin my concentration, but I am willing to chance it.

I will be adding to my graphic memoir “Living Above the Highway.” But who can tell what I will want to write about when faced with large pieces of good quality fresh white paper?

Who will care for Toots you ask? Tom will feed Toots, twice a day and Deanna will drop by several times a week with treats and fur combing equipment. Who knows what Toots actually does when I’m not there besides this….