Saturday, June 11, 2011

and now, for something somewhat different

Who better to paraphrase than Monty Python?

Before I start here's a little 12x12 tile piece I was fooling with. Victoria of Bumble Beans got me started on this. I may sew some more later. I like the randomness of it. Sort of like my life right now. A bunch of different stuff colliding together and I love using every tiny piece of Kaffe fabric. Just can't throw that stuff away.

I have a little, sweet and a little bitter to share and then I'll clear up some of the questions you have asked and comments you've been kind enough to leave me.

The sweet-It is, as some of you know, the birthday season around here. May and June contain birthday's for nearly everyone in the family with a few exceptions. My dear friend Terry and I were treated to a fabulous dinner at the other quilting friend, Pam's house on Thursday evening. After the meltdown at social sec. you may well imagine that I needed something to perk me up and Pam had just the ticket. Pam & Bill live about a mile or so from me on a hill above the village and over the harbor. It's a sweet old house that they have made beautiful inside and out. We'll talk about their garden more in a minute. I am blessed to have two great cooks as friends and Pam really outdid herself using one of the numerous Ina Garten cookbooks that one or the other of us has given her. It pas to keep your friends in great cookbooks. She made a baked pasta dish that was delicious but the true highlight of the meal was Bib lettuce and tomato with Ina's Green Goddess dressing. We were among friends so we made total pigs of ourselves and used the garlic bread to sop up the dressing. Truly, you could have just set a loaf of garlic bread and a bowl of the dressing before us and it would have been A OK with us. The recipe is on the Food Net. site under her recipes. It's made of mayo, sour cream, garlic, scallions, and basil, OH MY. Yum.

The bitter of the evening came in when we sat down in front of her lovely picture window with the grape arbor outside and Pam said, "Before you start, tell me what's missing from this picture?" Hey, no grapevines. Pam's grape arbor comes from a 130 year old gnarly trunk that looks like a Japanese watercolor come to life. Well, it did. The grape wines covered the trellises and cascade down the sides of the porch and made it a joy to sit under and the place where her grandchildren liked to play outside in the shade. You won't believe what happened. Last week while Pam and her husband were gone, the new loudmouth neighbor next door had his tree guys come and cut down the vine-on Pam & Bill's property. There is about 150 feet of property between their house and the grapevine...the one on P&Bs land...and a good sized fence to boot! Those people had to come onto their land to cut down a 130 year old trunk, the stump of which now sits dead and staring Pam in the face. She is a great gardener and just sitting in her garden you are overwhelmed with the sweet scent of honeysuckle and the amazing plants and trees. Stunning nastiness. Not only that but when they introduced themselves to the neighbors with a cake, the guy made some snide remark about all the trailing vines all over and what's that about. Yes, the vines trailed all over.....Pam's property and porch. If ever there were two people who clip, trim and care for THEIR property it's P&B. It was dark and stormy while I was there on Thursday but I'll try to get pics when I'm there next. Last I heard P&B are going to buy wisteria because it's fast growing. the bill for whatever it takes will be left with them. This jerk who sits in his yard in a wife beater with his belly hanging out shouting to all on his cell about how much money he made this day or that with a Jersey Shore accent. Enough to make you lose your Green Goddess dressing.

Regarding my SS situation. Thanks so much to you all for commenting. It must be confusing to you as it is ever confusing to me still. Here's some of the deal. I do have a birth cert. from Germany. Unfortunately, my mother listed my name(here goes, hang on to something solid) as Dorothea Louisa and her maiden name. On other paperwork from Germany my real father is listed. The name she used to come into this country and to be naturalized is different than those two names and she made me use it in papers from the orphanage and in early school records. She also dropped the Dorothea Louisa and began using Doris for me during those years. Is the room spinning yet for you?

Flash forward thorough those days and several other men to about 1960 when we came to this village. The last of the "stepfathers" John or John the Jerk, you choose, was supposed to have adopted me. Two years ago I found out he never adopted me. That's just how she said it to my brother. "He never adopted her" in a nasty tone of voice. Too bad since very document from that time till my first marriage has me listed as his adopted daughter. School records, high school diploma etc. Not to mention the fact that he was the worst human being you can imagine and had I known that he was nothing to me I would never have put up with his crap even for a second. Rather than what happened, I would have punched him back without thinking twice instead of waiting till I was 18 to tell his sorry, drunken, butt goodbye. But no, I was a good girl then. That and they often reminded me that if I wasn't, I could find myself in some other place. Often wonder if "some other place" might not have been better than there. Anywhere, but there. Of course, all of that led me to all of this and I wouldn't have changed a thing since it brought Roger and James into my life.

Where my dilemma comes in is trying to explain all these things to government drones. Civil service workers in NY. There may be many places in the county where civil service workers are very pleasant people but let me tell you it's a tough find here. They dare you to make them care and let you know that you're pretty much taking up their valuable break time.

Well, thus ends today's daily broadcast of "Dee Dee in Dire Straights"

Tune in Monday for the next episode. Episode #3 in which our heroine finds herself handcuffed and deported to some far off German location. Thank goodness our girl can still speak some and read most fairly well.

MUST keep sense of humor...keep repeating...MUST keep sense of humor.

Love you guys!!

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Legal Wrangles

Imagine yourself doing something that should be relatively simple. Now, imagine that you find yourself at the top of the biggest pile of crap you can envision. Throw in the INS and Social Security and you have a somewhat clear picture of where I am today.
I may have mentioned to some of you at various times that I was born in Germany after the war. German mother/American soldier father, now deceased. Never met that father until the mid 80s. Took me that long to find out who he was due to my mother's giant crate of lies opening somewhat and a trickle of info coming to light. While Roger was alive, he did everything he could to research and glean some information that led to finding that I am not an illegal alien. Here's the twist- I'm not illegal but I'm not quite legal either. Again, lies my other told...could fill a book and nearly has already. A mountain of paperwork. Along the way, I was never allowed to change my name to Roger's legally since there was no birth certificate and when we finally got one from Germany, the name was different, the location was different, and it went into the file of lies marked MOM. Along the way she had a succession of men that we lived with the details there are to gruesome to go into but lets just say they'd make a 1950s bad movie staring Lana Turner or someone like that. Along this twisty path we had to do our taxes with my former name to keep things legal on our end. Twenty-seven years worth of tax forms. All nice and neat and on the up and up. Records of my divorce from first husband, marriage to Roger, Social security cards for Roger. My social sec. that I've had since high school graduation. All good things nice and neat. Record of my entry with my mother into the US in 1952 when I was 3ish. Good stuff right? Even the name of the ship and military papers from it. Sounds good huh? My mother's naturalization papers when she became a citizen...all excellent right??
Yesterday my darling DIL Dani took me over to SS to register to receive Roger's benefits. I told them why I was there, presented the death cert. they asked me for proof of who I am and then, then, the giant crap hill began to crumble under me. They started to look up my SS# and a big gust of angry wind hit me in the face in the form of several official people who kept saying things like. Holy crap!! This doesn't make any sense. What are these names?? Why is your birth date different in several papers that were filled out by....guess who!! Out of what appeared to be about 20 people in the office, many of them became involved in the conversation and their tone of voice, while not nasty, was very frightening. They told me they cannot do anything for me until I have dealt with Immigration. Please excuse my language when I say this but if you think SS is a mess, you cannot imagine what a cluster f--- immigration is. I need a lawyer who can present my case and keep a cool head. I was in tears just trying to get to the right person to speak with who then told me this was something they would need to deal with in person(no surprise there, even I can't figure it all out)and it might be best to have a lawyer familiar with immigration law try to sort it out. Social Sec. has asked me to return at the end of the month to fill out all necessary paperwork for the benefits which they will hold on file until I can present a passport or clear proof of citizenship. Even if that goes slightly smoothly, it will be more than a year before I see any of that-thank goodness I have some money to fall back on.

Tomorrow I will be 63. I have lived here for 60 years-53 of them in this village. There is no way to describe how I feel right now except to say that I am depressed, angry, and not a little scared. My mother has been the direct cause of every bad thing that has happened to me since I was 3. She lied, she abandoned me in an orphanage in St. Louis to people who beat me with switches that you were required to go and cut from bushes outside, she lived with men who wither beat me or worse. They were disgusting drunken animals and I was regularly told that I had a new Daddy from time to time. Non of them adopted me but they made me use their names so that's part of a record I must now explain to people who are similar in attitude to what you may have experienced at the DMV in your life at one time or another. They are cross-eyed and dumbfounded by the end of only a few minutes and I am frustrated knowing that in the end they will just pass me on to the next drone...
All I feel like doing is sleeping and yet I can't. Last night was filled with that dream where you are falling. No hard figuring there. Mostly, I miss my darling Roger, who would have at least been a rock next to me and found a way to comfort and make me feel even a little better. Now there is no going back. I'm in for a penny or pound as they say. Waiting to hear from a friend who has some connection in the court system here. I want to find a lawyer and at least she can tell me who not to hire.

On the only happy note, James will be 27 Sunday and we are having dinner. Dani' birthday is the 15th-Terry's is the 17th and so on it goes.
I hope whoever you are reading this that your life is going along a lot more peaceful than mine right now. Unfortunately, you can count on my return with more crappy details soon. If you do, please say a little prayer. I really need it now.