THE LOST NOTES (Guest Post by Victo Dolore)

I am truly honored that Victor Dolore has agreed to guest post for me today.  Please join me in welcoming the good doctor to Cordelia’s Mom’s house:





By Victo Dolore

My grandmother’s spinet piano sat unplayed after her death for over a decade. My grandfather had given it to her many years before, and it was her most prized possession.

My grandfather tried to kill himself every day after her funeral, smoking three packs of cigarettes a day. If you asked him he would tell you why he wouldn’t stop smoking: “Because I want to die.” He worked hard at it. When he did eventually pass, I found out that he had wanted me to have that piano.

There was no place really to put the piano, and about half a dozen keys were stuck or would not play. Still, it was my grandmother’s –  and my grandfather wanting me to have it was his way of saying “I love you” one last time. I couldn’t bear to have it lying on a garbage heap somewhere. I had to have it. Pianos are exceedingly heavy and difficult to move, and it took thousands of dollars to get it even close to playable again. Some of the ivory was chipped, making the keys jagged. That just could not be fixed.

Then, I stopped playing. It sat unused in my house for over a decade until my son started using it for his own practice.

Side step for a moment…

For over twenty years I have searched for a particular arrangement of Pachelbel’s Canon in D that I played for my high school talent show. My best friend played the flute in a duet. It was spectacular as we practiced it. In fact, we were a favorite to win the show after we pulled it off flawlessly in the rehearsal. I floated in those notes in my sleep, my fingers knew it so well.

At the time of the actual performance, however, I froze midway through. For maybe twenty seconds (it felt like an eternity) I just sat there at the grand piano keyboard, panicked. I have no idea why I lost my place in the music. Finally, I recognized where we were and I picked back up. Our chances to win were blown, and my friend and I never played together in public again.

That music has haunted me, though.

It was the most achingly beautiful piece of music I had ever heard or played. While even now my fingers still remember parts of it, there are large chunks of the melody that have disappeared from my mind. When I realized that the notes were slipping away from me, I went looking for the physical sheet music. It had been lost. For the past twenty years I have tried to find it, purchasing or looking at every arrangement I could get my hands on but none of them was ever the exact right one.

I needed that exact right arrangement.  All of the others felt like shallow impostors.

Last night I picked up one of those not quite right arrangements and found that it was now somehow good enough. I had lost the detailed memory of the old arrangement to the point that I could now replace it with this. I stumbled through it several times, emotions flooding back. In the process I could recognize how badly out of tune the piano actually was, just like my memories.

The last time I had played the Canon I was full of hope for the future but still wallowing in the shame of a botched performance. The shame is now gone, I can just enjoy the piece for its simple beauty again.

But this piano. I cannot keep this piano if my son is going to keep learning. It has to be replaced. I tell myself that it is a thing, not the person, that I am letting go of that the memories will last forever. But if I am honest with myself the memories won’t last forever. I mourn them like I mourn the loss of my sheet music and my piano and my grandmother and my grandfather and my youth. I mourn these things like the billions of other people across the face of this Earth mourn their own losses.

We are all the same. Moving on, marching forward, letting go.



Victo Dolore and I love to hear from our readers.  You may comment on this post, comment on my Facebook or Twitter pages, or email me at or


Images by Victo Dolore

Posted in Guest Posters, Relationships, That's Life | Tagged , , , , , , | 59 Comments

More Real Estate Stories (Re-Blog)

MoversI received compliments on my post awhile back about my life as a real estate paralegal, so I figured now would be a good time to relay a few more of my experiences:



I’ve never really understood why sellers schedule the sale of their existing home at the same time as the purchase of their new home, thereby forcing them to do everything in one day.  I understand that some people have to do that due to financial circumstances, but it is never, ever easy.

I once got a call from a client the morning of closing, indicating that she was trying to get her stuff out, but that the buyers’ movers had already arrived and were blocking her driveway.  I told her to just ask them to move the truck.  She indicated she had done that and the movers refused, saying their customers (the buyers) insisted they unload NOW (even though the deal wasn’t actually closed yet!).

My client also indicated that she was afraid of the buyers  because “He is a cop, has a temper, and carries a gun.”

Say what?

Eventually, I convinced my client to put the mover on the phone with me, and I told the mover that he had to back out or he wouldn’t be able to unload at all, and therefore wouldn’t get paid.  I told him not to unload ANYTHING until he got a call confirming that the sale had closed.  Somehow it worked out and we got the deal closed, and everyone moved  into the houses they were trying to get into.




My clients were an elderly couple who were closing on one of those “reverse mortgages.”  They were the sweetest couple ever.

Closing was to take place at the County Clerk’s  Office downtown, and my clients did not want to brave the city traffic, so they came to my office and I drove them to the closing.  I parked in the nearest city ramp, and when we were all out of the car, I turned to my clients and informed them that we would have to go through a metal detector.  Speaking directly to the husband, I told him that if, like many men, he had a pocket knife, he might want to leave that in the trunk of my car.

Whereupon, the sweet little old lady opened her purse and pulled out a humungous hunting knife á la Crocodile Dundee (“That’s not a knife – this is a knife!” [sic]).

My jaw must have dropped nearly to my toes.  My client explained that she used to own a store in a not very nice section of the city and had grown accustomed to carrying a knife in the event that she would have to protect herself.

The knife was deposited in the trunk of my car, and we went on our merry way.

But I made sure to never, ever tick off THAT sweet little old lady!




And then there was the time, early in my career, when my boss had a back injury just before the assessment review hearing FOR OUR OFFICE BUILDING.

Now, my boss is the type who never lets illness or injury stop him from working, so I knew he was feeling poorly when he told me that I would have to cover the hearing.  Not could I drive him downtown so he could do itOh, nomy, myself and I were in charge of making sure our building was re-assessed at a lower value than it currently carried.

No pressure there, right?  I was a fairly new employee, still unsure of her standing in the firm and unsure of my employer’s faith in my abilities.  And  God knew, I was totally unqualified (at least in my opinion) to handle that type of situation.

Was this some kind of test?

I  drove myself downtown as slowly as possible, hoping I might miss that darn hearing.  Upon arrival (on time, wouldn’t you know it), I embarrassed myself by not knowing the names or titles of the gentlemen running the hearing (and whose opinions would ultimately decide my fate my office building’s tax assessment).

Questions were asked, and I answered as best I could.  It became more and more apparent that I really had no business being there.

Finally, the older gentleman in charge chuckled and told me my firm’s request for a re-assessment was … GRANTED.   (My heart rate thereupon returned almost to normal.) And he added to please give his regards to my boss, whom he knew very well.

Whew!  Do you have any idea how angry my fellow co-workers would have been had I failed and they were denied year-end bonuses because the taxes on the building were too high to allow for bonuses?

Guess I must have done all right ‘cause 15 years later, I’m still in the same job.   Fortunately, I have never since been asked to cover a hearing of that type, although now I could do it without suffering heart palpitations.


I love to hear from my readers.  You may comment on this post, comment on my Facebook page, or email me at:


Images by:  John/MTSOfan, and Duncan Brown (Cradlehall), and One Way Stock, respectively.

Posted in Humor, Re-Blogs, Relationships, That's Life | Tagged , , , , , , | 11 Comments

Dog at Home

This post is in response to Marilyn Armstong’s Serendipity Photo Prompt 27: At Home With Dogs.

What does your dog do when you’re away from home? Do you let your dog roam free, or do you crate him/her?

Puppy Cody has not needed a crate since she was 8 months old and suddenly decided that she was a BIG DOG.  On returning home at lunch time or at the end of the day, I seldom find any damage or any items where they’re not supposed to be, and now that her digestive problems have been resolved (knock on wood), I also never find any surprises in the middle of the living room.

So, what does she do all day?  This is what I would expect (and hope):








And, of course, she watches the world go by as she waits for her people to return:





But then I have to wonder.  What if I didn’t close the doors to the upstairs bedrooms or bathroom?  And what if, heaven forbid, I left my sock drawer open?









Yes, she stole one of those socks, but I caught her before she could do too much damage to it.  Cody just LOVES socks.

What does your dog do all day?


I love to hear from my readers.  You may comment on this post, comment on my Facebook or Twitter pages, or email me at or


Images by Cordelia’s Mom

Posted in Humor, Pets, Photography, That's Life | Tagged , , , , , , | 33 Comments

I Will Not Wish You A Merry Christmas

A Cup

I do not want you to have a Happy Holiday.

I do not wish you health, joy or peace during the holiday season.

The New Year can be Happy or not – it’s totally up to you, and I’m staying out of it.

If you’re Jewish, I will say nothing at all, because I looked up “Jewish holiday greetings” and there’s no way I could pronounce most of those words.

I don’t know what Kwanzaa is, really, nor do I know the proper greeting, so you’re safe on that one.

If you’re an atheist, I will simply say “Hello.”

As for everyone else, since I don’t know what holiday you may or may not be celebrating, just go forth and celebrate in whatever way you wish.


Thanksgiving is not likely to be good for turkeys, so I will not insult them by wishing you a Happy Thanksgiving.  Nor will I be dressing up as a Pilgrim, Native American, turkey,  ham, ear of corn, or big plate of stuffing.

Birthdays are just days – some are Happy, some are not.

If you’re offended by this post, it’s your problem.  I tried my best to non-greet every group I could think of.  Relax, and have a cookie.


I love to hear from my readers. You may comment on this post, comment on my Facebook or Twitter pages, or email me at or


Image by Cordelia’s Mom


Posted in Holidays, Humor, Relationships, That's Life | Tagged , , , , , , , | 44 Comments