Archive for February, 2010

UPDATE- Always Me – Always CHRIS

I wrote in the Always Me – Always Chris post the following:

I am sure you did leave an impression. There was that time you were very upset about a painting grade that you felt was unfair. You used your talent to enter into a project where , if you won, you could place your entry anywhere on the college.

You did a full size body cast of yourself , sitting slumped on a floor with the broken painting across your knee – dressed in jeans and a hooded sweatshirt pulled over the face, empty beer cans strewn about .

When the project won you had it placed outside the painting instructor’s office


I had wanted to show you the artwork in question but it had sat in many places, outside the Mainstreet Lorain office for a few weeks – scaring the hell out of one of the Stocker Foundation employees – who called the landlord of the building thinking a homeless man had taken up residence in the hallway .

Then he found a home in one of the windows of the empty buildings on Broadway as part of a display of artworks when we tried to brighten up the windows a few years before the latest much more succesful efforts of Joe Skodny and the Christmas Council.

However , the other self too met his demise just last summer due to a leaky roof.( a bad omen perhaps) .

I was sad really because although he would have been a painful trigger he could have been also a tangible touchable remembrance. I have been thinking a lot about the “other self” in recent days and wishing I had something of him.

This morning trying to find some records I needed, I found on an old hardrive a series of photos that I never knew were on my computer. I have never seen them before but obviously I was meant to find them 😉

There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, Than are dreamt of in your philosophy. W. Shakespeare

February 27, 2010 at 6:01 pm 3 comments

Lorain- an Open Letter


To whom is may concern:

Over the past year I have traveled for pleasure, rest, and for hope. I have been to England, Scotland, France, Germany and Houston ,Texas. All of these places have their positives and negatives. Because of the “obscenity” returning to our lives just a year ago I have not been able to write about my observations in great detail.

The one thing that I have observed, as I have kept in touch with Lorain through the internet and on line media coverage with the comments, is how much energy is being put into pointing out what is wrong and the blame game from all sides.

Of course there are problems in Lorain and actually the bottom line is Lorain’s problems can be solved with “money” for the most part. It will not take an act of God or an act of War. Just financial responsibility and getting Lorain back in the black and getting back to a healthy starting point.

I can tell you that a couple of million dollars in the grand scheme of things is nothing but not having it available means that people’s livelihoods that depend on the few 10’s of thousands they receive yearly are in jeopardy because it isn’t there. We jump on the “get rid of healthcare benefits” bandwagon for our fellow citizens which makes me shudder having seen first hand what can happen to people without enough healthcare. You are in some cases handing out a death sentence to someone- I have seen it happen!

Our safety is at risk, our reputation as a place to live, our future. So what can be done?

If I had a couple of extra millions I would gladly pay Lorain’s debt- because Lorain has been a wonderful place for me and her people some of the best I have ever met anywhere ( even the ones I disagree with at times)- Lorainites have come through for me time and time again and continue to do so ! But you can’t take that to the bank.

These past months have found the usual he said she said blame game, the pontificators of causes and those that continue to cry Lorain is dead and dying and a dump.

Lorain isn’t dead and dying, Lorain is in need of the talents and hard work and pulling together of all her citizens.

Every single Council person , outgoing and incoming, every single police officer, firefighter, union member , utilities employee, city hall employee, administration, businessman/woman, educator, religious community member , media – all have an individual strength and talent they can bring to the table .

Don’t discount the ability of anyone there are no weak links in the chain in Lorain every single person in this city has something to contribute to her success.

We don’t need to reinvent the wheel or nickle and dime the taxpayers. What we need is to draw upon the strength of our citizens, even the ones we are politically or personally at odds with – we need your ideas, expertise and “follow through” to solve what is quite simply a “money problem” and not an insurmountable money problem.

Lorain is not well what can you do to make her healthy ( quickly not 10 years from now NOW!!! within the next few weeks )- as legislators- administrators- educators- citizens-

1. How do we come up with a few million dollars without going to the public trough for more taxes?

2. What can you do as an individual to help ?

3. We have had “Save the Lighthouse” fundraisers can it work for Lorain?

4. Can we put aside our personal / professional likes and dislikes and come together for our home and our neighbors?

Can we as a community “Embrace Lorain” and forgive her faults and give her a chance? Can YOU? WILL YOU ???

February 26, 2010 at 11:50 am 13 comments

Twelve Weeks- Life’s Labours Lost – Loraine

Life has gone on for most !
I read the papers local and international on line- I no longer get enraged at the idiocy of mankind, or celebrate their triumphs.

I no longer feel I want to comment or care. But when someone does cattle prod me enough to get an opinion it is a short burst of the way I was before and then “why bother? people do what the hell they want anyway “- the apathy of grief kicks in.

I looked in the mirror this morning and do not recognize the old woman I see….

the blue of my eyes surrounded by a puffy watery redness and lifeless- gone is the laughter, passion suffocated by death and wickedness.

My skin seems to have dehydrated and aged, the scars of the “mask” leaving their tell-tale story etched where my smile used to be.

For two weeks , when sitting in ICU I had to wear a mask. I wore one for at least 17 – 19 hours a day. The problem was I was allergic to the mask – I developed sores under my nose and around my mouth )……One of the last sights seen by Chris was a little fat lady going grayer by the minute with a kleenex protruding from beneath the mask.

Life goes on but it is not the same nor will it ever be again.

“I watched you suffer a dull aching pain, and now you have decided to show me the same”

and Wild Horses couldn’t drag me away ( Mum)

February 25, 2010 at 5:57 pm 4 comments

The Unfinished Portrait- In search of Chris (RITCHEY)

So much for the detour, now you know some of your options and I will go back to answering my questions of 2nd guessing

In search of my son- in search of me

Part One In search of my son- In search of me
Part Two Tourjours Moi-Always Me
Part Three Always Me – Always Chris
Part Four In search of My Son-
Chris Ritchey – Thanks

Part Five Dark Humour- Shedding a Light


Who are we? If you go to my “about that woman” page I claim to be a product of my experiences and culture.

That is true for most of us , if you believe that when we are born we are a blank canvas, waiting to be the human masterpiece we become eventually.

There are many factors that come into play with this masterpiece of life, the colours of life both vibrant and dull, the strength of the canvas, the love and talent of those that pick up the many brushes that are needed, their talent, love and sometimes inadequacy helping form the portrait that is you ! And finally the mastery of framing the finished product remembered and to be passed down through future generations .

As the world gazes at our life portrait, what do they come away with? Do the critics focus on the vibrancy of color, do they look for the flaws in your portrait -as it is a portrait painted by many hands. Do they see in your portrait a glimpse of who the artists were, their technique or lack thereof , the paints that had been passed through generations , the areas of lightness and darkness ?

I helped with the life portrait of my son, it is unfinished– the nuances and shadings , the corrections to be made as other artists gave of their love and talent, the gray shadings of sorrow, the primary colours of life that wait to be added and never will be now.

Every morning I go into the room that used to be my son’s. and wish I had the ability to finish what was started. I found a 3 foot by 3 foot canvas in the basement amongst all of Chris’ work the week after he died, I had no prior knowledge of its existence. It was an unfinished self-portrait. I hung the portrait in his old room. The portrait will never be finished , I can paint with tears and words (to some degree) but no miracles can finish this portrait.

As I gaze upon the unfinished portrait with the eye of a “biased” critic , I think of the artists before and their contributions- their strengths and weaknesses and I will showcase in my gallery of grief their talents and worth – my son so much more than a few words placed in a Saturday paper, now recycled or disgarded in some landfill. I cannot let that be the finishing. Who was this young man of the unfinished portrait , who were the artists of his life?

to be continued…………

February 24, 2010 at 12:03 am 3 comments

THIS “thatwoman” Blog

“Loraine, I wish you would get back to writing”

I HAVE been writing! It is the subject matter that has changed just as my life has changed.

Oh there are plenty of “drafts’ done here and there .

I could write reams about “High Speed Rail” in Europe the good but mostly the bad!

I could once again put men in tights” – and would they turn out to be the NON RUN kind???

I could follow-up on the post with the most hits Dachau

I could write about all the wonderful happenings locally with the Arts

I could debate art or sport when it comes to competitive dance or even ice skating.

The history as it continues (for most) in this old town of Lorain.

I could write about politics, the media, disgraceful housing stocks , wheeling and dealing, crime, war, famine, disasters and healthcare.

But I have tunnel writing at the moment because although to those parallel to my world these things are so important they have faded in the fog of sorrow that exists in my world.

I have tried even in my verbal diarrhea of despair to research and educate so that you still come away from this blog with a little more knowledge than just the intensity of pain we are feeling. The subject matter may rankle but as with all things I try to find the truth and bring it to you unsugarcoated……..

I will be writing about the arts, religion and other subject matter as seen in my parallel universe. The humour –probably dark – there is no laughter here but once in a while a giggle will hopefully get through

Is it true that all babies look like Winston Churchill?

February 21, 2010 at 12:21 pm 4 comments

Unless There is a Will- There is Another’s Way


Part One-Burial – Not Green The Embalming
Part Two – The Visitation-or what to decorate is the question
Part Three – A Tisket- A Tasket What type of casket?
Part Four -Going Green whilst daisy pushing

Part Five – Cremation- The Video
Part Six – Ashes to Ashes – The Video
Part Seven– The Ending – Internationally Speaking

Part Eight– Unless There is a Will- There is another’s way

I have discussed “some of the ways “ you can morph, here in Ohio and the USA. I have nagged and nagged at you all to please get your wishes in writing so that your loved ones “KNOW” what you would wish .

And whilst you are at it for those attending any funeral arrangements and who is agreeing to what where when and how…. GET THAT IN WRITING TOO!!!!!..

I never for one moment thought that someone ,who supposedly loved my son , would 8 days after agreement change her mind and be ( in my opinion) so cowardly, callous, vindictive and cruel to those that loved Christopher and gave him “life”.

It never entered into the realm of possibility or thought that someone who has chosen to be in the healing profession” would be the cause of such pain as to destroy emotionally and physically the people closest to the person she professed to loved? This family should have had the agreement made put in writing. I suppose people would have been shocked at that requirement but because we didn’t -well you all know what happened when trust was broken.

Sketch by Chris RITCHEY
(Note to those in the know – this post happens to be number 678 -appropriate, I think, as I am taking back my son )

If it can happen to us in the name of love, honor and christian values it can happen to you ….

The way mankind deals with its dead says a great deal about those left to carry on. Burial practices are windows to a culture that speak volumes about how it lives.

We , have written down our wishes, made out our wills, and taken care of business .Have YOU ?

YOU are all now my witnesses!! (Just incase I end up being the recipient of the same type of “holier than thou and I know best” thinking. )

1. NO to Embalming – and NO to Visitation – NO to a weepy Memorial Service

Those I love best shouldn’t be sad – I too, want a ceremony under the stars , a cleansing fire ( note I will leave the items to be burned in a box 🙂 , music ( something appropriate-like Chariots of Fire) and the smashing of glasses (only this time not Vodka and Cranberry Juice but Asti Spumante ) 🙂

2. NO ! to putrefying Cadillac Caskets
I don’t want to spend decades laying in my own mess.

3. NO! to burial of any kind, anywhere green or otherwise

4. Yes! to Cremation ( although I wouldn’t mind that big freeze ( if it hits these shores in time )-BUT DON’T BURY THE ASHES!!!!! I , AS I WOULD HAVE WISHED FOR MY SON – I WANT TO BE FREE, ONE WITH THE AIR, THE SKY THE STARS!

Take me from whence I pass to my neighborhood Funeral Home ( if I am still in Lorain) where I know they care. Do the paperwork and the cremation asap.

Then scatter some of me near Chris’s weeping Norwegian Pine, but take some of me back to those White Cliffs of Dover.( UNLESS they have been sold to the French)

Note: If any of my loved ones want a remembrance then I like the idea of being a diamond.

In search of my son – in search of me will continue……….

February 17, 2010 at 12:07 am 8 comments

Heart Cuddles – Moonbeams


The post today was going to be of a very different nature. Basically I was bemoaning the fact about heart artwork and my stats going nuts!

“WHEW!!! I am glad that this day has finally arrived and hopefully gone for another year. Last year I put up some “heart artwork” AND NO!!!!! I am not putting it up here again . Initially it was found on 5th page of google images BUT as more and more people accessed it- it moved up in the pages which meant more and more people everyday for the past 10 days have accessed it.

This blog has been inundated with hits, actually some stay and read other posts, but the thousands and I mean thousands upon thousands that access the year old article have only come for the pictures 🙂

Mark Teleha

BUT then I accessed Buster’s House and Lisa’s

and I realized that just maybe a picture is worth 10 thousand hits a day -if just a few make the Heart Work then Lisa’s commitment to help others with little moonbeams of their own will enable her little moonbeam to continue to bring light in the darkest of nights.

Please read the post found here

February 14, 2010 at 1:48 pm 2 comments

CRA (p) Quotes of the Day!!!

UPDATE SATURDAY ( The Chronicle has a quote too 🙂

Some residents who lost their abatements as part of the settlement were irritated Friday as they showed up at City Hall to sign paperwork so they could get the refund.

Jim Gocek who lives in Morningside, a 55-and-older community on the city’s west side, called the form “blackmail.”

Gocek, 68, said the whole process has created an atmosphere of mistrust between residents who built or bought in a CRA and the city.

“We’re all very mistrustful of Council and the city,” he said. “We want it done and over with … We’re not going to sue the city, but it’s hurt the trust. It has led to feelings of mistrust and irritation

Caught in the middle!!!!

Remember this quote from the Morning Journal article ( emphasis mine)?

“If someone has a lawyer, they should discuss this matter with their lawyer before coming in if they’re represented, but we’re there to try and answer questions and inform people,” Smith said.

Armed with our “questions” and my trusty tape recorder, my daughter and I turned up at City Hall at 9:30 for the 10 am. meeting .

We were moved from the Police Training room into Council Chambers.



Now WHY would that be I wonder?



Would that be 9 o”clock tonight?

I asked :

Do you want a copy of our questions ?

NO! we don’t

Therefore I went to the 7th floor and handed the questions to the Law Dept . -since I was assured by the MJ report that they were there to answer questions and inform .

So although we were first because we had our list of questions ( more than the required 2??? Linda Keys ( Deputy Auditor for the County) and Howard Goldberg ( Community Development and the City) took a little lady who wanted to “APPLY” for the CRA on her 2009 Build. She started signing the paperwork and then there was a YES ? NO? discussion between the City and the County – Goldberg and Keys left the room to Council Caucus Room.

After 20 minutes of waiting and the Council Chamber filling up with homeowners ( where is the media when you want them ???) I personally got fed up with the fiasco went into the pine sol soaked hallway and called the author of the City of Lorain’s letter Mr. Robert Gilchrist and left a message that this was a fiasco!

Mr. Gilchrist came down to the chambers almost immediately and off he went into the Caucas room.

After some explanation it turns out that we were back on a first come first served basis , and that clarification was needed from attorneys for this lady.

( Note) There were three copies of the Judgement available ( put quietly on a table – no explanation as to what they were) with the supporting documentation which actually made this document 4 times the size of the one downloaded off the City of Lorain website. Why is this important?

If you sign the the Consent Form you declare that you have reviewed this document. A straw poll of those in attendance when asked if they had read this epistle of legalese NOT ONE HAD! But they were already to sign that form ……..Amazing !!!!! Didn’t this fiasco start with council members not reading???

Since it was now first come first served -we had our turn at the table gave the City and the County our list of questions.



Basically , if you are like my daughter a new build , you will have to sign the settlement consent form because to quote:

“If you are going to stand on ceremony of not signing that consent form and giving us the W9 unless these are signed and these aren’t signed and it is February 20th you have just taken a big roll of dice “

Apparently the abatement will be null and void and the Auditor can and has the power to also make you pay back taxes that would be due.

Either sign by February 18th /19th not to sue and sign off on any redress ( no matter what happens- remember these people have already been caught up in legal maneuverings. ) or you lose. Over the proverbial barrel

There was much more but the smell of Pine sol overdose permeating the air from the the hallways , the fact that the goobledegook gave us a headache , it was nearly lunchtime and a baby needed feeding and feeling sorry for the rest of the homeowners who were waiting – we left to return another day ( maybe then things will be clearer between the City and County and they will be on the same page, because as we left another trip to the Caucas room was happening.

February 12, 2010 at 7:52 pm 8 comments

Into the CRA(P) Again Questions or Will Pigs Fly?

Let us see if pigs will fly 🙂

Questions regarding CRA Consent Judgment and Order. Please respond fully and in writing by Tuesday February 16, 2010 .

We have a contract with the City of Lorain dated June 4th 2007, Community Reinvestment Area Agreement for Residential Property Ohio Revised Code 3735. We are also documented as being a “new build as per county records June 2009.

1. How would signing the Consent to Terms of Consent order effect my contract with the City of Lorain ? Would signing this require a new contract? Would accepting make our previous contract with the City of Lorain null and void?

2. If we do not consent will the City make null and void our abatement (as contracted) by February 26th 2010. Would that not violate our existing contractual agreement?

3. Why do I have to agree to consent to receive my fees back, why is this tied into this order? Item 6 Page 12 of the Consent order states:
“The City will not collect fees from, and will reimburse previously collected fees to Consenting Homeowners”. Should we decline to sign how does that effect the reimbursement of our fees?

4. What happens if only a minority of homeowners as described in the Consent Judgment and Order sign the consent? Is there a minimum number required by the court?

5. Why is the Consent Judgment and Order tied to the passage of New Legislation in CRA 3 and 4?

6. What assurances do I have (remember I already have a contract that isn’t being honored) that I will receive my abatement ? I believe that I already have consented to receive an abatement as a new build; why do I have to effectively sign away any rights I have for redress if the City and County renege again?

7. Should City Council not pass the “New Legislation” how would that impact the Consent Order and Judgment ?

8. Should we be unable to meet with our personal attorney for advice on this by February 19th what happens?

9. The Form of Homeowner Consent to Terms of Consent Order states, The Property Owners acknowledge that they have been given the opportunity to review the terms of this Consent and the terms of the Consent Order with an attorney and have either reviewed this Consent and the Consent Order with an attorney, or have declined to do so.
Have you any idea how much an attorney will charge for the review and will the City, County etc. pay for this review of 18 pages of legalese?

This debacle has already cost the property owners who entered into a contract with the city in good faith. Will the City assist with our legal fees as per the settlement with the county attorney, will the City and or County help defray our costs by reimbursing legal fees incurred through this Consent Form or by supplying an attorney ?

10. If we do not sign the Consent Form are we liable to pay back our 2009 taxes?

11. If we agree to sign, when does the abatement start- are we liable for the current tax bill due February 26th ?

12. Please explain the term “Generally” those homeowners who purchased a home built between April 18th 2006 and December 31st 2008 can expect to receive the 15 year – 100% exemption on their home. WHO will not receive this abatement as per the word “Generally”?

13. Since we were never given a copy of the Consent Judgment and Order, nor a phone call back as to receive a copy, we had to access, download from the City of Lorain website, and print ourselves a copy. None of the attachments were available. Therefore, we were unable to review the complete Consent Judgment and Order. Where can the Exhibits be found as to being referred to in the Consent Judgment and Order?

February 12, 2010 at 11:34 am 1 comment


TAKING A BIT OF A BREAK FROM GRIEF AND TO THOSE THAT GIVE GRIEF – The CRA (p) is back to haunt the property owners.

We have been informed of meetings
and settlement and homeowners are invited ( click on CRA Letter ) pdf file
CRA letter

and just so you don’t have to go searching hither and yon for the
Settlement Agreement buried in the forms section of the City of Lorain website here you go


Cha ching!! you homeowners you –

Questions for the city and county will be submitted in writing , answers will be expected in writing …..Hands up those that think I will get those answers in writing ?

Well maybe I am being too cynical – we will see 🙂

February 11, 2010 at 9:02 pm Leave a comment

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February 2010