Tuesday, December 1, 2015


November 30thLast day of November, first day of the new pay-period.  It’s been an eclectic & smorgasbord kind-of-day.  I had the hardest time falling asleep and then slept until the alarm went off; I’ve eaten a random collection of food although I have been satisfied with almost all of it; I locked myself out of the apartment but discovered how to buzz myself into the lobby with my cell phone (I now owe the office a $5 lock-out fee) – and on & on.  Erich will be over tomorrow instead of tonight to look at my network settings – which is wonderful since I am a very tired old woman right now and want to do nothing more adventurous than put my feet up & watch television.  I have to be at work earlier tomorrow (9am) so I will need to get to sleep very early tonight.  I did get a phone call from the management – there have been bedbugs reported in an adjacent apartment so they’re spraying my apartment tomorrow – I thought I saw a bedbug on me the other night but had brushed it off as my imagination.

I’m not sure I actually ate 2,342-calories but I’m just going to leave it be.  November was an odd month of transition but the best part of it – fitness-wise anyway is that I now weigh 152½ lbs. – the lowest I have weighed in at least a quarter-of-a-century.  I have a new apartment – the first under my own name and completely mine to decorate the way I choose.  I received a 4% raise at work and I was part of the Black-Friday Team that made their SPIFF goal meaning we get a 2½% bump in our compensation for the week’s sales.  I am looking forward to the last month of the year – 2015 was an amazing year for so many reasons and I’m going to need every one of the next thirty days to list them all.  It has been wonderful to see how much good has entered each one of our lives – Lord knows we all deserved a good year this time around.  Everyone has worked hard to make the best of the last half-dozen years and all of our hard work, coupled with an immense amount of Diving Grace has made all the difference. 

Friday, September 11, 2015

The End of One Era... The Beginning of the Next

Dearest Friends & Family

It’s been a little under 36-hours since I left the courtroom after learning the outcome of this long home foreclosure process.  In a nutshell I have been given 60-days (November 10th) to vacate this property and find a new place to live.  The judge kindly extended the time normally given in such matters by a full month so that I might be able to make my arrangements. The normal duration between the closing of a foreclosure case and the time when the property must be turned over is actually 30-days.  Despite this kindness however there is much I need to do & that’s where I need your assistance.

First off I ask for your prayers that I may use the time remaining wisely and that as I steady my emotions and think clearly about what my very next steps will be I will not give myself over to feelings of failure & grief.  For most of you this is the only Ruszczak home you have ever known and I am keenly aware that there are more than just my memories wrapped into the mortar and wood.  In truth I have lived here longer than I have any other location during my entire life.  I know every crack & stain – and the house echoes with the whispers of a million memories.

Second I need help in planning and executing a series of open-house & garage sales so that I may be able to raise the money I need to actually move somewhere else.  Although I have been working at OfficeMax since April it is only part-time and now my hours have been cut as the Back-to-School season is over and the Christmas season has not yet begun to ramp-up.  I make just enough money right now to make my bills, take care of my animals, and buy my RTA pass to get myself back-and-forth from work. Please understand I am not complaining – I have been incredibly blessed by this job and being able to take care of myself without my family having to donate to my support has been life-changing.  I love the job – the people, the work, the customer interaction – and although I never intended retail to be the career I chose after graduating from college  (and the possibility of my going to Grad School is still very much on the table) I have thoroughly enjoyed my sojourn back to the world of retail.

I am also aware that right now I don’t make enough to afford most apartments – and that fact scares me.  On top of that I am more aware than ever that I need a car since I cannot guarantee that I will be able to move to a location that still leaves me the ability to get to-and-fro without one.  I want to stay in Signal Hill – this neighborhood has been my home for a quarter-of-a-century.  In addition I must now make arrangements to re-home my four cats, Kazé & Frankie in case I cannot find an apartment that will let me keep them (and many places won’t).
Lastly I want many of you to have certain items from this house as a token of my love for you and my gratitude for all of your affections & support (especially these last 4-years) that sustained my heart & soul through some very dark times.  I cannot fathom my life without all of you in it & am not ready to say good-bye to any of you.  But my future is really up-in-the-air at this point.

Almost everything I own is up-for-sale at this point – I want to move with the least amount of possessions I can manage.  I also want to raise as much money as I can in order to give myself the cushion I feel I need to weather the changing number of hours that retail work is known for and doesn’t leave me at the mercy of capricious reality.  I barely know where to start – it really feels like everything needs to get done all-at-once.  Any suggestions, assistance, and support you give me at this time will be deeply appreciated. 

I cannot help but feel that I am at one of life’s great tipping points and if I don’t do “this” right, I may never recover.  Although I knew this happening was inevitable given the financial requirements of keeping this property & continuing to maintain its many aging mechanicals I have yet to fully appreciate the details of my future.  I do ask one more thing of you – if you hear of an apartment somewhere close to this neighborhood I would deeply appreciate you letting me know.      

Thank You.

Friday, August 28, 2015


Silk Skeins Woven by Moonlight; anchor the Queen to her throne.
Like the tendrils of our entanglements that trail off in the mist;
Strung somewhere between yesterday and forever…
She steps lithely from filament to juncture, unwilling
To disrupt her carefully aligned patterns.
Afraid perhaps that her footsteps may entangle her within
The transparent panes that harbor her;
Caging her forever as prey to another’s predation.
So too do we alight cautiously onto our reminiscences in retrospect,
Shielding them from the harsh glare of hindsight.
Unwilling to alter neither what is prized, nor reviled.
Frightened that like the spinster we may become
Victims of our own devices.
Reliving our pathos with the same determination
She imparts to her ethos as she repeatedly circumnavigates
The boundaries of her universe.
Cloud’s breath sways the branches that brace her foundation, and
Soundlessly she retreats to silk’s-center.
Stretching herself forth, she hesitates, prepared
To meet either foe or feast, not knowing which has entered her lair.
And we, our neurons set ablaze, in adrenaline enhanced vigil
Retreat within to await our next offering,
Served up in discourse and encounter, when next we creep
To the edges of Today, to peer upon eventuality.
Unlike the weaver, content to live her life in repetition,
We are not gifted such simple recourse, we
Strain fevered to escape our blueprint, unaware
That to recoil from that which defines us…
Propels us unto oblivion.
©Gabi Ruszczak 4/30/03
Silently soaring, awash in Star-spray and Moonbeams;
Gliding upon the whispered wishes of mortals;
Androgynously perfect, these avatars of magic find
The humble Terran plane below, now tiny and un-encumbering.
Alas I am earthbound, and to mine eye the terrain infinite.
“Insurmountable”, I despair, and become truant in my sojourn.
Joined to infinity, they summon forth acumen un-bounding;
To navigate the existential, gathering all experience,
Like polished pebbles freshly worn from a celestial spring.
Discarding with abandon the unworthy happenings of life.
So too I survey the tracts of my life,
But am unable to slough away the layers of scar tissue
Scaling senses, speech and core. Pierced with dread
That this shroud shall constrict all future nourishment.
My ability withered; unable to move…
I shall expire; gorging on a rancid diet of
Yesterday’s Indulgences and Overwhelming calamities.
I bid them come, those winged masters of Arcana, to
Convey upon me their favor,
Engulf my form in sweet glitter, so that
I too may bathe at the spring of heaven,
Take flight beyond my memory, feckless
Ascend beyond horizon’s ribbon, to Cavort among the faerie folk.
Reborn each morn, as they are; to wondrous Expectancy.
To savor life’s fruit, unafraid of its poisons.
Cast off the chrysalis of timidity, and like the sprites
Manifest myself as magical; wondrous…
Embrace my life, and relish its marrow, as
Their mission done, they take flight into the brightening skies of dawn.
©Gabi Ruszczak 4/30/03
Sugar cascades into boiling elixir, forming Sticky Sweetness.
Plummets as Ivory filament to the Stainless Steel altar below; where
Expert hands carve rivulets upon its landscape.
Irrigated with Scarlet syrup, anointed with exotic oil;
Stripes form and harden. Portioned and collected;
They await delivery to the Congregation of the decadent.
As we stream from heaven’s gate, and
Become engulfed in Life’s ocean,
We are crystallized. Fed to the ascetic. And,
Properly deceived into adhering to the world’s paradigm.
Stripped of our passions, we become little more than toy soldiers.
Their arrival foretells impending celebration; is met with glee by
The still un-awakened hedonists.
Languished for and savored upon by throngs of hungry devotees.
Parasol-handled seduction follows…
By contrast, the eroticism of our awakenings is repressed.
In defiance, arousal becomes crusade, rebellion its avatar.
Ever quickening desire leaves us panting, yet famished.
Unchecked, a narcissistic pathology awakens.
We commit any atrocity to reach our deliverance. 
Casting our victims in the gulley of our conscience.
How innocent their fulfillment, how malicious our Quest!
They exist to be subsumed by their hosts,
Never sentient to their purpose as mere vessels of content;
Held in natural esteem…sought after…
Reveling in their identifiable associations.
Abandoned by the propriety we covet, consigned to
An ignominious subsistence, we devour them in the hope
However licentiously larcenous; that we shall gain what they possess.
©Gabi Ruszczak 5/01/03
…and WINE
Bacchian nectar flows freely from Vesuvian fields, and
Scattered vineries.  Caresses with soporific swiftness.
Smites with addictions that enslave.    
Intoxication delivered in hues from primrose to carmine. The
Aristocratically sanguine embodiment of unbridled desire.
I have fallen prey to its lure, and that of its distilled brethren.
Liquid carnal lust infuses me with rapturous delight;
Sweeping aside both doldrums and misery. Without it,
I am barren. Unable to coexist with humanity alone,
It has become both companion and lover.
Submerging hatred, extinguishing agony.
Cultivated for millennia; dispensed freely, measured in gold; its
Perfection sought after by generations of Vignerons.
In lucid times, I plead to be released from its vise-like grip;
When melancholy, it returns as Primal Substitution for all injury,
And solvent for its pharmaceutical surrogates.
Gentle landscapes of its progenitor awash in purple and green,
Sway peacefully, keep time to breezes, and
Belie the insipid arrogance of its birth.
I remain, as well, covert in my affliction. Hiding from all
The veracity of my dependence. Its ugly head
Rising only when I am in solitude.
It will require more than 12 steps to avenge me.
I shall punish all who drove me to this nadir. As
Rage supercedes complacence.
I shall crush the vintagers of my desolation.
As seasons cast their pall upon their arbors, only to find
Boughs unbroken next harvest; ripe with fruit, so too
My tormentors will find me murderously resilient.

©Gabi Ruszczak 5/02/03

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

July 1st 2015… Today is my 25th Anniversary of moving to Rockford.  I approach this milestone with a mixture of deep gratitude, unending joy and deepest sadness. On the 23rd of this month my home will be put up for sale as part of its foreclosure process.  This is the home I raised my children in and that has been the locus of thousands of memories.  On the other hand it is also showing definite signs of age and wear and maintaining it all by myself is daunting to say the least.  Twenty-five years ago I could have never predicted where my life would be today.  I had always assumed I would be permanently moored to the Chicago area.  But Rockford has become my home physically, emotionally, and psychically.  I love this city despite its flaws.  The vast majority of people in my life today would not be had I not landed here a quarter-century ago.  As I have journeyed through the last decade those connections have become all the more important as little-by-little my life untangled itself from its Chicago roots.
In just a couple of weeks my first grandson will be born – the first Ruszczak born in Rockford.  I look upon this event as a brand new chapter in the Ruszczak-family-saga.  And here too I am reminded that the woman that took my oldest son’s breath away would have probably never met any of us had we stayed in Park Ridge.  Truly this city has given us life.  Looking out my back window onto a seriously overgrown garden I am ruminative about how things would be different had Erhard not died almost four years ago.  My leaving this house would not have been part of the landscape.  But then again losing Erhard changed everything about me.  I am quieter, more resilient, more introspective than at any other time in my life and I have learned to like and love the woman I continue to get to know.  I have been schooled by fate into a deep gratitude for all the people that have ever touched my life and continue to play huge parts in its unfolding.  I cannot fathom what I would do without all of you – I don’t want to try.
In the next few weeks I will have more to say and share – there will be open-house-days and garage sales as I attempt to purge all but the most cherished of possessions so moving won’t be so onerous.  I am trying to figure out how to save the money for a Security Deposit on a new place, what I will do to re-home my beloved pets in the event that my new location won’t accept them.  My mind flat-lines sometimes just trying to grasp everything and were it not for the local community I have grown into I would lose my mind I think.  But I am not ready to throw in the towel just yet – there are more adventures to be had here – I just don’t know what they are right now.  But I do know that all of you will be ever in my heart no matter where I might land in the future.  As it is written in Ecclesiastes “there is a time and purpose for everything under heaven” and my job now is to uncover mine in the next weeks.       

Saturday, May 30, 2015

the ebb and flow of life...

Life is never as static or as simple as fixed numbers depict & the amount of work needed to make life good should be honored and voiced.  I am ready to admit my imperfection as well as cheer my bravery and tenacity.  While I am using the last of my reserve money to ransom Steve’s ashes I am ready to have him home and feel it is the right & good thing to do.  I rely on my faith – in God first and foremost, and in those I love next to guide me and support me as I walk my way through this new beginning.  Reaching out to people I have never met through the GoFundMe campaign is just one more step of faith and hope.  I hear the clock ticking in my head, feel the time needed to rescue my home slipping away in every fiber of my being – and yet I must release my future to serendipity.

On June 13th a local senator is hosting a Homeowner Mortgage Resource Fair here in Rockford.  I want to attend to once-and-for-all see what I might be able to accomplish.  But in truth I am starting at zero monetary reserve – although for the moment I am self-sufficient (not counting housing costs or any funds devoted to ever managing the acquisition of a vehicle).  I am doing my best and allowing the larger universe of love & luck to carry me forward.  Pray for me… share my campaign… and contribute if you can and my journey resonates with you.  I will continue to post here and on my blogs.  I know I am not alone – there are many more hidden stories like mine & I hope to somehow reach them and give them voice as I go.


Friday, May 8, 2015

Another Update to my GoFundMe campaign - 5/8/2015

I slept in until 9am this morning, the latest I've gotten up in a very long time.  Got dressed and took Kazé for an extended morning constitutional – and even picked-up his poop.  I did a lot of thinking during the walk – especially as I passed properties that are being fixed-up.  I don’t know what I should do – save the money it would take to fix this place up, knowing I will leave it in a couple of months, or try like crazy to keep this house and them put in some money and sweat equity to fix some of its problems.  This house means the world to me – there’s no denying that if I had a choice I would stay here.  I have lived in this house longer than at any other address and every nook & cranny is filled with memory.  I watched my boys grow into men here, nurtured an entire cadre of rented kinds within these walls.  This house is home for me – Erhard and I began our new life here in Rockford at a different address, but considered this house our true Rockford home.  Now the thought of leaving it behind because I've lost it to the bank is heartbreaking.  Every time I think I’m over it – and ready to move on something pulls me back here.  It feels like another death of family event.
On top of that I have been informed by Muzyka Funeral Home that my beloved brother (Steve’s) cremains are finally back (he donated his body to medical research following his death from the autoimmune syndrome know as Wegener’s Granulomatous).  I have waited 2½ years for him to return and now I can’t ransom his ashes because I don’t have the $225.00 required to close-out my account with the funeral home.  I don’t blame them – they handled all the arrangements and transport beautifully and deserve to get paid – I just don’t have the money.  I want him home.  I have my mother’s and Erhard’s ashes and have always imagined interring them all together.  But I cannot conjure money out of thin air and although I am taking on as many hours at work as I can get I am just beginning to break even and being able to support myself somewhat.

I pray every day that my story makes it out there and that serendipity is generous.  I want to turn back the clock to a time when I was the “fairygodmama” to others – helping them in their time of need or want.  I know that once I can I will do it again.  But right now I am the one in need and this is the only forum I know of that might prove my solution.