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Saturday, April 30, 2011

Never Forget the Old Ones

Many things... uplifting, unusual, unexpected things have happened in my life. Only recently I've discovered that my life hasn't been like other people's. Some of that is surely chance. Some has been because of my family, work or friendships. There've also been things behind which I never quite see a hand, but know it's there.

Such a thing is in my life now. A new ship, voyage, quest, whatever metaphor pleases. It's funny, though, that often when things look like a dead end, they aren't. They're resting places. At some point there comes an opening, a new path. It probably isn't what is expected and may be hard to recognize. Turn from it or let the herd sway you away, you lose it forever. Don't heed what the ordinary advise. They fear, mock and put down what they don't already know. Pity their small sightedness but don't stay amongst them. Bless them, wish them well, and jump on. Listening to them seriously is a virus that you'll never be rid of. It causes doubts and creates fears that you don't naturally own. It's taken me years to sort that out.

At some point I'll accept for once and all that those who piss on my parade are simply never to be trusted. They have their path, I have mine. And to truly rise above and circumvent it all can mean alienating those you love most. Love has as many entangling tentacles as Cthulhu.

Still, there is something of a redeeming force in life. I've taken too many leaps of faith and landed intact to not believe it. And I've seen too much to think I've seen it all. There is, always, hope in the unknown.

The Playboy in the Bathroom

After my older brothers came home from the Army, there was often a Playboy in our bathroom. It was there in a stack with the NY Times Sunday magazine, National Geographic and others. Women were far out-numbered in our family. It wasn't weird to me, I didn't think about it, nobody mentioned its presence; it was just there.

Then in the Spring of 4th grade my pal Allen brought a Playboy to school and got caught. He'd been showing us the pages-long Little Annie Fanny cartoon when Miss Clarke snagged it with disgust. But the die was cast. I'd found cartoons I loved almost as much as Disney. Playboy's cartoonists were damned good. Rich in illustration and fabulous color. It was the late 60s. There was no arbiter of taste nor even a Women's Lib movement yet. It was all stereotypical sexist BS but that was above the radar of a 10 year-old girl. It was the beauty of the drawing that I loved. When a new Playboy appeared in the bathroom stack, I went for the comics.

From Playboy's Erich Sokol, Harvey Kurtzman and Will Elder I graduated to R. Crumb and became a lifelong fan of outrageous cartooning. It's a talent I admire because I'm completely incapable of doing it. Here is a blog post from Animation Archives featuring Little Annie Fanny- not for kids!!!- in all its glory:

Friday, April 29, 2011

We Don't Have a Monarchy, or Do We?

Everywhere you look in media this month, there's something about the wedding of William and Kate. It's ubiquitous. How Americans could get besotted by royalty after the treatment we've had from them is anyone's guess. Half of us came here to get away from them. I guess now that we're at a safe distance it's okay to watch them on the TV. It all seems more created by the media than a real interest of the people.

If you were to believe the US news spokesmodels, every single household here is celebrating with the British Royal Family. That's not true. There are plenty of us who don't care at all and have more important matters at hand. There are some who hate all royalty. Most households in the US live under a far crueler feudalism and oftentimes root for their masters. Of course I'm talking about the rich corporations who run and corrupt our country. They are our kings and there's nothing to keep them in check. Their only allegiance is to their money. If anything, they're much less useful than a Royal Family; they don't do funny human things we can point at and laugh, they do antisocial things that harm the public. Look at Donald Trump, a corrupt bazillionaire with no morals and no reason to be lauded much less listened to. Yet people take him seriously just because he's rich.

I've got nothing against William and Kate. William was born to his fate as I was born to mine. At least we'll never see him with a smug sneer and horrible combover pretending to intelligence. I hope.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Scylla and Charibdis

Ever since reading the classics in high school, periods of my life and situations ring home from them. The last couple of days I have been between Scylla and Charibdis. But my monsters are shaped like humans needing attention. It seems no matter what and no matter how I try to listen, stay supportive and help, I'm screwed. Meanwhile, things I want to do and even taking care of myself are falling to the wayside which is making me bitchy. Not to mention that sleeping has become a luxury. And when sleep goes, there go all the dominoes.

"Hey!" I want to yell, "I've been thru 3 months of shitstorms; I can't deal with any more! Give me a break!" Which isn't an option because when people need help they need it in the moment, not next week. You're either able or not and I'm just asshole enough to always volunteer, regardless of my ability. Because in the back of my head are the voices of guilt, those who I wasn't there for in their moment of need, and for whose demises I hold myself partly responsible. And I don't need more voices in that chorus.

On the other hand are all the sane thoughts- I can't help anyone unless I'm okay first; if I don't take care of myself I'll be really screwed; stop trying to please and help everyone; if they can't deal with me needing time without pressure, fuck them. Which are all reasonable truths. However, when the crazy train comes to town reasonable things don't count. Every encounter with a crazy person wears reason down and leaves you feeling less sure that hopes exist. And that route of thinking leads nowhere good. While the monsters still scream for attention.

What the fuck ever happened that these people in my life are losing it? How come they've lost it and lots of others who are in way worse situations are managing? Should I just tell them to fuck off & deal? Or to get their heads outta their own asses and take a look at others? Is that abusive? Or is that the slap of reality they need? I don't like being in this position. I never know if I choose the right way to go. And like Odysseus I think either way I'm gonna lose people. At least he could see which was the whirlpool that would kill everyone. I can't see the difference.

Mixed Bags

Once more, I was up late and slept in. It's 9:20 my time, and I've just had the first cup of coffee and read some news. This is not the way to get things done and I gotta get back on schedule, but hell if you don't shake it up now and then life gets tedious.

The news is, as always, a mixed bag. Nearly 200 people died ( ed. note: the death toll as of 4/29 is around 300 now) in the tornadoes that tore thru the south. In Tuscaloosa- a major city- lights, signs and debris were blown everywhere and the streets became impassable. From an AP story: "At Stephanie's Flowers, owner Bronson Englebert used the headlights from two delivery vans to see what valuables he could remove. The storm blew out the front of his store, pulled down the ceiling and shattered the windows, leaving only the curtains flapping in the breeze... A group of students stopped to help Englebert, carrying out items like computers and printers and putting them in his van." It will forever hearten me to see people helping people in terrible times. We have a great example of that here in my hometown following the recent fire. Puts me back in mind that people really are good at heart, given the chance to be.

It's pouring rain today, warm and soupy. Not friendly to arthritic gimps. I'd no idea that such a different building would affect my body. While a ground-floor solid brick and concrete structure is cooler and easier to access, it's also quite damp in this weather. I've been way more active since living here; I've been using different furniture, too. Everything is an adjustment. This is a process of getting used to a new life. My allergies aren't so bad and my plants are thriving so I can't bitch. I keep telling myself, "Pain is pain; relax and get used to it." Which works most of the time. Days like this are a challenge.

Good grief it's after 10 now and I've spent much of the time here staring out the window at the light yellow-green buds on the dark trees. The weeping willow alone is an Impressionist masterpiece, if you like that sort of thing. It's peaceful here most of the time... and may soon be even more peaceful. More about that as it develops.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Unending Birthday

Birthday part 6 continues today. I consider my birthday having started last Friday when Strider got here. Every day has been a birthday since and it has become a birthday week. If this keeps up I'll be in the hospital by the weekend. I'm not complaining. I could use the rest.

So far, my solar return gifts include a massive collection of music and recorded poetry (Strider spent days burning dozens of CDs on an uncooperative laptop for me), incenses and a new tray, new horse flags for my walker, a can (!- unknown here) of NAS tobacco, lots of Lindt chocolate (Strider); new Milano cookies (Alchemaya); an alien in a jar, a perfect handmade necklace, chocolate-covered strawberries (Snootch and Greenbriar); a huge bouquet of roses, lilies (yikes!) and wildflowers (Armando); 3 fab concert DVDs custom made for me that I haven't even gotten to watch because of the ongoing festivities and attendant late nights (Jim); and an assortment of cards both bought and handmade.

And there's no end in sight as framily members get time to run over here and spread love. It's been among the happiest birthdays and certainly the best in a decade or so. No high dramas, lots of laughter, good people having fun. All things that are the priceless presents in life. The only thing we really have is time and this week I appreciate all the time people are spending on me. That's what this unending birthday is about. I'm a happy camper. A tired happy camper. ;)

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Universal Healthcare in Vermont

"We're from Vermont," said Sen. Anthony Pollina, a Progressive from Washington County. "We're in one of the smartest states in the country, and we're in one of the healthiest states in the country, and we can figure this out."

Universal Healthcare has been bandied about for years up here. This week, with a lot of noise and hullabaloo, it came to a head. The State Senate has voted their okays now, and though I'm skratting around online I haven't yet seen what the final terms were. There were some amendments added and defeated but according to the Burlington Free Press article,

"The Senate approved a health care reform bill, 29-9, in a final vote this afternoon. Earlier today the Senate debated 10 amendments, though all that would have made significant changes were defeated.
"The bill received preliminary approval Monday night by a vote of 21-8. The legislation, a priority for Gov. Peter Shumlin, already passed the House."

So a five-member board will examine and determine the details of what and how this will happen. And Vermont, once again, leads the country. Damn, we're good.

A Brief Vacation

The last 4 days have been really refreshing. Funny how when you have company, people generally behave themselves. No long meandering phone calls or messages, no huge dramas or crazy displays; whatever they have going on, when there's a witness they don't vomit it on you. At least, not so much.

Which makes me think, "If they can pull that off for however long I have company, why do it at all?" and, "So it's only because I'm alone a lot that they feel free to waste my time and energy." and, "They know the difference in their behavior, so it's not a clear sitch of insanity here; there's a choice involved." In my experience really crazy people are crazy 24/7. They can't curb it, won't curb it, it just is their existence. No matter what is going on with you (and usually that's a low priority to them) they go right along being nutty. Not so in all cases. Add a third party, someone they may not know well or is particularly close to you and the tune changes. And it makes me wonder...

I had a great time with Strider. Conversations that only happen with her- the real deals of life, the observations and insights we share with each other- are meaningful. We walk our wits with each other. I never have to be on my best behavior or even remotely intelligent around her. I can babble, make noises, laugh to myself, even be silent and it's all comfortable. That's family. Who knew that 15 years later, it still would be just as rocking as when we first lived in the Snake Pit and got to know each other?

And the added perk is her wonderdog, The Old Man. Throughout life there are some dogs that are beyond normal doghood. He is one of them. Dog people get at least one wonderdog in life and he is hers. The gentlest, mellowest, sweetest guy ever. He inspires love.

They've only been gone a half-hour and I miss them terribly already.

Ah well, back to regular life. I'll be back later to recap the birthday bonanza, featuring friends, presents from friends and an incomplete mission that I'll have to finish solo tonight. Life is good, a lot of the time, if you look at things a certain way.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Weather or Not

It snowed today for hours. Some crows and a few robins stayed out in it, and it covered things for a while. But the temp rose just enough to melt everything and tomorrow's supposed to be really warm. And rainy.

We're taking a road trip tomorrow, a tour of places we've lived up here. Strider's an intrepid driver. It'll be good to get outta here for a day. I'm having a great time, will miss the hell outta her when she goes home.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Time Out

This is my birthday weekend. Strider is here and I'm taking a break from life. Here and there I may zoom in for a bit but until Tuesday night I'm gonna be busy with my daughter. We get to hang way too rarely.

Yellowbellied Fearmongerers

For the last couple of weeks I've caught little broadcast news. CNN pissed me off and I have yet to get around to bitching at Comcast (channels above 16 freeze up every few seconds and it's too annoying to watch). So I've caught most news online, but this morning I caught some TV news and noticed one shameful thing: it's all about causing fear.

This isn't new- it's been going on for years, especially since George the 2nd's reign of terror. It's just that when you pull back you see it very clearly. I hate fearmongering. In fact, I hate all broadcast news for the pile of cat shit it's become. Every friggin story is hyped up and designed to get an emotional response. I hope these "reporters" don't call themselves journalists because they aren't. They're shills for their networks and spokesmodels selling fear. That's not journalism.

Sensationalized news used to be called Tabloid Fodder or Yellow Journalism. It was put in its place and everyone understood that you didn't take it seriously. Nowadays it's all there is, and few remember the difference. That's sad and sickening.

Develop an ear for this shit programming; you'll be surprised to see how much of a pandemic it's become. How many stories are reported with a question for a lead line? And when they do get to the story, after hyping it for 40 minutes, is it as scary as the original teaser implied? No. It's much ado about commercial sales. They're desperate for your attention, that's all. They're P.T. Barnums counting on you being a sucker and then working you over. Don't fall for it.

Back to add this. The more things change, the more they stay the same:

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Greg's Angel

Every few weeks I get this attack of Greg Lake mania. For several days I search for Gregness I haven't seen before. I just spent 2 hours of my life reading and looking at 37 pages of pix and commentary about him on a Beatles forum. My eyes are burned out, I've forgotten what I was going to do tonight and I'm fried. I think at this point I've seen almost every photo ever taken of him, know every outfit he wore and which concert in what year he wore it. I know his guitars and basses on sight. I'm running out of Gregness.

There is only one thing to do.

Greg designed and had made a pendant of an angel. It was beautiful. It was stolen. It's been missing for about 36 years. It must be out there somewhere. Someone knows where it is. And I'm going to vent my Greg mania by doing something useful- finding it. My life is very strange, and this is just the sort of thing that by some bizarro chance of fate I think I can do. And when I find it, I want to hand it to him personally.

So this is my Quixote quest. Perhaps it will calm the searching itch to have a different focus, perhaps not. But it's much more productive than spending hours staring at the screen and seeing all the things I've already seen so many times. Besides, I think it would be nice to pay back to him some of the happiness he's given me for so many, many years. There, I've thrown the gauntlet at myself in public. That's how these weirdo things that happen to me always start. Wish me luck.

Progress & Goodness

This is a good day; I'm taking breaks between doing things and it's all gettting done. Strider will get here tomorrow! YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY! And Babalu bought treats for me! The rose bushes are putting out their first leaves even though it's cold and way windy. Life is damned fine some days. This is one. I'll sleep well again tonight.

Things are coming together for all the fire victims. So many people are stepping up to help that it'll be light work. The building itself, though gutted and spoiled, will be rebuilt. Our radio station will rise again. From the ashes we will build another day. So mote it be.

But it's damn cold!!!!

Stubbornness, Stupidity and Happiness

Today is painy and as usual it's nobody's fault but mine. I get a wild hair and go, and then want things done and keep going, and hurt myself. It's stubbornness and stupidity. which I seem to have in abundance. Being stubborn can serve one well (and has served me well many times). You can get things accomplished through sheer will. But there's a blind side to it, which is stupidity. Which is when you hurt yourself.

The stupidity part comes in when you know you're going too far in whatever way- too much exertion, too little sleep, pushing yourself to do things you know you shouldn't- and you keep doing it. Maybe it's a necessary part of life. Who'd get anything done if they knew they'd end up hurt by it? Who'd ever get married, or have kids, or even keep living if they knew all the pain they'd have down the road from it? Not me; I've said for years that if I'd known all that would happen ahead of time, I'da offed myself while I was a teenager still having fun.

But there's always the chance that things will be good. That elusive brass ring we all want is a prime motivator. Happiness and contentment are, I think, needs built into humans. The right to pursue happiness is written into our country's Constitution. It gets overlooked a lot, and some bastard is always around to spread misery, but it was important enough to those revolutionaries that it was written into the laws of this land, and I respect that. A lot. I wish more people would remember it. It's profound and goes to the heart of the human condition. A person's own happiness is singular. Sure there are concepts that bolster contentment- freedom, peace, love, lack of want- but the recipe for one's own happiness is a personal blend. Therein lies a lot of humankind's conflicts.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

I'm Sooooooooo Tired...

Had a lovely evening cum meeting with my friend Ellen. We covered a lot of territory. Hanging with her- she's a teacher- is always good conversation and we always get plans in order for the things we're doing at the same time. I think I'll sleep like a puppy tonight. Just a couple more emails to respond to; it's too late to call anyone. I have to be up early so it's buckety buckety off to sleep for little Austan. Catch you in the morning!

Life During Wartime

Jesus what a week & it's not half done! So many small and large crappy things have happened to so many peep I know in the last few days that it's tough to "wrap your head around it" as they say. There is so much loss going on, of lives, homes, jobs- even a library struck by lightning near my Indy family!- it's like war. While there is a great deal of camaraderie in it all, the shocks and attendant sadness take a toll on us. And there's a lot of work to do. The good things to come from it is a kind of bonding in grief and a resolve to carry on that nobody will disgrace. And some unexpected uproarious humor, which I consider humankind's best weapon against adversity. We'll get through. But could we get one day off? Just one?

Stomach Detox: The Delicate Sound of Thunder

Just a short note. It's 7 weeks since the very last oxy. Yesterday I ate 3 fruits and 4 veggies in total. Small amounts- 2 little apples, maybe 10 raisins, onion and peas in mashed potatoes, 3 Romaine leaves. Today is Bathroom Hell. This is a much longer process than I ever imagined. Be warned.

Under Pressure

Way back in school, an English teacher said that a writer is someone who has to write. If you don't have the need, you won't be a writer. I got it when she said that. It doesn't matter if you're a good writer or a bad writer, what matters is the need.

There have been things going on that I really want to write about but can't blog about. And since my time is filled, and my house is still the wreck of the Hesperus, I can't go dig out a journal to spill my guts. So instead of saying directly what's going on I'll just talk about the effects of not being able to write about something. You see, what goes on in others' lives has an impact and when someone close is in Hell, you're gonna get burned.

How you deal with that burning sensation is up to you. Also depends on what tools you use to cope and whether they're appropriate. To my mind, writing is the best coping tool I have. It organizes my thoughts, takes me out of the emotional quicksand. If I can't do that I get antsy. And when I get antsy I don't sleep much. When I don't sleep much I get pissy. Once I get pissy it's all downhill. Pressure brings momentum and at some point I'll mouth off in a most sarcastic and hurtful way. I don't mean to, but I do. There is just so much I can tolerate and have patience for before I blow. It's so ingrained in me to have a low tolerance for chronic whining that if I offer solutions that are summarily dismissed I lose control. Of course that goes back to my own shit from childhood, but it's not something I'm going to change. Whining doesn't get my respect. It's annoying and selfish and gets one nowhere because it just engenders more of the same. And in my Viking mentality when something's wrong you fix it, period. And you always take care of business; falling apart is not an option when there's work to be done. I'm sure I'm considered fucked in the squash by the world of therapy victims who live in their emotions but I don't care. It works for me.

Add to that the recent horrifying catastrophes that have fallen on people I care about who have every reason to wallow in despair but don't, and the lid blows much quicker. A lot like when my mom was canning blueberries and the pressure cooker exploded. A huge BOOM! and then goop all over the place.

Well, I guess that let off some of the steam. I danced all the way around the subject without particulars. I'll try to keep the lid on today. I didn't last night.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Days Go By

Days do go by, especially when it's busy, and it is. Things keep happening, things need doing. I'm in better shape than I've been in years but I tend to go til I drop lately. It's fine, ya have to push yourself to gain (I still remember my training days); it's just that there aren't enough hours in a day to unpack, do my side projects, talk on the phone, get things done, blog and work on my book. And they're all equally important to me. I want to do it all!

So until at least next Wednesday (why the hell it's not called Woden's Day I don't know- that's what it is!) I'll be short blogging. Then I'll have a boatload of stuff to say. I've already got a back order list- Obama, the freedom struggles, the US Congress, Donald Ass Trump, the relaxing of environmental rules... oh there's no end of topics, there's just too little time!

Everything is Gonna Be Allright

The response to the fire and its victims has been tremendous. About 60 people have been left homeless with all their worldly goods lost. But Brattleboro takes care of its own. Charities and locals are coordinating to get everyone back on their feet, and individuals are working on the fine points of helping those we know and care about. The business peep are helping those who've lost their livelihoods and stores.

With all that's going on and in prep for Strider's visit, I'm busy but not stressed. Funny how when your heart is full for what you're doing it's not stressful at all. Last night I kept going til I could barely move- quite literally. Never before have I wondered if I could make it to the bedroom. But I did, and was fast asleep in moments. Today is about planning for how best to help the spirits of my friends. Everyone needs the basics to stay alive, but people also need the particulars that make them who they are.

There are still some folks I haven't gotten back to, but they know I'm okay and was moved. So that's on today's list too. My regular aide is on vacation this week so I don't expect any help til next Tuesday and I have 33 bucks to my name until next month. Who cares? There's food in the house, my bills are (mostly) paid and I and my stuff are safe and dry. In this really scary world I'm a rich chick. All I need is legs, and I can get a pair over here with a couple of phone calls. So I got nothing to bitch about. In fact I have a lot to sing about, but I'll spare your ears. I'll be back later. Time for the second cuppa and to make phone calls, it's almost business hours.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Love Actually Is All Around

Again today I'm blown away by friends who care. As the news of the fire got around, those who know I've moved have emailed and called to say, "Glad you got outta there." This morning as everyone in Vermont hears the news, I'm hearing from people who don't know I'm moved and are worried that I was still there, offering everything to help. I have lots of emails and calls to return. And I'm overwhelmed at this outpouring of love. A lot of the best people on Earth live in this little state. I'm so damned lucky.

Overmedicating America

In the past weeks, 3 close people in my life have lost their minds and now must get treatment because of the drugs they've been prescribed. Several more have quit or are quitting. From my viewpoint, overmedicating the US population began about 8 years ago, as nearly everyone I know got drugs. Not fun drugs, psychoactive drugs. Mood elevators. Antidepressants. Things akin to Thorazine. Big pharmas have taken advantage and broadcast TV ads round the clock. This may explain a lot about how/why things have become so unbelievable in this country. It's like a page out of Orwell's 1984 or BNW. Even the name- Soma! Yes, there are those who need them. But not the majority of our populace. When 3/4 of everyone I know are drugged, something is desperately wrong. And you have to ask yourself why...

I had to add this song:

Is This the Real Life?

The Brooks House is destroyed. The FDs are still there hosing it down. They've been working all night. A friend who works right across the way there called @ 7 and said my old apartment is a black hole. It's a total loss. The skyline looks like broken teeth. Where are my old neighbors? Is the group that organized behind the Wilder and Estey St fires still around? A lot of the town's poorest are now homeless and have lost everything. We have to help. This is a nightmare. And behind it were so many weird things people said when I was moving out. It's all eerie and surreal. When something is organized to help the victims I'll post the info here. A local paper has posted a video of the fire: Update: Help is on the way. This is from iBrattleboro, posted by Glenn: The American Red Cross (of Vermont and the New Hampshire Valley) is leading the assistance efforts - they're holding a meeting this afternoon to coordinate support activities, and more detailed/accurate information should be available after that. United Way of Windham County is supporting the Red Cross, so we have and will continue to post information on our web site and Facebook page. One of the most important things right now is to get the word out to people affected by the fire to register with the Red Cross as soon as possible. They can also call 2-1-1 for assistance. American Red Cross of Vermont and the New Hampshire Valley: website donation page, 802-254-2377 Again, more information should be available this afternoon.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

There But For the Grace...

News is all over town that the building I moved out of two weeks ago is on fire. Flames coming out of the roof, 3 floors of the 5 are involved. I hope everyone got out safely. There were alarms all the time there; many of us grew to all but ignore it. It's also a local landmark. President Hayes stayed there back when it was a hotel... damn, I just hope everyone's safe. And again, someone's looking out for me or I'd have been right in the middle of it. Thanks again, Malik. Update: It's 1:21 am and they're gaining on the fire. The historical tower has fallen in. The front wall may be falling. 64 apartments, at least a dozen businesses, our community radio station... all may be lost. But so far, not one human injury. We have amazing firefighters. My poor former neighbors, they've lost everything. This is a huge tragedy. All those businesses... and I escaped 2 short weeks ago.

Now I've Seen It All

This afternoon I had a long chat with my Niece in Indiana. Among other unbelievable and stupid things we discussed was the total asshattery fostered by this group of people: Who have established this staggering insanity: and this profound crackpottery: I'm beginning to agree with the rest of the world. We are a nation of morons. I hope Jesus gets them all. He'll kick some ass; his father was abusive and he was a big Liberal.

Pitter-Patter Sounds on Palm Sunday

Aside from the constant and pleasant sound of rain, it's totally quiet now. This is what I love most here, the silence of the night. It being a full moon weekend, things would be quieting down at my old place right about now. Out here the night is sooooooo enjoyable. Today is Palm Sunday in the Christian community. Doesn't mean much to me these days except it's the mark of flowering season. In the little front garden that the previous tenants planted hyacinths are blooming and two daffodils have popped out. When the last frost is over I'll give the roses some tea. It's a joy to watch things come up; I have no idea what's planted there so nearly every day there's a surprise. The vivid purple of the hyacinths and the bright deep yellow of the daffies are such eye candy after years of brick and concrete around me. I'd forgotten how exciting Spring is. My home aide makes granola and gave me a big tub of it for my birthday present. I'm urging her to sell it, it's that good. Practically addictive, which is what real cooks aim for- create a food that people's tastebuds remember, an aroma that the senses recognize before the brain even realizes what it is. If you do that, you create regular customers. Which can get annoying after a while. It's a bit like rock stars having to play their biggest hit 40 years on, but more limiting. A song can be changed up and the crowd will still roar. You can't screw with a winning recipe. People expect the same exact thing every time. Changing a menu can close a restaurant. I've seen it happen too many times. If you create the addiction, you have to deal with the addicts. Blogger still keeps eating my paragraphs. It worked once to triple return but it doesn't now. So my posts look like one run-on paragraph with no breaks between ideas or subjects. Also annoying. But I'm trusting nobody cares. Enjoy your Sunday.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Detoxlog -some number +6

Stevil asked me how my stomach is yesterday, which made me think, "Damn, I haven't said diddly about the detoxing process in a while." Well it's been 2 1/2 months since deciding to drop the opiates. It's about 6 weeks since I took the last oxy. Though I still have brainfarts, my body seems pretty much okay with things. The 3-hours-in-the-bathroom-every-morning deal is over. Have to watch what what I eat, because indigestion comes on easily and fruits and veggies can put me back on the throne in a minute. If I forget to eat my stomach cramps in on itself. Leg cramps wake me up but they usually respond to pressing my philtrum and I go back to sleep. I've grown used to the pain and continue to ignore it as much as possible; along with that I seem to ignore other body signals like hunger and thirst. There's too much going on to ponder it anyway. Life is back, with all its inconveniences, frustrations and hilarity. And I'm too truly tired (as opposed to drug-induced slagginess) to care about pain. The good things- like having focus, laughing and not looking like a pathetic moron- are too quickly taken for granted once they're back. So I'm trying to stay mindful of how lucky I am to have survived it at all and to still have an IQ of over a hundred (some would debate that). The next issue is getting enough rest, and I'm working on that. It's been a big push between detoxing, Tommy's death and the move, not to mention the other assorted uproars I don't talk about here. And really, being tired is a tiny price to pay for having my life back and being functional. As they say, I'll sleep when I'm dead. It's all good.

There's A Sign on the Wall

Because of the noise and interruptions here during the day the only time I can write is late at night. The wee hours are prime. I'm usually relaxed and focused enough to let rip once midnight passes and if I get lost in the Gimp's Guide I won't go to sleep until 4 or 5, when my eyes give up. The problem is that the rest of the world starts operating at 7 a.m. around here and people seem to think that if you're home you have nothing else to do but welcome them when they drop by without warning. Add the stress and/or drama they bring and not much sleep for days on end and I understand homicide. I hate drop-bys, hate hate hate them. I've never done it, think it's incredibly presumptuous and rude. Don't get me wrong, I love my friends. I just don't enjoy being treated like I should be grateful for their surprise arrivals when I want to be alone, am busy or try to sleep until noon if I need to. No, thank you, you can't help me unpack. The last thing I need is to have to stop what I'm doing to answer questions. This place is the wreck of the Hesperus- I still haven't found the toaster or my socks- can I have a month to settle in before folks come bombing by? People ride my ass about getting the book done, then give me no space in which to do it. So I'm making 2 signs. "Writer at Work. Do Not Disturb" and "Writer Asleep, Do Not Knock". Gods help anybody who ignores them. I gotta get shit done.

Album Review: Welcome Back My Friends: ELP

Anyone who's ever read more than four posts on this blog knows I'm an Emerson, Lake and Palmer fan. In the 70s-80s I would've gushed and sputtered and not made sense. It was like that. Wasn't just them, I would've done the same about at least a half-dozen bands then. The difference is, that here we are in 2011 and I'm still like that about ELP, or maybe pathetically worse. So don't expect objectivity because I have none. As I hear all this music on this album now, it's all so much more perfect and tight that I not only wonder at their musicianship but at my good taste when I was so fucked up. It's like a double treat. Not only am I adoring them all over again, but I get to pat myself on the back. What the hell more can you get happy about in life? Back to the album. The recordings are from their 73-74 , "Someone Get Me A Ladder" Tour. They were individually and collectively riding their first apex together. Fast as light, charged and tightly timed. Emo's wizardly keyboards, Carl's precision timing, Greg's heavy bass, masterful guitars and soaring voice. Nobody could touch them then and I've yet to hear anyone touch them since. Three guys who create the music of powerful realms. You can feel them getting off on the sound they make. It's joy. This 2-disc cd set has 12 full songs in all, and the Tarkus, Piano Improvisations and Karn Evil 9 suites as each a single cut. They made the most engaging long rock songs in history. And this compilation is all their early best played at furious speed and strength. If it wasn't plastic I'd request being cremated with it. Every moment is charged with energy and drive. The kind you want to help propel you to the heavens. Thanks, Cam and Birdy for a well-loved Christmas present. Everlasting thanks to Emo, Greg and Carl for their fearless creativity. But wait there's more... I'll post about Works next, their second big apex, IMHO.

Chucking Fears

Strider and I were talking about fears last night. Luckily, I didn't have the classic fears that usually make you nuts- if anything, I had weirdo fears. Depictions of lions used to scare me to paralysis. I fainted on a school trip to the MMA in front of a painting of a lion. Our clawfooted tub made me sing at the top of my lungs as a kid. Even into my 40s, upon seeing any depiction of a lion my throat would close and I'd break out in a sweat. So I innoculated myself to them. A small ceramic lion on my desk, a Scottish flag, a box with a lion's face. I got used to them. After a bit I saw the beauty, not the fear. Next comes being in the water with others. When I was 5 years old I nearly drowned; none of my family came to my rescue (though they were right there) . Ever since I've been happy to swim alone (which I didn't really learn til I taught myself at the age of 22) but not ever with any human near me, even my husband. This needs correction before I croak. How ridiculous is it to not fear death but to fear other people being in the same body of water? Unreasoned fear kills the mind and soul. It undermines confidence and restricts life. Get rid of it.

Friday, April 15, 2011

The 3 Years You'd Give Up Life To Relive

My friends and family online send me these "bucket lists" of questions. Sometimes I humor them, sometimes I ignore them. This one question made me think before I ignored the others and deleted the whole thing. There's about half a century in my head now. But damned if 3 years didn't stand out. 77, 78 and 89. Fantastic, magickal years. 77 and 78 were wondrous years of youth, health, hell-raising, party-heartying, concerts, friends and fun. 89 was the best year of my marriage and family. Things looked swell, things looked great. Hell yeah I'd give up this 21st Century Schizoid world in a heartbeat to have those 3 years to relive. This time, though, I'd do it better. Not sweat the small stuff, laugh even more, eat every moment with a small spoon, get away from the security guards and make some magic on Greg Lake's guitar. Yes, oh yes, I'd do it right with a second chance. And not care a tinker's fart that I wouldn't wake up alive after.

The Last of Tommy

My widowed SIL sent me a funereal package. It's the last bits of my brother. The program from his church funeral with a very short summary of his involvement with the church and singing there, a photo of the altar with the last photo taken of him, a memorial card. It's all very nice. But nothing of it captures Tommy. He was at least three additional people. The incredibly talented musician. The passionate medical guy. The maths fancier, trivia hound, lefty indignant caring person who really tried to understand others. None of that. So sterile, so final, so unfunny these relics. Tommy laughed so easily and heartily. Among my damning prides is the one that I could make my brothers laugh and their wives always said they knew they 'd been talking to me by the laughter. It's down to Billy and me now- we don't speak often (when I call it's always his wife and she's a motormouth) and he doesn't laugh much anymore. I owe it to Tommy, Johnny and Sethelmay to get Billy laughing again. That's what they'd want most. A song for my brothers gone ahead:

Strength in Silence

Our local high school is having a Day of Silence in support of LGBT teens. The students carry cards saying they are silent (and are officially excused from speaking) for the school day. Back in the day, few people stood up to the bullies and usually got an asswhooping for their trouble. I was straight but a nerd. Which always puts one on the bullies' target lists; I always fought back. There were many who could not or would not. And now this movement, a nonviolent demonstration of solidarity. How far things have come.

Shelving My Friends

"These are my friends, See how they glisten. See this one shine, How he smiles in the light, My friends, My faithful friends..." That Sweeney Todd song keeps running through my mind as I unpack my books. It's been 19 years since they saw the light of day. For the last 13 they've been under my bed, boxed, silent. Now as I'm disinterring them, resurrecting them, it's like they each sing in my hands. This is a rare joy. One I don't want to share with others. I want to take each one out, look at it, see how it's fared in all the years it's been shut away... even talk to it. There are so many memories attached to them. The only things I've been able to keep, made sure I kept, are these old friends of mine. Most go back to high school and college, but I still have my very first book, a GoldenBook, Tom Corbett's Trip to The Moon! and two workbooks from first grade. In third grade, I remember we girls were very enthralled with The Lonely Doll series by Dare Wright, and here's the one volume I begged my Father to buy. Inside it, a response to a letter I wrote to the author with a picture from her next book enclosed. One of our dogs had nibbled the edges off. The Disney Treasury my first grade teacher, Miss Sudholz, gave me at Christmas. Which also brought back the flood of things she gave me that difficult year when my Mother went to a "convalescent home" and there was no money in the house for anything a little girl would need. Miss Sudholz looked like Inger Stevens and rented her apartment from Father Bailey, an Episcopalian minister who was an old family friend. Maybe that's where I first got the idea that the world was a small place where everyone knew each other if they talked long enough. I've always wondered what became of Miss Sudholz. After 1st grade I went to a foster home for the summer and when I came back my Mother had decided to leave my Father. So she and I moved upstate and I never saw Miss Sudholz or my schoolfriends again. She's on the list of People To Find When I'm Rich. Most of the people on that list are teachers who changed my life and it all started with her. I could spend days telling the story of every book I own. Each important to me, each has its story around its story. As people die and fall away from my life, they remain. And thank you, Brian, for bringing them back to my eyes and hands. Okay, back to work.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Come Back Mr. Cronkite, Your Nation Needs You!

I really wasn't going to blog anymore today. I have too much to do before Brian gets here and I don't know when he's getting here. But I can't take it anymore and I have to vent. This morning I stupidly put on CNN to see what was going on. Lo and behold, I had to double take because I thought I'd put friggin Faux News on by mistake. I don't put the news on to hear some half-educated gloss-faced semi-illiterates give their opinions. What the hell ever happened to journalists? Have they stopped teaching journalism? Are we forever forward going to hear some asswipe inflamatorily bloviating opinion and conjecture instead of telling the facts of what's going on? Is this because we have so many 24 hour news channels that they can't find enough to report and think they have to be "controversial" or sink to tabloid level to get viewers? Well, screw those guys. CNN was the last "news" channel I'd bother with at all, and now that they've sunk to new lows in stupidity I'm done. Oh for the days of Walter Cronkite! Where's the time machine?

They Say it's Your Birthday!

April is a big birthday month in my life. Over the years I've accumulated quite a few Aries and a couple of Taurians. The Princess, little C.J., Taylor, Pickett, Jimmy... I could make a list of my April birthday pals that goes on and on. Birthdays stick in my head except, curiously, for one. And that's the Birthday most important to me. For many years I've begun celebrating Strider's birthday starting with April 1st, sending a series of greetings for days. I finally got it right!!! Only took 16 years! (But I don't feel too badly, cuz Strider's had my birthday wrong all this time, too, and we never corrected each other, which cracks me up). Now that I do have it right, I've decided that the tradition is too much fun to change, so yes, Strider, you will always get weeks of birthday greetings from me. And when we get together we will celebrate both b'days to excess, and life will be good. Have a great birthday, faux daughter of mine. I love you.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Gods Bless You, Bernie Sanders

Bernie Sanders is an elected U.S. Senator, but not a classic politician. He will compromise on bills and legislation, but he won't compromise his values in the mix. He and his staff are exemplary among politicians in helping people- he told me a while back to send anyone who needs help to him. I truly adore the guy and every time he makes news it's for a good reason. With the cuts to the vulnerable that Boehner and the Teabaggers want, Bernie got kinda pissed off. I know the pissed-off Bernie face, having watched him for many years. This article has me smiling. People like Bernie make life bearable. 4/14- From an email I received from Bernie this morning; should straighten out the factoids being put out on places like Fox that hate the working people and the poor: "Despite what you may have heard, Social Security is not going bankrupt and is not in crisis. The truth is that the Social Security Trust Fund has run surpluses for the last quarter century. Today, Social Security has a $2.6 trillion surplus that is projected to grow to over $4 trillion by 2023. The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office has concluded that Social Security will be able to pay every nickel owed to every eligible beneficiary until 2039. "On March 15, 2011, I introduced S. 582, the Social Security Protection Act. This legislation would prevent any reduction in Social Security benefits or an increase in the retirement age without the agreement of two thirds of both the Senate and the House of Representatives. I look forward to working with my colleagues in both the House and Senate to pass this legislation and ensure that millions of Americans can continue to count on Social Security to assist them in retirement."

I've Seen All Good People

Inside me is a constant war. My instinct wants to hate- even destroy- those who show no love or compassion. It's a disgust response, like I have for John Boehner. I want to puke on them, tell them how completely detestable they are, send them from our planet. But somewhere inside is a voice that says, "That's what's wrong with them. Nobody ever loved them, and they don't know what love is." Then I wanna cry and smack them. And hug them close. Like a prodigal son. Against my better (?) judgment. What the Hell. Of course I know what sociopaths are, I've known plenty, growing up in NYC. Two of my good friends of youth are jailed for life for killing people. But they were good to me, for whatever that's worth. There are so many crossovers in life. Crossovers are hard to bear. What do you do when someone you have only known as good does terrible things? What does Boehner's wife think? We bond with like people, usually. It's the Tribal Urge. I'm trying to get past that. We really are all the same. Religion wouldn't start wars if we didn't care what others believe. That's real Freedom of Religion; not caring what anyone else believes. Evangelism kills. But then there's politics, and because politics is a reflection, or an excuse in most cases, of & for religions, people flavor "justice" and "equality" with it. But they're hypocrites from jump. I'm no exception. What I see as right is not what others see. I want freedom and justice for everyone. I want the needy to have all the help they need in this Most Rich and Powerful Nation on Earth. Gods help me, if I could , I'd jail or expell all those who don't see things as I do and don't care if anyone suffers because I think they suck. So I'm no better than them, because they'd jail or expell me if they could. But I'm trying. I know my fucked-upedness. And that I'm not unique. If I can't get past my own assholiness, how and why should I expect anyone else to get past their own? At the end of the day, our commonalities are so much more than our differences. If we could just go directly there... I really have to believe that people are good at heart; like I have to believe that good will overcome evil and that my gods occasionally pay attention; but that's what Anne Frank thought, too. So I guess I have to hold the line, and Don't let Them win. But everyone is someone else's Them. That's the problem. When will We just be We? Don't surround yourself with yourself. Keep trying.

Learning To Fly

I can only speak from my experience. Where I came from, bartering and bargaining were seen as despicable. It was considered a terrible way to do business, a crappy sales technique. My background is NYC aspirant working class, Protestant, white, US mutt. Until my generation everyone was a Republican, and some still are. Buying goods was a necessity of life and it was a rule to never do business where you haggled over a price. A price was a price, and if there was any question you didn't buy from that seller. It was akin to dishonesty, and who would deal at all with someone you didn't trust? But other parts of the world, other peoples, have a very different viewpoint. They think you'd be a fool to pay what a vendor first asks. You want the goods, but that doesn't mean you'll pay what s/he wants for it. After all, why shouldn't you bargain for the best you can get at the least cost? Money is valuable. Offer what you want to pay, and see if it floats. Then maybe strike a happy medium. ( I never knew a happy medium, they were all very unhappy. And I never had a good reason to strike one). So that seems to me a huge cultural difference problem. Like trading between the Europeans and the Vikings, there's mistrust. That's a huge problem. But we all need to stretch ourselves these days or we won't survive. All we really need to do is recognize and realize our differences- without judgment. Is that hard? Not if you're conscious of it. Just tell each other that's not how you operate and communicate to a balance and understanding. We can end up laughing and being friends. It's all in your hands, heads and hearts, every moment. We can all learn to fly:

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Today is Hugely Historic

No need to look very far to find the date's importance: I'm fascinated at all the history of this one date. Enjoy and stimulate your mind.

Beyond Gimpdom

There are a lot of things I want to do, now that the friggin opiates are gone. I have ambition again. The question is how do I do them, as a gimp, with limited energy and resources? Driving is gone. I'm totally unreliable to make plans, because from day to day I don't know if I'll be able to do anything physical at all. Doing things for others, which is what I want to do, means reliabilty. That's not possible. I can't be physically present all the time and that's what peep need most. Do you know that you can't be a nun if disabled? It's true. I tried. Technically you can't even be among the Masons if you're disabled. If you can't go to the meetings that charities run, you can't really participate. So hooking up with do-gooders is even a challenge. But you can always find something/some way to contribute. You have to be creative. You have to think beyond your gimpdom to want you can do, not what you can't. Then find places and ways to use what it is you can do. There's always a way to help. Even if it's only forwarding emails, do it. Get people involved. The upside of being a gimp is that disabled peep can't do much for others- they're usually busy with their own stuff- and it's inspirational to the abled to see a gimp doing charity work. Humans have both compassion and competitiveness. And guilt. Think of Jerry Lewis' parade of MD kids doing things nobody expected. I remember watching and sobbing that there I was, entirely "normal", and here these kids were doing things I took for granted- and I started doing charity works. That was 1976. Maybe things haven't gotten much better, but it's not for lack of trying. The only thing I can say for sure about life is that if you never give up you never lose. So keep trying. You can rise beyond gimpdom.

The Robin Hood Tax

The idea of the Robin Hood Tax has been around for years but never seems to get anywhere. It's a simple, ridiculously low (0.05%) tax scheme for the massive financial deals that go on making billions. This tiny tax alone would fund all the social programs being wiped out by the rich vampires around the world. Think about that. British actor Bill Nighy has long been a proponent of the Robin Hood Tax and here's an excellent opinion piece I've been meaning to cite for weeks: Why is it that the rich get to keep their money- and reinvest to make more- while the workers and the poor pay taxes and suffer? Isn't that systemic corruption? I lost a third of my retirement savings to tax. It was a whopping less than $8,000 US dollars, and nearly 3 grand went right to the gummit, because I wasn't 66 yet and had become disabled. There's something hugely wrong when a single worker carries the tax load while the obscenely rich carry on in Marie Antoinette style. Edward Dowling wrote: "The two great obstacles to democracy in the US are, first, the widespread delusion among the poor that we have a democracy; and second, the chronic terror amongst the rich, lest we get it."

April in New England

The rain, when it came, was truly Springlike. The skies moped all afternoon, only resolving to half-empty the clouds at the end of the day. It went up to nearly 80'F here yesterday afternoon, and the weather forecasters are saying it may snow again this week as temps plummet. This morning is warm and humid, what my Mother called, "Close". I have windows open. Ah well, that's Spring here, two or even three seasons in a day or two. The Snow Queen's last hurrahs until Fall. But the unmistakeable smell is here to stay- that earthy, almost geranium smell of the earth softening and becoming fertile. Comforting, sensual, a harbinger of delights to come. Birds are calling up the sun, rabbits and chipmunks run across my front garden. I love the Spring. And early mornings quiet...

Monday, April 11, 2011

If You're a Vermonter, This Concerns You

The Vermont Workers Center sent an email out last week and asked everyone to call the Sergeant At Arms and tell our Legislature that we want Universal Helthcare. The response was great. However, over the weekend, four amendments were proposed that would effectively bar UH from happening. These amendments were pushed by IBM's minions, insurance co.'s and other lobbyists for big business who don't pay taxes like we do...What do these amendments do? One of them attacks the projected financing of our future healthcare system so that it will not be universal and everyone will not pay into it. This is a direct attack on the viability of universal healthcare existence. The other three amendments give insurance companies more power by weakening the exchange in the years before we get a waiver.Taken together these amendments will threaten the possibility of creating a universal healthcare system in Vermont. Please contact Senate Health and Welfare Committee members NOW, as well as your Senator if they aren't on the Committee. We certainly cannot let this happen in Vermont where we should be leading the country and creating universal healthcare, and not giving in to insurance and other corporate interests.Tell them not to let a coalition of insurance companies and big business protecting their special interests prevent us from moving forward with universal healthcare.Call the toll free Sgt. at Arms at 1-800-322-5616 and ask them to send a message to your Senators. Tell them to deliver the message to your Senator that you support universal healthcare, that you are opposed to these amendments, healthcare must be treated as a public good, and ask them to support and strengthen H. 202, not undermine it.

And Nothing Else Matters

Got into a fairly serious discussion with my friend Babalu this morning, sparked by the P.S. 22 Choir and how singing in a group changes your outlook for your whole life. She went to hospitals and nursing homes singing at the holidays. I was in a HS choir that sang at a nursing home every week except when there was no school. In grammar school everyone sang, talent or no, with fellow same-graders and we sang seasonal songs at the Lincoln Savings Bank and for School Assembly every week. These experiences not only teach teamwork and support for each other; the connection to and reaction from those you make musical contact with is heavy and impressive. I can still see the eyes light up and the visible engagement of those who seemed so close to lifeless. It's not something you forget. It's life-outlook-changing. Makes you realize how we're all so much the same, no matter how different we seem. How we all do want the same things, at heart. We all want love, freedom, peace, happiness. Sharing music teaches you commonality, not differences. Those are good values to know from a young age. Without those realizations you end up like an orange-faced egomaniac who wants to take everything away from those less fortunate. By giving arts to children, we teach sharing, understanding and compassion. Those things are beyond price tags: everything that truly matters is. Music teaches love. Nothing else matters.

5,000 Pageviews!

At some point today the counter will turn over to this little blog having 5,000 pageviews. Over 2,000 are within the last 2 months! It's really rewarding and pretty surprising to see that. I never expected anyone but friends and family to read this. Lately, it gets 40-50 hits a day, and has been viewed by folks in all 7 continents. That blows my mind. And makes me happy to my ass. So thanks for reading. Your views make me stretch. Update: at 11:11 a.m. EDSFT, the page counter turned to 5,000. Thank you.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

This Just In

My friend Wayne is a survivor of the Elan School in Maine. His story is horrific and he is a fearless truth-teller. This story has been around the innertubes for a while and recently the Elan School was finally closed. Wayne has just published an "Update": Blessed are the Truthtellers.

Keep an Eye on Iceland

In 2008 Iceland's government and banks hit the skids. Things have recovered to some extent- kinda like the US, but many UK and Netherlands folk (about 400,000) lost a bundle in the tumble. Roughly 5.8 billion in US dollars. So the governments of the Netherlands and the UK reimbursed their citizens and held Iceland's goverment accountable for paying them back. Except the Icelanders have rejected by vote two plans for repayment, it's nearly 3 years later, and the UK and the Netherlands want the money. So they're moving to take Iceland to an international court, the European Free Trade Association Surveillance Authority, a process which could take several years... These deals have been and are going on all over the world; nations bail each other out all the time. But it's not highlighted in the media. Especially in the US, where the vast majority of citizens know more about Charlie Sheen than their own government. I've yet to see a real analysis that encompasses how much each nation owes others and how, when or if anything is paid back. There was a push to write off the debts of "Third World" nations a few years ago. That is apparently over in the wake of "First World" nations falling apart. But wouldn't it be wise to have everyone sit down with their debts and make deals so we can get on with life? Money is a construct; pieces of paper that represent value. What if everyone brought other things of value, things each other needs, and settled matters that way? Wouldn't it make things easier for everyone? If anyone can come up with alternatives, I'm thinking it's Icelanders. They've rejected the referendums put forth by their government twice now. Let's watch how this pans out. p.s. Today, 4/12, a good analysis of the sitch is in the Guardian (I should get paid for referring them all the time)

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Heads Up to Anyone Calling Me

Because my dear neighbor is SO loud and her numerous visitors have to yell to be heard, there is no quiet anymore. I guess she was laying low the first few days. But now that the weather's better she's out on the porch half the day and yells to every person walking by, too. When she has people over they hang out across both sides so I have to keep my windows closed and the shade down or they're staring in at me from my own porch. Now I know why the peep here moved. It's already driving me nuts. I don't know how I'll ever write the book here. You can't concentrate. For now, I'm spending as much time as possible in headphones so I don't have to hear her gossip about me and everyone else in this subhamlet. So if you call me, remember 2 things. 1) There's only one phone hooked up. I haven't found a second jack. It takes a while for me to get to the phone so keep making noise or the machine will hang up. 2) While the sun shines, chances are I'm in headphones and I may not hear you at all. If you leave a message I'll call you back. That is all. Resume your duties. :)

Wearing the Sorting Hat

Not to send kids to their school houses, but to send belongings to their places. Which sounds easier than it is. I'm still not entirely firing on all cylinders, thanks to opiates. It'll be a while yet before things settle down. So sorting and decisions can get ridiculously stressful on top of having the myriad pain sites vying for attention. Yesterday I was cursing just as much as when I was packing. I'm sure that thrilled the old bitty next door who is such a charmer that we haven't even met yet but it's already a hallway war. Smoking has become such a sin in this country that anyone feels totally entitled to make your life Hell if you light up, even in your own home. Fuck their Pilgrim self-righteousness. There is no real proof that secondhand smoke does anything to anyone. Look for it. It isn't real. It's all anti-smoking PR. But the anti-smokers get away with whatever they do while we're made into pariahs. Anyway, after Brian walked thru the hallway with a lit cigarette and she filled the building with old lady stinking spray, I counterattacked with Lysol. This is now a daily battle; she chokes me with sickening sweet stale old shit and I blast back with "fresh linen". It's not enough that she thinks she owns the whole hallway with tacky hangings and her shoe tray out there; she owns the air there too? I was raised to respect and be nice to the elderly, but what if they're nasty selfish shitheads? I treat as I'm treated. Be a bitch and I'll be a bitch right back. This could get ugly. Ah well, back to sorting...

Friday, April 8, 2011

Les Temps Perdu

Unpacking is just as time consuming as packing. So many decisions. What goes where, what goes back in the boxes... it's a slow process. Especially when you come across the unexpected that can bring things to a full stop. I just found a single unframed snapshot of Tommy, Billy and me at our Dad's apartment at Christmas 1975 among CDs. We're so damn young. I was growing out an afroperm and wearing a prairie dress I'd made. Billy and Tommy are longhaired, dressed very Starsky & Hutch-like and we're all laughing. I stopped unpacking and tried to remember that day so long ago. These are the things that take up time. I have to get copies of it to send to Billy and to Tommy's widow. So I grab a milk crate and sticky notes and make a "projects to do" box. Which will sit to the side and fill while I go on unpacking. No matter what your now is, something of the past can suck you right back in an instant and suddenly now doesn't seem as important, or as much fun. Maybe all of life really is an illusion. Or maybe it's the passage of time that's incomprehensible. 35+ years have gone by, Tommy's been dead a month already, and I'm sitting here clueless.

Rachel Flowers

Some time ago while watching an ELP YT vid, I watched a linked vid of a very young woman named Rachel Flowers. Though Rachel is nearly blind, she has perfect pitch and plays incredible piano and flute by ear. Whatever I may say about her can't do justice to her talent. She's a force of nature. Just listen:

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Damn Mercury Retrograde

Today I thought, "I'll call everyone I owe calls to," and made one call before being drawn into the usual insanity of the VNA scheduling. Then the phone went dead. The "line in use" light is on, but there's no dial tone. I emailed the phone company, who promises to get back to you within 48 hours. If I'd ever told anyone that I'd be back within 48 hours I'da been fired. And yes, of friggin course, Mercury is retro. I checked. Bastid.

And They Think We'll Get Fooled Again?

Not only are the Republican vampires circling for our corpses, now the Democrats are throwing us to the corporate vampires! 17 Dem bigwigs voted to pollute the ecosystem and can the EPA and the Clean Air Act. Unfucking real. These are the Dirty Air Democrats who voted to block, delay or limit the Clean Air Act: Sens. Baucus (D-MT), Begich (D-AK), Hagan (D-NC), Levin (D-MI), Brown (D-OH), Casey (D-PA), Conrad (D-ND), Johnson (D-SD), Klobuchar (D-MN), Pryor (D-AR), Stabenow (D-MI), Landrieu (D-LA), Manchin (D-WV), McCaskill (D-MO), Nelson (D-NE), Rockefeller (D-WV), Webb (D-VA) Throw the bums out.

Healthcare is a Human Right

Today's news pisses me off no end. Almost to the point that I can't be coherent enough to write about what those rich bastid Republican vampires are doing. So I'm deferring to a good friend's post about the matter because all I want to do is pick Boehner (it is pronounced BONER) up and throw him into outer space.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Nobody's Fault but Mine

Teachers used to say, "Absence is no excuse for ignorance." I'd add, "Not paying attention will bite you." If I'd paid attention to my mother's condition I may have not ended up as crippled as she did. Maybe not have run down the Westside Highway in Converse sneakers every day for a year. May not have chosen a career that required such constant physical exertion. May not have walked and marched everywhere in everything, sometimes in high heels, thru my 20s and 30s. May have not beaten up my body in so many ways. But I did. My unsought advice for the day is to pay attention to your parents' and grandparents' health conditions at a young age. And plan for your own health. Be proactive, if you will, in heading issues off at the pass. Be smart. If you ignore it, it'll be your own fault and your own misery.

To Have a Liking for a Viking

If you go back far enough in my family (about a thousand years) the roots of both sides are Viking. The Scots, the Belgians, the Swedes. Only the Mohawks and French (maybe) aren't, and that's through single great-great-grandparents. Everyone else came from the land of the ice and snow where the midnight suns and the hot springs flow. So I consider myself a Viking, at heart. Yeah, I'm a Highlander and a Swede and certainly got some of the Mohawk looks, but my personality is Viking. I run headfirst into and at everything. In healthier days I was pretty damn physical. I got into fights a lot growing up, especially for a girl. My forte in fighting was to pick people up and throw them. I'm often illogical, but that's for a good reason I won't tell you about. If that isn't Viking, I dunno. I'm much more peaceful these days. My Dad made an effort to expose me to Scandinavian ways. We went to the 17th of May parades, ate the terrible foods, laughed at Bergman movies with the few other Scandi-Americans who were raised to appreciate the humor in absolute bleakness. I don't think other ethnicities on the east coast even know there is a Scandi culture present. There are no national holidays for us, no citywide parades. We just go about our business and have bake sales. There's a lot of Viking history to be gotten online. Some wonderful and some complete bullshit. I love history and usually know enough to sort it out. But the bullshit gets a lot of traffic. And some of the bullshit links Vikings to Nazis. I hate Nazis. I pretty much hate anyone who categorically seeks to oppress and kill off people. Where the Neonazis get off besmirching my heritage with their filth puzzles me. Since when did the gods of my forebears, thousands of years old, wear the uniform of that 20th century maniac? How dare they coopt my gods to their hatred? That's blasphemy. My gods aren't even too concerned with humans. They have their own gigs going on. So just to go on record, I'm a Viking, and I will pick up and throw any Nazis in my path.

Wherein It All Catches Up

The adrenaline has worn off. The finish line has been crossed in a few ways this morning and damn I'm tired. I may goof off for the day and do some clothing designs. Hang around and rest my very aching bones. There's no big rush to get the rest done, and the essentials- kitchen and bathroom- are sorted. The bookshelves aren't here yet and I may not have an aide Friday; I'm not gonna push myself to total exhaustion. It just isn't worth it. And hooray, it really does look like my stomach is back to normal. Took 2 months and a week, but that hell is over. And I got to knock off a few opiates pounds to boot. It's all good. It'll be a while before the water and fat accumulated by years of systems slowed to a crawl by various shots and drugs falls away. It didn't happen in a week, it won't go away in a week. I'll be back to my 1999 weight eventually. It's a pretty day. The rain blew over in gusty winds overnight. I hope it warms up enough to open the windows... ah, Spring.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Farewell Detox Stomach?

For the past 3 days, I've had a good stomach. I even ate twice today and had some Oreos. Don't want to jinx it; it's fooled me before. But it's good while it's good. Everything is settling in. I actually felt a bit relaxed and happy in here tonight (grumpy old lady next door notwithstanding). Still can't find squat, but it'll all turn up eventually. There was hopeful news today, and not so hopeful. That's the way it always is now, never one full day of good news anymore. Even in this little sleepy New England town. And worldwide it's way worse. Every time I see what's happening in Japan I feel hopeless. How could men create and develop something so hideously destructive as nuclear energy? It's Icarus stupidity. And the freedom fighting goes on in the rebelling Middle East. The irony of a nation that invades and imposes "democracy" in one place but backs away from helping those fighting for it in others isn't lost on me. But then again, it's the same nation that's run by the uber-rich who've made their bundles from the backs of the workers. Can't expect morality there. So we have to keep ourselves sane and content with little victories. Like digesting food well. I think I've just depressed myself.

Joyful Noise!!!!!!

Stevil fixed my sound problem without even coming over. He sent me a link to Microsoft's auto-fixer-upper which did the trick in less than 5 minutes!! Now my life is back to as normal as it gets, I can catch up with my YT subs and friends, my searches for every bit of music I love, all the things that keep me happy. Thanks Stevil!!! If anyone needs to fix their sound on a Windows system, email me & I'll send you the link. Life is good today, as it is any day you can fix a problem. And thanks to Westy for offering help in the midst of his nonstop schedule. You guys are the best.

These New Realities

It's a big adjustment living here. Not only is it quiet as a tomb almost all the time, but I can use my walker through the whole place and don't have to "furniture walk" as it's called. Which is all good. I'm also glad I detoxed before getting here because if I'd fallen the ways I did here, I'd have been really injured. Tile floors are unforgiving. I worry about falling here. My plan to zoom around in the wheelchair is shot. The right brake broke off in my hand during the move, in the braked position. It's a very old chair. I guess I need to work on finding a new one. For whatever unknown reason, my puter's speakers still won't work. I monkeyed around with the sound system last night til I gave up. It's gonna take someone who knows what they're doing. I miss YouTube!! And all my new music that Ally sent me!! Well, just another day- even if Stevil's too tired to come over today, Westy will come out tomorrow. It'll be fixed.

Boxes beckon and as I have energy, I get to them. None of them are going anywhere. I still don't know why Blogger ignores my paragraph spacing but it's annoying. I'm gonna try using triple spaces between and see if that works.

Last night, for the first time ever since getting gimpy, I sat on the couch and watched TV like millions of others do. It was a rebroadcast of Ken Burns' Civil War mini-series. Fabulous. He's another local we're proud of around here. And a really nice guy from the two times I met him. If you can catch the series, do. It must be in the innertubes somewheres. He explores the war from different angles, through letters from soldiers and hundreds and hundreds of photographs. I appreciate the way he sets up scenes, and that while the most powerful photos are shown there is no sound. It makes an impact.

Otherwise, I sit watching my friends go through the storms and twisters in their lives, some with good outcomes and some not so much. It's a scary world out there; be kind to each other.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Cyber Stalking

The 2000 Violence Against Women Act made cyber stalking a part of the federal interstate stalking statute. Call 1-800-FYI-CALL Cyber stalkers provoke angry responses to control their victims. Post this everywhere you can. Cyber stalkers target women and children.

Today's Horoscope

I don't look at my horoscope often, just once in a while. Today's included this: "...this influence can provide an opportunity to discover that there is a considerable amount of love in your everyday life. You do not have to search for true affection. Many of us go through life without ever acknowledging the love that we encounter every day." Ain't that the truth.

Up to My Earballs

I took yesterday off from life, or at least tried to. Ya know how after you take a big trip, ya get home and have to collapse for a day before you can carry on? It's like that. I'm dead dog tired. And my computer won't put out sound except for the system check. It took all I had left setting up the computer Saturday. Stevil is coming out tomorrow to try fixing it. If he can't I'll hire Westy to look at it. Today's goal is setting up the bathroom. Everything will get done. In time. And it's my Ally-san's Birthday month spectacular!!! Yay! Happy Birthday Strider!!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Much as I Love the Guardian UK

There are way too many stories that they don't allow the People to comment about, like this:

WTF With Comcast? And Obama?

Where I lived before, Comcast told me that the wires in the walls were so old and hadn't been upgraded that that is why my TV picture froze. Now I'm in a very new building with new wiring and it still freezes every couple of minutes and I keep losing transmission. It's a new TV. I pay 85 bucks a month for this. I have to call and bitch again. Is there no accountability anymore? This issue came up in a thread about Obama on iBrattleboro. Obama promised he'd change things but the change hasn't happened. I like the guy. I worry about him. But he hasn't done what he said he'd do. Why? Ask him. Email the White House. I am, tomorrow. I think we've had more than enough. Maybe they want us to revolt; that's how we're being treated. Long ago, I figured that if a guy treated you like crap he wanted to break up with you but didn't have the guts so you should dump him. I'm feeling the same about Comcast and Obama. Why stay with liars who don't carry thru with promises?

It's a Wonderful Life

It's done. Brian, Barb, Barry, Nancy, Mike, Paul, Todd, Cam, Chris and Lise all showed up and I'm the proud resident of my new hobbit home. I don't know how to thank them all for being such good friends and letting me be the gimp in the chair while they did all the work. And it was joyful. Some of us had never even met before- we all know each other thru iBrattleboro, and I'd never even met Barry or Paul before- what amazing, kind people. It's times like this that remind you that you aren't alone; that no matter how isolated you may be or seem, there are people who care. People you may not even expect. And I gotta tell you, after today I wouldn't trade places with anyone or live anywhere else. I've found home. Brat is home. Paul, Mike and Cam even set up my bed and made it for me so I can go crash after I've wound down. Even the cable guy was terrific. I'm so frigging blessed that every moment I was alone today I cried. I feel like George Bailey. Seriously. I'm the richest chick in town, because I have friends, and they're truly good folks. I wish the same for everyone who reads this.

I'm Sooo Friggin Blessed

Sat down for a last cuppa and to get myself ready and played this: I'm overwhelmed with gratitude for all that's happened and for such incredible people in my life. I wish everyone had it as good as me.

Outta Here!

It's T-4 hours and I'm outta here. It's a beautiful blue sky day and all the snow melted away. About a dozen terrific people will flood this place at 11 and I'll get out of their way and go open the new place to get the food and drink ready with Barb. Pinch me. I can't believe I'm escaping this place. If the party breaks early enough I'll be back to blog tonight. If not I'll catch up tomorrow. Wish us luck.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Close Call & Last Call

It's all packed and over but the shouting. The day started out scary with snow forecasted and it was falling this morn, but soon turned into a Spring Snow and is already gone. Thanks Thor!!And this is my last night in this place. A lot has happened here. A lot of it not good. I'll miss Joe's Saturday lunchbreaks and the dj's from the studio downstairs being so close but really, nothing else. This was a tough, cramped, expensive, noisy, incredibly dusty cellblock of a building to live in. I went through a lot of changes here. When I get in that elevator tomorrow I won't look back.

Poissons d'Avril

Noted journalist Christian Avard sent an email to alert everyone to today's alternate news source: Vermont Tigger. Happy April Fools Day!

This is Only a Test

It snows, oh it snows. The move is tomorrow; everything is set. My stalwart native Vermonter aide will be here today at 11:30, gods bless her. School isn't even closed. And considering the temp is right about freezing now and will be in the mid-forties at the time of the loadout, it'll be fine. The ground's been warming for a couple of weeks and people are sugaring... it won't be snow for long. Sorry Frosty. Update: It's 9:30 a.m. and it's turned to sleet, and will become rain. Thanks, Thor. phew...