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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

"Don't Let Them Divide Us"

That's on one handwritten sign in the background of this BBC video:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-15956799

Aside from today's national strike across the UK giving me hopeful thoughts, that's a good point on that little sign. There are enough pressures within when doing anything; don't let others cause division amongst yourselves. Very wise, that.

Yeah, That's It

Strange skeletal movements are happening so I figure it's time to quit. Got a good bit done that I wanted done. I was gonna go finish the bedroom but that's on Friday's list too, so no big deal. It's so friggin humid that the new carpet flattened out by itself.

A lot of things going on around me these days have a common denominator: really bad communication skills. So bad that the ones who make sense in whatever particular mess is happening aren't even being heard. It seems the ignoring is worse among those in power who feel like martyrs. And there's a good deal of blindness towards one's own behaviour all over the place. Sometimes those on the same "side" snipe at each other. Killing your own happens a lot in a new group, I've noticed. People in the same cause who don't know each other are likely to find things they don't like as they work together (I'm at one of those points myself). And there are those who just have to be different, and piss everyone off in the process.

Like anything else, these are opportunities to learn a lot if you listen. Everyone can grow here. I've never been part of anything, even the school newspapers, that didn't involve fights and power struggles. There's drama. It's like family. Except they aren't your family and they may be worse. Still, it can come together if people are willing to work it out. Some people can't or won't handle the drama of these growth steps and walk away. That's their choice but it solves nothing except for that person who quits.

What all of these situations need is priorities, commitment and perspective. The cause is and has to be everyone's first priority. I've worked with people who were indispensable to the purpose but pieces of filth as humans. I didn't have to love them, but I did have to listen to them. Commitment comes with the priority, if it doesn't then there's no priority. Maybe perspective comes with experience. Don't think I had much til a few years into activism. When you see things over and over you don't react urgently. You lose an emotional investment in what happens in the moment cuz you know nothing lasts.

Emotions run higher at this time of year, too. Everyone is stressed on top of normal stresses. Maybe we all need to just calm down. As long as nobody's dead, everything is fixable, I always say.

News Break

Taking a midmorning coffee break and catching up:

Happy St. Andrew's Day:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UwWLpaJNbQo

I'm very proud:
http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/home-news/schools-transport-hospitals-and-courts-hit-as-public-sector-staff-strike-1.1137390

A Welsh HS boy has taken on a faux US cancer clinic:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/nov/29/schoolboy-blogger-us-clinic
Here's his blog:
http://rhysmorgan.co/2011/11/threats-from-the-burzynski-clinic/#comment-3719

The Leveson Inquiry goes on and keeps spreading:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/blog/2011/nov/30/leveson-inquiry-alastair-campbell-live

Gingrich boasting he's gross and cheap, too?:
http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/newt-gingrich-compares-2012-campaign-walton-kroc-politico-e-book-fights-back-article-1.984413

Smoking in the boy's room ends in death:
http://www.nydailynews.com/news/crime/man-smoking-pot-college-staten-island-dies-confrontation-police-source-article-1.984099

Hinsch's is saved!!!!:
http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/brooklyn/sweet-save-old-school-bay-ridge-ice-cream-parlor-hinsch-reopens-locals-rejoice-article-1.983652

Quite the morning!

Another Month Shot to Hell!

Holy cow, tomorrow is December. 25 days to Christmas and I'm so not near ready! Ack! Aside from the rug, yesterday was a down day. Today will have to be an all-out buster so I can be down tomorrow and up for Friday. That's cool. Lise and Grotke are on the radio with Westy this morning; there's plenty of listening to keep me going. With enough caffeine anything is possible. I'll just pull out box by box and do all I can until I can't stands no more.

On the present front, it's slowly coming together. A couple things came in the mail, I have a list to go through over the weekend and place orders. I'll put up the tree on Sunday. That's a 3 day project now but it's a joyful one. I've a mind to only unpack the boxes in the way right now and leave the rest til January. Besides, I have to get a replacement for the missing bookshelf  before I can get all the books sorted. Like I said, there's a long winter ahead.

Tad sent me this last night; definitely a good'un:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ws0WSNRpy3g

Haven't looked at the news yet, but I'll be hearing plenty on Westy's show and will catch up at break time. Til then, don't do anything I wouldn't do. ;)

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Hodge Podgin'



Here are some random things that don't fit anywhere else but are good:
Very sweet memories:
 http://dearphotograph.com/

There are only 3200 wild tigers left on the planet. Ban the Tiger Trade:
http://www.tigertime.info/samfox.html

Will it never end?
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/harry-potter/8915691/Harry-Potter-and-yoga-are-evil-says-Catholic-Church-exorcist.html

One letter counts:
http://www.amnesty.org.uk/content.asp?CategoryID=10673

Stop Bullying:
http://www.stopbullying.gov/

Rachel Flowers blows me away:
http://www.youtube.com/user/12stringbabe#p/u/7/HrXuvkj5Vi0

Building Viking longboats:
http://www.lore-and-saga.co.uk/html/viking_ships.html

Let's get in the mood (though we'll always miss you, Big Man):
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2v_d-06Zzhc

The Magic Carpet Ride

Finally, three weeks after ordering, my new sitting room rug has arrived. There's still a few things to replace, like a rug and drapes for the bedroom, but bit by bit the house is looking like home. The old parlor carpet was given to me by Seth a dozen years ago. Wool, and well made, it took the flood to kill it. It was tough to give up, as I'm sentimental and it represented years of memories. This one isn't nearly the same quality, but it's good looking and I could afford it at 75 bucks. Funnily, it's the exact same colors as my Nana's old oriental, except this one's half the size and made in Saudi Arabia, not Persia.

So now comes the figuring out part. It's tightly rolled and wrapped in plastic, and not very heavy. It's 5X8, so not too big either. All manageable. But as with most things, it's the finagling into its spot that's dicey. I'm still pretty much one-armed and one-legged. Neither of which is a total obstacle, just requires some thought before action. A lot of thought, actually.

These careful planning steps didn't used to be necessary. I'd've simply picked up the coffee table, spread the carpet, lift whatever furniture legs onto it  and put the coffee table back. Now it's strategy. Unroll it beforehand and slide it down and under from off the sofa, using the shorter width? Lay it down and unroll it into place, lifting the legs of the coffee table as it goes, by the length? Once it's on the ground will I be able to reach down to it or do I have to sit and use my leg to get it in place? This is why everything takes seven times the time it did; because you have to figure out how best to do something so it can be done, and done without injury.

In the end, I sat on the sofa and unrolled it lengthwise, pushing with my leg. As it hit the coffee table legs I lifted them over, then pushing the coffee table- heavy as it is- helped me drag and flatten the carpet in place. The whole operation took maybe 15 minutes. Much less time than the ruminating took.

This is probably a boring post, but I feel it's important for people to know how the disabled get things done given the way they are. It takes time and thought, and puts you in a different mindset than the able-bodied. We have to look for how we can accomplish things in new circumstance, sometimes with ever-changing faculties, and get it finished without hurting ourselves. It's no snap of the fingers, but it can be done. If one values their independence, one finds a way. The feeling of accomplishment is worth it.

And now my magic carpet looks terrific. It's even changed the acoustics. Can't wait to get the place finished and decorate!

A Father Votes for the First Time

Yesterday, for the first time in 80 years, Egypt had a free election. This short video tells the story of Magdi Mostafa Mohamed and his son, Tarek Mostafa, who was killed in the uprising. It is both heartening and heartbreaking, as Magdi recounts his son's death while watching the footage of it, then goes to cast his vote so proudly.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/video/2011/nov/29/egypt-elections-sacrificed-vote-video

I've seen few things that moved me so much. Gods bless you, Mr. Mohamed. 

Monday, November 28, 2011

LIFE IS GOOD!

Not only will Strider soon be going on vacation for the first time I can remember. She will be coming with me to see Greg. And we will meet him. And tell him the "love child" story. (Actually, she'll have to tell him; I'll be stammering or out cold) And I'm going to ask him to autograph me, which I'll then have tattoed. Don't know where to do it. I want to be able to see it. And there are areas that if he touched I may die on the spot. Any suggestions?  

Melting, Melting, Oh What a World

It's been bizarrely warm lately. The snow has all melted but for the shoveled mounds that are ugly and dirty. It's foggy and drippy this morning, looking much more like late Spring than 4 weeks from Christmas in Vermont.

News this morning that Ken Russell, the British director, has died. Russell's catalog of controversial and somewhat notorious films remains. RIP.
 http://www.guardian.co.uk/film/2011/nov/28/ken-russell-dies-aged-84

Six AIDS patients have died after they stopped taking meds because their church told them they were healed:
http://www.nydailynews.com/life-style/health/hiv-patients-die-church-tells-stop-meds-healed-god-report-article-1.983069

Occupy LA protesters won't leave:
http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/occupy-los-angeles-protesters-defy-police-refuse-leave-encampment-city-hall-deadline-article-1.983370

The Egyptian elections are underway:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/middle-east-live/2011/nov/28/egypt-elections-live-updates

The NATO/Pakistani relations continue to deteriorate:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/nov/28/china-pakistan-nato-border-attack

Perception of Climate Change is shifting:
http://bigthink.com/ideas/41280

Jimmy Carter continues to be more optimistic than I:
http://bigthink.com/ideas/25348

Video: America's senior nomads:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-15856069

Urinal games:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-15923434

On that note, I'm off.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

LOTR: a Good Background for Tough Days

The bedroom is well on its way to organized. Clothes are in drawers, though mostly just pitched in. Neatness doesn't count when you're plowing through a mountain of crap. Fine tuning things will come later. I have a long winter ahead to put things exactly where and how I want them.

Strangely, I drew inspiration by having the Lord of the Rings trilogy playing. The fight noise, yelling and general pissed-offedness of everyone involved was calming and uplifting while I fought the Battle for the Bedroom. :)  It occurs to me that I'm probably PMSing, too, which always brings a lot more pain, as well as shortened patience and a mouth like Redd Foxx. It's hard to tell when you're PMSing at this age; nothing is as it was. A calendar is useless. And sometimes you go through the whole PMS and nothing happens, it all just goes away. How lovely to be a woman.

Good things today, too. Mustn't lose sight of that. Strider will be bringing Hildie down in a couple or three weeks. I hope she brings Ems too. I miss him terribly. That's perfect timing, and hopefully her Christmas presents will be here by then. I can't wait to see her! My neighbor brought me watermelon. She loved the pies I gave her; it's peaceful in The Shire. Another gift of the flood. I also got to talk for a long while with my brother, which was great. It's been a month since he retired and he's going stir crazy. And yes, it's for sure that Greg Lake will be touring next year. And I will move heaven and earth to get to at least one of his concerts. It's been almost 35 years since the ELP at MSG concert! I expect my shirt will stay on this time. Daryl and I are back at the Heat Fund and for December I'm making one of Strider's dishes (she gave me permission). Details will follow, though not the recipe unless you make a donation... hint, hint.

Time to hit the shower, put on jammies, make some dinner (3 days of turkey is enough). It'll be an early day again tomorrow with the Maintenance crew. Our plumbing's still not right. I actually haven't checked to see if the hot water's working tonight. Oh joy, I may be filthy when they get here. I hate that, they're cute.

Full On Pissy

Warning: The following is a huge pissy fit.

Oh my god eveything hurts and all I got unpacked so far today is 4 boxes and 3 garbage bags of clothes, towels, sheets and various odd bits. I've been cursing like a longshoreman at inanimate objects while throwing things and stuffing them in uncooperative dressers and linen shelves and closets. Everything pisses me off because I drop so much, don't have much use of my right hand and have to sit through the whole thing. Which means making room for my walker to sit on it, which means making space before I can even start, and there. is. no. space. Can't even let friends (who've offered) help me do it, because there's no room for more than one person and a walker. That, and I want to keep my friendships. I turn into too much of a maniac to inflict that on my pals.

The right, formerly dislocated shoulder gets bitchy if I lean on it too long but that's all that arm's good for right now, and the left broken collarbone is snappily rebelling against movement. With the insane weather change my hip is just beyond. If I was a car I'd junk me.

It all has to be done by next week, though, because HUD will be coming through inspecting, and things have to be in their goddamned places for the feds. Really, we're all infirmed and old here; you'd think they'd give us more than 3 friggin ass weeks to get sorted out before barracks inspection.

And with all the dust stirred up I'm filthy and will get more filthy so there's another chore before bedtime.

However, progress was made. There's more to do before I can actually get into my bed; things need moving so I can get to the other dresser and put clothing away. Once that's done it won't be so bad in there. But it's a good thing my neighbor's so deaf. There will be much more cursing before the day is done.

The Brick Wall is Showing

Since coming home, trying to straighten out both the house and my head and starting the holiday ride, I've tried to stay away from getting too upset over politics and the asses that steer things. But that has come to an end. There are too many rotten things going on with these United States.

Where the hell to begin?
Some wahoo soldiers killing 24 Pakistanis?
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/nov/27/pakistan-orders-us-leave-shamsi-airbase

Bloomie showing what a rich pig really thinks of the working people?
 http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/nov/27/michael-bloomberg-mayor-occupy-wall-street-new-york

The Occupy crackdown?
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cifamerica/2011/nov/25/shocking-truth-about-crackdown-occupy

Or how about this frightening development, brought to my attention by Geo. at Trainride of the Enigmas?
http://trainrideoftheenigmas.blogspot.com/2011/11/ows-autopoundical-dogmatic-view.html

This is truly sneaky, scary shit, brought to you by Sens. John McCain (yes, him) and Carl Levin. They will be "considering" this fascist act tomorrow. " At 1:00 PM on Monday, November 28, 2011, the Senate will convene and resume consideration of S. 1867 (Department of Defense Authorization Bill)" as per the US Senate Periodical's site. That this has been so kept under wraps scares the hell out of me. And oh, it has Obama's support:
http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/omb/legislative/sap/112/saps1867s_20111117.pdf

And the man who went to his cancer-stricken wife's hospital bed and told her he was leaving her for another woman just got a hearty endorsement to be Pres:
http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/newt-gingrich-wins-big-endorsement-hampshire-article-1.983076

It's all terrible.

“The illusion of freedom will continue as long as it's profitable to continue the illusion. At the point where the illusion becomes too expensive to maintain, they will just take down the scenery, they will pull back the curtains, they will move the tables and chairs out of the way and you will see the brick wall at the back of the theater.”
― Frank Zappa

Saturday, November 26, 2011

A Store-bought Holiday

This is the first year in many that I'll have to buy nearly everything I'll be giving. In normal times, I'd have started making things in September. Making things is part of the whole deal to me- I love anything handmade for me and so do most of my pals. Now I'm too short of time and ability to pull off those projects (I still owe Grotke the mostly unfinished walking stick from a year and a half ago!) and it's beginning to look a lot like a store-bought holiday.

Which is definitely a challenge, in several ways. Since I can't go mill around stores it means everything has to be ordered via catalog and internet and be shipped sight unseen. And there's cost. Holy cow, prices have skyrocketed in the last few years. Still, there are bargains to be found if you hunt, it just takes time and perseverance. Inherent in my crew of homemade-things lovers is a sensibility for quality over glamour, and practicality over useless frivs. Armed with knowing my presentees' wants (and in some cases, needs) makes it easier. It's also easier because we're old farts now so replacing a long-lost and missed album or book is always a hit and we don't have to deal with the hot gift of the year. Not that any of us could afford that anyway. Budgets must be stuck to these days.

So now that we're past Thanksgiving, it's go time. There will be conversations wherein I'll sneak questions, much Amazonian action and a good amount of cursing at websites, FedEx (already started) and the PO, I'm sure. It's all part of the festivities. And before we know it, it'll be 2012 and we'll still be writing 2011 on our checks.

How to Troll

The holidays are here, bringing out the best in so many people. It seems to me that trolling has become a traditional pastime for this time of year. Wiki defines a troll as " someone who posts inflammatory, extraneous or off-topic messages in an online community, such as an online discussion forum, chat room, or blog, with the primary intent of provoking readers into an emotional response or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion."

Well, I say if you're gonna do it, do it right. So here are some basic pointers for effective trolling:

1. Choose an abrasive character to be and remain otherwise anonymous.

2. Play the man, not the ball. Get nasty and personally attack if you can't win the argument.

3. Criticize something. More than one thing if possible.

4. Find a straw man argument, a false dichotomy. The accusation of hypocrisy is always a good one to use but accusations of ignorance and lying are good, too.

5. Failing that, there's whataboutery. Any failings of the opponent, however irelevant to the topic under discussion, will do. Search thru past comments.

6. Study other trolls, who'll just riff; spew words until a negative effect is achieved. Or choose a theme approriately offensive/provocative to the audience and let your hatred fly.

There. Now that you have the basic rules, run with it. Trolling is not profitable and will not make you friends, but it seems to be quite popular among those who like it.
 Happy Holidays.

Friday, November 25, 2011

A Day at Strider's

Written at 11 am on October 25th. If all goes well, when this posts I'll be sitting at Sr. Clarisse in my broken down wing chair.

Mornings are quiet. I wake up with pins and needles arm and bitching hip. I find a position to hit presssure points and lay there a while. Neither of us can speak or bear noise in the morning. One or the other of us is up or gets up, lets the animals out. Hildie follows me to the bathroom and jumps onto the sink for her morning drink. Strider goes to work, or tries to sleep in, or isn't here.

Ems comes in and gets breakfast. Clem stays out. She'll be back in an hour. Coffee is drunk. Lots of coffee by me. I'm drinking it black with nothing in it these days. It's good coffee. I go online. Catch up with emails, read the news, blog. Strider may or may not be in the kitchen, or in her big chair, or upstairs. At some point we start talking. Sometimes music or movies get played. Sometimes it's quiet and there's reading. Here and there is a morning that's a Strider's-Very-Constructive day. Food is discussed. More emails by me or FBing by Strider. Animals going out or coming in or wanting rubbing. This is repeated in various forms.

Somebody cooks. Animals get fed and go out or come back in. Hildie follows me to the bathroom a few times. News is discussed. Maybe a short bitch session. Laughing. More music, or movie, or reading. Dinner happens. Everybody eats. Laughing. One of the animals does something. Laughing. Strider gets into big chair, I sit at desk, both online. We laugh at things online. All of a sudden it's late. Strider goes to bed. I read for a while, eventually sleep deeply...

Doubting Austan

Yes, it's that time of year when I get existentialist, questioning. Since I began reading at the age of 4, I've read a lot. If you read, and you breathe, it leads you to think. I know that's not popular these days, but I still do it, sillyass old-fashioned twit that I am, I think.

While I have no doubt about "life after death" and no doubt there is a Big Good that connects us when we tap into That, I have doubts about religions. The organized religions that have survived (with lots of organized money) on into these days are the ones in charge. The big 3 desert religions, Judaism, Christianity and Islam, all command center-stage. Other religions get attention in political squabbles or as novelty press, but they hold no sway. The desert religions rule much of the Earth. And so do their laws, that date back to Hammurabi's days.

There's no question to my mind that there's something bigger and better than any of us, but I don't see That as others see It, and can't subscribe to a desert religion. Which makes for divides. Not being a Yahweh follower these days in America is starting to feel like the medieval days when you were either Christian or kindling. It's not enough to say, "Hey, that's what you believe; it's not what I believe but I'm glad you have a belief." Because Evangelism has become rampant again. Everybody's out to tell others to believe as they do or else. Oh, what a hemorrhoid. Who cares what someone else believes anyway? And the judgment- Bitty said yesterday, "These people around here will all be frying biscuits!" with such relish and righteousness.about her longed-for Judgment Day. Wow. Makes me want to stay away from her church, her friends and her.

So perhaps my doubts don't lie in any supernatural imaginary friend but in my fellow human and the imaginary friend they worship. That's what worries me, anyway. Because their imaginary friend seems to be telling them they're right.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Never Thought I'd Write This Sentence:

I'm thankful for Lady Gaga.

She is who I wished I'd become when I was 15. It takes a special vision and bravery to just do what the hell you were put here to do. It also takes a lot of talent and confidence. And looks and luck. And timing is everything. She has guided herself to the point where others can help, but it's still her up there. And it's a time in humanity when what she says will be heard.

Skoal, Gaga. I'm glad I'm alive in a world where you became a big star. That alone makes me think there's hope.

Okay, now I'm going to bed.

Apres the Turkey

We're all full. Post-dinners, some of us gathered here and ate pie to stuff it down. I couldn't eat after dinner, seems to be an aging thing. There's just so much I can eat anymore. Once the hunger's done (which is alarmingly like after 15 bites now) I can put copious amounts of liquid in, but the chewing is over. It gets to dessert and I just can't. Which is fine because the best breakfast in the world is pie.

It was a dramaless holiday, just a bit of bitching to spice things up. Very nice. The best thing is seeing the same old faces, and for the most part they were seen. Long as we have those touchstones everything's all right.

I'm getting silly and have drunk a good portion of whiskey so I'm going to put my feet up and relax and start dreaming of a white Christmas. Why not? We got a white Thanksgiving...

We Gather Together

There is much to be thankful about. For us, nobody in the family is serving in the military, nobody is terribly sick and nobody is in serious circumstances this Thanksgiving. We are all, as far as I know, going to eat the bird and kick back with those we usually do in safety and comfort. We'll have plenty to eat and to share. We'll sit around and chat and eat something else. We'll laugh, maybe sing at some point, do what we do. That's part of what's so good. The same faces, year after year, doing what we do.

News on the Ladies of the Lake website that Greg will be touring next year! Just the thought of that, seeing Greg in person 35 years later, I get happy.

And so, for all the smiling faces of year after year, for being back in my home, for Greg doing another tour, for all that I have and all I can share, for all I can count on and all I can hope for, may I be mindfully thankful every day.
  

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Le Menu, 2011

Not all that ambitious, and I'm not doing everything from scratch anymore. Who the Hell wants to make breadcrumbs? Not I. It's all good and I'm not spitting tacks this way. We're having Pie Night after our separate dinners. I love Pie Night.

Withhout further ado, here's Thanksgiving 2011:
noshes- olives, apples, celery with cream cheese

Turkey
Sage-celery-onion stuffing
mashed taters
creamed onions
sauteed spinach with garlic
sweet corn
fresh cranberry sauce
gravy

That should be enough for 2 people.

Pie Night brings Grotke and his raspberry-apple pie, and I have a cranberry crunch and a pumpkin here. It'll be a small Pie crowd this year; the whole Muffinpants family is going down to Massachusetts. But it'll be fun.

The onion-celery-butter mix for the stuffing is smelling cooked. It's all happening. Every year it's like a miracle to me, and every year it's less stressful. You'd think I'd be used to it. I've been cooking Thanksgiving since 1984. But just these last few years I've got it down to a system that works without troubles. For that I'm thankful. It keeps Snippy Fussbudget, Martyr, at bay.

As I leave to finish the stuffing, I wish everyone a fun Thanksgiving.  

And We're Off!

This is where the madness really begins. The day before the last Thursday of November. Today is all about getting the food underway. Tomorrow is about the food. Friday starts the insanity as adults across the nation belly up to buy the latest gizmo, the year's must-have toy, the perfect gift.

Today we start flying down the slide that ends in January when we hit the ground, tapped and tired. The rest of the year will be a blur of projects and purchases, food and drink, decorations, plans, dreams. I do love it; there's nothing like the holidays to bring out the best in even the worst of humans. By today the grocery stores are calming down and only the last-minute types will be in there, ranting and panicky.

Which reminds me of the years I spent in Turkey Hell. Every Monday before Thanksgiving, the turkeys would arrive at our meat department. About 450 of them. All fresh and high-end locally farmed birds. Sizes from 12-28 lbs. They each had to be taken out of the boxes, weighed, tagged and either put on the sales floor or back in the meat locker (I heard they're selling for $2.99 a lb this year). It was insane and exhausting and by Wednesday night we'd be down to a few 18 lbers, none of which were the size the last stragglers wanted. These would be the first customers to tell me I'd ruined their holidays.

My favorite Turkey Hell story was a call I received about an hour before closing on one of those Wednesdays. A man began shrieking that he'd "paid good money for a fresh Vermont turkey", and his was frozen. It was a cold snap and he'd put his turkey on the porch overnight, where it froze. I offered to exchange it for another bird if he could get to the store before closing, but he wasn't having it. "This bird is frozen!" he said. "I think the coop should take some responsibility!"

Makes you wonder how some people made it to adulthood.

We had a few inches of wet snow last night. The Shire has a mantle of white, sparrows and chickadees zooming around. It's a pretty scene out my window. Thank gods I'm back and moved in. This would be miserable to be moving in, though there are some slated to do so today, here.

Okay, time for another cuppa and then it's get the food going. If I don't get back until after the festivities, Happy Thanksgiving to you all and see you soon.

  

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

48 Years Already?

On this day in 1963 JFK was killed in Dallas, Texas. We who were alive at the time remember when and where we heard the news.

There's been much speculation on what really happened and how Kennedy ended up dead that day. Everyone knows the theories. There was a guy in my high school who was a big JFK conspiracy theorist, Jim Kinsella. He was the first person I knew who made allegations that the official story was all lies. While some of these theories are outlandish, there's some compelling evidence that things weren't what we think. My friend Tomaidh posted a link to this now-deleted History Channel episode:

http://www.personalgrowthcourses.net/video/assassinations/men_who_killed_kennedy_9_assassinations

My take is that we'll never know the truth.

Stephen King's book, 11/22/63, has come out. Strider read it already, natch. She said it was a fun ride.
http://www.stephenking.com/promo/11-22-63/announcement/

Hard to believe it was 48 years ago. My my, nearly a half-century can pass so quickly.

Helena Handbasket

Holy cow, I don't look at the news for 2 days and all kindsa hellzapoppin.

Too late to say you're sorry:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/nov/22/uc-davis-chancellor-sorry-pepper-spray

No reason, but the truth is plain to see:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2011/nov/21/obama-threatens-veto-republicans-supercommittee

And from a Jobs With Justice email:
Even as we celebrate together, we are gearing up for more action. A deadlocked super committee means that there will automatic across-the-board cuts, split 50-50 between defense and non-defense spending while Social Security and Medicaid would be excluded. This deadlock also emphasis that there are many Congressional members committed to reducing the country's debt on the backs of the 99% and giving Wall Street yet another sweet back-room deal. It also means that we’re not any closer to solving this revenue crisis. Our work together continues! Please join us on December 7th in Washington D.C. when Superheros from the 99% will lead a Speak Out for Jobs not Cuts

Emerson Lake and Palmer have a new album coming out!
This album was made at their peak.

It's all happening, still, in Egypt:

Libya PM says no Islamists in cabinet:

Macy's balloons could get a windy day:

Road breaks away, no injuries:

We've lost Shelagh Delaney:

And John Neville:

Everyone gets naked in support of Weiwei:

Killer pleads guilty in California:

And that's just a few stories...

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Enough!

Wow does everything take 7 times longer to do than ever. A full day of work and all I have to show for it is 4 empty boxes, some half-filled drawers and the bedroom lamp and my phone set up. The phone machine held the messages I didn't get in August, so those were weird to hear. And if things are strangely packed, well, that's how it got done. The various parts of things will show up, or not.

Here's something cheesy- I noticed the bags of cranberries didn't seem to make as much, so looked at the fine print. Aha! Bags of cranberries are no longer a pound; they're 12 ounces. Thanks for that rotten surprise, Ocean Spray.

Seems I've developed quite a blue streak as I work, good thing there are no kids around.

As night falls around Chez Austan, things are still a huge mess but a little bit better than they were this morning. I reported what needs fixing around here, so they'll be here early tomorrow, as is their wont. With a good night of sleep I'll be back at it before they show up. And maybe I'll have the time and space to catch up on all the news, too. Enough for tonight.

Gifts of Food

Since coming home I've gotten goodies. First off, Paul showed up with raspberry coffee cake (I love it when men bake!) on moving in morning. It was so good... Then Phoe came by with fresh Clementine loaf cake. Yum. And then Alicia brought fresh eggs from her chickens and vanilla yogurt she made. I swear, I've never ever had such yogurt. Better than any. Ever. Ever. Somewhere between natural cream (which is nothing like what you buy in the supermarket, btw) and whipped cream. Dense and light at once. And fresh eggs? Nothing else like em on earth. Oh it's good to be home!

And Daryl will be doing a Heat Fund day on Westy's show Dec. 14th, so gotta come up with an unused recipe and demo for them to eat on air.

The toikey moves to fridge from freezer today, and the cranberries get cooked for both sauce and pie. We're in it now, there's only forward. The menu is set and there's a streamlined cooking schedule for this week. Quite the challenge when I haven't found the mixing bowls, plates or really anything yet. But it'll happen, it always does.

Things are on hold as far as The Shire. Numbers have to be worked up for the December meeting. Meanwhile, some of the displaced residents have found other housing right here in The Shire and we're organizing their moving on Tuesday and Wednesday. At least they won't be homeless for Thanksgiving.

And it's time to get the fruit donation for the VA hospital again. Holy cow where does a year go? So much happens and it goes by so fast.

Well, time for another coffee and get into the boxes in the kitchen. It won't unpack itself. 

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Getting Pissy...

A bunch of good people got it together and brought home the Rest of It, mostly. Here are random things I'd written off; herbs and groceries, a willow wreath. Giant Pile in the Kitchen is back, and so is Abominable Bedroom. It's starting to feel like home again.

There's good that's come out of this, too. There's peace in the hallway. I had to buy new bathroom stuff and I love the new towels. And the new shower curtain. The bathroom is fully functional (though I have to call in about the water heater). My new bed is fab. All in all, I got through pretty unscathed. But I can't recommend it.

Weird coinky: my SIL#1 and I both moved into our present homes on the same day and without our cats. And we bought new beds.

Also, I want to apologize to my aide in advance for the Hell she'll be walking into on Tuesday. The Holiday Dervish Part One is about to possess me wherein I become Snippy Fussbudget, Martyr.

Morning in the Shire

It's chilly but blue-skied, the elder hobbits meeting and greeting on the paths. The gang is organizing to get the rest of my stuff out of the Muffinpants' house this morning. People are still moving in and getting settled here and hopefully that will continue in peace.

The first week back has blown right by. Not half of what I wanted to get done is done but oh well. There is only so much you can get worked up about anymore. The news takes a lot out of ya.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/nov/18/occupy-movement-iconic-image-martyrdom

But there's always good in the bad, too. Maybe the Berrigans I've been looking for are finally surfacing:
http://stanneswashingtonville.dioceseny.org/2011/11/bishop-mark-sisk-writes-in-response-to-the-occupy-wall-street-protests/

The Hallmark channel is already doing marathon Christmas programming. WTH? It's not even Thanksgiving yet. Can we have some time? I can't even think about Christmas.

Best get my butt moving. The gang will be here in an hour!

Friday, November 18, 2011

St. Francis Revisited

While moving in last Saturday, several random coincidences among us here came to light, including a highly unusual meeting of former-Staten-Islanders. With this new connection to one who knows places from my teenage years came news about my old school, St. Francis. That being, that the building was being made into luxury condos.

It's probably sentimentality gone mad, but I still hold that place, those grounds and my time there as almost sacred. So I looked it up online and found this:
http://stfranciscentersi.org/

Right now, it's a Catholic training center and still used by the Franciscans. Seeing the photos of the place brought back a rush of memories. I don't want to hear it's gone to yuppie slumland. I emailed them to ask what's happening and how I can help. It seems odd to me that the quite rich RC church would do that to a prime real estate. You'd think they'd want to keep it. I hope it's just not true.  

Not Perfect

A couple things have provided an undercurrent of hahahs lately. One is

"Look at This F***ing Hipster", what gives me that happy stomach feeling as I do know many hipsters and they make me giggle, but I wasn't aware it was a reaction to the silly I was feeling:
http://www.latfh.com/

They've put out a book too:
http://www.amazon.com/Look-This-cking-Hipster-Mande/dp/0312624972/ref=reg_hu-rd_dp_img

And there's Tim Minchin, comic and musician:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gv4c9NHg3sQ

He's a hipster but really, hipsters are fine. Their very silliness and high level of irony is refreshing. It can get trite and annoying but there are much worse things.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

A Turning Moment

Media-art-geeks are the broadcasters of this movement. OWS would never have gotten this far and continue growing without good media ops. Here's a heartening blip from the ongoing coverage:

"A massive projection is being displayed on the Verizon building south of the Brooklyn Bridge. In a series of shots it reads, "We are the 99%, Look around, you are a part of a global uprising...We are unstoppable, another world is possible...We are a cry from the heart of the world...It is the beginning of the beginning." The projection then goes on to display the names of occupations around the country in rapid-fire succession with the final name reading, "Occupy Earth." With a chorus of honking cars in the background, the crowd erupts in cheers and reads the display in unison as they pass."

http://www.guardiannews.com/world/blog/2011/nov/17/occupy-wall-street-day-of-action-live

It's Up to You, New York...

Someone just sent me this link to a video on YT about what's happening in Zuccotti Park:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mhQCpXM-Sm4

I have no words.

Charitable Gifting

For the last few years I've made donations to Heifer International in lieu of gifts for some of my family (who really don't need more crap to live with). The gifts range from a heifer ($500) to a flock of chickens or ducks ($20) to Women in Livestock Development support ($10,000) to honeybees ($30).  This year they're even sending cards to the people to whom you dedicate the gift, so it'll take cards off your mailing list as well.

 https://secure1.heifer.org/gift-catalog

Do good.

What a Card

Am hunting for the annual cards. This is old-fashioned and inefficient but I love it. There are some friends I've exchanged cards with for 40 years, that won't end. But since cards are all expensive (I remember buying an assortment box of Hallmarks- 50 for 2.99- no more!) now I buy cards that charities put out. And here's a nifty site with a variety of charities' holiday cards:

http://www.goodcausegreetings.com/personal_cards/holiday.asp

Haven't decided which yet, but there's one thing off the list soon as I do. ; )

So Far Behind I Can't See Ketchup

Everything needs doing and it's all priority. This has caused many things to suffer today, including blogging time. It's been off to the races every day here with inspectors, BHA folks and just people. It's all good and necessary but it eats up so much of the day! Here it is afternoon and not half the things I want to do have been gotten to.

So I made coffee and am writing this and making lists while here at the desk. There is much in the news:
There's a day of action going on after the police closings of OWS around the US:
 http://www.guardiannews.com/world/blog/2011/nov/17/occupy-wall-street-day-of-action-live

And in NYC, the OWS did just that:
http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york

The mother of Hugh Grant's child was threatened:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2011/nov/16/leveson-inquiry-hugh-grant

Photoshopping gets Benetton in trouble:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/nov/17/benetton-pope-kissing-ads

Our own Senator Leahy wants to censor the internet:
http://www.ibrattleboro.com/article.php/20111115120949852

Syria's Arab Spring still not resolved:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-15769804

Cheap and terrible foods:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-15760897

Today's 24 hours in photos:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/gallery/2011/nov/17/1

Now back to these lists....

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

From King to Queen of RnR

This fuzzy morning, Lawless advised me to get out some old rock n'roll. I took that suggestion seriously and have spent a royal music day.
From King Crimson
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5eBWptLeMPA

to more Crimso
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hfTzdHCyP9w

to Kansas
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CB17uWuBrL0

to more cowbells:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cMYSWiPm7E0

to learning love from fools and from sages
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8W1G1leWMEA

to paths you can go by
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w9TGj2jrJk8

to a house in New Orleans
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mmdPQp6Jcdk

to a whiter shade of pale
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mb3iPP-tHdA

to a song that got me an A on a paper
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q29YR5-t3gg

to a kitchen chair
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WJTiXoMCppw

to September 11th
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hMaP5vm0MhQ

to be heroes
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xdo5f_ozf6E

to out here in the fields
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cG_uDDEnzC4

to balloons
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0wtiNzci1Wc

to Muffinpants
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y_n_P40sEaM

to love somebody
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AxJxUFoR0Es

to Queen
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LRt2jX1kaYo

Some Days Ya Can't Go Fast Enough

Things have gotten done, despite the stream of visitors, lousy weather (it's more like April than November) and being right square on the bitch line.

Miracle Working Nurse brought me a box of chocolates. She looks great, though her husband was just diagnosed with throat cancer. Hate that. Cancer is the worst thing I know, just ahead of the treatment for it.

One of the BHA women was by to check on each of us and make sure everything was working. She's good people. There really are a lot of good people in the world. A lot can depend on shared experience. When you get to know someone as a human being it's harder to dislike them. Goes a long way toward forgiving too. I've emailed Billy twice and called just a while ago; no answers (also found out that they're charging me for LD calls now. Oh, Fairpoint...) Who knows what's up there. My old pal The Princess wrote a good, fair and tough LTTE of The Commons that impressed a BHA board member. Plague is hitting end of the semester in Grad School screamies (I remember that) but keeping her humor. Stevil is home sick. I worry about him. My Girl Friday is back -on Friday- but part of the Thanksgiving dinner is already in the house and everything's under control. There are things I entrust only to her. She can do everything in her sleep with her feet, it's so ingrained. Soon as she walks in she knows what to do. I'm lost without her. It's all gonna work out. I'm home.

The news has been, well frankly, too miserable for me to handle much of right now. I'll hit it as I can. But the Bachmann-CIA-ACLU story and Cain's twirly brain were pretty funny.

Got some clothes put away, found the canister set but not the drums or the bread box. It's a process.  It's all a process. And I gotta make the new post carrier stop with the pointless flirting with me, it takes up too much time. But I've got mail. Yay!

Still I miss Strider and the furfaces. Especially Ems. And The Beest. And the pastel kitty. ;)

The DRB meeting is Monday night, part deux of the saga of the Shire meetings. I want to be there for it.
So yeah, plans are being laid, things are getting done as they can get done.

A Message From a Non-sponsor

Y'all know I hate advertising. I've called it Satanic marketing and meant it, forever. It's evil and greed-encouraging, mindless gluttony glorified and justified. And still, now and then, someone gets a good idea that yes, still is meant for selling purposes, but is sweet anyway. Such is this little (5 mill pound) ad for John Lewis this Christmas season:

http://www.youtube.com/user/JohnLewisRetail

Foggy-Headed Morning Face

"From the opiate of custom to the ledges of extremes don't believe it til you've held it; life is seldom what it seems. Lay your heart upon the table and in the shuffling of dreams, remember who on Earth you are." -Pete Sinfield and Greg Lake

I got a head like a snowglobe this morning. More stuff floating and twirling around in it than in Herman Cain's brain. Going to bed early didn't really work, cuz I read a bit, then a thought would distract me, and then it's get up a few times to look at something or other. Which leads to doing something. Around midnight I turned everything off and made my eyes stay shut. Imagined a rainbow. Fell asleep.

Already up for 2 hours, I haven't done much but sit here reading online and staring out the window. It's a quiet morning in The Shire. Unusually warm. While I have a bajillion projects in mind and things lay around just waiting for my attention I don't want to do a thing but sit here and hold a cuppa.

Way back my brother Billy used to sing at me, "You've got morning face, I never cared for morning face but you've got morning face and that's your weakness now." 40 years later, it fits. I'll have to call him.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Early Retirement

This morning when I saw the clock read 6:50 a.m. I thought, well, roughly 10 hours' sleep, oughta get up. Several cups of coffee, a cinnamon bun and some chores later, I thought, "Damn I'm tired." But there was stuff to do, people to see. The tiredness didn't go away. If anything it seemed to settle into my muscles, which are all complaining.

It's 4 p.m. now, I've seen all the people, gotten stuff done (though not nearly all that needs doing), heard some horrifying stories, commiserated, laughed, and thanked everyone. I got nothing left. I'm flat as a used whoopie cushion.

This'll be an early night. I may not make it past sundown. I'm behind in phone calls (sorry Billy and Carolyn!) but really close to the bitch line so I'm nobody anyone would want to talk to tonight anyway.  I'll try again tomorrow. This is old fashioned tiredness, like I'd get after a full day on the dairy farm. The kind of tired that makes me want to eat, even though I've got a full stomach (2 slices of pizza and I'm full... what a lightweight I've become). The kind of tired that makes me mellow as long as I don't have to answer any questions. The kind of tired that only a lot of sleep will fix.

So even though Zombie Apocalypse is on tonight, I think I'll be missing it. 8 o'clock is certainly past my bedtime. I'll be lucky if I make it to 6. Night-night early for Austan. We'll take up arms again tomorrow.

What Constitutional Rights?

While I've been busy the last few days, the police state has moved in and evicted the peaceably assembled OWS protestors around the country. In the middle of last night, Zuccotti Park was forceably cleared. If I had any energy I'd be beyond pissed.
http://www.ibrattleboro.com/article.php/20111115095309872

However, the NYC protestors aren't taking it laying down:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/blog/2011/nov/15/occupy-wall-street-police-action-live

And here is the restraining order they have gotten:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/interactive/2011/nov/15/occupy-wall-street-restraining-order?intcmp=239

I'll be following this story. Have things to do right now but will be back later...

Susan's Pole Dance!

Susan at I Think, Therefore I Yam (cogito ergo spud) has kindly passed on a combo award-challenge- thingy. The Versatile Blogger is a challenge to reveal 7 things about yourself and pass it on to 7 bloggers you admire.
The 10 Things challenge is meant to get bloggers to tell the world 10 things about yourself and reveal more than you have already. So I'm gonna take Susan's handy idea to combine the two and tattle 10 things about myself and then pass it on to 7 unsuspecting bloggers.

1. I was a juvenile delinquent. In 6th grade I took 2 months off from school and explored NYC. This nearly landed me in Spofford, a girl's detention home. My local truant officer followed my moves for the next 2 years, showing up at the door every day I was home sick, to verify that I actually was sick. Not to mention the Hell that my parents pulled down on my head.

2. In my sophomore year of HS I got the acting bug. Without my parents knowledge I went to auditions in the city. This resulted in being caught when I was called back to Warner Bros. and had to have a parent there to sign releases. Didn't get the part (Wendy Jo Sperber did) but had to pay for their parking out of my allowance. Which took 3 months to pay back.

3. John Leguizamo kissed me. I was sitting at the bar in a restaurant I used to haunt and he was walking by. I asked if I could kiss him, and he bent me back and kissed me in a classic Hollywood style kiss. I'm still smiling.

4. Books are my passion. I will read anything laying around but have been known to cloister myself and read until my eyes give out. This last happened at Strider's house with Neil Gaiman's American Gods, a fabulous book in the classic meaning of fabulous.

5. I once catered an affair at the Dag Hammarskjold building with a toaster oven. And Henry Kissinger helped me carry things from the cab, in the rain, in his socks.

6. The NYPD detained me for protesting when I was 12. Surprisingly this didn't bring Hell upon my head.

7. My husband was a soap actor on One Life to Live, but looked a lot like a Broadway actor and we were often stopped in the street or in a restaurant where he would graciously sign autographs as Bob Cuccioli.

8. In 1981 I had a bright pink Mohawk. In the backwoods of PA. It didn't win me friends.

9. My most prized possession is a family ring of unknown age. It's a gold rose with a big pearl in the center and 12 diamonds set as stamens around it. It goes back to the Scottish line, so is probably 18th-19th century vintage. My family were landed gentry and my cousins and I are entitled to being called "Sir" and "Lady". A not so great-grandfather lost everything to drink and gambling.

10. I'm double-jointed everywhere. My thumbs bend down to my arms, for example. A few years back, a rheumatologist told me that double-jointed folks have the worst arthritis. I'd never heard that before.

Well, geez, that wasn't hard at all.

Okay, now here are the 7 bloggers whose deep dark secrets I want to know about:

Gary at Klahanie
Stevil at auto de fey
Delores at The Feathered Nest
Geo. at Trainride of the Enigmas
Arleen at Starting Over, Accepting Changes, Maybe
Rory at The Scottish Scribbler
Havard at Courageous Mind

Thanks, Susan, this was fun! Can't wait to read other people's 10 things...

Monday, November 14, 2011

There and Back Again

It took 3 days, 2 cable guys visiting, and 6 Comcast phone people but I'm back online in the Shire, in my cozy beat up wing chair. The move in went really well because several good people showed up and helped, even 2 BHA board commissioners! My neighbor and I are like jolly old friends after our pissy beginnings, all washed away in the flood. I gave her some cinnamon buns and you'd've thought it was a thousand bucks. She brought over a phone for me to use since my phones and many other belongings are MIA. Apparently some of the helpful volunteers helped themselves to people's belongings. Very sad, but I'm not giving up hope that things will turn up. I don't even have everything from the Muffinpants' house storage so the jury's still out. We'll see what happens..

Thank you all for keeping me bucked up and hearing my rants and despair through the last 2 1/2 months. You inspired me to keep fighting, to stay focussed and to keep my knees bent to absorb the shocks. :) It's been Hell and the war to keep these buildings isn't over, but hallelujah I'm home.

Really, I'm to-the-bone exhausted. I feel like I could sleep for a week. There's so much to do, a few things that still aren't working, and the place looks like the wreck of the Hesperus. But I'm home. Everything else is secondary. I'm older and wiser for this experience. I know who loves me better than I ever did or dreamed. I've had some amazing experiences in all this. Made new friends, got to love old ones even more than I did, and made it through pretty much intact. And my new bed is heaven.

So life goes on. The holidays will come, I'll throw a huge party, 2012 will dawn over The Shire. We live to fight another day. Sometimes that's all you need.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

To The Shire!

Before I take the computer apart again, I just want to say thank you to everyone. I couldn't have made it thru 2 1/2 months of homelessness and insanity without all this support. In an hour or so I'll be back at The Shire. I know the phone line's up, dunno about the cable. I'll make a mayday call to Comcast to get me back up and running if it's not.

Until I get back here, thank you, every one, for all your help and concern. You guys rock.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Shock and Awe

Strider drove me back to Bratt today. It was a drive that zoomed by, as my mind turned and twisted over all that was going on. We got to the Muffinpants' house and she and Adhi unloaded the car. And Strider headed back to Maine. I tried not to cry, but it didn't quite work.

Anyway, after seeing all the renovations they've been doing and having a great dinner with lots of the Muffinpants family, I set about getting my computer going. And as soon as I opened my inbox I see an email saying "Congrats" and another from our Senator saying "Your Home".

Yes, I can go home. Tomorrow.

So I go into Red Alert and fire off an email to most everyone I know, asking for help- well, more like shrieking. I mean, I don't know if I'll have phone or internet/cable on, it's a Friday night and a holiday, and a lot of people are out partying tonight. I think it'll happen; it's part of my bizarrely charmed, weirdass life to have these swings of fate. And just as I wrote that, 2 emails came in. It's gonna work out. Not all at the same time (people will be coming at different times and to & from different places), but as long as we can get the stuff out of the Pods and I can shower, eat and sleep, everything else is gravy.

Okay, checked my home phone line. It rings! That's one down. Gotta borrow a phone until my phone gets found and unpacked. Babalu will shop for me- gotta make a short grocery list to get me through til Tuesday.

Part of me thinks this is a joke, or not really gonna happen; it's been so many near-misses that I can't process it, much less feel anything. I guess I should be joyous, but I'm fried. Totally and completely fried.

I emailed Strider to let her know, too. She got home in one piece, thank gods, and will have the weekend to get her house back to normal.
And she replied, how if we'd known, I could've taken Hildiebeest. Well, it just means Strider will come back down sooner. Hildebeest makes life miserable for poor pastel kitty and for Strider now, too, I'm sure. So I won't miss either of them for too long, either. :)

It's all gonna work out. It has to. It always does.
So I'll be back when I'm set up and back in Hobbiton- sometime between tomorrow and Monday. What a difference a day makes.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Maybe, Maybe Not

Depending upon a lot of circumstances and the way things go, I may be off line Friday and into Saturday. I don't know what kind of set up there is at the Muffinpants' house.

One way or another I'll be back blogging over the weekend. And I'll return emails as soon as I can. So far I've been lucky in internet access, we'll see if that holds.

Until then, carry on, make waves, party like a rock star. ;)

Getting Ready to Go Go Again

Okay, the foods are all made but the mashed potatoes for tonight. It's still foggy right to the tree line. I can't find the tote for my clothes. At least the emails went out and everyone knows what's going on. And Annie sent me a lovely excited email that made my day.

The thing that really upsets me now is that I won't be able to take the Beest with me. She'll have to come down at a later time, when I'm back in The Shire and Strider can drive down. That sucks. I've grown very attached to the little monster.

I'll be missing Strider a lot. And Ems the Wonderdog. And the pastel not-quite-here kitty. This home has been healing and comforting. Strider doesn't even know what a mitzvah she's done.

So I get ready for my new temporary home, number 3 in the last 2 1/2 months. What good people I know and have in my life. Without them I'd be on the street. And best of all, they're of a mind to fight for the good. All my agitating won't even turn a head, whatever I do.

The adventure continues...

Repay, Do Not Forget

There are people doing good all over the place.

Stephen King
http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2011/nov/10/stephen-king-donate-70000-maine

Wealthy pensioners
http://www.guardian.co.uk/money/2011/nov/10/wealthy-pensioners-winter-fuel-payments?INTCMP=SRCH

And in my hometown, the Heat Fund is raising bucks to help folks who run out of heating fuel over the winter. If you can contribute, even five dollars, it helps. Every cent goes directly to buying heating fuel, this is all volunteers who do it for the doing:
Windham County Heat Fund
679 Weatherhead Hollow Rd
Guilford, VT 05301
And there are some who are facing payback and finding it's a bitch.
Like James Murdoch:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/blog/2011/nov/10/phone-hacking-james-murdoch-live

And the Tea Party:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/nov/09/democrats-obama-election-victories-2012

It's another very foggy morning in the mountains. This is my last day at Strider's house. I'm gonna do some cooking so she doesn't have to think over the weekend. And I need to finish packing up.

There is no news about The Shire. Though I just learned that the DRB didn't even go see the site they're talking and voting on. There's something very wrong and unusual in how they're handling this.

Ah well, the business day has just started. Let's see what it brings.

When He's 64

I still need him and I'd still feed him. Greg Lake turns 64 today, November 10th. I forgot to mention Keith Emerson's birthday was Nov. 2nd. Many Happy Returns, Keith!

If you'd like to leave Greg a birthday greeting (and know he'll see it) you can do so at

 http://ladiesofthelake.com/wp/?page_id=990

He loves to read these. It's a tradition.

And today marks us as one third through November. That went quick, huh? This is the luge ride end of the year. We'll look up in a few hours and it'll be January.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

And The Answer is

From a comment on iBrattleboro:

"Barb did not answer whether the Town will appeal or not. She also
went on to explain that anyone can appeal this decision, not just the
Town. I bet this makes you feel much better. :("
 
There is also an argument that these homes are now unsafe because they flooded once.
By the logic this seems to be following, every home and building that flooded should be torn down. The Latchis Hotel and Theatre, most every building on Flat St., part of Williams St. For a once-in-a-hundred-year flood event.
 
No, there's something else. They want to be rid of subsidized housing. Especially one that's so nice. Remember what they did with all the land claimed by Katrina? Sold to rich developers and into gentrification. Landfilled and built on. Along the Whetstone is a nice place to live. When it's not flooding. But rich people would tame the wild water by throwing lots of money into it and make McMansions that would raise property values and pay big taxes to the listers office.
 
It's what they call a win-win situation. How nice. For them. To hell with all of us who've paid and paid for every damn thing we need and their mortgages. To hell with us who paid our bills on time and faithfully all of our lives. Who continue paying all these expenses just to have some kind of manageable life. To hell with us because they have a chance to make a buck.
 
This is why I never get books done. Real life is always a battlefield of bullshit slingers. If I didn't get into it I'd get buried in it.
 
On the other hand, I have a new appreciation for my townfolks. 99% of them are good hearted, kind and fair people. Most want to do well and the right thing, but sometimes that's not the same thing. And when power and money call, few ignore it. Priorities shift and justification sets in. And we are where we are.
 
So, no answer.
 

Distractions

My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/film/filmblog/2011/nov/09/favourite-film-princess-bride

And if you really need to escape in contemplation, there's a lot of potential here:
http://bigthink.com/

Until I have news, I'll be in distraction land.

2 Days to Bratt

Strider's gone off on more work-related traveling and training. Today and tomorrow while she's away I'll pack up whatever I've sprawled around here and get ready to cross the mountains back to hometown. She asked me if I really wanted to go back Friday. It's really not a choice. I don't trust them to do the right thing. I can't call continuously and lobby from here, if I need to. I can't sit on the steps and stare at them from here. I have to go back.

Today the Town Manager will be on our local live talk show. I hope she answers the questions directly. Though I can't hear it, I'm sure I'll be hearing what transpires. My question is, "Will the Town appeal the DRB decision on building 230, and if not, when will the residents be able to go home?" If Barb can't answer those up front, we're in deep doodoo.

Well, I'm gonna have another cuppa and let the pastel kitty in. I'll be back...

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Nothing Signed

Business Day 1 post-DRB meeting has come and gone and we've got nothing to show for it. No signed statement, no Certificate of Occupancy, nothing.

I swear on my life that if they don't come through with this and stop jerking us around I will make their lives so miserable it'll make what I've been through the last 2 1/2 months look like a day at the movies.

This is also a short week, because Veteran's Day is Friday. Tick, tick, tick, boys and girls.

Tick, tick, tick...

Wait A Minute

There's a bustle in the hedgerow: here's from the BHA finance mgr.:

"Just a reminder that it ain’t over until the check clears.  Residents can NOT move back in until the Board issues its decision in writing and the Zoning Administrator issues a permit.  We will also want some assurance that the Board’s decision will not be appealed before we move folks back in."

Well, that could mean anything.

I'M GOING HOME

The DRB meeting went on until 12:45, hours after the feed died. But I woke to emails. My building was okayed; I can go home. Hallelujah.

That still means no news for the folks in the other 4 buildings; the whole thing will be reviewed again on November 21st for those people. But I'll be around town for that.

I'm just as disgusted at the town officials as I was from the start. The town attorney all but condemned our whole Shire himself. Why does he keep getting reinstated at Town Meeting? Why do we pay this man a heap of money when he doesn't hold us in esteem?

Well, I'm kinda frazzed at the moment and have emails to send. I'll be back.

And I can play this for real this time:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4rSBgfXoIPo

Monday, November 7, 2011

Lovely.

The webstream has died, even before they got to public comment. Those watching on the local channels back home can still watch, but we're SOL. Oh, I sit corrected; the TV broadcast died, too.

So, we left them bickering and even before public comment.

I won't know anything until I hear from someone there at the meeting.

"Beautiful, lovely, very nice, yes, very handsome," to quote someone.

2 1/2 Hours In

They've been at it for 2 hours and 40+ minutes. It is streaming live at

http://brattleborotv.org/?q=content/watch

and god oh god the procedural yadayada, the repetition of every single bit of info, is maddening.

But at least the internet has stayed up.

Well, it's 10:19 and they're still running mouths. Strider got home and has gone to bed. I'm still dealing with a stomachful of aggravation. Spoon, of course, asks an immaterial question to hear  his own voice. The FEMA woman holds forth some more. They are nit-picking.

Joy Knows No Bounds

This computer has been temperamental today. It may or may not be willing to join the internet, recognize anything, or even not be frozen.

So just in case I'm not on with the news when it comes, that may be what's up on this end. If I can't get online I won't know, myself, what's happened.

I'm not saying, I'm just saying.

This is almost to the funny point. Almost.

The Longest Day

Every hour is a year today.

There's nothing to assuage my stomach, which is doing its impersonation of Hell. The latest commentary on iBratt included the fact that things could still go against us, even if the DRB gives the ok to go back. The Town or Selectboard could appeal. And we'd be in limbo for some more months.

Seriously, if they stop us going home now, I'll lose it. I'll be back in town on Friday, and they'll find me damned skippity making life Hell for every one of them. I've been on the edge for over a month now. What have I got to lose? What more can they take away? My belongings? Haven't seen them since September. My home? Ditto. My mind? Too late, that's been gone since 1995. My life? Bring it.

Among the alternatives is just squatting. Move back in and make them do something outright. I'd like to see them try. I'm all done with this bullshit.

3 1/2 hours and counting.

Tonight's The Night

In 12 hours or so (not that I'm counting or anything) the DRB meeting will be in full swing. If all the people expected show up, it'll be a full room. Some pretty heavy hitters will be there and none of them are pleased. I wish I could be there. However, I'm hoping it will be streaming on the BCTV website. I'd like to see the faces of those who hold our fates in their hands when they pass their verdict.

Even if we lose, I'm never going to forget the enormous amount of support we've gotten in this. From my friends, family, neighbors and my blogpals, there has been nothing but cheering and encouragement. I couldn't have kept it together as much as I have without everyone. Thank you.

That's not to say that my body isn't reacting to the stress. I spent much of the night in the bathroom and will probably spend part of the day there, too. Even got a zit! Who knew that would still happen!? This could be a very long day.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Patsy, Darling

To me, the best thing about the 90s was Absolutely Fabulous. There is nothing that will ever take its place. It broke all rules, giving an almost-entirely female cast full rein to be outrageous.

Of the 5 female lead roles, the one I love most is Patsy Stone, Edina Monsoon's best friend and heinous human being. Patsy is irredeemably awful, a hopeless lush and tyrant. But what she says is striking truth, often the kind of funny that leaves a grim aftertaste.

This winter, there will be 3 new AbFab episodes. Everyone is older- AbFab was first shot 20 years ago- but I'm sure, no less bitter. Can't wait to see what The Girls are doing in the '10s.

Meanwhile, Patsy's recreator is Joanna Lumley, who's a pretty straightforward speaker and activist. She, like Patsy, is a former 60s model and Bond Girl. Unlike Patsy, she is passionate about social causes. And today's Guardian ran a good interview of her:

  http://www.guardian.co.uk/culture/2011/nov/06/joanna-lumley-absolutely-theatre-interview

No Daylight Saved Here

Mr. Jameson's done his job again. Aside from sleeping for half the day and feeling slightly hungover, all's well. The old cures still work for me. Now will follow 24 hours of nose-blowing and coughing and then it should be over. Part of the throat issues is from wailing away with Robert Plant til midnight.

And here we are on Sunday afternoon, just 28 hours til the DRB meeting. I've received several emails from folks who will be going. Also have an email from Spinoza telling us that oscillococcinum comes from the heart and liver of a duck. So will have to rethink getting that from its original source!

And Strider had a full evening, too.
All in all, I'd say a good job well done.
Today is a good day to do nothing. Hack around, eat some stuff, just hang. Starting tomorrow it'll be go, go, go. But today is just for the spending.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Mama Misbehaves

Back in the dinosaur age, we adapted a Yes song lyric to, "Mother comes down the stairs and she stands there. 24 cans of beer and she'll kill you." It's backwards for me tonight. It would be "Daughter comes up the stairs." There aren't 24 cans of beer and she wouldn't kill me. But the same face and feeling would come over me. : I  oooooops.

This has been a flip-flop day. Strider taught me much in a short timespan together. And tonight she's out and I'm here, Led Zep blasting, at Knebworth '75. I'm pretty s-f'd, using the cold bug as an excuse to have a few shots of Jameson's. And I just got a beer I found in the fridge. I really feel like a kid. Except Zep would've been on vinyl or Don Kirschner's Rock Concert and not on a 3 foot wide screen from a digitized disc and digital sound from stereo speakers attached to the system. And I wouldn't have a damned walker.

And this afternoon there was a total role-reversal. She went out and got cold-killing things for me that she'd been taking and I took them, like a sick child would. Oscillococcinum and zinc lozenges. How amazing. It was so nice. Really, sweetly good. And I feel better for them (that's not the Jameson's talking, either. I felt better before the Jameson's. I just feel even better now).

For the record, I find homeopathy to be bogus most of the time and don't think of oscillococcinum or zinc as hp. I think of them as active agents, not as homeopathics. A big difference there. I use herbs medicinally, too. There's something in them all that counteracts, not immunizes. Counters are good. When your immunity is low you don't need vaccines, you need a counteractive agent. The trick is to keep healthy and not have a low immunity. The stress must've caught up to me this time. I like eating healthy good food. When you step back from processed foods you have a natural attraction to healthy food. Your body rebels when you feed it crapola after a while. It'll respond to good stuff quicker. So much of the natural state of things are easier on the system, too, like white willow bark is better than aspirin. I'm gonna look for original states of oscillococcinum.

Ah well, forgive my tipsy ramblings. I'm a kid with the house to herself.

Hitting a Reset Button

Whatever happens on Monday night, I'm out of here Friday. Which means I have 5 days more here with Strider. And 2 of those she'll be out of town at meetings. Aside from leaving all the four-leggers that I love (except for Hildie, who's mine now) I'm gonna miss the hell out of her.

You see, I'm old now. Cynical, untrusting, unromantic as a salty dog. And Strider is a Great Believer. She doesn't think she's an optimist, but she's the most hardcore optimist I've ever known in my whole life. 10 years ago I wrote a poem about how her eternal faith in love leaves me bewildered. She has an incredibly brave heart because she won't ever give up looking and being open to love. And she's realistic and wary, but she's not a scoffer. Seeing things through her eyes has shown me a lot about where my head has gone in the last few years.

For instance, I watched "The Holiday" tonight. A movie I've seen before, with other people. When she started it I kinda zoned and dismissed it, because of who was there when I first watched it. Tonight I watched it with Strider and it was an entirely different movie, because of who I was with.

There are a lot of things like that; it all depends on who you're with when you do it.

Strider, again, has opened my eyes. Whoever said you only learn from your elders was a moron. Everyday, I learn things from Strider, or Carrie, or my niece or grandniece. Or anyone else from the younger sets. It isn't re-learning, it's resetting yourself. We get set in our attitudes and opinions as we live. Some of those are wrong to adopt. But you don't even know it until you get a chance to reset yourself.

So I'll go back to The Shire, maybe even Hobbiton, with a slightly pried-open mind toward romance now. It can happen. It happened once in my life. That died. But who's to say it can't happen twice? And who's to say love is too painful to try again? It's the best thing in life.

And maybe, just maybe, that's the best thing that's happened in this whole nightmare. Strider's fearless when it comes to trying to love. She's suffered a lot in love. A lot. Believe me. I've seen it. But she's never given up. My my, what a wise woman she is.

Hell's bells, I'm gonna miss her.

Shout Out to Stevil

Stevil has just posted a rant entitled "Is there no sanity anywhere?"

The last picture, after reading all that, made me snort up coffee.

 http://auto-de-fey.blogspot.com/2011/11/is-there-no-sanity-anywhere.html

Happy Things

So I puttered around for some stuff that wouldn't make me feel worse (Strider is sick and I think I am now, too).

Today is Banxodus:
http://www.nydailynews.com/news/money/credit-unions-huge-spike-business-due-debit-card-fee-backlash-bank-transfer-day-article-1.972525

Peter Jackson explains what's up with shooting The Hobbit:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/film/filmblog/2011/nov/04/hobbit-peter-jackson-video-blog

It's Guy Fawkes Day (also Fr. Kevin Kenny's birthday and the 35th anniversary of something I won't disclose):
http://www.bonfirenight.net/

10 Little-known Shakespeare Trivia Bits:
http://www.history.com/news/2011/10/24/10-things-you-didnt-know-about-william-shakespeare/

There's good news if you know where to find it:
http://www.happynews.com/category/international-news.htm

And when it's all too much, there's Dave Barry:
http://www.miamiherald.com/dave_barry/

Oy!

Today marks 10 weeks since Irene came to town. It's a lovely chilly Fall morning in Maine. The snow is gone. 60 hours from now we'll all hear what the DRB declares about our homes. Friends back home are pushing for our return. There is a good amount of media coverage, including an interview on our local TV station of some BHA folks about what happened:
http://www.ibrattleboro.com/article.php/20111104192729685

Radio guy Steve West sent me MP3s of the show he did about The Shire. The Commons and the Reformer have been following the story. Even the Rutland Herald has. We've done a lot of campaigning.

I hesitate to bring up the news today because a lot of it is bad. But we're adults, right?

A second veteran is in intensive care, thanks to the Oakland police:
 http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/nov/04/occupy-oakland-second-veteran-injured

Andy Rooney died:
http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/andy-rooney-60-minutes-commentator-dead-92-complications-surgery-article-1.972631

Everybody duck:
http://www.nydailynews.com/news/world/enormous-1-300-foot-wide-asteroid-zooming-earth-pass-close-moon-november-8-article-1.972625

3 protesters were run down by a Koch brothers celebrant:
http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/occupy-dc-protesters-struck-car-event-backed-koch-brothers-injuring-3-driver-charged-cops-article-1.972613

This doesn't look good:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/nov/03/iran-warns-us-clash-nuclear

G20 a microcosm of world afffairs & economies:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2011/nov/04/global-recession-g20-summit

And that's all I can stand this morning.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Fall Behind This Weekend

Don't forget to set your clocks back before retiring Saturday night if you're in the US. It's that magical time when we get the hour back that we lost for no good reason in March. Sleep late, get up early, whatever. The whole thing is a load to me.

If you have a nerdlike interest in this, as I do, you may want to look at:

http://www.timeanddate.com/time/dst/

We can blame Ben Franklin for this bright idea.

I Love You, Bill Nighy!

He's not pretty. He's not young. He doesn't hold sway over a multitude or have a million Twitter followers. He's just righteous.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2011/nov/03/bill-nighy-robin-hood-tax-g20

And he's a pretty damned good actor, too.

The Cat

Since I'm primarily a dog person it takes a particular kind of cat to turn my head. In the last 13 years I tried 2, but they weren't meant for me (and found happiness in other homes). I'd given up. Friends' cats, in particular a Maoist named Lily, are dearhearts but they aren't mine. 

Strider has this uncanny ability to find the best furfaces around. And though she found Hildebeest and brought her home for herself along with the pastel kitty Clementine, Hildebeest is much more my kind of cat than Strider's. The Beest has attitude. She is somewhat bitchy. She's a cat you can argue with.

She's also touchingly affectionate, reaching up a padded paw to tap your arm when she wants a scratch, or curling up on you when you read. She's a purring motor. She snores. And when she sneezes, it's in batches and she makes a human face, the jaw hanging open and eyes closed between the "Snurtf!"s. She growls when you hold her but doesn't claw. She's fat and long and walks silently like a dancer. She follows me everywhere.

Clem will probably throw a kitty party when she realizes Hildie's gone. Hildie is a bully to poor little Clem. Several times a day I'm yelling, "Hey!" when the Beest does something mean or obnoxious. Clem is a sweet and ditzy little cat and deserves peace in her home. This is best for all.

Strider's given me a lot of great gifts over the years, but Hildebeest is the best of all. Now I won't so obviously be talking to myself as I'll add, "You crazy cat!" to everything.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

This Is Just Typical

The country's in a big freakin mess, there are no jobs, no hopes of jobs and we're all losing the will to live. So what does the right wing spend a whole day day of Congress (that we pay for) doing? Oh, you'll love this:

http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/political-animal/2011_11/the_national_motto_is_still_th033226.php?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+washingtonmonthly%2Frss+%28Political+Animal+at+Washington+Monthly%29

They seem to think they're still in some club in a posh private school. Throw them out!

What the Frack?

Fracking has been in the news several times lately, and here's a good general knowledge sort of bit that explains what we need to know:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-14432401

Keep an eye on these frackers.

Begatting Ourselves Into Getting Begone

The NY Times ran an article about the 7 billions of us and what we're doing:

http://www.biologicaldiversity.org/news/center/articles/2011/new-york-times-10-31-2011.html

The ramifications of so many things- peak oil, weather changes, economic disasters and more than twice the number of people on this planet than there were just 50 years ago- happening all at once, will be tremendous.

Meanwhile the Pope told the flock to have more children. The rightie-tighties are lambasting women's health centers and services. The new idiot on the block, Cain, is trying to make it a black vs. white issue:
 http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cifamerica/2011/nov/01/herman-cain-planned-parenthood-genocide-slur?INTCMP=SRCH

And here's a look at population and climate change:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2011/oct/31/stemming-population-growth-climate-change?INTCMP=SRCH

I've heard arguments that it's not how many people there are, but how much those people consume. That's a fallacious argument to me. The fact that there are 7 billion people now living on the same-sized planet it always was, remains ignored in that argument.

I look out across the way to the mountains and think of that old Star Trek where the planet is so packed with people that they squeeze by each other like sardines. It may not happen for a thousand years. Or the old world may just get sick of us parasites and shake us off. Either way I'm glad I won't be around to see it.