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Monday, December 31, 2012

2012: the Mrs. Miniver Year

This was not a bad year. It was a year of drama though. The bads were pretty damn bad when they happened and the goods weren't light and fluffy; they were solid and meaningful. Some amazing things came from left field. There were close calls with last minute saves. For reasons not even clear to myself, I'll think of this as the Mrs. Miniver Year.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

It's White All Right!

We got a little white for Christmas Day, which was sweet. But wow did we get white today! There's gotta be 8-10 inches of fluff, and it really is a marchmallow world. Beautiful.

I made it through Christmas Eve, feeling a bit logie, got to bed pretty early, and woke up wanting to die on Xmas morning. Ya know that 'so sick you cry' deal? Yeah, that. Cancelled on poor Stevil, though he took it well. I've been sleeping on and off since. Today I ate and so far it's stayed put so I guess I'm mending, but man, don't want that again. The only thing worse than feeling like total crap is feeling like total crap at Christmas. Tried to not bring everyone down, no sense in deflating others' good times. Bad enough I cancelled the last 3 days of the marathon. As a precaution, called off the Alka Seltzer party too. I won't be in shape for that. As Stevil said, this is one I'll remember. The last time I was this sick at the holidays was 1968. Didn't cheer me any that I haven't even gotten a card from my brother, either, but that's life.

In any event, it's good to have a stomach not in total uproar and no fever. Hoping to have a 2nd Christmas on Sunday with Stevil. Got an email from the Grotkes that they'd like to stop in and see us then, too. We'll see, fingers crossed.

Darkness has fallen over the Shire and I've been up for 4 hours. Think I'll go sleep some more.

I hope everybody has had a great time- or at least better than it's been around here! :D  x

Monday, December 24, 2012

Here We Go, Here We Go, Here We Go!

It's Day 2 of the Holiday Marathon. Had a really nice time catching up with Princess Wendeleh last night, ate some yummy cheeses (ooo, Seelander) and I made a hearty soup. This is Xmas Eve, and Special K will be here in a couple of hours to get an early start so she goes home and I'm asleep at a decent hour tonight so Santa can come. Tomorrow being the Day- get up early, clean up the mess, prep and cook for midday dinner with Stevil- sleep is essential. It's The Day.

And don't forget, if you find yourself  lonely, or having a hard time of it tomorrow, Gary at Klahanie
http://klahanie.blogspot.com/2012/12/you-have-been-here-for-us-and-we-are.html
will be online offering support and comfort to anyone who needs it. He's a great guy with a big heart. It's not easy to get through the holidays, especially if you're alone. I've done it twice, I don't recommend it. So remember all you need do is reach out, Gary's there for you.

Okay, checking my list I see I have stuff to do. At least it's not a big production. Before Special K was a nurse, she was in food service too. We both used to cook like crazy for the holidays. These days, it's noshes and as little cooking as we can get away with doing. Some frozen hors d'oeuvres, Swedish meatballs, shrimp, chips and dip, cheese and crackers, etc. By tomorrow my stomach will be very happy to get a real meal. Next year I'm campaigning for Chinese take away. : )

With best wishes that everyone will have a peaceful, safe and very merry Christmas,
Laura
x

Friday, December 21, 2012

Holidays Back Home

Every year, when we all lived in NYC and my parents were alive, we'd take a drive to go look at the lights. The old neighborhood (Bay Ridge) did its part in making Con Edison rich, but nobody on Earth does it like the next door neighborhoods of Bensonhurst and Dyker Heights. The Griswold's is just another house on those streets:


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XhNNpuuorxY

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E8q7ydktosI

And in Manhattan,

The Lord and Taylor windows are a treat
These are the things I miss about NY at Christmas. The over-the-top getting carried away of it all. The insanity. The hilarity. The palpable excitement.

New England holidays are sweet, tasteful, mostly conservative. All is calm and partially bright. But I do miss the ridiculous displays, the silliness, the rivalries, the all-out "HEY! IT'S CHRISTMAS!!" of the holidays back home.


Winter Break

If you're reading this, it's officially Winter Solstice, the Mayan hooplah was BS as expected and I'm busy with things to do. Just like yesterday, the day before, and every day since I came out screaming. The closest I've heard about the end of anything is that last night was the last-ever episode of The Jersey Shore. Maybe that's what the Mayan Calendar was really about.

For the disappointed-
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/us-news-blog/2012/dec/20/mayan-apocalypse-facts-doomsday-scenario

Happy Winter Everyone!

I'm on FB hiatus. The very best thing about Facebook is that you don't have to use it. It has already worn out its new car smell to me. The constant bickering and stupidity is soul-sucking and is contributing heavily to a whitewash of apathy that makes me look even paler. I know humanity is a red hemorrhoid, I don't have to watch them itch and swell before my eyes. And so, as a Yuletide present to myself, I'm taking a vacation until the new year. I'm sure it won't miss me; I know I won't miss it. I'm glad I found some old friends. We'll email now.

Facebook is wonderful and horrible. While I'm away from it I'll let it settle in my brains and come up with what I think of it. Right now I'm burnt on it.

Besides, I have something social going on every day from now until the 28th, and then 3 days of prep before the Alka-Seltzer Party on the 1st. Instead of February, I may sleep thru January. Except for the Heat Fund Radio days. And whenever company comes to town. And Special K's birthday party. And to work on the Worker's Center projects. And maybe re-write my fiction book. Well, maybe February it is.

Meanwhile, I still haven't found the Christmas stockings...

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Your Fond Cousin

Some years ago I visited a genealogical website and found some cousins. We are the last of a large clan that bred less and less over the centuries and in moving to North America. There is only a handful of us now. I'm still in touch with a couple of them, we email, share jokes and holiday greetings.

One cousin, Nancy, lives in Rhode Island. For years I've owed her photos of her grandmother that I know- or at least think- I have somewhere. With all the moving and repacking in the last few years, I haven't found them to send on. But Nancy's patient, thankfully. Yet another thing on my unending to do list.

Our great-grandmothers were sisters, and their daughters Mabel and Susan were our grandmothers. Being the only girls in their own families they remained close cousins all their lives and wrote letters to each other regularly. They signed their letters identically- "With love, Your Fond Cousin", in their Victorian flourished handwriting.

Nancy and I have sent each other our holiday greetings and it brings a smile when I write my sign off and then see hers: "With love, YFC, Nancy." We don't use the flourishes, or even the whole words, but the tradition is in those initials. Your Fond Cousin. I'm sure Mabel and Susan are smiling, too.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

A Toast

The Irish cream is finally done, since I just added the heavy cream. There's a gallon of the stuff in the fridge. And so, I raise a toast to the guy who helped make this an unforgettable year.

Here's to you, Greg. Health, happiness and please come to Vermont in 2013!


mmm, that's good. 

Background Sound for the Season

There isn't a lot of time to sit and watch things this week but it's nice having sounds of the season while going about the things we do. Since I just raved about "The Bishop's Wife" and bragged about having a tv channel that plays carols and songs 24/7, I thought I better come up with something for those who don't have these things.

So here's a radio version of "The Bishop's Wife". The sound is somewhat off, especially at the beginning, and gets just a little better as it goes along but it's listenable.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9n8I4CxAF8I

This is a big directory of streaming US Christmas music stations. Just close the pop-ups. A huge selection of genres.
http://www.web-radio.fm/christmas/

And here's a selection of streaming European stations
http://www.listenlive.eu/christmas.html

My personal favorite single songs:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U0aL9rKJPr4
&
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lyu_bA0mqEw

Don't forget the Radio Beeb has a lot of holiday programming on all its channels
http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio/

There, that's better. I don't feel so gloaty.

Monday, December 17, 2012

The Shining Gifts

The front door and bathroom are decorated. Paul came over and lifted boxes down off the high shelves for me; I damned near wiped myself out trying to get them down. So now the tree is up, the presents wrapped and under it. The Beest doesn't care so long as the packages don't have ribbons (learnt that last year). The bar is set up and ready for business. There are a couple more things to do but all the big deals are done. Not bad, not bad at all. There were surprises today, Stevil made some JibJab ecards that are hilarious. One that stars Muffinpants, Cam, Special K, him and myself that I must've watched a dozen times and still crack up. And Kick, who already floored me with "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn", sent me a lovely Irish tea set, complete with cookies (already gone!) and tea. I cried again. Christmas is good, but friends are better and friends that are family are the best. .

I miss my brother Beery. We've been talking more regularly lately, and it brings back the old times of running around in his Camaro, shopping, decorating my Mother's house. We used to take a Christmas morning picture with bows on our foreheads every year. I haven't spent the holidays in NY since 1998. And you can't go home again. But I'm glad for the memories and I cherish them. There are too many who don't even have them.

Beery's favorite Christmas movie is "The Bishop's Wife". Cary Grant, David Niven and Loretta Young as an angel, a bishop and his wife. If you've never seen it, run right out now and find it. It's wonderful. And it's from the bishop's Christmas sermon that I quote:

“Tonight I want to tell you the story of an empty stocking. Once upon a midnight clear, there was a child's cry. A blazing star hung over a stable and wise men came with birthday gifts. We haven't forgotten that night down the centuries; we celebrate it with stars on Christmas trees, the sound of bells and with gifts. But especially with gifts. You give me a book; I give you a tie. Aunt Martha has always wanted an orange squeezer, and Uncle Henry could do with a new pipe. We forget nobody, adult or child. All the stockings are filled -- all that is, except one. And we have even forgotten to hang it up. The stocking for the child born in a manger. It's his birthday we are celebrating. Don't ever let us forget that. Let us ask ourselves what he would wish for most, and then let each put in his share. Loving kindness, warm hearts and the stretched out hand of tolerance. All the shining gifts that make peace on earth.”

I'm not a Christian but that's a universal message. All the religions on Earth, the real ones, teach love. It's the only reason to have religion, to teach love and kindness and sharing. To remind us regularly that the world isn't about ourselves and our problems and egos and little spheres of influence. To make us look beyond our own lives and inspire us to a higher good. A good that isn't corruptible.

Last Friday shook us all. There are many discussions going on about what to do. The entire issue is fraught with reactionary fervor. It's a big puzzle with many pieces and we're all trying to make sense while in shock. If we learned anything from September 11th, 2001, it should be to not go off and make decisions while we're raw. We need to cry and heal a little so our brains settle down and we can do meaningful work to prevent this insanity from recurring. We've avoided it for too long. It's time we face this and deal with it. But when we do, let's put those shining gifts in there. Loving kindness, warm hearts and the stretched out hand. With those, we can change the world.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

The Bright Elusive Flutterby

Well.

This is one challenging holiday season. Physically, emotionally, spiritually. Here and there I've had the small flutters that come with preparations. That bit of joy and gratitude that comes from finding and affording a perfect gift for someone, the satisfaction and soul food that comes from doing good. These are nourishments to the Christmas Spirit. Not easily found, not easily held onto. A lot like a butterfly.

Then we have horrors going on. A madman kills 20 children a week and a half before Christmas. Wars continue. The ills of all the ages remain, unabated. Diseases strike. Hunger. Homelessness. Cruelty. Hatred and all its minions. And we ask, "Why?" with plaintive tones. There are no answers. It just is. Tough as it is to get through, we do. We cry, we rage, we point fingers, and we carry on living, in spite of all these terrible things.

And because of all those terrible things, we need the miracle of Christmas. We need it more than ever when things are awful.

This holiday season is harder than ever for many to make that miracle happen. But we can all help make it happen for somebody else. And the biggest secret is that in helping someone else have that miracle, it happens for us too.

Bill Murray said it so well in "Scrooged":



Go forth and make miracles, everyone, we can do this.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Don't Stop

Apologies to all for this brief stop and drop. It's crazy busy, there's too much to do in a short time, I'm contending with facing things I can't do- like holding carving tools...there'll be no Marley on my door this year- and there are a number of things aside from the holiday crunch going on. I'll catch up ASAP. Thank you for hanging in there with me.

Tonight is not funny anymore. There are times when you need old arena rock, and this is one of them. And so

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Merry Christmas, Mrs. Chaney!

Today started off well anyway. Very sunny and appropriately cold. I was ready for Gal Friday and looking forward to getting things done that I can't do- especially finding the missing light in the bottom tier of the tree so I could get on with decorating. Laundry is piling up, shopping needs doing, etc. Gal Friday comes but she's getting a migraine. She wants to go home ASAP and I don't blame her. All goes out the window but shopping- which has to be done because the Heat Fund Radio Hour is tomorrow and I have a pot of chicken chow mein to make today. Everything else will have to wait.

Fine, as long as the food gets made, I'll get over myself. To hell with Lucia Day and traditions, the tree will get lit when it gets lit. In fact, all the decorating can wait. The set of bell lights have to get a new bulb fitted at Brown & Roberts anyway and that's not happening today either. Laundry will continue to pile, and I'm grateful I have enough clothing to not have to wear dirty things. Fine, just cook and give the rest of the day up as a bad job. But slicing isn't easy because my hand won't hold a knife very long. I'm working in a 1 foot by 2 foot space because this is a little Hobbit house. I can't taste much, as my nose is still a mess. But I cook it and hope for the best. They're always happy to see free food, no matter what- an easy audience. So at least that's done and cooling on the stove right now. I emailed the recipe to the boys, Daryl will be by in the morning to pick up and it's over for another month. Get over yourself, Austan.

But I'm really struggling with frustration. I've never taken frustration well and as I get less capable and it rears up much more often, it gets ugly. I can be an absolute bitch even under good circumstances. After a day like today it's a very good thing I live alone.

Then the mail comes. I hear the mail guy cursing and the sound of a box hitting the floor. Then he shoves a puffy envelope through the slot, struggling and muttering. I go to the door. It looks like a video stuck in the slot, but I didn't order any. I pull it in and go push the box into my apartment. I sit down and open the puffy envelope and it is a video- "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn". This could only be from Kick. I look at the packing slip and yes, it is. And I cry.

This season isn't about the trappings, the lights and hoohahs and trees and everything being done on time. It's about 5 years ago on some dark February night in my old apartment, when Kick and I talked about growing up in NYC and loving this old movie about life in ye olde Brooklyn. And here, years later, she's married and a couple hundred miles away, and remembers.

That's what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown. I love ya, Kick. Merry Christmas. x

Saturday, December 8, 2012

December 8th

I put off blogging today. While the rest of the day and all that went with it has been good and constructive, the one thing that sets this night apart for me is what happened on this date. I just tuned in Stevil's regular Saturday night radio show at
http://www.wvew.org/streaming/index.html
and yes, of course, he's playing a tribute to John Lennon.

If John hadn't been killed 32 years ago, he'd be 72 now. I can't get my head around any of those things. My mother saying, "They've killed John Lennon!" with the shock that silenced me. It was one of those times in life where everything stops and a kind of dissociation comes over you. I stood there, towel around my head, ear to the phone, watching the news, dumbfounded.

Today I had a chat with Jose Ortiz about Janis Joplin and all the music we'd missed because she died so young. John was just 40, which seems so young to me now.

Here is the last tv interview re-presented by Tom Snyder the day after his murder
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3OQl10ZlfqU

In other news, my Godson Padraig has decided to become a firefighter. I couldn't be prouder. It so perfectly suits him, too. Can't wait to see him in uniform!

GreatNiecely continues to sort out all the things that adults do. It overwhelmed me too, at the start. You can't know all the things that go into adulthood until you have to face them. It's a humbling and scary deal until you get used to it. We all made it, she will too.

Had to walk away from the tree for the day. While fluffing, the strand of lights on the bottom string went out. Oh joy. Another project I didn't need- find the problem lightbulb. That's gonna take hours.

The weekend's goals remain, and I'm off to tick another thing off the list. See you later.

All I Want

It got me tonight. In the middle of the mess, getting frustrated with the tree, half my mind filled with things still undone and that feeling that I've forgotten Something Very Important, it got me.

But I want to start with the build up. Tonight my Niecely posted a pic of my Great Niecely in her just-fitted wedding dress.

Our gangly little girl is gone.
I cried.
She's a beautiful young woman. Not only is she leaving home, she's leaving the US.
I think the cats know something's up, I've never seen them both voluntarily in one shot before.

So after that meltdown, I resumed fluffing (that one's for you Stevil). One of the handbrakes on my walker broke and without them both keeping it in place when I sit down and lean forward it wants to go out from under me. Which makes it tricky to get down in those lower branches while maintaining one's seat. This is, I'm sure, building muscles and I'm sure I'll know which ones tomorrow.

Meanwhile, my friend Karen had put this on her fb page. Loveliness. I miss you, Freddie.


Then my brother and Mac called and I chatted with them for an hour or so. I finally got hungry. So while I made myself an entirely happy and unhealthy plate of chicken nuggets I played some holiday songs posted on www.greglake.com and started feeling it. While eating, I pulled up some other of my most- loved Christmas songs


and the one that turned 25 years old just a couple of days ago, that was "our song" the first Christmas I was married, in 1987


and of course


and a flashback to 1985, having Gin n Tonic Sundays at Bras and Girdles in the Village with Doug.


then it happened, a sort of giggle in my stomach, a little choke in the throat, a big smile with brimming eyes.
It's Christmas. Just when I thought I'd walk through the whole season without it, I got what I wanted most.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Holly Days Are Here Again

Brattleboro's holiday season starts with the Messiah Sing. That was last weekend. Now we move through all the traditions' holidays- Hannukah, Yule, Christmas, Kwaanza, Festivus for the rest of us- as it gets darker and the snow flies. Right? Well. Not so much when it's in the 40-50'F range. Reminds me of Greg's Christmas song. "But instead it just kept on raining, a veil of tears for the virgin birth." It's Ho Ho Ho-ing time all right and the lights are going up, but there's no snow in sight. Which reminds me, that string of lights needs to get to Brown & Roberts to get fixed.... oh, list... Meh. As I fluff the bottom tier of the tree, and the little white lights shine triumphantly again, I really have no right to complain about my luxury problems. It's just weird to be this far north and be so warm in December.

The styrofoam block to make Marley is in Massachusetts, so that'll get here Monday, by which time I should have the tree fluffed at least. The Irish cream is nearly done, now that Special K made the whiskey delivery. Much cooking will happen this week. The Heat Fund recipe this month is Chicken Chow Mein (a nod to American Chinese restaurants at Christmas) so that'll be Tuesday's mission, then the plum pudding on Wednesday (so it can soak up a couple weeks of alcohol) and Hard Sauce (need more butter). In between times I'll keep decorating and work on Marley. I honestly don't know how I did it all while working and everything. Guess I was much faster then. Right now it looks like Christmas threw up all over my house. 

All right, off I go to bottle Irish cream and rearrange the branches. There's a fun animated version of  "A Christmas Carol" on abc family, the Beest is behaving herself and all's merry and bright around here. Hope it is where you are, too.

If you'd like to contribute to the Windham County Heat Fund, send a tax-deductible check to:

The Windham County Heat Fund
c/o Richard Davis
679 Weatherhead Hollow Road
Guilford, VT 05301

and if you'd like all the recipes I've created to raise funds, include a note saying so. The boys will get them out to you PDQ. Thank you. x

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Krampus Night

You'd think the Feast of St. Nicholas, patron saint of children, ought to be a bigger deal. He's one face of the character we've created known in many guises and sometimes called Santa Claus.
http://www.stnicholascenter.org/pages/who-is-st-nicholas/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Santa_Claus

In a lot of the most northern climes, among the Germanic and Scandihoovian folks (Vikings!) the jolly old elf had a helper. The helper was called a lot of different names too, one of those names being Krampus. Krampus was the punisher to Santa's rewarder, and would whip or otherwise harm bad children, and put the worst in the basket on his back and dump them in Hell. And tonight is Krampus Night.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IXHJOJafbv8

I'd absolutely love to see this:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NlucIywRBN0

Happy Krampus Night. I hope he passes you by.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

What a Dump!

The holidays are coming. I know this because there's a certain wreckage of home that only happens in early December. And HildieBeesty hurled a total of 9 times today. She hasn't yakked in weeks so I guess it was time to really go for the gold. Always a spectacle. There are boxes to go to the post tomorrow, two boxes of wrapped presents waiting for a tree and random bits of decorations in temporary and odd places. Above it all, staring across the room at me from a bookcase is the cross-stitch Strider made for me that says
 .
  WELCOME TO
  BLEAK HOUSE
Enjoy your holidays.

Yep, perfect.

With the tree going up tomorrow- followed by at least one day of fluffing- I turn a blind eye to the mess. Cat puke on the rug? It'll dry and get vacuumed and cleaned on Friday when the Grand Holiday Cleaning begins. I'm trying to psyche myself for it all. No, really, I am. Started holiday training at Thanksgiving (well, after Strider went home) and I'm up for this. And it's not hopelessly disorganized. It's just that this is a small place. At least nothing is ever out of reach. All I really have to do is keep my shit together, and things'll be fine.

Today was the birthday of 2 guys I like a lot- our Paul, and Ozzy Osbourne. So much for astrology.

Ah it's nearly midnight. Long day tomorrow, so buckety buckety. Night all.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Vermont in December

When I moved here I expected to live with the weather. Vermont is a ski area, we have a ridge of mountains and lots of resorts. That first Winter, 95-96, I parked my car in December and next saw it in April. In the early 2000s we had some huge snowfalls. One year, on both Christmas and New Year's Eve, we had massive snowstorms of 30" each. It was breathtaking and a huge hemorrhoid but par for the course.

And so I'm ready, come November, for the winds of Winter. Except these days it's not so much. Last year was a Winter that Wasn't. Tough on the tourist industry, which is  important. It's been chilly enough for the resorts to make snow lately, but we've had little of real cold. And it's December.

Yesterday it snowed. It lasted for the day on the grass. Overnight the temp rose and today has been in the 50s' F. It's all melted and then it rained for most of today. I had my back door open, it was so warm.

This year I hope we get a real Winter. Lots of snow. Very cold. Wind. People only go out if they must. You bake things to ward off the chilly willies. A regular-issued Vermont Winter. Mostly I want all that to happen so I feel some sort of reassurance that things are okay and haven't gone all changey already. Cuz it sure doesn't feel regular.

And if Santa's reading this, I'd really really like a White Christmas.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Inner Face

Facebook is a trip. I can see how people could get lost in it for weeks, because everyone and their brother is in there somewhere. I don't get the game addiction, but then I never did. The thing about Facebook is (I mean aside from all their objectionable bits) that it's endless. One person finding you leads to others finding you, then you find someone and look through their "friends" page and it's- "Wow! Look at him/her! I didn't think s/he'd still be alive much less working in an independent organic grocery and making films on the side!"

Today, for instance. I don't know how Bob Cuccioli popped up on my page but I haven't seen him in 18 years. So I sent him a friend request and voila! We're in touch. Then I saw a comment on a friend's post, made by someone with the same name as a guy I knew in the 80s, which led me to find 2 roomies from back then. Crazy.

It also makes me create characters and backstories, but that's another post...

Anyway, I can easily see how people end up with 4000 "friends". Another part of this experience is realizing how many people have been in my life. There have been A LOT. Schoolmates, coworkers, causes, clubs, loves, roommates, family friends, people I partied with - it adds up over a lifetime.

There's the entertainment value too. George Takei alone is worth joining fb.

Still, I can see that someday I'll start "unfriending" people. I'm already limiting what I get notified about. There are those who seem to live on fb and don't eat a meal or take a shower without having to tell the world.

It's been almost a month since I joined. I've caught up with a couple of people that I'm so happy to hear from, and fb is useful. The day that its minuses become bigger than its pluses, I'm out. For now, I'll keep up with George Takei.

Il Neige!!!!!!!!!!!!! Wheeeeeeeeeee!

The flakes are so tiny you can barely see them fall. But they are falling, and they are sticking and it's beautiful! Not enough to be much of an issue, just enough to frost everything with a powdery white topping. It's one of the things I love about Vermont, sitting here by the window, watching the snow fall.

Some other wonderfulness: our Lawless has put a permanent link to the Windham County Heat Fund info on her front page!!!  http://mybabyjohn.blogspot.com/ I didn't even notice til this morning! Thank you Lawless!

It's 3 weeks to Solstice, 24 days to Christmas, 1 week to Hannukah. Get busy time! I have projects up the wazoo, with decorating being the biggest deal. This year I'm doing it up, even outside hoohah. I've ordered the few things I'll need to make the Marley doorknocker (I'll ask Stevil to post a pic when it's up). All the presents that are in-house already are wrapped and the packages to be shipped are ready to go with Gal Friday on Tuesday. Good shape so far.

In the spirit of the tradition of Christmas ghosts, here's some spooky footage taken in a famously reputed haunted house:
http://www.ghosttheory.com/2012/11/29/the-1992-barmby-ghost-footage

Well I've spent the last 40 minutes sitting here staring out the window more than writing anything. Time to get going. There are onlt about 5 hours of light left and I've got some things to do. Later!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Our Streaming Radio

Our little community radio station is dear to my heart. You can listen to it on the web, too.

http://www.wvew.org/streaming/index.html

At the moment, our Cam is doing her weekly show, Cam's Carousel, a variety of music with some unusual patter from Cam.
The station's website is
http://www.wvew.org/

On the front page of the website is Larry Bloch, founder, who died recently leaving a life well-lived. Fellow blogger Stevil at Auto De Fey is now the President of the Board at WVEW. His radio show playing big band and vocalists of the 40s and 50s is on Saturday nights, 6-8 EST. Check out our commercial-free local radio station, where dues-paying djs bring a wide variety of programming because each show is entirely designed by the people who host. Makes for some interesting radio.

Turkey Brains

It's Thursday, November 29th and I don't know how it got that way. Thanksgiving is already a week gone and I'm convinced I have the Magical Turkey That Won't End. Well, 7 days of turkey is enough for anyone. Today whatever's left gets wrapped and frozen for soup. Five people have gotten leftovers and I've had turkey variations up to here. Enough.

On to Christmas. Finally got the presents wrapped and in a box for safe keeping from the crazy cat. I've outwitted her this year and got stick-on tags. Hopefully this year Special K won't end up with one of Cam's gifts.

The world? It's the same mess it's always been.
Murdoch may have ruined Freedom of the Press for the whole class:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2012/nov/29/leveson-report-published-and-brooks-and-coulson-in-court-live-coverage

The Hobbit premiered in New Zealand
 http://www.guardian.co.uk/film/video/2012/nov/28/hobbit-premiere-new-zealand-video

This is my favorite story of the week:
http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/lookout/nypd-boots-homeless-man-photo-145219581.html

You actually do use 100% of your brain
http://bigthink.com/ideafeed/busting-3-common-brain-myths?

It's all in our minds
http://web.mit.edu/newsoffice/2012/brain-waves-encode-rules-for-behavior-1121.html

Even the Psychopathic Trolley
http://bigthink.com/big-think-tv/are-you-a-psychopath-take-the-test?

Coming soon to a clinic near you
http://india.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/11/26/in-delhi-a-sand-hill-road-for-cheap-health-care/

I've read this 3 times and it keeps blowing my mind
http://idealab.talkingpointsmemo.com/2012/11/large-hadron-collider-may-have-produced-new-matter.php?ref=fpb

Things to do. Can't sit on my arse all day. See you then.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

That Went Fast

What a terrific Thanksgiving. We had plenty of everything, including steam, until we ate. Then we turned into zombies. It was almost 5 hours before Strider and I ate pie; Stevil had gone home when it became clear that we ween't bouncing back. One lousy plateful and we're almost sick? That's not right. What lightweights we've become!

But damn that was good. The leftovers were/are good too.
And on top of Strider doing just everything she could to make my life easier, she also did the cleanup. And brought me a plate of dinner. Was this the best Thanksgiving ever? Yes. The 3 of us laughed our asses off and then pigged out. And then sat motionless in awe at the power of food.

It wasn't like a holiday deal really; it was more like Strider and I went on a retreat. Because we did sod tout on Friday. She played a video game and I read studies I'd been meaning to read- interesting things about brain activity among several "automatic writers" for one- and we had movies in the background. I think that's the longest continuous time the tv has ever been on in my house. So with one eye and sometimes 2, I watched some great old movies-Dial M for Murder and Suspicion- and a random camp movie called The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra and a couple of musicals. I think Strider was so engaged/escaped in her game that the movies were filler. lol

By some miracle, most of the time I was gleefully left alone. No phone calls, no situations, nobody wanting. It feels like I've been away but neither of us left the house for 2 days (except for the Em walking). It's been miraculously, fabulously, blissfully quiet. My ears have dropped. I can just hang with Strider, something that is hard to find these days. It was like the 70s but with no new album to listen to. She brought vidz, I had some ready, we didn't bother. We just hung out and did as close to nothing as you can get. And it was great!

For some reason, when Strider walks in it's like she's just come home from work. We pick up talking as if we just hung up the phone. Emmet, however, is getting very old and does not talk as much as he used to. He doesn't see or hear too well either. He is, however, still the WonderDog.
And Beest? Well she was put out for a couple of days, trying to sneak out behind Strider, lurking by Emmet's waterbowl and being a bitch. She's been sleeping or eating and nothing else since they left yesterday.

We've given thanks. We ate, we drank, we smoked (yes, I smoked) and we slept. And I slept like the dead last night and will again tonight. And then tomorrow life will start again, I'm sure. Sometime in the last 3-4 days I transitioned into Holidays Laura, with several bottles of imbibage in the kitchen and sweets and munchies around. The decorations call.

So we're here, in the log flume that is the holiday season. Wrap the presents, put up the tree, play the music, decorate, cook, bake, watch the movies and specials. It wasn't tough to step into it all this year, more a drift than a step really. Now I even have an art project in mind. A Marley doorknocker.  : ) Yep, that went way too fast. I could've done nothing for a few more days before I got concerned. Now things get somewhat crazy for the next 6 weeks or so, then we rest again. I'm planning to sleep for the entire month of February.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

There's no time to blog til the weekend so I'm reposting a piece. I wrote this 3 years ago. A lot has happened in the interim, but it still applies.

This has become my favorite holiday. A day to relax, take stock, eat my favorite foods and even watch a parade in my old hometown. Somehow, the cooking of Thanksgiving has never seemed like work to me. It's a magical meal. I guess having done it for so many years it's as though it puts itself together.

So yes, I'm thankful for our food, and the animals and the vegetables and the minerals that make it possible.
I'm thankful for the people in my life. I'm thankful for a safe home with potable running water (even hot water!). I'm thankful for appropriate clothing and shoes. I'm thankful for a lively community. I'm thankful for my education, and all the things that have happened in my life to bring me to this point. I'm thankful for Brooks Library and the folks who work there. I'm thankful for my aides who help keep me rolling along. I'm thankful for all my projects and the ability to keep working on them. I'm thankful for all of life's lessons; they teach me to be able to help others. I'm thankful for the Earth that supports us, the Sun and Moon and Stars, the wonders of nature and science and religion. I'm thankful for my family and my forebears. I'm thankful for my heritage and uncovering history and still being able to think. I'm thankful for the progress of social justice and all those who work for it. I'm thankful for my computer and the internet, which have brought me new friends and information and entertainment and cultures I'd not have known otherwise. And which has made it so easy to become close to and keep up with all the lives I care about. I'm thankful for music and art that give me succor when I'm down. I'm thankful for people who make my spirit soar and my brain think. I'm thankful I have enough of everything to share and celebrate life. I'm thankful for life itself.

On this day of thanks I want to start making it a practice to be mindful of being thankful every day. I have so much to be thankful for every day, not just today.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Gobble!

Here we are. I'll gather my wits to make and bake the pies for Thanksgiving dinner right after this is posted. The house is in shape for company. Ems has a bed waiting right in front of the heat. There are sheets and blankets out for Strider to camp on the futon. Just some last minute organizing and then cooking on the day and eating. Yay!

So I'll be busy from here on til Saturday and I just wanted to wish a Happy Thanksgiving to all my blogging pals, even if you don't observe it. Any day's a good day to realize and value all we have. Enjoy.

Things I'm grateful for this year:
Food and friends and family


Attitude adjustment

The turkeys who give their lives for our feasts.


And furfaces who make life good.

The fall of the Nose of Mordor

One of the best nights
EVER.
And an incredible daughter.


                                                                  BERNIE!

The ways and means to keep on keeping on.



 We have Obama for filling another few SCOTUS seats.

  And we live to fight another day.


                                                Happy Thanksgiving. xo                                                  

Monday, November 19, 2012

November Nose and Flipping the Bird

It's here. The windows have been closed for a few days and I have November Nose. Out comes the spray. The boiling water as night falls. Yes, I know this drill. Years ago it was accompanied by the smells of wet wool and radiators and the radio playing Motown. In fact, every time I hear this


I smell wet wool.
It just dawned on me tonight that I'm not coming down sick, it's the same damn thing I've gone through every Fall. It's November Nose.

The bird is ever so slowly defrosting. He'll get flipped in the morning so the breast gets lots of juice until cooking time. Tomorrow I'll herb up the olives, defrost the cranberries and pumpkin to make pies on Tuesday. Our menu runs as follows:
Laying around the house:
asstd nuts
figs
olives
homemade pickled herring and sour cream
chips n dip

Dinner:
the 21# bird
onion-celery-sage stuffing
gravy
homemade cranberries sauce
baked sweet potatoes
mashed white potatoes
white trash green beans dish
sauteed spinach
more gravy. and stuffing.

Dessert:
cranberry, pumpkin and Strider's bringing apple, pies. and Reddi-Whip!

Drinklage:
tea, coffee, milk, apple juice, V8 and whatever anyone else brings.

I think we're in excellent shape.

However, if they keep up with the barrage of Christmas adverts this may be the year I get sick of Yuletidiness. I remember each year my parents got sick of Christmas. My Dad went Grinchy when he was 70. My Mom gave up more than got tired of it, when she was 64 or 65. Just didn't want to be bothered with it because it caused too much physical pain. I understand that now, but didn't then. It was sad to go from a house decorated like Fezziwig's to a ceramic tree on the tv. I took up the decorating craze in their place and except for the year Ian died, have always had a tree at the least. Now that we've been back a year I'm pretty much situated to go decoration wild this year. We'll see how it goes. I can't get over the Hallmark channel going right to Christmas movies from Halloween on. Can't we relax and digest? Though this year Strider's going to help me put up the tree on Thanksgiving Friday. Long as that part's done I can get the rest out and up myself. 

Well it's midnight and I'm ready to collect the Beest and curl up under my quilt. Stay warm, everyone.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Reset Rerun

Just over a year ago I was getting ready to leave Strider's house and return to the post-Irene Shire. It wasn't the same but then neither was I. And that isn't necessarily bad. Please enjoy this rerun.

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.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Because I'm an Idiot- no. 48

Why oh why did I expect better? Because I'm an idiot. For some complete unreason I expected that people would be more civil for knowing each other and perhaps know what they're talking about in a certain area of interest on Fecebook. I mean, why join a group of people out of your league? Wouldn't that make you a pretentious ass? And if you have any sense and realize you're in over your head, wouldn't you keep your mouth shut so you don't show what an ass you are? Unless the inverse is true, in that somehow beginners created this club that adepts liked the sound of and joined, which blew the beginners' minds so completely that they never showed common sense or intelligence again. Howzat for a sentence? :)

What this is really about is that since Michael Lloyd wrote Bull of Heaven there's been this convergence of the peep who were interconnected thru the NYC Pagan scene. This, if anything, is a hint to me that it really could be the End of the World. We all pretty much hated each other at the parting. I mean, we went thru a constant state of high drama for several years together. We thought we knew each other well; men were stolen, people were used and abused, blood was drawn. Now we're older, apparently some peep have lost their memories, and those of us still around after all the thinnings of the herd (Vietnam, drugs, car accidents, AIDS, etc.) proceed with cautious optimism among each other again. These are the people of my twenties and thirties. Some older, some younger. A lot are dead. We have those griefs in common too. And hopefully we've mellowed, gotten past the worst bits of our insanities, grown up. And holy crap the funniest damn stories come to mind, and peep remember parts you don't and you end up laughing ass off.

Thing is, we were Pagans back before it was accepted. When there were books but they were underground and shelved in the back of the bookstore or in the middle of an aisle. (And here I'd like to say thank you to the Strand for the good occult selection at cheaper prices than Herman's.) There was no Disneyesque cloying charm nor Barbie on a broom in those days. And rarely did you wear a pentacle in public. It was way before a pentacle could be seen in a military cemetery. We have all these shared and not so nice experiences but we have a boatload of funny too. There's history.

So along comes a thing called Facebook where everyone just is, to some extent. And these newbie witchlings are putting up pages that look much more sophisticated than their admins are. Some of the old farts get on there and there's this huge generation gap. Different things are being taught than what we learned. They've inherited the art but not the heart. It's kind of like digging a guy only to find out in the morning that he's 17. Not that that's ever happened to me.

And it looks like, for all the specious wisdom we may have accrued, we haven't got it together enough to create our own damn pages for the adepts ourselves. Because we're still screwed by being the generation we are.

Yes, I am an idiot. But I'm not alone.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Second to the Right and...

There's no time. No time to lurk as much as I'd like to on facebook, no time to fart around and watch silly YT vids, no time to sit and stare at a screen while I think up the next line for a blogpost. It's early this year but it's undeniably here. I speak, of course, of the holiday season.

First of all fb. I've been in touch with many peep I haven't talked to in years. It's wonderful, time consuming, very annoying, really funny and a total pain in the ass. There's too much stuff coming at you all the time. I can see how peep would end up spending all their time on there, just trying to keep up. But it's also very useful. Like any tool it can be misused, like any power it can be used for evil. It's only as much as you make of it. Though rest assured that everything you do is tracked and used for marketing purposes. My search results have changed significantly to reflect things I've looked at on fb.

Aside from the morning rush to get the food to the other radio station, today was a tangle of can't do-s. Typical of the pre-holiday prepping. Where'd all the tape go? Are there any gift tags left from last year? What pots and pans and dishes for what foods on Thanksgiving? Where are the lights and what about that broken light, can Brown and Roberts fix that? On it goes, as it always has and probably always will be.

And then there's the Really Big News. That is that my former place of employment is a union shop now. My old coworker called and told me, it was a 65% majority. I congratulated him and he apologized that it didn't happen while I was there. But it's okay. At least a couple of us from the first drive made it to being union workers. And yeah, I cried. Hey, Norma Rae didn't get to join when the union came into her former workplace either. Sometimes it's enough to see it happen at all.

Now we head into a big chill. That's fine too, because the weather's been too warm for this time of year. On we go.
Straight on til morning.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Remembering

Called Armistice Day or Veterans Day, it's today, the 11th of the 11th of the 11th. As Armistice Day I see the celebration. The end of war and beginning of peace is to be celebrated. But I have a hard time saying "Happy" Veterans Day. This isn't a happy thing, being a veteran. Especially with the way veterans are treated these days. Serving is and was a sacrifice, a duty, something noble to have done. Happy seems wrong. 

Tammy Duckworth sent out an email today, herself a vet who was gravely wounded in the current wars:

"Today, it is essential that we honor all those that have been willing to make the defense of freedom their personal responsibility. Since before the inception of the United States, those Veterans have served the American people enduring physical danger, discomfort, horrible living conditions, and long separation from their loved ones.

This rite of remembrance is especially poignant at this time when so many of our sons, daughters, brothers and sisters are currently deployed overseas and in harm's way. Let us each remember now that every one of those Americans has voluntarily undertaken those tasks to protect our country, and let us continue to remember when we welcome them home at the end of their service.

On Veterans Day and throughout the year, we must remember the sacrifice America’s warfighters and their families make every day. There is no more important job than keeping our nation safe and secure, and they deserve the very best that our country has to offer."
However one feels about what's going on, let's not ever forget those who serve.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Happy 65th Greg!

You all know how I loves the Greg guy. Well, today he turned 65 years young. On Monday he begins the European leg of his Songs of a Lifetime Tour with dates in the UK and the continent. He has a new cd being released, his autobiography in print (and I'm presuming the other 2 parts on audio stick?) soon to be published, maybe a dvd of his American SOAL tour(?) and a shiny new grandson, Gabriel. 2012 has been a good year for our Greg. I wish him all the best and hope he'll come back through the states next year.


And an added bonus: Greg on the tour with Yes:
(this is from the concert Strider and I went to in April)

 

Friday, November 9, 2012

Time to Move Forward

There is so much acrimony floating around. I've never seen so much emotional outpouriing over an election. We're in a sea of sore losers and lousy winners and it's all done, folks. Youse can go on being all shrill and waste a bunch more time and money doing that or youse can put on your grown up pants and start fixing things.

In case nobody noticed, the NYC/Jersey Shore area is still a Katrina wreck. People need help.

The same people who were struggling and on the edge haven't moved up any since Tuesday.

The same people who didn't have a pot to piss in or a window to throw it out of are still potless and windowless.

People are acting like schoolyard bullies on both sides when what we should be doing is rising above all this crap and fixing things!

Think on this a minute:
  Don't let us rejoice in punishment, even when the hand of God alone inflicts it. The best of us are but poor wretches, just saved from shipwreck: can we feel anything but awe and pity when we see a fellow-passenger swallowed by the waves? - George Eliot

Enough with the pointing fingers, accusations, nah nahs and gotchas. There's no time to waste. Let's grow up and get to work.

Wood Needed

We have a woman who is very ill and has three young sons and needs wood to get through the winter. If you can help, please contact me ASAP. Thanks!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Baby, It's Cold Outside

The Windham County Heat Fund needs your support. Almost 8 years ago, Richard Davis and Daryl Pillsbury got the idea to create the Heat Fund. Though some people can get assistance through the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, others cannot, and fall through the cracks. When people fall through cracks they may be a single parent with children, earning too much to be eligible for fuel assistance but not enough to heat their home. People often have to decide, as winter months progress, whether to buy food or fuel. They may be elderly or disabled, living on fixed incomes, and can’t afford housing, food, bills, medications and fuel. They have to figure out how they'll survive without the necessities of life. In our area, heat is a necessity.

Those who do qualify for LIHEAP are getting roughly a third of what they received 2 years ago. It has been cold already; today it snowed. The heat is on.

Send your tax deductible donations to
The Windham County Heat Fund
c/o Richard Davis
679 Weatherhead Hollow Rd
Guilford, VT 05301

or you can donate directly at the Brattleboro Savings and Loan. 100% of your donations goes to fuel. None of us who work on the Heat Fund take one penny. Please keep your neighbors safely warm this winter. Thank you.

For Gary


Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Oh What a Relief It Is!

Today I'm celebrating. Because it's all gonna be all right. Not good; things haven't entirely changed since Monday, but some really good stuff has happened. Encouraging stuff. I'll let Stevil's wonderful post tell it:

http://auto-de-fey.blogspot.com/2012/11/in-1963-bob-dylan-wrote-song-that-i.html

Obama's wee hours speech, which is one of the most moving I've ever heard:

http://www.pbs.org/newshour/rundown/2012/11/victory-in-hand-obama-extends-olive-branch-for-second-term.html
(scroll halfway down the page for the video)

So we prepare for the first Winter storm. I'm gonna make a small cheaters beef stew, bake a couple sweet potatoes and whatever else I come across to warm the place up (I always fill an oven). Oh and my brother is home at last, everything is on and back to somewhat normal at his house. Though the shore is under curfew/evac again in the threat of the Nor'easter coming. I'm worried about Kick, because she's supposed to work tonight but how can she under the curfew/evac orders, she's already lost a lot of work time and $, and now she's worried they'll fire her.

In general I can't work myself up over anything bad today. It all seems handle-able. We dodged a hail of bullets last night. After that, well, what doesn't kill you makes you stronger, right?

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

YES WE DID!

Watching the Daily Show when Jon Stewart says the election is called- aren't polls still open?- and OBAMA WON!!!!!!

I can sleep, it'll all be okay. Well, not okay, but fightable. There's still hope.

The Dems are back in Congress, which is debatably meaningful.

My shoulders just dropped from my ears.

Oh My Aching Balls

This is as stressful an election as when Bush #2 stole the 2000 election. I can barely stand watching, as the little red states tally up one after another for Mitt the Twit. Honestly, if he gets the seat I'll wish to die right then and mean it with all my being. And I hope a stray Reaper hears my wish and takes me. Because I'll have lost all hope for any halfway decent future. I can't leave this country. So why not die.



The thought that so many people are idiotic and racist and homophobic enough to be brainwashed by this corrupt load of rich pander-to-the-lowest-morality-greedy bastard douchebag asshats makes me hate this all with the white hot intensity of a thousand suns. Oh my god what's happened to my country!?????! How did everyone get so goddamned stupid? How could someone this evil have 50% of the vote? WTF?

Nail Biting Night

Oh how I hate elections.

Everything you listen to or watch has different projections and figures.
Exit polls are once again different to what the vote count supposedly is.

I wish I'd gotten beer in!
Something tells me this could be a loooong night.

Daryl and Joe are going to cover the polls closing here in town, at 7.
Ach, my nerves.
Where are the good drugs of old that made the world tolerable?
It's no fun to be an adult anymore.
I'll be back later.
Oh- Romney is ahead in KY and IN but it's very early.

Liar or Ignoramus?


Either way, I don't want him running things.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Bleak Humor

I Miss Nana

Tomorrow's the big day. We vote and decide whether we'll go along more or less in the same way or go hurtling backwards 40-50 years. I'm really sick of being scared at every election. These neocons do scare the hell outta me, because they feel they have some sort of religious crusade. This time their crusade may not involve cannibalism or raping, killing and torturing those who don't "believe" as they do along the way. I hope they don't get the chance so we can see whether it does or not. So far, we've been doing a good job of raping, killing and torturing without a religious zeal to fuel it.

Certainly I don't want to see anyone in office who'd dictate a woman's reproductive rights. Certainly I don't want to see someone in office who puts their personal religious beliefs before anyone else's. Certainly I don't want to see anyone in office who wants to keep or establish inequality among We the People. But politics has become an arena of those who have bad ideas and those who make those ideas worse. Has it always been this way? I wish I could talk to my Nana right now. Yes, it's gotten to the point that I want my Nana.

Nana was a Republican and a Christian. She was also one of those women who, in the 1920s, sat on a park bench with another woman who let a glimpse of stocking reveal that they were who you were safe to approach if you needed an abortion. She and the other woman would get up and walk away, and the woman in need would follow them to the sidewalk where they'd address her and then escort her to a relatively safe place for her abortion to be done. I don't want to go back to those days.

Nana wasn't wealthy or a big philanthropist but she campaigned for assistance to the poor. During the Depression she fed anyone who showed up at her door. On her gatepost was the hobo sign for "kindly woman". She believed that everyone should be helped when they need it. Any kind of assistance they needed. And that you should be ashamed of yourself for refusing or questioning their need. Because she was a Christian.

Nana thought everyone was equal on the Earth. That it was wrong to exclude people from any right or privilege. She'd been a Suffragette. She drove an automobile in 1919 and was a decorated NYPD Captain in 1923. She was active in the Brooklyn Republican Party and the papers called her "Republican Battleaxe", which she thought hilarious. It was at her table that I heard, "I may not agree with what you say but I'll defend to the death your right to say it." and "Well, we'll agree to disagree."- that said with a chuckle. She wasn't condescending, she didn't think she was better than anyone else. She didn't dismiss people as "nonbelievers" or arrogantly think her way was the only way.
She just had principles and she lived them.

I miss Nana on the eve of this election.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

An Absolute Beginner

I have to say that Facebook's a wild ride to just join now. So many people are on there, and so many threads run through everyone's lives. Everyone is in there! People I haven't spoken to, lost touch with, old co-workers and pals from every era of my life-they're in there! It was a whole day of boiling decades of things down to a few lines in a little box. My eyes are shot, my head is full and I'm drained.

But really? Facebook is like a necessary evil these days. And to be honest, it can be fun. I sit corrected.

Houston, We Have Contact.

And holy crap am I gonna sleep tonight. Billy and MaryAlice are in Staten Island and we'll talk tomorrow.
Everyone's okay but things are a mess.

And yes, it's because I finally caved and joined fb. Dammit. It took all of 3 hours to do what 4 days of emails and phone calls didn't. I'll concede that it's not as rotten as it once was and I will credit it for finding relatives, and the ladies who pushed me into joining it for being right.

Doesn't mean I have to like it!

But it does mean that I'll sleep before sunrise and this longer-than-has-been-night might set me well. Everyone's okay.
And the Bonzo solo on "TSRTS" which is playing on vh-1 CLASSIC has joy unbound to it.
The best kind of lullaby.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?

There are people all over the place involved in finding Billy now, for which I'm very grateful. I want to thank the ladies on the Greg Lake forums for their volunteer spirit and sisterhood.

It's not the first time Billy has gone MIA, gods know. We'd go a month or two without hearing from him when he was in Vietnam, pretty regularly. The first couple of weeks we'd hold breath, dreading the 2 guys in dress uniform would show up at our house. Eventually it became a sort of unspoken tension in the family. We'd watch the news in a grim silence. Then a letter would arrive or there'd be a phone call if he had leave somewhere and it'd all be over until the next time. When he was a cop he was happy and handsome and having a blast, and if anything happened to him he'd be taken care of and we'd know immediately, so you get used to that worry. This is different. A natural disaster is chaotic. There's still no power and no phones working around his house. I'm fairly certain he's staying close to home. But I'm sure that he probably isn't thinking that I'm losing my mind worried about him. Billy doesn't think about such things.

In other matters...
This morning was Larry's memorial, Wendeleh called me after it was over. A full house, a good memorial.

Speaking of Greg, there's a contest for tickets and VIP passes to his London show:
http://www.greglake.com/cgi-bin/yabb2/YaBB.pl?num=1351955870/0#0

And it's 1:30 already and I haven't accomplished anything but this, answering emails, returning phone calls and chatting on the phone. Time to get off my arse and do some constructive something.

Friday, November 2, 2012

No Way! Not Yet!

Tonight's forecast- chance of snow, low in the low 30s. And tomorrow? Lows in the 20s. This is really not called for. I'm not ready to close the windows for the Winter yet.

Tomorrow is Larry's memorial service. I'm not going. Gal Friday was here this morning and after she left I got into boxes and searching and I sat here too long and now my back is poop. Which means it'll be Kardashian tomorrow. Everyone and his mother will be there so I won't be missed. And like I represented Wendy at Henry's service, she can represent me at Larry's. I have come to hate, loathe, despise and abominate funerals. Larry knew I liked and respected him, and that's what matters.

Not a word about Billy or MaryAlice.

My friend in NY state came home to find her power back on tonight. Woohoo for 20th century living!

Stories are coming out about those who died by Sandy, most in Staten Island. Thankfully, nobody I know among them. Those folks are suffering down there. Manhattan's well on the way to normal, but the outlying areas are far from it. This is the Katrina of the north. Here's a gallery of reader's photos on NJ.com:
http://photos.nj.com/1816/gallery/breaking_news_photos/index.html

A neighbor housed her son and his family for a month here in the Shire. They lost their jobs and home in Texas and had nowhere to go and no money to start up. We aren't supposed to take people in- we're required to report overnight guests and are only allowed to have a total of 4 weeks of stay-overs in a 12 month period- but nobody here ratted her out.  It's possible that only a few knew about it but not likely. People here watch everything. One woman was accused of having an affair with a young man. It was later revealed that he was her son coming by. It's that sort of place, which is why I keep to myself. Still, nobody ratted her/them out. I want to think there's an unwritten solidarity here.

Don't mistake this, we're going through a Great Depression, natural disasters and all. I pray that Obama gets back in. Romney in his magic underwear will be the Anti-FDR. Instead of creating infrastructure jobs to get us back to work and in working order Romnut will just contract everything out to his profit-making tax-dodging friends, thereby creating the sort of plutocracy that all Fascists enjoy. The rich politically-powered will own the government and we'll all owe our souls to the company store.

Yeah, times are a little bit scary.

Dear Campaigns,

Go $%&# yourselves. Really. $%&# yourself really hard because right now I don't care about how much money you need, when your deadline is, or, frankly, whether or not any of you live or die. And how dare you try guilting me with a "statement of contributions" and telling me I can do better? Go take a flying $%&# at the moon. Cuz you can find all the money I'm giving you there. If you haven't noticed, there's some real #$%& going on, like people missing and who are suddenly homeless with nothing left and you want money so you can hassle people for more? You sure you wanna do that? I'm a woman on the edge. One more of you ass bastids emails me for money and I'm never giving any of you a cent ever again.
Sincerely,
LA

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Day of the Dead

I had one of those dissociative moments this morning. In the morning fog that I'm becoming used to having these days, I had to regroup. Billy's still missing. Is it really November already? Thanksgiving is 3 weeks away and Christmas, 8 1/2. Halloween goes back in the box and it's time to straighten the house out for the holidays. The windchimes and lawn signs have to go back outside.

And Billy's still MIA.

Kick emailed me that she was going north this a.m. to get gas for the generator. If they could they'd stop by Billy's house. I shouldn't worry about any of them, they're all very capable people and if I got thru Irene they can get thru Sandy. I worry anyway.

There are so many stories coming out of this storm. Trees go roots-up and reveal skeletons. News reporters are helping people around the world locate their dislocated or incommunicado relatives. It'll be another week or more before people have water and power again. And the whole thing is on such a massive scale that I can't grasp it. New Jersey is a very populous place, entirely settled and paved for centuries. It's hard to picture what's happened, even after seeing the photos. Seaside decimated. The whole Jersey shore, all those towns, a big mess now. All those people living in homes that have been flooded, without power or water. And many made homeless. As soon as water recedes, the stench rises. How many homes will be condemned, torn down? How many will have lost everything they ever owned? One article described flying over Seaside, sand-filled roads, and here and there the bright colors of stuffed animals from the boardwalk game stalls, like sprinkles on butterscotch pudding.

Sandy has left about 160 people dead, in all, starting its devastation in the Caribbean. People are missing. A mother lost her grip on her 2 young sons as they were pulled into swelling waters on Staten Island, and she begged nearby houses for help but nobody would come out. A "mini tsunami" tore thru one house in Tottenville, on the southern tip of Staten Island, leaving a 13 year-old girl dead, her mother in critical condition and her father gone. Those claimed by the ocean may never be found.

I continue calling Jersey, but there's no getting thru. The home line has a recording saying my call can't be completed, try again later. Billy's cellphone, which I left a voicemail on Tuesday, just rings and rings now. On top of the power lines being down, cell towers fell too. Day by day my stomach sinks.

Finally just heard from a friend in NY state. She has no power but is otherwise fine. Maybe everyone will just pop up, one by one, like meercats. Meanwhile, we wait.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The Sandy Aftermath in Jersey

Kick's hubby Scott is a handy fella. He's hooked things up to the generator and they're all okay for the time being. Kick is a resourceful woman and is just fine with cooking over a fire. They'll be carrying on as well as can be expected til things get restored.

Meanwhile...


The residents walk around the neighborhood, some decide to leave on foot...

Boats are everywhere but in the water.

Patrick found a bundle of letters in the debris.

                     It's so sad to see all these beautiful boats wrecked and strewn around the land .

                             Patrick dried all the letters by carefully laying them out by the fire.
Kick tells the story:
"The most amazing thing did happen.  we were wandering around like everyone else...must have walked 20 miles.  We walked all the way down to highlands and back.  Patrick found a stack of old love letters dated 1942 to some guy in Troy Vermont!!!  he took them home and dried everyone of them by the fire.  We read them in the dark.  They are addressed to a Mr. Lynn Farnham all the envelopes say is North Troy Vermont...no zip or anything.

"Something so beautiful in the midst of all this destruction.  Reminded us all that love conquers all."

And destruction it is. Photos and vids are everywhere on the intertubes. Kick took this of "the small gas line" as she and Scott drove around the area this afternoon:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qNqAJk_JVb8
"fist fights at the gas stations. one of his buddies had to threaten someone with a baseball bat. guy tried taking gas cans out of his truck."

And my dear Kick says, "We are so lucky Laura.   I walk 10 feet down the street and I want to cry. people with huge trees on their houses.  walls blown out from the water rushing through.  found a 50 savings bond from Highlands, gonna look for the addressee some day.  I feel guilty taking pictures.  I make sure no one is looking." 
And so closes the second day after Sandy, Halloween 2012.

The Story Unfolding

Kick and her family stayed in their house. Atlantic Highlands is the highest point on the Jersey shore and she says her house is fine. They have 50 gallons of water stored and she's been able to cook in the fireplace with the new crane that her husband just put in before the flood. Amazing, that. However, there is no water, no power and the area looks "like a war zone."

Kick and Patrick (my godson) have gotten some shots near their house









She writes:
"Phone died. We have a generator bit verry little gas for it. Gas lines r 10 miles long. Is help coming? Christi say nething?"
I've told her what a mess it is and that they're getting to them. The roads are all blocked with trees and debris. I'm just telling them to hang on.
And I'm so relieved they're okay I'm crying.
Now Billy and Mac and co. need to turn up.