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Sunday, March 31, 2013

Thank You, Mr. President

Nope, not Obama, whose deals are day by day making me like him less. This thank you goes to Jimmy Carter. If the good guys win in the end, Jimmy Carter will go down in history as the most decent man who served in the White House in decades, possibly ever.

And now, this man of good conscience has done something I'm sure has cost him sleep and friends, because his conscience is still that strong. It can't have been an easy decision, but I applaud him, as always.

http://www.womenspress-slo.org/?p=11440

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Shall We Dance?

Just recently, several friends who are roughly my age told me that they'd never learned to waltz. I don't know why but it really surprised me. I guess I just figured that everyone was put through some excruciating hours in their home with an older family member teaching the steps over and over until you stopped stepping on their feet. I knew some kids who had to go to real social and dancing lessons. They were taught table manners, how to curtsy, walking with a book on their heads and other civilising graces. Then they'd come to school and share the torture with us in the schoolyard. Fortunately we weren't wealthy enough for me to suffer that.

Our lessons were at home, in the dining room or wherever there was floorspace. It all started when you were very young, too. My Father let me stand on top of his feet 'til I began to learn how my feet were supposed to move. There were plenty of dances to go to in those days, too. You were often pushed out onto the floor to dance with some little boy who was as miserable as you and from whom you ran as soon as the music ended. Years later, my Stepfather taught me the fancier steps. Foxtrot, Lindy, the Big Apple, the full Charleston, , the Jitterbug, the polka variations, the Stroll. He was an Arthur Murray instructor and I still recall polka-ing in platform shoes with him at a dangerously fast rate in 1975. I refused to disco. The disco culture skeeved me. That's when my dancehall days ended, until I met my husband and we went clubbing in the 80s.

Of course by then nobody was dancing those old dances. We were doing strange "new wave" moves, or slam-dancing, or what had become a generic two-step "slow dance" at the end of the night. He and I would waltz now and then at home, or when we went out for New Year's Eve. I last danced a waltz with a guy who'd apparently never learned how. I think that was 1994. I can't dance these days, my shoes are bronzed and permanently hung. Figuratively, anyway.

So who among us was taught to dance those standard dances? I'm curious to know if it was only a regional or maybe just an inner-city thing to teach kids to dance back in those '50s-'60s days.

Wish I Could Do That

The mail just came and with it the cable/internet bill (I do keep my phone separate, so that if the cable goes out I still have the phone. And the cable has gone out many more times than the phone. Not to mention that the phone doesn't require electricity, another failer in these parts).

Anyway. I open it and find that my bill has jumped from $115 a month to $143 a month. This, after getting a bunch of paper last month that didn't even mention the "bundle" I have or anything but a lot of convoluted calculations and offers for the newest, most wonderful stuff ever seen since the beginning of humans. Do I get anything better? No. Do I get anything more? No. Do I get anything new? No. What do I get? I get to pay about 30 bucks more a month for what I already had.

So. Let's take a look at how this year's finances are totalling up.
- In January, Social Security gave a little rise, not quite COLA. That gave me $13 more a month.
- Because of that $13, Food Stamps took away $1 a month.
- My rent will go up $8 a month starting in the Summer, as per the review we did on Friday.
- Food itself is nearly unaffordable, with anything not created in a lab starting at roughly $9 a pound. So let's consider increased food cost rise of about $2 a day, or $60 a month.
- Now cable and internet have gone up $28 a month.

That gives us monthly totals of
$13 in the plus side
$97 in the minus side
= $84 a month less than I had 3 months ago

Yearly, that's $1008 less income than last year.
whoopee. good times.
And no, my new "published columnist" status creates no income, sadly. Ah well.

Must be nice to arbitrarily just send out new bills every year or so announcing how much everyone owes you now. Comcast has no regulations and is omnipotent. All hail capitalism.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

One From Column A

Well, I've done it. My first column for Vermont Views magazine just left my screen and went to my new editor, Phil Innes. Yes, he's some relation but we haven't figured that out yet. It's not close enough to be nepotism anyway. He knows the nastier stories about the family that I heard when I was a kid, so we're related somehow. And he's from the auld sod, too. As for the column, I'm not sure but I think it will appear tomorrow (meaning Friday on the US east coast) at

http://www.vermontviews.org/vermontviews.org/Stones_of_Years.html

(and yeah, "Stones of Years" is an ELP reference- from "Tarkus"). This first column is about why I joined Fecebook and why I'm going away now, a  rewrite from this here blog. In 2 weeks I'll have a fresh column done. No idea what that'll be about, though I'm thinking towards GMO Frankenfoods and Obama giving Monsanto a free pass just yesterday... we'll see.

So. I'm excited and scared and happy. Who knows how or where this will go. It's a ride. :)

Perfect Timing

At 5 a.m. I woke up with a roaring headache. About an hour ago it started receding, hallelujah. Life goes on and so I got some coffee, did the morning usuals and settled in at my desk to clean out all the accumulated unnecessaries.

By chance, the cable is running a "Watchathon" on the higher echelon channels that are unaffordable in these parts. So I've got the last series of "True Blood" playing. If you don't know of it, it's a present-day series about vampires, werewolves and other supernatural types in the swampy south, and is for a Mature Audience. Its theme song is

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9ULkeCyeT-8

and was playing when I heard a timid closing of the front door. A minute or so of silence followed, and then a knock on my door.
"Hello?" I said, not getting up.
"Hello," said a man.
"Yes?" I said.
"Hello," he said again (and in the background,  "I wanna do bad things with you..."). "I'm a minister."
"You're not allowed to do that in this complex," I said.
"Not allowed to do what?" he said.
"Peddle anything door to door, including religion," I said.
There was a long moment of silence.
"Well you have a good day," he said.
"You too," I said.
The front door closed on "I wanna do real bad things with you."
Maybe I should hang a Baphomet on the door and be done with it.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Happy Birthday Niecely!

Today is the mmmmth birthday of my niece, Lisa. She is having a rocking year, having lost 40+ pounds since December and living so much healthier than she ever has. She has taken that empty nest and filled it with determination. I'm very proud of her accomplishments and so am presenting her with her favorite things.

Pretty places


Pretty faces
 
The obligatory cat joke

Oh so Lisa



A little shot at her age...

and sanity...

Words,

Musical joy

And aging with style.



Rock on, Niecely. Happy Birthday and every other day. May your dreams come true in your new year. xo

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

It's Always Like Oz

Life's been interesting. As I was growing very weary of everything, Stevil advised me to take a couple days off from all communication. I did. And not only to catch up with things that I'd been wanting to do. Things needed to change and a couple decisions came of it. One being to dump Facebook.

While it was great for reconnecting to long-lost folks, that's done now. We have our email addresses and will be in touch. I gave it 5 months, and as my friend Raz says, "It's been swell but the swelling has gone down now." The carping and snark isn't worth it. I've seen good friends argue viciously and vindictively. If I never see another photo of a cat or some inane or trite saying it'll be too soon. And lately fully one-third of the page is intrusive advertisements culled from their spying on your browsing and your friends. I've had chest pains for the last 3 months, and they went away while I was off FB. Obviously, I wasn't built for that bizarro world. But I won't take my page down. Once in a while I'll go look at George Takei and Awkward Band and Musicians for a laugh, but the rest is over. As of Sunday the 31st I won't be part of the circus.

In the connections vein, when I posted about leaving FB, two editors contacted me and asked if I'd like to write columns for their publications. We're discussing these possibilities now. So some good has come of it.

I also was getting very guilty that this blog had become an afterthought in my life after being a central part for so long. Interacting with 30 or more people a day is draining and I'd find myself with nothing left for neither blog nor book, day after day. I've been neglectful and my blog should be a priority. You guys have been with me through joys and sorrows and I've let you down. Mea culpa.

In those 2 days a new direction came to mind for the story I'm writing. It explains a lot of who and what the characters are and where their thoughts and reactions come from, so back to that I go, as well. Fiction writing brings me a freedom of mind and the joy of creativity, things sadly lacking on Fecebook.

The best journeys are like going to Oz and coming home, and that's what FB has been to me. I gained and regained connections I couldn't have gotten anywhere else. I was entertained and horrified, but ultimately the best place is where I was already. It's nice to come home.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Frightday Night Fun

After days of tsuris with youtubian contrarian BS, I've loaded a new version of my browser and gotten back to viewing lovely old programs. Among a lot of dross there are fabulous series that I loved as a kid. Back then they scared me silly but I couldn't wait to watch them, late on a Friday night. I love them still. Especially when you see them now and find Captain Kirk and Mrs. Howell with a haunted painting in Boris Karloff's Thriller Theatre:



Or with John Newland's One Step Beyond, with stories based on actual events. I can't count the nights that watching this show kept me up, wide-eyed and spooked, hiding under the covers.


And then there's the Rolls Royce of creepy tv shows. Of all of them, this is my dearest favorite episode:
                                         http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DjXip6svWkQ
 

On each of those pages, you'll find many other episodes of these shows, plenty to keep you entertained by another era, when being chilled and disturbed didn't involve torture and buckets of fake blood.

I'm going to go pop some corn and melt some butter, Pleasant dreams.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Ah, Spring!

Today's the Equinox, the day of equal light and dark in balance, when the northern hemi moves to Spring and the southern hemi moves to Autumn. It's a good day to renew some hope around here because things look like this


Yeah, we're ready for Spring

And while Beest goes through her annual "chew off my fur because the shedding and new growth are itchy" phase and I in turns comb her, give her hairbal goo and clean up said hairballs every few days, this too is a sign of Spring. It's reassuring. That's my story, I'm stickin to it.

The Shire really is beautiful in the snow. There's little wind so it's stuck on the branches 2-3" deep. The plow guys did a better job of the 10 or so inches this storm brought. Today was the annual Fire Inspection  to check that we aren't storing kerosene on rags next to the heaters and that all the alarms work. All is well, just another sign of Spring.

And soon, in a few weeks, maybe sooner, it'll look like



and then 




 All in good time. Happy Equinox, everybody.
x

Monday, March 18, 2013

It's a Girl!

We have a new family member. Strider, following Emmet's wishes, has gotten together all his worldly goods and all her love and care and found another lucky orphan to inherit his kingdom. This time, it's a girl!

And so, without further ado, world, Maisie. Maisie, world.


She has some mighty big pawprints to fill, but she's already showing signs of inheriting the Wonderdog title. I'll get to meet her in a couple of weeks but I'm already in love with her. And Strider? I think it's safe to say she's fine. Thanks to everyone for your concern. We carry Ems in our hearts and honor his memory by giving everything to our new little wonder. <3


I can't wait to kiss that little nose!!!! Is there anything cuter than a napping puppy on your lap? Beest is gonna be very disgruntled. So nothing new there. Welcome Maisie! xxxxxx

Sunday, March 17, 2013

lá sona Naomh Pádraig

How can this be Sunday night/ St. Patrick's Day night already when I haven't caught up to Wednesday yet? I just saw Lawless' post at
 http://mybabyjohn.blogspot.com/2013/03/move-along-peoplenothing-to-see-here.html
and that's exactly how I feel and I don't even have a hubby eating up all my time! What the hell? I'm even limiting my online time and still, it seems like a day is over in a flash. Everyone wants to know what I think of what they did when I haven't had time to notice, if I'm honest. Yes, very nice, very lovely. Can I have 10 minutes to go to the lavatory in peace?

There are 12, yes 12, books waiting to be read. I'd get thru them sooner but my eyes give out these days. Every night I put the same dvd in the little mobile dvd player in my bedroom and I've yet to know what's going on in it. Most nights I'm crashing not long after the covers are on me. Then I wake up and sleep, wake up and sleep all night. I had 3 nights of good sleep last week and I could've slept more if I didn't have things going on. There are always things going on. Workers out behind my bedroom wall, or loud people. Telephones turned up to 11 for the nearly deaf to hear their pals call at 6:30 a.m.

Bah.

Anyway, lots going on in the world that has nothing to do with my silly life.
Get ready for further future payments:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/media-blog/2013/mar/10/paying-send-emails-esther-dyson

Brains, minds and thoughts- how does that work?
http://bigthink.com/ideafeed/where-science-fails-to-explain-consciousness

Thought crime detection being perfected
http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2013/mar/09/facebook-arrested-evgeny-morozov-extract

Stop putting it off
http://bigthink.com/experts-corner/break-your-procrastination-habit-in-8-easy-steps

The Vicar came out for Red Nose Day after 7 years' retirement
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-21771448
(you can download the sketch and donate thru this vid)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o6WWvjndl2M

Photos of the towns near Fukushima, 2 years after the tsunami and nuclear event
http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/gallery/2013/mar/11/fukushima-abandoned-towns-in-pictures#/?picture=405181694&index=0

And if you're a Progger this is a treat
http://www.houseofprog.com/

And this is just for the hell of it
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kCc61z9IFu4

Okay, time to go!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Through the Wormhole

It's National Wormhole Day!!!

And after days of avoiding thinking about what day I'd go back or ahead in time to see, I'm very stuck. This sort of thing can get very very heavy. Having just gone thru a very heavy time, and still getting thru the moors of grief... I don't want to go there. Which immediately nailed it down to one of 3 days. None of them particularly earth shattering, none of them of great importance. Simply, 3 no-strings-attached, no-nightmares-to-come-of-it sort of blessedly happy experiences. 3 nights that stand alone as entirely separate and apart from anything else as joyous hilarity. And which of those to choose? I drew straws, and this is the one.

September, 1978
Valerie, Lisa and I have 7 dollars.
Yes is playing Madison Square Garden.
We corner a scalper,
"3 tickets for 7 dollars."
Scared, he gives them up.
Tickets for the next night,
We tear the dates off and make it thru the checkpoints.

Inside - a Mass of Happiness.
A communion of souls and songs.
Cops come and one drags me past Chris Squire,
Who smiles and waves,
We slip away, somehow meet up again.
The night is magic,
After the concert we meet our friends in the park.
The trees have purple auras.
We laugh until sunrise.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Not a Minute Too Soon!

8 and a half days til Spring, hallelujah, yippee and woohoo!

I'm doing well with the turmeric (curcumin) as sole pain relief; much better than I expected. It also helps that the weather has been dry for a couple of days. We've got rain coming so let's see how it goes as the barometer drops. Getting through the last week was a "challenge" as they say these days. Pain does strange things.

Anyhow, I've been farting around at my desk way too much and have some Spring cleaning things to set up for Gal Friday's short visit tomorrow. I mostly wanted to share the head tunes that have been with me all day in hopes that a) they'll go away now and b) you'll enjoy them while Spring cleaning (or Autumn cleaning) too. Have fun, whatever you've gotta do.










Friday, March 8, 2013

Women's Day

For women like Lucretia Mott, every day should be women's day.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Come In, Watch the Cat!

Here, come in from the wet nasty and warm up. There's soup on the stove. Help yourself, you know where everything is. Oh, and there are portuguese rolls in the breadbox and cheeses in the fridge. Beesto stop begging, you have two bowls of food. Beest! BEESTO!

So. How about that huge snowstorm that everyone but VEMA carried on about again that never happened. What is this with the Patty McPanicker freakouts every time there's some weather coming? What the hell are they doing that for? Who owns the Weather channel now anyway? Murdoch? They're like mythic creatures, these scaremongers. Like in some future book of myths there'll be these demons called Murdoch and the Fox who talked mankind into being afraid of it's own friggin shadow.

It's been a weird start to the year. Really depressing but very true is that there are no happy new years anymore, and haven't been, for years. Every year is hard and it's been that way for too long. I find myself thinking about death a lot and not because I think I'm dying but because those I love and have known for a long time keep dying. And deaths are like burns. Every one hurts like hell. Every one leaves a scar. Every one is the same thing but entirely different. Eventually you know what to do with yourself after it keeps happening many times. Maybe find a way that keeps it from festering or stop the pain quicker. You pick up tricks that help you get thru these things along the way. But it's always a burn, and remains a burn. Things are forever changed after a death. Good things can come in a change. I've had that happen a lot. 

Oh there are Freihofer's chocolate chips on the side chest there... and there's good local milk in the fridge. Can you believe they're trying to push an ok out of the FDA to put aspartame in milk products? Friggin aspartame, that becomes a formadehyde in your body? That's an addictive substance, basically a drug that kills? Without it having to be on the label? That's where all the fights are now, over what we get to know about what they're putting in food. Pete Shumlin is pissing me right off. He's siding with the pro-GMO lobby about labeling. He's a shifty shitter. These Vermont Democrats are almost as shady as the NYers. Look at these local elections. I'm done for a good while. At least a year. Let it all go to Hell. People can't be bothered to vote, so we get the lowest common denominators. Screw it. My stomach's been killing me I need to de-stress. Or is it unstress...?

Anyway, sit and tell me what's going on. No I don't care if you smoke. Here comes the Beest to perch on you. Look at that...aw... and there go the fingerknives. So what do you make of all this?

Monday, March 4, 2013

Beautiful Boy

                               Emmet the Wonderdog                                   
                                   4/13/98- 3/4/13
                           Loved by all who knew him.
                           Loved his Allyson more than life.
                           We'll miss you forever, buddy.

The Best Depression Monologue Ever!

Very briefly, and run along quick to the link. This is Susan Calman talking about Depression on her series "Susan Calman is Convicted" for the BBC Radio 4. Absolutely on the money and wonderful laughs for anyone who's coped with depression.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01qwc92

And yes, hurry, it's only available for one day.

AMOK DAY IS HERE!

Today is AMOK Day, the Annual Melee Of Kindness. Go nutty with being nice. Break down and give someone a lift, a hand, a sandwich, a hug. Smile. Standing or waiting in a queue? Pay the way of the fellow suffering baby behind you. Give. Call that person you've been meaning to call. Do something good in someone's name who's not here to do it themself. Share. Do something goofy to lighten the load. Give Free Hugs. Help. Volunteer somewhere. Throw a yard sale and donate the proceeds. Bring some food to a neighbor. Thank people who've done good to you. Spread the kindness.

Bozie Bozie Bop Diddy Bop

Winter is ending. That's what I keep telling myself. Even when it was snowing this afternoon. Even when I can't leave a window open for 10 minutes without freezing.

Bah. I was looking forward to "The Vikings", the new series. It's the Sopranos in furs and leather, and historically as accurate as the Flintstones. :P No true Viking! would put up with it. The costumes and settings are cool, though.

Mercury Retro has been a real treat. From things being set up quickly and cancelled even faster, to plans being switched around, to dousing myself in flour last night and in milky cheese sauce tonight, I'm so enjoying it. Well, I had some nice evenings with friends I haven't seen in a while over the last few days.

Billy and I are in touch most days. All's going along for him, though the third death dropped. Another friend from the old neighborhood is gone, leaving Billy's old pal from high school, Little Eddie, the last alive in his family. This deal of being the last couple alive, and then the last one, is awful.

Strider and Ems the Wonderdog abide. She put a pic of Em's nose online, makes you want to reach thru the screen and kiss that snoot. She's always been a remarkable photographer. I secretly wish she'd do that for a living. Not so secret now.

Brattleboro elections are this Tuesday. Frankly I'm very discouraged and ennui'd about the whole thing. It may be time to just walk away from all things "important" and focus on doing what I want to finish. Writing, reading, art projects, the many movies that are stacked and waiting to be seen. Perhaps I'll step back from everything for a while. The Heat Fund drive ends with the March radio show so that's off my shoulders until the Fall... yes, time for a little "I don't care" and just plain "No, not me". My health is in the toilet. So yes, as of the 13th I'm not an activista for a while.

The Beest is a pig. She's a cat, but a pig. She ate rosebush to death, then dined on begonia and went on a barfing binge for several days, then chewed off her belly fur as it was growing in (again) and barfed some more. And for her encore yesterday, she came running by with a turd hanging from her butt. Which she dropped in the kitchen and then ran off into the bedroom. Very nice. 

I continue being single.
My hair is getting very long.
Spring is on the way.