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Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Smelling Like Roses

Feeling like a sort of Cosmic Gigolette today. It sure seems that every time the spit hits the fan, I get to duck, and every time I'm down to nothing, something or somebody shows up to rescue my ass. This week, I was down to nothing- 4 bucks in the bank and some odd change around the house. Fine, I thought, I don't need anything. There's food in the house and the cat has backup supplies. Next week is payday, no big deal.

Then I got an email. I'd won an ebay auction that I not only forgot about, but never thought I'd win because of the low bid I'd made. A 1974 UK Circus magazine. I bid the minimum, 4 dollars. And there was 4 dollars' shipping. Okay, so now I'm 4 bucks short.

This is when it's good to have a best friend with a few bucks available who lives within walking distance of the bank. Stevil covered me. Thank you Stevil. I'll leave you the mag in my Will and pay you back next week when you come to lunch.

Yesterday I realized I'd run out of coffee long before next Tuesday. Fine, I thought, I'll just have to cut down before then and drink tea when the coffee runs out. Then the mail came. And the Cosmos had my back in the form of a $25 card to Price Chopper, which I'd won for filling out a survey. So Friday, when Gal Friday comes, there will be coffee.

This has happened so many times in many ways over the years that I can't remember when it started. My dear late friend Kevin once said, "I dunno. The shit hits the fan but you always come up smelling like roses." I took that as my sort of personal motto.

For these Moments of Cosmic Grace, I am truly grateful.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Once You Go FB...

I have come to the conclusion that it's impossible to leave Fecebook altogether if one has family and friends that are pretty much FB-only types. These days FB-only types are legion, too. You may send them a regular email; they will answer it on FB. You may call and tell them you've been worried at not hearing from them; they will tell you they've "facebooked" you, as if that's a verb.

In short, once you go FB you can't go back.

And so, in order to maintain both connections and sanity, I limit FB exposure. Once or twice a day I'll go check- scan the "home" page, read the messages and my "wall". There are always memes to post, news to share, funnies. There are some FB pages that are just hilarious- "Awkward Bands and Musician Photos" has brought me to tears several times- and some that are informative, and some that are rather like a group meeting. I can too easily be drawn into the drama of the moment, so I avoid tsuris and breastbeaters. I don't lurk. I avoid commenting.

And most of all, I don't even try to keep up with everyone anymore. I think that's where the trouble comes from. There's too much going on, you just can't read everyone's page, comments and "shares". I figure if it's important enough it'll be brought to my attention. I don't need to see today's cat photo funnies (and ever since reading how a lot of them are done, with dead animals, it's taken the ha-ha away) or angst-ridden Hallmarkish quotes. But I do like the news (it really is the best way to get local news around here) and seeing friends' photos.

FB is something you can work out for your own means. For some, it fills their days. They're there anytime you log in, day or night, and ready to argue. I can't do that. It has its place in my life because I can't be in contact with some people any other way. That's how it'll stay. But as a steady diet, like sweets and chips, it's bad for you.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Memorial Day 2013



I only wish wars were things of the past and that humans would grow up so we wouldn't have Memorial Days anymore.

Rest in peace, all you victims of war.

Is That a Turd?

Those were the first words out of my mouth today. As it turned out, it wasn't a turd, just a gak from overeating by the Beest. I've never seen a cat eat like her. Do any of you have a cat who'll eat an entire bowl of food at once and then puke? She's bulemic! She doesn't do it all the time, but now and then, always in the night. Crazy cat.

It's been cold and windy, and it rained pretty good. But we didn't get the worst of anything and it's supposed to be really nice tomorrow. However, upstate from us looks like this:


It's not so unusual. I remember camping in the Berkshires on Memorial Day weekend and waking up to a few inches of snow... in '93? '94? It'll be gone in a couple of days. The weatherbees are calling for 80' by midweek. Welcome, sweet springtime, we greet thee in song....

Meanwhile, Leonardo DeCaprio is going to outer space:
http://theweek.com/article/index/244699/10-things-you-need-to-know-today-may-25-2013

The Sydney harbor is made a carousel of colour
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/video/2013/may/25/vivid-sydney-timelapse-video

Morality without religion?
http://bigthink.com/big-think-tv/an-experiment-thats-never-been-tried-morality-without-religion

Here's another Stones of Years
http://www.vermontviews.org/vermontviews.org/Stones_of_Years.html

My darling Stephen Fry is now a man of steel
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-norfolk-22644707

And the irrepressible Russell Brand has another good point or three:
http://www.russellbrand.tv/2013/05/3508/

Some people get strange lives.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/film/2013/may/26/liberace-scott-thorson-behind-candelabra

Happy Birthday, Miles Davis
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FEPFH-gz3wE

And just for Strider (well, and me), Stephen Fry and Craig Ferguson
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E79Bg7ebroc

Because I didn't blog yesterday, I missed both International Missing Children Day (and am horrified at how many children are missing at the present time) and Towel Day (we miss you, Douglas).

It's a chilly somewhat dark day, and tomorrow is the observance of Memorial Day, so I'm laying low and enjoying the quiet around here. I hope wherever you are, you have peace. x


Friday, May 24, 2013

Okay, Give It Up

This blog is a few years old now and I've had the pleasure of getting to know quite a few of you. And one thing we all talk about is food. So now I'm throwing a ball out there and hoping it gets caught and tossed back a few times.

What I want is your very favorite recipe. The one that says something about you, your background, your family and traditions- but that you still love. The one you'd pick to pass on to posterity if it could only be one. The one you'd have for sure at a last supper.



I think the one I'd pick would be Swedish Meatballs since nobody I've ever met disliked them. Even vegetarians have slipped on them. To this day there is someone who won't come to my parties because she ate a meatball and won't trust herself around them. And I love them maybe more than any other food there is. Even lasagna. They take me back to Brooklyn.

So yes, please give this a think if you would and tell us what that all-defining, all-beloved food recipe is. Perhaps we'll have a "cook someone else's love" weekend? That'd be fun!



Thursday, May 23, 2013

It's Still Raining

It started raining right after the expiration of the Severe Thunderstorm Watch on Tuesday night and it's been a soggy Shire since. So soggy that my sitting room clock swelled and stopped. So soggy that your steps make that squishy-ishy sound on the floor. So soggy that there's a Flash Flood Watch in the whole region. I hate when that happens. It's been 2 years almost since Irene, but it's still right there to come to mind in all its Technicolor glory.

There is lotsa growth going on. My African violet and geraniums are all flowering. I think the seedlings popping up out front are the wildflowers Strider planted a few weeks ago. This weekend I'll plant the planter for the front porch. With the flowers come the allergies and wow are allergies big time styley this Spring. I was talking to Muffinpants this morning and he told me of having such a sneezing fit during contract talks with the coop and union that he had to leave. Going outside I've been blinded twice by the flood and can't get thru any day without 3 sneezing fits myself. Right now I can still picture the gray, brown and white of all Winter too vividly to do much more than stare at the small riot of colours just outside my window. The way the sun shining through the clouds in the west dramatizes everything... It's quite stary-meditative.

And this week is proving a challenge. It was Positivity Day, the Oklahoma tornado and the crazy hacking murder in England in 2 days of it. 2 days. That's what life is like. I don't know if it was always like this and just now I'm paying attention or if this is the New World.

So it'll be no surprise to tell you the news isn't so lift-me-up or dance barefoot today.

the UK Parliament's looking to give themselves a nice raise in pay
http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2013/may/19/mps-in-line-pay-rise

I know David Mitchell's written this as satire, but it runs a bit too close to cynicsm
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/may/19/david-mitchell-amazon-tax-artwork

Monsanto may be why the State Legislature didn't finish passing our GMO labeling bill
http://rt.com/usa/monsanto-sue-gmo-vermont-478/

keeping Monsanto out of your garden
http://www.thehealthyhomeeconomist.com/the-four-steps-required-to-keep-monsanto-out-of-your-garden/

And for fun...
What's your union-made name?
http://www.labor411.org/411-blog/374-what-s-your-union-made-name

And this is my souvenir of time travel. Me, in 2040.


Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Soon It's Gonna Rain

Right now it feels like the proofing/rising room in a bakery in here, which is a lot like what it feels like outside. It's close, clammy and windless. Breathing is an effort. The towels from this morning's shower are still wet. And no surprise, we have a SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WATCH issued thru 9 p.m. Yes, it's gonna rain.

There's a myriad of ways to tell if rain's coming. When it's been dry, leaves on trees turn themselves to accept it. Birds "call for rain" when the pressure drops. Those of us with wavy, curly or fine hair will know by its annoying impossibility to manage. People will wash their cars. Or hang out laundry. And most of us with arthritis or of a certain age will know by how our joints feel.

But I find the surest way to know is to go outside and look. If there's no blue, it may rain. If there's blue, it may not. This has aided me abundantly in not watching the Weather Channel. Who knew the weather was right there, for your own observation?

Monday, May 20, 2013

Ack-centuate

Tomorrow is Positivity Day. I find it somewhat depressing that we've come to a point where we have to have a Day to remind us to lighten up but there it is.

I learned of this from fellow blogger and amazing example of being a good human Lenny of Lenny's World:
http://lennys-world.blogspot.com/2013/05/be-positive.html

Figured you maybe needed some advance warning of all the positive vibes running around tomorrow.

I'm going to actively commit myself to slapping on a happy grin and looking beyond everything to the humour of it. There is humour in everything. Well, there is if you have a cruel streak. For instance, I have been laughing like a freak at the Beest's allergy sneezes. The Beest is a natural performer and puts on a show like I've never seen a cat do in my life. Sneezing is an art form for her. She does the hitching intake beforehand and everything. She'll even do a half-sneeze in her sleep. The best sneezes are the surprise sneezes. When those strike, she may go for 4 or 5 in a row. They're the funniest, but I have to console her afterward because she seems so aggrieved that it's happened.

So go forth with a smile and look on the bright side. It's only one day, you can do it. :D

Saturday, May 18, 2013

You're Motoring?

Growing up when and where I did you couldn't avoid nuns. They were everywhere in the daytime, and roamed in gangs of four, correcting all children in their path through the Summer. And there were 2 kinds of nuns, the ones who scarred you for life and the ones you felt sorry for. Those you felt sorry for were the ones you and your friends speculated on as being "of the saintly type," an expression you grew up hearing the women around you say.

Your classic scary nun was the vast majority of their population, though. So to this day my guts grind just a bit at the sight of a nun. But this one's very cool:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/video/2013/may/17/teresa-forcades-radical-catalan-nun-video

That's a nun we need.

And about the title, since this song was made, I've never been able to have a thought of nuns without it running through my head like Cartman with "Come Sail Away". And what does "you're motoring" even mean?

Weekend Refreshment

Sssshhhhh I have a secret. There is a lot of good in the world that nobody pays much attention to, cuz it's not scary. Recently I've started skimming over news stories (and to be factual, most of it isn't even "news", it's opinion and conjecture inciting emotional response) and only picking out the good stuff. Here's some of it.

A cop and some regular people saved a little girl
http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/lookout/police-officer-good-samaritans-lift-suv-off-trapped-182618868.html

It may take a while, but you reap what you sow. And sometimes more than double what you sow.
http://www.kob.com/article/stories/S3028394.shtml

Who knows what benefits all sorts of herbs have? Here's one I didn't know
http://www.nydailynews.com/life-style/health/smoke-pot-thin-article-1.1345812

Everybody can use a big brother or big sister
http://www.commonsnews.org/site/site05/story.php?articleno=7304&page=1

The very worst in people can bring out the very best
http://www.kansascity.com/2013/05/17/4242221/good-samaritans-risk-their-own.html

Listen to your intuition when it speaks up
http://edmonton.ctvnews.ca/good-samaritans-tell-story-of-remarkable-rescue-of-elderly-couple-1.1283627

France has legalized gay marriage and you know what they call it? Mariage.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/may/18/french-same-sex-marriage-francois-hollande

Dreams do come true
http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2013/may/18/experience-i-dreamed-a-symphony

Look for the good, it's around. If you really wanna shake things up, go do something good for someone. Or make a dream come true/

Friday, May 17, 2013

Escape From Planet Earth

The last week I've been putting in a lot of time in escapist entertainment. Part of that is because I've fallen in love with a fictional character, Walter Bishop on "Fringe". So I've been obsessively watching that. And I think when I'm done with all five series I'll start over. There's also all the old Doctor Who to catch up on, as I didn't pay much attention the first times around and I adore David Tennant. Thank gods for catalogued series. David is my Doctor!!

The book-buying binge has come home to roost. The stack next to my bed rose to an alarming 14 'stories' high (hehe) so I'm spending all my "feet up" time with the many waiting my attention. I've just finished Carol Miller's autobio about being a NYC dj back in the day (way less informative than you'd think). Now I'm onto Shout, the Beatles' story, which Paul gave me for my birthday. That one starts tonight.

When I have more of a framework than I do, I've another story brewing in my head and that'll want writing. This story actually scares me, and for no good reason. It's not horror, it's not out of my nightmares. I don't know why it's giving me agita but it is.

Meanwhile, the children's mystery book that I lost in the last computer doesn't want to be rewritten. I've taken notes so that if it ever does want to be written again they're ready. Writing is a weird thing. I can't seem to make myself write the way they say you have to, not on the subject anyway. I can write anytime, but there's no guarantees 'cause it'll go off somewhere that I never planned and may have nothing at all to do with the material I was supposed to work on.

GRR Martin says he heard there are 2 kinds of writers, architects and gardeners. Architects plan things- like the way we're told Jo Rowling wrote Potter, by sketching out chapters and events all the way to conclusion before proceeding to write the story. Then there's the writers like him -and me- who just start writing and see where it goes. I love when events occur and characters do things out of nowhere, seemingly independent of my hand or mind altogether. That's the whole joyous adventure of writing fiction to me.

One thing I do know now is that writing fiction is what I want to do. We live in a very harsh and nasty world these days. As much as I watch and read stories, I like creating them, more. We all need some escape, and if I can escape in work, so much the better. Maybe someday it'll make my life better in a big way, rather than the distracting entertainment it gives me now.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

When the Garden Goes Monet

Spring happens. It was incredibly green today. So green it flooded your eyes. We've dealt with some humidity for this much green, but the ache is worth the beauty.

This isn't my front dooryard, but it could be. It's that green.

It's lovely chilly tonight.
The hyacinths and daffodils seem to have gone by, but the bleeding hearts and violets are running rampant and Paul is bringing me lilacs, which are among the best things on Earth. We lost the giant lilac that was out back to the flood in 2011. The world needs more lilacs.

So yes, stop and stick your face in the next bunch of lilacs you see. Spring doesn't last.

Moms of All Sorts

We get Moms of all sorts in life. Teachers are stand-in Moms when the regular one isn't around. So are friends' Moms, neighbors, older siblings, family members, even people we meet along the way and adopt. I fall into the latter category, and am the luckiest of all Moms, the one that's chosen.

Happy Mother's Day to all who care for others.

Here are some bits to amuse, piss off and inform:

4 sisters take a portrait every year for 36 years
http://twentytwowords.com/2013/04/30/portraits-of-4-sisters-every-year-for-36-years-1975-2010-36-pictures/

what a disgrace
http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2013/apr/30/jobseekers-bogus-psychometric-tests-unemployed

A really good, unusual interview with Greg
http://www.songfacts.com/blog/interviews/greg_lake_of_emerson_lake_palmer/

I'd hate to think what mail GRR Martin gets
http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2013/may/10/charlaine-harris-sookie-stackhouse-true-blood

Not new news but I just read it
http://www.popsci.com/science/article/2011-01/can-our-dna-electromagnetically-teleport-itself-one-researcher-thinks-so

This guy is a real medical marijuana champion
http://irvinrosenfeld.com/

David Mitchell explains town planning
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/may/12/david-mitchell-pickles-planning-laws

I love this show!!! And yes, David Mitchell's on it!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A5qgDQhfSnw

And lastly, my column is up
http://www.vermontviews.org/vermontviews.org/Stones_of_Years.html

It really is a beautiful day in the Shire. I hope it is where you are, too.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

There is No Dark Side of the Moon

WTH every week can leave you speechless lately. It's swampy, as Paul observed earlier. Just about a steam room area, not in the steam room itself, just around it. Soggy, ill-feeling. This is the sort of life pattern that leads to a night at Rudy's. And we all know that nothing good comes from going to Rudy's.

To add to the general outsized bizarrity of life, Stevil's playing his Recycled Radio Show right now
http://wvew.org/

and it's strangely synched up with our local television station's auction
http://www.brattleborotv.org/news/bctv-news/love-bctv-live-auction-band-jam

I've submutted my column to Vermont Views (late) but it's not online yet. When it is, I'll post it.

Meanwhile, eat comfort foods, wear comfort clothing, do comforting things. The world has sharp edges.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

On Their Way Back Home

Sunday driving, not arriving....

A Growth Spurt

Remembering back to when I was about 10 and the painful legs I had for months as I grew 3 inches in one year. Growth hurts. It's change, and change always hurts. Pain brings change. They're connected.

So the last few weeks have been a growth spurt. Growth meaning more self-awareness, getting new buttons that can be pushed, learning to not respond to things right away, and the ongoing reassessment of one's capabilities. And Boomer's moving away and then Mac's death hit me harder than I'd thought.

And losing the children's book in which I'd invested 4 months of work. I hoped against hope that it'd be retrievable, and when told it wasn't, that everything was gone from my hard drive, I went into a weird grief process. Not that it hadn't happened, but that it was no big deal, it was just a kid's book, I could rewrite it, it wasn't like Gatsby or anything. But it was 4 months of hard time, with your head always half-somewhere-else. It was close to finished, the end was near. It took space, it had a life, and is now gone. Poof!

And there was one of those "now it hits me" phases where I kept re-realizing that Mac was dead.

And realized Boomer had meant more to me than I'd thought.

I tipped from FB.

Then the computer died.

Then my brother didn't call or answer my calls on my birthday after I'd had a little visit from his wife the night before that shook the hell outta me. Yeah, no joke. That extent of somebody stopping in has only happened twice in my whole life. And I don't care how tough you are or how long you've been doing it, when you get someone from the other side in a close encounter it still shocks you, unless you're going cold turkey off massive amounts of drugs. Then, nothing really shocks you. But this one did spook me. Beery's okay, so I'll kill him when I see him. I kinda hope that's the last I see of Mac though.

There's a lot of ow!s in all that, btw.

Anyway, yeah, it was a big bag of bouchedaggery and I know a few more things about myself that maybe in my early senility I'd already known and forgotten in 1979. It was a couple of weeks of shittage, but it lifted and life goes on. No matter how old you are, there's always something new, even about yourself, to discover.
May we all be Growing Strong. ;)

Monday, May 6, 2013

Puppy Joy, Puppy Love

You forget what having a puppy around is. It's constant motion with staggered times of exhaustion. It's everything is new and a surprise to them. It's cuddling as a joy and a sport. It's moments of random hilarity that can leave you trying to breathe. It's enthusiastic affection. It's frustration if you're the owner. And now I have several moments in my mind's eye that make laugh pressure in my head (when your eyes start to tear and your nose runs a little, and you have to laugh) that I hope stay with me forever.

Thank you Strider and Olivia. XO

Life really should be more of that- laughing almost into hysteria now and then, cuddling a puppy struggling to lick your face, eating yummy stuff, talking about everything.

About the rice noodles. They were way better than wheat noodles. Way better. Lighter, not pasty (I never pre-boil lasagna noodles). There was a mishap in appearance when I assembled it and the rice noodles curled up on top before the mozzarella topped it and weighed them down. Which happened because I found I couldn't lift it before the mozzie would even be added so it waited til Allyson came back to be topped and go in the oven. I suspect they wouldn't have with the weight of the mozzie but it didn't matter. They crunched up a little with the cheese on them. All good. And no stomach issues for me. Rice products are the way to go methinks. I'm thrilled to be eating solids without too much ado.

The science experiment is leftover dumpling mix that I'm let drying out in the fridge. I need to know what it does before I can figure it out. Not green or fuzzy. But only 4 days old, too. :) I'm still a food experimenter at heart.

It's soooo quiet. All the Beestage has done since they left is eat and sleep. She comes outta the bedroom, bugs me for food, eats and goes back to bed. She's in constant purr mode, too. They almost got to the all-good stage but then Beest would wig out. Fargin Beestage.

Meanwhile, if you're taking the news in small doses, here's something you probably either knew or suspected, but now it seems confirmed true:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/may/04/telephone-calls-recorded-fbi-boston
Uncle Glenn old me this started in the 1950s when he was working for the old Ma Bell. It's just that technology is sharper now. And they'll refine it further for their uses, of course.

Secondly, this is an interesting piece about being disabled in the US. A quote: "....the human body can be impaired in an almost infinite number of ways, and people of all walks of life can become impaired. As with the population as a whole, disabled people are characterized by difference rather than normality...."
http://monthlyreview.org/2004/03/01/the-right-not-to-work-power-and-disability

There's a lot of bad news, a lot of good news you'll not hear about, and a lot of the same old crap that goes on and on. Take your puppy breaks when you can.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

The Beest and the Puppy

Having a blast with Strider and babydog here. Her name is now Olivia (she isn't the Maisie sort) and she's happy to be alive and discovering. Beest, however, is a cranky old Victorian spinster. Mexican standoffs galore, though I think Beest only "got" poor Livi twice. Livi has taken Strider for a walk (they did 5 miles yesterday).

Otherwise, I've been a vegetable and it's been really nice. Lasagna is soaking. I've never used rice-only flour to cook with, so that's all new. But I have to say the nongluten bread I got is fab. Rice flour is my next culinary frontier. I made dunplings over chicken soup and they have a curious almost pastry texture. Very easy on the stomach though, and I think with an egg added next time they'll be good. I have an experiment in the fridge, too.

This really was what I needed after the crazy weeks. Just hangin'. Lotsa laughs from the puppy and Strider, who carries on a running dog's-view (or Beest-view) commentary.

It's a very pretty budding-Spring day.

May the Fourth be with you too. :)