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Friday, December 30, 2016

Get Out, 2016!

This year has been awful. All the deaths, both friends and famous, feel like continuous piling on. There's no time to ease from one death before another comes, forming one huge pressing weight. Then the stressful every-two-weeks threats of moving, and finally the move to this place, which is a blessing and a curse. The constant changes in Billy's deteriorating health, and my own increasing inabilities. Beest's ups and downs, and now her surgery coming on the 19th. So much loss, grief and heartache in my circle.
And Trump. That pile of festering excrement.
The entire world is in turmoil.
There aren't words. Well, there are, but I don't want to go into it.

With all that, I find that I can't face 2017 with much hope. In fact, for the first time, I dread the new year. What the past few years have shown me is that not only can things get worse, they rather surely will. Everything is precarious.

But in the midst of uncertainty about Herr Drumpf and the new Congress, I find hope in that they're all so hateful and shifty they won't be able to work together to really change anything for the worse. I wish them on themselves, as Herman used to say.

As for the rest, que sera, sera. I'm certain surgeries to remove the masses on my arm will be coming. Perhaps that'll relieve issues and I'll get the use of my right thumb back. Beest's surgery will, with any luck, end the cycle of the bubble on her head and she'll be back to her normal Tortie self. It's time to trust doctors, something I unlearned a while back. But there's no choice now. Even if I decide to not go thru the colon cancer screening again, the masses on my arm must be addressed. Not having a functioning thumb is annoying and scary. And it's not easy going, alone.

So, with apologies for being a dreary Debbie Downer, I say to this year goodbye and good riddance. If nothing else, there is reassurance that those we've lost can't be lost twice. For good or ill, we're still here, and as for me, I'll take Gandalf's advice:
 "I wish it need not have happened in my time,' said Frodo.
'So do I,' said Gandalf, 'and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us."

I wish us all a happy, healthy, brave new year.

And may I add this very rude salute to the year:

Monday, December 12, 2016


5 days later, we have details. Greg had pancreatic cancer. He's been fighting it for over 2 years, then decided no more chemo last Winter. He finished his autobio and made a film with Bob Harris, the longtime BBC rock journalist. They look like being released in September, 2017.

As I've said, we knew he was ill, but not how ill. The knowledge that he was ill all along since 2014 puts a different light on everything he's said and done since then. I'm glad he's out of pain.

Here is a still from the film shoot with Bob Harris. Rights are Bob Harris'.

Yes, that's Greg mugging on the right.

Here's one of the last photos we'd seen of him, in 2013.

This is a tough death.
Enough, now.
On to the holidays, as he'd wish us all to do. After all, he loved Christmas.


Thursday, December 8, 2016

2016, You Bastard, now Greg too?

I've seen some rotten years before but in sheer numbers of shit hitting fans, baseball bats to the head shocks, and deaths, nothing tops this year.

Not 2 weeks ago, my mother's best friend Rose died in her sleep. OK, she was 84 and had a great life. It hurt, but it wasn't unexpected and if you have to go, that wasn't a bad way.

But today I woke up to the news that Greg Lake died last night. He'd had cancer. He was 69.

Everyone who's read this blog knows Greg is/was/will always be my music man. His writing, his voice, his guitar and bass playing are part of me. Almost 5 years ago I finally met the man, and was too flabbergasted to speak coherently. I did manage to get his autograph on my arm and had it tattooed. It took me 40 years to meet him. And I'm even more grateful now that I did, because it was his swan song tour.

This damnable year has taken so many and so much away from us. It can't be over soon enough.
And this song is apt, for the whole shebang.

Goodbye, Greg.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

New Place, New Year, New Plan

The upheavals and noise therefrom are quieting down. Curtains are up, some art and photos too. Here I'll be for as long as possible. The move took me down and I'm still recovering (I've been walking some the last few days), and as annoying as the nerve pain is the frustration. I don't let myself think about losses anymore; it's too painful. But not having a working right hand when you're right-handed is a study in zen frustration.

So here come the holidays at 80 MPH. Fine. I'll just not go to Jersey, maybe Billy can come here. He's coming up on Tuesday for Thanksgiving. And I'm not cooking, for the first time since 1992. Before that year, I'd done it since 1976. This year it's impossible, I can't even hold a knife and I'm not so stupid as to try it lefty. Instead, a chef friend recommended a chef he knows at a local restaurant that sometimes did the whole deal, and I called. At first he wasn't sure, but 2 days later he was. Even though I'm a woman, I'm a retired chef, and the whitecoats stick together. So Billy and I will both have a treat and no huge mess.

Finally realizing that this sofa is no place for a Senior Citizen, Billy will be staying at the nearby hotel. This will lighten the mood too.

For my own well-being, I'm stepping back from politics. Whatever happens now, I can't do much. I gave this election all my guts for two candidates. One won, one lost. Dave Zuckerman is our LT Gov, and a good guy. Bernie, well, I can't talk, I'll start crying. I need rest from the political scene and stupidity before I begin to hate it all and never do it again.

When the year turns, I hope to be settled in here enough, and well enough, to tear into the Beest book. I'm writing that thing if it kills me, and it might.

This is slowly becoming home, as things find their places. Curtains and art on the walls go a long way toward filling the blanks. The Tannenbaum has a selected place already, and the decorations are at last all in one area. Paul stuck the silk pine boughs around the double windows yesterday. Winter is coming.

So yeah, so much new is a scary deal. Who knows how anything will go anymore; the world is nuts and we've followed the UK to the skirting of fascism. Austerity measures will be next. Oh I can't go there...

Make yourself happy. Or somebody else, make happy. Just make happy all over the damn place.

Friday, November 11, 2016

The Worst That Could Happen

This year has been brutal. We started the year with Bowie and Alan Rickman dying, which should have clued us in. We haven't had a month, or even a week, when something shitty and discouraging didn't hit us. This week we elected a man who has no business being President. And now Leonard Cohen is dead.

I think, maybe, we've hit bottom.
And so it's time for bad music.

You see, since way back, whenever things got rotten, Billy and I have sung bad songs at each other. Tonight we dredged up a feast of cheese over the phone and now I'm going to share with you lucky victims, er, readers.

There. Now sing along, forget how awful things look and the lousy things that are happening, and let yourself regroup. We have a lot of work ahead. Take some time to be mindless; indulge in things that make you laugh; appreciate the smarmy, the silly, the ridiculous. A really crappy song can get you through a lot.

Friday, November 4, 2016

2 Weeks in Sunset Blvd.

Yes, this is Sunset Blvd, not Rivendell. There's something of a Hollywood feel to the buildings, somewhat run down but holding onto its shinier past. And there are little raised gardens of (now dead) vines. It needs a fountain in the courtyard.

The residents are what you'd expect living in one of those 1950s motel-ish apartment buildings. Odd ones, drunks, faded beauties, the failed, the utterly insane. From my desk I see the parade of harmless characters, and not-so harmless freaks doing disgusting acts.

As of today, it's been 2 weeks here. We are unpacking and sorting out every box and belonging. The million decisions get overwhelming- keep or toss, where will this live, etc. So much ephemera we accrue in life, and just how long do we keep these tangible memory cues? Is the Beefeater man rocking out still dear to me? Why do I have 8 half-boxes of holiday cards? Must I keep everything my mother ever crocheted for me? Oy.

The physical adjustment to the changes are the hardest part. Who knew that just changing chairs would cause so much pain and disruption? Having the roll-up shower is a blessing, and now that the bathroom is equipped life is easier than it was in The Shire. But tell that to my body, for which it seems every small change to the usual is a hairy deal. And just as finding spots for everything is a process, so is my body adapting to the new environment. Being in a wheelchair for most of the time now is a huge acclimation. All of a sudden I'm less than 4 feet tall, after a lifetime at nearly 6 feet. The rest of the world goes on as always, hanging calendars and clocks and putting things on top of cabinets way beyond my reach. I don't recall ever being this height. I was 5'6" in 6th grade!

Beest hasn't lost a minute in making this place hers. She escaped yesterday, explored the hallways and both staircases before Gal Friday caught her. Nothing puts her off her game.

All of the above has brought frustration and happiness. It's getting better. As the boxes disappear and their contents find new places, it begins feeling like home. No, it's not perfect. Nothing in real life is. We just make the best of it. But with a bit of imagination, some determination and no small dose of delusion, we're ready for our close up...

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Chaos Out of Order

We're here. Now that we're here I'm pretty sure it's not Rivendell. Elves are strange but they aren't weirdly scary. Back in able times when I worked at the coop, there were several customers we all ran away from. One was called Goggles, because she wore flight goggles when shopping. And reeked of garlic. And asked a thousand questions, then never bought anything. She is the neighbor directly across the hall from me. And was at my door at 8:45 this morning wanting "to meet my new neighbor." I declined to answer the door. This afternoon, in the rain, she sat outside my window while a woman cut her hair. I haven't found the drapes yet.

In fact, I've found dear little. As much careful packing and planning as I did, it was all worthless in the piling of belongings once it got here, and in the unpacking frenzy of enthusiastic friends. This may take months to sort out. There are only 2 closets here, no pantry and no lower cupboards in the kitchen. The bathroom is wonderfully big, and once the pile of unwieldy and non-bathroom things are cleared out of the shower, I may finally be able to use it. If I find any of the shampoo or soap I carefully packed in a special box of essentials that was emptied despite my yelling, "That's just to me! Leave it for me!" The kitchen is a bit of a mess, neither the fan or light work in the exhaust hood. The rusty refrigerator is ancient and turned up to max just keeps things close to cold, though the freezer seems alright. The toilet riser doesn't fit this unusually shaped toilet. I've emailed the office. Nothing can be done til Monday anyway.

Then there was the issue of the computer not working until I realized someone had pulled out and hooked up the old hard drive instead of the new.
And the phone company not showing up til late this afternoon instead of yesterday morning.
I hate this move about as much as this year's election.

Beest seems nonplussed by the whole thing. Certainly her appetite isn't off, she slept by my head as always, and she's slowly exploring the landscape. I wish I had her nonchalance.

Should I ever move again, I'm not going to bother trying to organize anything. Throw the towels in with the tools and soup. Pack the books and underwear together. It's not going to matter in the end.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

So Long, Shire

It's our last night here. Beest is asleep in her carrier because the bed is stripped to the mattress cover and her claws stick in it. She likes the carrier, and good thing cuz she'll be in it for another couple hours tomorrow. She's been here almost as long as I have, and though I've told her we've got a new apartment I don't think she was listening. She's made the most of the empty rooms and rediscovered toys the past 2 nights. Jingle jingle bang thump, all night.

The Shire has meant a lot to me. Having affordable housing was a huge improvement to my life after paying 82% of my income in rent that didn't include any utilities. I fought to get here, and fought to come back here after Irene flooded us out. Though I never got chummy with neighbors or became a porch monkey, it's been a refuge. I wrote a book here, and worked on 2 more. It was quiet enough to keep whatever hours I wanted, most of the time. It's a pretty place. I'm sorry it will be demolished when all's said and done.

These rooms have seen laughter and parties, guests and family, pets and children, holidays, deaths, love, pain, celebrations and mourning. Many late night conversations, tons of food cooked, meetings and projects launched, all happened here. Strangely, it looks smaller with everything gone, and sad. Like it's withdrawing into itself, or the past. Now it'll be cleaned and painted for whoever will be here for the 3 years til the final closing. And they'll make memories, and hopefully remember this place fondly.

I've already heard that the new place is noisier, that the police locks are on the doors for a reason, that the laundry and community rooms have locks and security features because of drug dealers. That's public housing for you, but I lived a decade in Hell's Kitchen during the crack epidemic. It can't be worse than that. I laugh when people call this town BrattleBronx. They have no clue.

So this is the last post from Hobbiton. Farewell to the roses and hyacinths, the daffies and bleeding hearts and tulips in the garden that's no longer mine. Farewell also to the neighbors I've seen, avoided, and waved to for these last 5 and a half years, as we all go separate ways. Bittersweet, yes. But I have to go.

The Road goes ever on and on
Out from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone,
Let others follow it who can!
Let them a journey new begin,
But I at last with weary feet
Will turn towards the lighted inn,
My evening-rest and sleep to meet.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Not So Bad Once You're Up!

Well, the movers came to do the bulk of the move today. They're all good hardworking pros, and I'm only a bit jittery now. The essentials for the next 2 days are here and then Friday morning we're out of here lock stock and barrel.

I have to say, Butch and his crew have made this much less stressful than I'd feared it would be. In four hours they packed and moved all but the bedroom and kitchen necessities. Big sigh.

Beest was okay in the carrier today, watching the whirl of activity, perched on my walker. She's kind of freaked at the emptiness of the place, and actually so am I. But we'll be out soon enough.

On Friday, Paul, the Grotkes, Dora and Tina will help with whatever needs doing beyond what the movers do. I'm humbled and grateful to have such good friends- some of whom have been thru every move in the past 10 years with me, including the 2 Irene moves in and out and back again to The Shire.

The new place has a roll-in shower and is bigger than this old Hobbit hole of mine along the Brandywine. Paul ran over and made a sketch of the floorplan and measured things like doorways and the bathroom. There should be no trouble with my wheelchair. I may have room for a table and chairs, we'll see. There's no back door like here, but the same number of windows, and the kitchen windows look out on a backyard of hedges and trees. It'll be pretty in the snow. I think this will be alright after all. Huge sigh.

Just as well, cuz the new neighbors that took the Old Bitty Who Died's apartment are awful. And I'm getting out before all the confusion of the 50-some odd moves that have to happen here in the next 3 months.

I'll write a recommendation for Butch's Moving so those after me aren't so apprehensive. We're all in good hands, and even though it's scary, sad, and a huge upheaval to move, at least knowing the people doing the hard work are pros helps ease the anxiety.

Thank you all for listening to my freak outs, low points and fears. I love my blog family.

On to Rivendell and new adventures!


Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Another BMW Post

That's bitch-moan-whine for the unfamiliar.

It's been 10 days of Hell.

Today's big news: The new place will be finished, painted and ready on Friday. So I'm moving next week. Butch, the mover, will be here at an unknown time on Friday to start packing me. I know nothing about the new place except its address and that it's HA. As ever, I'm a mushroom. Kept in the dark, covered with shit.

The Medicaid evaluator came to determine if I can get more home help last Tuesday. He put me thru shit and asked demeaning questions, and today I learned he denied me anything more. It's been 5 weeks since I could get in my tub to shower. I can't stand alone at all, much less on one leg. My right hand doesn't grip well and it's numb. But that doesn't qualify for help? This I was told by another Medicaid guy, when I called to change my address. I don't know why he denied me, haven't gotten the letter. Another fight to face. Right now I got nothing to fight with.

Billy got me a new wheelchair, which is fantastic. I'll be able to use it in the new place. This place is too small for a wheelchair, and right now I'm sitting on the walker pushing myself with my feet to get from room to room. We've had a go-round today with the people who sold him the wrong cushion and speak almost no English, so he just ordered from another place and it should be here Friday.

No important online sites would let me change my address the easy way today, either. So the PO will get a card and 8 days' notice to forward my mail. I'll deal with SS and the rest by phone tomorrow. There's just so much I can take. Comcast and the phone company will be a nightmare, I expect.

The new neighbors finally finished moving into Gerry's apartment yesterday. They're an older couple, and seem ok except for their constantly yapping dog. If I could wave a magic wand and be out of here right this minute, it'd be good. Or fall into a coma until this is over.

And yesterday was MaryEllen's birthday. God, I miss her.
I hate this year.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

The Way We Were

October 1st. It's a rainy, slow day in beautiful West Brattleboro. A good day for old movies. Once upon a time I loved Barbra Steisand, but hadn't seen or heard anything she did for years. So I watched "The Way We Were" while going about my business this morning. Sweet, sad, romantic. Made me think of old times, of "Love's Young Dream", college days, that one love you never get over.

At one point in the movie, Hubble and his friend list their "Bests". Best drink, best party, best year, like that. Right after that scene...

Fragiles being packed in advance of whatever hired hands will pack the rest. The knickknacks off the bookshelves, then the framed art and photos. In the half-packed boxes that were never unpacked since the Irene flood I come across the family pix my Mom had on her mantel. A triptych frame, snapshot sized, golden metal frame. On the left is my late brother Tommy and his wife Ruthie, in fishing gear, holding their trouts with big smiles. In the middle is my brother Billy and his late wife Mac kissing in front of my Mom's Christmas tree. On the right is my late husband Ian and me, hugging in front of that same tree. Though we're still missing 2 siblings (I'll always count Seth as my little brother) and their partners from the full set, it's a good representation. It was 1989. We were all healthy and pretty damn happy. It was The Best Year in our family.

Before those pix we'd all gone through some real Hells. None of us had even spoken to Tommy in several years but he came back into the fold in '89, with a wife and baby to boot. Billy had been retired from the police department on disability and started college in '88. Ian had gone through rehab and was making strides in his acting career. I was getting started in the politics of NYC while working at the circus that was The Magickal Childe after so much upheaval. We're all young, cocky, strong, smiling in 1989.

It was before all the hardships that came with 1991 and for the 20 years after, at the end of which my Mom, stepfather, Ian, 3 of my brothers, and my sis-in-law Mac would be gone.

I'm really grateful for photography today. Makes it much easier to reach back and remember how happy you've been, and that life isn't always hard. In fact, given the chance, it really is the laughter you remember.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Thanks, Liz

This year is... (fill in the blank).

To me, this year is impossible. A mess. A joke. A horror movie. A very long stress test.

Here we are a month later, and I'm still in The Shire. That 2 week notice didn't pan out, and after seeing the place, hallelujah. I'd have been backing my walker 5 feet down a narrow hallway to get to the bathroom. Still, I was told I'd be moved by the end of September. I gave my objections in an email to the head honcho and the bimbo in charge of this fiasco. Then I received a reply saying they'd have a real wheelchair-happy place open soon and I should expect to move the first week of October. Today I got an email saying I'll be moved toward the end of October. So it goes.

Yes, a wheelchair is in my near future. My legs are both bad, my arms are flagging their surrender to nerve problems. The nerve and joint pain is so bad I only sleep 4 hours or so a night. I can barely stand now, and can't get in the shower. I can deal with not showering; there are such things as washcloths and baby wipes. I've been homeless twice and couldn't shower for weeks on end, so I'm not freaking out. But this time it's different, I have a shower, just can't get into it without help. With Gal Friday changing to being an independent contractor, I only see her 3.5 hours a week now, and that's just enough to keep the house from disgusting nastiness and Beest and me from plague and famine. So I've applied for a higher amount of help, and am waiting for that evaluation to happen next week. I'll still keep Gal Friday, since she's been here all along and is qualified to be a health aide. The prospect of needing help to shower is humiliating and makes me cry, but that's life. This is requiring a whole new level of toughness, and I have very little support as friends drift away on their own seas of troubles. I never would've thought that I'd be such a trainwreck before I'm even 60.

Never would've thought that Liz Taylor would be an inspiration, either.
Life is full of surprises.
I'm hoping your surprises are happy ones.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Bugging Out

It's the end of August, the virtual end of Summer with Labor Day here already. It's our friend Mercury Retrograde again. It'll be done in 3 weeks, and as it goes Fall will be here. Beautiful, cool, lovely Fall. We may have had enough rain/heat stress ratio for colorful leafage. We will see.

Mercury Retro in Virgo

This year has been whizzing by. Full of plenty of lousy and a few hits of unexpected joy. Lots of deaths. A few beautiful babies. More drama than the Met in season. I think this is another year I'll be happy to kick in the pants as it goes out the door.

And yesterday morning- 5 years and a day since the flood-  I was notified that I'll be moved to Rivendell "in the next week to 2 weeks". I answered with surprise and questions that went unanswered. After a calculated response I was offered a look at the next apartment. Gal Friday will go in my place tomorrow, as I can't use my left arm yet. As long as there are no major issues- like the doorways being too narrow for my walker, or there not being a tub for my shower seat- I expect I'm outta The Shire in T minus 6-13 days.

This announcement was accompanied by the usual 'you should be kissing our feet with gratitude' tone that marks these things and makes them so special (the longer I'm involved in the poor-person-getting-help, or observing-fellow-volunteer circuits, the more I see the "You're lucky I care, I do this out of the goodness of my heart, so fuck you" attitude). Much of our gratitude must be for the admittedly fair deal that the BHA will pay the moving expenses and hire the movers. That is fair and right and good of them to do. Because I called dibs early, I was near the top of the list for Rivendell anyway. But really, they couldn't give me a month to pack some things, get rid of things, plan? Jesus.

So yeah, that's where we are tonight, August 30th, 2016. Getting ready to bug out.

Friday, August 5, 2016

Life in a Northern Town

It's a Friday evening in August in our little town. It's quite warm and humid, but there's a breeze. A neighbor and old friend, Special K, was just here bearing goodies. She's doing well and is more often ok now than she has been in years. I still greet her with the wary attitude, but that'll go away with time. Down the road a ways, a woman she went to school with, and who was a good friend to me when I first moved here, lies in state. Never fails to amaze me how someone can be here and hearty one day, and gone the next. RIP SallyAnn Tenney, not even 58 and gone already.

We finally had a couple of days of rain, keeping us off the drought maps. Not in time to save the potato crop, but better than the nothing we've had.

Beest is fine now, aside from that sebaceous cyst that grew back. Freaks me out. Doesn't seem to bother her. She's not vain. She continues to mellow out, and sleeps with her paw in my hand most nights.

We've straightened out the flying solo gig for Gal Friday. I'll be her direct employer thru the ARIS program, no more insanity with the VNA. The budget has constraints though, and I have to pay the ARIS program and the case manager as well as Gal Friday from that budget. So in order to pay her a living wage, I had to take a cut in my hours of help- 10 hours less a month. We'll just have to be more efficient with the time. It's cheaper on Medicare/aid, and it's better for all involved.

National politics is such a nightmare. I'm volunteering on Dave Zuckerman for Lieutenant Governor's campaign, and it's actually nice to talk to Vermonters about their issues and thoughts. My advice to anyone who does cold-call phonebanking: only use the script for messages left. If someone answers the phone, be a human. You get into some thoughtful conversations.

We began sorting the stored boxes that haven't been opened since the flood 5 years ago. I found a few things I'd despaired were lost- particularly Uncle Bert's WWI copper tube, which he used to deliver plans and maps from HQ to infantry units by bicycle around France. That was wonderful. I hope as we go thru things, all -or at least some- of the things that disappeared in that rushed pack and storage will be found. Hard to believe in 2 weeks it'll be 5 years since Irene made us homeless. Seems much longer ago.

This is our last Summer in The Shire. It will be my last Fall and Winter, too. Most of the Hobbits will relocate before Thanksgiving to the new building, Red Rover. I'll be here until the Spring, and move up the road to Rivendell. The Shire will stand abandoned until a developer comes along, as I predicted 5 years ago. This is beautiful land, along the Brandywine. I bet the developer who's involved in the new building will get this place. And I hope the Preservation Society gives him anal fissures over it.

Summer is peaking and will be winding down soon. We're at that breathless moment, when growing things are at their apex, before the days feel shorter, and things stop growing and turn to ripening. And allergies do queer things to your head and senses.

This week's theme has been pain. A new and angering clusterpain around my elbow is, according to the Doc, fibromyalgia. I never really believed it was a thing, a carry-over from when I was healthy and thought anyone with such a thing was being a Drama Queen. No, I was wrong, it's real. And it's a combo of nerve and muscle pain. For 2 days it was so painful it masked my hip pain. I'm not impressed. If my arm can't hold me up on the walker I can't walk. Not funny. Go away, fibromyalgia. You're a big fat nasty bastard.

Maybe this is the weekend I set up the new printer and camera that Billy gave me for my birthday. I found some photos I'd like to share online. If my arm behaves. This is a rare do-nothing, no company, no people passing thru town weekend. I have the new Harry Potter book, air conditioning and even some money left after paying everything. I could do nothing but read and ignore the world for 2 days. Life is good. :)

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

La Resistance Lives On

Tonight's convention brought the reality home with a sickening thud. Bernie will not be the D nominee. By and for whatever things, it doesn't matter, it's done. It's one of those definites, like being dead or pregnant. $hillary is the D nominee.

This is truly awful. I just got over the Gore/Bush trauma and here we go again, this time with even worse (who'da ever thunk that possible?) candidates. 30 years ago I would've started drinking tonight and not stopped til the inauguration was over. I don't have the stamina or bucks to do that now. I would've stopped paying attention until sometime next year when the new Pres made the first horrific decision/action/statement anyone ever heard anyone say. And I would laugh sardonically and self-satisfyingly, then write something bilious and cry me eyes out. {That 'me' is a typo but I like it so it's staying in}. Bernie's loss is a gut punch. This year sucks. I hate everything.

So our choices are Trump, Her, Jill Stein, Johnson the Libertarian- or write Bernie or someone else in. This is when I look at where I live. A teeny tiny state that will undoubtedly vote blue no matter who, aka Her. It won't matter what I vote, I'm thoroughly meaningless to the Presidential big picture. And I can eliminate Johnson, Her, and Trump right away. That simplifies things. Vote for Bernie as a write-in, or Jill Stein and the Green Party?

Here's where having a little knowledge and the practical application of that knowledge helps make a decision I can live with.
1) A write-in campaign needs more than 3 months to be effective. Only rarely, and never in national contests, do write-ins make it. In my state and case, I could write Bernie in but it'd be purely a protest vote.

2) There is a campaign finance code. In that code, amongst things like major parties (any that win over 25% of the popular vote) get $100 mill of our tax dollars to run their campaigns and conventions, there are other provisions. In fact, any party with 5% of the vote or more gets financed, too. It's way less- more like $10 mill at the 5% level and goes up with more votes- but this is how we boost a 3rd party into becoming a major player down the road.

We can't follow Bernie's revolution to the White House, but we can take it forward by supporting better people in politics. By being engaged and active, by encouraging each other to stay involved, by getting out the vote, by taking our Democracy back. And I believe getting a 3rd party in the mix is a great idea.

There are still 3 months+ to decide, though I'll have a ballot come September.
But I'm pretty sure what I'll do.
La Resistance lives on.
I love you Bernie, can't wait to see you back home.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

A One-off, or Maybe Two

The shirt is done. It even went thru the wash and stayed just as I painted it. I may make another for a friend, but this one's mine. Greg can make his own.

It's not perfect, but it's nice to know I can still do some part of what I used to do, even if it wrecks my hand for a couple days, it's totally worth it.

Saturday, July 16, 2016


A happy bunch of things- a good soaking rain; 2 nights of sleep; a non-stressful doc visit; settling my next household move for when and to where; Beest's health returning and getting to the bottom of it; Billy helping financially with that; grief lifting from all the Spring losses; Summer being well on it's way to leaving; Gal Friday quitting the VNA (and my following her lead); and the right vitamin combo- has me in very good spirits. Bye-bye Blue Meanies.

I'm creating again! For the longest time I just didn't see the point. I'd fallen into an existential/nihilist oubliette of, "why add more crap to the world full of crap?" Well the answer to that is, because it makes me happy.

My Mom's old wind chimes, which had fallen apart and whose dingers and flapper were beyond resuscitation, are dongy-bongy-dinging again. An old bracelet, a big wooden bead, a lot of dental floss and a metal initial A for a sail... and every little breeze reminds me of Mom.

Today I will be making the t shirt I'd had in mind when several years ago I bought fabric paints. Back in 1970 when they both started out, my fave band Emerson, Lake and Palmer, had called the band Yes, "Maybe". And so Yes retaliated by calling ELP "Henderson, Snake and Charmer". Today there will be the world's first HS&C band t shirt. If it's very good, I'll send it to Greg. If it's not, I'll make a second and hope that one's good enough for himself. If not, I'll send the better of the two to Graham Seaman, my friend in England who plays in an ELP tribute band, and will get a kick out of it even if it's not perfect. And I'll wear the other for my own smiles, because nobody else will get the joke anyway.

After tomorrow's final Game of Thrones year 6 marathon, I'll get to work on the article for the Cracker Barrel newspaper. This one's about Harvest foods and cooking- mainly pumpkins. The deadline's Friday, so plenty of time for 1250 words.

I gotta say, the right vitamin combo makes a huge difference, and so does getting sleep. Be well, my fellow babies. All things must pass, even the Blue Meanies.

Friday, July 15, 2016

The World is Dark and Full of Terrors

So let's laugh at it all. Have a fun weekend!

For 11ers everywhere...

Never trust a laughing llama.

A man in a kilt makes everything better.

I'm a hopeless Game of Thrones addict, and I don't care.

I'll take a dog over a god anytime

Ah, Theon,  there's a pair of shoes for you below.

And a tasteless gift for Theon or Varys,

Wishing you smiles and good times.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

They Come to Build a Wall Between Us

I've posted this song before, but it's been on replay in my head all month and I guess wants to be here again. Don't Dream It's Over.

We know they won't win.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Fear is the Lock

I guess the fear of someone or something different is hardwired. Some Darwinian programming. Fear can be handy, but it's easily let out of hand. I see it with the safety armour applied by high-strung parents before kids do anything. I see it when someone new moves into the Shire. We're a fearful society. Personally I blame the Tylenol poisoning for the world being this way. Just as I can pin when the world went to shit on one single day, never to improve again- September 25, 1980- so it's clear to me that everyone's spines fell out their asses the day Tylenol was poisoned.

This begat a toxic churning miasma of insurance corps changing things, the popularity of suing anyone who has ever offended you by deed or thought, and the general paranoia that years of nuclear threats, urban legends, and unreliable street drug quality brought.

And some floating fears became reality. Terrible killers of all sorts, from the quick to the depravedly slow, from the singular to the organized group. Maybe the horrors of what people do was always this widely perpetrated, but we just didn't know so much about it. We know about it in a few seconds now. In full color, real time. And then it's replayed hundreds of times until it's all imprinted. I can recall the falling of the Twin Towers much clearer in my mind than my own mother's face.

Being programmed with this much fear must be paying off for somebody. Nothing in this modern world is promoted without a profit motive. War certainly pays off its investors. Fear is an efficient economical means of control. So the rich and the powerful get to stay that way with a regular injection of fear among the masses. Add that to the run-of-the-mill psychopathy ordinary people live in every day, and there's a steady supply of fear to suit any occasion or personality type.

This past week two killers turned the fear up. The Orlando gunman who killed 49 people in a gay disco he frequented, and the rumored Britain First nut who shot and stabbed a young British MP to death in the street. WTF. These 2 maniacs lost the plot and twisted our reality. And this happens often, not once every few years. It's bound to happen a couple more times this Summer, maybe not the exact scenario, but enough to rip off the scabs that'd just settled. There are few who'd copycat Mr. Rogers, and many who'd copycat The Zodiac Killer.

It's a pretty scary world.

Fortunately we know

At least, when we aren't threatened and not deciding between fight or flight.
I have no answers. Just an idea. Question your fears.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016


Jeremiah Eliot Moody Crompton
Jeremiah Crompton, son of Joseph and Carole (Moody) Crompton of Brattleboro, ended his own life early Sunday morning. His death followed years of frustration, sorrow, rage, fear, boredom, delusion and pain interspersed with times of brilliance and amazing humor.
Jeremiah attended Morningsong School in Putney, Canal/Oak Grove School, Neighborhood Schoolhouse, BAMS and BUHS. His gifts were musical and literary and he was also a sensitive visual artist. His unique voice was always evident in everything he created. He wrote good songs from the age of 9 and enjoyed busking for money in his tween years. School friends remember him as a witty class clown.

Diagnosed in 3rd grade with NonVerbal Learning Disorder, he was, nevertheless, found ineligible for special education services. In high school he was again tested and found to have Asperger’s Syndrome or High Functioning Autism. Jeremiah never accepted this diagnosis and consistently refused medical, therapeutic, social and vocational assistance for the challenges he faced.
In withdrawal from prescribed opiates after a boating accident in 2005, Jeremiah soon became addicted to heroin. He struggled with the effects of this and other dangerous drugs for the rest of his life.

His memory will be cherished by his parents, his sisters Phoebe Crompton-Tidd of Brattleboro and Willow Broaddus of Rochester, VT and his cousins, Ahdi Pillar, Frances and Alex Elliot, Justin Thompson and Bryan, Rachel and Katy Lane and his beloved niece and nephews: Lila Tadlock, Roclin Harris and Parker Tidd. He also leaves many aunts and uncles: Nancy Crompton of Brattleboro, Trisha Lane of Chula Vista, CA, Carrie Crompton and George Elliott of Andover, CT, Cate Crompton and Jim Beers of Newburyport, MA, and Sam Crompton and Charlotte Tabakin of Hadley, MA.

The family extends deepest thanks to all who helped Jeremiah, deepest apologies to any he hurt, and deepest sympathy to all who will miss him.
A Celebration of Jeremiah’s life will be held at the Guilford Community Church on Bee Barn Road in Guilford, at 11 am on Thursday, June 2, 2016.

Donations in Jeremiah’s memory may be made to Families First, which tried to help him manage his final days, and to the Neighborhood Schoolhouse where Jeremiah spent his happiest years.
Let Jeremiah’s life remind us that the “safety net” for those who suffer from mental illness, especially those with a dual diagnosis needs substantial weaving and mending.

Monday, May 30, 2016

The 3rd and Worst

They say, and it's been my experience, that death comes in 3s. For the 3rd Saturday in a row, and now hoping the last, the Reaper came.

This is by far the saddest. My friends, the Muffinpants family, have lost their son Jeremiah. He had been suffering with schizophrenia for many years, and ended his life on Saturday. He was found, hanged on Harris Hill, Sunday, by hikers. He was 27, I believe. About 2 years ago I saw him downtown, and he looked terrible. He was a brilliant, talented guy, had written and produced a CD of music when he was in grade school. He was a watchful, silent child. Some 11 years ago he was in a horrible boating accident that left him close to death, but he came thru. That's where his love of opioids came in, and his downhill spiral followed. It's just hard to believe he's gone.

I hope he's at peace now.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Accepting No Substitutes

For years, I've avoided painkillers. Some may remember the great cold turkey of the Winter of 2011. Opiates are a prison, like love/sex magick. It seems so good, but like all insanities, comes to an ugly end of slavery.

There is now a huge Heroin issue in my area. Surprising to me, because opiates were out of vogue for so many years. As a kid in the 60s, junkies nodded out on stoops or in doorways in Brooklyn. We poked fun at them, made up songs and stood there singing them while they dozed and nodded in front of us. Some were only a couple years older than us, too young to go to Vietnam, and some were just home from Vietnam. Heroin was the drug of the day. Coke followed in the late 70s and early 80s. The age of coke is over now; these things go in cycles as the government allows. We're away from making war in South America where the coke is cheap, and in the East, where opium is cheap.
Yes, I've had Heroin. When you first do it, it's like falling in love or great sex that first time with someone. It's beyond intoxicating, it's bliss. It's beyond all care,  total peace. That's why I was so cautious with it and never did it much. But then came prescription opiates when my body broke down in my 40s. I was in pain and told I could keep working while I took them. It became a need, then a norm, then a nightmare. There was no bliss, just demanding need, and not even much pain relief, but you're too fucked up to know.

It was 8th grade, I think, when I saw that Heroin poster about "loving it more than any mere human", in my Guidance Counselor's office. I spent a good part of 7th and 8th grade in that office. And in all my years that's the sharpest description of heroin I know. But calling that need "love" is part of the problem. It's something that can fit comfortably into the life of someone who doesn't know what love is. It can make life ok when all you feel is pain of some kind. It can make everything go away. or not matter, and be just fine again. It's not love. I think that's why it's made a comeback. We live in a time of almost no love anywhere, or exacting love where you must meet requirements or are deemed not worthy. Which is poison... and the whole point is lost. We've forgotten how to love without agenda.

Maybe I should refine that. People don't know how to love because they haven't gotten any. Or haven't fallen in love with anyone who's not abusive. There are so many ways we're taught to not love. We're taught to be conditional in giving love. We're taught to reserve love for our own "self worth" or "self image" or "self" whatever. If you put "self" in there, you've lost love. If you live in conditional love, you won't know love.

And that's where we are. A world of scariness and despair, or trying to not be scared and despaired. And that's why there's so much drug addiction, acting out, violence, cowardice, cutting of ties, depression, anger. We've lost love.

Oh life is one stupidity or conundrum after another.
Enjoy your Memorial Day weekend. Don't forget what it's about.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Farewell, Mare

Mrs. MaryEllen Brace, mother, wife, sister, good friend, RN, Deadhead, 1958- 2016.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

May. Be.

The rolling shitstorm that is this year keeps on going. Mostly bad shit, too. I won't even go into the news. I'm not even sure I know what's going on, the media is so corrupt.

The C word entered my own life and body for the first time after the endoscopy & colonoscopy festival. The doc says he got it all, but wants me back next year. There is no source found for the pain in my side. It's not from my guts. And you know the thing people say, that the prep is terrible? They're right. 

Billy was here for it and the week afterward, bless his annoying ass. We're close enough again to get on each other's nerves. But then, it was stressful. Trying to have him here in this shoebox for a week, and all that entails, is enough. He's a grumpy old man now. I call him Goldilocks. And there's a weirdness for ya- not only is his hair growing back, it's turning red again. He's not taking anything to make this happen. My hair is going black & white, he's getting red hair back. Strange days.

We're on the death watch for Mare. She's stopped eating and drinking, and nonverbal. I hope it's peaceful. Can't believe it's actually happening.

My old bitty neighbor gave up the ghost 2 weeks ago. She died in her bed, on her terms. Not a bad way to go. I saw her about a month ago, she couldn't hear anything I said, and was that classic brown-yellow of kidney failure. It's very quiet around here now. Her niece has been cleaning things out a little at a time.

And still, with all that, there is great news. We're moving right along on the Herman bio movie. I've arranged the first interview locale, in NOLA, on 6/6. I have to come up with questions, as Andy's in tech hell with what to buy/use. There won't be second chances. This is a Best Shot/Only Shot deal. We're looking for other films the Childe was featured in as well. Today I fast forwarded thru "Vampire's Kiss" to see if the bit shot in the Magickal Childe was worth fussing over. It's not. However, we have a couple other documentaries that may require terms, and here's where $$$ starts leaking. We may have to go for a GoFundMe after all. Between the traveling Andy's going to have to do- having to fly whenever someone says they're available so not getting cheap seats, staying in motels, car rentals, taking people to lunch, it's all adding up to a sizeable budget needed. I'm trying to find the best deals possible, but damn things are expensive, even in the middle of nowhere.

And here is the first paste-up of the movie poster.
Andy will do a painting of the photo for the actual poster.
Tomorrow I'll be poring over Michael Lloyd's Bull of Heaven
To glean questions for the 6/6 interviewees- Lady Rhea (now the Witch Queen of NYC)  and Bennie, two old-timers. This project is taking up just enough space and time in my life. I'm very happy being a film producer.

The rest of the world, like the Dude, abides.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Shake It Off

The older I get the more time I spend thinking. This is both the joy and horror of being alone a lot and prone to thinking. It's addictive too.

I'm still involved with the Bernie campaign, monitoring and admin-ing a few FB pages, but approaching it from a different angle. It was affecting my health there, so it was either stop doing it or find a new way to do it. Since I want to do something useful for Bernie, and someone needs to do these things, I want to do it. And so now when I'm playing hall monitor I don't invest in the issue, just straighten the suckers out as to rules. (This is dangerously close to Policy Governance, which I abhor. But that's another whole story.)

You see, I enjoy arguing as much as I enjoy haggling, which is not at all. It raises the bile in my throat and makes me antsy. When I argue I get unpolite. Then things generally go downhill. So I reserve my own soapboxing for my own time and keep it separate from hall monitoring. These same arguments will be there tomorrow, or next week, or back around in a month.It gives one time to think and calm down, too. Which generally makes for smarter arguing. Smarter arguments end quickly, it's the stupid arguing that goes on til you could kill yourself.

Sometimes I feel like I've fallen into a grad level course in social media with no prior knowledge of the subject. This is a cool experiment in sociology and who knows where it will lead? World peace, as more people see that everyone wants the same damn things everywhere, it's not too much to ask, and why the hell aren't we getting it? Will this ultimately lead to a worldwide change? Will war die out due to unpopularity? Will we just make peace more profitable than war so everyone makes out?

See what I mean about thinking. It's like this.

World news is too awful to talk about. The election is embarrassing. We are still in the Shire and Summer is a coming in. It's been raining and paining.

Mare is slowing down and taking more and more drugs. She gave up doing the bills and checkbook, and Jeff carries her upstairs now. I think she's letting go. Death is a series of losses just like life.

Billy is getting the house done part by part, still healing his ankle, still making me nuts, and will be here Monday for a week. I'm finally getting the endoscopy/colonoscopy on Tuesday. This gut doesn't want to heal and I'm doing the more gentle way of cleaning out the system. I just want to get it over with. 48 hours of no food, just clear liquids and laxatives. Joy. At least Billy will be here.

Still, our issues are nothing compared to Mare and her family's plight. To think- there are 7 billion other stories just like ours going on on this planet.

Strider has all but disowned me entirely. Or maybe entirely but I haven't really accepted that yet. I've no idea what's up, she said nothing. But she's done this to others over the years, I guess it was just my turn. I don't understand people who go that passive/aggressive route. I have too much mouth. Such is life, people do what they do. What I do is not give second chances to people who do what she's just done. So it's sad.

The deaths of very talented people can stop any time now, thanks.

The management made me take in my Bernie lawn sign, some rat bastid looked up the obscure HUD regulation and complained. Mind you, I'd had the State Senator's (who has an office in this place's admin building) out there every time she's run for the past 5 years with no comment.

It always worries me when it rains for days now. I talked to an old friend and coworker tonight for the first time in 10 years and we revisited that awful year of 2011, the year of cold turkey, death, fire, murders, flood and homelessness. 5 years ago. He was there when the murder happened at our old workplace. The General Manager told him to get back to work, standing there with blood on his shirt. No, we're not over that year. Not yet anyway. And the forecast is rain all week. Yeah, that's Spring, it rains. That's what I keep telling myself.

Beest is finally well and back to being the psycho cat we know. She's fattening right back up. Her book is on the back burner until I get my confidence back. Meanwhile I have the biopic of Herman Slater to coordinate and produce. Right now I'm getting people on board, while the director is planning his traveling itinerary, and we both pull hair out over funding.

And to end this on a shallow note, I'm so happy to be watching Game of Thrones in the regular  broadcasting time. It took 6 years, but I'm finally seeing it when the world is raving. There's something communal in watching it when a couple million other folks do, and realize that in many other rooms, people are going "Oh!" at the same time you are. We lost some of that in the age of Netflix and owning and binging. Remember when everyone was watching "The Wizard of Oz" when it was broadcast? Like that. It'll be nice when cable is entirely a la carte, but having HBO is nice. And it doesn't suck like it used to suck, so there's that. And yes, heeeeere's Jonny!

Entertainment isn't all bad.

I hope your May is sweet and bright and full of flowers.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Rusty Springs

Between the awful news, shocking deaths, natural disasters and general hi-dee-ho of life in these United States these days, there is life. Spring is sprung, the flowers are popping, leaves grow by the hour, things are smelly. Beauty and stink often go together.

Today I finished 57 years of living. For better or worse I'm still here, I'm still having fun and making mistakes, doing great and lousy things, learning and laughing. I have good friends. I have nice acquaintances who work with me in causes. The day was full of good wishes via phone, email, Facebook, real mail and in person. I heard from people on 4 continents today- that's a miracle of modern science. Frank Zappa's sister sent me birthday wishes and so did many people I've known for decades or just a few weeks. What a blessing to be able to chat and get to know people you'd never be able to meet in the flesh otherwise, and find and stay in touch with those you'd thought were gone from your life.

Being at the docs lately, I've been impressed at the Star Trekish gadgets they have now. A wheel run across your forehead tells your temp. A little clothespin tells your pulse and oxygen level. The tech advances in all areas, new faster ways to do all the old things. But they still can't make a diagnosis.

So what if I'm not healthy and wealthy? Those are both great things to have, but life goes on without them. Life has pain, and heartbreak, and scary times for everyone. Life also has joy, and growth, and opportunities to be brave, to be kind, to learn. Anyone can enter or exit your life without warning. Any day can change everything. So can how you look at things. 

Years ago when I was on the night shift in the Meat Dept., the guy who did the tattoo on my upper right arm came thru at dinner time. He'd just had a 2nd baby born and money was tight. I was culling the meat cases for what was going off code and gave him a couple kielbasa on their last day. No big deal. Just offhandedly, I said, "Us poor folk gotta stick together." And he said, "You're rich in what really matters." He was right.


Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Crickets From the Other Side

Remember a while back, I sent a piece of Ian's sweater to Texas for an experiment in psychic reading/mediumship? Well, all the results, written and drawn, are in. Not one hit. I was sent 7 readings, and several of them had similar too-common-to-matter fishing items from the medium(s). "Someone with an M", "Someone who was on life support", "The number 17", "Someone had a car accident", that sort of rubbishy typical "medium" fishing. Not one thing in the pages and pages that directly hit.

Next were the portraits. All of them women, 20-40. Not a one looked like anyone I know, living or dead. In fact, I don't think I know any women who died that young. Men, yes, with the AIDS crisis and drugs and cars. But the portraits were all young women. And the readings were pointed toward women spirits talking. I think the "medium" looked at the swatch and determined it belonged to a hippie woman, and ran with it.

In fact, I'd make a case that I can profile the "medium" better than she profiled Ian.

So, in my view, whomever they were using on this test, failed. Big fail. A "give it up and do something else" fail.

Ah, well.
The Mrs. Houdini quest goes on.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

"Don't 'Darling' Me, Darling.... have a face like a cat's ass." A popular saying years ago. It's April, 2016. This whole year so far has been a cat's ass, literally and figuratively.

Firstly, Beest's own cat ass. For 2 weeks, getting better. Changed foods, kept up with the pumpkin. She let out some WMD bombs, but no issues. Then yesterday she dripped a little watery blood. Today she's straining like she's giving birth and splotting. There was ass art on the kitchen floor this morning. WTF. The vet says it's the anal glands again, so keep her watered, give soft and wet small bits of food (basically she has to eat the way I eat). I've probably been letting her eat too much this past week. Hasn't lost her appetite, she's just wickedly constipated and obsessed with it, as well. Give it til Monday, then we'll see. From what I gleaned in the online cat forums (I know), Torties seem to have this more often than other kitties. There's no figuring it out. It may last a few weeks or even months, then it'll just stop, and nobody ever knows what caused it. Meanwhile, poor Beest. She's a dramatic cat in regular days, this is putting her in overdrive. Torties are particular little weirdos. I just want her back to normal. She's laying here on her desk shelf staring out the window into the darkness of The Shire night. And there she goes, back to the litter box. It's gonna be a long night.

The cat's ass face comes out every time I monitor pages for groups on Facebook. It becomes a barrage of info, half of it false, and little of it good. I'm so disgusted with the Billary machine and the entire shameful spectacle of this election cycle. How have we come this lowdown? Does anyone else see how rotten we look to the rest of the world? Take all that, then add monitoring Facebook discourse, which is too often little better than Jerry Springer. Not the best view of humanity. Doesn't help my guts issue either. As much as I love Bernie and would work 24/7 to see him elected, I can't keep this up. It's affecting my health. Other people need to step up. I'll continue to support him, send my $10 a month, talk to people about him, find other ways to help, even do some social media promos. But being Hall Monitor for so many intense and vicious adults is too stressful. I'm living on Tums, like I did in prep school. But I'm not 16 anymore.

Keith Emerson was laid to rest beside his mother in England. There's something sweet to that, still.
  Farewell, Fingers.

Saw this parody of the "Don't Fear the Reaper" lyrics about this year:
"Had it up to here with the Reaper,
Kinda wish he'd give it a rest.
Come on, Reaper, don't be an asshole,
Reaper, don't be a douche, don't take our heroes,
Take the afternoon off, don't be too eager,
Try to chill the heck out!"

Yeah, Reaper, you've gotta have some earned time owed.

Meanwhile, I became a Reverend of Dudeism.

There is really good stuff going on, My nephew and niece bought a house they love thanks to my sis-in-law. They're painting and fixing and very happy. Carrieboo (remember her?) is also settling into a new home way out west in BC. Silly Billy got to the bank and refinanced despite dumping his bike on his left leg twice in one week. He's a tough old bird. He'll be getting the house resided this Summer, and new countertops. He'll be up here next month. The rest of the clan is plodding along, best they can. The weather's been Spring for months now, but we have a threat of snow tomorrow. I don't know if it's been this screwy before, but this is screwy. However, everyone's enjoying having no Winter. How nice for them.

And in the Distraction from Anything Meaningful Dept: Having finally made it thru the end of the 5th year of "The Walking Dead" on Netflix, I'm dying for the 6th. "Supernatural" ends its 11th year this week. And they said it wouldn't last! Also for a 6th year, "Game of Thrones" recommences in 4 weeks, and I'll be watching this time, finally. HBO made a deal with Roku, and so I can circumvent cable altogether and have HBO for $15 a month. Considering I have all of Netflix for less than $9 a month it's no bargain, but HBO's series are good. It's the $15 a month I used to spend on tobacco. Bring on the White Walkers!

I hope everyone is having lovely Spring and Autumn holidays in whatever tradition you choose. This year is rushing on, with 3 months gone already, and so many going with it.
Peace, fellow babies, and love the one you're with. :)

Thursday, March 24, 2016

March Comes in Like a Liar

Spring is always questionable in New England. It's usually Winter (parte deux), followed by Mud Season, slowly warming along the way. There's something joyous about that time, standing in mud or slush with sun on your face, maybe in just a flannel shirt over a tee. This year, there was Early Summer in Winter. I've worn sandals or clogs all Winter, never touching a sock. And March has been a clammy liar with stringy hair so far. It's way too warm for my liking, though at this point I'm fairly sure I'll be bitching about no Winter and despised warmth until the next time the day's high is 23'F,

Beest had her physical, and the mandatory shots and then 2 weeks later, a scary episode. She was acting strange, which is much stranger than a regular cat's strangeness. Repeatedly jumping in and out of the recycling bin. Not eating all her food. She was constipated. I gave her pumpkin and she was better. Then last Thursday morning there were little splats of watery blood everywhere. Everywhere. She wasn't yowing but she had a crazy look in her eyes. To the vet she went. An anal gland had gotten infected and burst. She had a fever. She must've been in significant pain. My poor cat! The vet gave her a 2-week releasing antibiotic and a pain reliever. I didn't know anal glands were a thing with cats, I thought that was a "some dog breeds" issue. It's a week later and she's her old self. I'm now wigged out whenever there's a spot on the floor, which happens a lot because she's a slob and shakes her head with a mouthful of food.

Gal Friday's daughter had an interview at the Hershey School, so she's been gone. It's both relaxing and stressful to have nobody around all week. However, my neighbor has caretakers 24 hours a day now. People are in and out at every hour.They all have to yell because she's deaf.  I don't know what's going on with her, it's not like we were ever buds. She's close to 90 and hasn't been the same since breaking her hip last year. Her family's been around a lot, never a good sign.

Billy's dumped the Indian twice in the last week, first running into the curb at his neighbor's driveway, then getting back on it too soon. His sugar's thru the roof. I'd like to smack him in the chops.

The Primaries are something out of a dystopian story. I can't even- that way there be monsters.

My Bernie lawn sign came today! Yay!

We're having steak and sea scallops for Easter Sunday! Yay!

I quit smoking. This time it's for good- I'm just really sick of quitting. It's inevitable that I quit for good at some point, so why keep picking it up just to go through quitting again? No. I'm done. Even though I miss it and want one right now, it's not worth quitting again.

Fecebook has been fun, and horrifying, but once the Primaries are done I'm putting it on a shelf. The Beest book needs to become my full time job. Right now it seems important to be on there broadcasting info among groups, but I'm not going to be a Fecebook activist forever.

And life goes on, within us and without us.
Happy Spring, my fellow babies.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

On Emo's Death

Keith Emerson fatally shot himself in the head, in the wee hours of Friday, March 11th, 2016. He was scheduled to play 6 concerts in Japan next month, and even though he had a 'cover' keyboardist, he was depressed that the irreparable damage to his hands meant he'd never play as he wanted to and had once been able to, again. His arthritis and nerve damage caused unending pain. He'd had surgery 2 years ago, removing feet of intestines due to chronic diverticulitis, but still had digestive issues. And last week he had bronchitis. His longtime girlfriend came home to their condo on Friday morning and found him dead.

Keith's death has taken the wind out of my sails a bit. There's been too much death and sadness this year, and Friday in addition to Keith, it was the 5th anniversary of my brother Tommy's death. 2 amazing musicians, 1 of them able to get far, 1 not ever able to get out of the cage of his mental illness. Both forever dead on March 11th. I don't even want to talk to anyone. Haven't returned calls. This is a profound sadness, not one I can cry off. It's one I have to take off in layers, a few hours of silence here, a few hours of music there. It's not depression, I'm not hopeless. I'm very, deeply sad. Sad that Keith felt dying was his only option for relief from what was hurting him. Sad that we'll never see him doing something fab again, that he'll never see Rachel Flowers make the big time, sad that I never met him, sad that we'll just be going on from here without him. That's what gets me every time. The world just keeps going, one of us having dropped out of life. The news is sad with splashes of horrifying. People I love are hurting a lot. It's all very real and very sad. 

RIP, Emo. We'll miss you. Now get Chris Squire off his ass and make some music for us to hear when we catch up to youse.


Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Death and Rot and Death

There will be no cheer in this post. Just a warning. As if the title didn't give it away.

At chemo today, Mare's doctor told her there were 3 spots of cancer in her brain. So this really is it. She's not taking any more treatments, and meets with hospice tomorrow.

Speaking of hospice, the grapevine has it that my old bitty neighbor is going to one. I've no clue if this is more than a rumor, or if as usual it's cockeyed, and she's going to a nursing home, or it's all just bullshit. She has 6-8 people of varying services in every day, perhaps it'd be smarter to have her in a facility.

The February death anniversaries finished today with the 21st of Ian's death. I'm waiting on a reading through a double-blind mediumship test. I sent a piece of his sweater for the medium to use to psychometrise. Some time soon I'll be getting transcripts of several readings and "spirit drawings". I'll choose which are closest possible matches, and later on they'll send me the complete reading and drawing meant for me. With all the dead peep in my life, who knows if Ian would be the loudest in the crowd. But I'm curious to see what if any results come from this. My mother gave him that sweater and he wore it all the time, and she was the Spiritualist so you'd think she'd yell the loudest to be known. We'll see soon.

I'm pretty damn sure that our existence doesn't end, but it'd be nice to get some independent data.

I'm tired of all this death and rot and death. I'm sure you are, too.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Conditions Apply

Had one of those accidental early morning deep conversations. You know, when you're sitting in silence with a cuppa waiting for your computer to wake up. Someone says something and things go sideways into heavy.

"There's no such thing as unconditional love."


"There's no such thing as unconditional love."

"I dunno, I think there is, in some instances."

"Well, that's conditional itself. People change, instances are subject to change, always nullifying the unconditional part. People are judgmental as hell, and will even walk away without warning. So there's no such thing as unconditional love. It's another lie we believe that just makes us unhappy."

"Jesus Christ. This early I'm thinking and hearing this?" ( I think this, I don't actually say it, there's just a thoughtful pause).
"Well, shit. But yeah. Ya got a point."
Disabused of the notion of unconditional love in the abstract, but possibly still applicable once in a billion chance instances, I burn my lip on hot coffee and get online.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016


It's nice to know that some things remain in an ever-changing world. February has always either sucked or blown and this year's edition is no different.

On the heels of the 19th anny of my mom's death came the news that my old friend Mare probably has countable weeks left in this dimension. Her siblings aren't hearing what she tells them and she's angry and frustrated. Even Billy keeps coming up with crackpot cancer cures. At least her hub and kids get it. The cancer treatments she's endured made me sure I'll never do them. She's fought every inch, but it was 4th stage ovarian cancer when found, and there's no real treatment for it. This is how my mom died, too. I've known Mare since 1986, she was Mom's friend and favorite daughter before I ever met her. Mare's cousin and I worked together at the Restaurant School, and laughed at this weird connection. Mare took the weekend trips with the p's that I had no interest in, was at all the family get-togethers. She did the life choices Mom thought I should do. After the p's died we were down to holiday cards. Then Facebook happened, and we reconnected, and then she got the diagnosis. This is suckage of a supreme order.

The Shire's closing looms, and after perusing the rules for the new Red Rover building, I'm not going there. Claiming Beest as a "comfort animal" is ridiculous, and no, I won't live anywhere that I can't practice my personal beliefs. So screw it. I don't know where I'll go, or what's even within possibilities, so that process starts tomorrow morning. This blows. Hard.

The last few weeks have been productive writing-the-book-wise and it's been a saving grace. I'm also 100% sure my writing sucks, my ideas suck, I suck, and I'm wasting my time even thinking I could do this. But on it goes.

There are great gaping holes in my life where people used to be. Again, February. The month of purification and what survives among the dead.

If I can't eat normal food again soon I'll go nuts. Since quitting tobacco, I'm a bitch on wheels anyway. Take away everything but soft and overboiled stuff with no spices and imagine what a delight I am. I can't stand myself.

And to wind up this rant, the weather is a miserable wet smelly old blanket that was laying in the mud under the snow and has now been dragged out into the yard by the dog, where it's been pissed on repeatedly. There has been no Winter. 2 days of cold is not Winter. No Winter= no pain relief.

I hope things are better where you are and that this year so far has been healing and hopeful. Whatever else, we abide.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Only the Beginning

I feel like celebrating. A few minutes ago I finished the grand outline and timeline for the Beest book. This was much more involved than I ever expected it to be. 151 years of an adventurous life is a lot of territory to cover. I now know more about Victorian life, Kipling, colonial India, Irish history, WW1, pre-Depression NYC, HP Lovecraft, WW2, post-war France, and a host of other characters and local histories I may never use again. There's still more research to go (I don't think there'll be an end to it) but most of the time-consuming slogging and major decisions are done. Notes are organized, a binder with 600 blank pages awaits. This is it.

Now comes the fun- and terrifying- part. I'm just as excited to face it as I am scared to mess it up. This is stupid pressure to put on myself. I can tell other people to screw off, but haven't mastered telling myself to shut up.

However, as I fed the looseleaf pages into the binder rings, a flurry of confetti flew from the page holes. It's time to celebrate.

Friday, January 15, 2016

2 Weeks in, 3 Deaths Later...

What a year so far. We've lost Lemmy, Bowie, and just yesterday, Alan Rickman. US politics are even crazier and more full of greedy fools and liars than usual. Climate change is happening and the powers that be sit arguing like idiots. We continue to fund killing and oppression overseas while people die in our own streets of things we should be fixing. Things like homelessness, disease, hunger, gun madness and mental illnesses. It looks like 2016 is just like every other year.

But I have good news. The CT scan with both barium swallow and IV contrast went off without a hitch on Wednesday. The radiologist, Emma, was fabulous. And last night, Dr. McDreamy House called to say it was all fine. No abnormalities. Stay on the soft foods for a while and avoid the things that irritate diverticula, and all should be well. I almost jumped through the phone to hug him. I'll go through with the endoscopy and colonoscopy just to underline it and make sure nothing was hiding, but for now, WOOHOO!

I slept like a rock last night.

There's more to say, but the day has many things in store and I must run. Just wanted to stop by and give an update. Enjoy the weekend, be kind, celebrate the good.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Doctor McDreamy House and the Gut of Mystery

After 3 weeks of super drugs to kill the infection going on, there still be pain and swelling. This means that Weds. I have a CT scan with both contrasts, IV and oral. Joy. And that will be followed with a colonoscopy and endoscopy on Groundhog's Day. I have the gallon jug with the powders to be mixed for that already. Double joy. There was a surprise in that my doc pushed through Medicare to get these tests done immediately as possible. It could've been up to 2 weeks' wait, which would've pushed the 'scopies into later in February. That's a minor miracle.

The good parts of this are that I'm dropping weight, my white blood cell count is close to normal, I'm eating regular foods (though slowly) again at last, and I have a great doctor. He's really engaged in what goes on. He calls when your blood tests come back. He's thoughtful and almost House-ish when he sits there thinking. I like watching people think. He looks at things as puzzles and he's curious to solve things.. He's also funny, but that brand of humor you know people don't often get. Beyond dry, deadly understated and at the same time endearing. We hit it off. That's a rare thing in medical care these days. I really lucked out getting him. However this goes, I know I'm in good hands.

He's easy on the eyes, too. Nursey stories are of every woman around swooning in his presence, and a very jealous, loud, 'show up and claim her man' wife. I could see that. But the sexiest thing about him is his mind, to me. ;)

I'm not speculating on what this could be. There are too many possibilities to even think about it. When the test results come back, we'll know better. I do feel better after the keflex/cipro/flagyll round, and it's not nearly as bad. It's just not good. At all. As I'm losing weight I'm seeing how swollen that side is, so there's concern. But we'll know all pretty soon.

Meanwhile, I'm gathering the notes and draft portions together to write the Beest book and get it done.

Mare got very bad news and we may not have her throughout 2016.

It doesn't seem to me that my parents' generation was so sickly as mine, at this age.

Billy is okay, still isolated, but coming along.

I haven't heard from Strider in weeks. just hope she's okay.

Everyone abides, especially Beest, who's become an attention whore.

As for the bigger world, it's still spinning, however unhealthily. There's no energy these days to get very political. Pain and stress go together and I don't need additional amounts of either right now.

How is 2016 treating my blogosphere family?