Sunday, August 31, 2008


Louisiana and the Gulf Coast bloggers, this song's for you.


As so many things are going dreadfully wrong for me--heart, bipolar disorder, teeth, economic health, I got a letter from my first boyfriend a couple of days ago, letting me know in no uncertain terms that yes, I am indeed a man hating asshole. When I say boyfriend, I mean childhood boyfriend. I was twelve; he was fifteen or sixteen. He says fifteen, but what's a year's difference at this point? I was still a child, he was a teenager. One could say, despite the fact that we are now both old, I might still be that same child and he that same teenager. It was my parents and his friends who were opposed to our relationship when we were our younger selves. Now it is, finally, his better judgement that he should breakup with me. I give so little, ask so much. I never initiate, I only respond. What's in it for him? Obviously very little. He has said to me and to his real intimates, that I am smart and well read as a justification for continuing his friendship with me. Good so far, but is that enough to carry on a long distance friendship for fifty two years? He has always been married to one woman or another in our adult lives, so I have never been the one to initiate communication. But at least I have always responded to his attempts to keep some kind of relationship alive. I'm capable of charm now and then, but anyone with bipolar disorder is a bit uneven in the charm department. And even before I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, we both knew my childhood had left me damaged, if not purely crazy. So no matter how smart and well read I was, I was always difficult. But I did know enough to avoid interfering in his marriages, so I did not initiate contact, ever. I may have had shaky boundaries in the rest of my life, but one of the things that made our friendship possible was the fact that, though we were sexually exploratory in the childish part of our relationship, we never had sexual intercourse. So, in my mind, we had kept our relationship non-sexual throughout it's history. I was never a threat to any of his adult romantic relationships. That was not an accident of fate--it was a conscious decision. If we could say we loved one another, that love was never complicated or colored by sex.

What was he to me? Touchstone, anchor, bedrock. Is that enough for me to call him my friend? I think so. I require nothing of him that he has not offered. But once a thing is offered, I do ask that it be given. He suggests that I'm not appreciative of help given. Worse yet, I don't even acknowledge that it has been given. It was offered, not asked for, and offered again and again. It's help with my writing we're talking about. He was the one who first encouraged me to keep writing. He offered to help edit my novel. He read the first draft and made many suggestions that kept me going. This offer to help began probably twenty years ago. No doubt he is sick of the story by now. I am too. That's why editing is such a chore. Now that my heart and teeth have become a serious problem for me, just getting out of bed is dicy. I am no longer able to clean my tiny house without experiencing chest pain and nausea. I'm looking for a house cleaner. I'm trying to make it through today. Feed Cyrus and myself. Get him outside a couple of times so he can pee, etc. That's about it. Is it all about me? Do I hate all men? Do I have no friends? I think that's a tad harsh, but there may be some truth in it. If it's all true, I am my mother's daughter. Unlike my mother, I can say that I have loved. As little as I know how to love, given my childhood's lessons, I have loved. I have friends. Life long friends. Even though I am a recluse, I have friends. Are my friendships reciprocal? I believe they are, but you'd have to ask each of my friends if each feels that our friendship is satisfactorily reciprocated. Do I give as good as I get? Probably not. I'm a crazy recluse.

I am trying to get my affairs in order--trying to make sure this property goes to a friend, a woman who will love it as much as I have. A young woman who will find it the refuge and sanctuary that it has finally become to me. I want it to be an opportunity for a better life. I want to leave no burdens for anyone to deal with. And if all goes well for me, then, at least I have one less thing to do in the future. Maybe I'll be healed, and go on to live another fifteen or twenty years, mind still working and creative. I might yet learn to love a man in a way that feels like love to him, and doesn't harm me. That would be a wonderful outcome. But I'm trying to be prepared for whatever happens. I am in the early stages of heart failure. I'd submit that I have always been in heart failure, but only now is it about to kill me.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Friday, August 29, 2008

Sarah Who???

Well, so much to cover in so little time. First off, who the hell is Sarah Palen? I want to hear from Cindy.

Loved the Dem Convention. Thought it was pretty much pitch perfect. Bubba did us proud, and even he was disciplined. Go Bubba. Claims to be ready to campaign. Hillary, too And Barack's speech was perfection. Enough! One of my favorite words in Italian was Basta! And Barack delivered that one word with the perfect inflection. Nicely done Dems! Chris Matthews is ready for the looney bin. I thought he was going to swing on Keith.

Now for the important stuff. the flabby valve problem is called Stenoses:

Diagnosis and Assessment of Valve Stenosis and Regurgitation and Coarctation of the Aorta with Doppler Ultrasound

valve stenosis • valve regurgitation • coarctation • Doppler echocardiography


ABSTRACT. With the use of Doppler ultrasound localized increases in blood flow velocities can be recorded and used to diagnose obstructions to blood flow. From the increase in maximal velocities the pressure drop across an obstruction can be calculated, both the peak instantaneous and the mean pressure drop. Regurgitations are diagnosed by recording reversal of blood flow across the valve. Semi-quantitative evaluation of the degree of regurgitation can be made by using both jet width, extension and intensity, as well as increase in forward flow velocity, reversal of flow in great vessels and influence on pressures. In coarctation of the aorta localized increase in velocity in the descending aorta can be shown and the pressure drop can be calculated. In some, more than one level of obstruction can be shown. In neonates the presence of a patent ductus arteriosus may mask the obstruction and a significant pressure drop may become apparent only when narrowing or closure of the duct occurs."

And it's regurgitating. Ick. The hole in the heart is called Patent Foramen Ovale.

Today I asked my Nurse Practitioner, who I had gone to see for a clotting factor test, "Am I fatigued, listless, and stupid because I'm depressed, or is it my heart?" She said, "It's your heart."

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Tell No One, Ask No Questions

I went to a complicated French thriller this afternoon with Nick. A film made of a novel by an American mystery/thriller writer whose name I can't remember. The movie's called "Tell No One." I went partly because I always enjoy my time with Nick and partly because UC kicked my ass about going out and having some fun. I'll leave the movie reviewing to K and J. Nick brought home-made fresh peach and blueberry torte for me. What a guy. My admiration grows.

I set my alarm yesterday so I could wake up around eight and call the cardiologist's office to make sure my appointment was at 1:00 with (new to me) Dr. Whatsisname at the usual place. They put me on hold for forty-five minutes. Then came back and told me Dr. Whatisisname was always in Green River on Mondays. There was no record of my appointment. It will take two and a half weeks to get in to see him. He's the hole in the heart specialist--Mr. Fix it. This means moving my followup with Dr Weiss, the Heart Rhythm Specialist. I am going to need an ablation. But the hole in my heart complicates the ablation some.

My Nurse Practitioner, who is the real center of the swirl of specialists, the one monitoring all my meds, and getting all the records together in one place where she can both oversee and explain the problems to me, was the last medical person I talked to before I crashed. I was in getting my clotting factor checked. I asked her what else the stress test and echocardiogram, and the test for the hole in the heart revealed about the rest of my heart. She told me that my valves don't close. My heart walls have "thickened" due to a life-time of high blood pressure medications. The valves are loose and flabby--thickened. I didn't ask, "Is this a problem? " I know it can't be good. I didn't ask, "Can this be fixed?" I don't want to hear the answer to that. I think my heart's broken. It doesn't help with the depression. But everybody's got problems and most don't whine about it all the damn time. This is something I'm going to have to work on.

While I was with Nick today I felt a bit as if we were minor, but interesting, characters in a complicated French thriller penned by an American mystery writer. It was a very neo-post- rationalist noire, glaring sun in an urban landscape, moment. I was smoking.

Now I listen to the talking heads tell us what we think and what we feel according to the polls. If they're right, we're fucked.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Depression, the Dark Slide

Depression is a damn dark place, even with the sun shining brightly. People I love annoy me with their cheerfulness. Kindness feels like intrusion and reminds me how sick I am, how utterly incapable I am of returning even a smile. The list of things I have to do grows daily, and I don't make the slightest effort, because just feeding the dog and answering the phone takes all the energy that I can muster. If I knew how to turn the phone off I would. I don't cry, that would require too much effort. I leak tears. I leak tears because Martin Luther King is dead and we still are a racist country. I leak tears, because I no longer have the energy to kill myself, and yet tomorrow I go to see the other cardiologist, the one who knows what to do with the hole in my heart--and I know nothing can fix the hole in my heart. Oh you can probably patch it up, but I'll still have a hole in my heart.

Phillip, who has helped me so much, now scares me. His anger is righteous. And I'm such a coward, I don't have the balls to listen to him. I have turned off the Ichat. I have disappointed him, and he had such faith in me as a writer. He should be mad at me.

Larry, my oldest friend and first boyfriend, is mad at me, or maybe he has finally gotten fed up with trying to keep a friendship alive with a woman who might just slap him in the face for no good reason. Maybe it's because he loved Maggy once, too. Maybe it's because he's comfortable and happy without me. Maybe it's just because I'm never stable enough for him to get the timing right--is it safe to talk to her now? No. No, it's not.

Last time I wrote a post it was to say I was giving it a rest. I was starting the downward slide into depression, and thought if I laid off the daily blog post, I might at least retain a bit of credibility, a bit of good feeling from my fellow bloggers. I said I was going to edit, finish Maggy, finish writing some short stories. I thought I would give myself a break and clean the house, work in the yard, loose a couple of pounds, pull myself together. But I'm just hoping for oblivion. You might be thinking, "Snap out of it! Get up off your ass and do something." Good advise, but mine are deaf ears, so save your breath. Nothing you can say will get me out of this.

Last time I talked to my shrink, it was to ask permission to increase the dose of my daily antidepressant. She asked me if I was into real depression. I said, "No, I'm leaning that way, but I think I can head it off with a slight increase in my dosage." I was teetering on the brink and didn't quite know it then. I thought I could squeak by, slip past the darkest part and emerge smarter, brain engaged and still competent. I was wrong. I am depressed. And now, like every other bout I've had with depression, I'm afraid I'll never emerge from this place where even despair would be something. There is no competence now. No one shouting at me to get off my ass will move me. Only my dog's needs for food and the time outside to pee, will get me out of bed.

I have increased the dose of my doxepin to 100 mg--the standard dose. It might work given a bit of time, but till then I still have to go to the heart doctor tomorrow. I'm paying a friend to drive me there and ask the right questions and take notes. I know I'm not capable of doing it myself, and she needs the money.

Nick wants to take me to a movie on Tuesday. I'll go because he's the only man I know who doesn't get mad at me when I'm an asshole. He takes my word for it that I can't help myself. In the meantime, I'll be sleeping with any luck at all.

Friday, August 22, 2008

She's Going Down For Awhile

It doesn't take much to knock you off that narrow fence you try to traverse in your journey through life with bipolar disorder. It's a high wire act to hold so still, while moving forward. Any other illness or new medical condition can trip your wire. The introduction of medications that might or might not interfere with your bipolar drugs can do it. And then no matter how careful you are, how little you do to stimulate or muffle your senses, it can just happen for no good or bad reason. And if you always were crazy for other good and valid reasons, whose to say whether or not it's bipolar disorder or general craziness that's sending you over the edge? But over the edge, and it might take weeks or years for you to regain that tenuous balance again. Or never. Lose your mojo and you just might never get it back. It might be just like love. Risky business.

There are so many prohibitions and restrictions. At some point you might feel straight-jacketed while out and about. It's embarrassing to be seen so addled, so trussed up, but opened like the acid moment when you understand that you can see under the skin, into the cell.

The one thing that scares me most is losing the spark that feels creative in me. This is probably all an illusion, but it's my illusion, and thus, my reality. And once lost, how will I ever know if I have it back, and if it's back will it feel the same, be as good, work as well? I am told often to take it one day at a time. So I get through one day, and then another, but day after day, I find myself missing. The thing that makes me the person I enjoy being is gone, and I might never get it back. And then the question becomes, how long can I live without the spark that makes me who I am? So finally, if I can no longer be the person I really am--the person I get a kick out of, the person who delights and entertains me with her dark wit and hard won wisdom--then what the fuck's the point? When it finally becomes pointless, it's essentially hopeless. And when it's hopeless, well, you might as well be dead, since you're just taking up space. And then I start counting the ways I could make it happen. My final creative act. This is something I've been contemplating since my late teens. So don't hold your breath.

I had a reason to keep writing this thing. I thought I had something to say. Now I don't. Sometimes I write such shit it embarrasses even me. And I'm not all that easily embarrassed.

Phillip, how about you take over for awhile? Or we'll just go silent while I finish editing "Maggy." I have stories still to write, but they are fiction and will be worked on in their own space. And since you are Sitenoise, what the hell do you need with the trouble that is Utah Savage?

I've probably said this before, but it's been fun while it lasted. Sorry if I offended you, or hurt your feelings, or embarrassed you, too.

Best Cornbread Ever, Thanks Nick

All-Purpose Cornbread

Before preparing the baking dish or any of the other ingredients, measure out the frozen kernels and let them stand at room temperature until needed. When corn is in season, fresh cooked kernels can be substituted for the frozen corn. This recipe was developed with Quaker
yellow cornmeal; a stone-ground whole-grain cornmeal will work but will yield a drier and less tender cornbread. We prefer a Pyrex glass baking dish because it yields a nice golden-brown crust, but a metal baking dish (nonstick or traditional) will also work. The cornbread is
best served warm; leftovers can be wrapped in foil and reheated in a 350-degree oven for 10 to 15 minutes. Makes One 8-inch Square

1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour , (7 1/2 ounces)
1 cup yellow cornmeal (5 1/2 ounces), see note
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon table salt
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar (1 3/4 ounces)
3/4 cup frozen corn (3 1/2 ounces), thawed
1 cup buttermilk
2 large eggs
8 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick), melted and cooled slightly

1. Adjust oven rack to middle position; heat oven to 400 degrees. Spray 8-inch-square baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Whisk flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in medium bowl until combined; set aside.

2. In food processor or blender, process brown sugar, thawed corn kernels, and buttermilk until combined, about 5 seconds. Add eggs and process until well combined (corn lumps will remain), about 5 seconds longer.

3. Using rubber spatula, make well in center of dry ingredients; pour wet ingredients into well. Begin folding dry ingredients into wet, giving mixture only a few turns to barely combine; add melted butter and continue folding until dry ingredients are just moistened. Pour batter into prepared baking dish; smooth surface with rubber spatula. Bake until deep golden brown and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 25 to 35 minutes. Cool on wire rack 10 minutes; invert cornbread onto wire rack, then turn right side up and continue to cool until warm, about 10 minutes longer. Cut into pieces and serve.

STEP BY STEP: Preparing Cornbread

1. Puree corn--along with brown sugar, buttermilk, and eggs--to
eliminate coarse texture of whole kernels.
2. Create well in center of dry ingredients, then pour in wet
ingredients, except for butter.

3. After a couple of initial folds, add warm melted butter.
4. Working quickly but gently, fold mixture together just until dry
ingredients are moistened.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Diana krall Again

The Girl In The Other Room

This is one of my favorite Krall songs. No video, but a great sound. It's often how I feel. Listening to the girl in the other room... A bit like being a voyeur of one's own life, yet not taking part. It's the passive observation, when all else fails, that gets me through the day. Breathe in, breathe out. The life I'm not living is the girl in the other room.

Freida Bee, Go To Your Room!

I read you. I know what's going on. And what the hell are you wasting money on douche for when you can make it for damn near nothing, and not contaminate the landfill for the next 2000 years with cheap plastic bottles? It's a little vinegar and a lot of water. Use a funnel, if you don't have a douche bag. Sorry boys, this is probably taking all the mystery out of the faintly vinaigrette scent of so many cunts you've visited in your travels. And just so you know, if a woman never has sex with a man, she will always smell fresh as a daisy. It's the cum you deposit that gives the pussy that fishy smell you're all so fond of telling jokes about.

Yes, Freida, you do sound manic. But not in a bad way. It's okay to tie the children up as long as your leave a cell phone. Yes, leave the fecking cell phone whenever possible. You are then free to ignore any calls in coming. Let the children take the calls. Use a phone booth to call you know who. That way the cops can't trace the call on your cell phone. Get my drift?

Laundry should be left till the last second. It should have that lived in smell. Otherwise why wash it?

And I always thought taking the garbage in and out was traditionally a manly job. Not the thing for you to be wasting time with. You have many more important things to do. Blogging is best done early. Unless, like me, it takes six hours for the brain to actually kick into gear and you don't get up till noon. But you sound manic enough to blog in your sleep, so no problem there. So, how's the Zoloft treating you?

Faux News Gives It To Us Straight

Diebold gets it right one more time.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Almost Blue

Diana Krall and husband Elvis Costello
Almost Blue

Because I'm almost blue.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

This is too good to be true

[UPDATE] For those of you keeping score at home, there are no typos in this post.

Nedra Pickler, reporting for the AP on McCain’s vice presidential selection (emphasis added):
"His top contenders are said to include Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. Less traditional choices mentioned include former Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge, an abortion-rights supporter, and Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman, the Democratic vice presidential prick in 2000 who now is an independent."

Monday, August 18, 2008

One Month's Unpaid Bills

Yes, only one month. I was supposed to tackle this pile of bills last night, and now it's almost 2:15 in the afternoon, and this is the first time today I have even glanced at it. I swear if I add one more piece of paper to this pile it will topple to the floor and them I will pick them up and dump them in the trash. This would give me so much pleasure, but would add extra charges for late payment, so... Today's the day I pay my fecking bills. I feel so very un-kick ass.

The two good things about putting off paying my bills is that once the bills are paid, I have to file all the portions that haven't been returned with the actual bill part--this makes it impossible for the recipients of my money to tell me they didn't get it on time or at all. Then once everything is filed, I must clean my house. I can't clean the surface of my dresser where the bills are stacked until I pay the bills. Work just makes more work and it never ends. Not a very kick ass sentiment, is it?

I have applied this same thought process with my garden this year. It's the do nothing approach to yard work. Since I have mostly trees and ground cover, I figure, if I do nothing, what lives will survive almost any kind of neglect and is then worth keeping. All the pansy ass plants that require tending to should die, since they are too damn candy-assed to deserve to live in a desert. Water is now for cooling the house, bathing and drinking, washing dishes. And the very rare scrubbing I give the floors. We are heading into hard times and must live as much like pioneers as possible.

The largest portion of my bills is medical. It was medical bills that forced me into bankruptcy in the first place. Until the heart went wacky, I was able to pay my portion of my medical bills just fine. Now the 30% Medicare doesn't pay is climbing every couple of weeks. And, sadly, the portion I can't pay is climbing with those totals. Oh well. Trickle down economics just trickles down so far. It does not trickle down this far. Never has, never will. And if McCain gets elected, it will only trickle up. He wants to put my medicare benefits in the Stock Market. I've been watching the market lately, and I have no confidence in the Market to manage my money, piddling as it is. It looks like a house of cards to me.

Anyone want to take bets on whether or not I get those bills paid today?

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Thank You Diva Jood

Diva has given me an award. I don't know why--she has my vote already. I am to be the Chief Justice in her Court of Supremes, so why this? Why now? Diva, have you made a deal to give my job to UC? If you have, you'll see some kick ass, and it won't be blogging. I know LA like the back of my hand.
This Award originates from MammaDawg.

Thank you Diva, thank you MammaDawg. This is the Kick Ass Blogger award. So, I'm thinking I better get some kick ass in my blog. Lately all I seem to do is whine and complain. But, this will have to stop now. I must get all kick ass on you mothers.

The rules are the usual rules and we shall all follow them. Do you hear me? Ve must follow ze rules! Rule #1. Select five kick ass bloggers. Rule #2. Blurt out why you think they are deserving of this award--must have some kick ass in the blurting. Rule #3. Link us all together in some slightly sexual way. Rule #4. Acknowledge the originator of this award and also the lovely, generous, beautiful kick ass woman who is sending it your way. Rule # 5. Oh I forget. Get creative and make one up--but it better be kick ass. And must include signing Mr Linky. I tried, but Mr. Linky was not taking signatures today.

#1. e at StarSpangledHaggis.
She has recently taken to posting on the life political. Most interesting. She is so smart and funny I don't have any right to peek into her lovely, courageous life and comment! Who the hell am I to insert my opinions and observations on her parenting style, or her concerns for our collective future? But little stops me from expressing my opinion.

#2. Non, je ne regrettes rien.
She has moved her life to France, bought a house in a village and is renovating it. That's a kick ass woman. She has a living, breathing, sense of adventure. She has courage. She shares the minute details of her renovations and her reservation and doubts as well. All this she does in a country she has never lived in before, speaking a language that is not her own, and she writes so well about it all--the fear, the regrets, the courage to move forward. And when she finally gets a little strange nookie, I'm hoping for the frenchy details.

#3. Blueberry at Texas Oasis
She writes with wry humor about the small details of daily life as well as the big political issues of the day. She reads the good sources, and when she posts from a news source, does it with elegance. And she's a kick ass commenter. And in truth, we are sisters. We come out of the same raw, racist, cracker past. She's the good sister. I'm the bad one. But if she wanted to she could kick my ass.

#4. Stella at Swiftspeech
Stella always keeps me focused on the big picture and the little details that make it all so fucking scary sometimes. She remains steadfast in her focus on the life political. But her reading is broad enough to include me, and her comments often lead to the most interesting of threads. She was my first reader. She encouraged fiercely and pushed gently. She says I sometimes write like Dorothy Parker. I only hope Parker wasn't as crazy and inconsistent as I. Thanks Stella.

#5. Vigilante at The Vigil
I'm pretty sure some of the best political writing I've seen done at The Vigil is Emily's. But Vig was one of the other writers who encouraged me to keep at it right from the beginning. His blog is certainly kick ass and keep it honest. Smart and sometimes smart assed, Vig is also one of my favorite commenters on other's sites. I seldom see him on mine, as I have gone far afield and "off topic." Vig led me to Beach and for that I will always be grateful. Beach and I are related somehow. Thanks Vigilante. Also thanks for the spelling and punctuation instruction. As you know too well, I am not my own best editor.

Thank you for hearing me

Saturday, August 16, 2008

"Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me"

When I was a little kid I loved Saturday mornings because good things were on the radio. I'm so old now all I can remember about those days are Big John and Sparky and No School Today, and the song The Teddy Bear's Parade. It starts, "If you go out in the wood's today, you better not go alone.." One of you will find the rest of that song and sing it for me, I'll bet by the end of the day. It was always a good Saturday morning when I got to listen to Big John and Sparky, and sing the Teddy Bears Picnic song. It was my mother who I remember sang along with me. It was fun time we shared, and there was too little of that, so this Saturday morning ritual held great importance for me.

Now my Saturday morning radio fun time is the show on NPR called Wait Wait, Don't Tell Me. I am one of the lucky callers who once won Carl Kasell's voice on my answering machine. When the show came to Salt Lake 6 years ago or so I went to see it at Westminster College. Wait Wait combines the weeks political news and humor, with regular host Peter Sagal, call in contestants, and a group of three regular and rotating panelists, and a celebrity guest. Got to go, it's time for Wait Wait, Don't Tell Me.

P.S. An old voice talent friend of mine just called to tell me that his first radio job was in Wooster, introducing Big John and Sparky when he was nineteen. He could hum the Teddy Bears March, but could not remember the lyrics. Even so, Scott Shurian wins the prize today.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Time to Get On Board

A pre-convention memo to Hillary Clinton

Ignore your sniping campaign team. Smart advisors would tell you to give Barack Obama your undivided support from now until Election Day.

By Joe Conason

Read more: Democratic Party, Bill Clinton, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Joe Conason, Opinion, Democratic National Convention, Barack Obama


Reuters/Jim Young

Sen. Barack Obama and Sen. Hillary Clinton at a joint appearance in Unity, N.H., June 27, 2008.

Aug. 15, 2008 | As a candidate in the primaries, you received a lot of truly useless advice from your high-priced helpers -- a situation highlighted this week by the embarrassing release of some of their confidential memorandums in the Atlantic magazine. From the beginning, your campaign seems to have been impervious to wise counsel -- even your own.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Russia v Georgia and U.S. "Outrage"

From Salon today:
Aug. 14, 2008 | "The run-up to the current chaos in the Caucasus should look quite familiar: Russia acted unilaterally rather than going through the U.N. Security Council. It used massive force against a small, weak adversary. It called for regime change in a country that had defied Moscow. It championed a separatist movement as a way of asserting dominance in a region it coveted.

Indeed, despite George W. Bush and Dick Cheney's howls of outrage at Russian aggression in Georgia and the disputed province of South Ossetia, the Bush administration set a deep precedent for Moscow's actions -- with its own systematic assault on international law over the past seven years. Now, the administration's condemnations of Russia ring hollow."

Thrift Store Shopping

In the interests of comfort and vanity I cleaned my closet and dumped every article of clothing that no longer fits and hasn't been worn in years into a lovely garbage bag and plopped it in the trunk of my junker jetta. Then it was off to the closest thrift store to deposit my contribution to some slim woman's wardrobe. In my case the nearest thrift store is the Deseret Industries (the thrift stores run by the Mormon church) in Sugar House. This is the store where women who donate their clothes in Park City, (the tony mountain ski town where movie stars buy mansions on the edge of the slopes of the most luxurious Deer Valley Ski Resort) end up. It takes big money to live in Park City, so the discarded clothing of Park City women is often very nice clothing. I have no idea why the Mormon church moves clothes dropped off in Park City to Sugar House, the neighborhood I live on the edge of, but I'm damn glad they do. It means when I pull into the parking lot of the Sugar House DI, I do it anticipating a semi-joyous shopping experience. And yesterday was a very good day at the thrift store.

I'm not of the generation that thinks of jeans as a fashion statement. But jeans are for me a winter necessity--I seldom wear them in the summer since they're not exactly cool (in the temperature sense) clothing. So to me jeans are just jeans. I would never spend $100. on a pair of jeans no matter how rich I might be. I don't think they're that comfortable even when they fit perfectly, nor do I think of them as fashion. I can hear groans of women all over the world who do consider jeans high fashion. Well, to each her own. But I did need a pair of jeans for utility purposes so jeans were on my list and I found a pair that fit perfectly for $6. Along with jeans, I needed some cotton knit pants to lounge around in all winter, since all last years cotton knit pants were smalls or mediums. I am now officially large and plan to stay that way. Shut up! I'm 5'7". I found two pair--a nice medium gray by French Dressing for $4. and a nice silky cotton pair in a black and white stripe from the Gap for $3. The gray pair still had it's original tag from the store and so did the Ann Taylor long sleeved black and white striped cotton knit boat necked T shirt--very frenchie looking for $5.

With the basics of a do nothing life taken care of, I went in search of something nice to wear to finish out the summer and transition into autumn. I love white handkerchief linen sleeveless shirts and found two absolutely gorgeous ones. My favorite of the two is by New York and Co. I like it best because it's made so beautifully--finished seams, well tailored to fit perfectly, and looks a bit dressy with anything and it cost $5. The second is also a bit dressy with a line of laddering lace down the front and across the yoke and it was $5. To wear with the white linen sleeveless shirts I found a Sea Island cotton shirt, in a great print in greens, with finished seams and bias cut, A line, just below the knee, and a perfect fit by Van Heusen for $4.

My favorite purchases were the least practical and will probably be worn least but were too beautiful to pass up. The top is another handkerchief linen top only this one is long sleeved and has an invisible side zipper that runs up one side under the arm. This top is completely bias cut, and is the most luscious color of tangerine. It's a Banana Republic piece and cost $5. And the last article of clothing is so gorgeous I can hardly believe my luck. It's a pair of pants from Ann Taylor, a vertical stripe of burgundy and cream, made like the kind of slacks Katherine Hepburn used to wear so beautifully. The kind of pants you'd have seen on an icon like Garbo, or Carole Lombard. The narrow waist band is hand sewn. The pants fit my ass perfectly and hang straight from the hip to hem, and move like tissue weight wool crepe, but are really a heavy silky rayon. They are what I always used to recommend women buy when spending big money on clothes--all season and well made. And the cost? $6. Grand total for all these purchases, under $50. Take that you retailers!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Please John, Please Choose Joe

I don't know who the Crypt Keeper is, but I think it's Joe Leiberman. I'll bet money, well money that isn't worth much anymore, that Joey boy will be the man who gets the job of whispering into McCain's ear from now until he and John lose the election in November. Oh how I hope so. He's a great war mongering warm-up act for John Old White Haired Guy. Old man shouts at cloud. Yeah man, great. Let's bomb Moscow! A leader we can assume will bomb everyone.

I have never been a Paris Hilton fan. I thought she was stupid, but that's just wrong. She's certainly smarter than John Old Wrinkled Dude. I'm waiting with great anticipation for Paris to make another ad giving us her foreign policy position. I'll bet it's better than John My Friends McCain's.

Monday, August 11, 2008

The Sanctity of Marriage

McCain Obtained Marriage License with Cindy While Still Married to First Wife

While the news about Edwards’ affair has become front-page news, little attention has been paid to a recent report in the Los Angeles Times that exposed new details about how John McCain’s first marriage ended after he started an affair with his current wife. The paper revealed that McCain obtained an Arizona marriage license on March 6, 1980 to marry Cindy Hensley, even though at the time he was still legally married to his first wife, Carol.

I stole this from Dcup and Democracy Now

Here is another example of man at his worst, and the general hypocrisy.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

The Irresistible Lure of Strange Nookie

It's odd how a little strange nookie can bring the mighty down. "I did it because I could, and I thought I could get away with it. I didn't tell you, honey, because I thought it would make you mad. I was trying to keep my behavior from hurting you, darling. I love you. It meant nothing." These are words most women and a lot of men have heard in some variation by the time they're thirty or so. If not, he's probably really good at keeping his secrets secret, or you have agreed to an open relationship and complete discretion. So far, so good. But I bet it will bite you on the ass someday. Love can ruin the best marriages.

Love is strange in and of itself. And as some of my favorite books have demonstrated so beautifully, there are two or three entities in any love relationship. There is the lover. There is the beloved. And then there is the other beloved, that longed for other, the temptation. Honesty has very little place in love since none of the performers in this fascinating dance knows why they love the mysterious other and must pursue this person or resist another.

Ballad of the Sad Cafe the novella by Carson McCullers is the book that best and most quickly comes to mind when I ponder the mysteries of love. The ebb and flow of love, it's circularity, the pull and push back of love. Need is always a character in love. Neglect, arrogance and dishonesty are often the weapons of it's death.

Another of my favorites is Death in Venice by Thomas Mann. The love of the forbidden. The love you would ridicule in another, have ridiculed in another. The love that is your demise.

And oh, these days, how love or lust or curiosity or narcism has brought another mighty man lowdown. Sad it had to be the husband of Elizabeth Edwards.

A Great Jazz Quartet in the Neighbor's Backyard

I've never been much of a party person. In the thirty or forty years I've been on antidepressants and other bipolar drugs, alcohol has been off my radar. And since I'm the only smoker in any group these days, I never really feel welcome or comfortable. Plus, I'm a wallflower. I try to find someone I know and sit next to them and then never move. I don't mingle. So, parties hold no charm for me anymore.

This party was different. These are neighbors I'm very fond of, and it was their ten year wedding anniversary. That would have made it worth an appearance, a card, a bouquet of flowers. But the real draw for me was the news that there would be a jazz band. It's always been my favorite music. The party was scheduled from 7:00 to midnight, but the jazz was from 7:00 to 10:00. They set up under the portico in front of the garage, which is fairly close to my bedroom window. The band started assembling and tuning up at 6:45. I was curious to see how Cyrus would do, since in the warm-up phase the bass was a bit loud and the drums were popping. But the moment they swung into It's Wonderful, I knew Cryus would be fine. It is, after all, the music I listen to when I write. It's the music of my entire life. It's my soundtrack.

They covered Charlie Parker, most beautifully with I'll Remember April and Cherokee. They played the Coltrane versions of Giant Steps, and Lush Life. They played Oliver Nelson's Stolen Moments, Miles Davis' So What. And they did some of my favorites by Monk--Straight no Chaser, and April in Paris. The drummer was a kid who looked about nineteen. The bass player was the only one who looked like an old jazz player, the keyboardist was another kid, and the sax player looked all of twenty. He played tenor and alto sax plus flute. There was not a moment when they missed the swing, the timing, the mood, the feeling of the songs they played. They were great. And the best thing of all is this was their first gig together. I have rarely heard jazz players play so tightly and with such swinging joy.

And the food was good, too.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Not Exactly Better Than Ever, But She's Back

I'm not so irritable, and that in itself should be alarming. God knows there's so much to be irritated about, but I don't care. I'm doing my little chores and sleeping well. I'm even dreaming again. Let the world go to hell in a hand-basket. Me, I could care less.

I have contracted with a friend and neighbor to accompany me whenever I go see my cardiologist to take notes and ask questions.

Enigma sent me easy yoga links and if I could stay awake while relaxing, I'd be doing some yoga.

Freida Bee has inspired me to clean my closet of clothes that are too small and to forget forever that I might be that size again. Then I go in hunt of my transitioning from plump to fat clothes, mainly some form of muumuu or maternity clothes that will accommodate my gut. And I must buy a new bigger bra and several pair of fat and happy under pants.

I am diligently editing my novel, chapter by chapter. My goal is to work on a couple a day.

And I'm going to a party tonight. Imagine that. It's just next door, but still... There will be food, drink, grown ups and kids. It's a start.

Friday, August 8, 2008

The Way of the World, Ron Suskind's New Book


This is a piece about the forging of evidence to go to war. It's about providing "deniability" for Bush. It's about the new Way of the World.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Rage Update!

The afternoon at the hospital started out with one small tweak of my rage meter. The hospital I go to, to see my cardiologist, is new and maze-like. So I usually stop at the one place I can reliably find--The Heart Lung Center. I asked the woman at the desk directions to Dr. Weiss' office. She asked me if I just had an appointment with Dr. Weiss, or was I having a procedure done. I told her I was having a stress test. She said, "That might be done downstairs." She called downstairs, and no I was not scheduled for the test downstairs. Then she called the Heart Rhythm Center and got their answering service. They were at lunch and wouldn't be back until 1:30. My appointment was for 1:00 so this was the first real tweak of my rage button. Remember I had not had my latte, and I'm not doing well on Zoloft for my bipolar disorder. I can't sleep. Everything pisses me off.

When I got to the correct location, there was one lone receptionist at the desk. The first thing out of my mouth was, "Why would they schedule me for a stress test at 1:00 if everyone is at lunch until 1:30?!!" She said, "I don't know what you mean. The techs who do your stress test are here, and it will only be a moment."

They did take me back to get my stress test post haste. But once I was wired up, they did a pre-stress test echo cardiogram. The found something hinky and asked me if I had a lot of headaches. Yes, yes I do. I wake up with a headache almost every morning. Next question is would I mind if they do a couple of extra tests. No I don't mind. I want whatever they think they see to be definitively checked out. What they think they see is a hole in my heart that could be the culprit in my headaches, and might be bad enough to need repair. I say, "When they did the procedure to to check for clots in my heart, I remember being told there was a hole in my heart, but when I went to see the cardiologist there was nothing in the report on that procedure to indicate that they found a hole in my heart. No mention." Now I'm starting to get really pissed.

So they IV me to inject a dye in saline to follow it through my heart. This makes them decide to do another test. They take me all wired up with the IV in my arm to another room. They put some gadget on my head, screw it on tight at my temples and inject another dye. This confirms something and then they take me back for my stress test. Now I'm stressed. I chug away on the treadmill, huffing and puffing within a minute, but every three minutes they increase the incline and speed. My legs start burning, then my ass muscles start burning. "Can you hang in there, you're almost through." I gasp, "Yes," gasp, "I think so," gasp. I make it through that test but I'm light headed and chugging, gasping for air. Quick, hurry, get back on the table to do the post test echo-cardiogram. Once that's done, they send me to an empty room to wait for my cardiologist.

He takes forty minutes to get to me and my irritation is growing by the second. Remember, I like my cardiologist. He's an Obama liberal. But when he finally comes in I have steam shooting out my ears. My nostrils are flared and shooting fire. I'm wishing I had a shotgun in my purse.
He says, "You have a hole in your heart that might need repairing." I say, "Remember when I came in after the first procedure and told you I heard them say I had a hole in my heart, and when I asked you about it, you said there was nothing in the record about a hole in my heart, and that I must have 'thought' I heard that, but didn't really?" He says he remembers our conversation but there is nothing in the record to indicate that they did, in fact, find a hole in my heart. I said, "This is unacceptable. I consider this omission from my records negligent." Well, this is as close as I can get to blasting him with my imaginary shotgun. I tell him I'm having problems with the new antidepressant and am unusually irritable. He says, "please have your psychiatrist call me--I'll reassure her that the Doxepin wasn't the problem with the fibrillation."

He tells me he isn't the one to evaluate the seriousness of the hole, and that I need an appointment with another doctor who is the one to read that part of this testing and decide whether or not it requires repair. Bla bla bla. I can no longer listen. My brain has shut down, and now rage is all I feel. Funny how rage shuts down the rest of the brain functions. After he finishes his bla bla bla, he takes me into the area where I'm to wait for the receptionist to make an appointment with this other doctor. The desk is empty. The is no one in the hallways. I want to start screaming, "Jane, you ignorant slut. Where the fuck are you, you lazy, slovenly bitch!!!!" But thankfully don't. By the time I get out of the building I'm at swearing, screaming rage level.

When I get home, I eat a bite, fix my latte, and decide to call my shrink's office again and try to find out why she has taken so long to get back to me when I knew I'd lost my mojo, my sweet temperament, my ability to sleep at night and all fucking patience with everyone. I know it's the drug switch, and I want off Zoloft and back on Doxepin. Now! She gets me to stop screaming and is very patient, considering how angry and loud I am. She tells me to stop the Zoloft and to begin to go back on the Doxepin gradually. When I hang up I'm still furious, but with a bit of pacing, and some deep breathing, and watching Keith, I finally calm down.

In a couple of days when I'm not so irritable, I'll aim what fury I have left at Comcast, who has the nerve to call themselves Comcastic.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

No Latte? Are They Crazy?

Today I have to go get a stress test. Yesterday the bitch, no I mean nurse, who gave me instructions for my stress test, ordered me to take no blood pressure medicine and no caffeine. Yes, I can eat something and take my other pills, but no LATTE? Jesus, how am I supposed to get the organism chugging into consciousness? I will report on this horror when I get home. But I'm betting the worst part of the stress test is the no latte part.

Monday, August 4, 2008

First Love Last Love

I got a late call from CTB, the first and last love, tonight. He's been reading my blog and wanted to talk. There is almost always some small favor he wants, but I'm still willing. You know what they say about that first love--it's always with you.

He is a great musician. He used to play jazz bass. It was when he was first becoming a bass player that I fell in love with him. Acoustic bass is a very sexy instrument--shaped like a woman and held in a full bodied embrace. Then he switched to electric bass and started playing country music in the western version of a honky-tonk, or as I called them, toilets. He drank too much in those days and his friends were not all that interesting. The charm wore thin. But the love remained.

Now he plays guitar. He is working toward virtuosity--not that tough for him. He can play any instrument. Tonight he recommended his new guitarist obsession. A man named Pierre Bensusan. So, for CTB and the rest of us, here is a little Pierre Bensusan

Is Our Government The Terrorist?

Bruce Ivens is the fall guy for the 2001 anthrax attacks. How convenient that he killed himself. What I remember about the anthrax attacks was that journalists were targeted and that postal workers died. It was a long time ago, and we were told by our government that the anthrax came from Iraq. One of the first justifications for targeting Iraq was it's ability to deliver weaponized anthrax to kill Americans. All of this makes me a bit suspicious that the man who was being targeted this time as the anthrax killer was Bruce Ivens and that he acted alone. It smells like a cover-up, and possibly a conspiracy to prevent the truth from ever being known. But I was never one of those people that bought the story that Kennedy was shot by Lee Harvey Oswald--the lone gunman.

J Edgar Hoover was the man in charge of the FBI at that time, and he had his reasons for wanting to get rid of Kennedy. Since those days the covert, intelligence gathering aspects of our government have grown like mushrooms in the dark. When G W Bush came into office he had his reasons for wanting to go to war with Iraq. It is no secret that "intelligence" was manufactured to scare the bejesus out of us and push the narrative that somehow Iraq was a bigger threat to us than the terrorists that came out of Saudi Arabia and took down the twin towers on 9/11.

I don't trust many news organizations anymore. But I do still have a bit of faith in NPR. This is one of their stories about the man who killed himself when he became a target in the anthrax "investigation."

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Inquiring Minds Want To Know

Amy Chozick poses the question in The Wall Street Journal this brilliant and completely relevant question--Is Barack Obama too skinny to be President? Hard to Believe Some People thought the Wall Street Journal Would Go To Hell After Rupert Murdock Bought It.

Friday, August 1, 2008

While We're On the Subject of Writing

This was sent to me by my beloved friend and administrator, Phillip. It's perfect for so many reasons.

Giles Coren, to his editors at The Times (London) for removing the word “a” from the closing sentence of his review

Times subeditors reply
to Giles Coren

Jane, you ignorant slut

The first time Peggy referred to me in her blog as "my Administrator", I said to her, with my voice to her ears, "That sounds a little cold and impersonal to me. I wish you wouldn't do that. It's not like you need to protect my identity."

She said, "You are my Administrator because I'm dumb and you take care of everything for me ...."

OK Peggy. Just like assholes, right?

Administrating is something I get paid to do, helping friends is not.

It's all like that. Makes me ....

Sad, really. I'll help anybody who deserves it; anybody I think is doing something worthwhile but doesn't know much about the technicalities. I do it a lot. I live doing it. I can get to a problem more quickly than a fucking problem. Spare me the cadence; milliseconds add up. Be kind, rewind. Simple as that. Are we clear sailor?

Online group therapy might be a wonderful thing but it's not on the list of things I am interested in, nor on the list of things I think publishers are interested in. I think it de-values Utah Savage. I think Peggy just got a bad case of the jitters and, sadly, retreated down the path of familiarity. Here's how it goes Peggy: we might get 5 minutes on the novel. If we're lucky, a couple minutes on the rest. Make it a money shot. She was a lot closer than she is letting on. But you'll have to ask her about that.

Lapdogs are great. They build confidence. Peggy likes you because you are more than that. (I think). Do with that what you will.

You are welcome to shoot slings and arrows my way. Be the first. I'm all over the place. You can figure it out.