Saturday, January 31, 2009
Friday, January 30, 2009
Thursday, January 29, 2009
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
Susan of Phantsythat has tagged me for a simple meme. Good thing this is a simple one, as I'm up to my eyeballs in contest falderal. For a woman who writes many hundreds of words a day with no thought at all about the need to put my best foot forward, I'm now paralyzed with insecurity.
But this just might be the palatte cleanser I need to clear my head. So, thanks Susan. I probably really needed this.
1. Go to the 4th folder in your computer where you store your pictures.
2. Pick the 4th picture in that folder.
3. Explain the picture.
4. Tag 4 people to do the same.
This is a photo of my cat Rianna. I know, it's a horrible name for an animal, but she was given to me by a little girl named Rianna, and Rianna named the kitten before she gave her to me. So, Rianna it was. She was barely weened when I got her. A tiny red puffball. She followed me everywhere, like a very tiny dog that looked like a very tiny fox. Rianna was the daughter of a Santa Barbara feral mountain cat--these are the descendants of cats that have been abandoned in the mountains above Santa Barbara where I lived for a blissful while. I used to get phone calls from neighbors that a fox was following me.
Rianna was always a loyal and bonded cat, but she never lost her fiercely independent streak which expressed itself in an aversion to being held in certain ways. She was not a particularly affectionate cat, but when she wanted to be petted she sat on my lap and let me pet her. I say she let me, because petting when not sitting on my lap might elicit a warning claw-retracted slap, and if that warning slap was not enough to discourage the unwanted petting the next slap came with one extended claw and always drew blood. My friends who tried to pet her didn't get the kind warning--they got the one claw treatment. This was how she came to be known as Mean Kitty.
Mean Kitty bossed all the dogs. She was never afraid of a dog, no matter the size of the dog. Where did she get that confidence? My big dog Lucy was so cowed by Rianna that if Rianna was sprawled at the top of the stairs, Lucy could not go either up or down the stairs, and would either whine loudly for my help, or would find me to move Rianna. Rianna was a tyrant. Who could imagine such ferocity in a lovely little red cat? I once saw her chase a large yellow Labrador, that she must had taken a dislike to, out of our front yard. Where did she get that self-confidence?
She lived over twenty years--past twenty I lost count. She moved four times with me in that twenty some years. When we moved from Santa Barbara to Salt Lake she followed close on my heels as I unloaded the car and moved into the little house, trip after trip. She did not settle until I did. What a loyal companion she was. Rianna outlived three of my dogs. She didn't seem to ever like anyone but me.
She was never ill, never injured, always had a hearty appetite and never grew fat. The only reason I knew it was close to the end for her was a dramatic change in morning behavior. The last three or four mornings of her life she waited for me to awake, get my coffee and smoke, crawl back into bed to watch morning news, and then Rianna would crawl into my lap, settle deeply, and then pee on me. This change in behavior was so dramatic I called our House-Call Vet and asked him what he thought it meant. He told me it was a symptom of dementia in a cat. So after days of having to strip my bed every morning and wash all my bedding, I decided to let her go. The Vet came and we put her to sleep, and then into a very peaceful death. She seemed ready to go. But I have missed her terribly. Just looking at the picture of her makes me cry.
Okay taggees get ready:
La Bellete Rouge
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
As a counter balance to good movies of that ilk may I suggest Good Dick. Written and directed by and starring Marianna Palka, it's one of the best American indie flicks I've seen in a long time—not "shot on a cell phone" indie, it's got good production values. It's edgy, smart, and very funny. And a little painful. It also stars John Ritter's spittin' image son Jason. It has a cameo by Charles Durning that is pure money and one of the best "guitar riffing with effects" soundtracks EVAR. The first fifteen minutes of the movie have one song, three different musical interludes, and about three paragraphs of dialog. I think I prefer that to people saying stupid things trying to provide character development. Gran Torino I'm looking at you.
When the boy and girl sit down to watch an Annie Sprinkle video together. Priceless.
I will watch Good Dick again just for the soundtrack and to freak out on the 250 pound Carson Daly look-alike. Some kind of optical illusion, I think.
Now, about the name ....
This is the best movie I've seen in a long time. Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio are perfectly cast in this story of 1950's alienation and suburban angst. It might have been written by John Cheever. It was actually written by Richard Yates and competed against Catch 22, by Joseph Heller, and The Moviegoer, by Walker Percy for the National Book Award in 1962 . I read both those books in the 60s and was bowled over by their brilliance. I've never heard of Richard Yeats. This was his first book. It was chosen by Time as one of the 100 best English Language books written since the 1920s. I've read everything by both Percy and Heller. I'm astounded I haven't read Yates.
The move is luscious, and drab. There is this New York landscape inhabited by men in gray suits and hats carrying briefcases. At home in Connecticut there is a discontented wife with a lovely home and two lovely children. DiCaprio plays Frank Wheeler who works for the same company where his father worked unhappily all his life. Winslet, as April Wheeler, has dreams of life in France. She will work and he can "discover" himself. She has done the research. She puts this dream into action and just as they are about to leap free she is trapped by an unwanted pregnancy and her husband's need for safety, normalcy, conformity.
One of the things I remember about the 50's and mid 60s was that in most states contraception was unavailable and abortions were illegal. And mental illness was a very shameful family secret. Kathy Bates has a lovely part as a real estate agent and the mother of a man who is likely bipolar. He was a mathematician before all the shock treatments. He plays the part of the truth teller. I know that role. It doesn't make one popular.
Phillip didn't like the movie. So maybe it's great and maybe it's just another Oscar Movie. But Nick and I loved it. I think remembering the 1950s helps.
I forgot Nick told me when I got in his car that John Updike died today. He was a writer in a class with Cheever, Heller, Percy, Yates.
But now my task is to write about myself. As myself. Oh god, no! You might think this is funny since I do little else these days, but this has to be focused on me as the writer of this particular book which I am selling as fiction. Can I pull this rabbit out of this hat?
So what are my credentials? Really? Credentials? I have none. This is so sad. I might be one of the best read women in the world, but I have no credentials. I took classes at two universities from the age of 17 to 29 and virtually spoon fed my third husband all the reading he had to do to get his PhD in Creative Writing from the University of Denver. I typed his collection of short stories, and edited them in the process. I read Peyps Diaries to him as we drove back and forth across the country. I swear to god I carried him on my back as we made those endless trips from Arkansas to Colorado over and over while reading aloud from sunup to sundown day after day. But he got the PhD. And happily for me, and sadly for him, he is now still an academic and I write. Ha!
Monday, January 26, 2009
I have TMJ. I've always had it. My jaw pops just talking sometimes. It certainly annoys me, but it annoys me most kissing. And it seemed to annoy past mates most at mealtime. This is just for starters. Are you sure you still like me?
My first husband, Lyle, was appalled that I didn't know how to saute fresh mushrooms. I used my grandmother's wedding present The Joy of Cooking as my source. Irma Rombauer was, according to my grandmother, the only source, the best source, the bible of cookbook gurus. Lyle said the mushrooms tasted like they'd been cooked in scouring powder. I cried. I was nineteen and had never cooked a fresh mushroom before. So to this day, I have never thought of myself as a good cook. But I've never killed anyone with my dreadful cooking, yet.
Lyle was also the first person (but not the last) to accuse me of popping my jaw at the breakfast table (chewing cereal) on purpose just to annoy him. On purpose. Hell, he thought he got a bad deal? I was horrified to find that I was expected to have sex with him. I married him because he was my boss, he was gay, and we partied at the gay bars. We were friends. He was talented and fun and gay. And his Boss hated gay men. Most especially I married Lyle because he was gay. Safely gay. Do I need to stress that again? And he had a good job. And so did I. But that sex thing really ruined it for me.
I can't begin to list the many annoying things that I do, but I'm sure I've slept peacefully next to men who wanted to smash a grapefruit in my face in the morning over poached eggs, toast and coffee.
The last table-atrocity I heard about was from a woman. Her name was Eleanor, I'd known her ages ago, but she needed a place to rent and I needed someone to share the house with. I used four of the eight rooms. She was welcome to the rest of them. She moved some heavy furniture into the house, had her bedroom wired for her vast electronic, computing life. I cooked while she supervised the Comcast guys.
I fed her clam spaghetti, garlic bread, a salad and white wine. Simple enough, not so white trashy as I can sometimes get. But tasty. I was shoveling it in, in my usual fashion and she stopped, wine glass in hand rising to her mouth, and said, rather dramatically, one eyebrow cocked, "This will never work."
"Because you make sexual sounds when you eat."
"What kind of sexual sounds?"
She moved out by the end of the week.
I bet in certain cultures an appreciative moan at the table is considered a compliment to the host.
This isn't just a new thought, or a new need, or something that just occurred to me on a whim. It's something I knew when my last lover and I lived together years ago. He was the dog in that relationship. He loved to be touched just the way I absentmindedly touch Roscoe when I'm baby-sitting him at night when he curls up next to me as I watch TV. I massage his face muscles and gently stroke his neck and soft ears, I rub the loose skin behind his ears and he just soaks it in. When I get tired of this or want him to move, I say, "move." He stands up on the bed, does a quick turn and lies down. There is nothing pushy in his acceptance of my touch or huffy or sulky at my desire to stop. With my ex, touch was almost always prelude to sex. If I were touching him, maybe not. But if he touched me with tenderness and a gentle hand it would almost always be about his desire for sex. I could ask for non-sexual touch, and he might agree, but it was as if he were watching his clock for the minimum ten minutes to pass so he could stop.
I'm probably dreaming. I doubt many men would want to lie in bed next to a woman and stroke her like she were a purring cat and leave it at that. But it's a nice dream.
Sunday, January 25, 2009
YouTube doesn't have a clip of Natalie or Nat performing the song, so you'll have to make due with the link. I hope you like it. I'm now going to go see if Itunes has it. Have a lovely Sunday afternoon. It's snowing here, and though I didn't get very far with my cleaning project yesterday, and I'm really inclined to go to bed with a book and then nap the afternoon away, I will clean that last shelf in my food cupboard because this song inspires me rise above my lazy assed instincts and get busy.
Saturday, January 24, 2009
Yesterday I wrote about bipolar disorder from my point of view, as a woman with bipolar disorder, and a visitor who always has something stupid and obnoxious to say, commented that it's only women who get bipolar disorder. I cannot quote him precisely, since I almost always delete his comments as fast as he posts them--I have no time or interest in debating anyone that ignorant. But his assumption that bipolar disorder is a female thing raised a point worth exploring. It isn't that bipolar disorder is more prevalent in women than men, (it's an equal opportunity genetic crap shoot) but it is true that men are reluctant to admit to needing help. It is obvious in my group therapy experiences that it's mostly women who are seeking help. It might be that their families have forced this help upon them, and it might be that women are more comfortable than men sharing their feelings in a group, since women are more open about their feelings with their own friends and family than men seem to be--especially men my age.
These men were raised in a time of rigid roles for men and women. Men my age had trouble finding solid footing during the early years of the women's movement, and feminism is still mostly a dirty word to them. Feminism forced many changes on these men. And they did not like what seemed to them a loss of power and control. Rigid rolls are easy to understand. The shifting ground of new ways of thinking and feeling made them uncomfortable, left them off balance, and pissed off about it. Often women in an attempt to rescue a marriage that isn't keeping pace with her needs suggests couples therapy (I've done it myself) and often the answer is a loud and emphatic "NO! You're the crazy one, not me." The reasoning is usually that if a woman is unhappy in the marriage the problem is hers, not his. If therapy can "fix" her, no harm. But if therapy leads her to the conclusion that her marriage is stifling and not meeting her needs, she will probably decide to bail on the marriage. So to a lot of men, therapy ruined their marriages. The fault is not theirs, but the therapists.
So why then do so few men with bipolar disorder seek help? Why are the waiting rooms of psychiatrists around the country filled with women and not men? My theory is that for a man to admit that he is ill or needs help is still seen as weak by other men. Especially if the illness is considered a mental illness. And there is still a large part of the population that has this stereotype about men. Men are still supposed to be strong and stoic, impervious to pain of any kind--physical or emotional.
So tell me you men, what is your reason for not seeking therapeutic help? Are you without problems, without psychic pain, mentally healthy? If you have sought help, has it helped? Inquiring minds want to know.
Friday, January 23, 2009
Bipolar disorder is very hard for a family member who is not bipolar to deal with. Sometimes it's awfully hard to know what is personality and what is disorder and what's PMS. "Normal" is a hard psychological trait to measure. Too normal and we're dull as dust. But crazy has a big fat book with symptoms and graphs, and the weight of both law and medicine to measure how just how crazy is too crazy to function in the "normal" world. I'm so crazy I'm disabled. Legally disabled.
But you say, "You seem able to write every day. How can you do that if your disabled?" And I say, I always wrote. I just didn't have a blog. Sometimes I couldn't read the scribble that was my writing, but even bat-shit crazy I wrote, documenting every little thing, taking notes as if life were a class and there would be a test. I also read like it was a full time job and I was getting paid by the page. Both those occupations allowed me to be alone a lot. And the thing about being alone is the relief of not having to pay attention to someone else and their needs.
Another symptom is "inappropriate" sexual behavior. I think the word "inappropriate" means with someone too young, or too old, or just met. It also applies to what some call "sex addiction."
We tend to self-medicate. For most that means alcohol (legal and easy to get) for others it might be pot or heroine or meth. For others it means, a plethora of other drugs, but the one drug most Shrinks don't blink at is cigarettes. Nicotine is a good antidepressant and plays well with other bipolar drugs. I found it interesting that in the Bin, we were all sent out into the open air to puff away on our cigarettes. Mormons with bipolar disorder in the Bin with us were given nicotine gum.
The one symptom of my illness that isn't fairly well managed with two drugs twice a day, is my intense need to isolate. It is also what makes it possible to write and read to the exclusion of all else. I also engage in obsessive news watching, and then there is need for food cooking and cleaning up after cooking and foraging for food and feeding Cyrus. But, whereas most of you work full time, raise children, have a social life, keep your pets alive, and your spouse or lover happy enough to stay, I do none of those things. I make no room for anyone else. I keep all but one or two friends at arms length. I might be good for a visit from a close friend for an hour or two, but that's my limit. I can attend to the needs of another only that long. This makes me a big selfish asshole. But did you ever think it might be for your own safety? Maybe I'm doing you a big fat favor.
If my bipolar disorder where not well managed I would be signing up for every credit card company dumb enough to send me the invite. Then I'd go shopping. Compulsive shopping is a huge symptom. I was once a woman who really loved to shop, a woman who bought what she didn't need or even want, just because it was a great buy or on a whim I thought I loved it. All these shopping sprees create another problem that is common to those with bipolar disorder. DEBT. And in the end, in a bad economy, crushing debt leads to bankruptcy. This is not to say that all these things aren't done by perfectly normal healthy people, but add another symptom or two and Bingo! You might have a family member who is bipolar, and if you have one family member with bipolar disorder there are probably more. Moody? Life of the party one minute and sobbing the next? It could be PMS, or the boss, or the guy who dumped you, or it could be bipolar disorder. A child who everyone says is too sensitive? That was me. Too tired to get out of bed and feeling like you've been lobotomized? Could be a hangover or the flue unless it lasts for weeks or months or years. Occasionally having fits of rage? Dramatic and angry, exciting and too happy, too exciting? Finding life too hard to live? Well, welcome to my world. Do I enjoy this? Not that part. I do enjoy the fire in brain that keeps my fingers dancing on the keyboard. I do enjoy the complete and utter focus of the mind's creation. There is magic in the creative act no matter what the medium. But is it art? Who the hell knows? Probably not. It might just be a necessity. But the medical journals are full of histories and great stories of very famous creative types who were/are bipolar. We tend to be very creative people. We also tend to be very difficult. And finally we tend to commit suicide.
The really bad news for us and our families is that this disorder is incurable and genetic. It runs in families. Often undiagnosed or misdiagnosed. Most genetic diseases have one DNA marker. Bipolar disorder has two. It gets worse with age. And though there are some very good drugs, there comes a point when the good old drug no longer works and you have to experiment with something new. It's hit or miss. And all the drugs have side effects. I'm currently on a drug that adds 20 to 40 pounds of drug weight. If I were to switch to Zoloft I'd lose some of the drug weight. But then I wouldn't be able to dream. The weight gain of so many of the bipolar drugs keeps a lot of women from compliance with taking their medicine. There are also problems with lowered sex drive (I say good riddance) but for many people this is a serious problem. And a big (pardon the pun) reason for men to be noncompliant with taking their medicine.
I think we're a pain in the ass to live with. I do not chose other people with bipolar disorder to hang out with. We're either too much fun or a real drag. Sobbing for no reason or hysterical laughter. Always out of sync. Would you chose to hang out with someone like that? I once asked Tom why he hung in there for so long. He said it was an interesting challenge. He could have just said he loved me.
Thursday, January 22, 2009
Your result for The Great Minds Advice Test...
Do Something Worth Doing
33% Franklin, 0% Freud, 25% Teresa, 17% Wilde and 25% Leonardo!
"If you would not be forgotten, as soon as you are dead and rotten, either write things worth reading, or do things worth the writing." ~ B. Franklin
Your life advisor is Benjamin Franklin.
Franklin was definitely a doer. He believed that life should be lived to the fullest and that a person should never stop striving to learn. Once you have learned everything your life was over.
So, you should move. Get up and do something. Discover something new. Let your mind work to it's fullest and experience life.
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
Now I live as if I were a prisoner in my own well-constructed cell. I call it "The Bunker" or "The Cottage" depending on the season and my mood. It is guarded by locked gates and scary dogs. And I invite so few in. My cell is large for a prison, but small for a home. Yesterday my friends from New York were here. She is tiny, but he is very tall. I notice most how small my space is when a man stands in my small cell.
When I moved into the little house two years ago I planned to die here. I wanted to finish the book, Maggy, and then.... I saw my life as leading nowhere. I saw myself choosing to leave life in my own time, in my own way. I had no room in my small life for men. Even the husbands of women I know have little importance in my real life. They are, to be honest, little more than minor annoyances to me. He says he needs her today, so she can't come over. He is either her excuse or an impediment to some fun we want to have. Oh yes, he is a real man, who is probably interesting in his own way, but for me he is only an impediment. I think of men as needy. In my past with men they have been that. They have wanted me for one reason or another but in the end I have become little more than the cleaning woman and a captive audience. I don't like to clean house for just me. Why would I want to be anyone else's cleaning lady? Now I have no time to be the audience of one for a man who wants my undivided time and attention. I'd rather read. And yet...
The boy is now an old man. He has lived almost all his life near to me in one way or another. We have lived in far flung places now and then yet near to one another, not knowing. During the years my photograph graced the pages of the Newspaper and ads and catalogues, he lived a few blocks from me. He married twice and raised two sons he had with his first wife, and then the two daughters his second wife brought with her into their marriage. He loves his children and keeps in touch with them. Isn't life mysterious?
He read my letter to the editor in the early days of the Presidential Primary. He googled me and found my blog. He read for almost a year and then he emailed me. We now talk on the phone. He started a blog so he can comment. He joined twitter. He read the novel. I think I'm being courted. So what do I want now? Am I willing to even explore the possibilities? The question for me is, am I still impenetrable?
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
But then in the searching For Etta's version, I came across this. And it reminded me that I am a woman who likes hats. Yes I do. I like women and men who wear hats. This might account for the few number of friends of either sex I have. It isn't a requirement that everybody wear hats, but if you live in a place with snowy, freezing winters, and blistering hot summers and you don't wear a hat now and the, will you're just stupid. And you probably look nothing like Cary Grant. Damn.
Now comes the very most difficult part of the project for me--the pitch. I have to sell a reader on picking up a chunk of the book and getting started. I have to do this quickly. 300 words or less. I have to say something about myself. Why did I write this novel? Oh yes, I am calling it a novel. It is a novel! Who are you to say it isn't? Did you lead my life? No? Well then...
Don't we all draw from life to form our characters? Did the real woman Madame Bovary exist? Did Flaubert know her, of her? Is Roskolnikov not based on a real man? Are you sure? Did you ask Dostoevsky?
I have removed the book called Maggy from this blog now. It may come back, but if and when it does, it will be tighter, and with fewer typo and grammar errors. It will be a bit shorter too. And almost everyone gets a new name. Isn't that festive? If you were reading it... and want more... Let's barter.
Monday, January 19, 2009
I am amazed at the generosity of bloggers. I received a lovely package on Saturday from my dear friend Ms Soairse who is a jewelery designer among many other things. She sent me a couple of lovely pair of earrings at Christmas and now again, for no reason that I can see, two more. I never feel deserving of gifts. I always wonder how I can ever repay such generosity. But these fears are the little remnants of a difficult childhood, and I need to learn that it is fun to give and fun to receive. Now what can I do for Soairse?
These earrings are the ones I think of as chandeliers for the ears, and I love the feel of enough weight to remind me that I am packing glamour. So it's taken me three days to get ready to model them for you. And all I had to do was peel my jammies off, take a shower, wash my hair and dry it, and add a bit of eye to make these earrings pop on the page.
Pair number two another day.
Thank you darling.
PS, she sells these lovely earrings from her site, visit and take a look. They are lovely gifts and Valentines Day approaches.
Sunday, January 18, 2009
No that anyone asked, but I don't like roses. Well, I don't like scentless hothouse roses that always seem to die in a day or two. I like to walk down an alley in late Spring or early Summer and come across the scent of roses. I like other's people's roses, but I'm not a big fan of flowers that have special needs. I have dogs with special needs. I have special needs myself. So if it's not hardy and capable of blooming in a less that ideal environment, if it's prone to attracting pests like mites and aphids, I'm not such a fan. The Vinca or Periwincle and bulbs do well here with no encouragement at all. The forsythia and mock orange do well with little fuss. I have one good spot for Halls Honeysuckel right outside my door; it always blooms.
Some years the fruit trees don't bear fruit, some years the Wisteria doesn't bloom. These are usually the years Spring comes early, and just as all the fruit trees are budding, or have just bloomed, it freezes.
It is beginning to feel as if this might be one of those years of early thaw. Or maybe it's just me thawing.
Saturday, January 17, 2009
I have laid bare my life with all it's challenges and deficits for anyone to see. I have not been shy or hiding here. I do tell all. And then there is a novel. There are short stories, and poems. They say much about who I am. Are these stories real or fiction? Some combination of the two I suspect. Like most writers, I write about the things I know and tell my version of the truth.
However, it may not be true to you if you find yourself the character in someone else's fiction. So caution is in order. Because I don't know enough about you.
It's not a good idea to borrow a man to fix a pipe. But sometimes it's a necessity. Fortunately she doesn't need him today, and he's willing. I fixed a late breakfast and he gave me the running commentary on how each step worked, explaining as he worked, never realizing that I was really listening to the train ride from Pennsylvania to Washington DC. It's the beginning of a new era, and I'm not about to stop paying attention to it to learn a little about teh plumbing. Truth is I never will learn anything about teh plumbing. I am willfully ignorant about so many things. I do not need to know it all. My knowledege is speciallized too. I do not expect him to either follow what I'm doing or have any interest in having it explained to him in great detail. I know, he isn't asking for my help, but if he were--and I could write something for him, I'd do it. I did fix lunch. I fed him. I fixed him coffee. I looked for rags and tools, I pretended to understand. It's the best I can do. It's also the least I can do.
So the kitchen sink faucet no longer drips. And now you can turn off the water at the back of the area beneath the sink, instead of at the street in front of the main house.
And tomorrow we will tackle the same problem under the bathroom sink. And from there who knows?
My girlfriend, his paramour, called twice while he was here--she did not talk to me. I always worry about the insecurities and needs that go into relationships and make them mine-fields. I try to stay out of the lives of the men who populate the lives of women I love. It's just too tricky. But David offered, and my need was great, and he fixed the leak, and I'm glad.
Friday, January 16, 2009
For now, I'm going to be hiding out trying to finish the final edit on the novel, Maggy. Hang in there with me. I obviously like teh blogging or I'd shut the hell up and get to work.
Phillip of Sitenoise wrote a partial review of the film but hated the beginning half hour of the movie so much he couldn't finish watching it. It's received some good reviews but I'm betting these are reviewers who just loved the Dirty Harry snarling male stereotype.
I didn't become an Eastwood fan until he began directing. He made a couple very good films as a director--his western The Unforgiven was worth watching. It wasn't the best western I'd ever seen, but it was pretty good. But it was Million Dollar Baby was so good I was prepared to believe that he would continue to make great movies. I figured he'd learned something about getting nuanced, sensitive performances from the other actors he was directing as well as from himself.
If Eastwood continues to make movies I hope it's in the capacity of Director. Think Letters from Iwo Jima. I wouldn't mind seeing him in a small cameo role with a bit more nuance than the snarling old bastard he plays in Gran Torino. But I think his days as central leading character are, and should be, over.
All of that said, I did begin crying toward the end of the movie and wondered what is was about the character at the end that made me weep. Nick and I talked about that, and Nick said, "You're affected and moved by almost everything right now." And maybe it's as simple as that. But this portrait of a man at the end of his life who views everything through the prism of prejudice, cynicism, and alienation is so very sad and not in a heart warming way.
I'm guessing there were clues to Eastwood's career in things like the 1972 cherry Ford Gran Torino that is his baby in the movie. High Plains Drifter came out in 1973, so there might be a bit of symbolism that he was making that film when Gran Torino's mean old bastard character was supposedly working on the assembly line for Ford the year the Gran Torino auto of the film refers to was made, but I'm stretching to give it a reason to have been made at all.
It is only the Hmong characters who form the core of his changing neighborhood, his changing world, the world he does not recognize and has such disdain for, who give really good performances.
I'd only give this film 2 stars at best, and that's a stretch.
But why don't I recognize myself? I thought that this was Darkblack's Obmaican and that Darkblack is a nice looking younger woman. Humm. I liked her looks a lot. So this can't be me. But even if this isn't me, and is a trick Darkblack is playing on me, a through the looking glass experience like the early acid years, I don't care.
Thursday, January 15, 2009
1. Link to the person who tagged you.
2. Post the rules on your blog.
3. Write six random things about yourself.
4. Tag six people at the end of your post and link to them.
5. Let each person know they’ve been tagged and leave a comment on their blog.
6. Let the tagger know when your entry is up.
Random things. Humm. My whole life is random. Only six--this should be easy.
Kulkuri is the guy who tagged me. That Yooper in Crackerland. Link that! I'm very fond of Kulkuri, but he's a tease. One of his random facts is the tease that English is not his native language. Yes? Well? Does he tell us what his native language is/was? No. He does not. Now I have to research Yooper. Ok, that's done. Pennsylvania Dutch? So where in America does this transplanted Yooper live now? Sunbelt, I'm thinking. His avatar has him in a Hawaiian shirt sitting in a beach chair, reading. Clues everywhere, but no real answers. Shall I just give you clues? No random facts, just clues? That doesn't seem fair or in keeping with the whole idea of learning more about the someone through random things. So, here goes.
Random Things About Me:
1. I'm very emotional, a very difficult woman. That could count as two random things, but they are so interwoven that I think of them as one thing--the intensity of my emotionality makes me a difficult woman to be around. I do everything too passionately. I'm easy to anger, too.
2. I was raised by a woman who had mastered the resounding verbal "bitch slap" to such an extent that living with her made it impossible to avoid learning this nasty habit. So, given the right circumstances, I can deliver a verbal "bitch slap" effortlessly and with no thought at all--like a reflex. Impossible to stop once begun. I have lost friends over this dubious skill. I have gone one bitch slap too far more often than is seemly.
3. I have missed out on the love of a man with the strength and patience to keep me from running, make me want to stay. I know this deep in my core. It's a wound so deep I see myself as essentially unlovable. Maybe I make myself that way on purpose. But I have tried at times too hard and for too long to make myself lovable when I had chosen a man so shallow he wasn't worth more than a tumble.
4. I will miss lamb chops when I have to give up eating meat. I know this day is coming. It's the right thing to do. It may also be the economically necessary thing to do. That said, I just picked up a five pack of rib eye steaks in the reduced meat department, brought it home, individually wrapped each steak and frozen all but one. I'm having steak and beans, and salad for dinner tonight.
5. I'm a political news junky. And I'm proud of my girlfriend, Freida of the Bees, for becoming a regular contributer to one of the really good news sources, The Daily Kos. Go Freida! Politics and journalism are a sexy combo. And Math too? You're unstoppable. You're on fire.
6. I got an email yesterday from a boy I tried to have sex with when I was fourteen years old. (I probably looked closer to twenty when I decided I wanted him to be the boy who deflowered me, so to speak). He read my letter to the editor after Obama's primary win in North Carolina. He says he's been reading my blog since then. He left his phone number in his email. I called him. I like the idea of him. There is a short story in that early encounter. I remember it in great detail. Poor boy. I took him into my parent's bed when they were up at the cabin. I have to admit I have thought of him now and then over the long years of my life. What if...?
Well, I've shocked myself. Now I'm hoping you're going to shock me a bit back. I want these random things to give me real insight into who you are. Oh, there are those of you I think I know, Lisa. But some of you are real mysteries. I know that Randal will be tagged and bagged quickly so no point tagging Randal. There are a lot of men out there unwilling to play. Too bad. You're missing an opportunity for a little self expression and introspection. But you have your dignity at least.
1. Beach, because he has the soul of a writer and will engage and think more introspectively than any other man I've encountered out here in this bloggy world. Is that a bitch slap I hear landing on some unnamed man? If you felt it, you know who you are.
2. La Belette Rouge, because she is ingaged in the search for answers to the mysteries in her life. She has inspired me to buy myself a bouquet of lilies today. I thought of her when I saw then and remembered her unraveling of the symbolism that accompanies the lillie. It's a good omen.
3. TheMom, because she gave me my Obamicon without request and I'm delighted with it. She has been ill, but is indeed TheMom as she insisted I bundle up for the Thursday Matinee Movie date today. Baby it's cold out there. God bless nurturing woman. I lost mine somewhere.
4. Giggles, who I envision as a young woman, but really it's just an impression. Giggles appeared as a very good commenter without a real blog. Thanks to the generosity and encouragement of Lisa and others, she now has a blog. I hope this is your first meme, Giggles. Tell all, darling, in six random things. Or leave us in the dark--your choice.
5. Darkblack, photoshopper to rival... Well I shall not say. Just this. Darkblack is very talented, and another complete mystery to me. I went to look at Darkblack's Obamicon and it's a poster of a good looking young woman. Did you know? Do you know? Is Darkblack a man or a woman? Does it matter? Only to inquiring minds I guess.
6. Comrade Kevin, because for the longest time I thought Comrade Kevin was a woman. And so I spoke to Comrade Kevin as a woman. Despite the podcasts of Comrade Kevin playing the guitar and singing his original songs, I thought that was Comrade Kevin's boy friend. Gawd. I'm so dense sometimes.
No rush. I do not wish to stress anyone or put you in a spotlight you do not seek at a personal level, but I am curious.
Kulkuri that Yooper in Crackerland has tagged me. I thought I'd be able to duck and cover and miss this one, but no. Kulkuri, I'll get to you later. For now I have to get my huge dog to get out of his bed and go outside to pee so I can feed him. He's so neurotic he makes me look sane.
Here is your Gran Torino tease:
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
From The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton
'The darling!' thought Newland Archer, his glance flitting back to the young girl with the lilies-of-the-valley. 'She doesn't even guess with it's all about.' and he contemplated her absorbed young face with a thrill of possessorship in which pride in his own masculine initiation was mingled with a tender reverence for her abysmal purity. 'We'll read Faust together...by the Italian lakes...' he thought somewhat hazily confusing the scene of his projected honeymoon with the masterpieces of literature which it would be his manly privilege to reveal to his bride. It was only that afternoon that May Welland had let him guess that she 'cared' (New York's consecrated phrase of maiden avowal), and already his imagination, leaping ahead of the engagement ring, the betrothal kiss and the march from Lohengrin, pictured her at his side in some scene of old European witchery.
I received this lovely award, meme, honor and prompt to be reminded that reading is sexy and we shall indulge and encourage it when and wherever we can. I am now gifted with the passing this award along to five reading bloggers, who may do with it what they will. La Ballette Rouge is the one to see if you are confused about the meme. I am not all about the rules today. You will make of it what you wish.
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
Marie took the initiative and using my banner made my Obamicon. Thank you Marie. I look rather dour, but that's how the old ones sometimes look. Get used to it kids, it's barraling down on you faster than you think.
There are so many of you who have helped and encouraged me as the fledgling blogger I am. You have taught me much in the past year and even given me awards. I'm thrilled and honored. Thank you very much. Linda Sama The Ageless Hippie Chick and Linda's Yoga Journey for another award. Your kindness from the beginning has been a breathtaking gift from a fearless woman. It was from you I recieved the Rebel Girrrl Award. I was giddy with delight, but didn't even know how to bring it home and post it. Now I can grab the prize and run home to post it proudly on my sidebar as I think about its meaning before I compose a fitting thank you.
I have become a reclusive old woman, hiding behind locked gates, unwelcoming of the real world, alone with my crazy self and my neurotic old dog. But through you, I think of myself as a woman with friends in far flung places, some of you teetering on the brink of big changes brought about by failures not of your making. We now see the possibility for a new start on reclaiming our collective integrity with the inauguration of a new president, a new administration. As I type these words I hear Hillary Clinton answer questions during her confirmation hearings in the background and just the sound of her voice, the strength of her words, her confidence in her mission inspire confidence from me. So maybe this will be the year that I feel safe enough to walk around my peaceful neighborhood and speak to those I never see, feeling less a stranger in the place where I grew up. I know all my neighbors though I seldom see them. I hope when spring comes this year I will take those first steps out into the larger world.
I am finishing a book, trying to meet a deadline to submit this manuscript I have dragged from Springfield, Missouri to Santa Barbara, California and back to Salt Lake City waiting for the moment to pass it off to someone else to judge its merits. That time has finally come. And with it comes new hope and optimism that we will all be able to heal the wounds to our collective psyche. We have lost much the past eight years. Now let us all roll up our sleeves and get together to work our way out of the troubles of this recent past, to learn their lessons so we won't be condemned to repeat the past's mistakes.
Not one but two--take your pick.
Monday, January 12, 2009
I have been inattentive to you. I apologize. Please bear with me as I pull my writing life together to send it out into the world to be judged by complete strangers. I have been told often that getting a first book published is damn near impossible, so cross your fingers for me as I hold my breath and take this dive into the chilly pond, mid-winter.
I'm thinking this comes under the heading "Don't hold your breath Barack" but think I'm so cynical I think it's all been moved to the the Bush Family Swiss Bank Account. Anyway, here's hoping.
Sunday, January 11, 2009
Saturday, January 10, 2009
Note from Utah Savage--I was unable to link the weblog logo so linked the line I want you to vote for. Please support this fine writer. Without support from you and this generous, talented writer I'd still be writing in a vacuum, alone with my thoughts and thousands of words. Thank you for your support, Peggy
Diary of a Heretic is a finalist for Best Literature Blog. Voting is just a two-click process--no registration required. First click here, then click on the voting button for Diary of a Heretic. The polls are open through January 12. Please vote every day! And while you're at it, click here to vote for The View From Here as Best UK Blog. To read more about the contest and other notable entrants, click here.
Posted by Kathleen Maher on Jan 05, 2009 |
There are, of course, other reasons to have public access to these records and that's to know and understand how our civil rights have been stripped from us in the guise of keeping us safe.
Editorial posted below
Who Owns White House History?
It’s time to remind President Bush as he leaves office that his White House records are not his personal property. They belong to the nation. The Presidential Records Act made that the law of the land after the Watergate scandal. Showing disturbing forethought, Mr. Bush signed an executive order in his first year, effectively decreeing that a sitting or former president can withhold his papers indefinitely
Congress is moving to strike down the Bush order. The House has overwhelmingly approved a corrective measure that has a good chance in the Senate. If there’s any delay, we urge President-elect Barack Obama to issue his own executive order restoring the Presidential Records Act as soon as he enters the White House.
When Mr. Bush signed his order, the speculation was that he was hoping to spare the disclosure of some inner-sanctum embarrassments committed by his father’s administration or perhaps Ronald Reagan’s. Now, with so much of the latest Bush history needing to be plumbed from Baghdad to Wall Street, a robust public records law is ever more crucial for robust democracy.
The law already provides former presidents reasonable protection, letting them withhold sensitive records, including advice from aides, for up to 12 years. While the the Bush White House claimed that the order merely put an organized process in place, the result was to gut the presumption of public access.
Under the current rules, requests for records require the concurrence of a concerned former president or his descendants plus the current president. They have unlimited time to judge the issue. Beyond that, historians must resort to litigation. This is a pathetic way to cheat history. As the poet Robert Lowell wrote, “All’s misalliance. Yet why not say what happened?”
Friday, January 9, 2009
Thursday, January 8, 2009
Published: December 28, 2008
...as Washington tries to rescue the economy, the nation will be reeling from the actions of 50 Herbert Hoovers — state governors who are slashing spending in a time of recession, often at the expense both of their most vulnerable constituents and of the nation’s economic future.
These state-level cutbacks range from small acts of cruelty to giant acts of panic — from cuts in South Carolina’s juvenile justice program, which will force young offenders out of group homes and into prison, to the decision by a committee that manages California state spending to halt all construction outlays for six months.
Now, state governors aren’t stupid (not all of them, anyway). They’re cutting back because they have to — because they’re caught in a fiscal trap. But let’s step back for a moment and contemplate just how crazy it is, from a national point of view, to be cutting public services and public investment right now.
Think about it: is America — not state governments, but the nation as a whole — less able to afford help to troubled teens, medical care for families, or repairs to decaying roads and bridges than it was one or two years ago? Of course not. Our capacity hasn’t been diminished; our workers haven’t lost their skills; our technological know-how is intact. Why can’t we keep doing good things?
It’s true that the economy is currently shrinking. But that’s the result of a slump in private spending. It makes no sense to add to the problem by cutting public spending, too.
In fact, the true cost of government programs, especially public investment, is much lower now than in more prosperous times. When the economy is booming, public investment competes with the private sector for scarce resources — for skilled construction workers, for capital. But right now many of the workers employed on infrastructure projects would otherwise be unemployed, and the money borrowed to pay for these projects would otherwise sit idle.
And shredding the social safety net at a moment when many more Americans need help isn’t just cruel. It adds to the sense of insecurity that is one important factor driving the economy down.
So why are we doing this to ourselves?
The answer, of course, is that state and local government revenues are plunging along with the economy — and unlike the federal government, lower-level governments can’t borrow their way through the crisis. Partly that’s because these governments, unlike the feds, are subject to balanced-budget rules. But even if they weren’t, running temporary deficits would be difficult. Investors, driven by fear, are refusing to buy anything except federal debt, and those states that can borrow at all are being forced to pay punitive interest rates.
Are governors responsible for their own predicament? To some extent. Arnold Schwarzenegger, in particular, deserves some jeers. He became governor in the first place because voters were outraged over his predecessor’s budget problems, but he did nothing to secure the state’s fiscal future — and he now faces a projected budget deficit bigger than the one that did in Gray Davis.
But even the best-run states are in deep trouble. Anyway, we shouldn’t punish our fellow citizens and our economy to spite a few local politicians.
What can be done? Ted Strickland, the governor of Ohio, is pushing for federal aid to the states on three fronts: help for the neediest, in the form of funding for food stamps and Medicaid; federal funding of state- and local-level infrastructure projects; and federal aid to education. That sounds right — and if the numbers Mr. Strickland proposes are huge, so is the crisis.
And once the crisis is behind us, we should rethink the way we pay for key public services.
As a nation, we don’t believe that our fellow citizens should go without essential health care. Why, then, does a large share of funding for Medicaid come from state governments, which are forced to cut the program precisely when it’s needed most?
An educated population is a national resource. Why, then, is basic education mainly paid for by local governments, which are forced to neglect the next generation every time the economy hits a rough patch?
And why should investments in infrastructure, which will serve the nation for decades, be at the mercy of short-run fluctuations in local budgets?
That’s for later. The priority right now is to fight off the attack of the 50 Herbert Hoovers, and make sure that the fiscal problems of the states don’t make the economic crisis even worse. »
Wednesday, January 7, 2009
Harry Reid's problems are not so easily fixed. Reid is so annoyingly stupid we must find someone with a brain and a less annoying affect to be the Majority Leader of the Senate. Move over Harry, you're too dumb to lead anything. Yes, I know Blago offends us all, but he did one very smart thing in picking Roland Burris to fill Obama's vacant Senate seat.
Burris is qualified to fill the seat and he may be the only Chicago politician who could stand the scrutiny. He is not wealthy enough nor influential enough to buy the appointment, and he is a nice, charming, well spoken... Bla, bla, bla. Yes, Harry Reid has met with Burris and has pronounce him "a nice, charming, well spoken..." "Clean?" was clean the word you were looking for Harry? Yes, the photo ops abound today, more on that tomorrow. But really, Harry, when you put me to sleep while talking to David Gregory on Meet the Press, you're one very dull bit of Milk Toast. Milk-Toast Harry, the Mormon Male, it's time to move over.
Tuesday, January 6, 2009
I have a friend in Portland, Larry, (actually he was my very first boyfriend) who said he'd help me do a final edit. When I got ready to send him chunks of the book, our computers were incompatible. I worked on a Dell PC in Word, he worked on a Mac and I didn't know how to convert what I worked on, into something he would be able to read, and he didn't know how either. That's where the charming, capable, and very talented Phillip, of Sitenoise, came into my life. I still have trouble with the lingo. I think it's possible that at least once a week I embarrass or irritate Phillip in one way or another, and yet he keeps talking to me. I could be paranoid, but then again, maybe not. Larry and Phillip were friends, and Phillip was the one who helped Larry (who is also a writer) when he needed technical help now and then. Larry had the nerve to ask Phillip to help me. I often wonder if he regrets the decision to help me out. Because here we are a year and a half later, and now we're linked, publicly.
I'm not sure I've ever met a more generous man than Phillip. If you're Phillip's friend, you're damn lucky. He's smart. He's funny. He can write really well, and does. And he's a patient and persistent teacher. The things I have learned in this short time amaze me every day. I would never have made the attempt to do this without his help. And one of the things he insisted would make a big difference in my writing experience was to get me on a Mac. I love my IMac. It was my last big splurge. Phillip picked the goodies I might need to make my writing life easier. He gave me music files and other goodies. I have the world at my finger tips thanks to Phillips guidance.
Young friends who live in New York were visiting in Salt Lake a year ago and insisted, after reading a small inflammatory opinion piece of mine, that I blog. That's where the 'splaining came into it. Web log eh? So in seconds, David had set up a blogger account for me and we'd given me a name. I was in business. And politics was getting interesting. So here I am, one year later. And though I write about a lot of things, politics is at the heart of it all. Because I believe that everything is political. Everything.
And I'm ready to step it up a notch. I will, of course, need Phillips help. But there's no need to rush into anything. I'm seeing things here and there at your places and I want them too. Oh yes, now I want it all. I want to win a writing contest again. I want to publish at least a story. I'd love nothing more on earth than to publish the novel. And yet, I still haven't made those last few changes, those copy edit niceties like spelling things right. Many of you have helped me there. Thanks. Keep it coming. I owe thanks to so many of you. You are a very generous and kind bunch of people. Diverse, far flung and engaging. My virtual family.
Maybe, like Lisa, the blogger formerly known as Dcup, I'll have a coming out party. Oh, not that kind. I mean write as Peggy and not hide behind the savage exterior. I can hang onto Savage--it is a family name.
Monday, January 5, 2009
Barack Obama is an elegant man in every way we experience him—his voice is pleasing to the ear, and his use of language and phrasing makes the most mundane topic sound meaningful. But no matter how serious or important the topic, his voice and delivery are uplifting, soaring. It’s the reason Will I Am from the Black eyed Peas can make a beautiful song out of a victory speech. He is the man with a Dream for this generation. Every speech he gives is an “I had a dream” speech. His name is musical—a little percussion, a lot alliteration. It is exotic to us, so used to names like George, John, Bill—names so blunt and truncated. He does not need to use words like a cudgel to scare us like our current President—so stupid sounding. George Bush has the most tenuous grasp of his native tongue, making almost all words sound ugly. He couldn’t possibly be as stupid and boorish as he sounds, could he? But it is not just the almost eight years of being embarrassed by the speech of our leader that makes the elegance of Barack Obama’s words feel like a drink of cool, fresh water to the thirsty and tired, waiting to be uplifted and inspired, not just scared by threats from the boogieman Bush who uses words so ineptly that his very dumbness scares us.
Barack Obama has a smile that fills our hearts with hope. It light’s up his face, it lifts our spirits. We have been smirked at by a fake cowboy and his truly scary side-kick Darth Vadar glowering in the background. We haven’t pushed for impeachment for the high crimes of George Bush because we don’t want Dick Chenney as our president, not even for a few months. He really could finish the job Bush started and suspend the Constitution along with the rest of the Bill of Rights. He has his own personal private army of mercenary thugs called Blackwater.
The world is ready to see us right the ship of state, to elect someone who will not only inspire us, but make us proud of who we are. We will all be made more elegant, more eloquent if the leaders of our government set the tone, lead the way. We will again be seen around the world as a beacon of hope, where there is real Liberty and Justice for All. Not just big donors and rich friends. With a little luck and a lot of hard work, we might even get our civil rights back.