Thursday, April 30, 2009

Mint In My Garden

I'm now finally able to drink my favorite beverage--fresh mint tea. This is the patch at the edge of the two steps up to my driveway. This is the time of year I really get my hydrating cleanse on. Mint tea hot, mint tea iced, mint tea mixed with Earl Grey, milky and sweet. I put mint in salads. And when I walk through it as it's everywhere in my garden, it smells great. Dogs come into the house fragrant with the scent of mint. I realize I will never be able to plant a garden where I get a bit of sun because the mint will overtake it in no time at all. I have spearmint, peppermint, and lemon mint.

A Poem In My Pocket

Picked up at Mauigirl's Meanderings this evening. It took my breath away. The post that introduces this poem is also breathtaking.


I had forgotten how the frogs must sound
After a year of silence, else I think
I should not so have ventured forth alone
At dusk upon this unfrequented road.

I am waylaid by Beauty. Who will walk
Between me and the crying of the frogs?
Oh, savage Beauty, suffer me to pass,
That am a timid woman, on her way
From one house to another!

-Edna St. Vincent Millay

My Therapist, Fred

Fred returned my call yesterday evening just as President Obama was starting his press conference. As you might have guessed, when the phone rang, I checked caller ID and seeing that it was an "unknown caller," I picked up and hung up since it was the hour of day most nuisance calls are made--telemarketers, insurance companies trying to tell me I MUST have insurance coverage to get the most out of my medicare coverage (lying, opportunistic bastards). I wonder why they think calling while most people are sitting down to dinner is a smart idea? If I'm not watching something that's really important to me, I like to tell them what asswipes I think they are. I try to keep them on the phone as long as possible while I tell them the truth about their smarmy business. But last night I was watching the President, so I just hit on and then off so it was obvious that I was not just ignoring the call but actually hanging up. The phone rang again almost instantly, so I thought I was going to have to yell at someone.

Turns out it was Fred calling from The Masters Program where discretion is important, so no caller ID. Since this was a call I really needed to take, I cranked down the volume on the TV and Fred and I talked about my appointment with my internist yesterday. In my conversation with her while she was checking my clotting factor, I told her I'd figured out that what had begun as a mild upper respiratory infection has turned into a mild case of mood disorder heading toward depression. We talked about the specific drugs I'm on for bipolar disorder and she suggested that rather than switch to another antidepressant I might just need an increase in the dosage of my major antidepressant. I like this idea, since the antidepressant I'm on (Doxepin Hydrochloride) doesn't usually interfere with my sleep cycle and allows me to dream. It does add weight. So far it's put 30 pounds on my normally slender frame. If I were still modeling this would be a deal breaker, but now I don't really give a shit about an extra thirty pounds. What I do care about is this volatility, this whipping around of my moods, this creeping downturn into cottony dumbness and drifting off to sleep in the middle of the afternoon. A half hour nap in the mid afternoon would be terrific, but once asleep, I can't wake up. And whether or not I take that three hour "nap," I'm waking up at 4:30 in the morning with a killer headache. For a woman who was never a morning person, this is way out of character for me. I hate being wide awake when it's still dark outside. I hate Morning Joe. I was raised by a person who thought early morning was the best time of the day, and anyone who disagreed with her was an idiot. I guess we already know I'm an idiot. But the dark before dawn is highly overrated in my opinion.

Anyway, I have an appointment next Wednesday early afternoon. Fred is a civilized man. He may have some serious image problems (that I could fix if he'd only listen to me) but even though he looks stupid, he's smart. He used to be my Group leader. I was skeptical at first, because how could anyone with a combover and scraggly shoulder length dingy gray hair, wearing a really ugly Hawaiian shirt, black polyester pants, a belt with a big round buckle (almost covered by a pot belly) and cowboy boots be smart? If this sounds familiar to anyone reading it you know this thread in my relationships with men marks me as shallow in the extreme. Come to think of it, every man I've loved and left got a makeover.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

My Garden On The 29th Of April

Spring Garden evidence that I do go outside and enjoy the sun. I took all these photos today.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Riding the Bipolar Roller Coaster

It's been a long time, in bipolar terms, since I experienced a real depressive episode. But I remember, now that I've been going through it again, that depression sometimes presents as organic illness. I start to feel sick. Feeling sick is not my normal state. This feeling sick sends me to my internist. And in the early phase I might have some mild and transient illness that can either be treated or waited out. But I don't bounce back. Feeling ill lingers. Not sick enough to simply stay in bed, but not well enough to want to do much of anything. It's a headache that's hard to get rid of, or a bowel disturbance, or low grade fever, or a slow, creeping stupidity that scares me more than anything. It's the transitions from one pole to the other that are the most dangerous. It's when we, the bipolar, realize depression is bearing down on us and we still have the energy to do something about it, that we know we can't stand it again. That's when we think about suicide. If I were suicidal, I would not be talking about it, so relax. I'm not suicidal. But I have been there, more than once. It's why I don't fear death by cancer or heart disease or a fatal car accident.

In Salt Lake, under the umbrella of medicare, we have Valley Mental Health. And within Valley Mental Health is a group called The Master's Program. You have to be bipolar and over fifty to qualify. I think calling a program for the old bipolar patients The Masters Program is both funny and apt. If you've lived past fifty and you are bipolar, you're damn special. You have survived a very difficult life. And I'm always amazed how many of us there are. We are often treated for substance abuse(self medicating) which might result in a bit of trouble with the law, especially for men. Men are more likely to be incarcerated than women, since men are more likely to be violent against others, where as women are more likely to be self destructive.

We can be extremely charming, and we can be horrid. I would not choose a bipolar friend to hang around with. In my opinion many of us are more trouble than we're worth. And in transition we can be seething with barely suppressed rage. In a manic phase we can seem as if we're taking large doses of amphetamines--motor mouthed and loud. I sure wouldn't chose to spend my time with anyone like me. But for the person experiencing a bit of mania it's damn fun. We all live for the hypomanic phase of the illness. But, like the way down, the way up is also dangerous.

All this to say, I called The Masters Program today, got through the gate keepers to the psychiatrist's nurse. She said she would get back to me tomorrow when she'd had a chance to talk to Dr. Issabela, whose booked two months out. So I was instructed to call Fred, my therapist, set up an appointment on a day Dr. Issabela will be in the office. She will look in on me between appointments, consult with Fred and between them they will decide if I go off Doxepin Hydrochloride and back on Zoloft. I have over the course of my life dealing with this monster illness found that not that many of the drugs to control my illness are tolerable to me. They all have some side effects. And some are worse than others. This drug gives you tremors and this drug makes you fat, this drug makes you stupid and this drug steals your dreams. Go ask Alice. I'm guessing she was bipolar.

I'm Spending the Day At Three Dames With A Clue

Yes, I'm getting out and around today. I'll even spend some time in the sun, Lib. But if anyone cares to make the trip, I'm spending the day at Three Dames With a Clue. It was Katie Schwartz, that very witty and energetic broad, who issued the invitation. So far the other women they've featured in this series of women who have reinvented themselves and write about it are some very accomplished women--with published books and marriages that work. So, I see myself as their one fruitcake without a clue. The questions were pretty simple and straightforward: What's your name, what's your read about, how do you reinvent yourself? My task, as I saw it, was to keep it brief. Ask me a simple question and I'll give you a complicated, convoluted answer that never seems to satisfy. But still, I'd love it if you'll visit me there.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Creeping Depression

Well, this morning I put in a call to my shrink for an appointment. So I wait for a call-back to set up a time. I seem to be slipping into a depression like a warm bath on a cold day. Yes, sometimes sleepiness feels good, especially if you have nothing pressing to do. Taking care of Cyrus is one job I don't neglect, but Cyrus, if he had a shrink, would probably be categorized as a depressed dog. And why not? Cyrus spent his first 9 years in a "shelter" mostly kenneled with a dog run. This would account for his inclination to always pee in one place and poop in one place not far from where he pees. I have never seen this behavior in another dog, so I'm speculating the kennel and dog run were his world. According to what Cyrus' Vet and I can tell from his behavior (completely content to doze beside my bed most of the day) he is happy here. But if this is happy, sad must have been terrible. He is now living on borrowed time, as am I. We seem to be two peas in a pod.

I plan to let myself do what I'm inclined to do--nap. A nap for the depressed could be round the clock sleep, waking only to go to the bathroom. I've had my usual two big mugs of coffee and milk. It has not made the slightest difference in my inclination to go back to sleep. And yard work is out of the question for me today. I just don't care that I have plenty to do. It's plenty to do that will either get done this year or will wait till next year.

When I met Ricardo I wanted to have a birthday party to introduce him to friends. But since Ms M has no interest in getting to know him, other than money, I have nothing to offer him. He doesn't seem to be terribly motivated by money. He seems far more interested in getting to know Ms M. I think it would be hard to find a better man, but romance is a mysterious emotion. You either feel it or you don't.

Now I have no interest in a birthday party. I've decided to pass. I've also decided to go back to bed. I have no appetite. That's nice. No appetite means no effort to come up with something tasty. I ate a banana. I will not starve. I'll take some vitamins and call it good.

And I won't be doing much visiting blogs today, since I hear the sirens call of sleep.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Bea Arthur is Now Singing With Rock Hudson, If There Is A God

Like a thief in the night I've gone creeping about reading. And though I too will miss Bea Arthur I hadn't found just the thing I wanted to post to note her passing. And then I stopped by E's at StarSpangledHaggis, and found this:

And if you know me, you know why this is one of my favorites. And like E says, it's "So Retro"

Cal, I'm Sorry

I have done something so casually cruel and careless that I can barely stand to be in the same room with myself. I have tossed off what I hope will be the last bitch slap of my entire life. I often do this with remarks about rightwing fundamentalists or other political types with whom I disagree. I think of this as snark, but maybe now is the time for me to give up snark as a form of expression. Since I have taken snark from the political to the very personal and in a most shallow and careless way, I have injured a man who did nothing more than attempt to befriend me. In this instance I have become my mother, and the feeling of having been possessed of my mother's lack of sensitivity for the feelings of others is almost too awful to bear. Cal, I'm sorry, and I know it's too late to take anything back. What I have said and done stands out starkly for me. I see the bitch who lives inside of me. It will require some very difficult work for me to exorcise this creature. She is not a woman I wish to be, much less live with. I am embarrassed and ashamed of myself. I need to work very hard at learning the delicate art of friendship before I can trust myself to be kind and considerate enough to offer friendship to anyone. As it is, savage was truer a name for me than I ever realized before.

Seeing With Old Eyes

I have always known that none of us sees things exactly the same way. I'm not speaking of having a different point of view, I'm talking about the literal act of seeing. I discovered this when I was six or seven. My mother had a friend she only saw once or twice a year. I thought this woman was lovely. She had red hair and pink cheeks. She almost always wore green. And warmth was what radiated from her eyes. I told my mother after this woman left our house one day that I thought she was pretty. My mother said, "My god, you've got bad taste. She's gaudy and cheap looking." It was in this moment that I knew my mother and I did not see the world the same way--that what was pretty to me was gaudy to her.

I have since noticed with my friends that what I choose to photograph or paint is not something they usually see as beautiful. I have one friend who works hard to make herself appear invisible. I have another friend who works very hard to make herself seen.

As for point of view, I believe there is nothing that can't be talked about, examined, and therefore "seen." My two friends both think most personal things should remain personal. This means to me that there are things they think should be secret--the dirty laundry of their lives. I think nothing cleans dirty laundry faster than a good airing. So in this metaphorical sense we do not see the world the same way.

I've been thinking about seeing because I've been taking photographs again. Looking at the photos from my past life that I've chosen to frame and put on the wall. They are all photos of small architectural details from places I've lived and loved. But the person I lived with in those places is absent. I have no family photos anywhere in my house except in old dusty albums tucked in the closet. I have so few memories of my family that are free of pain that I have chosen not to look at them anymore. But it was only after years of minute examination of their impact on my life and the truth and validity of my memories and feelings that I was able to put them away.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Nude with Pottery

Santa Barbara Pottery from Tom

This is a pot I loved the moment I saw it, and it hurt a little because after I moved out Tom did all the things I wanted him to do when I lived there. I like a space of my own. I wanted him to remodel the outbuilding at the Santa Barbara mountain top house so I'd have a little house of my own. When I returned years later, he'd done everything in his elegant and muscular way. I loved many of the elements he brought into the main house to warm it up. And this was one of those things. When he moved to Costa Rica he gave it to me. So this is the pot now. Next up will be the pot earlier with female torso. Obviously, I like this pot a lot.

It sits above the closet of the little house with other largish things I like and brought with me from the big house.

Saw Horse

I'm starting to take photos again but always examining the small things within my eyes sight. I like the human form and face but when you aim a camera at anyone who knows your doing it you do not get the picture you wanted and they begin to grouse about their lack of make-up or the clothes they're wearing and it turns into something else. I also like the architectural element, the simple things. We almost miss seeing this beauty of form and texture since these are lowly useful tools or structures.

Unadorned Bare Feet

First there was the cropped detail, a bit of thigh, then there is the long shot of the bare feet, and the distance between the two is missing. I experiment with flesh and inside light at night, no flash and photographing parts of my own body, because no one else will pose for me. This also used to be my problem as an artist. So I looked into a mirror and painted a woman, who, once painted, was no longer me. Self-portrait after self- portrait. Experimenting with learning to drawing, then pen and ink, then water color. I'm now trying to see what my digital camera and the computer can do without photoshopping the photos. And the self portrait is not possible with a camera. I hold the camera to my eye. I don't have to, but a lifetime of holding a 35mm camera to my eye, keeps me from using a camera any other way. If I had a tripod and knew how to set the timer I could take the photos. Maybe someday I will become a visual artist again studying the minutia of my tiny world.

Friday, April 24, 2009

What Is This?

Is it a landscape? Is it a painting? Is it a photograph? Is it animal, vegetable, mineral? Is it bigger than a breadbox, smaller than a sand dune? Is it sunrise, sunset, or artificial light?

Auto Tune the News direct from Rachel Maddow

This is a must see. I can't embed this link but if you didn't see it live it's a must see. Trust me on this one.

Jay S Bybee and Monica Goodling: Both Products of a Religious Education

Born 1953 in Oakland, CA Federal Judicial Service: Judge, U. S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit Nominated by George W. Bush on January 7, 2003, to a seat vacated by Proctor R. Hug, Jr.; Confirmed by the Senate on March 13, 2003, and received commission on March 21, 2003. Education: Brigham Young University, B.A., 1977 Brigham Young University, J. Reuben Clark Law School, J.D., 1980

Assistant attorney general, Office of Legal Counsel, U.S. Department of Justice, 2001-2002

I post this because this is a such a lack luster education (Brigham Young University is owned by the Mormon Church) for a man with the power to write the justification for torture. I misunderstood the importance of a religious education or a mid-life conversion ( G W Bush) for those looking for the power to implement a policy of ideological indoctrination for all government employees at every level, and to turn us into into a nation with a torture program. It's hard to imagine that a religious education relieves a man of scruples and the capacity to know right from wrong. Or that a conversion mid-life isn't accompanied by a strong commitment to doing the work of Jesus, which is all about love, acceptance and forgiveness.

A boy from Oakland would go to a school like BYU for a couple of reasons: Either he didn't get offered scholarship money anywhere else, or he's a true believer. It's about as well known for it's law school as Regent University, Pat Robertson's law school. And we all know how well Monica Goodling (the best known graduate of Regent) did in her short legal career. It's okay, I guess, so long as you have no real curiosity and no serious ambition. That is unless you hitch your wagon to an administration looking for those who are not terribly well educated but have a fundamentalist background and a lack of ethics. This was a hallmark of the Bush Administration. From top to bottom, they are the most vociferous proponents of "Christian Values" ( wanting to find a way to force their version of them on all of us) yet the least ethical public servants of any I've seen in my long life. They happily trample the rule of law and seem without any discernible ethics or conscience.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Impeach and Charge Judge Jay Bybee

Judge Jay Bybee of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals (he is also a completely amoral Mormon) was the author of the Torture Memos.

There is a growing call to Impeach Judge Bybee. It's about damn time. Then charge and convict him. Then do all the little things he dreamed up in his fevered and tiny brain to drive prisoners insane, brain dead, broken--do all these things to him. Do them all once at least and supervised by trained professionals from Gitmo with a doctor present to make sure, if he's really unable to breathe, he gets a tracheotomy. Oh yeah, give him the full panoply of tortures of which he seemed so fond. Then ask him if he's been tortured. And then ask him if this treatment of prisoners should be legal.

This is the the very ordinary face of evil
. This clean cut, well educated, Mormon asshole wrote the torture memos and then was rewarded for it with a seat on the bench of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. I'm surprised he didn't get a Medal of Honor too.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Where The Hell Did This Fat Come From?

I eat two meals a day and I'm not a snacker unless it's after midnight and I can't get the chocolate out of my mind. But even then I only let myself have two squares of the Special Dark, or the Breyer's all natural chocolate ice cream. I like an ice cream cone once in awhile, but not every night. I eat brunch which usually consists of cantaloupe and toast or whole grain unsweetened Cheerios and frozen blue berries with 2% organic milk. I might have a banana sometime in the afternoon, or I might have nothing. And then a modest meal around eight or nine. I do drink a lot of very milky espresso with a tablespoon of sugar. Two big mugs full. I drink very good tea that I order from Special Teas and I either drink it sweet and iced or milky and hot. I'm trying to force myself to drink more water, but I watched Frontline last night and now I'm afraid of tap water and any water that's in plastic is full of PCBs. Where was the plastic made and how toxic is it? And how much more money can I spend on water for Christ's sake? So I take it straight from the tap. I guess I could make it more palatable if I squeezed some lemon in it, but I can't afford lemons. I'm complaining about water to avoid something. I'm avoiding the fat. Can you tell? Still, you should be very nervous about your water supply.

This long and harsh Winter and long slow wet Spring have kept me inside. I have turned into the Venus of Willendorf over night, or so it seems to me. There have been weeks I haven't bothered to look in a mirror because it's just too painful. So my eyes slide past without ever focusing on the blur that is my rather large moving form. I was outside yesterday cleaning the gazebo and had my camera with me. Walking to the tool shed I looked down to take the two steps down from the porch to the deck and saw my Wellingtons, and then my shadow. I turned and twisted trying to get the light just right to slim the figure in shadow and could never quite find the woman I once knew.

Rachel Maddow Tweeted This To Me (okay and some others...)

Rachel Maddow and I are now tweeting at my place. I just woke up at noonish, got my coffee, took the dogs outside, fed them, and then checked twitter. I may have died and gone to heaven. My first visible tweet of the day is Ms Maddow's and it's amazing. Check this out. I know you've seen Jonathan Mann on The Daily Show or Colbert, and various news shows, but now he's hit his stride and todays song is...?

After linking to the song, she links us to the lyrics. Ms Maddow knows how to get the facts straight and even when you're crying about the lyrics, you're amazed at the talent of the singer and then horrified at what the Bush Administration gave us, and how very much Crazy Unka Dick loves, loves, loves justifying his torture program and how very very very effective it was. Keep talking Unka Dick. Maybe you'll get tortured someday. Well, I can dream, can't I?

Megan McCain's Terrible Twitter Tantrum

Yes, I know, it's hard to believe, but Megan is a chip off the old block. She swears, she blusters, she puffs up with her own delusions of relevance and gets her rage on in tweets. Andrew Malcome (my favorite LA times blogger and big time twitteratti) tells the tawdry details in yesterdays news. That's how I like this kind of news. Stale. And with a link about Megan not only going apeshit but prevaricating while doing it. See what I mean? She's a real chip off the old block.

For the actual transcript of the terrible twitter tantrum follow this trail to The Wonkette. For Andrew Malcome's blog and more of the little details see the excerpt below or check out my side bar. I have my morning coffee with Andrew.

Using her Twitter account, which limits users to 140-character messages, McCain produced a lengthy series of angry Tweets -- some using the #$%&!* word.

They detailed her numerous life activities starting with volunteer tutoring at 16 and helping receive flowers at a hospital desk and internships and moving up through writing a children's book and founding "my multi-award-winning website, which is officially the first blog in history to document a presidential campaign." (Her father's, of course.)

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Because Andrew Gives Great News

The last thing any fun-loving politics blog would ever do would be to cheapen itself on a slow weekday by publishing a couple of color photographs of some hunky guy who works out every day and happens to be president of the United States, just to prompt thousands of readers -- all right, lookers -- to click on its pages.

Yeah, Andrew and my blog wouldn't stoop to stealing from your blog to link back to your blog so we can all drool about our very hot, hot, hot president, shirtless and ripped, oh yeah. I'm drooling on my keyboard.

Please Take Action Now!

Dear MoveOn member,
On Thursday, President Obama released memos that describe, in horrific detail, the torture techniques authorized by the Bush administration. The memos make clear that top Bush officials didn't just condone torture—they encouraged it.

So far there's been no accountability for the architects of Bush's torture program—the top officials who justified keeping detainees awake for 11 days straight, waterboarding them repeatedly, and forcing prisoners into coffin-like boxes with insects.1

We need real consequences for those responsible—it's the only way to keep this from happening again. Attorney General Holder can open an investigation into the torture program—but he most likely won't unless people everywhere speak up and demand it.

Can you sign our petition to Attorney General Eric Holder asking him to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate the torture program? If we can reach 200,000 signatures, we'll deliver the petition to Holder by the end of the week. Clicking here will sign your name:

The petition says: "No one is above the law. It's time to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate and prosecute the architects of the Bush-era torture program."

Calls for action, from the United Nations, the ACLU, Amnesty International,2 Senators Leahy and Feingold, and others, are gathering steam. The New York Times made the case for accountability in an editorial:3

"...[Obama] has an obligation to pursue what is clear evidence of a government policy sanctioning the torture and abuse of prisoners—in violation of international law and the Constitution.

This isn't about retribution or politics. It's about accountability. If hundreds of thousands of us speak up, we can make sure Holder hears this loud and clear.

Thanks for all you do.

–Nita, Kat, Peter, Ilyse, and the rest of the team

P.S. You can see all the Bush administration memos here.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Someone is Reading Me in Costa Rica

It must be Tom. Last time I talked to him, he was calling me from an Airport somewhere like Dallas or Miami sitting on the plane to Costa Rica. It was only the flight attendant's last announcement that got him to hang up. Oh the miracle of the Cell Phone! I may yet go to my grave never having owned one. I will be the last hold out. I do not want to be always available, always accessible, always on call. For awhile, when I was still hot as a talent, my agent insisted I needed either a cell phone or a pager. I opted for the pager.

When Tom last called he said he was going to Costa Rica for a month. That was at least six months ago or more. But with the birthday season approaching; if he's alive, he'll call. For two months, I'm older than he is. He seems to like that two month period when he is a younger old man. I hope the reason he's stayed so long in Costa Rica this time is Love with a capital L. Tom is a man who seems to need a woman in his life. It would be a shame if he chose to spend his time traipsing through the lives of the wives and lovers of his past. It's nice he still seems fond of us, but it would be better for him to actually live with a woman who loves him. I like to see him with another woman, one he really loves, one he can risk introducing to the rest of us.

My childhood seems to have made me immune to reciprocal romantic love. I might be in love, but I could never afford to weather the bad times and make it work. I ran at the slightest provocation. I left every man I ever loved.

But I Feel So Bla...

I worked myself into a frenzy, sweating enough to strip down to the wife-beater T shirt, yoga pants and Wellington's. I worked hard outside and in. I drank water as I worked. Now I ache in every bone and muscle. And though it's gorgeous outside I'm filled with lassitude. Is it me or is it bipolar disorder? It would be awful to slip into depression now, just when it's safe to go outside again. I'm just short of wanting to slip into a cottony sleep. And it just might be that the last three months of feeling sickish, are really the usual first symptoms of a mood swing. So many times after a long period of feeling good, I started feeling like I had a strength sucking virus. Tests would be done, even going so far as to an endocrinologist for a work up. And after months of tracking down the culprit, the final verdict would be depression. This is not the right season for depression. I don't want depression. I will not be depressed. But it creeps in on tiny cottony feet and saps your strength. It confuses you and makes you drift off course. I start one project and then notice another and am finally convinced before I do this big a job I will have to have a nap. But I yearn to be outside....

Saturday, April 18, 2009

The Rat, The Cat, and the Dog

This is one of the many things I love about Santa Barbara. There are people and sights like this all along State Street. Not only are they allowed to entertain everyone on State Street as street entertainers, they are actually beloved members of the community even if they hail from Colorado.

Thanks YDG

Friday, April 17, 2009

Eizzy K Gave Me An Award For My Poetry!

What makes this especially important to me is that Eizzy K is a poet and a reader of my poetry. I write poetry so seldom that I have neglected the site. I don't know when I got this award exactly, but I'm really thrilled that it comes from a young poet to an old woman who hardly considers herself a poet. And Eizzy K, called me "Savage Queen" which makes me cry with this welcome elevation to royalty. It's one thing to write the occasional poem, but some of the poets in the blogosphere write a poem a day. That amazes me, since I only write poetry when a poem presents itself to me and gives me no choice. It's like having a vision or a little stroke or a mild seizure. So thank you Eizzy K.

One of the things I love about this award is the muscularity of it. It has an industrial, workman-like aspect that appeals to me esthetically and politically--it reminds me of my fondness for the labor movement. I love the wage earning working men and women of this world.

Now I have to think of ten things you don't yet know about me.

1. I fantasized a life as a labor organizer. I'm completely pro labor, and damn proud of it. I read The Jungle, by Upton Sinclaire when I was in my early teens. That was the beginning of my desire to be a labor organizer. Yet I have never been a member of a union.
2. Kindness makes me cry. I have toughened myself over a lifetime of cruelty from my family to be unmoved by the carelessly tossed off insult, but a kind and loving word brings tears I can't control.
3. I'm a socialist. I think the public utilities should be owned by the public. Water should not be sold. Nor should the oil and coal be owned by a company with a profit motive. If Alaska owns it's oil, why don't the rest of us own our oil? I'm not a fan of capitalism. Capitalism has given us a meltdown of the world's economies. What the financial services industries have done amounts to an enormous Ponzi scheme. Those responsible for the collapse should be prosecuted for gross malfeasance. I want single payer universal health care.
4. I would sell my soul to get my novel published. And yet I fear rejection so much I'm avoiding the edit on the first three chapters because then I will have no excuse for not finding another contest or opportunity to submit the manuscript. The most embarrassing thing about this procrastination is that MRMacrum has done the edit for me. All I have to do is print the copy of his editorial suggestions and get to work. I am sabotaging myself. I should be toughened to rejection--I spent my working life going to auditions. I did not get every job I auditioned for. The rejection was nothing I took personally, and yet the book is my baby.
5. I love the underdog, literally. I will take an animal no one else will, just to give it a bit of happiness and security before it dies. I'm sentimental for the person or animal who has been treated badly. I would love to be able to rescue all those needing rescue. But I can only rescue one creature at a time.
6. I care little for wealth and have never been ambitious enough to strive for money. It shows now. I worked in a industry where the pay is enormous for merely being pretty and showing up for a couple of hours of easy work and knowing how to move on a runway or pose for a photo. I was always embarrassed by this profession. Why so much money for something that is actually bad for society? I worked as little as possible.
7. I purposely avoided getting academic credentials as a way of pissing off my mother.
8. I married three men I did not love, and, if asked, would not have married the one man I always loved.
9. I do not like my fellow humans much. Oh I like a few people very much, but generally I avoid crowds. I have chosen the life of a recluse because I like being alone.
10. Poems take me like possession. Sadly that possession comes rarely.

The recipients I have chosen for this award are:
1. The Crow
2. Sarah's Dancing With The Waves of the Sea
3. Steve Emery
4. Pagan Sphinx
5. Watergate Summer
6. Alphaville
7. Naj
8. Mr E

These are the rules:
Then the instructions for the 'chosen ones' ;
1.You must brag about the award
2.You must include the name of the blogger who bestowed the award on you and link back to the blogger
3.You must choose a minimum of seven (7) blogs that you find brilliant in content or design. 4.Show their names and links and leave a comment informing them that they were prized with Honest Weblog.
5.List at least ten (10) honest things about yourself.
Then pass it on with the instructions!

Remember, I did not make the rules, I just pass them along.

Tortuous Logic

The first time it was verified for all of us that we were not who we thought we were, was when we saw those horrendous photos from Abu Ghraib snapped as if they were staged, so awful, so casual, so matter-of-factly snapped, little mementos, trophy photos to take home and brag about. And once leaked to the press, verification that we do indeed torture. Horrifying and undeniable evidence that we do torture. And we torture those who have not been charged, and who have not been found guilty of anything more than being young, male, and Iraqi living in Iraq. In the wrong place at the wrong time.

To say that we don't torture now is a good start, but to say we will not prosecute those who torture is wrong. We did prosecute the low level interrogators (thankfully) stupid enough to snap those photos. It is a fact. A precedent has been set. What we are now saying is that we will not prosecute the low level CIA or other intelligence agency's interrogators. That's a double standard and forgets that we have international treaties which require that we prosecute these crimes at all levels, even the judicial. We need to prosecute all the way to the top. Otherwise we remain a nation of torturers in the eyes of the world. Hypocrites, liars, torturers in our standing on the international stage. We need a soul cleansing bath in the bracing waters of truth and accountability.

Dick Cheney has been taunting President Obama. This does make President Obama look weak. If we are not a nation that tortures but we have an ex Vice President constantly jabbing President Obama with the taunt of weakness because he is unwilling to continue the policy of torturing prisoners of war, then President Obama's assertion that we no longer torture seems toothless and leaves the door open for future war crimes we will neither investigate nor prosecute. We need to have the soul cleansing that is the outcome of investigations and prosecutions from the top to the bottom.

Keith Olbermann Talks About The Bankers

I was ranting yesterday about the Credit Card Companies' Ads and how offensive they are to anyone who has been dunned into bankruptcy by medical expenses or other emergencies put on a card. When catastrophe strikes and you haven't the ready cash to deal with it, but you do have a credit card in you wallet you've keep up to date and payed off for years-- that's the time you load it up. And then you start getting the calls demanding that you pay your card off now! Well, all you banks that press credit cards on us through deceptive advertising that claim all it takes is a call to make arrangements for lowered payments; you are lying to us again through deceptive advertising. My voice is small and I don't reach that many people with my outrage, but Keith Olbermann does reach a huge audience. Here is one of his wonderful "Special Comments."

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Credit Card Ads Are Making Me Furious

There is an ad running now about a woman who has to leave her home and her job to take care of her mother who has Alzheimer's. She gets behind in her credit card payments and starts getting notices from her card holders. And all she has to do to straighten this problem out is pick up the phone and talk to her credit card company. Have you ever tried to call your credit card company? It is an endless loop of voice mail hell. You will never get to talk to an actual person, unless they are calling you to tell you you need to sell you first born into slavery to make your damn payment.

I know because I had to fly to Santa Barbara (ticket on a credit card) rent a car (rental on a credit card) kidnap my crazy mother and drive her back to Salt Lake so I could take care of her since she had vascular dementia and was being evicted from her apartment. Then I had to get someone to watch her while I flew back to Santa Barbara (ticket on a credit card) rent a car (rental on a credit card) empty and clean her house and her storage unit and drive back to Salt Lake with her few salvageable possessions (her incontinence had left her clothing unsalvageable).

My mother required constant watching since every time I closed my eyes she ran away. She would go to the grocery store, gather up the crap she wanted and stand in line at the checkout counter. Then if someone behind her didn't offer to pay for her crap, the store would pay for her crap rather than have her pitch a fit in from of other people. I would then have to pay for her crap with a credit card. My mother started hitchhiking to another store, and got picked up by the cops. This resulted in my getting turned in for not keeping her safe. A charge just short of elder abuse. Then I had to get all the locks on the house changed so my mother couldn't run away, turning my house into a locked fortress to protect her from herself and me from the Ombudsman. And that was my last credit card charge.

Taking care of her full time meant I was unable to work. As I started missing payments (time gets away from you when you can't ever sleep or work or take a bath because something might happen to your mother) the credit card company started an aggressive debt collection campaign. I kept trying to explain my situation, but I guess everyone's got a sob story when they are unable to pay their credit cards. It was only when they called me to dun me, to call me an irresponsible idiot, that I was able to talk to a "real" person. They were in no way helpful. They suggested I sell my ten year old Jetta to pay my credit card bill. Eventually I was forced into bankruptcy.

One of my best friends has had the same credit card for thirty years and has never missed a payment. She was one day late with a payment a couple of years ago and they hiked her interest rate from 7% to 40% without notification to her. It was not until her next bill that she noticed the enormous change in interest charges. She spent a month trying to talk to a real person about her situation. The person she finally got to talk to said, "It's right there in the small print. If you read your statement you would know that we have the legal right to do whatever we deem necessary to protect ourselves from the irresponsibility of card holders like you who think it's fine to pay late or skip payments without consequences." This practice amounts to loan sharking. Now neither of us has a card we ever use to make purchases. We each have a debit card from our credit unions. I never use mine, but if I had to fly or rent a car, I'd need a card.

Fuck you Citibank. Take this card and shove it.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Hello Quizzy Gets It Wrong

Your result for What Do Others See You As Test...

41 to 50 Points

You've scored 43 Points!

Others see you as fresh, lively, charming, amusing, practical, and always interesting, someone who's constantly in the center of attention, but sufficiently well balanced not to let it go to their head. They also see you as kind, considerate, and understanding, someone who'll always cheer them up and help them out.

Take What Do Others See You As Test
at HelloQuizzy

Now I could go back and answer all ten of those questions differently and we'd get the real way others see me. Because this is not how others see me, I can assure you. I'd get a more accurate take on who I am by taking a quiz based on my astrological sign. I will not always cheer you up. And I might wish I could help you out, but if skill or money or physical activity is involved in helping you out, you're out of luck. I am not always cheery. Ask the manager at the grocery store. He hides when he sees me coming. Ten questions to get a take on me? Sure.

Awards Season Is My Favorite Time Of The Year

I got an award! Yea! Thank you, you Attentive Aphorist!

TheMom is one very smart and generous blogger. And she's a good mom as well, just ask me. If you don't believe me ask her, her daughter, son, and TheGrandkids, they will confirm my assertion. Because I never make assertions I can't back up as absolute fact, unless it's just my opinion. But even then you'll have to prove to me I'm wrong because, well, just because.

When I became a blogger I had no idea what a blog was. It had to be explained to me several times before I got the concept. At first I only posted essays about things that pissed me off, like, lets say Barbie for instance. Man I hate that bitch. That doll is responsible for everything that's wrong with us, from anorexia to pornography, from breast implants to the plastic surgery of the pussy, or a pussy tuneup, or whatever you want to call turning a well-used pussy into something resembling the pussy of a twelve year old. Barbie is responsible for Reality TV, and the lowered IQ of the general population. On no, now I'm really wound up and could just go on an enormous rant, but that's not what we're here to do. No, we're here to thank TheMom and pass the love along. We're here to bless the ones who got us started and sent us out into the world to rant and rave as we feel we must about the things that are important to us.

The ones who got me started are a young couple who live in New York and were visiting. They insisted that the blog was just the thing I needed and the world needed another ranting, raving lunatic with a bad attitude and the hutzpah to speak her mind. Well, world, what do you think now. Now I even twitter. Take that all you smartasses who never thought I had it in me. Actually I'd have none of these outlets without the computing expertise I receive from my blogmate Sitenoise, my favorite reviewer of off beat movies. So thanks for the start, Rachel and David. And thanks for the help Phillip. Without the three of you there would be no Utah Savage. Bless you my children for getting me going. Without you I'd still be sitting here scribbling on paper.

I hereby bestow this lovely award on:
Susan at Phantsythat
Boarder Explorer
Wee Mousie's Cinema Burlesque
Non, Je Ne Regrette Rienes

There are so many others who I'd love to give this award to, but knowing how beloved they are, I'm sure this award will make it's way to them all.

The aims of this award:

As a dedication for those who love blogging and love to encourage friendships through blogging.
To seek the reasons why we all love blogging.
Put the award in one post as soon as you receive it.
Don't forget to mention the person who gives you the award.
Answer the award's question by writing the reason why you love blogging.
Tag and distribute the award to as many people as you like.
Don't forget to notify the award receivers and put their links in your post.

Tax Protesters Take This Pledge

If you are a small government fanatic and believe that you should pay no taxes, I've got a deal for you. There just might be a way for you to get what you want--a government that does not govern.

So if I have this straight, you think all government is bad government. Right? Well in that case you could do a couple of things. You could move to one of the countries that are failed states and essentially have no government, like say, Somalia. Or you could pledge to never ever receive any of the services provided by the federal or state governments.

So, no taxes, no tax supported services. Sounds fair to me. But for you this means, no roads will be open to you and your Hummer. No police or fire departments will respond to a 911 call from you since these first responders are tax supported. They would only arrive to protect your tax paying neighbors houses from the flames of yours. No schools receiving either state or federal moneys would be open to your children--but you probably home school them anyway, right? No garbage pick up, and if you get caught putting you trash in your tax paying neighbor's garbage cans, you would be jailed. No water flowing from you taps. No electricity, no gas. Yes, I know, the utilities are privately held, but subsidized by... you guessed it, taxes. And on and on it goes. If you are willing to abide by the rules, maybe you can keep your house and car, but only if you pay your property taxes. You won't be able to drive your car since road construction and maintenance is paid for by taxes. But you will have to register the car, which is a tax. In Utah, you wouldn't be able to buy food since food is taxed in this neanderthal state. Tax on food is the most regressive of all taxes--it disproportionately punishes the poor. And so it goes.

The one thing you probably approve of is also tax supported and that's the pentagon, the military, and arms dealers. But thanks to your stance on taxes we won't be paying for wars you actually support but the rest of us could do without. Oh well, a loss for you is a win for us.

You must also take the pledge to forego Social Security, Medicare, or Medicaid. I could go on and on, but it bores me to do so, since I think you won't keep you word, you'd find a way to cheat and use tax supported services in an emergency. But to make it a little simpler for you to understand where taxes come from and where they go, here is a little teaching aid.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Would I Marry Me?

Hell no, I would not marry myself. I'd be awful and have expectations. I'd be critical and impatient. I'd bitch and moan that I was not doing my share of the work. I'd criticize myself about my poor skills as a cook and housekeeper. I'd want me to be better with money, to own and know how to use a chain saw, to be able to install another outlet in the bathroom and fix the drippy faucet in the kitchen sink. I'd say things like, "It was nice you finally decided to do the laundry, but couldn't you have taken the few extra minutes to fold it and put it away?" I'd eventually divorce myself.

So what made me think about the prospect of being married to myself? It was Lisa. It's her fault.

Monday, April 13, 2009

File This Under Fabulous

I am not a fan of... I don't even know the name of the show. I don't watch any "reality" shows on general principle. I was an actor with an agent. Why would I be in favor of "reality" shows? I've been furious at fashion magazines for using "celebrities" as models. It just cuts the professionals out of the paycheck loop. And the whole "reality" thing has lowered the national I.Q. in my opinion. We seem to be a nation getting dumber by the day. But I am fortunate to be on YellowDogGranny's email update list. And today she sent me this.

It was so lovely I watched in stunned, and goose bumped wonder. Do yourself a favor and see if I'm right. Granted this comes to us from the UK, but I may have to rethink my disdain for Idol.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

The Great Teabagging Party of 2009

And then there is this segment of the Rachel Maddow Show. Ignore the brief commercial, the segment is worth the wait, believe me. And Anna Marie Cox has become my new favorite twitterer.

P.S. YellowDogGranny suggested we send Tucks to the teabagging idiots. I'm thinking that's a great idea. However these idiots and their teabagging parties obviously have no idea that teabagging is anything other than dipping a teabag in a cup of hot water. You can lead a wingnut to knowledge, but you can't make him learn.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

If There is God

If there is god
In this she shapes
A humble kindness

A small brown box reveals these gifts
One large moist spicy pumpkin loaf
Heavy like honey with generosity
An old slim book of poetry
In each word upon the page a mans longing
And new to me
A card sacred for such touching humility

These gifts sent to a woman never met
Who writes her secrets on a disappearing page
Perhaps to never know if they are understood
Light sent into a void and answered like a prayer

And yet here is proof: a loaf, a book of poetry, a card

2009 Peggy Pendleton

Blog Against Theoracy

Are You In Favor of Theocracy? Move To Utah. Utah is a Theocracy. I know of no other state that can make that claim. I could be wrong, but if I am I'm sure you'll let me know. The Mormon Church has a strangle hold on Utah. And the group of wise old white men on your left is the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. Oh yes, we have living, breathing, Apostles. Notice the pasty faces on these very clean cut, well connected men. Men rule everything in Utah. You'll like it here if feminism gets your goat. Uppity women are few and far between. And homosexuals? What homosexuals? According to a lot of Mormons, we have none. Oh yeah, Utah is the State of Denial.

Democrats live, for the most part, in Salt Lake City. Why is that? The University of Utah is a bastion of Moderation. Not liberal exactly, but moderate. In Utah, if you are a moderate, you are more than likely a Democrat.

And what do our Republican Representatives look like and how do they sound? Chris Butters is my favorite:

Come one, come all, bring your religious fundamentalist republican wingnutty selves to Utah, a state that welcomes you in all your nutty nuttiness, so long as you aren't gay.

And if I haven't convinced you yet that Utah is the place to bring your Theocratic selves check out these statistics.

If all you theocrats came to Utah, the rest of us could live in a country that might have a chance of being tolerant, inclusive, and free. Ah yes, let freedom ring for the rest of us. You theocrats can have your very own state with really strange liquor laws--heck, you could make it dry again.

Friday, April 10, 2009

"Because hate is legislated... "

This gift was sent to me by LeeAnn. It also came with a lovely large and delicious home made pumpkin bread and a card. I had never heard of Walter Benton, but I opened the book to the first entry, dated April 28, and it says this:

Because hate is legislated...written into
the primer and the testament,
shot into our blood and brain like vaccine or vitamins

Because our day is of time--and the clock-hand turns,

closes the circle upon us: and black timeless night

sucks us in like quicksand, receives us totally--

without a raincheck or a parachute, a key to heaven or the last long look

I need love more than ever now...I need your love,

I need love more than hope or money, wisdom or a drink

Because slow negative death withers the world--and only yes

can turn the tide

Because love has your face and body...and your hands are tender

and your mouth is sweet--and God has made no other eyes like yours.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Hello Quizzy Says I'm Ruth Bader Ginsberg

Your result for Which Supreme Court Justice Are You Test...

You are Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

You agreed with Ginsburg 88% of the time.

Ruth Joan Bader Ginsburg (born March 15, 1933) is an Associate Justice on the U.S. Supreme Court. She was appointed by Democratic President Bill Clinton with the support of Republican Judiciary Chairman Senator Orrin Hatch in 1993 and generally votes with the liberal wing of the court. She is the second female Justice, Sandra Day O'Connor being the first, and the first Jewish woman to serve on the Supreme Court.

Prior to her appointment to the Supreme Court, Ginsburg served as a federal judge for 13 years on the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. In practice, she spent a considerable portion of her career as an advocate for the equal citizenship status of women and men as a constitutional principle. She engaged in advocacy as a volunteer lawyer for the American Civil Liberties Union, and was a member of the ACLU's Board and one of its General Counsel in the 1970s. She served as a professor at Rutgers School of Law in Newark and Columbia Law School.

Ginsburg characterizes her performance on the court as a cautious approach to adjudication, and argued in a speech shortly before her nomination to the Supreme Court that "[m]easured motions seem to me right, in the main, for constitutional as well as common law adjudication. Doctrinal limbs too swiftly shaped, experience teaches, may prove unstable." Ginsburg has urged that the Supreme Court allow for dialogue with elected branches, while others argue that would inevitably lead to politicizing the court.

Though Ginsburg has consistently supported abortion rights and joined in the Supreme Court's opinion striking down Nebraska's partial-birth abortion law in Stenberg v. Carhart (2000), she has criticized the court's ruling in Roe v. Wade as terminating a nascent, democratic movement to liberalize abortion laws which might have built a more durable consensus in support of abortion rights. She has also been an advocate for using foreign law and norms to shape U.S. law in judicial opinions, in contrast to the textualist views of her colleagues Chief Justice John Roberts, Justice Antonin Scalia, Justice Clarence Thomas and Justice Samuel Alito. Despite their fundamental differences, Ginsburg considers Scalia her closest colleague in the Court, and they often dine and attend the opera together.

Ginsburg is part of the "liberal wing" in the current court and has a Segal-Cover score of 0.680 placing her as the most liberal (by that measure, which takes no account of judicial actions post-confirmation) of current justices, although more moderate than those of many other post-World War II justices. In a 2003 statistical analysis of Supreme Court voting patterns, Ginsburg emerged the second most liberal member of the Court (behind Justice Stevens).

Ginsburg was diagnosed with colorectal cancer in 1999 and underwent surgery followed by chemotherapy and radiation treatments. During the process, she did not miss a single day on the bench. However, during a routine health checkup in late January 2009, a CAT scan revealed a cancerous tumor in the center of her pancreas, measuring approximately one centimeter in width. On February 5, 2009, she underwent surgery related to pancreatic cancer. Pancreatic cancer has an extremely high mortality rate, but doctors are optimistic due to the fact that Ginsburg's tumor was discovered at an early stage. On February 13, 2009, Justice Ginsburg was released from a New York hospital, 8 days after the surgery. Justice Ginsburg returned to work on February 22, where she proceeded to hear oral arguments for the rest of the day. On February 24, she attended President Obama's speech before the joint session of Congress, and received a warm welcome from both President Obama and the Congressional attendees.

Take Which Supreme Court Justice Are You Test
at HelloQuizzy

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Crazy Eyes Bachmann

Michelle Bachmann provides endless entertainment for Chris, David, Ed, Keith, and Rachel. But it is Keith Olbermann who knows how to make the most of her outrageousness. Between Bachmann and Palin we should have endless fun for years to come. Republicans seem bent on making themselves mockable lately, and mock them we will. Rave on Michelle. I know this is vintage, but it's fun none the less. And I hope Keith and I hook up again in my dream life tonight so I can comfort him properly. We were rudely interrupted this morning by my bladder.

A Day of Rest

I'm taking the day off doing nothing much. I woke up from a strange dream. I had to pee and I had a headache. I peed and pondered the dream. Keith Olbermann and I were talking about a problem he had. He was distraught. I had a headache. His problem was really serious and involved a child. I wanted to go back to sleep to help, but just when I fell asleep again, Roscoe wanted in. He comes here the moment Ms. M leaves for work. Then I got a phone call from some damned insurance company trying to insinuate themselves into my relationship with Medicare. So I woke up sort of screaming. The kid who called me finally said, "Mam, may I put my supervisor on?" I screamed, "Hell no! Just leave me alone!" Headache raging on. Then the supervisor was stupid enough to call me back. God are those folks dumb.

I haven't lifted any dumbbells or really much more than a finger today. YellowDogGranny always tells me either, "Tits out, chin up!" or "Chin up, tits out!" But I know what she means. I have to be strong and carry on. Yeah yeah, I know. And yet I slump against a pile of pillows, each dog at rest on the floor on either side of my bed. I feel like Cleopatra if she'd lived a real long time and grew sick of everybody but a very select few, and then by appointment only. The fridge is stocked. I'm hydrating.

I'm also thinking about all the things I'm pissed about and haven't written about for awhile. I'm furious at the religious right for being furious that state by state our gay citizens are getting their civil rights. I have yet to hear a reasoned, intelligent response for how a gay couples marriage threatens anyone. The problem for the religious right, those beloved, values voters is their ideology wants to limit my freedoms. My freedom to do something does not force a values voter to do it too. WTF? I think I'm working up a righteous blog against theocracy.

Anyway, I'm busy thinking and hydrating and listening to dogs snore.

I Think It's Going To Rain Today

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Heal Thyself!

I'm back from the doctor's visit and running every possible errand I could fit into the pre-primetime news hours.

Here's the news from Chez Savage.

I got weighed and measured today. I've lost three pounds and haven't shrunk. It's my little Lenten Season Miracle.

I'm dehydrated. I told her that. She pressed on my forearm and said, "Yup. You are." I said, "I need to drink more water. She said, "Looks like it." We talked about the succession of symptoms I've had. She said, "There's a lot of that going around. Do you need to eat yogurt?" "No."

She poked me on the side of my ring-fingertip and we waited for the readout. I'm a bit too clotty. I need to increase my Warfarin. I bet anyone who knows me would say I'm way too warfarin' as it is, but so be it. A little Warfarin I will go. I talked about the lifestyle changes that come with Spring at my place. Since I got home I've dusted and moved the blue 8 lb. weights within eye sight of my bed. No reason I can't work on my Michelle Obama arms while watching the morning news, drinking my coffee and smoking my morning cigarettes. Oh yes, just one will not due. I need to smoke several to get my morning nicotine level up to par. And no, do not tell me to stop. Even my doctor knows better than that. The bronchitis has gone away.

I went to the bank, the post office, two grocery stores and Cahoots, the card shop by The Tower theater--Salt Lake's oldest art house movie theater. I only forgot one thing. And since I still can't remember what it was without searching for my list, which I probably left in the cart, it must not matter all that much.

I'll call Nick and tell him I'm ready to take him to lunch and a movie when he can fit me into his busy schedule. He really does have a very busy social life, unlike moi.

Off To The Doctor Again

Wish me luck, I'm off to see my doctor again. She will check me out and probably tell me I have a slow moving virus. She'll test my clotting factor and send me on my way.

My new symptom is a headache that never quite goes away. I know I'm starting to sound like a hypochondriac, but even if it's all in my head, it's real. You can't make me believe the days of diarrhea were all in my head.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Sergeant Myers Comes Home

This evening I saw the first casket of one of our servicemen arrive at Dover to be met by an Honor Gaurd. I can't stop crying. I have waited decades to see that honor bestowed on one of our fallen soldiers returning in a coffin from a war he or she was sent to fight in our name. It was so moving, so terribly sad. If it were my grandson coming back in a flag draped coffin, I'd want the world to feel my loss as if it belonged to us all.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Kindness and Generosity

If you've been following along, you might have noticed that I had painters in to repair a bit of a skylight leakage problem following the installation of new roofing on the little house. This is the interior ceiling of the little house with the small stain of a very slow drip over the winter. I know it's barely visible in this photo, but it's a faint light brown stain that starts narrow just at the bottom of the skylight and widens as it slowly makes its way down the ceiling toward the pipe that is my gas heater's chimney pipe.

The roofing company, Brady Roofing, sent the foreman of the roofing crew and a helper out to paint that one triangle of my ceiling. They did a lovely job, but I nearly killed myself getting ready for them to paint that wall. My two best and biggest bookcases are against that wall and they are both glass fronted. So to protect them I unloaded all the books and moved them into the greenhouse. Turned one bookcase's front to the wall and disassembled the other and moved it into the greenhouse. I took down art work from the wall below. It was a hard days work getting ready for them. And to make it harder I've been sick way too long, and am weakened by this illness and the emotional part of rejection of the novel has finally hit.

The surprise of this encounter with the foreman and his helper was the charm, intelligence and elegant English of the new guy. His name is Ricardo and I couldn't stop talking to him. It slowed things down and probably annoyed Omar, the foreman on the original job. What might have taken a couple of hours stretched into most of the day. I know it must baffle Omar and Brady Roofing that I won't agree to an 8 AM arrival time. I find it almost impossible to go to sleep before 2 AM, so getting up at 6 or 7 is a punishing call-time for me. If they were doing the whole ceiling I'd agree to the early time. But I knew it wouldn't take that long to do that one triangle. However, once I discovered that I had an intelligent man from Mexico working in my house, I wanted to learn something about Ricardo. He was willing to talk Mexican politics. Heaven. Hillary was in Mexico and telling us that the Mexican drug wars were our problems. This man, Ricardo, is a man who the Italians would have called "simpatico." I liked him immediately. And during the day of my asking prying questions I found out that he had been making his living as a handyman. I asked him what he specialized in and he said he could do it all--plumbing, electrical, you name it, he can do it. And based on the care he gave the painting I'm betting he can do it well. So I got his full name and phone number and planned to call him as soon as I get my property taxes paid.

Then I got a call for the charming man who owns Brady Roofing to tell me that Ricardo was offering to come back to paint the rest of the ceiling. I explained that I couldn't afford to pay him just yet. Mr. Brady said, "Ricardo wants to make you an offer you can't refuse. May I put him on the phone?" "Yes, of course."

Turns out Ricardo is willing to come back and paint at no charge to me. How is this possible? I could never let a working man come work for me and not pay him. That would be unthinkable. It goes against my sense of fairness and value for the skill and time of a working person. If you do hard work for someone else, unless they're family, you should get paid. But I'm not family. The weather has been bad here and the roofers are not working outside, so he says he has time and is ready to schedule the job. Still I put him off a couple of days. Then we schedule it.

I don't know why I thought Ricardo would only paint one triangle at a time. I thought he would be alone. I thought it wouldn't be too much to ask him to do the moving and lifting and draping. I just didn't have it in me to do that myself. I'm a ghost of my usual self. I made no effort at all.

Ricardo arrived promptly at 10 AM with another worker, a Mexican man who doesn't speak English. I was smoking and drinking my coffee and watching the morning news. And so they set about moving furniture, and taping and draping the walls, protecting the things that weren't essential to move.

And all the while I talked to Ricardo. And all the while I talked to him I schemed on how to make him part of my family. If I had a son I would want a son like this man. I feel kinship with him. I think this is part of the meaning of the word "simpatico." There is no English word that encompasses all that "simpatico" means. But kinship is part of it. We could talk about anything. I could wax lyrical about Ricardo and his lovely self, but I don't want to embarrass him. I told him I write a blog, and he just might see this. I tried to pay him. He said no. It's a really difficult ceiling to paint and in the past has required scaffolding. I argued with him, trying to explain why it was so important to me. How could I hire him to do other jobs if he wouldn't let me pay him? He still said no. When his back was turned I slipped a couple of hundred dollars in the pocket of his jacket. It wasn't a tenth enough. I was sitting at my computer when he left. He pulled the money out of his pocket and frowned at me. He handed it to me, smiled and shook my hand. I was starting to tear up when he left. This is how my ceiling looks now. More photos later.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

I Don't Know What It Means But I like It

I think it was Tengrain who introduced me to Jane. In certain light I see a bit of Jane in Ms. M.

I was listening to the radio today and heard Jane Monheit singing "Like A Star." I had to stop what I was doing to listen. It was gorgeous and "Like A Star" was what I was looking for. I found this instead. I don't know what the Spanish means, but I like it.

I Apologize

Please forgive my inattentiveness. I have been sick. In the midst of being sick, the painting on one of the soaring triangles of my ceiling was scheduled. I over did it moving books and bookcases. Then I over did it after the painting was finished, cleaning things before putting them back. I mopped floors. All of this you know, but I have neglected you. I haven't visited. I haven't left you the love notes disguised as comments that you so richly deserve. Please forgive me.

The weather has been dreadful, either snowing or raining. Yes we need the water, but just when my pear tree budded the weather turned treacherous and we've had hard freezes at night. So much for a nice crop of pears.

And I have amazing things to tell you. Oh yes, even sick life swirls around me, and offers come I can't refuse. I should be confined to my bed, but my Imac is not in my bed. So commenting will be sparse for a few more days.

And then I must tell you all about Ricardo. I'm hoping he'll be my future son in law. Oh if only your daughters would let you arrange their marriages they wouldn't marry schmucks. Ms. M says, "Would you have dated a man your mother picked out for you?" And I say, "You wouldn't ask that question if you'd known my mother. She was a crazy bitch." Ms. M smiles and cocks an eyebrow in my direction and says nothing more on the subject. This is just the beginning of a very long story.

Now I have to get my orange juice and crawl back in bed. I've heated the newest sleep mask Ms M gave me at Christmas time. This is the first time I've had sinus pain in a very long time. But I'm so glad to have the comfort of this new sleep mask. Sky lights make it impossible to get this place dark in the daytime. Light is hurting my head. Every muscle and joint aches, and I'm running a low grade fever. Thankfully the mad dashes for the crapper have ceased. But now I'm either drenched in sweat or shivering. And I hate being sick. I still owe Nick a birthday celebration.

But don't be mad at me for not visiting you. If I had a laptop I could drag into bed with me. I'd be blog hopping like mad.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Buffalo Bill's

Buffalo Bill's
who used to
ride a watersmooth-silver
and break onetwothreefourfive pigeonsjustlikethat

he was a handsome man
and what i want to know is
how do you like your blueeyed boy
Mister Death

e e cummings

I awoke this morning with the last two lines of this poem running through my mind.