Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Shopping, Cooking, Feeding

Tuesday has been spent shopping for an all organic and very tasty meal for Z. I found eggplant, tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, shaved parmigiana, and organic olive oil. I'm growing basil and oregano and it's organic, so I have the ingredients for eggplant parmigiana. The marinara sauce took longer than anything. I cooked for most of the day. Thank god I have a swamp cooler. It was hot today. I had two burners on for an hour, then the oven for 45 minutes. I wore nice clothes while I shopped and cooked. I say that because I wanted to respect the errands I was on. I wore my favorite white linen sleeveless blouse and a nice cotton skirt. I wore a bit of jewelry. I never do that. I even wore my favorite summer hat.

I made a salad of torn fresh organic leaves of romaine lettuce with a dressing of olive oil, lemon juice, and a bit of soy sauce. I fixed garlic bread using a coarse Italian bread, unsalted butter and fresh garlic, wrapped it in foil and baked it.

I found a very nice small watermelon and cut it into bite-sized pieces of cool juicy sweet fresh from the heart of the melon and then chilled it while the marinara sauce and eggplant were cooking.

I bought organic raisins and bananas. I bought raisin, nut, cinnamon bread for tomorrow's breakfast toast. I took organic cream of tomato soup, a small container of sour cream for the requisite dollop for a start on tomorrows lunch. I bought ten containers for serving sized portions. And then I bought a rum cake.

As soon as the eggplant parmigiana was out of the oven, still bubbling around the browned cheese, I packed two servings and loaded all of this nice healthy clean tasty food into my good shopping bags. I included two shallow bowls, a fork, and two napkins. When I got to Z's it was almost 5:00 PM. I just walked in, went down the stairs and into her bedroom. I told her what I had with me, and she chose to start with the watermelon. We reminisced about all the times I cooked eggplant parmigiana for her: the most recent time was when Tom and I were together, the first time was in LA when she and V owned a chic little Indian clothing store. I was the cook for all the vegetarians who worked there. It took all day to shop and cook and plan for the next days meal. I was also a private cook for a wealthy widow in Santa Barbara in my spare time. Occasionally I forget what a good cook I am.

Z ate with relish. She ate everything I served her. I sat and talked while she ate. She didn't have room for the slice of rum cake but promised me she'd eat it later tonight. When she was finished eating she said she felt like a nap. I packed up the dirty dishes, kissed her on her cheek and let myself out.

Tomorrow, Wednesday, I pick her up after her first radiation treatment.

Monday, June 29, 2009

The Elements of Work

This is the chair, this
brown one
An antique office chair from my best Santa Barbara therapist's office when she remodeled.
No, it is not ergonomic.
It's magic and far better than merely
Ergonomic space age functionally
Modern and with no leather, no wood, no
Witness to my own disintegration and like a puzzle
She put me back together again with no king's horses, no king's men. On this chair I could take flight...

Can your chair do this?

Cancelled Dinner Plans

Z just called to tell me she just wants to be alone. She's so tired. I have no doubt. What I wanted to do, and will still do if given permission, is to take food to her. I would prepare well balanced, organic, vegetarian meals for her and deliver them. I could cook a couple of days meals and deliver them every other day. But she says she has cottage cheese and an avocado. That's a snack to me, not a meal. She ate her well balanced and hearty vegetarian three square meals a day at the hospital with relish. How am I going to get her to eat? I have gone over her dietary restrictions and don't find anything in the food plan the hospital sent home with her that would be a problem for me. I make myself hungry just planning imaginary meals for her. Will she let me feed her? She's always loved my cooking or so she says, and so it seems, when she's here eating. I will have to figure this out and fast.

Z Leaves the Hospital Today

Monday AM
I'm leaving shortly to go pick up Z from the hospital. She was going to stay with a friend who lives alone in a two bedroom condo near the hospital, but her friend is fussy about noise and traffic. Z's worried that her coughing will be a problem. Her fussy friend seems to have reservations about sharing her space with someone who might need something. I have never liked this woman, so this just caps it. Now Z goes back to her house where her youngest son, his paramour and her toddler and their baby are living. Z will reside in a basement room. I worry that this will not be a terribly peaceful place for her to go through radiation and chemotherapy. The toddler will want max attention, and any attention Z gets will seem to the boy to be attention he's not getting.

Monday 1:00 PM
I'm now home from picking her up. I took her to her home and was appalled that all the cloths we pulled from her closets are now bagged and pilled up in front of the washer and dryer. Her room is tiny and is packed with things that are stored down there. There is barely room for her bed, and there were no pillows on her bed. She keeps making excuses for the kids for not getting things ready for her. I want to strangle someone.

We talk about her diet. I told her Ms M and I had discussed cooking for her and putting pre-made meals in bags or containers and freezing them. But Z wants to come to my house for dinner. That's fine with me, but I worry about her driving by herself. She insists this is no problem. I have promised myself that I will not argue with her. So, I say "fine, whatever you're comfortable with." I'll fix organic tomato soup, a grilled cheese sandwich, and salad for her. I have some poppy seed cake--it's a couple of days old, but is great heated in the microwave and topped with vanilla ice cream. I have both cantaloupe and watermelon sliced and in separate containers in the fridge. I can feed her this evening without going to the grocery store, but tomorrow I'll shop for things my vegetarian friend can eat. I am determined to fatten her up.

She starts her radiation treatments Wednesday. I begged to take her, but she wants to drive herself. I will work on her about this issue. Her blood pressure is very low. She's on Coumadin. She hates all real medications but it willing and happy to take all manor of bizarre supplements which have been prohibited by the doctor who will be overseeing her radiation therapy. I bite my tongue. I'm on Warfarin which is another name for Coumadin. I love Warfarin. Yes I bruise, but I'm not likely to end up with my mother's vascular dementia while I'm on blood thinners. Yes, I have to work on eating a healthy diet too, but since I have no problem getting enough protein, I don't have the dietary problems she has.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Fran and I In Conversation

Fran said:

I have a very close friend who has been near & dear to my heart since the first grade.
She is from a large family of 12 kids. The extended family has had a series of deaths.
She said to me, you try to pick the best Doctors, hospitals, make the right choices, but in the end, a greater power makes the choices of how things end up.
You do your best to be supportive & help make good choices. Who's to know if this would have happened even if she had rested quietly that day?

At some point, you have to give it up to whatever powers of life that are greater than us.

Your plan was probably wiser, but we don't know if the joy she got from watching that toddler full of life and toddler chaos was something she embraced.

Somehow you have to find peace with the way things are.
Even if they suck, and the pain & suffering are more than you can bear.

I hope this makes sense.
It is meant to help you heal and wrap your head around the way things are right now.

Sometimes we have to breathe deep & get through it. Kind thoughts to you.

I attended a World Beat Festival yesterday.
Celebrating worldwide cultures.....
So many cultures celebrate death, as a part of one's life.

I heard a great song that said death set the soul free. "Don't worry about me, I am free"
If you think of it in this way, passing is a kind of sweet relief from whatever pain & suffering a person was burdened with.

I say this in a very respectful way.
Trying to give you another perspective to see all this in.


June 28, 2009 11:58 AM

Blogger Utah Savage said...

Fran, thank you for that wisdom. Intellectually I know all this. I would make the choice to go, to let death take me, but I am outraged that death would take my best friend first. Why her and not me? I have lived my whole life as if death were my very best lover, I have courted death in every way. I have tried in a very active way to die, only to wake up with a headache and a sour stomach.

Z has lived her life as if life were sacred and everything that she eats and drinks is holy and sacred and meant to keep her body the temple of her soul.

I have thought my soul was killed off fifty years ago and only the rotting carcass left walking, talking, hiding out like a criminal.

My Twittascope: How Apt Is This

My Twittascope: Gemini

It's important for you to set aside your preconceived agenda because unexpected events today can quickly turn your home life upside down. If you attempt to prevent things from falling apart, you'll probably just speed up their demise. Don't try to hold on to a lifestyle that is no longer working for you. Instead, use your common sense and focus all of your attention on facilitating change. Sunday, June 28, 2009

Saturday, June 27, 2009


We may be but ephemera
floating through these waters for an instant
where death drifts common as the dragonfly
no more frightening than life my dear he says smiling
Death winks and he is a handsome lad who carries us in his arms
For just a lovely moment and then off he goes on to other business

I Am Not a Bullshit Artist, But I'm Learning to Play One In Real Life

Shortly after I left her yesterday Z began coughing up blood. Not the smattering of blood that finally got her to see a surgeon in the first place, but lots of blood. Her youngest son called an ambulance. She was admitted last night to the nearest hospital. She has pulmonary emboli. She was dehydrated, was getting very little oxygen to her brain. She sounds so much better today than she did yesterday when she was lifting the baby, and I kept saying, "Don't do that," and she kept saying, "Oh I'm fine." She asked me to get the half empty glass of water from her bedside. We sat on the porch for awhile then went inside. I had to go back out to get the half empty glass of tepid water left untouched on the porch. She never drank even a sip of water in the three hours we worked on closets. The toddler wanted to be in my path to her, blocking the attention flow from our task to him. I know that's what toddlers do. It is the natural order that a toddler would be right in the middle of everything, but he should have been with his other grandmother yesterday. It isn't his fault, any of it, but still... Z probably encouraged his young mother to bring the babies. That would be what she would want even if it isn't the best thing for her. She needs rest and being cared for. She needs a calm, quiet, clean house with someone near to wait on her. She needs a strong female hand. But the only strong female hand she'd accept to run things for her is in the Pacific Northwest about to get married and who has two daughters of her own out of school for the summer.

I have never been much of one to let bullshit go uncalled. So I am not always the easiest of people to be around when you're busy rewriting recent history. I am trying very hard to learn to shut the fuck up and just nod my head.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Emptying Closets

We sit on her back porch for a half an hour or so talking about her recent medical history, and now she admits that Ackerly and Hitchcock are probably better at what they do than the doctors in San Diego she hasn't yet met who will fill Ackerly's prescription for the radiation she was refusing to believe she needed here. She says Ackerly wasted three weeks he could have been treating her. I remember it well and start to remind her and then realize that there is no point now in going over the recent past. She was barefoot the whole time I was there. I thought she looked good, her hair freshly brushed, a bit of color in her face. But she insists she looks half dead. Truth is, in the past several years I have seen her look much worse. Grey and bone thin, hair in a tangle, knotted, skin hanging from her bones. But there is no point looking back. I am here to empty closets. We will go through all her upstairs closets so her son and his girlfriend can move in and put their stuff away. They will put their furniture in storage. She is leaving everything behind but doesn't talk much about returning, though she has said she will come back. This is good that she has stated her intention to come back.

Out of two packed closets she has a small pile of things she will take with her to San Diego, a larger pile she will store in the basement and a huge pile that goes to the Junior League. She has made a pile she believes her new granddaughter's mother can sell. I have a feeling the young woman will just take the whole gigantic pile of once nice clothes to the Junior League drop up the street and be done with it. While we did the sorting I noticed how many things were once mine or my mothers. Z has several once lovely pieces that belonged to her long dead mother. Only two of her mother's beautiful things survived the moths: A perfect little black dress and a good winter coat. We both love the little black dress, too small for me or her or her son's beloved. And so off it goes to the Junior League. The good winter coat is in very good shape and actually fits me quite well. I am now about the same age her mother was when she bought the coat. Or so I guess. It will be warm and dressy enough that if I do go out and wear the new dressy brown dress, the coat will find a warm body inside it once again. It's a long shot. But without the clothes to wear there is very little chance I'll ever venture out again, after dark, dressed for an occasion, so long as I live. Anythings possible I guess.

When I left I turned to see Z drift out to the back porch. We blew kisses to one another. And the two grandchildren, and the young woman were alone in the mess of Z's drifting life, the house undusted since her only daughter left almost a month ago. I have offered to do such things as dust, but we both know it's not high on my list of priorities in my own house, so why would it be a priority of mine for her? Well, it just is. But she has put me off and I have let her. I feel guilty that she has been so reluctant to let me do those kinds of things for her, but she has had her middle son taking care of her for at least a couple of weeks, and it's just not something he would notice or do. I wonder who dusts for him?

Z leaves alone Sunday to fly to San Diego. Nothing will ever be the same again. This is the first time I have ever thought that, though I know things change moment by moment never to be the same again ever. You can see the shape of the mass under her skin, strangling her. They will start Radiation Tuesday.

Now I am cleaning my own closet as if my life depended on it.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

June 25th, 2009 The Day of Punctuating Deaths

I set my alarm this morning. I know. Shocking! It was to me too when that sucker went off at 8:06. I hardly ever set the alarm, so when it goes off, there is no snoozing. I get that adrenaline rush that only an emergency sets off. It pretty much poisons me. But I'm out of bed like a shot.

The reason for the ungodly wake-up hour is an 11:00 dental appointment. I've been fighting a recurring toothache in my lower right back teeth. I know from past experience that it involves more than one of those giant molars and there is a bridge between those affected teeth. So all in all, losing those two teeth will leave three spaces that are my main chewing surface. Go ahead, laugh. Remember you may be young now, but you are growing older by the day. One day your teeth will fail too.

I took my shower at 9:30. Well, that was uneventful. Maybe it's a good omen. Clean and shampooed in under ten minutes! Maybe a new record for me. The moisturizing and deodorizing and hair drying takes longer than the shower. Finally I am newly dressed and clean all over. I have forty five minutes before I have to leave the house. More coffee and another couple of smokes.

My dentist's office is in my neighborhood. This is one of the reasons I go to Harold. That and the fact that he's both good looking and an accomplished musician. He, like Tom, my ex, can play anything. I have never heard him play, but know that Tom doesn't exaggerate anyone else's talent. And until my teeth started failing, I thought Harold was one hell of a dentist. But now all he wants to do is get rid of the old dying teeth and put implants in their place. I will not do my "implant rant" now, but I'm sure you can imagine how a poor old woman with no dental insurance feels about implants. I sometimes contemplate having them all pulled and getting myself a set of loverly choppers just to get it over with.

I put my hand on the doorknob of Harold's office at exactly 11:00. It's locked. I look in the almost shuttered windows and see that the place is empty. What the Fuck! This is wrong. I go to the dentist's office next door and ask them if they know where Harold went. They have his number and call his office. Marilyn, Harold's receptionist answers the phone and tells me they moved a year and a half ago. "Well, Marilyn, that doesn't explain why you didn't inform me that you'd moved! Did you send cards to patients?" She tells me the new address and I am not amused. It might as well be in Bum Fuck! She says,"It'll only take you five minutes." It actually takes fifteen. But as I'm driving there I hear on NPR that Farah Fawcett died. I always thought she was a bit to whispy and flaky, but men seemed to like her. Tom used to force me to watch Charlie's Angles. But then I saw her in Extremities and The Burning Bed, I thought she was stunningly good. I saw her documentary about her fight with cancer and it was moving. By the time I get to the dentist's new place, I've mellowed a bit thinking about Farah.

By the time I get home, it's close to 1:30. Ms M is having her latte and smoking a cigarette at my kitchen table watching the news when I walk in. I just get inside when the phone rings. My neighbor T wants to bring her dog over for a romp with Marley and to help me trim Marley's nails.

Marley is a strong and vociferous opponent to the nail trimming procedure but is no real match for the two of us. On my own she'd be a handful. She may look sweet and small, but she's one strong and squirrelly little actress screaming before a single nail is trimmed. Oh the eye rolling hysteria of it all.

The next phone call is the tree guy my neighbor recommended to finish cutting and removing the Navaho Willow the Power Company topped earlier in June. He says he's a few minutes away. I put Roscoe in the big house and grab my clippers. When I was walking T out front I noticed a few over hanging limbs that needed trimming so they didn't smack people in the face as they walked on the sidewalk in front of my place. That's how seldom I go out front and look around.

The tree removal guy seems nice and the estimate's reasonable. We walked the property looking for tree problems and he seems impressed with my forest. He knows his trees. He came here from South Carolina but grew up in St. Louis. I like his accent. We schedule for next week and shake on it. I have a copy of the estimate in my hand.

I go inside and call Z. She answers on the second ring and sounds better than she has in weeks. Then she asks me if I can come over tomorrow and help Rachel, her youngest son's mate, go through Z's closets and clear them out. This is something that I can do, but after I hang up I get a very strange and creepy feeling. It's is as if we are to clean out the deceased's closets. She wants us to decide who gets what and then cart the rest to the thrift store. I wonder if she'll live to regret this plundering of her clothing. But then this evening I remove my closet doors so I can clean it. I too will lighten my load. Take the burden off the living. Make better use of space. I know we are just place holders in this moment.

I was distressed all evening listening to the wall-to-wall coverage of Michael Jackson's death. I am appalled at the wretched excess of it all. As if there were no other news story worth covering today. It reminds me of the Anna Nicole insanity. I know Michael was a monster talent. I get it. He was talented and famous and terribly fucked up. And god help his children and all the other children he fucked-up. I know he was a talented victim and I know he victimized other children. I know I will offend some of you, but I had no doubt about the fact that MJ was a pedophile. It was a shame the prosecution was so bad. There were other cases to chose from. Picking the one they did to prosecute was a stupid mistake. I know someone is tearing his hair and screaming "Leave Michael alone!!!!"

F-22 War Planes Are Not Wanted By Military, Yet House Passes Defense Bill That Includes The F 22. Please sign yet another petition.

Dear Peggy,
Tell the Senate - If you don't stop the F-22, Obama will!

Email your Senators now and tell them to cut these wasteful warplanes so Obama doesn't have to!

The other night the House Rules Committee denied Barney Frank's amendment to strip out unnecessary F-22s from the Defense Authorization bill.1 We were really angry when we got the news, and we weren't the only ones: President Obama has announced that he might veto the entire authorization bill if the planes aren't taken out.2

But there's another chance for our leaders to do the right thing - the Senate is taking up their version of the bill right now, and if they leave the planes out, we can avoid an ugly confrontation.

Email your Senator right now and demand that they keep these wasteful warplanes out of the bill - so the President doesn't have to.


Why the added F-22's were allowed to remain in the House version of the bill is a mystery. But the weapons-builders are a powerful lobby in DC, and sometimes have influence regular citizens don't know about. Fortunately, we've got some powerful allies in our corner too: including President Obama and his Secretary of Defense who called these planes 'a big problem' for the Pentagon.3

Now the fight moves to the Senate where we've got plans to work with the president's team and the Pentagon to make sure that the Senate version of the bill does not include these unneeded planes. You can help by sending an email your Senator right now and asking him or her to get on board.

Matt Holland
Online Director
TrueMajority / USAction

Wednesday, June 24, 2009


Sitenoise was kind enough to give me the only great laugh in days, and I only read the first character's first few lines.

I was a big fan of Deadwood.

Fuuny man, funny women

“Why are men, taken on average and as a whole, funnier than women?” inquired Christopher Hitchens in “Why Women Aren’t Funny,” Vanity Fair, January 2007.

That’s a good question. And by that I mean, fuck you.
~Elissa Bassist collects a bunch of writing by women from McSweeneys.net.

I wonder if McSweeney's thinks it's funny to publish in such a small font. You decide.

For Governor Mark Sanford

One more lying, philandering, hypocritical republican scum-bag bites the dust. So who's your blue eyed boy now GOP? Who is your next best and brightest? Who can live up to your high standards?(sic)

Tuesday, June 23, 2009


There is so much I'd like to say about this incredible friend, and perhaps at some point I'll be able to do that. But now I can barely say her name. She can barely say her name. The tumor is growing, spreading rapidly, and the second look at the biopsy results are inconclusive. There seems to be a lack of clarity about what kind of cancer she has. Squamous? Small cell, non small cell? Lung cancer or not lung cancer. It is now pressing on her Superior Vena Cava. It appears to be attached to her Mediastinum.

I know nothing about the Vena Cava, nothing about the Mediastinum, but when we hang up I look them up. Now I know too much. This is not good. A rapidly growing tumor on the Mediastinum pressing on the Superior Vena Cava can't be anything but dire. And it is still a mass low in the Major Bronchi, growing. This cancer, whatever kind it is, is growing rapidly. Today the pulmonary oncologists at Huntsman meet to discuss Z's case. This is to her a farce. Why can't the best and brightest make a diagnosis and tell her her prognosis and treatment options? For some reason this tumor is mysterious. And her frailty is an issue. She has no weight to lose. No spare pounds on her spare frame. She has elegant bones, but can't lose any weight and survive. If you are proud of your slim frame and your vegetarian diet, take this story as a cautionary tale. I now carry my extra forty pounds proudly, knowing that they might give me a fighting chance in a battle with cancer and other horrors.

There was good news a couple of days ago. The PET scan did not pick-up any other cancer sites. We were jubilant. But now this just pisses her off. The ENT Radiologist was sure this cancer in her upper chest was not the primary tumor. Z's brain MRI was clean. So now it is all a mystery, and she has absolutely no faith in any of the doctors with whom she has consulted so far. Even the oncologist in Petaluma. And faith is the operative word. They so far have given her no definitive answers that offer hope without taking her down an invasive, painful, prolonged process of surgery, chemotherapy and radiation. She has seen the patients shuffling in and out of radiation. They are the walking dead. Their skin hangs from their flesh. They are the sexless, neutered near dead. She does not want to be one of them. I understand this. I would chose to forgo treatment too. But I have no children, no grandchildren. I don't have the same incentives to keep living. And I have a genetic predisposition to vascular dementia, the illness that killed my mother. I was the caregiver for my mother. I know how horrible that long march toward a total loss of self while the body chugs along is, since I spent years watching her meanness remain while all other aspects of "personality" dropped away. Savage is that end. The drooling, shitting, pissing, eating goes on as all the rest fades away day by day. So yes, I would chose to go quickly rather than the alternative of a long slow slog toward idiocy. And since I have no dutiful daughter to care for me, change my diapers, feed me like a baby, keep me safe from my own crazy wants...

Today Z's oncologist meets with a group of oncologists to consult with each other on her case. This is a sign to her that they don't know their asses from their hats. And they offer no "alternative modalities." Even the doctor in Petaluma is now on her shit list. No one tells her what she wants to hear. So today after her appointment with Dr Ackerly, she will think it over and then make her own decision. But cost is part of the problem. Let's say the cost is $50,000 and Medicare pays $40,000. That leaves someone with that $10,000 debt. She's eligible for Medicaid. If she decides to go that route they will put a lean on her house to recoup the cost of her care. All of this pisses her off. Her house is the estate she will leave her children. She says it's the most important thing she has. She will not give it to Medicaid. She will chose to die rather than know her kids will lose her house. I'm willing to bet not one of her kids gives a rats ass about her house. But she does. I hear her fear. I understand it. I know I'd feel the same fear even without children. I can do nothing for her now but listen, go where she asks, do what she asks. Her children have legal rights to her help her make decisions. I have only the right of friendship. I have known her longer than her children have, but they don't know me, so my opinion counts for nothing. I understand this too.

She just called me and she has decided on her own that it is a cyst. She is prone to cysts. She will just find a doctor who will confirm her own diagnosis and treat it like a cyst. It needs draining. I ask if she'll go to her appointment today with Dr. Ackerly at Huntsman. She says she might. She feels too weak to go. I say, "Let's call for an ambulance." She says absolutely not. They will take her to the ER and then admit her. She does not want to go to the hospital. They will get their hands on her and she will never go home alive. I know this fear. This fear of losing control over your own life. It has happened to me. I have had a major psychosis. I was kept for weeks locked up and treated with drugs that made me feel lobotomized.

Today I can do nothing but wait for news. I can do nothing more than be her friend, the one she can say anything to. I will no longer argue with her. It is her life. It is her life to live or not and the choice will be hers, and I will hope for the best and wait.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Please Sign This Petition

This is the link to Dr Howard Deans organization gathering signatures for a public option as a check on the greed and disregard of the private insurance companies. Please sign this petition and pass it on. It will not change your insurance coverage if you're happy with it. But for those who cannot get insurance or afford it or if you've been denied treatment by your insurance company, this is an option. Without it we are at the mercy of the big insurance companies.

Thank you

Sunday, June 21, 2009

A Little Cole Porter from Spain

A little Cole Porter by Spanish musicians and set to images of New York. This is the New York I remember from my last trip in the late 1990's. And it is always jazz I think of when I think of New York. There is a heart stopping moment when the twin towers of the World Trade Center come into view and then another view of the city takes their place and there is no plane or fire or smoke and ash and we were not torturers afraid of our shadows.

I am not ignoring the horror in Iran. I am listening, watching, paying attention, doing what I've been asked.

I have my own battle and it isn't with a theocracy in Iran. It's with a theocracy here at home. Not yet quite so brutal, but it has potential.

SCHOOL COMBO (LEON-SPAIN) play Night and Day (Cole Porter).Profesores de la Escuela de Musica del Ayuntamiento de Leon(Departamento de Musica Moderna)
Enrique jimenez---guitar.
Alfredo Bernal ----sax.
Roberto Gonzalez--piano.
Luis Quiñones---bass.
Fernando Santamarta-Ferchunis --drums-bateria
Category: Music

Sunday Song, So Nice

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Posted for Naj at Neo Resistance

Saturday, June 20, 2009

My translation of Mousavi's latest statement (persian text posted before)

In the name of God, the kind and the merciful

Indeed god demands you to safe keep what people entrust in you, and to rule them with justice. [this a verse of Koran]

Respectable and intelligent people of Iran,

These nights and days, a pivotal moment in our history is taking place. People ask each other: “what should we do?, which way should we go?”. It is my duty to share with you what I believe, and to learn from you, may we never forget our historical task and not give up on the duty we are given by the destiny of times and generations.

30 years ago, in this country a revolution became victorious in the name of Islam, a revolution for freedom, a revolution for reviving the dignity of men, a revolution for truth and justice. In those times, especially when our enlightened Imam [Khomeini] was alive, large amount of lives and matters were invested to legitimize this foundation and many valuable achievements were attained. An unprecedented enlightenment captured our society, and our people reached a new life where they endured the hardest of hardships with a sweet taste. What this people gained was dignity and freedom and a gift of the life of the pure ones [i.e. 12 Imams of Shiites]. I am certain that those who have seen those days will not be satisfied with anything less.

Had we as a people lost certain talents that we were unable to experience that early spirituality? I had come to say that that was not the case. It is not late yet, we are not far from that enlightened space yet. I had come to show that it was possible to live spiritually while living in a modern world. I had come to repeat Imam’s warnings about fundamentalism. I had come to say that evading the law leads to dictatorship; and to remind that paying attention to people’s dignity does not diminish the foundations of the regime, but strengthens it. I had come to say that people wish honesty and integrity from their servants, and that many of our perils have arisen from lies. I had come to say that poverty and backwardness, corruption and injustice were not our destiny. I had come to re-invite to the Islamic revolution, as it had to be, and Islamic republic as it has to be.

In this invitation, I was not charismatic [articulate], but the core message of revolution was so appealing that it surpassed my articulation and excited the young generation who had not seen those days to recreate scenes which we had not seen since the days of revolution[1979] and the sacred defense. The people’s movement chose green as its symbol. I confess that in this, I followed them. And a generation that was accused of being removed from religion, has now reached “God is Great”, “Victory’s of God and victory’s near”, “Ya hossein” in their chants to prove that when this tree fruits, they all resemble. No one taught hem these slogans, they reached them by the teachings of instinct. How unfair are those whose petty advantages make them call this a “velvet revolution” staged by foreigners! [refering to state TV and Khameneni, perhaps!]

But as you know, all of us were faced with deception and cheatings when we claimed to revitalize our nation and realize dreams that root in the hearts of young and old. And that which we had predicted will stem from evading law [dictatorship], realized soon in the worst manifestation.

The large voter turnout in recent election was the result of hard work to create hope and confidence in people, to create a deserving response to those whose broad dissatisfaction with the existing management crisis could have targeted the foundations of the regime. If this good will and trust of the poeple is not addressed via protecting their votes, or if they cannot react in a civil manner to claim their rights, the responsibility of the dangerous routs ahead will be on the shoulders of those who do not tolerate civil protests.

If the large volume of cheating and vote rigging, which has set fire to the hays of people’s anger, is expressed as the evidence of fairness, the republican nature of the state will be killed and in practice, the ideology that Islam and Republicanism are incompatible will be proven.

This outcome will make two groups happy: One, those who since the beginning of revolution stood against Imam and called the Islamic state a dictatorship of the elite who want to take people to heaven by force; and the other, those who in defending the human rights, consider religion and Islam against republicanism. Imam’s fantastic art was to neutralize these dichotomies. I had come to focus on Imam’s approach to neutralize the burgeoning magic of these. Now, by confirming the results of election, by limiting the extent of investigation in a manner that the outcome will not be changed, even though in more than 170 branches the number of cast votes was more than 100% of eligible voters of the riding, the heads of the state have accepted the responsibility of what has happened during the election.

In these conditions, we are asked to follow our complaints via the Guardian council, while this council has proven its bias, not only before and during, but also after the election. The first principle of judgment is to be impartial.

I, continue to strongly believe that the request for annulling the vote and repeating the election is a definite right that has to be considered by impartial and nationally trusted delegation. Not to dismiss the results of this investigation a priori, or to prevent people from demonstration by threatening them to bloodshed. Nor to unleash the Intelligence ministry’s plain clothes forces on people’s lives to disperse crowds by intimidation and inflammation, instead of responding to people’s legitimate questions, and then blaming the bloodshed on others.

As I am looking at the scene, I see it set for advancing a new political agenda that spreads beyond the objective of installing an unwanted government. As a companion who has seen the beauties of your green wave, I will never allow any one’s life endangered because of my actions. At the same time, I remain undeterred on my demand for annulling the election and demanding people’s rights. Despite my limited abilities, I believe that your motivation and creativity can pursue your legitimate demands in new civil manners. Be sure that I will always stand with you. What this brother of yours recommends, especially to the dear youth, in terms of finding new solutions is to not allow liars and cheater steal your flag of defense of Islamic state, and foreigners rip the treasures of the Islamic republic which are your inheritance of the blood of your decent fathers. By trust in God, and hope for the future, and leaning on the strength of social movements, claim your rights in the frameworks of the existing constitution, based on principle of non-violence.

In this, we are not confronting the Basij. Basiji is our brother. In this we are not confronting the revolutionary guard. The guard is the keeper of our revolution. We are not confronting the army, the army is the keeper of our borders. These organs are the keepers of our independence, freedom and our Islamic republic. We are confronting deception and lies, we want to reform them, a reform by return to the pure principles of revolution.

We advise the authorities, to calm down the streets. Based on article 27 of the constitution, not only provide space for peaceful protest, but also encourage such gatherings. The state TV should stop badmouthing and taking sides. Before voices turn into shouting, let them be heard in reasonable debates. Let the press criticize, and write the news as they happen. In one word, create a free space for people to express their agreements and disagreements. Let those who want, say “takbeer” and don’t consider it opposition. It is clear that in this case, there won’t be a need for security forces on the streets, and we won’t have to face pictures and hear news that break the heart of anyone who loves the country and the revolution.

Your brother and companion

Mir Hossein Mousavi


Gene said...

Thanks, Naj! I'm linking to it. Peace!

jexter said...

Powerful words. Thanks for the translation!

Anonymous said...

This makes me lose all hope. There is no list of specific reforms. No broader calls for justice, freedom, or liberty. All Mousavi calls for is a return to a past, the the age of the pure revolution. It is backward looking, not forward looking. A return to a fabled golden era. If this is Iran's leader, there are decades more of tragedy.

nunya said...

Thank you for translating, :)

Paul Steven said...


just linked through to your site from Andrew Sullivan's repost of your Mousavi translation.

Can you take a look at these two conflicting links regarding the Assembly of Experts, and whether or not they have taken a position?



Can you tell which is correct and/or provide guidance?


PENolan said...

I want to add my thanks as well. For me, your work makes the events real and human.

Naj said...

Paul, I am not sure what you mean? Hashemi is trying hard to remove Khamenei, it is in his position of power, if he gets enough votes to kick Khamenei out.

The assembly's vote's not clear yet!

Anonymous said...

The translation is wrong where it is talking about proponents of Islamic state (he is referring to mesbaah and his follower ahmadinejaad). Islamic state is different from Islamic Republic and he is saying that khomeini stood against the idea of islamic state.

thanks, overall a nice translation.

Anonymous said...


Thanks for doing this. There is another translation that tries to be as accurate as possible available here:


David said...

Thank you for translating Mr. Mousavi's speech Naj.

I was just watching CNN a little while ago. They made no mention of this speech. So, I assume they haven't gotten the word about it yet.

It is obvious that Mr. Mousavi does not wish to overthrow the IRI, but merely to return justice to the system. I think for the short term, this is a very wise approach. It has taken many years for the IRI to decline into its current totalitarian and fascist condition. Perhaps there has never really been a time during the existence of the IRI that it has not governed Iran with totalitarianism and fascism. But, regardless of Mr. Mousavi's perceptions of the past governance of the IRI, of which he was once an integral part, it will take years to either reform the system or to evolve it into something else. The alternative to gradual evolution of the system is civil war and violence leading to the complete overthrow of the regime. Well, looking at the complete overthrow of the former regime in Iraq, I would not wish that degree of chaos and death onto Iran. I hope that Khamenei can be forced to step down as Supreme Leader and someone more moderate, or perhaps a council of more moderate leaders, can replace him.

nazi said...

It's come to my realization that what the people are fighting for and what Mr Mousavi is asking for in this letter do not agree. I feel like Mr Mousavi is both opposing and praising the Islamic Republic. I think all Iranians know that these protesters have come to realize that they no longer desire an Islamic Republic, that the "dictator" they are wishing death upon is actually Khamenei, the not-so-dear Supreme Leader. This movement was coming for a long time now, Mousavi was only the spark.

Naj said...

Nazi, (people this is a persian name, pronounced like naazee)

we need a middle ground in this situation, and his offering is the BEST middle ground.

Not everyone who is fighting is AGAINST islamic republic!

The Ads Are Gone But the Rain Is Back

Maybe there's a nice liberal advertiser out there that might be selling the work of Paul Krugman or Rajiv Chandrasekaran. I'd advertise for The Nation. But then I read Rajiv at the Washington Post, I follow Krugman's blog and I follow The Nation on twitter.

The only good thing about the wildly inappropriate google ads was the extreme cognitive dissonance. They were fun to make fun of. But I know for a fact that they drove readers away. I may be a whore, but I do have standards.

Susan's right. I said my goal for this year was to publish. I've been distracted from that goal.

Today my friend Z got some very good news relatively speaking. I do not feel so fragile and peevish today. I feel rather hopeful today.

The clouds are back and it's very rainy and cold here. So I'll either read and nap or sit here calmly working on those first three chapters. I'll publish the novel here again. But I won't stop looking for a place to really publish it. I think my poetry is a bit raw and hard. I have written quite a few poems lately. The short stories languish unfinished. I think they hold the best possibility for publication in a magazine or literary journal.

My third husband was one hell of a short story writer and I think all the stories he published were in quarterlies or literary journals at one university or another. Some of my stories are regional. I should start there. There was a time I swore I'd start at the top and work my way backwards, but now I see the effort it takes to put myself out there. I think I'll try to start small and work my way up. I know there's a flaw in my thinking, but I'll keep trying to reach the goal of publication this year. Time seems to be standing still and going at a horrifying gallop.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Cognitive Dissonance

Google Ads doesn't understand me. I am a liberal. I am very liberal. I do not welcome ads for Newt's newsletter or any other crap Newt's peddling, like a film about Saint Ronnie. I hate the insurance companies and the way they've wormed their way into the medicare system. They have no role to play in Medicare except to suck money out of the system and into their pockets. They game the system and add another layer of bean counting bureaucrats on top of the one that managed quite nicely without their layer of rules and restrictions. I hate the private insurance companies and their lobbyists. Do you hear me google ads? We could work together or I could work against you. But I will not moderate my content to suit your right-wing paymasters. In fact, you're right wing content just makes me madder at what a crappy job the folks you advertise for have done running the country.

Let's take the ads for "Medicare Advantage." There is Medicare and there is the extra layer of fees and paperwork and pencil pushers known as "Medicare Advantage," some bastard child of the Insurance Industry and Medicare. We do not need a private insurance company meddling with Medicare. Medicare is the public option I'd like the rest of you to have. "Medicare Advantage" is some Frankenstein monster that the private insurance companies are trying to turn Medicare into. Not public at all. Publicly financed but disbursed to some monster corporation like United Healthcare which bankrupted me when they didn't like the diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder. Well fuck you, United Healthcare. I hope you shrivel and die.

DOMA is Dumb

Bill Clinton didn't really become Bubba to me until he signed the Defense of Marriage Act. It was such a stupid thing to do. And the only thing that threatened Bubba's marriage was Bubba's philandering.

Don't Ask Don't Tell is another bit of idiocy, but since it deals with the military and the military has always had a lot of neanderthals at the top (I guess rising through the ranks means swallowing a lot of shit on the way) and since pretense and machismo are part of that culture, Don't Ask, Don't Tell just seemed like more military silliness. But DOMA suggests that heterosexual marriage is a fragile institution that could not withstand such a serious threat as homosexual marriage. This seems to suggest that most heterosexuals would, given the choice, jump ship rather than tough it out in their shaky, fragile, boring straight marriages. Maybe Larry Craig and Larry Haggard were just the tip of the gay iceberg, and if given a legal alternative to the boring straight marriages most men were in, would bring the shaky facade crashing down around our sinful (sic) heads.

What I cannot understand is Obama's tepid support for the civil rights of the gay and lesbian community. Heterosexual marriage does not need defending from the gay and lesbian community. The only thing threatening straight marriage is the philandering and lying behavior of the two people in each of those shaky straight marriages.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

For a Great Read Call Nick

Nick came over earlier in the week and brought a bag of books from his shelves for me to read. My favorite thing is to read a good book and have a good nap every day. When I work that schedule out I feel I'm living right. Oh I could find enough urgent chores to do every day, but the world will not end if I spend the whole day reading. And with a book as good as this, I can think of nothing better to do, unless it involved writing a book this beautifully written. I just started it to calm myself this afternoon, but I'm already hooked on the gorgeous writing and the WWI setting in a village in France. In case you don't do backwards (or mirror) reading, the translated title is By A Slow River, written by Phillippe Claudel (winner of the Prix Renaudot)

There is a translator's note that says, in French the novel is called Les Ames Grises--litterally, The Gray Souls. Just my favorite kind of book. I do not look for shallow, entertaining and commercial fare when reading books. I hate, positively hate Stephen King. He may be very diverting and grab you by the throat, but I prefer subtlety and depth to entertainment. Yes, dear, I know I'm a snob.

Grief Turns to Rage

I visited my friend Z yesterday. Her middle son is the only family member staying with her now. He believes that the mind is all it takes to heal the body. If she had her mind in the "right space" or some shit like that, she could heal herself. I want to scream when she tells me this, but wait to see what else she says. She says she plans to get the PET scan today and then plan from there. So far she hates every oncologist at the Huntsman Institute. Why? Because they tell her this cancer cannot be treated with radiation and diet alone. Some doctor in Peteluma has told her that it can be treated with just radiation and diet. She hasn't met the doctor in Peteluma, but she has talked to him on the phone and likes his "approach." I have choked back so much incredulity and anger that I'm about poisoned by my own rage and frustration. I know it won't help her if I argue with her, so I tell her I'm glad she's found a doctor she "believes in."

This morning two things have happened to flip my switch from mild irritation to full blown screaming, out of control rage. Marley was outside for ten minutes. When I let her in I noticed she peed on the second step down from the porch. Then she waltzes in the house and shits on the rug. I calmly clean it up and put her back outside. Then I lost my internet connection. I tried to fix it myself to no avail. I called Comcast. It took two tries to fix the problem but by the second try I was so pissed-off I was screaming. Seriously. Screaming! Now it works again, but I'm poisoned by the flood of adrenalin coursing through my system. I'll now back slowly away from the computer and call my shrink for an emergency appointment.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Marley Trains Me

I spent three nights listening to Marley scream her outrage that just because she'd been spayed and just because she has a little peeing problem, she's been banned from sleeping on my bed nestled in my old green TSE cashmere cardigan snuggled up to her bedraggled Mr Doody. Marley seems to be feeling no pain and is unwilling to let a little surgery get in the way of her having fun. I wish I had Marley's plucky attitude. The only problem for Marley is that it just keeps raining. Marley doesn't like the rain. I watch for moments of sunshine and then cheerfully lead the way outside just like I'm pack leader. But Marley knows who's really in charge of this house.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

The Great Depression

Here Marley is helping with the tree clean up. I knew then that Marley's hysterectomy was scheduled but she didn't yet. There is so much more going on besides Marley's hysterectomy. There is my best friend and her diagnosis of cancer and her commitment to "alternative modalities" that has the most impact on my feelings. I feel damn sorry for Marley. But I'm terrified that I may lose my best friend and much too soon. So I'm very sad to begin with. Even without the abyss looming I'm sad. It is my nature to be gloomy. It's either gloomy or euphoria. Happy? So fleeting it hardly registers. I have happy moments, but they happen inside the larger sadness.

Anyway, to get back to Marley and her hysterectomy on last Thursday during the day. While she was gone I was in a cleaning frenzy. Frenzied cleaning can take your mind off most everything if you do it right. But during this cleaning frenzy I not only found the pool of Marley pee in the greenhouse, but I also found the secret spot beside the garbage bag full of Navaho rugs neatly rolled and stored under the bed. You'd think I'd have smelled it. But she got between the tool box (full of prescription drugs I dispense to my weekly pill minder which I keep in the top dresser drawer to take out day by day so I never ever miss a days pills) and the roll of rugs incased in plastic bag. There she peed often enough for a small pond beneath the roll of rugs so rank when I dragged it out I cried not tears of sorrow, but the burning eyes and the tears of ammonia exposure. It dripped across the full expanse of the freshly cleaned Persian rugs and dripped on painted concrete floor on it's way to the door as I carried it outside to land on the deck in the pouring rain. One storm after another. Yes, we need the rain, but this much? I know of only one thing other than stress that can trigger an asthma attack for me and that's mold. I can smell it now when I go outside. Do you notice a theme here?

It took hours of trying to make myself flat enough to squeeze enough of my upper body under my heavy brass bed trying to reach every inch of space with a soapy rag over and over until all I could smell is Spic and Span. I worked so hard I dripped sweat, my hair soaked with sweat. I cursed the entire time. The only bright spot in this discovery of another Marley pee pool is that the roll of rugs kept the pee from continuing it's movement toward the east side of this slightly sloping floor and soaking into the Tibetan run under Cyrus' beds . Nothing's square in this place. And since I haven't been willing to find another little disaster I have refused to actually look inside the bag afraid I'll find that the rugs are ruined. But know this, it doesn't take much to make me cry right now, and my hair-trigger is cocked and has blown many times these past few days. Friends arriving unexpectedly have sent me over the edge into a shocking rage. I hope they will forgive me, but I haven't got what it takes to call and tell them I'm sorry about only one of the three things that pissed me off. Partly because I really was mad about several things that they'd walked into like a dare, like a bad move in a bad movie.

Marley came home and I still didn't have a clean house. As it turned out, it was just as well. Marley was in a little kennel with toweling for bedding, and Marley needed to be kept in her little kennel since she's recovering from major surgery. For almost 20 hours Marley hadn't eaten or drunk water. So I wasn't worried about her having to go potty. She came home with two prescriptions to take if she showed signs of pain or agitation. She came home with the plastic collar to use if she obsessively licked her sutured belly. I hoped not to have to use it since it looks like a kind of torture devise to me.

When she fully wakes from the anesthesia she whines pitifully. I give her tiny bits of soft food on my finger which she gobbles. I leave her kennel door open and she takes a couple of wobbly steps out on the floor and squats to pee. Okay, I give her a pass on that one. She is whiney and seems altogether out of sort. I know that feeling. I too had a hysterectomy long ago and it was the anesthesia that was the worst for me. I give her one of her pain pills, the Rimadyl and one of the anxiety pills to keep her from being over active and chewing at her stitches. She goes back into the kennel and curls up to sleep again. Then about an hour later she is awake and whining horribly. She scratching at the bedding in her kennel and a horrible stink is issuing from it's dark interior. I carry her in her kennel into the bathroom, since my nose tells me she's pooped in her bed. As it turns out her bum is leaking baby diarrhea, the color of mashed and runny yam and very foul smelling. There are only a few little smudges of it on her bedding, but her butt and tail are coated. I wash her off, change her bedding, give her on of the pills the Vet sent home with her to calm her if she's agitated. And she's agitated. I put her back into her kennel carry her back to the space by my bed so I can watch her. But now she wakes every couple of hours to whine. I take her out to pee and poop, but she doesn't like the rain. So she stands on the porch. When we come back in she pees on the persian rug before going back into her kennel. I am dancing on the fragile edge of my bipolar balance beam. I have missed two of my doses of the drugs that keep me sane and the drugs that keep my heart beating normally and the high blood pressure medication. I'm off my rocker and have no reserves.

And in the midst of all of this my three back lower right molars have abscessed. I am in agony but I was able to reach my dentist on his emergency number. I'm now taking antibiotics and Lortab. So far no improvement, but we're not dead yet. Nick called and I thought it might be Z so I answered the phone. The minute I heard his voice and started talking, I started sobbing. He's bringing books this afternoon. I'm going to try and read out this rough patch.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Torture and the American Civil Liberties Union

Restore the Rule of Law

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Why does accountability matter?
What can I do to demand it?
See the evidence of torture

We are finally beginning to learn the full scope of the Bush administration's torture program. Government documents show that hundreds of prisoners were tortured in the custody of the CIA and Department of Defense, some of them killed in the course of interrogations. Justice Department memos show that the torture policies were devised and developed at the highest levels of the Bush administration.

The ACLU is committed to restoring the rule of law. We will fight for the disclosure of the torture files that are still secret. We will advocate for the victims of the Bush administration's unlawful policies. We will press Congress to appoint a select committee that can investigate the roots of the torture program and recommend legislative changes to ensure that the abuses of the last eight years are not repeated. And we will advocate for the appointment of an independent prosecutor to examine issues of criminal responsibility.

We can't sweep the abuses of the last eight years under the rug. Accountability for torture is a legal, political, and moral imperative.

Torture Photo Release Decision Should Be Left To Courts, Says ACLU >>


Submit evidence of torture to the Department of Justice >>
Tools to help you fight for accountability for torture >>

torture foia Freedom of Information Act litigation that has yielded over 100,000 pages of government documents concerning the treatment of prisoners in U.S. custody overseas. Documents obtained by the ACLU include the infamous "torture memos" which provided the legal justification for the CIA's torture program. MORE >>
Ali v. Rumsfeld et al A civil lawsuit seeking damages on behalf of nine men who were tortured in U.S. custody in Iraq and Afghanistan. MORE >>
Mohammed et al. v. Jeppesen A civil lawsuit that seeks to hold Boeing subsidiary Jeppesen DataPlan Inc. liable for its knowing participation in the "extraordinary rendition" of five men. MORE >>

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