Friday, December 31, 2010

Things Have Changed

I'll tell you all about it later, but for now, Happy New Year, drive carefully, and don't drive drunk!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Turns Out George Orwell and Aldous Huxley Were Both Right

I'm a news junky. And I ran across four pieces of news that grabbed me by the throat and haven't let go.  I'm going to post links to them and hope a few of you will read, or watch, and feel like commenting.  I know I've lost most of you with this long period of neglect, but today I'm going to try to remedy that neglect.  This might be a little overwhelming; it has been for me, but this is the crux of the problem we're all facing.  If you can't digest this all at once, come back and read it bit by horrifying bit.

The first story to catch my attention is this one: Trauma: how we've created a nation addicted to shopping, work, drugs, and sex

The second story is: America in Decline: Why Germans Think We're Insane

The third is: 2011; A Brave New Dystopia

The fourth is a video clip of Chris Hedges : Death of the Liberal Class:

Friday, December 24, 2010

Ezra Klein Gave This To Me...

...and everybody else on twitter:



Happy Holidays, darlings.
Love,
Peggy

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Thursday, December 9, 2010

This Is a Negotiation?

I have been so angry I think I nearly had the big one yesterday.  My head hurt so bad I thought it was a migraine, but the pain shifted around and the muscles at the top of my spine were like throbbing concrete. So it was not a migraine.

I had a hissy fit at the Smiths Superstore.  I made my girlfriend very uncomfortable.  Could be I'm having strokes. I blame it on the obstructionist Republican who hold us all hostage to their greed...  And a President willing to give away the revenue we'll need to keep the whole thing from collapsing because the GOPers are bluffing a bad hand.  Call it.  Don't fold! Why the top 2%?  Why not compromise with a cool $ million?  Why two years?  Why not one?  My inclination is to say, "fuck em'"but that's one of many reasons I'm not a politician.

I'm reacting badly (slight understatement) to the news that we're going to give another two years of Bush tax cuts to the top 2% because the Republicans believe nothing is more stimulative to the economy than billionaires increasing their stock portfolios and buying another villa in Tuscany.  This is not stimulative to the economy yet, seemingly,  despite every evidence to the contrary we just have to toss truth aside and eat that shit!?!.  Republicans are willing to shut down the government to get their way.  Please President Obama, let them do it!  Let's go back to the tax rates of the Clinton Years.  Then veto every single sop to billionaires that crosses your desk.  You made promises.  We expect you to keep them.  Do not negotiate with thugs and bullies.  Let's let the country actually watch them have a tantrum and try to legislate for the top 2%, for the corporatist blood suckers and bankers.  Don't we all just love the bankers these days?

Please President Obama, take a quick course is the art of the negotiation.  When the polls are with us, why do the opposite?  Bid low for billionaires and high for poor people and the middle class.  We're Democrats, remember?  We voted for change. We need jobs and they don't creat them.  So bring it.  I know you think you got a lot in return for us, but there is so much more you didn't.  You didn't get unemployment benefits for the 99ers. Bush Tax Cuts expire for everyone, we go back to Clinton tax rates when we were at our best.  I realize these are not the same economic conditions.  We've lived with unfunded tax cuts for the uber-rich and two unfunded wars.  The Defense Department is bloated.  Afghanistan is a sink hole into which we will eventually be swallowed.  It might already be too late but change course.  Please, Mr President. Turn left!

My internist says there is an empathy gene.  If someone is a plutocrat more than likely they're missing it.  There is no room for anyone else at their table. The rest of us are merely here to serve them.  They don't create jobs, they make them vanish. They get richer off your misery and loss.  You lose your house?  Goody goody for them.  More cheap real estate for them to turn into shit like derivatives and credit default swaps or other kinds of Ponzi schemes to fuck you over again and again.  First goes the job, then your house, then the car, and you'll be damn lucky to have a relative to take you in.  Otherwise you're homeless without a safety net.  Is this the country you want to live in?

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The Reading Life

The BBC predicts that most people have only read 6 of the following books. You bold the books you have read and put those you started but did not finish in italics. Then tag me and other people as usual for these things...

Samantha

1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien
3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
4 Harry Potter series - JK Rowling
5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
6 The Bible
7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
8 Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell
9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott
12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
13 Catch 22 by Joseph Heller
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare
15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien
17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulk
18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger
19 The Time Traveler’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
20 Middlemarch - George Eliot
21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell
22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald
24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoevsky
28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame
31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
33 Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis
34 Emma - Jane Austen
35 Persuasion - Jane Austen
36 The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe - CS Lewis
37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres
39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
40 Winnie the Pooh - A.A. Milne
41 Animal Farm - George Orwell
42 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown 
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving
45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery
47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
48 The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood
49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding
50 Atonement - Ian McEwan
51 Life of Pi - Yann Martel
52 Dune - Frank Herbert
53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen
55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57 A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt
64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
65 Count of Monte Cristo- Alexandre Dumas
66 On The Road - Jack Kerouac
67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
68 Bridget Jones’s Diary - Helen Fielding
69 Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdie
70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville
71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
72 Dracula - Bram Stoker
73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett
74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
75 Ulysses - James Joyce
76 The Inferno – Dante
77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
78 Germinal - Emile Zola
79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
80 Possession - AS Byatt
81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker
84 The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
87 Charlotte’s Web - E.B. White
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom 
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
90 The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton
91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
92 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery
93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
94 Watership Down - Richard Adams
95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole (I thought this book was total shit, but read it anyway).
96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas
98 Hamlet - William Shakespeare
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl
100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo

I can't seem to count this evening.  I get started and Marley does something naughty and I get distracted.  I can only say I've been a voracious reader.  But for roughly the past four years I haven't been able to read a single book.  I think cataracts might have been the problem.  I have just had one eye fixed and I'm getting ready to schedule the other. My request has been to be able to read without reading glasses.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Dear Sharon Davis

You wrote this powerful letter to the Salt Lake Tribune:

 You didn't get mad:
>when the Supreme Court stopped a legal recount and appointed a President:
>when Vice President Dick Cheney let energy companies dictate energy policy:
>when a CIA operative got outed:
>when we illegally invaded a country that posed no threat to us:
>when we spent $800 billion on said illegal war:
>when we tortured people:
>when the government illegally wiretapped Americans:
>when Bush rang up $5 trillion in debt:
>when we gave the filthy rich half a trillion dollars in tax breaks:
>when we had the worst eight years of job creation in decades:
>when 200,000 Americans died because they had no health insurance:
>when poor oversight caused Americans to lose $12 trillion in investments, retirement, and home values:


You finally got mad as hell when a black President decided that Americans deserve the right to see a doctor.
Yes, illegal wars, lies, corruption, torture, millions of job losses, stealing tax dollars to make the rich richer, and the worst economic disaster since 1929 were all OK, but helping fellow Americans to stay healthy ...oh hell no!


Thank you Sharon Davis

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Left Eye Is Done

Honey I'm home.  The anesthesiologist was so stingy with the versed, so no buzzy nap for me.  But I love the new glasses.  I'll schedule the second eye in a week or two.  So, how do I look?  Remember, I'd had a shower cap on at the hospital and I haven't combed my hair since they took it off.  But check out these glasses.  I think they're a keeper.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Sight

I'm getting ready for cataract surgery Tuesday. This photo of me is how I see the world now.  Everything is muted, pale, slightly blurry even with my glasses on.  My cataracts have gotten so bad I can no longer read normal sized print.  I can no longer drive at sunset or at night.  Glare makes me blind.  I can no longer walk in the late afternoon because at some point I'll have to walk west and the glare of sun hitting my eyes will blind me.  I wear glasses that turn darker as the light gets brighter and corrects the maximum for cataracts, but I haven't been able to read a book in two or three years.  I used to read at least one book a day, at most, three or four.  Now I just can't see well enough to read at all. Things have lost their color, their vividness.  The world is a paler place for me. 

It's time for me to put my house in order and start spending less time watching news.  This winter I will read more and work on my own writing.  I will keep order in my own tiny house and worry less about the House of Representatives.  We lost the house; I just assume we'll get nothing done until after the 2012 presidential election.  I have lost so many things in the tiny black hole that seems to exist somewhere inside my lovely little cottage.  I have to empty one space after another until I've organized things so that I can put my hands on everything I need at any given moment.  I need to bring my life back into focus. If I can accomplish these things I'll probably be happier, less angry, less anxious.  So, I'm making these resolutions on the brink of regaining sight.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

These Are a Few of My Favorite Writers

I've been asked by one of my favorite women, the writer, Kathleen Maher, to list my fifteen or twenty five favorite writers.  That's a hard one for me, since I've been reading gluttonously for a very long time and I tend to have categories of writers I love, so though all the writers I love in a single category might not be my favorites, I'm not able to discard them as "lesser writers."  There are writers I love who are long out of print, so will seem very obscure.  There are writers I love who are loathed by others for the brutality of their honesty, which isn't always pretty, but I prefer emotional truth to pretty or popular, though popular isn't necessarily a disqualifier.  I also have favorite writers who didn't write novels.  But that's another post.

For some reason the first writer to pop into my head is one of the Russians, and one of those who changed the course of the novel:  Dostoyevsky is my favorite of the Russians, and my favorite of his books are Crime and Punishment, The Idiot. The rest of his body of work position him as the leading edge of a group of writers to follow.  They aren't an easy read, but they're worth it.  Many of you would no doubt argue with me concerning my linking Dostoyevsky to this particular group of writers: James Joyce, Samuel Beckett, Albert Camus, Louis-Ferdinand Celine, Violette LeDuc, Andre Gide... I could go on and on with this list.  And to make matters worse I'm not sure I can tell you exactly why I see this grouping of writers related. I've left out a lot of writers in this group and some of them are poets.

Gabriel Garcia Marquez led me to Mikhail Bulgakov, then Isabelle Allende.  Can you see how this goes?  Is it starting to make sense to you?  I could give the groups a name but they have a beginning much earlier and they have influenced so many others.  And I leave out so many other clues as to the logic of my groupings.  Or if not the logic, the emotion.

I love Proust's Remembrance of Things Past (as it was translated when I read it in the 70s) and Vikram Seth's A Suitable Boy for the same reasons, though they wrote in different eras and come from very different cultures and religious traditions.  I also love Gustave Flaubert for one book: Madame Bovery, perhaps the perfect novel and ground breaking in its sensitive and brutally honest examination of a woman of spirit and beauty caught in the narrow grip of her bad marriage and the constraints of her time. This is one of many books I've read over and over.  The writing is perfection.

I loved Thomas Hardy. And its hard to mention Hardy without including the Bronte sisters. Great reading for a broody adolescent girl.

I love Colette much more than Anais Nin.   I loved Henry Miller.  I think I read everything he ever wrote and found him perhaps the greatest of his generation.  He was a marvelous painter as well.  I have a small set of numbered prints.

I  have a love/hate relationship with Vladimir Nabokov.  If you've read my memoir/fiction you will understand.  I believe Lolita is "The Great American Novel,"  and the only really great book he wrote. but that's all it takes to make a writer a great writer.  I'm sure there are those who would argue with that...

I've read all the great Southern Writers and love them all, but these are some of the women who all seem to have something in common and part of it is their emotional honesty, their sense of history, their beautiful use of language, the ground breaking nature of their work: Carson McCullers (mostly for Ballad of the Sad Cafe), Eudora Welty, Harper Lee, who only wrote one novel, but what a novel, she, the childhood friend of Truman Capote... There are so many more.

So far I think we're up to 20 or so.  It's a start.

That brings my list up to the 1950s. And though it seems I might be something of a modern classicist, I assure you I'm not.  But I read very little that isn't considered literature.  My only literary vice is the occasional fondness for the good detective novel.  But even there, I have my standards.  So before you recommend Stephen King, he represents everything I hate about the horror genre. I'm not a fan of Romance, or SciFi, either, though I have read a good sampling.  I did like Ray Bradbury when I was a kid.  I also liked Somerset Maugham when I was a kid.  I read whatever was around.



I've barely scratched the surface and barely made it in to the middle of the last century.  So, to be continued...

Friday, October 22, 2010

Oh Bummer!

Yesterday I got the news about my gas heater out here in the little house. It's died and can't be resuscitated.

It doesn't take much to heat this room, and since the beginning I've had more heater than  I needed.  First it was an Army camp stove.  I got up early, stoked the fire and got back in bed.  I didn't have a kitchen then so cooking was done on the flat surface of the camp stove.  I could make coffee.  I kept milk, butter, eggs in a cooler on the front steps.  I had a chopping block and cut kindling, morning and night.  I was working at Nordstrom as the manager of the Personal Shoppers.  I had to look like I was a walking ad for Nordstrom at all times.  If only they could have seen me in my down parka with my jammies tucked into well worn Wellingtons out chopping wood in the dark of early morning before I started the morning transformation from winter camper to fashion maven.  I drove to work in a '67 Chevy short bed pickup with an extra heavy transmission with no syncromesh so I had to double clutch in and out of every gear.  It was cherry.  Teen aged boys always wanted to buy it.  They were dismayed by the incongruity of me in it.  I loved that truck.

The second incarnation in heat was a bulky oblong brown metal box with a tall silver chimney that vents at the edge of the ceiling.   I'll be happy to have the silver pipe gone since it completely ruins the look of the longest wall in the house.  It is the only ugly element.  Good riddance.  And the cheap brown metal box with a grill on top and a grill in the front occupies primo real estate on that one long wall.  I'll be glad it's gone.  But the getting it out, and the place it stood repaired and repainted, is another thing.  I'll have to go shopping for concrete paint.  I'll probably have to repaint the wall and that particular triangle of ceiling.  This will begin early Monday morning and take all day. And in the end I'll have a smaller quieter wall mounted gas heater.  And my bank account will be greatly depleted.

We know where all this cleaning and painting leads, don't we?  And now I have no one to help me paint the whole place.  Bummer.  That's what happens when you offend and alienate all the men in your life.  If you're a youngish woman and you're reading this, take heed.  Men have their place in your life.  Male friends are good to keep.  Otherwise learn how to do all this shit and have the proper tools. Last time Tom was asked to paint my ceiling he turned his face on the pillow and said, "Where's your scaffolding?"  Tom was the best painter I ever knew.  I didn't think he was terribly funny though.  I hear his eldest son is a master painter as well.  Both men are musicians.

This weekend I will be moving furniture around again.  It wasn't more than a month ago I moved it all for the first time in three years.  But until the new heater is in, I'll have no idea what to do with the arrangement in the room.  For now I need to move things away from the most crowed wall. Paintings stacked in a safe corner.  My two favorite bookcases are against that wall. They are heavy and packed.  I will have to unload them to muscle them into another position.  Everything will have to be draped and protected.  I just got my computer back.

It's supposed to start raining tomorrow and turn to snow Monday.  We'll have a freezing night and I'll need to make sure the Eastern Boys get their swamp cooler winterized from the inside out.  This involves making a trip to Lowes.  Bummer.  Better get a new hammer and a few filters for the boys furnace while I'm there getting a strip of insulation for the swamp cooler.  See how easily costs multiply? 

And just to crowd time a bit more, I have to empty and store hoses, turn off outside water and bring all houseplants inside.  Today's the day for that because the weather's taking a sharp turn toward winter.  Even if I felt full of cheerful energy this would be a lot of work.  But I woke up tired.  And I can't perk up. Time to quit whining and muscle through it.

I just got the property tax bill. Shorter days, longer nights. Value down, taxes up. Has to be paid by the end of November.  Merry Xmas.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Shit Happens

I think it all began with my computer slowing down.  Then it started acting wonky in other ways.  And this seemed to coincide with my body going wonky as well.  I had gut pain.  I can't remember exactly when this all started but I imagine it began just after that horrible hospitalization for an abscess in my colon.  I don't really think the abscess was half so bad as the actual hospital stay.  I'm now hospital phobic.  Thanks Salt Lake Regional Medical Center. Your dreadful care has made me prefer death to another visit to your ER.

I lose time.  So does my computer.  I have gut pain and my computer freezes up.  This panics me so I finally schedule a colonoscopy and the prep nearly kills me.  I ruin clothes with that horrible purge.  No one warms you that you'll shit the bed, so fast comes the liquefied contents of your colon.  I strip and deposit my clothing into a hefty bag and then the trash.  Oddly enough, the photo of my colon looks like a pink and perfect babies butt.  And for a week after the colonoscopy my bowel seems paralyzed.  This worries me.  My computer seizes up.  I have to force quit every time I try to tweet.  Why is my computer mimicking my body?

Next comes an episode of violent illness that scares me into scheduling a complete physical that is happening in stages, so thorough is it.  This illness stricks in the middle of the night.  I awaken from a sound sleep at roughly 3:00 AM.  It is the shits.  Not to gross you out, but so violent is this bout of liquified shit that I ruin two more sets of newish jammies.  And as soon as I plop myself down on the toilet I strip the fouled clothing off my body and then the vomiting starts.  There is no time to find a better place to vomit since I'm still emptying my gut into the toilet, so I lean over the tub and barf.  This puking and shitting goes on for eleven hours.  For three days I can keep nothing down.  My neighbor thinks I should go to the ER.  Fat fucking chance!  No way in hell!  I'd rather die at home.

And as soon as I think those thoughts my computer dies.  Has my Imac become a modern day Hal?  I dither about what to do.  Phillip, the wonderful Sitenoise, runs some diagnostic tests and at first it seems to say that there is hope.  But still my computer doesn't work.  It seems to be saying, "I prefer not." like my favorite Melville character, Bartleby, the Scrivener.  I seem to have a too close relationship with my computer.  My own projections are infecting it.  How odd.

So, now I'm starting to feel better but my computer seems to have died in my place.  Could death been stalking me and the computer was generous enough to go in my place?  I'm about ready to believe anything.  Phillip and I have consulted over my options.  Seems I will have to take my big honking Imac to the Mac Store in the Gateway Mall.  I have been to that Mall three times since it opened and it was one man or another that force marched me into that hell hole.  I swore I'd never return.  Seems that's the only authorized Mac Store.  Motherfucker!

I procrastinate.  To be continued with less references to shit.  And I have a new wardrobe.  Happy Ending (if shopping is your idea of a happy ending).

Sunday, October 3, 2010

My Computer is broke!

Peggy seems to have worn the thing out. Damn iMac just couldn't take the beating. It needs to go to the shop, which is a major chore in itself, before final diagnosis and decisions are made: fix it or get a new one. Just so ya'll know. Could be a couple days or a couple weeks before we get her back online.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Fifty Fucking Questions!

Here's the deal with questions like this.  I think maybe ten of them are worth going into detail to answer, but my answers don't interest me much, so I don't feel like giving them in much detail.  I have answered lists of questions before and at one time or another I was grateful for the list because I was stumped for something to write about.  I'm not stumped about what to write about, I'm just not feeling well enough to write and I have chores to do.  Real work, the kind that makes you sweat and tired.  I'm starting out tired. I haven't been feeling tip top.

If you're a certain kind of person, you'll probably know just what I need to make me feel better and you'll be willing to tell me.  I won't take your advise, so save your breath.  I got a lifetime of good advise from people who supposedly loved me and it lead me away from listening to my own body, my own mind.  It lead me to ignore my intuition, to put off my pleasure to pleasure someone else.  Well, fuck that my dears.  I'm listening to myself.  And myself tells me I don't want to answer these questions.  But never let it be said I wasn't a good sport.  Just remember this about me.  I'm not that nice.

1.How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you are?  Answer:  I'd feel really fucking old.

2.Which is worse, failing or never trying?  Answer: Oh give me a break!

3.If life is so short, why do we do so many things we don’t like and like so many things we don’t do? Answer: Is this a trick question?  My life has been twice as long as I thought it would be and I've done most everything except get a book published and a movie deal for it.  I didn't have a child, but that was my choice.  I wasn't good at love, but I think I'm the kind of person who needs to live alone.  I didn't make a lot of money because I wasn't ambitious for money; I always valued time more than money.  Oh, and though I have been to Paris, I haven't lived there.  But the why and how of other people and the things they do and don't do is a mystery to me.

4.When it’s all said and done, will you have said more than you’ve done? Answer: I will have done more than I should have, and said less than I wanted.

5.What is the one thing you’d most like to change about the world?  Answer:  War?  Religion?

6.If happiness was the national currency, what kind of work would make you rich?  Answer: Riding horses, having chickens, rabbits, a sunny garden.  I don't want much.  I'd like to see my writing in print and on the big and/or little screen.  That's as big as it gets for me.

7.Are you doing what you believe in, or are you settling for what you are doing? Answer: Yes.

8.If the average human life span was 40 years, how would you live your life differently? Answer:  I probably wouldn't change a thing but the parents I had.

9.To what degree have you actually controlled the course your life has taken? Answer: To very little degree.  My life led me around by the nose.

10. Are you more worried about doing things right, or doing the right things? Answer:  I'd like to know I could do a few things right, and I don't give a shit about doing the right things.  No, I have to modify that a little.  I'd like to write a good enough query letter to find my way into print and then onto the big and/or little screen. I've written a number of things I'm damn sure would make good cinema or a good television series. Having to write the ad copy to sell my writing has brought me to a screeching halt.  Oh did you mean some altruistic thing?


11.You’re having lunch with three people you respect and admire. They all start criticizing a close friend of yours, not knowing she is your friend. The criticism is distasteful and unjustified. What do you do? Answer: I'd let them finish trashing my friend then tell them she/he is my friend.  Then I'd watch to see how they react.

12. If you could offer a newborn child only one piece of advice, what would it be? Answer:  I give advise to no one.

13.Would you break the law to save a loved one? Answer: Yes. I'd break some laws just for fun.  I'll let you figure that one out.

14.Have you ever seen insanity where you later saw creativity? Answer: I see my own insanity almost every day.  It is probably why I'm creative.

15.What’s something you know you do differently than most people? Answer:  I live in my garage.  Do you?  I didn't think so.

16.How come the things that make you happy don’t make everyone happy? Viva le differance! Answer: seems to me you answered your own question.

17.What one thing have you not done that you really want to do?   What’s holding you back? Answer: See question #10

18.Are you holding onto something you need to let go of? Answer:  I've always been able to turn my back and walk away from everything but my mother.  I was advised by two very good therapists to get away from her and never look back, but I waited to long.  Then as her only living relative, I was legally responsible for her.  Now I'm just living my life day by day.  Most of the time it's pretty good.  I even say to myself now and then, "I love my life."

19.If you had to move to a state or country besides the one you currently live in, where would you move and why? Answer:  Maybe live in France or Denmark.

20.Do you push the elevator button more than once? . Do you really believe it makes the elevator faster? Answer. Yes.  No.

21.Would you rather be a worried genius or a joyful simpleton?  Answer I'd rather be a mostly happy person of above average intelligence.

22.Why are you, you? Answer: Nature/Lack of nurture/too much abuse and stress early on/the genes for bipolar disorder/the kind of looks that made me prey when I was young and made choosing a career modeling very seductive and easy/the shame that I made my living by my looks/marrying the wrong men/loving the wrong man.

23.Have you been the kind of friend you want as a friend? Answer: I think I'm basically a pretty shitty friend.  So no, I don't think I'd want myself as a friend.  I can be entertaining and fun now and then, but I don't take crap from anyone and I call bullshit on those I love.  I hate most parties, I don't drink so bars no longer interest me, and I'd rather stay home so I you want to see me you have to come to me.  I'm unsentimental about death.  This horrifies most of my friends.  But my lack of sentimentality has led me to leave my body to the U of Utah Med School when I die and to plan to have a way out if I need it.  I have a friend who has told me he'll come here to be with me when I decided to take my life.  I know he won't and I wouldn't want him to.  No matter how many people are around the bed of the dying, we all die alone.  And when we're gone life moves on, as it should.

24.Which is worse, when a good friend moves away, or losing touch with a good friend who lives right near you? Answer: Losing touch with a good friend who lives close by.  I have one of those three houses away.  It was her choice.  I honor her decision.

25.What are you most grateful for? Answer: That I lived long enough to survive my awful parents.  Knowing that my father suffered a horrible death.  See what I mean when I say I'm not that nice?  I'm not willing to pretend.  I have no shame.

26.Would you rather lose all of your old memories, or never be able to make new ones? Answer: I'd rather keep the old memories.  It's been great material.  And I don't plan to have a bunch of new memories.  My short term memory sucks but my recall of distant events is clear and sharp.

27. Is is possible to know the truth without challenging it first? Answer: Yes. Fire burns!  Unless you're on acid.  Then anything is possible.

28. Has your greatest fear ever come true? Answer: Yes.  It was having to care for my mother when she became the same old bitch only demented and incontinent.  She got meaner with each passing day.  I became her prisoner and slave.

29.Do you remember that time 5 years ago when you were extremely upset?  Does it really matter now? Answer:  Which time?

30.What is your happiest childhood memory?  Answer:  Riding horses.     What makes it so special? Answer: My parents didn't ride.

31.At what time in your recent past have you felt most passionate and alive? Answer: When I was flirting with Darkblack.

32.If not now, then when? Answer:  Oh bother.  I'll think about that tomorrow.

33.If you haven’t achieved it yet, what do you have to lose? Answer: Everything.  Nothing.

34.Have you ever been with someone, said nothing, and walked away feeling like you just had the best conversation ever?  Answer:  Probably.  I was probably stoned, too.

35.Why do religions that support love cause so many wars?  Answer: that is the question of the ages.  I'd love to take that Pulitzer Peace Prize and then the Nobel that's sure to follow, but I haven't a clue why anyone believes in a religion, let alone why they are willing to kill in its name.

36.Is it possible to know, without a doubt, what is good and what is evil? Answer: No.  And only a simpleton like George Bush talks in those terms.  The axis of evil my ass.  Call someone part of the axis of evil and you've got nowhere to go but to war.

37.If you just won a million dollars, would you quit your job? Answer: No, I like my job since I'm my boss.  I'd give myself a raise and go to Paris. 

38.Would you rather have less work to do, or more work you actually enjoy doing?  Answer:  With that million I won, I'd contribute to improving the economy of a window washer, a gardener, a contractor and crew to remodel both houses.  And in so doing change the work I do from laborer to supervisor on my own project.

39.Do you feel like you’ve lived this day a hundred times before? Answer: No.  Everything changes even if it seems to stay the same.

40.When was the last time you marched into the dark with only the soft glow of an idea you strongly believed in?  Answer:  A month or so ago when I was forced by this economy to get a reverse mortgage.

41.If you knew that everyone you know was going to die tomorrow, who would you visit today? Answer: I'd be enjoying my last day alive as quietly as possible.

42.Would you be willing to reduce your life expectancy by 10 years to become extremely attractive or famous?  Answer: No.

43.What is the difference between being alive and truly living?  Answer:  I don't know but I'm truly alive.

44.When is it time to stop calculating risk and rewards, and just go ahead and do what you know is right?  Answer:  I have seldom calculated risk and rewards.  I've done what I felt I had to most of the time.  I wasn't always right.  I probably won't be in the future either. 

45.If we learn from our mistakes, why are we always so afraid to make a mistake? Answer: Probably because we know how costly some of our mistakes have been.  There are endless opportunities to make more mistakes in the future and no way to avoid them all.  The constant nature of change makes it a certainty there will be new experiences where the past isn't exactly a road map for the future.

46.What would you do differently if you knew nobody would judge you? Answer:  I'm finally doing what I would have done if I'd known I had any other options than the ones that presented themselves at the time.

47.When was the last time you noticed the sound of your own breathing? Answer: At my last doctor appointment when I was asked to breathe this way and then that way.  My lungs are clear.  I have huge lungs. I don't live with the constant stress and tension I did in the days when I was living with men or in my mother's presence.  So I no longer hold my breath in order to keep from feeling my real feelings.

48.What do you love? Answer: Writing, when it flows.  Dreams, when I have them.  Sleep, when it comes.  Dogs, cats, horses, the occasional person. 

49.In 5 years from now, will you remember what you did yesterday? What about the day before that? Or the day before that? Answer:  Check my answer to question #39.  The only certainty is change.  No day is ever exactly the same as another.  I might remember this day in almost every detail, but I won't remember that it was five years ago.  I will probably think it was two or three years ago.  Time flies when you get this old.

50.Decisions are being made right now. The question is: Are you making them for yourself, or are you letting others make them for you? Answer:  I do what I can to influence outcomes.  For instance, I donate what I can and I vote.  I sign petitions, I express my opinions. I write about the things that matter to me when I can write.  I do what I can but I'm not that fucking powerful.  No one person is.  I make decisions every day but they won't matter much except in small ways and mostly to my cat and dog.

Upon reading through this I find I lost interest about half way through.  So I haven't proof read these answers. 

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Stasis

I should do a little research and see if this lassitude, this almost dormancy is cyclical.  I have lost the will to write anything longer than a comment or tweet.  Has Twitter ruined me?  Perhaps.  But I was cranking out posts at a rate of two a day for much of my first year on Twitter, so I can't really put this all off on Twitter.  And truth be told, I'm even neglecting Twitter.

I don't feel well.  It's just the same old stuff. My platelet count is down again.  I'll bet my cholesterol is up again.  My colon is fine for now, but knowing me and how little water I'm naturally inclined to drink, it won't be fine for long.  The only time in my life as an adult I didn't eat healthy was during the worst of the time of caring for my heinous and demented mother.  There came a point I just didn't have the energy for cooking, so I lived on cereal and Budget Gourmet.  But those days are long past.  And I've been eating healthy for five years now.  I don't walk far enough or long enough, but I'm working on it.  There, so much for my health.

I suspect my lassitude has more to do with political fatigue and the too fast ending of long days.  I'm sensitive to short days.  I need sunlight and time.  Winter is coming and now I have work to do outside.  I've neglected the yard this year.  I haven't finished enlarging the path and patio here from the little house to the front house.  I didn't realize how much Ms M did to make the front of the house look good.  I hardly ever venture out front except to pick up mail or coming and going with Marley when we walk.  I have set water several times to find it turned off by one of the young men in the front house.  They think half an hour is plenty.  Not for trees, it isn't.  I haven't felt well enough to mow, but then when you hardly ever water, the lawn doesn't grow much.

I have cut the Iris, pulled vines out of trees, raked the pine needles, trimmed the mint.  I will cut the Vinca from the paved paths, pull the bulbs from the beds too close to the house.  I will re pot house plants getting ready to bring them inside.  But what I cannot do is write.  Not for the time being.  I will wait for the leaves to turn and fall and then I will rake.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Because of You, Christine O'Donnell...

I'd given up masturbation because of a lack of desire, but I'm now pledging to masturbate at least once a day as a protest of sorts.  Christine O'Donnell, it's all because of you!  If only you'd have claimed ice cream was the sweet sweet way to win your hoped for Senate seat, I'd be giving up ice cream instead of taking up masturbation.  Maybe the calories burned during masturbation will offset the calories consumed eating ice cream.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

I Suffer From A Lack of Passion...


It feels like battle fatigue.  I had a form of that growing up and it never quite ran away. 

I look back at that sentence and my first impulse is to fix it, but that Freudian quality is just what I'm talking about.  I thought it would be easier after I recovered from being my mother's caregiver, but the financial disaster her illness created for me is still (six years later) rippling out into the rest of my life. And it makes me feel like selling my jewels to keep the farm.  Instead I sold the farm to keep the farm.  This is the magic of the Reverse Mortgage.  Next, if I can find that top hat, I might try a rabbit trick.

The book I wrote, The Narcissist,  is about my nightmarish relationship with my strange mother.  I thought when I finished it things would change.  I now wonder if I can't write a query letter because I'm not done with the book yet.  Does it need a rewrite?  Why can't I write a synopsis?  What's the book about again?

I felt a few moments jubilation when I thought I finally figured out the device to bring the narrative into the first person present tense, to hold the story together, to give it a focus, to keep it in the moment, to give it life.  I did that last rewrite and thought I was finished.  But then the next step would have been to write a query letter and a synopsis.  I'd have had to pick a genre, and sell it like cereal.  Is it my desire to be discovered and thus forgo all the grubby work of finding an agent and getting published?  Oh fiddle de de.  Am I just a dabbler?

I did have a Scarlett O'Hara moment, thinking "I'll think about that tomorrow" the last time I pondered the Query quandary and then promptly followed my bliss into a flirtation with a man I've never met (nor ever will) which temporarily revived my libido and was cause for some slightly reckless solitary celebration and that turned into the first six chapters of a new book.

Then someone talked me into joining Facebook.  I wish I knew which one of you to blame for this time-sucking obsession but it's the reason I can't writing anything except the occasional comment.  It isn't Twitter's fault this time.  Facebook has me stalking the great news story and friending my favorite reporters.  It's Facebook's fault. 

At about the time I joined up, Fairlane (a man who used to scare me) asked me to contribute to a new blog, Black Magpie Theory.  I kind of worshipped Fairlane from afar, years ago (how sick is that to worship a man who scares you) so my ego made me say "yes" without giving much real thought to it.  (I think some version of this is what was wrong with all my relationships with men.)  And then insecurity set in.  And then the invitation became a meeting, and then the deadline became a reality.  I couldn't meet my deadlines.  Other writers (like Lisa and Tengrain) said it better, and I wasn't posting much on my blog either.  You know the rest.  I'm not writing. 

When will the dry spell end?  Your guess is as good as mine.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Orange Man Lies

I'm upset about the political gamesmanship going on, worried we might have that orange faced jackass, Boehner as the new Speaker of the House.  For god's sake people, do you expect a two year fix on a financial crisis that took eight years in the making?  Are we like toddlers who throw a tantrum when we don't get our Popsicle now, this instant?  Barack Obama is not a magician and the economy isn't a rabbit to be pulled out of a hat.  The party of No is still saying No, no matter what John Boehner claims he's now "willing to compromise" on.  And if you believe Boehner is willing to compromise on taxes, you're very very gullible.  Boehner's constituency is the top 2% of taxpayers. The Republicans represent those who can afford to pay a very high priced tax accountant to find ways to avoid any taxes at all and the big corporations who donate to their campaign coffers.  They don't give a rats ass about the middle class or small businesses.  When you hear Boehner talk about the tax breaks for the rich (set to expire soon, since they are not, nor ever were, deficit neutral) he frames it as a tax hike for "middle class businesses" and this is double speak.  Letting a tax cut for the rich that was scheduled to run out due to the fact that it was never deficit neutral and so had (by law) to expire in 10 years run out is now being called a tax increase by the GOPers.

Give lower income families jobs and a tax break and they'll spend the money on goods and services that stimulate the economy.  Give the rich a tax break and they'll save the money.  They don't need it so why spend it.  If you have the slightest doubt about this watch this clip.  It breaks down the income brackets and how they fare under Republicans versus Democrats:



Sunday, September 12, 2010

Glade

Golden dimpling light, the short green spikes of Iris dead remain
Cut to please the neighbors before the freezing rain, October comes
And in this moment’s gesture, arm outstretched, remember longing, for it’s pain
I love my life if only for this momentary fire in the brain, a flash, and that’s enough


Can’t say I ever loved myself.  I felt defective from the start.
Not good enough for anybody’s love, it was my shame.
I have been told, “You’re pretty.”  What does it mean in any way that matters?
Why not the ecstasy of adolescent longing? Why not the waiting by the phone?
I hate the whipsaw of control and need.  I’d rather die alone


A leap into the void without the faith that anything will hold
Crossing on the Michelangelo. Accompanied by a charming thief
I climbed the winding, narrowing streets of Rome.  Accosted naked in a baking
Windblown room, I ran and never loved a man who loved me too
I spent my life retreating from desire.  What makes me think that words will save me now?


A picture of a naked child, she sit and stirs the dirt, her smile just barely there, sublime.
The dog attends ears pricked and staring at the camera, he keeps them all away
The danger of the man who disappears.   I look away and find a rapture
In the glade, a patch of dirt, the dog, the memory of the man, and that's enough.
 


©2008 Peggy Pendleton

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The News Is Making Me Sick

So many things are going on simultaneously that I can't focus my outrage enough to write anything but a screaming tweet now and then.

It isn't just the batshit crazy cracker "pastor" in Gainsville, Florida with a "congregation of fifty and the scheme to burn Qurans to make some kind of statement (though no one has yet been able to quite decipher it).  I think I heard on one of the news programs that this snake oil salesman turned "pastor" has written a book of his own, so simple publicity is most likely his motivation.   But the insanity of one church burning the sacred book of another church is as irreligious as anything I've ever heard of and I'm an old atheist. No matter that General David Patreus, the favorite General of the GOP has made a plea that this act of sacrilege should not go forward, still no GOPers have stepped forward to speak out against this moron and tell him to knock it off.

It isn't just Newt Gengrich and others on the RWNJ side of the aisle who are demagoguing the Park 51 Community Center and Mosque by calling it the "Ground Zero Mosque," which is bull shit, since there are many businesses closer to "Ground Zero" (that gaping hole in the ground) some nine years after the attacks, that are far less sacred than a church and far more insulting to the whole concept of sacredness, like a strip joint and a smattering of fast food places.  The whining from the Glenn Becks and Sarah Palins of the world about how hurt we all are makes us seem like "The Land of the Emotionally Delicate, and the Home of the Xenophobic." What a bunch of ninnies!

The Brits carried on during the Blitz, which lasted a very long time and with a stiff upper lip as they fought World War II, a war far closer to home than Saudi Arabia (where our attackers came from) and the rest of the Middle East is to us.  But that Saudi Arabian reality wasn't convenient for the Bush family who have business dealings with the Saudi royal family that goes back a long time, so, we went to war with Iraq instead while pretending we were serious about chasing Osama bin Ladan in Afghanistan and bankrupted our country in the process.  There is much to say about this but it's only one of the many things pissing me off and putting me off writing.  It's also making me physically ill.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

A Crazy Mother, Death and Property Taxes: My First Economic Meltdown

There was a perfect storm of catastrophes ten years ago in my life.  I was living alone in my house, modeling, acting, and doing a bit of production work as a stylist.  My biggest client was ZCMI or Zion's Cooperative Mercantile Institute (owned by the Mormon Church) a large and successful department store that ran multiple daily ads in the two Salt Lake newspapers, the occasional ad in the big glossy fashion magazines like Vogue and Harper's Bazaar and ads on television as well as the inserts in the statements they sent out. They also provided a lot of runway work for models.  They put on some of the biggest fashion shows around and I had been for several years one of their favorites.  They accounted for 80% of my income.  I had a great agent and was doing well enough to begin investing in the stock market.  I'd been making enough money in the five years preceding 2000 to have a nice little stock portfolio.  I had five credit cards with very generous limits and very low interest rates.  I traveled (for work and for play). The Clinton years had been exceptionally good for me.  I, like many investors, was fond of tech stocks.  Then it all came crashing down.

The first catastrophic thing that happened to my happy life was the closing of ZCMI. There was no prior warning.  It happened quickly, like a beheading.  And it changed the opportunities for tens of thousands of people in so many different businesses in Salt Lake.  It was devastating for photographers and the people working with them, the TV production people who worked on those commercial shoots.  It was hard on agents and all the talent working on the shows, print ads, and TV commercials.  The people who did lights and music for shows lost major accounts.  Since I was a model in print, TV, and fashion shows as well as getting booked as a make-up artist and stylist, I was devastated.
A lot of the people who worked in the stores as buyers, department managers, sales staff, and custodial staff were in their forties and fifties, not yet old enough to retire but too old and too experienced to easily transition to other retail outlets without taking huge cuts in pay and jobs that didn't reflect their decades of work in the fashion industry. 

Then the tech bubble burst and I began to lose money in the Stock Market.  I hadn't been taking dividends out of the market but rolling them back into my investments.  At first I lost that money I'd been leaving in my accounts that could have been income.  Then I started losing capital and finally I pulled out of the Stock Market.  Work slowed to a trickle.  Bush was handed the Presidency by the Supreme Court and from that moment on my life became hell.

My mother, Maggy, went spectacularly crazy in Santa Barbara in 2000.  As her only child, I was informed she was my legal responsibility.  Part of her craziness was giving all her money to the guys running the scam called The Canadian Lottery.  The Feds and Mounties were investigating these crimes and asked for my help in finding out the name of the person Maggy was sending her money to.  I could account for only $100,000 that was taken out of her bank accounts in $25,000 chunks as cashier's checks wired to a mail drop in Canada.  But at least we had documentation that her identity had been stolen along with her life savings.  She'd started cashing checks from various secret bank accounts and hiding hundred dollar bills in books or behind photos or tucked in seemingly unrelated files in a file cabinet in her apartment in Santa Barbara. I only know this because after bringing my crazy, incontinent, mean mother to Salt Lake, I had to fly back to Santa Barbara, empty and clean her apartment and storage unit.  I had three days to do it without lights or heat or hot water in cold and rainy weather.  The utilities had been turned off before I managed to get her to Salt Lake.  I spent thousands of dollars on plane tickets between here and there, as well as car rentals and all of this was done while I hobbled on a painful freshly broken ankle and foot.  And during this time of getting her and most of her stuff from there to here, I lost thousands of dollars in bookings. My agent was frantic to get me working again.

Once I had her here, I had to be her full time caregiver because I couldn't afford to hire a skilled baby sitter to replace me,  or a nursing home.  My mother kept trying to run away, usually wearing only a skimpy sweater and not  another stitch of clothing with shit dribbling down the backs of her shriveled legs.  I changed all the locks, locked the gate, and held us both prisoner.  I had her in my care until I was bankrupt. I was so depressed and exhausted I could no longer get out of bed. I had to lock her in my room with me, since I couldn't let her out of my sight. After four years of caring for her, I was hospitalized for two and a half weeks and she went into a nursing home.

She died almost five years ago.  I'm still recovering from the financial ravages of that shit storm of misfortunes.  Taking care of my mother

Now I'm taking care of the house she left me and which I can't afford to live in.  And I'm not alone in this predicament given the current financial meltdown.

(the link is to my novella called: The End Of Life As We Know It)

Thursday, August 26, 2010

My Twitter Friend, 42bkdodgr Wrote This. It's Exactly How I Feel

Ashamed
I am ashamed by what is happening in our country.
I’m ashamed that we have a political party that has nothing to offer but fear and hate, so it creates chaos on non-issues such as “death panels” and having a “Cultural Center and Mosque near the 9/11 site”.
I’m ashamed that we have a political party that boasts it believes in the Constitution, then does everything to rip it and tear it apart; by wanting to change the First, Fourteenth, and Seventeenth amendments, because they don’t meet their ideology.
I’m ashamed that one of the purported leaders of a political party has no understanding what the First Amendment means.  A person who feels she can say whatever she wants without being criticized. A person who believes if you criticize her you are infringing on her freedom of speech, yet doesn’t understand that railing against those who criticize her, she is infringing upon their First Amendment rights.
I’m ashamed that we have a political party who thinks its more important, during our worst economic times, to block or delay everything that would improve or help the lives of the American people that the President or Democrats in Congress propose.
I’m ashamed that a political party would vote NO on practically every bill, even on ideas they previously supported, only because the president has adopted them.
I’m ashamed we have a political party where its more important to make the president look bad than do what is best for the country.
I’m ashamed that we have a news network that purports itself to be “Fair and Balanced”, then does everything to demean and spread misinformation about  our president, while openly supporting the Republican Party and Tea Baggers.
I’m ashamed at what has happened to the civility in this country during the last 18 months. We can thank Rush, the right wing media, especially the “Republican Fox New Network” for this.
I’m ashamed that the right wing likes to treat our president as “not one of us”, with their outrageous accusations that he wasn’t born in the USA and that he is a Muslim, when evidence proves they are wrong.
I can go on and on about what makes me feel ashamed or embarrassed about what is happening in our country, but one thing I do know, we are destroying our country from within and doing Al-Queda’s work.
I am ashamed, but still very hopeful, that Americans who truly believe in the principles of the Constitution and for what it stands will reject the fear and hate being spread, as they have done in the past, and move this country to a better tomorrow.
 This was first posted at: The Political Carnival

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Mercinaries: The Threat No One Is Talking About


As I was watching MSNBC’s live coverage of the withdrawal of American combat troops from Iraq Wednesday night, I kept thinking about our troops left behind. We left 50,000 non-combat troops in Iraq to provide security for our Embassy and “other” interests. 
MSNBC had some vague mention of private (for profit) contractors in their coverage last night.  Mentions of private contractors are always vague.  I want a policy-wonk journalist to go after this story, find out what they do and for whom and at what cost.  What are we paying them to do? What have they done?
We know so little about these private contractors with huge no-bid contracts for…whom? the CIA? the State Department? the Pentagon? the Defense Department of the United States Government?
We know that the State Department uses private security forces to guard diplomats and politicians traveling in foreign countries.  We know that they work for the CIA. We pay their salaries.
One of the private contractors is Xe Services LLC; that is their official name now. They used to be called Blackwater, and then Blackwater Worldwide until that name became too associated with lethal lawless cowboys, unrestrained, unregulated, uncounted, murdering civilians in Iraq. 
When Blackwater became an embarrassment for the United States, Eric Prince changed the name of his private army. But Blackwater by any another name is still a lethal and uncontrolled threat.
To me, they represent the most lethal form of cancer a body politic could have. No one in our government controls them. They are not part of the government, we do not control them but we pay for them.
Wikipedia tells us that “Blackwater USA was formed in 1990 to provide training support to military and law enforcement organizations.” The part of that simple statement that takes my breath away is the “…law enforcement organizations”.  I imagine by now they are everywhere. 
A private army embedded in our body politic is a dangerous thing.
In a time of economic difficulties where corporations are bigger than countries and authoritarianism is on the rise, a private army training 40,000 people a year to embed our law enforcement agencies (but not playing by the same rules) is insanely dangerous to the security of our country.
Fascism with a private army is a time bomb within and it’’s ticking.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Fighting Like Cats and Dogs

Bob is obviously quite relaxed with Marley.  They sleep together often.  But when they play with each other it looks like Marley is going to kill Bob.  Marley's long mouth is open wide like an Alligator and she seems to be trying to gnaw through Bob's throat.  Bob's arms are either softly embracing Marley or Bob looks dead: limp on his back, legs splayed, tail relaxed. Then Marley switches her attention to taking Bob's mouth and nose into her gnawing jaws.  She makes a moaning kind of vocalization.  Bob occasionally squawks.  I make Marley back off and Bob pounces on the obedient Doxie, doing all the same things to Marley that were done to him.

Bob will walk away like a matador, then turn with his ears back and flat, whirl and make a run at Marley. Sometimes he attacks and sometimes he just pretends to attack.  It's a very engaging play.  I wish I could film them.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Sanctify This!

Religious freedom is supposedly the reason you descendants of the English came to this continent in the first place.  It is the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.[1] 


And yet, the GOPers want to deny Muslims the right to build a Mosque in lower Manhatten.  They want to make it a campaign issue in the upcoming mid-term elections.  So we have an oportunity to talk about all religions.  As an atheist I think they're all bunk, but I would, as a citizen of this country, defend your right to believe whatever bunk you want in the name of "God" and call it religion.  I don't think any of you deserve tax exempt status just because you call the space you "worship" in a Church.  But, I don't have the power or the right to deny you a status you claim as a religious organization.  I don't want you building a Church in my neighborhood, but if you own the property and have the money to do it, you can build your Church Of The Christian Holy Mumbo Jumbo any place you want.  But you Republicans want to deny this freedom to American Muslims.  Notice that I said, "American Muslims?" How do you justify this bigotry and call yourselves Christian or American?


White people on the political right seem to have forgotten American History.  This seems to me to be a failure of our education system that so many white folks graduated from High School without learning anything about the founding of this country and the establishment of our government.  Tea Partiers need a remedial course in the Constitution.  The Second Amendment seems to be the only Amendment that makes sense to the far right, and yet they claim liberals want to destroy the Constitution.  It's a kind of mass projection to blame your opponant or competeter of that sin which you commit.  If you Christians hold any document sacred, it ought to be the document that guarantees you your religious freedom.  Just remember it also gives the same rights to anyone from any culture who has become a citizen of this country the right to worship in a Church of their choosing.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

The Well Is Empty

I feel I have nothing to say. If someone asks me a question about politics, I can answer it,  but I can't write about it anymore.  It's just as well since there are a million things that need doing in my domestic life.  The yard's too big and too much for me to handle alone.  I wish the boys would step up to the plate and help out a bit but it isn't going to happen.  They're into sports in a big way and into their girlfriends, which is as it should be.  I'm so glad to be rid of the black cloud that was the couple before the boys, so I do the minimum necessary to keep the trees alive and don't water the lawn much because I'd just have to mow more often if I kept it greened up.  All my neighbors have taken out the grass on their parking strips and have zeroscaped.  It's the smart thing to do, and I plan on doing it every year, but just don't get around to it.  Maybe next Spring.  But now it's time to get the yard and garden ready for Fall and then Winter.  It will be a lot of work for the next three months. I have so many trees and none of them are on the same leaf drop schedule.  It all begins with the biggest tree in my urban forest and for two months I'll be cleaning up leaves.

I worked pretty steadily on enlarging my walkway and patio space back here, around the gazebo, until it got too hot and then I moved inside and stopped doing anything as I got my Facebook addiction up to the level of my Twitter addiction.  Cyrus died, Roscoe moved to Savannah, and then Bob showed up.  I'm happy to have a cat again.  I didn't realize how much I've missed having a cat.  Now I want to get or make a big scratching pole for Bob. I'm also happy not to have to pick up fifty pounds of dog shit a week. I'm glad I no longer have the big Vet bills that taking care of Cyrus generated.  He had so many health problems.  And yet, there isn't a day that I don't look at Cyrus' bed area expecting him to be there and most days it feels as if he's still with us.  He and Roscoe ate mass quantities of dog food.  Marley and Bob are very dainty eaters in comparison.  Well, Marley isn't exactly a dainty eater, but you know what I mean. 

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

MEAN, WEAK, LAZY, STUPID: THE REAL AMERICA

We're now seeing a large swath of our populous yearning for the good old days when "Mean, Weak, Lazy & Stupid were traits they shared with the guy they elected.  He's their kind of guy, the sort they'd enjoy having a beer with.  He's actually the Teabagger King in many ways.  They were the boys who couldn't get on the football team so they became the schoolyard bullies, now grown up and still loving the power the bully believes is his birthright.

When I was in high school the bullies either ended up on the police force, the military, jail or (if they were well connected enough) a secret society like Skull and Bones or just a fraternity of drunks. 

Now they have their own political party funded by men who see them as the riffraff they are and who feel utterly superior to their creation while pulling the strings and bussing in the rest of the bullies so the numbers look good for the cameras.  They have many PACs and "Think Tanks" and "Religious Leaders" who validate and send them talking points delivered by a nice looking woman willing to be a tool of the fascists for fame and the money that comes with fame.  The words ring like a dog whistle to the bigots and fools with guns, who never felt good enough, and now feel outrageously inferior because that black man in the White House is smarter than they are, so he can't be one of them, because they are the REAL AMERICA! THIS LAND IS THEIR LAND AND GOD GAVE IT TO THEM.  YOU'RE EITHER WITH THEM OR YOU'RE THE ENEMY!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Saturday, August 7, 2010

JEEZUS H CHRIST! PAT BUCHANAN SAID SOMETHING SMART!

I swear it's true, I was taking a smoke break and watching Andrea Mitchell because Rachel Maddow was on.  Then not more than a few minutes later Andrea had Pat Buchanan and Bob Shrum on in order to... I don't know, maybe balance the awesome intelligence of Rachel?  I tend to try not to pay too much attention to anything Pat Buchanan says, since I end up screaming at my TV machine and scaring my dog.  Nothing scares the cat.. 

So, this is the smart thing Pat Buchanan said: "bla bla bla...the eight years of Bush were a disaster for the economy and he shipped millions off jobs to China...bla bla bla"  I put those bla bla blas in there because something stupid and racist must have either preceded or followed those words or both.  But I swear on my cat Bob's life that Pat Buchanan said something smart.  I think I might have given several people on Twitter and Facebook a heart attack or a stroke.  Several people suggested I was dreaming again.

Last time I took a nap when I woke up gay and lesbian citizens were given back their civil rights; Prop H8 was ruled Unconstitutional!  At least until some fuckwad with millions of $$$$ from the Mormon Church tries to take their civil rights away again.  'Cause that's how we roll in the land of the free, and the home of the brave.  I know I was really young the first time I heard the words, "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights,[72] that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness"  So here's the deal, my Creator was my heinous mother and my crazy father.  It doesn't necessarily mean "God"  "Unalienable Rights" means we're born with them and they can never be taken away.  The word "Men" is archaic, in this sense, since women weren't considered much more than chattel at the time, but things have changed and now I can vote and own property and have all the rights and bla bla bla.   And if marrying the one you love isn't in pursuit of happiness, what is?  It's no guarantee of happiness.  I know, I've tried it many times and failed.  And I'm just sure someone is thinking some snarky thing about blow jobs or football or Jack Daniels or new shoes.  But you know what I mean.

So I'm thinking, I should nap more often.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Shock Absorbers

I have three things going for me in this long brutal recession.  I'm a recluse.  I don't like my fellow man much, so going out to be with my fellow man holds no attraction.  And on the rare occasion that I do venture out for a meal, my favorite dining spots are the taco stands and the cheap Mexican diners.  I read restaurant reviews just to gasp at what they're charging for a pork chop or a single egg Benedict.  Homemade cream corn as a side dish is outrageously expensive.  I know, it's amazing that anyone is serving homemade cream corn in a restaurant as a side dish, especially in Utah.  So, I save a lot of money by not wanting to eat out.  And I'd rather watch a movie at home lying on my bed, smoking whatever I want and drinking good iced tea.  I couldn't buy a glass of really good iced Earl Grey tea out in the world, even at a tea house, if my life depended on it.  I'd rather stay home.

I'm old. But I'm still continent.  This means I get Social Security and Medicare but I don't need to spend anything on adult diapers.  Lucky me.

The third and most important shock absorber is the house I own.  Sure it has it's problems and I could pour a fortune into it.  But I haven't.  I never borrowed against it. I couldn't.  My credit wasn't good enough since medical bills and my mother's care bankrupted me.  Chapter 7.  It's been five years, so I still don't have good credit and still can't borrow against it.  Hell, I can't even afford to pay all my property taxes each year.  Certainly never on time.  I still have fairly hefty medical bills. But that which has prevented me from borrowing against my house, has saved me from losing my house and have made me a perfect candidate for a Reverse Mortgage!  Any day now, I'll find out how little money it's now worth after the housing crash.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Bob's Back

Bob's home.  And I'm so relieved. Had I not gone all sleuthy and snoopy, I'd have never seen Bob again. And yet, Bob is already driving me crazy.  Soon I'll go to Pet Smart and buy him a breakaway collar so I can send him outside again.  Because already I'm wanting to strangle him.  He's very funny when he and Marley are rolling around on the bed looking like they're killing each other.  But when Marley goes outside, Bob turns his razor like claws and needle teeth to the fragile skin on the inside of my upper arm or my ankle, since nothing says loving like an ankle bite.

Marley is beside herself with joy.  I'm beside myself with relief.  Bob's just beside himself with mischief, so we're all happy.

Here is how Bob went missing: When Bob goes out he goes visiting, anyone outside working on their flower garden or sitting on their porch gets a visit from Bob.  Kids playing are treated to a bit of Bob fun. So when Bob saw several people on the porch of the only house on the block that's been converted to a fourplex, Bob went calling.  Thing is, these people were moving out of the front unit of the fourplex.  Instead of asking around before packing Bob up with their actual belongings, they just decided to take him, "cause he was so cute and friendly."  I'd never met these kids.  I had no clue that anybody would be that stupid and ballsy as to take a kitten without checking around to see who might know if that kitten had a home.  All my neighbors knew I was looking for Bob.  All these kids would have had to do was call across the street to Mayor Kim to find out who Bob belong to.  But no.  They just bundled him up and drove to Rose Park, which is very far from this neighborhood.When I was a kid my parents would have said, "Rose Park is on the wrong side of the tracks," and everybody knew what that meant.  But now, to me, it's just BFE.  Outside my territory, too far to visit, wouldn't want to go there anyway, and, if I need to spell it out, means Bum Fuck Egypt. I should probably look this up in the Urban Dictionary, but I'm lazy and still have miles to go before I nap.

So anyway, I don't usually walk down the driveways of people I don't know, but yesterday evening I was desperate to find Bob, I was snooping around all the cars and looking into the backs of the carports when I heard a soft meow.  I followed my ear, a tricky thing in and of itself, until I was looking face to face with a grey and orange tabby lying on an inside window ledge with the window open, watching me case the joint.  To my longing eyes, from across the parking lot and through a screen, that softly mewing cat looked exactly like Bob.  It wasn't till we were nose to nose that I realized this cat was a full grown cat of a different color. Goddammit!  And as this cat and I were having a conversation a woman walked into the room and said, "Can I help you?"

I told her the story of Bob's disappearance and she took me into the laundry room, the hallway with the open door upstairs.  No Bob.  Bob was gone.  I'd put posters up around the neighborhood. I'd gone door to door with all the neighbors, even to the woman who manages the fourplex, and no one had seen Bob after around 4:00 in the afternoon the previous day.  The manager had checked the empty apartment the kids had vacated and found no kitten, but said she'd keep her eye out.  But this woman was a lot more helpful.  I left my phone number with her.

About an hour later I got a call from the woman in the back apartment of the fourplex and she'd called the kids who'd moved to Rose Park asking if they'd seen Bob.  And yes, why yes they had.  In fact they'd taken him with them.  He's such a cute friendly kitten and they didn't know who owned him, so...  Little motherfuckers!  Fortunately they offered to bring him home.  So an hour later they delivered Bob, no worse the wear from his misadventure.  And now Marley is a hap hap happy wiener dog once again.  Bob's napping on my printer and Marley's napping on a pillow beside my desk.  Now I have to vacuum.