Sunday, May 31, 2009

The Unthinkable

I won't be visiting much over the next little while. My closest friend, Z, the one who has power of attorney over my estate and medical care has either a treatable cancer, or lymphoma that has gone on too long, undiagnosed and untreated, to be anything but a death sentence. She has had polymyalgia rheumatica and so has ignored the dry hacking cough for so long I can't remember when it started. I remember asking her about it as long as 6 or 8 months ago. She thought it was one thing and another. Finally she began to have trouble breathing. It was nothing in her lungs; they were clear. She worries about money. Worries about unnecessary medical expenses and doesn't want to worry her kids or burden them. She has been a vegetarian for 40 years but for the last year or more has been very careless about eating well. Prefers to manage it all homeopathically. But her sed rate is alarmingly high. The prednisone to treat the polymyalgia rheumatica might have been the cause of her lack of apatite, lack of interest in food, fatigue, weakness, depression, the low grade fever, night sweats. She has lost so much weight, but blamed it on the prednisone. She thinks she can treat this illness with fresh juices. She worries about the fact that she hasn't the strength to mow the lawn. And it goes on like this for so long. Now they have found a mass in the primary bronchi which, thus, far appears to be lymphatic tissue. Friday she was told that it is either bad news but treatable, or bad news and untreatable. A biopsy is scheduled for Monday. She is convinced it is lymphoma that has spread throughout her body. Too late to treat. I argue with her. We don't know yet. She has all the symptoms and has for so long, thinking it was the prednisone that caused the night sweats, the fatigue and all the rest. She has finally told her children. Her daughter flew in last night. Z asked me to come over yesterday and help her get ready for her kids. God forbid they should now how hard it's been for her. Her back lawn is a meadow. The two dogs matted and shaggy. All I can do is sit on the back porch with her and listen.

She has been the patient friend, the rock of Gibraltar, my sane and steady friend since we were both 17 and early admissions students at the University of Utah. We were the only girls with the first group of students ever admitted to the U in their brand new Early Admissions program. We could not have been less alike. She has always said hers was the perfect loving and supportive family. Her father was Chairman of the Math Department.

My father was getting his PhD in psychology and I couldn't have had a worse family life. My reasons for skipping my senior year were complicated-- mostly I just wanted to get out of my parents house. My home life had always been difficult, so living in the dorms at the U sounded like paradise to me. Z continued living at home with her family.

There have been times in our long history together when one or the other of us was living half a world away from the other. Years at a time when we were not in touch. But whenever we saw each other, it was as if no time at all had passed and we would again take up the conversation as if it had been paused for the length of time it would take to make a cup of tea. I can't imagine life without her. I never thought for a second that I would outlive her. It is unthinkable. I am numb and furious.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

My Best Friend Needs Me

My best friend is having a life threatening medical crisis. She needs me. I'll write when I can, but please don't leave me.

Friday, May 29, 2009

One Good Thing To Do This Weekend Is Sign This Petition

VoteVets sent me this petition this morning. I signed it. Now I'm asking you to sign it. I'm told it might be a touchy link.

This is a YouTube clip and hopefully guidance to the petition. If all else fails, google That should get you there. Sign up. It's free. Get their email updates. It's a really good organization. And if you still aren't convinced that the Bush/Cheney Administration needs prosecuting, read this:

**Please circulate widely to friends and on social-networking sites*

Torture Photos Show Rapes of Detainees, Former Officer Confirms
The real reason Dick Cheney has become so loud: he's afraid

Each week brings shocking new revelations. The U.S. mass media is not reporting on the most explosive story of the week.

The world now knows why President Obama reversed his earlier decision to release the 2,000 photos of prisoners barbarically tortured, abused, and humiliated under the direction of the Bush/Cheney gang.

Some of the photos of the prisoners show U.S. personnel torturing, sexual assaulting and raping male and female detainees, including children. The existence of these photos was confirmed by former Major General Antonio Taguba. Taguba had earlier been in charge of the inquiry into the Abu Ghraib jail in Iraq.

On May 21, Cheney went on national television to defend torture and sickeningly attacked Obama for sacrificing "innocent lives to spare a captured terrorist from unpleasant things." We'd like to hear him explain how rape and sexual assault are just "unpleasant things" that have spared innocent lives. The last few months has proven that the abuses, the sexual assault, and the most barbaric violations of human rights cannot be attributed to a few bad apples. Such tactics were commonplace, officially sanctioned and elevated to the level of government policy.

The torture methods, like the war itself, have never been about saving lives. A recent column in the Nation echoed what IndictBushNow reported last week: "The Bush administration, hellbent on justifying its forthcoming invasion of Iraq, was ransacking the intelligence bureaucracy to find or produce two things that, it turns out, did not exist: weapons of mass destruction programs in Iraq and cooperation between Al Qaeda and the regime of Saddam Hussein."

The Iraqi people have never waged war on the United States and no Iraqis took part in the attacks of 9/11. Bush & co. wanted to go to war, and were just looking for an excuse.

So why, given the recent revelations, has Dick Cheney responded so publicly in defense of the Bush administration's war crimes? He's afraid! He's not just concerned about preserving the administration's "legacy" -- he's concerned about preserving his own neck.

Don't believe us? Take it from Cheney's daughter, Liz, who recently explained her father's outspokenness on CNN: "He certainly did not plan when he left office to be doing this... Then when [Obama] suggested in the Oval Office itself that he would be open to the prosecution of former Bush administration officials including many who weren't political appointees potentially, you know really, I think, made my dad realize this was just fundamentally wrong. We had to speak out."

Our argument for prosecution is becoming irresistible. The fact is that every revelation lays bare a whole new level of criminality. The more details come about the Bush administration's heinous acts and deliberate deception of the American people, the more people are starting to talk about justice. Already, many people who once said, "we need to move forward" are beginning to reconsider: no one can move forward until we have come to terms with the country's past. That means accountability: the indictment of the criminals.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Big Pick-up Sticks

Cherry Picker Takes On Tree and Wins! Well, Mostly

You cannot imagine the noise of this tree massacre. I know it's horrible to kill a huge tree but this tree was on its last legs and was planted too close to the wooden fence and the little house. So gird your loins. These photos are rather graphic.

And the search for the perfect stick is on. Good dogs, now would you just haul this mess out of the driveway and hide it somewhere. I suggest a big hole, so start digging.

Temporary Difficultiles

What with a tree coming down like bombs around my house, and what with having my Administrator visiting, and what with having an old dog who hates loud noises and any change at all, it's been a loud and trying morning. I'll be back with pictures and more details. Until then, keep your hardhat on. Step carefully.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Mysterious Gift

Someone sent me a laptop. It's a HP Mini-note PC. I'm thrilled, surprised, and curious. Who is this generous gift giver? I've been thinking that the main impediment to my doing any traveling these days is the umbilical cord that keeps me sitting at my chair at my desk tied to my fabulous Imac. I learned a whole world of new tricks here at my desk learning to blog, be a better writer, make new friends, have a life. But this? This is a gift that calls for a THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU!

I used the tracking info from UPS and it led me to who shipped it. But that's as close as I've been able to get to the humanitarian who sent this to me. Speak up oh generous one. This calls for a hug at the very least.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Supreme Court Nominee Justice Sonia Sotomayor

Circuit Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit
Assumed office
October 7, 1998
Nominated by Bill Clinton
Preceded by J. Daniel Mahoney
Born June 25, 1954 (1954-06-25) (age 54)
The Bronx, New York
Nationality United States
Alma mater Yale Law School (J.D.)
Princeton University (A.B.)
Religion Roman Catholic

She is of Porto Rican descent, and grew up in a tenement in the Bronx. She was born into a very humble background, yet managed to get a very good eduction. She is everything I want in a Supreme Court Judge. And when I first saw her name mentioned I let out a cheer. I have been hoping she would be President Obama's pick. This is the first news story I woke up to--her acceptance of the nomination. Next come the hearings. The Right Wingers will be going crazy trying to smear her in some way, but I don't think she'd have made it this far if she were smearable. She has everything that would make her a target for the White Men's Club that the justice system has always been. Now comes the swift-boating. Hang on Sonia is going to be a bumpy ride.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Art Find

After my last visit to my neighborhood thrift store I told you about my art find. Well this is it. I hope you like it as much as I do. A photo can never do justice to blown glass, nor does it give you an idea of the heft of the piece. When I used to live in Santa Barbara there was an art gallery across from one of our favorite restaurants. I used to drool over this kind of thing but could never afford to buy one of those pieces since they were priced in the hundreds of dollars range. I paid $8 for this beauty.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Cold and Rainy Memorial Day

This is a sight I've never seen on Memorial Day in Salt Lake unless someone went to a party and left the water on outside. It's 53 degrees outside mid-day and I'm trying to keep the house warm because it's supposed to get really cold tonight. A week ago it was early Summer, now it's mid-Spring. This photo is the concrete floor of the gazebo mid day.

It was pouring when I made the dogs go out this morning and Marley never left the covered porch. I had to go out and sit on the bench under the pine trees and wait for Marley to pee. So Marley peed at my feet. Good enough. We came in and Marley disappeared for a minute. Then Cyrus got up and gave me a look like, "What have you done?" I looked over the side of the bed and there was a Marley turd right at the back of Cyrus's bed just where his bum would have been had he been asleep. Marley had tried to trick me into believing that Cyrus was the bad dog, not Marley. Marley got dumped outside along with her turd and left to wait it out while I cleaned Cyrus's bed. It's been one of those days.

Yesterday's Barbeque

I was invited to a barbeque across the street yesterday afternoon. I thought it would be nice to take a little nap before I went. Read for about ten minutes and then drifted off into a deep slumber. The phone rang. I reached around for it and couldn't find it. Then dashed across the room to pick it up off it's base and even with the dash for the phone, I was still asleep, dreaming the whole dash for the phone for all I knew. My friend T. who lives three houses up the street said "Peg, are you awake?" I answered, "Yesh, for all I know I'm ashleep." She said, "Are you going to come to the party?" "Sure, I'm planning on it." She said, "Hurry, it's almost 6:30, and there's still some food left, but it's going fast. And sound like you're drunk." "I feel like I'm drunk."

It took me ten minutes to wash my face, comb my hair, brush my teeth, and change into a new top (from the thrift store) and new shorts (from the thrift store). I let Cyrus and Mawley go out to pee, then headed across the street with Mawley close on my heels. There were about ten grown-ups sitting around yacking, and about eight kids from 18 to 2 in various stages from boredom to candy-high milling around the picnic table or in and out of the kids playhouse. T handed me a paper plate and gave me instructions about what to eat and what to avoid. In her estimation the ribs were better than the bratwurst, and the cole slaw was better than the potato salad. I put a little bit of everything on my plate and joined the kids at the picnic table.

I sat next to Courtney who is 18 and was the oldest child at the party. If Courtney weren't a Downs child I'd be calling her an adult, but she still retains some of the completely uncensored innocence of the child. Her little brother Boris who is Russian and was adopted when he was a baby and also has Downs syndrome, came running at me full tilt and hurled himself into my arms. He straddled my lap and snuggled his face into my neck and gave me a sloppy kiss on my face. He's four now, still not talking exactly, but still quite capable of expressing his needs and wants, likes and dislikes. Courtney said with a chortle, "Boris loves you, Peggy." Well that made it all worth while. The waking up, getting dressed, the facing of other people, the jocularity of half crocked adults, the Mormon grandmother we all adore and need to protect from the knowledge that most of us are either stoned or half drunk or both. That enthusiastic greeting from Boris made it all worth while. The meat was dry, the slaw was soggy, the potato salad was... eh. But the kids and the potato chips were divine.

Since I arrived at the party half an hour before it was scheduled to break up at 7:00, I felt my timing was perfect. There was just enough socializing and dry, over-cooked meat to make me feel half normal, and a part of my little community of neighbors. I'm older than all the neighbors with kids and younger than the great grandmother we were trying to protect from the knowledge that we were not the clean-living grown up children she needs to believe we are. Good party all around.

Mawley was chased by a two year old and a four year old round and round the picnic table till the kids fell down exhausted. Marwley wins again.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Sleepy Saturday

I woke up being kissed on the lips. Prince Charming? No, just Marley. I looked at the clock to see if I should be mad or not and it was 9:30. That's a reasonable hour no matter what my body says, so I got up took the dogs out and had my coffee. I made a list of the things I'd like to accomplish today, but so far (its about 3:45) I have had three visitors. And I've been invited to a neighborhood barbeque this evening. This calls for a nap.

Friday, May 22, 2009

It's a Good and Lazy Dawgs Life Friday

Well for one thing, Marly slept through the night. I woke up with Marley snugged into the bend of my knees. When I woke Marley up she acted groggy. Nothing like a good night's sleep. Outside Marley and Cyrus did their business, and the kids next door were out getting ready for a camping trip to the desert. They heard me talking to the dogs and came over to the tall wooden fence between our yards. Three little voices said, "Peggy, open the window in the fence??? They are four year old twins, Franny and Ruben, and six year old Alvin. The window in the fence was made by the woman who used to own their house. She had Yorkies that were the worst behaved dogs I've every had the displeasure to meet, but my good old dog Lucy, a black Chowbradore, loved the Yorkies, so my neighbor hired someone to make a tiny gate with a lock on my side so Lucy could come visiting. It was too high for the Yorkies to get to my side but perfect for Lucy to jump through. I open the window in the fence and the three kids next door met Marley. They called her Mawley which I like even better than Marley. So now I'm calling her Mawley. Sounds very Bostonian. Mawley gave Ruben a kiss on the mouth and barked at the other two. Now Ruben feels very special.

We have had a succession of visitors including a Chihuahua named Segman, a golden Spanial named Bumper (we call him Boompere) and the dogs from the front house, Roscoe and Tassman--the two very big male yellow Labs. So for a couple of hours there were six dogs visiting. Mawley acted just like a calm, normal, happy, big dog who knows this is her house and yard and I am her mama. I was so proud. The Chihuahua had his nose out of joint because, until now, he was the special one in the crowd over here, but today, Mawley was the special one. Poor Seggy.

I had my breakfast of cantaloupe and cornbread around noon with my second bowl sized cup of espresso and organic milk with a tablespoon of sugar. Oh yes, I'm still hooked. And then I went grocery shopping. Had lovely interactions with everyone I saw. How nice it was not to hate everyone in the store. I found everything I wanted and more. Good buys on good healthy food. I am stocked except for the olive oil I forgot. I took a list but never looked at it. Mawley and I will walk to the store tomorrow. It will be good for us.

My groceries are almost put away and Cyrus is curled up on the dog bed beside my chair. Mawley is chewing on one of those giant rawhide bones Cyrus nurses for a couple of days and then discards. There is a small collection of half eaten giant rawhide bones tucked between his big round bed and the old dog bed that he uses as a pillow and hiding place for treats he's hoarding. Cyrus watches Mawley and all but shrugs. He could care less. We're all so relaxed and happy. It's a very good Friday.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

La Belette Rouge, This Tree's For You

La Belette Rouge has been sad about the absence of real trees in LA. I'm a big fan of the Palm tree, but La Belette Rouge is not. So since I'm surrounded by big real trees, I'm sharing them with you.

Today's tree is one of the row of Chestnut Trees that line the bit of land between two neighboring driveways, mine and my neighbors. Technically the trees belong to them. But the biggest branches of this ancient behemoth arc over my driveway and the top of my house. It's in bloom right now--big tall cones of fragrant blossoms. It will be dropping sticky pollen by the bucket full for days. Then the almost flesh colored blossoms will start falling in the slightest breeze and stick to the sticky pollen that is stuck to the top of the cars, and the length of the driveway, the sidewalk, the lawn, and roof of the house. It's both lovely and a nuisance. However, if I were driving by on a strange street and saw this amazing tree, I'd think it was magnificant.

The Dog Rescuer Is Suckered Again

Oh yes, I'm a sucker for a sob story. Marley needs a home and I have a home. Marley's family circumstances have changed every couple of months of her fist year. They got her to breed her, so she needs a hysterectomy. And her ex parents have agreed to take care of the neutering. She also needs a microchip and her nails trimmed and her anal glands cleared and her teeth cleaned and her nails trimmed. All this is in her near future, but for now she's getting acquainted with Cyrus (he likes her) and Roscoe (he'll tolerate her) and Tassman (who will probably want to play with her). Marley needs training and I'm a good trainer. Marley is pretty damn cute and I've never had a little dog, nor a pure breed dog. I've always believed that a mixed breed is a less neurotic dog and less prone to breed problems. Marley will be one year old in August, so hopefully, Marley will be very trainable. But so far in her first night at my house, she woke me up every two hours. I was a good sport and took Marley outside to do her business, but Marley just wanted to explore the area around the house, or my feet or the deck, but Marley refused to pee or poop. So back to bed. First thing out of bed this morning I took Marley and Cyrus to pee. Then when I came in to pee, Marley squatted on the bathroom rug and peed right in front of me. I have a girlfriend who is very ill and is having a surgical procedure done today. So the plan was that she would come to my house at 10:30 this morning and I would take her to the hospital. This morning just as my friend sat down in a chair, Marley took a crap on the floor right in front of her.

So now the work of training begins. One of my friends lives three houses up the street. She is a Chihuahua mama. And like many little dog owners, she claims training a little dog is different than training a big dog. I don't believe that, mainly because I've had such a variety of big dogs. But also because there are all the aspects of dog evolution and genetics breeding to tell us that no matter what size or breed they are pack animals and need a pack leader to feel secure. I am the pack leader and I expect all the dogs in my pack to behave well. So Marley and I are going to have some serious potty training sessions over the next few days. I think one of the things that makes little dogs neurotic is that so many little dog owners treat their pint sized pups like tiny human babies who will be little babies forever. Well, Marley is going to be a smart, happy, secure, healthy dog member of the pack at Chez Savage.

And I start doing research on little Dachshunds now.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

I'm Clotted Just Right So I Went Shopping

This is my new hat. I love it. I paid $4 for it at my nearest thrift store. I went shopping for summer shorts large enough to accommodate my fat ass and my gut, which looks to me like I might be, oh maybe, 7 months pregnant. And I did find comfortable shorts, but I also found three pairs of summer shoes, a great dress-up dress (Isaac Mizrahi) with original tags, so never worn. It's gorgeous. Found shoes to wear with it too. I found summer tops galore. And best of all I found a hand blown glass vase that I'm positive is a one of a kind piece of gorgeous Art, deserving of that capital A, at $8. Be sure you pronounce the word "vase" with the reverence it deserves. God I love days like this

And as for the clotting factor--perfect! I don't have to go back to the doctor for a whole month. Now I need to give myself the pedicure I deserve.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Oh God My Aching Back, And Aren't Those Republicans Funny

A friend who lives in San Francisco came through Salt Lake on his way east. We stayed up late and talked, and then once he'd gone to bed in the guest room of the big house, I stayed up late too revved up to sleep. Then this morning he came out to the little house at 7:15. I never get up that early. So I rolled out of bed to have coffee with him and then once he'd hit the road, I was wired on coffee and ready to work.

I use muscle when brain would be easier. I've worked today on much less sleep than usual, but I've been thinking while I was working, so maybe tomorrow my fingers might not feel like clubs and I can type a post without wincing. Then maybe I can finally talk about Michael Steele's stupid speech today without falling off my chair laughing. Republican's "navel gazing?" Jesus, they don't even know what empathy means, how could they navel gaze? When have they ever been up for introspection? I bet a term like "navel gazing" makes most republican's cringe. And "The Honeymoon's Over!" They're going to take on Obama, that celebrity!

I've got to learn to wear work gloves when I work. I've treated my hands like they were wire brushes trying to get mineral buildup off the inside of the three sides of the swamp cooler, removed the old pads and replaced them. It's a dirty job and takes some muscle to get the grills that hold the pads in place out of the holes that hold the grills in place. Oh crap, I can't explain the way a swamp cooler works.

Now I have to go bandage my hands.

What Kind of Blog Am I

Dear La Belette Rouge,

I'm having exactly that same problem with my blog. Am I a bipolar blog? Is it all about my craziness--my reclusivety, my lack of interest in the outside world, always about the navel gazing? I occasionally write a poem or post a bit of political outrage, and then there is a small palate cleansing of a bit of jazz. But even I know that I grow stale, old, dull on certain days. Mondays seem to be the worst for me. Now that you have me thinking about it, I realize that I will probably post this email to my blog, since I woke up with nothing to say. Nothing. I have nothing to add to what's been said. The conversation has come to an uncomfortable silence for me. Where do I go from here? Do I have too many things in the air juggling like mad and is it all about to come crashing down on my head in a loud clatter and then a deafening silence?

There are so many days I wake up and face the keyboard with nothing at all to say. I will have listened to the news, but neglected the newspapers, or big news blogs to find later in the day that had I done the slightest bit of reading I would have found something of substance to shout about. But today I'm a tabula rasa. So I'll probably take this letter to you and try to make it into something.

And for me, the reader of your blog, your therapy sessions are my favorite days. I worry about you when you go shopping, having been the sort of woman who used shopping as a substitute for whatever my life lacked. What my life did not lack was new designer clothes, fifty pairs of shoes, jewelry I never wore, the latest handbags, new sheets, new towels, the latest kitchen gadget, a vase, scented candles in new fragrances, and on and on. So I see shopping as a substitute for meaning. I see shopping as a way to fill the hole my mother left in my soul. And yes, at my age with my mother safely dead almost three and a half years, she still haunts me now and then and even as I say that I realize how silly it sounds that a dead woman still has the power to scare me, take whatever pleasure I have in a moment and turn it into pain. I know it is me giving her ghost power. I also know my hiding out like a woman living in a self imposed prison is a pathetic attempt to have a little control over what has been a chaotic life.

Why is it that in moments like these, I hear lines from The Love Song of J Alfred Prufrock running through my mind? It's a poem that was written by a very young man. Why does it now hold such power for me? Why has it always? From the moment I first read it, sometime in my teens, it has held my attention and made me feel as if at least TS Eliot would have understood me. More than likely had TS Eliot the slightest relationship to me, he'd have thrown me in some moderately priced looney bin and been done with me. I'm amazed my family didn't. I suppose knowing that they might made me pretend with all my might that I was peachy. And there it is again, another echo from the long dead Eliot.

Well, now I have a post I think. I hope you won't mind if I post this letter to you or at least portions of it. Thanks for the inspiration. Were it not for you, I'd have nothing to say today.


Sunday, May 17, 2009

Almost Blue Again

I know there are probably some of you (Tengrain) who drop by my place now and then have heard this at least once every couple of months or so, and would rather I didn't, but it's a favorite of mine. It's not the blues, but it's Almost Blue, by Diana Krall written by hubby Elvis Costello. I'm exploring the hues of blues and finding it more calming than sad. A bit dramatic now and then, but laid back and floating with it.

I told You I Was Blue

I found this at Sherry's place AfterTheBridge. I didn't even stop to ask if I could take it. And I was wearing a very dark hue of very dark blue, rendering me virtually invisible in the dark of night. And that last bit about me putting on a strong front. I call BS on that. But this part is true. Maggy sure as hell was an orange. Surface brilliance but not very deep.

You Are a Blue Crayon

Your world is colored in calm, understated, deep colors.

You are a loyal person, and the truest friend anyone could hope to find.

On the inside, you tend to be emotional and even a bit moody.

However, you know that people depend on you. So you put on a strong front.

Your color wheel opposite is orange. Orange people may be opinionated, but you feel they lack the depth to truly understand what they're saying.

Death By Intent

If I have died and you missed the moment
Know that I went peacefully in my sleep
Of my own accord and timing, by my own
Hand which could no longer pound the keys
Pull the ropes, the weeds, the rabbit out of the hat

Let it be said that "she was a woman who had great timing"
Take what you want and we'll say I gave it to you long ago
It will not matter to me now, and who's to say it wasn't my
Intention all along

Peggy Pendleton

And She Does It In High Heels

No one covers ground like this dancing couple. They were incomparable and had the best composers and lyricists for the musicals they did together. They made ten films together. And though she was not the world's best dancer, so it's said, together they were magic. The footwork in this little number is worth paying attention to. This is the way I wanted to dance and this man is the man I wanted to dance with. I spent many productive hours as a child dancing around the house pretending to be Ginger Rogers and pretending that Fred Astaire was my permanent dance partner. I eventually gave up dancing for lack of a partner who danced. Never married a man who danced. Tom would dance at weddings and such, and he wasn't half bad, but I never did get that feeling of dancing the light fantastic that I dreamed of when I was a kid when these were the movies of my early childhood.

These are the great lyrics (by Dorothy Fields) to this song by Jerome Kern composed and written in 1936

Nothing's impossible I have found,
For when my chin is on the ground,
I pick myself up,
Dust myself off,
Start All over again.

Don't lose your confidence if you slip,
Be grateful for a pleasant trip,
And pick yourself up,
Dust yourself off,
Start all over again.

Work like a soul inspired,
Till the battle of the day is won.
You may be sick and tired,
But you'll be a man, my son!

Will you remember the famous men,
Who had to fall to rise again?
So take a deep breath,
Pick yourself up,
Dust yourself off,
Start all over again.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

How To Survive In Difficult Times On Very Little

I came undone taking care of my mother during her dementia. She had given all her life savings in the last months of her days in Santa Barbara to a scam artist. And for the first time in this very smart and frugal woman's life she was buying cheap costume jewelry thinking it would up the odds of her winning the jackpot. Same with The Publishers Clearinghouse Sweepstakes. I started getting magazines I'd never read and didn't want because she kept adding to the number of magazines she subscribed to each month in a desperate desire to strike it rich. This was not the woman I'd grown up knowing. Maggy would never have done anything that crazy. She'd been saving her whole life to retire owning a house that was paid for. Never once making a purchase on a credit card she couldn't pay off that month. She drove an old, but well kept car that got good milage. And she worked into her mid-seventies. This silly behavior would have been mocked by the Maggy I knew.

Then I got the call from her that made it impossible to ignore this change of behavior. She called to tell me she'd won $500,000,000. I started to say something but before I could get a word out she said, "And I'm giving you a million." There was an uncomfortable silence while I searched for the right way to ask the question "How did you win five hundred million dollars?" I said, "Thanks Maggy. That's really generous of you." Easy does it. This is important. Don't spook her.

Then she said she was sending in the last check for the taxes on her winnings... Oh shit! I said, "How much are the taxes on FIVE HUNDRED MILLION DOLLARS? I tried very hard not to shout, but I was shouting in my head. Don't spook her, say nothing to shut her up. Remember she is stubborn and secretive.

"So where are you sending the money?"
"To Canada. I won the Canadian Lottery!"
"Have you already sent the money?"
"Did you write a check?"
"No, I sent it in in money orders."
"How much did you have to pay?"
"It was less than you'd think."
"Could you send it all at once?"
"No. This was my last payment."
"So, How much was this payment?"
"Only $30,000."
Silence. Cough cough, breath holding, waiting for her to say more.
"So when do you get your winnings?"
"Christopher is going to come get me with the check. Then I get to pick the place I want to go to have the winner's photos taken. I'll be in the paper."
I bet you will. "Who is Christopher?"
"That's a stupid question."
"How could I know who Christopher is?"
"Well he's the representative of the Canadian Government." Oh crap, oh crap... We're fucked now.

And by the time I exercised the joint signature on her Salt Lake checking account, she only had $28,000 left. At the end of the first three years of her very slow death by loss of brain function, we were living on my credit cards. And every month I got offers for more credit cards with 0% interest for six months, no fees, bla bla bla. "Come, transfer balances from your other cards and make one easy payment." And that is how we survived until I could no longer make my minimum payments. Maggy qualified for Medicaid and then we got a little in-home health care. I slept during the hour that the home healthcare worker was with her.

And then I crashed for good. Twenty four hours in the ER for round the clock observation and two weeks in the looney bin isn't cheap. Then when I got out, I couldn't find my way around the block. What once had been as familiar as my own hand was an alien landscape. I was heavily medicated. And thus began the real agoraphobia. I could no longer work at all. I found shopping torture. I moved through my days like a zombie. And once a month I had to go to the shrink and get my meds checked. But after the bankruptcy and into the ensuing poverty I learned how to eat very cheaply but fairly well. I discovered the used meat section and the used mushroom section and the used baked good section and the... Whatever is about to expire gets deeply discounted. It's put on sale before it ends up at the shelter or food bank. It isn't really called "used meat." It's called, "reduced meat," and "reduced spinach" ... I can buy a half priced pork loin and cut it into sections, wrap very carefully and freeze. I do the same with chicken thighs, and split breasts with ribs in. Bread is divvied up and frozen, bagles too. Once in a great while, glazed donuts. I pay full price for my frozen blueberries and pineapple, but once in awhile I buy frozen peas marked down. I splurge on organic milk. I know it's crazy for a carnivore woman to care that her milk is organic, but it tastes better and comes in cartons, not plastic. I buy a lot of fruit and eat fruit salads. I almost live on salads in the summer.

I will no longer walk in a store without a shopping list. There are no shopping sprees, no impulse buying anymore. Everything but underwear and shoes comes from thrift stores. This is not shopping in the trendy little consignment shops or slightly used couture. No this is thrift store shopping. No more expensive high heels or sandals. A new pair of Teva sandals every summer. That's it. Oh, and I pay for the occasional matinee movie date.

I took a Nap and Summer Arrived

It has been an unusually wet Spring. So the yard is lush beyond anything I've ever seen this time of year. And what is usually a Spring job of weeding and clean up has become overwhelming. I look at the work and then think, I need a cup of tea and a nap cause it's a jungle out there. We live in an arid climate and this part of the valley has very poor soil. It's mostly clay that, once dried out, is like brick.

I have one tree that MUST be removed this year. I put it off last year due to the poverty of paying off the new roof on the little house. This year it has to go. But it's one of those trees that will need to be cut from the top down a little bit at a time. And this kind of tree cutting will require a cherry picker or as some call it, a bucket truck--the kind of vehicle used by utility companies with above ground cables to attend to. The kind of tree removal that a friend with a chain saw can't do because if any of it comes down in the wrong direction, it will crash down on the greenhouse roof of the little house solarium or on the new roof of the little house. It could take down my chain link fence, or the wooden fence or the neighbors fence or garage. It's a big job, but somebody's got to do it and soon.

Friday, May 15, 2009

For Tengrain, They Can't Take That Away From Me

I Run

I run hot and cold, sweet and sour, sometimes naughty
Even haughty, blunt too, rarely nice but often true
I run my errands in blackest black or very blue
But only in the darkest hue

I have withdrawn from most of life,
To feign a certain cool disdain
Avoiding strife, and it's illusion
Yet believe that this protects
Me from myself, and hide I do
Despite a need for human contact
I run, I run, I run from you

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Take the Profit Out Of Health Insurance; Sign This Petition

Please sign this petition. Take the profit motive out of our health care system. Having a profit motive for health care coverage does not give you better health care or ever bring costs down. Don't let the Republicans keep lying to you about the horrors of the public options for covering your health care costs. I have been disabled for years and am on Social Security and Medicare covers my medical treatment. I have never had medicare insist I go to one doctor or hospital or another. It covers all the medical care I get, it never excludes charges or ups my copay. It covers my mental health costs as well as my visits to my cardiologist and internist. It covers tests. It covers hospital stays and it covers emergency room visits.

Before I got coverage under Social Security I was paying for private coverage through United Healthcare. I was self employed as all of us working in the entertainment industry with an agent are. Most of us are considered contract labor. We have no safety net. The cheapest coverage for an individual in the late 1990's was $500.00 a month. The moment I got a diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder, United Healthcare upped my monthly cost from a very hefty $500. a month for a single person, to $1,000. a month for one person. They also increased my copay. And they hassled me over every charge. I hate those bloodsuckers. Never again will I let a private for-profit company get between me and medicare. It is only Medicare part D, the Bush engineered prescription drug program that requires a private company to suck money out of the trust. This is the Republican toe in the door approach to Medicare. They will try very hard to convince you that you need them to manage your entire medicare coverage. This is a lie. It is utter bullshit! They want to get between you and medicare so they can make a buck. Fuck them! They have been sucking our blood way too long and abusing the right to any trust at all. If you like your private coverage, just wait until you get a diagnosis that will get costly. Then see how much you like them.

Conyers, What the Hell Are You EATING?

I stole this from my close personal friend Andrew Malcolm, highly esteemed blogger for the LA Times, and twitterer extraordinaire. And as Andrew has so rightly pointed out, one glimpse of Holder's face says it all, "WTF?" is what I imagine him thinking. Add your own caption.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The Truth About Social Security From

This is one of the benefits of having lunch with Nick. The lie about Social Security is one of his areas of study and expertise. It was Nick who passed this to me, but I too get the daily update from Obviously Nick reads his updates, while I often just open my mail and skip actually reading it. This just might be the information that gets me back to actually reading my mail. Please read this. Our news media is not telling the truth about Social Security. Why? I'm not sure. I suspect it's just laziness or sloppiness, but whatever the reason, it's inexcusable. So, from Salon I give you the truth about Social Security.

Let's cut Social Security to pay for banker bailouts!

You are about to be hit by another wave of disinformation about how
Social Security is going broke and needs reforming (meaning, your
benefits must be cut). It's not true.

By Michael Lind

May. 12, 2009 |

On Tuesday, May 12, the trustees who oversee Social Security and
Medicare will issue their annual report. I don't know what will be in
the report. But I do know what the response will be. Conservatives,
libertarians and center-right Democrats will take whatever the report
says as evidence that there is an "entitlement crisis," which should
require us not only to address spiraling healthcare costs (a genuine
issue, affecting the private sector as well as Medicare and Medicaid)
but also the alleged "crisis" of Social Security (an imaginary

The coalition of libertarian zealots, Jeffersonian conservatives,
center-right Democrats and bankers and brokers who would like to earn
fees or commissions from the diversion of Social Security payroll
taxes into IRAs recycles the same arguments against Social Security,
rain or shine, boom or bust. They've been doing it for more than a
quarter-century, ever since a couple of libertarians wrote up a guide
for small-government conservatives on how to spread doubts about a
popular, solvent and effective entitlement. These tried-and-true
arguments will be dusted off and dragged through the media once again,
after the latest Social Security Trustees' report is published. Among
the bogus arguments you can expect:

The date at which Social Security will become bankrupt has advanced!
From annual report to annual report, the two key dates -- the date at
which Social Security payouts from the Trust Fund exceed payroll tax
intake, and the date at which the Trust Fund is exhausted -- advance
or retreat, depending on the contemporary economy and changes in
calculations. For example, in 1997 payouts were supposed to exceed
revenues in 2012 and the Trust Fund was supposed to be exhausted in
2029. By 2004, the trustees were more optimistic: The two dates were
2018 and 2042, respectively. If as a result of today's bad economic
conditions future growth rates are revised and the two dates are
slightly closer to the present in the latest report, should you be
concerned? No. Relax. When estimates vary so much, it would be crazy
to try to make public policy for the United States of nearly half a
century from now.

We have only two choices, or a combination -- cutting benefits or
raising the payroll tax. False. There are at least two other choices
that the deficit hawks never mention. One is more rapid economic
growth, which would make it easier to pay Social Security taxes in the
future without either benefit cuts or tax increases. The other option
that the doomsayers never discuss is an infusion of money from other
revenues, to supplement the payroll tax. Medicare is already paid for
partly by a payroll tax and partly by general revenues. Why not cut
the payroll tax and make up the difference out of general federal
taxes? If you want to be revenue-neutral, the Social Security
shortfall of about 2 percent of GDP between now and mid-century could
be patched with general revenue funds diverted from defense, if
without endangering our safety we could gradually lower defense
spending from its present wartime level of about 4 percent of GDP to 2
percent, which is more than most other advanced industrial countries
spend on defense.

Social Security and other entitlements are responsible for unfunded
liabilities of more than $100 trillion -- and as the baby boomers
begin to retire, the bill is coming due! Total nonsense.

About a decade ago, conservative and libertarian economists who oppose
Social Security, Medicare and other entitlements came up with a clever
rhetorical strategy. They would calculate the gap between the payroll
taxes that pay for these programs and estimated costs over time. But
there was one problem: The gap isn't all that scary, at least in the
near future. So in order to frighten the American people and their
elected leaders, deficit hawks cite the sum total of Social Security's
"unfunded liabilities" over 75 years. But even this -- a paltry $4.3
trillion over three-quarters of a century, according to the 2008
report -- isn't sufficiently terrifying.

In order to frighten gullible Americans, anti-Social Security
crusaders conflate Social Security with Medicare and talk about the
"entitlement crisis" in general. This masks the fact that Social
Security's projected shortfalls are minor, compared to those of
Medicare. Better yet, it produces a suitably spooky 75-year shortfall
of $42.9 trillion. And if this is not alarming enough, deficit hawks
can cite the truly apocalyptic figure of $101.7 trillion in combined
"entitlement" spending over an infinite time horizon.

The anti-Social Security lobby always presents the "unfunded
liabilities" of "entitlements" in scary dollar terms, rather than as
percentage points of GDP. Here's why: Over the next 75 years, the
Social Security shortfall at most hovers around 1 percent of total
U.S. GDP over that same period. Yes, that's right -- around a whopping
1 percent of U.S. GDP. And that is only in the unlikely event that
some combination of growth, taxes and benefit cuts do not eliminate
the shortfall in the future.

Dishonest deficit hawks also won't tell you that the Social Security
shortfall, at its worst, is only a minor cause of the total budget
deficit, which mainly has other origins. Among those are the
off-the-budget wars and the Bush tax cuts, which, if they had been
made permanent, would have created a 75-year shortfall between three
and six times greater than the Social Security shortfall (Furman and
Greenstein). By allowing tax rates for the rich to return to pre-Bush
levels, Obama has already averted huge potential revenue shortfalls
that would have made the gradual reduction of today's emergency-driven
deficits much harder.

By the way, the huge expansion of the deficit and debt in the last
year has had nothing to do with Social Security (without which not
only retirees but the economy as a whole would have been much worse
off). Indeed, thanks to the modest stimulus and the much larger
bailouts, the contribution of Social Security to long-term deficits --
always pretty small -- has just gotten a lot smaller in relative
terms. Anyone who says that the costs of the bailout mean we must now
cut Social Security is literally saying that in order to bail out the
bankers who created this crisis we need to slash benefits for American

Who is behind this disinformation campaign? The deficit hawks include
billionaires like Ross Perot and Pete Peterson, Republican
conservatives, libertarians and "fiscally conservative" Blue Dog
Democrats. This coalition has campaigned against Social Security for
more than a quarter of a century.

In 1983, in the Cato Journal published by the libertarian Cato
Institute, Stuart Butler, a transplanted British Thatcherite, and
Peter Germanis published their manifesto"Achieving a 'Leninist'
Strategy." Small-government conservatives, they argued, should learn
from Lenin, who sought to shape history rather than wait patiently for
the inevitable evolution of socialism: "Unlike many other socialists
at the time, Lenin recognized that fundamental change is contingent
both upon a movement's ability to create a focused political coalition
and upon its success in isolating and weakening its opponents."

Our two Leninist libertarians went on to argue: "First, we must
recognize that there is a firm coalition behind the present Social
Security system, and that this coalition has been very effective in
winning political concessions for many years. Before Social Security
can be reformed [destroyed], we must begin to divide this coalition
and cast doubt on the picture of reality it presents to the general
public." Because the "political power of the elderly will only
increase in the future," Butler and Germanis argued that any plan to
phase out Social Security should assure the elderly and near-elderly
that they would get their benefits: "By accepting this principle, we
may succeed in neutralizing the most powerful element of the coalition
that opposes structural reform."

While pursuing a divide-and-rule policy to "neutralize" the elderly
and other supporters of Social Security, the authors of the Leninist
strategy called for libertarians to build up a counter-alliance
consisting of institutions that could profit from the privatization of
Social Security: "That coalition should consist of not only those who
will reap benefit from the IRA-based private system ... but also the
banks, insurance companies, and other institutions that will gain from
providing such plans to the public [emphasis added]." They continue:
"The business community, and financial institutions in particular,
would be an obvious element in this constituency. Not only does
business have a great deal to gain from a reform effort designed to
stimulate private savings, but it also has the power to be politically
influential and to be instrumental in mounting a public education

In true cunning Leninist fashion, the opponents of Social Security
would disguise their revolutionary goal by pretending to be interested
only in modest, piecemeal reforms: "The first element consists of a
campaign to achieve small legislative changes that embellish the
private IRA system, making it in practice a small-scale Social
Security system that can supplement the federal system." Only when all
of the pieces were in place -- when the concerns of the elderly had
been "neutralized" by reassuring words, when banks and other
businesses seeking to cash in on Social Security privatization were
part of the libertarian alliance, and when business-funded campaigns
of "education" [that is, propaganda] had convinced most Americans that
Social Security was untrustworthy, would the Leninist right reveal its
true colors: "If these objectives are achieved, we will meet the next
financial crisis in Social Security with a private alternative ready
in the wings -- an alternative with which the public is familiar and
comfortable, and one that has the backing of a powerful political

I mean, really. Is this the ultimate smoking gun, or what? Twenty-six
years ago, Butler and Germanis, in a journal they must have expected
few if any non-libertarians to read, laid out the elements of the
dishonest and cynical campaign against Social Security that the right
has pursued ever since, right up to George W. Bush's support in his
second term for the partial privatization of Social Security. Stuart
Butler is still at it; only last year he called, again, for abolishing
Social Security as an entitlement and turning it into a program for
the poor that would be funded or not from year to year at the whim of

Even a Republican Congress was unwilling to touch the proverbial
"third rail," and in the aftermath of two stock market crashes in less
than a decade the idea of funneling Social Security funds into Wall
Street is going nowhere. But that doesn't mean the threat to Social
Security isn't over. Even if they can't directly privatize it, the
Leninists of the right will keep trying to "educate" Americans into
believing falsely that they personally are unlikely to receive their
full benefits and that Social Security somehow will bankrupt the
country -- even while they remind America's battered bankers and
brokers just how much money they could make on commissions by flipping
stocks if Social Security were gradually replaced by IRAs. Meanwhile,
they will keep trying to whittle away at America's most successful
social insurance program. They will call for converting it into a
means-tested welfare program, or rejiggering benefits formulas so that
inflation will render Social Security negligible as part of the
retirement income of most Americans. And all the while these radicals
of the right will disguise their true radicalism, pretending to be
centrist "fiscal conservatives" concerned about "fiscal
responsibility" and about "our children and grandchildren."
(Interestingly, children and grandchildren are not mentioned in the
Butler/Germanis manifesto, which contains several references to "the
business community, and financial institutions in particular.")

So be prepared, America. As soon as the latest trustees' report is
out, the media will be full of doomsayers and hand-wringers telling us
again, as they have told us year after year, decade after decade, that
we can't afford Social Security anymore. When they call on us to take
action now, we should indeed respond. With a yawn.

-- By Michael Lind

My Political Compass

I was doing a little blog surfing and ran across this at Kulkuri's place. There is a brief test, but I happen to like test taking so there's that. And I knew ahead of time that I would score in the liberal/libertarian quadrant of the test, but I'm more liberal/libertarian than Gandhi. Go me. I'd be wearing my kurta and my dhoti but it turned chilly overnight and cool today. I washed my warm winter slippers two days ago and I'm still waiting for them to dry so I have cold feet today.

Tomorrow I'll do my rave review of the movie, Soloist (it's a great movie). And I'll tell you all about the lunch date. The Med. Cafe gets a mixed review, in case your waiting to make lunch plans at the Med Cafe and can't wait for the full review.

To take the test go to politicalcompass.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Matinee Movie Wednesday

Lunch and a movie. Couldn't be a better day for it. I've had technical difficulties all day Tuesday, and so a break wouldn't be a bad idea. I got myself into such a pickle today that I nearly had a brain freeze. Finally Sitenoise came to my rescue. And once he's here on my side of the screen moving the cursor around for me, doing this and that so fast and with such ease, that I really can't figure out how I so messed things up that I didn't have a dock or a dashboard, no way to shut a program down or force quit anything. I finally manually turned off the computer, the external hard drive, unplugged everything one thing at a time, and finally it rebooted. Then I had a teeny, tiny dock. Then Phillip got home from his evening outing to rescue me, via screen sharing all the way from San Francisco.

This week's movie is catch up time. We are long overdue for a movie what with me feeling sickish for months. Now I feel better. And we are months overdue on Nick's Birthday Lunch. So it's Italian food for lunch and then we're going to see the Soloist. While Phillip was putting my blog world back together, he asked me if it was a good restaurant. I said, "I don't know, I've never been there. He asked me how I decided if an Italian restuarant was any good. And I told him if they could make a Spaghetti alla Carbonara correctly they were a good Italian restaurant. And then a conversation insued about the "correct way to make a Spaghetti alla Carbonara. I'm a stickler for a classic. No garlic in a Carbonara, I said, no olive oil, but I might be wrong on that. But basically it's spaghetti, raw egg, Italian bacon, and the fat from the bacon. The spaghetti is cooked al dente, the bacon cooked, then the hot fat and raw eggs whipped and are drizzled from their separate containers onto the hot pasta as the pasta is turned and stirred. So to make it well it takes impeccable timing and three hands working simultaneously for this dish to work. Simple ingredients, three hands working in perfect concert, a good hard grated cheese and freshly ground pepper. That's it. What must be obvious is that unless you are Shiva, it takes two to Carbonara. Phillip suggests that garlic is a good addition, I say no. Then just as I become completely dictatorial and shrill Ms M comes to my rescue, saving me from myself. I was starting to sound like Mussolini.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Someone's Tipping Cows Again

At least that's what it looks like to me when I look out the window and see this sight. From a distance with my myopia, they could for all the world be some chubby bovine breed on the small side. Or maybe they're fat palomino ponies. Whatever they are they're mighty lazy. The one closest to me has dragged his water bowl with him, no doubt spilling the contents.

Blog Tune-up and a Bit of Editing

I'm trying to get those of you who are in my big blog roll onto the feed so your newest postings rise to the top and catch my attention. I also plan to edit those two chapters sitting there with meticulous editorial notes from MRMacrum, and then start posting the novel again in the Novel Blog. I took it offline when I entered that contest. I'm lazy about all kinds of housekeeping including blog housekeeping. And then there is that deep drift of dust everywhere in my house.

It's starting to heat up and I have yet to turn on my outside water or uncover the swamp coolers. So much to do with so little inclination. I'm reading a good political thriller and it calls to me as it lies face down on my bed. But I have work to do and will flog myself into doing it one tiny chore at a time.

I'll be posting photos of my great outdoors to document the progress of bloomage, from early spring to late fall. Lucky you, you get to see it all. These shots are of the pink Honeysuckle just outside my door. Too bad it doesn't smell like Halls, but the Hall's Honeysuckle blooms later in the month and it's on the other side of my front door.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Mother's Love

It is her image of herself as better than us all
We mortal daughters , imperfect, malleable, left
Like a poorly smithed shoe leaving a limping foal
Always wanting more than she was willing to give
Sold cheaply for a reputation as a good horse trader
To the man in the white coat and hat with the PhD,
The country club, the Cabin in the Private Gated Canyon
So exclusive were you that you would never let yourself in.

Peggy Pendleton

Daughters Are...

Daughters are their mother's memories of themselves
Trapped for a moment like a bug in amber then
Left for dead or worshipped like the god she is
To herself, the creator, the first mover, the one
And only after death comes and goes and
The amber of your mother's memory of
Herself becomes clear to you
Then do you realize
You loved her

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Me, My Mother, and I

Therapy this past Wednesday was intense work. Quite a lot of time was spent in a postmortem of the disastrous date with Cal. (As you may recall my last therapy session was to get ready for my date with Cal). See Cal, we're still trying to figure out what went wrong, and how to make it right.

It seems there are times I channel my mother and not in her finest moments. But she was fierce and honest about her feelings. She was opinionated and forceful, always direct to a fault. And she was mischievous in a mean and teasing way I always hated. The flip side of not liking that is the wit in her barbs. She was quick and sometimes glib. And though I saw her as my tormenter when I was young, she was also my mother whom I adored.

Everything that I have said about her that you would think of as clearly cruel and careless has a flip side. She said she wanted to make me tough. She has succeeded. I'm not only tough, I'm strong and, so I'm told, intimidating, scary. I have her voice, her vocabulary, her taste in clothes, esthetic, intelligence and hunger for knowledge.

She was the very picture of Ms. Robinson--older woman seduces younger man. She had an almost inextinguishable sex appeal even into her 70s. And she was a political operative and leading edge feminist organizer in the 1960's in Salt Lake City, an inhospitable environment for the women's movement. She organized and led pickets of the Mormon temple on the weekend of General Conference which is when the temple grounds are packed with the faithful who have come from across the country and from other countries. It's like a biannual trip to Mecca. I have never been so scared protesting for anything anywhere in my travels, as I was marching with my mother to protest the Mormon Church's apposition to ratification by the State of Utah of the Equal Right's Amendment to the Constitution of the United States. We were threatened with death by young mormon men and we were spat upon. Never have I felt so vulnerable to violence. We had a permit, we were outside the Church's property on a public sidewalk, but I felt scared. That was when I first realized my mother's power and strength as a woman with a cause.

My mother organized the Utah Chapter of National Organization of Women, the Utah National Women's Conference. Gloria Steinem slept in the bed I inherited. So did Betty Freidan, and Andrea Dworkin. Every famous feminist who came to speak at the University of Utah was picked up at the airport by my mother, driven to this house, partied at this place. My mother was a woman with a rich and interesting life. She sat on the Board of Directors of the Utah Chapter of the ACLU and board meetings were held in this living room. Our last Mayor was Rocky Anderson and I knew him during his days as an ACLU attorney.

When Maggy lived in Santa Barbara she served two terms as a member of the Santa Barbara Grand Jury. Right up until the end of her life she was still flipping people off and saying "Fuck You." Fierce spirit. A savage woman, unwilling to live a life without breaking all the rules.

And what does all of this have to do with therapy? I will now acknowledge the gifts my mother gave me. They are undeniable and not all bad. But I would rather be gentler than my mother, more sensitive to other peoples feelings, especially if they are kind, well meaning, generous people. I have seen my mother hurt someone else very deliberately. And I have asked her, "Why did you do that?" And she has answered, "Because I could." I do not want to become that woman. So I must take care.

So here's to you mother. It's late in coming, but I do forgive you. I did admire and adore you even as I feared you.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Adagio for Strings With a Twist

I Took Your Advise

I went outside, pulled weeds with my naked hands, now my back aches and my hands are like sandpaper. Are you happy now? I came in for ice tea and in bending down to find the slice of lemon left in the veggie bin I got a good whiff of the inner depths of my fridge. It was not pleasant. I pasted up a sign on the front that labeled my fridge "Denmark" and opened the freezer to get some ice. It was a jumble of haphazardly thrown in portions of everything freezable. Little single servings of one bone-in pork chop, one skin-on ribs-in chicken breast. Two unopened bags of peas, frozen pineapple, blueberries, raspberries, vodka, old ice cream that got tossed right away since who wants ice cream with an inch of frost? So I moved from the mess in the garden, that still doesn't look any different, to the refrigerator which I can't remember cleaning in the past year.

One of the neurosis I caught from my mother was the always packed fridge, as if she were cooking for a family of four even when she lived alone. Crammed with every condiment known to man, exotic oils, bitters, capers, gibson onions, three kinds of pickles, four varieties of jelly and jam, beer, vermouth, soft drinks, milk, mayonnaise (which I consider a food group) mixed greens, green pepper, sliced portobello mushrooms, wilting celery, green onions, one limp jalepeno pepper, a small wad of liquifying cilantro, and so on. The cupboards are similarly stocked. I could feed unexpected guests though there will never be unexpected guests. Anyone unexpected will never get through the gate without having the dogs let out to greet them. No, there will be no unexpected guests.

Well now the fridge is clean, I discovered a collection of small containers of some kind of left-over way at the back of the second or third shelf, and they were completely unrecognizable, so covered in furry mold were they. Out damn spot! Yes, I can hear you making that universal sound of disgust. I will pretend I didn't hear that, but I did.

The freezer is now clean too. I feel ever so well provisioned now that everything that's in there is actually edible and not reeking either.

But I cleaned the whole thing without using gloves. I used water with a little soap and enough bleach to chap my hands further. Now there are little cracks at the end of a couple of fingers. And my back aches. I did fix myself the most delicious dinner. Pure comfort food. Milk soaked breast of chicken, breaded with flour and cornmeal, seasonings, fried in peanut oil and butter, mashed potatoes, chicken gravy, and peas with dill and butter. Uummm. It was great.

I'll take one of my 800mg ibuprofen, a 5mg diazipam, and stretch out for an evening of channel surfing and chain smoking.

I did not visit the blogs today. If I could drag my computer into my bed, I'd be reading and commenting up a storm. But the tips of two of my typing fingers have little red fissures and my computer is not a lap top. It hurts to type. Can you hear the whine in my voice? The fingers will get the hydrogen peroxide and bag balm treatment. A good night's sleep and I'll be right as rain tomorrow. Then I'm going to talk a bit about therapy. I've been mulling it over.

I'll Be Outside Getting Some Sun Today

Seems I have a number of Jewish Mothers out there. And just for all of you, I'll post evidence of my time outside, because it would be so easy to lie to you and say I did when I didn't. I can be a stubborn contrarian. But I do feel that your suggestions that I get out and about are meant to do me some good. I should not always rebel against everyone just on general principal. When I saw Rebel Without A Cause, I really understood the impulse implied in that title. And having spent a lifetime wanting to be the best girl in the world, and so pissed off that at the same time I wanted to be perfect, I also wanted to say "fuck you" to every person who ever tried to tell me what to do. This might have something to do with the three failed marriages.

Anyway, If you want me today, I'm out in the garden.

Thanks for the email Soairse Daily2

Falling Slowly

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Yesterday's Trip Out Into The World

Despite the before and after pictures, yesterday went very well. I think what wore me out was all the gadding about before the therapy, and the trip to the bank and the grocery store after. But the therapy itself was very productive and helpful. However the journey to and fro was almost more interesting then the therapy itself.

I am a notorious recluse. So any outing where I bump up against other humans is sometimes a mine field for me. I don't like people much in the abstract, but I do run into people I like instantly, like the three sisters who run the gas station where I got my fill-up. These are three of the funniest, warmest women I've ever met at a gas station. I will now never get my gas anywhere else. They have made a loyal customer.

I was washing the 8 yards of thick fabric I cover my couch with at the laundry across the street from the gas station. So while my fabric was washing I went next door to fill my gas tank. I pulled up to the pump I wanted and discovered my tank was on the other side of the car. I repositioned the car and found the pump was out of order. So after three tries I got pulled up to a working pump, then I couldn't find the release for the cover of my gas cap. I know this sounds ridiculous, but I bought this vehicle last summer from a neighbor and I drive so little (and even then don't go very far) I have only put gas in the car twice before, and each time had to get some guy to show me where the gas cover release is. It's embarrassing. After about five minutes of searching I finally figured that out. Then I put the chosen nozzle in the tank and couldn't figure out how to start the pump. I spent five minutes trying, then headed into the store thinking that maybe I had to pay before I could pump. I usually hate to ask men to help me since I don't like to see myself as an idiot woman who can't do anything for herself, so I was expecting some young man to be manning the cash register who would give me that look that says, "idiot old woman", but instead I was greeted by three women who were in the midst of a jocular banter with one another. Turns out they are the women who run the place and were cheerful about giving me the gas pumping tutorial. Then while I was pumping gas, two of the sisters were leaning against the building smoking. So when I finished filling the tank and washing the filthy windows, and emptying the ashtray, I walked over to thank them and ask if I could take their picture. They cheerfully agreed. The photo above is of me and one of the smiling jocular sisters. I'll never buy gas at another station. That's what cheerful customer service gets you--loyal customers.

This is the first time I've taken my camera with me on an outing. I have a fairly large digital camera and it's not like whipping out a cellphone with a built-in camera. And then I have to carry its case slung over my shoulder along with my purse. But yesterday I wanted to take pictures of the Valley Mental Health facility where the Masters Program (for bipolar patients over fifty) is located. But carrying your camera around with you makes you want to take pictures of almost everything. I'll link to Picasa and post these photos of the commercial district in my area called Sugarhouse and then south to Valley Mental Health. Later when my head clears and I've had my second cup of coffee, I'll tell you all about the hour and a half session with my therapist and the half hour with my psychiatrist. All good. No medication changes.

Here are the photos I took of my trip to get my head shrunk.