15 October 2006
13 October 2006
Of course, I still have not got around to making that winter coat to covers my aging and chilled knees. By the time I suck up the courage to cut into the hideously expensive fabrics (water repellent for the outer, thick warm fleece for the inner) it may be summer again-WHOOPS, Too Hot For Sewing Fleece!
Cold, I'll still love it. The leaves-oh my goodness, I'd forgot that leaves REALLY do get that colour!
I love this time of year. I play Vivaldi's Autumn section of the Four Seasons on the car player; glorying in the colours as I go down the winding roads to work, and back up the same winding roads to home. The dog and I have been taking longer walks; Gator's never seen a real Autumn. I think he likes it. The smells are different from Summer smells.
'Course, this cooler (MUCH) weather will put a bit of a crimp in my line drying habit I was hoping to get into.
I found this great little tabletop washing machine. It uses less than a third of the water and detergent, and uses absolutely NO ELECTRICITY! I'm hoping to order it very soon, and the spin dryer, too. The spin dryer spins out so much water dress blouses come out ready to wear-after ironing, I should think. The spin dryer does use a little electricity to generate centrifigal motion.
But what, me worry? Well, heck no-I happen to have a drying rack!
Altogether getting set up for home laundry will cost me under two hundred dollars, and then I'll be free of the Laundromat, and free of using a whopping lot of water, soap, and power.
With the extra added bonus of the 'machines' not being used, mold pits from a flea market or thrift store-UGH, I had NO idea!
If you are interested in this green and elegantly inexpensive method of avoiding the dreaded 'sniff test', stay on the blog, I'll order this pair just as soon as I find out why my paycheck this period is a large three digits short:)
Ya know, I used to be middle class, really, I even drove a used Mercedes Benz in Central America. (Not that I was all that impressed-OK, it ran really, really well. I just was bothered by how damn impressed everyone was with the thing. Call me a reverse elitist, I love my KIA!)
But I have been thinking for some time that a war is going on against the middle class. Since I've been out of it, I observe from a distance in my genteel poverty.
But still, how come my company shorted my pay check??
I had plans-phone bill, car insurance, groceries, winter shoes...
And a Wonder Washer, OK?
08 October 2006
It's bittersweet to feel again. Crusty really hurt Fox and me; I really miss Fox. But for a while I've been so apathetic I thought I'd stopped feeling.
I must have been sick for a while-oops, sorry, nutritionally deficient-but the last few symptoms put it all together for everyone (loss of balance; mental vagueness; profound depression-which someone who has known me practically forever kept saying he wasn't buying into; and another one I can't recall...oh right, no appetite). It helps that a medical journal published an article on riboflavin poisoning-looking at the effects of a deficiency is what made everyone say "Well, DUH!" They ruled out MS when I responded so quickly to treatment. Did I give thanks yet for BC/BS?
I'm not going to feel great for a while, but I do feel less aprehensive about the future. I was feeling rather frail there for a longer period than I'd realized, and had begun thinking about retirement/nursing homes-hey! I'm fifty, not that old especially in this lifetime, and to think I was losing my manual dexterity, flexibility, and physical strength to the point that I was afraid to think about a two story home was quite upsetting. I really didn't have the energy to think about building a home with a loft, much less contemplate the required dragging of my ancient self up the stairs four or five times a day.
Another signal something was REALLY wrong was that I was losing track of time. The anniversary of the divorce came and went and I'd completely forgot. I was walking around in a fog, and only recalled and celebrated the 9th of September as my dad's birthday.
Some may say that is a sign of my having moved on-it's not; for me the double celebration is a fantastic thing and you can trust me 100% that I do not grieve on that day so much as celebrate with my whole heart. But I really didn't remember the divorce for a few days, and my apathy toward it was the first step toward getting help. Sounds odd, I know, but the fact is that apathy is one of my bigger signals that something is seriously wrong, always has been.
SOOOOOOO, I tire easily, but less easily than last week. I know this because last weekend all I could manage was ironing a blouse for work. This weekend I've managed to tidy the house some, flea bathe the dog, and treat the house for fleas-where the hell did they come from?
I spent HOURS downloading nutritional information. Ask me, I've got the cream of all the crops sown by the best sites.
My concentration will eventually be restored to it's former total focus-I know my boss will be glad for that:)
My short term memory is coming back-I woke up in the middle of the night thinking of three things I really needed to accomplish this weekend. I told myself to get up and write them down but I fell back to sleep worrying that if I did get up to find a pen and paper to write the thoughts down, I would have forgot the three things in the effort to get up to find a pen and paper.
The three things were still in my conscious when I awoke this morning. And I accomplished the three things.
Crusty thought he'd sentenced me to a lifetime of food insecurity, poverty, and fear. He did so because I vociferiously objected to his lifestyle, which included Central and South American prostitutes, and mental cruety not only to me, but most importantly to Fox. What he did has taken an unspeakable toll on Fox and me. I believe the day will come when Crusty answers for what he did to my family.
What he did was wrong. He made it worse when he tried to destroy any witness of his calculated cruelty to Fox, to me; when he tried to render me meaningless, invisible, and hated by my son.
In a couple of weeks it will St Jude's again, the anniversary of the day I went for my first of three HIV tests. I'll light a candle.
In a few days, I will have been blogging for one year. I'll light a candle
07 October 2006
I have recently been told that I suffer from chronic undernutrition, and that it may be some six to eight months before my energy, strength, general good health, return. The prognosis is fairly good-as long as I go strctly by the plan they've laid out for me, I should be alright, and then they will do some tests to determine if the prolonged semi-starvation has permenantly damaged any majour organs.
One of my medical advisors told me privately they would have found it sooner if they were accustomed to seeing it here in the U.S. and he seemed embarrassed. They've all been faintly apologetic about all the missed diagnosis-"Oh, it's stress" "Oh it's a fungus you picked up in Gautemala" "Oh it is eczema/psoriasis/atopic dermatitis..."
Right. All the while I'm quietly starving to death before their eyes-knowing I am going hungry because I HAVE TOLD THEM AS MUCH WHEN CHASTISED FOR MISSING APPOINTMENTS because I hadn't insurance or money to pay out of pocket.
Not that I am terribly angry with them, I heard the little voice at the back of my head saying things like "Scurvey" and "Malnutrition." I ignored it because I knew I couldn't do anything about it.
Now I have a 'lesion' on my right shin that makes me think of leprosy (although it looks NOTHING like); I am experiencing some mental vagueness, as in I can't recall something from one minute to the next without either having written it down before it fluttered out of my brain or following a checklist-which explains why I literally forgot to eat after a point; my teeth-ahhh, now I understand why the most dedicated home dental plan was not effective, and I got to the point I was afraid to floss because when I did, my teeth would break; and finally, you mean those wasted looking arms and hips are NOT looking that way because I am fifty and on a low sodium diet??
At which point one of the medical advisors informed me that 'low sodium diet' does NOT mean a no-food diet, and that I should have availed myself of one of the food basket charity groups...
Right now my body and brain are acting about eighty years old. Well, not exactly, I've been on the 'refeeding programme' for a few days, and I am feeling a bit sharper. But the day I caved and went for help, I looked, felt and tested about eighty.
The good news is the lesion is already beginning to heal, they expect the skin problems to clear up in a couple of months; mental faculties will likewise return sharp as ever, they think; and OH MY GOSH, I may be able to live in a atwo story house after all!
01 October 2006
I've been thinking about changing the way I use the Internet; I've been considering what I want out of life compared to what I have in life; I've been working on making some changes.
For one thing, I seem to have lost my sense of humour. I want to get it back. I know how, too. So, BOOM BOOM, off goes the computer after I get the blog written, email read, candles lit, and the research I need done. (Today I researched laundry centers-one piece washer dryers. I'll be going with the one that has the separate compartments)
I'm more fun to be around after I've read a good hard copy book. All respect to www.gutenbergproject.org but Dumas and Hugo were meant to be savored by candle or sunlight, not the eerie glow of AdobeReader. Even if I've printed it off on the home printer (which I haven't been able to do since last September, when money got REALLY tight, and ink got REALLY expensive) hard copy beats out the screen window any day.
Also, I'm going to try again to quit smoking. Hey, it could happen! I even dreamt about it last night; one of my youngest co-worker enlisting the others to help him gently pry my fingers from around the flip-top pack...
I'm ready for fall, and nearly ready for winter, and I will not let another Sunday go by without crocheting on my afghan. I am going to use my time more wisely, both here at the shack and at work.
The dog and I are walking longer, farther, at a more brisk pace-we both are better for it.
I'm standing up a bit straighter, too. Feeling a bit better, and having less trouble blocking out 'negative thoughts' that try to steal my courage.
Happy Autumn to you all-now, get out there and enjoy it!
Today I Googled The Book of Life expecting to find all kinds of information available. To my surprise no Jewish links came up.
I do not know why I'm surprised. Twenty-one years ago, just before he died, my dad told me what was coming and revival of the pogroms was on the list of things he talked about.
He also said airplane travel would become more dangerous-he was emphatic that I not try to renew training to earn my private pilot license. He said the corridor I planned to fly would become "too dangerous within ten years" and he was right. Ten years after he died planes began crashing with increasing frequency-in the very flight corridor I hoped to fly.
I miss flying. We had a couple of planes when I was growing up, and I miss them both. I learned to fly in the Cessna 150, and was looking forward to permission to fly the 172. Too bad my dad's business partner Alex belly flopped it before I could.
But more than anything about those days, I miss my dad's advice. I need it more than ever now.
Pop wasn't especially religious, but he was faithful. So he never talked about Armageddon, or End Times, or even Y2K. He just put two and two together and then passed it on to me.
I guess what made it so very profound to me is that since 1970, I'd been thinking along the same lines, and like Dad, without any real religious overtones. But faithfully. Oh yes, faithfully.
God promised us our freedom-even if it meant standing by and watching us do one or many acts of incomprehensible evil. This has always explained the seemingly inexplicable to me. I do not believe God sends any person to life to die of murder, war, poverty...I believe His angels are with both victim and perp, comforting and advising one on the best way to escape, survive, cope; and the other that this action is grievious and that the perp should turn back from it. The whisper heard is a matter of choice-freedom. This is the greatest gift God bestows.
(Oh Frank, how I wish I could have got that across to you before you died in such agony over the way your Cindy was murdered! My failure haunts me; did you open your heart to God's comfort or do you wander lost in the fog?)
The Lord told our forbearers that he would leave us to our own devices should we turn away from Him and His divine assistance. I have to say that I truly have come to believe these are the times he sent Jesus to warn us would come if we didn't turn back.
So, during these High Holy Days, I have been examining my life, all of it, not just the past year. I want to live. To live is to Hope, and I will not give up Hope for me or for anyone else. I want to be sealed into The Book of Life. Although I know people I'd prefer not to have to socialize with in Heaven, I am glad to feel ashamed that for a brief moment I begrudged Crusty his God given right to God's mercy.
So Crusty, if you are reading this-should you somehow manage to earn God's mercy and you see me coming on the streets of Heaven, cross the street. I don't hope you go to Hell, but not even if Hell freezes over do I ever want to have to see you again.
OK, that said, I am thinking about what items of modern life I can not live without-antibiotic ointment, fabric band-aids, deoderant...Because the Crustys are legion, and they made this horrific and miserable imitation of life. (That they also want to hedge their bets is another blog entry)
And things are going to get worse before they get better. I think the 1929 crash is going to look like nothing compared to what is coming.
I don't want to think about these things, I want to think about how beautiful autumn is up here, and how I am have some little spark of interest going on a couple of things, and how to improve my work, and personal life...
26 September 2006
Fall is here, and the evenings up here on the side of a North Georgia mountain are worth every mile of the commute to/from work. Coolish, cripsity at times, I relish the need to snuggle into something slightly warmer.
I feel more peppy, and a little more interested in figuring out how to truly put my life back together.
The dog seems more energetic as well, and I tell myself we are going to start taking walks after work. I feel as though I owe it to him, the big goober. His life hasn't been what it should have been especially since the divorce.
None of our lives have been-Fox's, Gator's, mine. I look back hoping to find a way to look back and learn something valuable from the life we lived at Crusty's hands. I remember telling God that I would do everything I could to make sure this was all turned to His purpose somehow. I hate feeling sorry for myself but have always believing looking at the past is a learning experience-except this time that hasn't been the case. Over the years I have spent far too much time working on not being bitter, and too little time finding anything good besides that I don't have a .41 pointed at the back of my head, or at my son's.
Over the past years, I've spent too much time fighting depression; too much time not even caring that I was having trouble coping with the horrors-not enough time caring about me. I came TOO close to being homeless, and not really caring too much about it. I sort of got to the point that if the dog weren't around, I wouldn't care if I went homeless or not.
It didn't really matter because I've been homeless for a long time, I think; since 1999 I think I knew deep down inside that Fox and I were not going to survive this nightmare Crusty plunged us into, not without a terrible and prolonged battle.
The morning of New Year's Eve 1999 I walked into a crack house and retrieved my son. He smelled so badly that even in the cold I HAD to drive with the windows down.
Crusty and I had been legally divorced for three months, the day the divorce was granted (on my father's birthday, no less:) had been a happy day for me.
The day I realized I'd lost my son, at least 'temporarily' I just stopped caring.
I went through the motions, but the hope really had faded. With the hope, my ability to care for myself faded-day by day; one foot after the other; more and more I heard nothing, felt nothing... until last week I really understood just how uncaring about myself I've become.
I tell myself it is time to get some help. I tell myself it is not too late for me to restart my life. Then I try to tell my side of the story to an imaginary counselor, and I am unable to speak.
Unable to speak even to my own self.
Because I know no-one will believe me unless they've been there-and if they have, they can't speak either.
Another day. I dig out the few winter clothes I brought with me from South Alabama because the one thing I am truly able to feel is the cold.
Introspection is a double edged sword-if one cannot learn anything but just how deep grief can descend, why look?
Is it worth the trouble just to spite Crusty, who hoped out loud I would learn my lesson, that I would end up homeless and alone, berift of the very reasons for living-my son, a real husband, a real home where everyone is safe, and warm, and fed, and TOGETHER against all enemies...Do I live now only to thwart Crusty?
And if so, how do I thwart him alone when the very definition of thwarting him is not being ALONE?
One foot after another, another, another...
Damn Dammit! Can that sorry wretch, whom God loves as much as he loves me, can that monster have really reduced ME to being abled only to eke out the merest survival???
24 September 2006
One of the online articles I read was about how awful living alone is. Gee, that was a great help. I Googled the lifestyle hoping for some great ideas on making a totally lonely life less so. I found only this article on how really horrid it is, how one descends into drunkeness...
I can assure you all, dear and gentle readers, I have NOT succumbed to the temptations of strong spirit:)
I have, however, become a truly poor housekeeper. It isn't funny. I really should have done dishes, vacuumed, fire hosed the powder room. I should have done several of those things one does on the week end, and I did none of them.
I miss my family. I know that is the one and only reason why I have become so completely disinterested in homemaking.
But another part of me says, HEY! you did something really good over the past week (Several of the cyber buddies and I reached out to someone in terrible shape, and by the end of the week, we all saw a bit of light shining in the darkness-not a bad thing, I think:) and while bragging is never good, a bit of relief that someone out there feels a lot better tonight is a good and maybe even great thing, so I am not going to beat myself up 'cause the house isn't tidy.
OK, the house is maybe 'tidy' but it needs a good cleaning.
Tonight I saw a firefly, and wished on the first star.
The dishes will keep one more night:)
22 September 2006
I look back over the blog entries to see if I've grown, or shrunk. Sometimes I think I've lost my sense of humour but then I find it, and I tell myself I've not really lost it, it is simply that not much is funny right now.
The hunt for Osama bin Laden, tsunami, plane crashes, stock crashes-think Enron; Iran, Iraq, missing children, sold children-as they say in Guatemala-"mas, y mas, y mas, mas, mas, mas..." ("more, and more, and more, more, more, more...")
I try to live within my means-why do 'they' keep taking more of my means? I try not to be a conspiracy nut, but, things look worse than I've EVER seen...
Tomorrow The High Holy Days begin. I think maybe the best thing for me to do is observe them.
And pray, without ceasing.
20 September 2006
Yeah, dog blogs. Go figure, right-
"For the dog who has everything! Now you too can blog, Fido, and be the envy of all the guys when you download 'kewl stuf' like the IM/Comments box! Why go to UTUBE when you can upload your clips right onto your very own...DOGS WITH BLOGS homepage! Woof-Woof, dude, your pals will howl at the moon along with you no matter how many miles or oceans keep you apart-and hey, get yourself out there, and meet new ladies, too!"
No, really, 'dates' are made on dog blogs. Sigh.
OK, between working long hours-not that I'm complaining, really, and trying to figure out how to get settled when every minute I am wondering if I should finally relax and think I might just have a home-well, it is time consuming.
The online support group is a big help-they are a great bunch who have somehow managed to befriend each other-we are even talking about meeting somewhere in the middle next summer.
Being fifty is half good, and half not so good.
I am looking at house plans-house plans for 'homes' under 1000 sq. ft. because it looks like I'll be alone. (I'm not too happy about that, of course. frankly, I am a family person, and I am out here without one.) So I need to plan on the future of being the one and only who has to worry about the roof, etc.
I saw a couple of pretty nice little cabins...
Gee, I am so interesting.
17 September 2006
'Pope' Offers Sort Of Apology-If he really thinks these people are going to buy into his idea of an apology, he is painfully wrong. We can't ask the latest victim of his obtusive thought process-BECAUSE THE NUN IS DEAD-yes, that's right, a nun who was doing aid work in Somalia AND her bodyguard are dead.
Word to the wise, there, Emminence, saying you are sorry people are upset by your speech is NOT saying you are sorry that you opened your mouth in the first place.
Seeing as the Muslims as a whole have made it quite clear that they are at best hair splitters, doncha think you might just maybe wanna re-think your apology? Say, for the sake of um, I dunno, WORLD PEACE maybe??
Iran and Venezuela Get Cozier: God help us, 'nuff said, right?
Time Magazine Cover-"What War with Iran Would Look Like": Once upon a time, I culd afford to buy and read this magazine. Now I can't, so I have to hope the article is not as ominous as the cover leader suggests.
I do know this. Venezuela is one hell of a lot closer to US shores than Iran-my "what if?" better be addressed right damn quick by somebody with the real brains AND honour to be in charge, or else I can tell you myself what war with Iran will look like-it will look like Hell.
I don't need to be a war college grad, or a psychic, to see a great lot of trouble coming in from the SOUTHERN borders of this country-by air and land and sea.
Things don't look too good for anyone just now. Not even Bush, whom I make no secret of having mostly a lot of disrespect for, but, well, ya know, I kinda feel sorry for him right now. Watching him on TV, I tell myself I can almost hear him think, and I seriously feel badly for him and the trouble he is facing, and the choices he has to make.
I just and most sincerely wish he would ask US (as in the people of this country) instead of lying scound...uh, never mind.
I don't want to be scared, I believe in God and His plan. I just wish I'd managed not to lose touch with my son and grandson, because I really have seen all of this before, and it is scary to be out here all alone-as my son is without a family to turn to. I just don't know what to do now at all.
Oh, and one more thing Ratzinger (what a name, was the pun intended?), you really need to look up the word placate. It has not got a good connotation, really it hasn't...
Nope, not my Pope.
16 September 2006
No wonder Muslims are upset. Either Ratsinger or I do not speak English all that well, and personally, I am fairly certain my grasp on King's English (oh right, right, sorry) er, Queen's English is full on. Grammar-OK, ya got me. Comprehension-I am spot on.
OK, so I searched for the speech, found it, struggled with it, and came away thinking, "OK, maybe he didn't mean anything...maybe, mayb...Oh hell no, it was meant to be provocative, I really think that! So what was Ratsinger thinking-proving how easy it is to piss off the Muslims even more?"
Seriously. I'm sorry, I wanted to like the guy. But I have a predisposition against RC guys who strut out on the Papal balconey with a commanding and regal wave-come on, did the guy practice in front of a mirror for months before His Holiness the real Pope died? I laughed at the commentator's "Well, he is really only a fill-in pope, won't be here long..." as Ratsinger did his triumphant balconey appearrance, looking full on like a cat who was ready and able to be around for a very long time to come.
Oh Karol-verily thou art missed! Juan Pablo Segundo-te amo todo el mundo!
But Ratsinger-sorry, ain't MY pope.
Especially when it looks as though he was hoping to get off with an "Oops, all I did was quote an especially offensive passage against Islamic jihadis out of any understandable context, and then 'forget' that Constantinople hasn't been Constantinople for OVER 500 YEARS and ya know, it aint easy to remember to call it by it's heretic name Istanbul...my bad, did I say heretic? Hey, s'matter? No biggie-can't they take a 'dialogue'? Sheesh, those Muslims fly off the handle easy when jabbed, huh? Oh yeah, they can dish it out, but they sure can't take it!"
In the words of the great American philosopher Bugs Bunny, "Enh, watta maroon!"
Hey, don't take my word for it. Just try making any real sense of Ratsinger's piece.
Written for the masses? Then it was definitely intended to be provocative. It had to have been written with utter contempt for the so-called masses, and deliberately convoluted so as to be nearly uncomprehensible, leaving only the Constantinople, and the 14th century 'Christian's ' imflamatory remarks about the Prophet (may he walk in Paradise) right up front and center-and sure to really, really, really piss off some already pissed guys with the demonstrated willingness to commit mass horror in the name of the Prophet (may he walk in Paradise) and Allah.
Written for academics?
Where the hell is Ratsinger's PR guy?
"Er, Emminenza, this is better left unpublished-it is far too lofty for the ordinary man to comprehend. This may be one of the few times we might just want to, ah, well, um, supress the common man's access to the higher echelons of intellectual exchange, if you can try to understand, Emminenza, please..."
Ratsinger-not my pope. I'm pretty sure he isn't God's, either. I say that with convinction and not a little fear-the long arm (or should I say backhand) of the Vatican has Internet access and judging from pre John Paul II days, they don't hesitate to employ less than savory tactics against those considered heretics, excommunicates, or apostates. Even if said 'evil-doer' is just a displaced homemaker with the brains to recognize a naked empererer in a mitre.
JP II would NEVER have done this-when he upheld the Law, he did so in such a way as to open doors and hearts to true dialogue. He spoke to the man and woman barely making ends meet, but still trying to send their kid to Catholic school, still trying to hang on despite the abuses of children and the vulnerable being revealed. He spoke to the poor with their intellect dulled by hunger and disenfranchisement; His Holiness spoke to them, and they understood every word.
Truly it did not matter what language JP II's speech was being translated to or from, his words and spirit translated perfectly-hope, love, reconciliation. He spoke, and we all listened and found hope, love, and reconciliation.
Ratsinger's words translated (if not intended as provocation) badly-hate, hate, and more hate. And may indeed start the conflagration we of sounder and less rabid minds had really hoped to stop.
I read today that Ratsinger is being compared to other famous facists-no, really?
15 September 2006
Life goes on...
Most of us face a tragedy sometime in our lives, and some of us suffer a string of unfortunate events.
Therein lies the difference. If we understand that physical death happens to everyone, and a great lot of people endure divorce, estranged family, abusive parents, and professional failure, we are ahead of the game and chose to single out one thing as "the tragedy" that may or may not define our life.
Or we focus on the seemingly long line of really bad things that seem to keep happening, and descend into drugs, alcohol, anger, bitterness-if we don't kill ourself or the neighbours, we make those around us kinda-sorta (but not really) wish we would seriously consider euthanasia over making everyone else so damn miserable.
IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER-(PLEASE NOTE THIS IS ABSOLUTELY NOT INTENDED TO SOUND AN ENDORSEMENT OF SUICIDE BUT IS MEANT FOR ILLUSTRATION PURPOSES ONLY!!)
Fact is (and trust me, I am old enough to have a worthy opinion) that we ALL suffer several tragedies in each lifetime. The difference between picking just one to call "the tragedy" or calling our life a never ending stream of 'bad karma' is in the viewing. And our choice makes ALL the difference.
Real tragedy is 9/11 and 3/11 and 7/7. New York. Madrid. London.
Real tragedy is Lebanon, Israel, Darfur, Palestine, Iraq.
Real tragedy is leaving the house confident in the babysitter's skills-only to find police, ambulance, and fire rescue vehicles blocking the driveway and the street upon your return.
They are there because the babysitter simply did not understand that leaving an eighteen month old on the pool deck "for a second" is wrong. But it is too late-your toddler is dead.
This kind of tragedy happens every day somewhere in America and with horrifying frequency in the summertime.
But not this year in Phoenix. The entire swim season-start to finish-passed with not one single child drowning.
This miracle happened because when the above referenced infant died his parents chose individual views of the tragedy. Heartbroken, and inconsolable, the mother developed a substance abuse habit that no doubt was the final straw in a shattered family. The father, on the other hand, decided to make the sorts of changes that might have saved his little one, if only someone before him had made changes...
Perspective, the difference.
13 September 2006
I work for a child of a very large company-multiple international offices-all started in America, by Americans.
Not one word about yesterday. Not one damn word. Not from management, Human Resources, Corporate, or co-workers.
People were so uncomfortable about the possibility of an answer that they didn't ask why some of us spent the day with red, swollen eyes-they just avoided anyone who looked as though they might be grieving.
No-one was encouraged to pay silent respect at 0846, 0903, 0959, or 1029, or when the planes hit the Pentagonand that somehow forever beautiful Pennsylvania field.
Because my personal grief is connected to the WTC, at 0846 I stopped my work and bowed my head. The guy in the next cubicle looked at me over the low divider between our desks then looked away and went on with his work. We were first into work-we are on a special project that brings us in early, and sends us home late.
I could not, could not, could not keep the images of those last final moments of the passengers as they were brutally disabused of the notion that if they just behaved...
I thought I might lose control right there in the office, in public; in front of my co-worker, whose disdain for the Bush administration has caused him to agree with others of my co-workers that maybe the government had something to do with the attack.
By 0900, our co-workers were arriving. At 0903, as I again paused in my work and watched the clock, my co-workers gamboled on in their usual morning fashion-fetching coffee, replaying the football game and guessitmating the NBA season highlights to come.
It outraged me.
It was very difficult to control my anger and my disappointment that so many other people-strangers who lost no-one but were grieving in that moment for those who did-strangers who were joining hand and heart all across the world in memory of those who'd died just because they were in America-these strangers could extend themselves, and could be so completely ignored by these angry young people I was surrounded by yesterday. For very, very quick moment I wanted to scream, then I thought I might quietly ask them please to just take the conversation somewhere else, please...But I couldn't find the energy.
I knew that I might hear some of the comments I'd heard down in Dothan from people like my boss-"What do you mean, close the office?! Why?!"
Some of my tenants, so-called friends (not that I was ever really friends enough with anyone after the divorce to warrant an invitation to Thanksgiving dinner...to me that is the measure of friendship, do you care enough to spend sacred days with them?), other business people
"Well, it isn't that big a deal...it doesn't really mean anything to us...after all, it didn't happen here, did it-it happened up there in New York."
So at 0957 I left my cubicle, my office, and went out into the courtyard/smoking area-blessedly alone through 0959 and until 1010.
I think that 11th September should be a day of national mourning-no school, no work, stores closed, banks shuttered; and all houses of worship open to shelter the grieving, to educate the children.
Out of respect. I think it is a no-brainer.
Because on that day in 2001, nearly three thousand people died for one and only one reason-they were in America.
And I absolutely hate the cynicism that has effectively erased the honarable memory of all the good people who 'voted with their feet' to give every American, and every wannabe, the chance to be so disrespectful, so cavalier, so self-centered, and so damn angry.
Ethan Allen and His Mountain Boys, Nathaniel Hale, and yes, George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, Ben Franklin and John Adams, the poor men at Valley Forge, and all the way up to and including those poor men at Anzio and Guadacanal, and..
And John Q. Public.
You really are a lucky fellow, Mr. Smith. I wish to God that you appreciated that.
Franky it hurts that you don't, and it hurts that you think it is funny that it hurts.
But what hurts us both is that you've managed to silence our voices that might have helped you to open your hearts; that you've turned a cold shoulder to the grief-stricken, the hungry, the helpless, the homeless-and that a great many of you hope to profit by them in myriad ways.
If only we could bridge this Great Divide of anger and enmity between us!
Somehow we all managed to get through the day; word spread that I had some reason to be in need of space, and then about three or four in the afternoon, in the process of handling a customer request I looked down and saw that the man's name, listed last name first, was, so help me God-Mohamed, Atta.
I almost fainted. I showed it to my superviser, and a customer service rep I knew I could count on to serve only as soemone to reassure me that I had not lost my mind. They were stunned. I am not sure, really, what to make of that one yet.
On the way home last night I had to put air in my tire and the air hose was not connecting well; as I fumbled, the woman in line behind me fumed and gave voice to her impatience.
Her car windows were down; she had a young teenager in the mini-van with her and I wondered what this poor kid was learning courtesy of his American soccer mom...
What happened next was surreal-the man pumping gas at the next island thought she was addressing him; they started a shouting match that quickly escalating into offers to settle things by fisticuffs!
When he dropped the gas nozzle and started toward the van I called, "Let it go, man, she's not worth it-she was hassling me, too. Just let it go." I begged him as I put my little KIA between the two of them.
He went back to his gas, and she pulled in to the air hose slot I'd just left.
What a truly hideous day the 11th of September is becoming in this country.
12 September 2006
"Awake lute, awake harp! I myself will waken the dawn..."
For some reason I felt as though someone was in the room-an unseen presence filled with rage toward me personally. The feeling was so strong I found myself in heated 'conversation' with this entity-I actually talked out loud to this thing. When I finally got rid of the loathsome presence, I went downstairs, and absently aimed the remote...
And dropped to my knees as I watched the South Tower slowly crumble to the ground. I had this weird flash of a 'video clip' in my head-I swear I saw my friend Joey making his way down the stairwell with his lawyer, and then they were gone in a crush of dust and building.
When I finally went back upstairs many, many, many hours later, and fell asleep-I dreamt these horrible dreams:
A young man, tallish, lean, and dark haired, about 30, in a white shirt, tie, and tan slacks; he was sitting at the end of my bed and he kept asking me-
"Please, can you call my wife? Tell her to tell the boys how sorry I am that I won't be making it home to read to them. My name is Stephen_________ , I work on 105, and my number is ___ ___ ____; please, can you call my wife?"
There was another guy with him, sandy haired and shorter, stocky, he kept saying he didn't want to die...
A priest. When I first saw him he was kneeling by the bodies of a firefighter, and a woman, and he was administering Last Rites; he looked at me and said, "Will you hear my confession?"
He asked me several times, but I kept refusing, feeling utterly inadequate to hear the confession of a man who was in such peril yet kept praying for EVERYONE ELSE he could reach. I sensed he knew he was trapped, and knew he would die, thus the request for the hearing of his confession...
He managed to convince me to at least read the Litany For The Dying, and as I began, dust slowly covered my view of him.
Through out the dreams, I kept hearing a voice praying for (my adopted cousin) John's wife and children. "For Marie Elena and the kids, Lord hear my prayer..."
And then Joey was standing behind me on a hilltop as I looked down and over at the smoldering ruins of the Trade Center, and he said "Don't ever come here. Promise me."
I promise, Joey. I promise.
"Please, can you call my wife...?"
10 September 2006
He hated credit and said it would lead to the downfall of Western Civilization. Weeell, lads and lassies, just look at us now...
I know that some of the visitors to this blog know me, knew my dad. I'm glad you check in. I want you to understand that I know every bit as well as you that Pop certainly had faults-excuse me, did you miss that I mention Dorothy-so you needn't remind me to not canonize Pop. Trust me, soooo ain't gonna happen.
But you are not going to talk me out of the respect and love I had/have for the man my dad was.
Did you know how damn hard he tried to find Nadine and Danny Joe when they disappeared?
Were you there when he heard Harold and me out unflinchingly the year before he died? Were you?
Did you know that his second to last words were to Danny Joe; or that his last words were to Nadine-about me? I have a message to deliver for my dad-wanna help?
Were you there when he was dying; were you there when he died?
John was. Harold was. I was. Fox was (the way his granddad lived his last years and the way his granddad died made such an impression on little Fox that he STILL amazes me by bringing up something I'd totally forgot, so do not try to denigrate either Pop's memory, or Fox's toddler impressions).
Where in the hell were you-'cause you damn sure were not there!
You probably know that John and I could not stand to be in the same room-but did you know that for our mutal love of Pop we sucked it up and made it through the cremation in total respect and harmony.
Hey, maybe you were at Pop's funeral and saw Harold and Darlene have to struggle to keep me from sending John to be with Pop on the spot if he thought Pop's death such a bloody damn blessing.
Maybe you missed that part-Harold was hissing in my ear not to embarrass Pop by starting a brawl at his funeral, so maybe the struggle was more genteel than I recall it.
And you probably know that John was on FLT 11 on 11th September 2001. Were you there for Marie Elena and the kids? For Arturo? Just asking.
Tomorrow morning it will have five years since that awful attack. I confess freely that while my first thought was how horrible for him and his family, it has taken me until just now to pray that John was greeted by all his loved ones who'd crossed before him-including Pop and Barbara.
Pop did that-taught me to be the sort of person whose first thought on hearing someone she disliked had been killed was sorrow for the man and his family.
Pop taught me to be honest with myself and the world about my motives, my actions-my dad taught me a lot of very good and decent things.
I'm not sure why, as this fifth aniversary of the attacks happens, I am thinking so much about John. I really did not like him at all. He thought I might be taking advantage of Pop, and I thought he was a jerk for not talking with me about it.
All I know for sure really, is that John really loved my dad and he really loved his wife and kids, and I think it is awful that his children grew up to watch their dad's plane smash into the WTC five years ago tomorrow morning.
And while I certainly wish Pop was still alive with me and Fox, because we REALLY need him now more than ever, I am so glad that I know there was at least one soul waiting for John when he crossed-Pop.
Because my dad loved, really loved. So, I know that when my time comes to cross, Pop will be there for me the same way I am pretty sure that he was for John.
I know because I know Barb was there for Pop. I KNOW.
And because of the good things Pop taught me, I actually, in the end, feel badly that the way I know upsets you so, when it could be a great goodness, a perfect rightness in your life.
If you decide you want to talk about it, I'm pretty sure you know how to find me.
09 September 2006
I found a birthday card I made for him, and I tucked it away in a trunk for later. The trunk is in a south Alabama storage unit, or I would haul it out and look at that card today.
Had he lived, my dad would be celebrating his 85th birthday. I lit a candle for him and left the sort of message I would have left if his tomb sat closer than Cypress, California.
On every birthday since he died, I have spent part of the day remembering my dad. The first few years the grief was too strong, and the memories hurt terribly because I knew Pop wanted to live for Fox's sake-Dad took one look at Crusty, and later offered privately to show me how to kill him without getting caught.
Oh, that Pop. Kinda cool, though, the way real dads just know about somethings like worthless rat bastard bums who marry their little girl, and how to handle it:) Of course, he didn't really mean it about killing Crusty, I think it was more his way of letting me know the depth of his disdain for Crusty.
Any road, after a few years, the memories brought fewer pangs, and more laughter at what a character my dad was. Fox would spend literally hours asking me to tell the one about...Over the years I got to where I would spend the days just before Pop's birthday or the aniversary of his passing trying to recall something new for Fox.
One memory I never have to search for is of the holidays we spent out on Lake Havesu just before developers brought over the London Bridge-wow, was that weird, to think of the London Bridge plunked down in the middle of the California desert!
Pop used to call the prep for the trip a "Hairy Safairi" (pronounce it the way it is spelled here, and you'll get a quick glimpse into my dad's sense of humour) because his second wife, my truly wicked step-mother whom we secretly called Alice Capone, functioned a bit better in panic mode.
Her real name is Dorothy, and of course, because she was so mean, we called her Dirty Dort-to her face, and Pop rarely chastised us for it, because by the time we were old enough to label her, he'd been through enough with her to give credit for discernment where it was due. It was a great many years before he found out I had come up with the Alice Capone one, and then all he said was, "Smart kid. Ever thought about law enforcement as a career?"
Gads, she was really awful, and I hated getting ready to go camping with her in charge of the preps! She made EVERYONE so miserable! By the time we got in the car (a '59 Ford station wagon complete with huge fins, and an equally huge way-back) no-one wanted to go anywhere, much less on a three day camping trip with that witch in charge.
But by the time we hit the outskirts of Bakersfield we were singing in the car, and looking forward to stopping at Sambo's coffee shop where we would gorge on the best dollar pancakes ever made. Pop made a point of keeping Dorothy from using spit to clean the syrup off our faces, and took a bit of pleasure thwarting her efforts to make us so grossed out that we threw back breakfast onto her lap-it was a family conspiracy we came to love.
(Poor Dort, no-one liked her. Although she gave us all good reason, I at least on rare ocassion felt a little sorry for her-until the next wicked evil thing she liked to do to hurt us...)
We would hit the river early in the first day and set up camp. We swam, we ate, we ran the boat-oh jeez, Pop LOVED to run the boat at full throttle through the Petrified Forest.
My half sister nearly drowned one trip. I was the first one to notice she was in trouble, and I flung myself into the cold Colorado River water to pull her out of the current that was somehow trying to push her under instead of along. Of course she was in a full tilt panic, and damn near drown me, too but somehow I got her out of the current.
Something loomed in the dark water over me as I was losing my grip on my strength and my sister-for a moment I thought "SHARK!" then my brother Harry and Pop swam/waded us back to the bank.
When we got home he signed us up for swim lessons. We had a pool at home wherein I had already taught myself how to swim, but Pop decided a little more formal instruction was in order.
Oh man I miss my dad!
I spent the better part of the morning composing a word.doc that I then emailed myself at work. I document this stuff, because I've watched The Instigator trash two people so far, and I sense my time coming.
I intend to fight-harder than anyone is willing to give me credit for knowing how to fight. I may be nice, but I am damn sure not stupid, and these brats are about to be made aware of that-IF there are no changes when I go in on Monday morning.
The first whiff of workplace bullying and BAMN! I hit send, and the entire folder of dated and locked documentation-including appeals to management go to:
*on site HR
*main office HR
*parent company HR
*a labour lawyer who would love to sink his teeth into this one, and is still mad at me for not unleashing his inner shark on the last boss-so his ferocity will be ah, um, well, shark like.
OK, I know that her intensifying assaults on me and the other white hag are directly proportional to her anxiety at our presumed (in her eyes) success in the on going power struggle.
And OK, I know I should feel sorry for her that her life is apparently so pathetic that her greatest ambition is to run off all the real workers because they threaten her job security.
And, OK already! I know that if she were half as scary as I sometimes think her, she would be smart, and she isn't smart or she would not be so intent on running off anyone who can actually do the work.
OK, I get it. I should just let the stupid little _____ go ahead and continue to get away with running off the only people in the room that can cover her sorry ___ so that she will FINALLY be exposed as a total pinhead and fraud, not to mention idiot obstructor of production.
And, yeah, I get that I shouldn't want to work at any company stupid enough to let that _____ get away with this AND set themselves up for a big, fat, hairy, noisy, ugly, (did I say big and fat yet?) big, fat lawsuit.
Really, I do get all of this.
So, you hiring?
08 September 2006
I feel as though some of those changes have brought me back to a place I very much prefer-a caring and prayful person for others.
Ah, dinna get yer knickers in a twist, I'm still ME. Ya shoulda heard what I yelled at the witch who cut me off in traffic yesterday:)
But praying for others has brought me more personal Peace than I can articulate to you, gentle reader. And it restored to me an insight I'd been thinking had been crushed out of my soul. Welcome back, LOVE-you Weapon of Mass Construction. Gee, I'd like to deploy you all over the world!
So, if you're in a rough patch, I highly recomend prayer directed outwards.
Gin, whose mighty all-out war with cancer is hitting a bit of a rough patch just now. She has a circle of friends who are united in Love For Gin, and they have graciously permitted a total stranger into Gin's back-up army. Add your voices, please. She has a wicked sharp sense of humour and wit-one of the links on her blog is to the Death Psychic (which is a hoot to try out, BTW).
Curious Servant and his family, both immediate and the extended, some of which are now under one roof as they care for a ill member.
Eric, the Warrior. 'Nuff said?
My co-workers, every last pinheaded idiot. Trust me, 'nuff said...but you don't know them, so maybe your prayers for them will be more meaningful, and really help them:) 'Sides which, God knows 'em, and still loves them, so I am probably waaaaaay wrong about them.
Mary-Lou, a MOM, like me, no different for all that she lives in Luxemburg, half way across the world-MOMS, real ones, want the same thing for their children, real happiness and peace in a good life; well, pray for Mary-Lou, and her daughter the way so many of you have prayed for me and Fox. Mary-Lou and her daughter are estranged.
Fox and his friends. As regular readers, you know that not only does one of the parents of Fox's friends 'get' to go through 9/11 5 years on, but they must now add the 11th as the first full month since they had to disconnect Michael from life support. It cannot be easy for them, so please pray for them to open their hearts to strength and healing.
And pray with all your hearts, minds, bodies, and souls that our children turn away from the 'choices' that led Michael to try a speedball even though he surely had been warned in rehab that he could never do drugs again if he wanted to see his daughter grow up.
Pray for these children who are so bruised by life, so filled with despair by some of us, that they have given up, and forgot how to pray-pray that they find it within themselves to pray for someone else today, tomorrow, and maybe the day after that, until it becomes a habit again.
Oh dear God, how do You stand watching Your children go through these terrible times? How can we help them?
Prayer-the ultimate act of faith-think about it. If you pray, are you not saying that you have faith in you somewhere?
Say, have you heard the one about the mustard seed?
07 September 2006
We bought a 1962 Douglass of Georgia 10x48 (including the tongue) house trailer, and prepared ourselves for hard times. We had an old BB gun, and Crusty took the first watch with it to shoot the mice and rats as Fox and I tried to sleep in our new 'home'.
And when Crusty was not laid off after all, we were 'stuck' with this old trailer. By the time we'd got the good news we had killed or chased off all the critters, so we decided to gut the interior and rebuild it.
Those were the better years. We fenced, we wired, we painted, we floored. We built a small deck, and added onto it; we salvaged some old septic tank lids (unused and abandoned on the farm we rented a lot for the trailer on) and some bricks, and built a really beautiful walkway and terraced garden area wherein I grew some pretty spectacular roses. Crusty really hated me, but he built me a pretty nice kitchen.
Crusty bought a mid range telescope, and we would troop out to the front lawn and watch the Moon, and the stars. Weather, no matter; time of year was important-what planet, what star could we see now?
We even stayed out very late and took the telescopes (our neighbours were like minded) down to the pastures to see Hale Bopp. Then those people out in California killed themselves so their souls could hitch a ride on the comet, and we stopped watching Hale Bopp...Come to think of it, that is when things REALLY started to go south with Crusty.
In the early, early fall, even before Indian Summer, I would start raking the entire yard and piling the mostly pine straw rakings for the Halloween bonfire we lit in the ditch in front of the trailer. Fox's friends would come back after trick or treating to stay until collected by Mom or Dad much later, after the fire was going out for lack of fuel because pine straw mountains only last 7 or 8 hours at best when eager hands are claiming the pitchfork to make the fire leap up again.
As time went on and we enlarged the deck (we lived there from 1987 to 1998); it became our 'den' and we would sit there in the dark to listen for whipoorwills. Once we saw a panther in the neighbour's yard-she was petting it's head as it rubbed against her hip like a giant kitten.
I would get Fox into bed, get the dishes washed, the kitchen tidied, and then go out on the porch to say a rosary, walking back and forth along the deck that became a full length veranda.
Tonight I went out into the front yard with the dog, and the moon was full, and I thought again about buying myself a little telescope...I thought about how familar, yet better this would all seem to Fox, if I can just get through to him...I could almost hear him saying how much this place reminds him of the old place on Logan Road.
A million miles and years away.
I looked around this tin shack that I am renting on the side of a north Georgia mountain and missed my son so much it nearly took my breath away.
He needs a real father; I need a real husband.
My son and I need a home.
I know my son is 24 years old. But you tell me when a man no longer needs a real father, if you can. I don't think that you can say that we all don't need our fathers all the days of our lives.
I was truly blessed-my Pop and I were able to get through the issues before he died-we were home. When my dad died we were a family. I felt berift, but not homeless.
I wish Fox had that.
What makes a real father?
What makes a real home?
I love you Fox. Come home. Please, son.
04 September 2006
Today, as I lit a candle at the page that brought me back to www.gratefulness.org, I decided to write the following in answer to those who find fault with those of us who light candles for racehorses:
"Love for Barbaro brought me here; LOVE for all Your children keeps me here. Thank-you Father for sending the horse who carried me Home."
I am an anchronism-a thing out of time or place...I have my beginnings in a time wherein a horse was more than a beast of burden and considered a lesser being to justify the savagery of enslavement.
I come from a time wherein a horse was so very much more. Truth be told, those times were far less brutal than these! I come from a time and place wherein a horse was a true brother, far better than Cain ever was to Abel!
Do you ridicule us who pray for a horse? Then you will not understand, not now, perhaps not ever.
You will find amusement that I read about www.gratefulness.org at the Penn State Vet message board for Barbaro; when I read that someone had started a candle group for Barbaro there I was reminded that I had once gone to the site but forgetting to 'bookmark' it, lost my way back...It will no doubt amuse you that I wasted no time clicking the link on the message board; wasted not even a second bookmarking the home page at www.gratefulness.org; then set out to explore more fully a cyber sanctuary a horse had help me find my way back to-you will no doubt find great amusement that I call it sanctuary-
Love for that horse brought me to a place where I could find strength, comfort, fellowship...sanctuary.
If you should ever decide you are tired of your jaded and vulgar, crude and boorish so-called sophistication that has brought you into profound cynicism and unrest-disatisfaction with all that is beautiful around you thanks to God; if you should ever choose to wake-up and recognize your very homelessness, and then do something about it; there is a place for you there.
I lit a candle for an injured horse whose spirit carried me Home.
"Be not afraid/I go before you, always...
Come, follow me/for I shall lead you home."
"No man is an island/no man stands alone.
Each man is my brother/each man is my own."
I've left a light on for you, as well.
03 September 2006
Today I inched a little closer...
I feel as though the past few years have been one long series of unfortunate events-rather unfortunate, really.
One of the events was Crusty telling me he would arrange for me to have a 'tragic accident' if I told anyone about him, the things he did, had done, and was going to escalate in doing...Because of his actions during the eighteen years I was his wife, I believed him. Someday, soon, I am hoping, I will be able to walk around without sensing the bull's eye on my back.
As a consequence of those unfortunate events, I have been engaged in an eight year struggle to regain my sense of self-the self I rather liked, anyway, not the grouch, the little miss oh-the-world-may-be-out-to-get-me- after-all me I realized I was becoming.
I knew I was in trouble a few years ago when I found myself screaming invective at the very top of my lungs at someone I love deeply; I knew I was 'losing it' and that I needed to make an adjustment-but how?
OK. I turned fifty last week. Introspection is to be expected or rather hoped for on such a milestone; I obliged, naturally. It came completely unforced, and I am beyond grateful, I feel blessed because it actually led me to a mental state that didn't require anti-depressants.
Instead, I was graced with the chance to truly arrive at some insights, and those are working a nice change. I feel ME again. How wonderfully nice that is!
I got all my errands done this morning and afternoon, including a trip to the laundromat I was so dreading that for the past month I have been hand washing.
I say that I dreaded it because if one goes to the laundromat at the wrong time of day, it is a very unpleasant experience-if you've been there, done that, you'll understand. If not, I hope you never do...I was so worried about going that I was literally shaking.
Any road, that's done-I know the right time of day to go, the right amount of quarters and the right amount of soap...I know how to get to the laundromat, and I know who to and not to speak to while in the laundry. And I have clean clothing and towels, and all of the clean items made of machine washable fabric that make life better.
And I went to the grocery. I bought things like salt, and condiments; I bought food-real food. I brought it home and put it in the 'fridge, and then stepped back and thought, "I feel like a real person."
If you have not read all of this blog, you don't know that in 1998, my life took a very dramatic turn; you don't know that as a consequence of that turn, in 2002 I took a job that amounted to peonage, and for three years and ten months I worked for brutes who believed that because I was trapped economically, they could get away with treating me as though I was a machine, and that because my job required me to live on the property, that they could threaten to lock me out of my home to keep me in line.
But I've never talked about this part-to make it all really horrid, their fifth cousin was the maintenance man to whom they gave keys to every lock on the property including mine, and when I told him I was not interested, he devoted himself to destroying me.
I lived in 24/7 awareness that the maintenance man was breaking into my apartment; he took food, rearranged my furniture, went through my closets and drawers, used my bathroom-I could go on; and when I went to my employers with video tape of his break-ins, they claimed they couldn't see anything on the film.
I went to the Labor Board-they said it was between me and my employers although yes, my employers were breaking several state and federal labor laws.
I would have gone to the police had my employers not found great pleasure recounting to me the story of his uncle, the sheriff when the Civil Rights movement really got going-according to my employer, his uncle shot and killed a black man who asked the uncle to vouch for him so that he could vote.
The message was clear.
But today, I felt like a real person again. I still have some things I need to work out and on but going to the laundromat and grocery store made me feel as though I can have something more like a normal life again.
All because I accepted a few realities about where I was going...
Father, help me, please. I want Your help to understand how to get past this. I know that I have let the enemy win a little because I have been increasing afraid to count my blessings; I feel that is the most serious error I have made. I freely accept Your divine assistance, Lord, and I thank-you for such a strong sense of Your presence during all of these awful years.
27 August 2006
Retrieved from the 27th August 2006 online edition of the Boston Globe-copyright to the New York Times 2006:
And God sayeth unto man: I've had it!
By the Reverend John Hudson, 23 August 2006
MAKING HIS first public remarks in more than 1,000 years, God appeared in the heavens yesterday and ordered all world religions founded in His/Her name to ``immediately take a well-deserved and long overdue time-out." At the crowded press conference, hastily called by the angel Gabriel with a trumpet blast, God's tone switched between anger and sadness as He/She described being frustrated with the boundless cruelty and violence committed in His/Her name.
``It's not like I haven't been patient," said God, who is also known as Lord, Yahweh, Allah, Creator, and the Unnamed One. ``I make and give to humans this beautiful gift called Creation. I give them the ability to think and love and imagine. I send them messengers who teach. I provide food for all, sunsets, cute babies, music, even the Internet! But the minute I turn my back, they all start fighting. Holy War this, Crusade that, and Jihad, blah, blah, blah," He/She said.
Citing the recent war in Lebanon as the final straw, God declared that, until further notice, each of the world's major religions would be punished. God then sent the religious leaders, with their faiths, to their rooms so they could ``sit and think about all the ways they've been bad. They can take their sacred books with them to read," continued God, ``but that's it. No TV, no cellphone, and no iPod."
God was quick to assure the world that the good works of religion, including peacemaking, disaster relief, healthcare, education, and aiding the poor and downtrodden, would not be affected by the time-out order.
``It's not that everything they do on my behalf is bad," noted God. ``They do a lot of good. But just when you think humanity gets it and has learned how to live with one another, they start bombing each other. They stamp their feet and say, `My faith is better than your faith, my country matters more than your country.' They act like each owns me and knows my mind. But not anymore. I'm back in town and taking charge!"
Responding to questions, God offered various opinions about life on earth, including reality TV (``No comment: Ask the Devil"), global warming (``I didn't turn up the thermostat"), and the recent Boston Red Sox-New York Yankees series (``I had to turn it off. It was too painful to watch").
Asked when religious leaders and their faiths might be allowed down to the dinner table, God responded, ``When they learn how to share and get along."
Leaving the press conference through a hole in the clouds, God failed to respond to questions about when He/She might return. The clerics, struck speechless, went to their rooms.
Around the world, wars ceased, poverty plummeted, and millions of people used the time they had scheduled for criticizing others -- in God's name -- instead to clean up the earth, get involved in their communities, and wipe out disease.
And, truly, it was good.
The Rev. John F. Hudson is the senior pastor at the West Concord Union Church (United Church of Christ) in Concord .
26 August 2006
I don't feel fifty. (OK, I know, but the truth is I don't especially feel 5K, either. Well, most of the time. But sometimes...)
Maybe I sort of look it. (Watch yer'self, buster...)
I had my 'mid-life crisis' on my 21st birthday. So I'm WAAAAAY past that, thank-you.
Pregnant out to there with my daughter, 'Lexie, I was not permitted to ride the camels at Lion Country/Africa USA-can't blame them, I was almost as huge as the elephants the park operators also declined to let me ride.
You know, what was the ex thinking, taking me to a safari park on my birthday while out to there pregnant with the child who refused to be born? That's right, she was a month late, and they ended up having to go in after her.
They told Tom that I was probably going to die; they told him the baby would not come any other way. (I must be one of the few moms telling the truth when years later I looked at my 15 year old daughter and uttered those words, "I almost died giving birth to you, how dare you talk to me that way?")
So he asked them to wait until the next day, so she could be born on his birthday.
Two months after she was born, I left, and raised her alone until she decided she would rather live with him and his newish wife. She was close to 16 years old by then.
(An interesting side note-about a year after her father remarried his new wife called and told me she understood completely why I'd left...)
Most of my birthdays have been um, less than great. OK, none of my birthdays have been good, much less great.
I had pretty high hopes for my fortieth. Oops, didn't happen.
I have given up on me, for the most part, so I cherish no big hopes for my fiftieth. I didn't come here to this life to live it alone; I don't matter much to me, really, although I do have feelings, and what happened at work yesterday is going to hurt for a long time I think.
This life I'm living is not what God planned for me, this I know, and nothing the enemy whispers in my ear and the ears of others will ever change that.
So I know that my birthdays that have been so, well, meaningless to those I wish it meant something to-my son, a real husband, neighbours, real friends...
Well, I know those are in the past.
My fiftieth birthday is still in the future, so who knows, something could happen. Fox could knock on the door, hey, it could happen, right?
Hope floats for the future.
Last year was especially bad. After enduring IVAN a year earlier I was astounded to watch Katrina take aim on the Gulf Coast with a predicted landfall of on or very near my birthday.
I'm getting worried about this trend-in just after my birthday in '01 one of my hospice patients was in the second tower stairwell; then, in '02 something horrible happened; in 'o3 something horrible happened; in 'o4 IVAN happened to me personally; in '05 Katrina happened. HUH? All these horrible things happening right around my birthday??
Every year it seems to get closer, right, until Katrina hits on my birthday; perhaps you will forgive what appears to be an unbearable ego-centricism-I'm gobsmacked to see...
Ernesto is working his wicked little way into the Gulf.
Maybe I should give up birthdays.
(But some things are constants-Faith, Hope, Love-somethings never change...)
For example, my adventures in The Corporate World.
Frankly, the adventure palls.
Yesterday, according to company tradition, everyone having a birthday over the weekend was visited by their department head, and given a big fat Starbuck's cookie. Short of singing the Birthday Song, a rather big deal is made of the occasion.
Mid-morning, in waltzed ours, who with great fanfare and loud announcement bestowed upon a co-worker with whom I share the birthdate, the big fat Starbuck's cookie.
And then he left the room.
Without stopping at my desk.
Which several other people noticed.
The day before, the 'team' got our team leader to ask me to run a system process that required an hour in the other room.
While they had a birthday party for everyone else on the team celebrating a birthday in August.
Shortly after lunch HR distributed the monthly newsletter-announcing, amoung other news of note, company birthdays being 'celebrated' during August.
Lord, for my birthday, I want a stacking washer/dryer so that I can stop washing clothes by hand in the sink, and I want a job where the boss has a hell of a lot more class, and my co-workers a whole hell of a lot more couth!
Someday I will be able to tell someone the whole story, until then all that I can say is that day, one by one, sadly, each candle burned out and finally faded.
Except Miranda's. The candle I lit for her stayed lit. Impossibly, long past the time the flame should have sputtered out, it flickered on.
Four years ago today, two families learned their worst nightmare had become reality.
Please pray for them today, those loved ones Ashley and Miranda left behind. Pray they find strength and healing and courage and faith.
Two little girls. Two candles.
And one that finally had to be blown out because I was afraid I would fall asleep and the house would burn down.
A year or so earlier, on 7 Nov 2001, Fox and his roommate fell asleep on the living room floor of their apartment, leaving a candle burning.
How they made it out of the building, and how they were in a fully engulfed apartment fire without any injury beyond a small spot on Fox's nose that healed within a week, can only be a gift-from God. Fox said he heard someone calling his name, felt someone standing over him and pulling him to his feet...but he and his roommate were the only people in the apartment, and he said when he realized what was going on and woke his roommate, they were alone-so who...? When they raced door to door to get their neighbours out, they saw no-one else-so who...?
"Be careful how you entertain strangers, for some have done for angels, unawares..."
When Miranda's candle refused to go out, it did something to me that I still cannot articulate. Like most caring Americans, I watched the news magazine segments about these two lost children; I saw Miranda's eirie interview done just before she was taken, and from the interview it is clear this was a young woman full of love and fight, and righteous anger for her friend.
So I wasn't really surprised when the candle I lit for her refused to go out, but I don't believe she is an angel now-angels are a different sort of being altogether.
I believe in angels-I feel one saved my son and his friend from certain death in a toxic smoke filled and burning apartment.
I believe Ashley and Miranda's angels were with them throughout their horrific ordeals; I believe the consumate evil of Ward Weaver snuffed out their lives because he refused to hear the pleading of those angels God sent to plead His cause-"Stop! This is wrong-let these little ones go!"
And I believe Ashley and Miranda are finally safe. I wish we could have made them safe while they were still here...
Two candles, for two little girls.
And one that refused to go out...
24 August 2006
Please go there, and click on the 'Light a Candle' link. Then click on 'Groups' and then scroll down until you find the Peace candle group. This site IS hosted by a Christian group-and welcomes ALL faiths without ANY attempts to change one's beliefs...
When I went offline the last day of July 2006, this candle group was down to a single digit number of candles burning. I lit one, and prayed for peace and lots more light bringers...
When I got back online exactly one week ago, I had some blogs to check, then I went to the candles, and almost fell off the chair-over 100 candles were burning! I forget how many countries were represented the first day I was back, but I can tell you that today, nearly 250-TWO HUNDRED AND FIFTY!-CANDLES ARE SHINING-LIT BY SOME ONE FROM OVER 30 DIFFERENT COUNTRIES!
At least two hundred people from over 30 different countries came to light a candle and publically pray for peace amoung men!
France, Italy, Israel, Lebanon...Great Britain, Austria, Hungary;
the US, Canada, Egypt, Belgium! Hati, Malaysia, Germany, Poland, and Romania;
Brazil, Argentina, New Zealand, Sweden...
The testimony of over thirty different countries where some one person said in his or her native language, and in his or her homeland, "Today, I will be a light..."
'LET THERE BE PEACE ON EARTH,
LET IT BEGIN WITH ME...'
And thank-you, ML from Luxemburg, for finding the little 'group' I started for my son, and for lighting a candle there.
Please tour the site and if you wish to light a personal candle for a personal concern, I can tell you that you are welcome to do so-be prepared that someone may find your candle and add their voice by lighting one with you.
23 August 2006
1 - God’s Blessings in the Home
A Song of Ascents.
1 Unless the Lord builds the house,
those who build it labour in vain.
Unless the Lord guards the city,
the guard keeps watch in vain.
2 It is in vain that you rise up early
and go late to rest,
eating the bread of anxious toil;
for he gives sleep to his beloved.*
3 Sons are indeed a heritage from the Lord,
the fruit of the womb a reward.
4 Like arrows in the hand of a warrior
are the sons of one’s youth.
5 Happy is the man who has
his quiver full of them.
He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate -
Do you remember the comfort I found in the Psaltery?
Tell her to know that she put her filthy hands on mine after you were killed filled me with outrage - for a time. She was ever a thief. Tell her I look a wonder in yellow now, my heart, my soul, my everything -
New York can have it, and their gossip!
Five and twenty one. Be thou now a wiser, my lord...
19 August 2006
His (now ex) girlfriend, the one I liked, got drunk-roaring, apparently-and after hacking her way through the bathroom door with a rather large kitchen knife, stabbed my son with a rather large kitchen knife. The same knife she used to hack through the door. I think.
She blogged that county jail orange is not her colour and that she would never have called the police on him so why did he on her; he commented on her site that she was not clear on the details.
He then proceeded to remind her of what happened, ending by telling her that the caller had been the ambulance service that transported his stabbed, liter and a half less of blood, self to hospital. Something about no choice-it is the law in Alabama to arrest the perpetrator of domestic violence that results in an emergency full siren trip to hospital.
Which is how I know the details, his blog entry was shortish, consisting primarily of a warning against dating certain types because they will stab you. His comment on her post jail blog was somewhat more illuminating.
And then I read that his friend had died.
Few details there, too.
From consecutive posts I understood the young man was taken to hospital when found after ingesting cocaine, pills, and whiskey; he lingered as braindead for a few days, and then Friday 11 August he was pronounced, and his parents had to make arrangements for a funeral.
Tuesday afternoon he was buried.
I went to the online book of condolence the funeral home has up but couldn't bring myself to leave a message for this grieving family.
A son, a brother, a father is dead-yes, the young man left a pregnant girlfriend.
The night I got back online I went to Jobstale.blogspot.com and was floored by the post Curious Servant had up. I read it thinking, "Oh man, it is as if he was there, and saw it, heard it..." The writing left goose bumps on my arms and my soul.
Last night, after I found out about my son's friend (I remembered he is the kid who was with Fox when Fox threw the rod on the coolest car I ever owned and then in a fit of parental generosity gave to Fox thinking he was getting himself together and deserved a cool car-the kid who was so impressed that I didn't kill Fox on the spot for downshifting into third at 90 miles an hour), after I went to the online newspaper and retrieved the obit, after trying and failing to leave a condolence message for the family, I went to jobstale.blogspot.com and reread the post CS put up about how the Fall happened, and how the Garden became thorny and weedy because one of the Gardener's apprentices didn't like the plants and so started a whisper campaign...
My son's friend was 20.
He listened to the wrong whisper...
At least two, often more, times a day the pain hits me; I silently scream out at the rat bastard responsible for all of this and want to know WHY-no answer, never an answer from him to the question I answered on my own years ago.
Because he could. Because he wanted to hurt me, and much much worse, he wanted to hurt Fox. Completely.
I try all sorts of things to get through it without going insane. Not much works or helps, and I have the worst days when the question spins faster and faster in my head and heart, my soul until I just want to find some place quiet to hide until I have control again-but can't, because life goes on.
"That's how you know it's real." She said it very softly, as though she knew some intelligence was just too much.
"That's how you know it's real, because life goes on; you still have to go to work, pay the bills, wash the dishes and the dog. That's how you know it's real, because life goes on."
And finally, she told me, it really sinks in. You reach the horrid awareness of the finality of it.
Because life goes on. One morning you wake up knowing in the very marrow of your bones that your life is completely and iretrievably changed; it is an irrevokable thing.
It was for Job, and it is for you.
No-one can wave a magic wand and put everything back together for you-EVER, not even God.
"Time," she said, "is consecutive."
Meaning God isn't going to reverse the flow to make it all right; circumvention of the law of physics is one thing, but turning back time to the place before what happened to devastate your life simply is not part of His plan.
Absolutely nothing is ever going to un-make it happen.
And you still have to get up, iron a blouse, shower, clean the house, feed the dog, then take him out, and then go to work.
You have to get through work; you have to survive the drive or train ride home.
You have to go about the evening chores, and then you have to do it all the next day.
Again, and again, and again until you go numb for a while and the days meld in a meaningless stream that lull you into a sense of success.
Until something happens and you are breaking the surface. Gasping for air, you long to return to the numbness but can't; your only hope is to contain it until you are safely alone and have the privacy to pound the steering wheel/scream/weep/fall to the ground in a fetal position...
After a while you realize the dog needs to be fed/walked/cleaned up after; you do what needs to be done.
"That's how you know it's real." She leaned close, I thought she was going to reach out and pat my arm...
"Because life goes on even though you don't want to."
All I ever wanted was to be the wife of the right man, mother of his children, and keeper of his home-an equal partner to him and with him through this life.
All I ever wanted for my children was that they choose to spread peace, justice, positivity; I wanted them to choose that over spreading fear and pain and unspeakable grief.
"What do you want to be when you grow up?" He asked me that, and I said quickly, "OH, a grannie!"
All these long years I've looked back at that moment; smiling a little at our divers reactions to our long ago childhood conversation, then embarrassed-he said with some shock and surprise in his voice (which I've wondered about-why was he shocked and surprised that I wanted to be a grannie?) "Oh, but I think you have to be a mummy first!"
My reaction to THAT was horror, for the image that flashed into my mind was one of the nightmare tomb robberies; for a very long time I wouldn't even talk to him for saying something so nightmarish to me! Not to mention the bad dreams I had for a long time after.
And recently I read something that clued me into his personal feelings about mothers-his (in a previous life) caused him to choose to never make a woman bear him children so as to spare the unborn the misfortune of having a mother at all.
I never knew. I should like very much to see him face to face now and argue that with him.
My heart broke when I lost Fox and 'Bas, it really did. My spirit shattered; I am not at all the person I was when hope floated along despite the problems.
But I would NEVER refuse the chance to make it different, or to make it better; I would never NOT have Fox. If I could go back in time and change it all, the only thing I would change is Crusty.
Fox, my beautiful boy, I love you. On the 14th I thought about the day 25 years earlier when Dr. Bernard's nurse called and asked if I was sitting down.
Son, I stood then, and I am standing now. I love you. NO MATTER WHAT.
Call Chris, he has my number.
I know about Mangle. I am so sorry to hear about what happpened to him, to his family. To his unborn child.
I cannot get over thinking how awful it must have been for his family to have to say good-bye at Byrd's.
Please don't let that happen to you. To me. To 'Bas, most of all, to 'Bas.
I know about your recent need for stitches. I understand you may have some very serious health concerns.
I am so sorry about all of the grief you have had to endure in your short life.
18 August 2006
Come on, be honest; after Earl, you stay tuned for The Office, too, don't you? 'Coz you know it hits the mark, huh? Ahhh, life and guilty pleasures! White trash in the act of transcendence followed by permission to laugh out loud at wonderfully accurate caricactures of one's boss and or co-workers. (Blogger's note-SpellChek is being a goober again, so I'm giving up and hoping that you, gentle reader, will play nice. IE, yeah, I am pretty sure I spelled the word wrong, OK? Happy?)
Sweet:) Way, Dude.
I had a 'Jim' moment today after trying (why in the name of all that is sane do I try?) again to explain to a co-worker that the person she should be talking to (about a situation she really has no business concerning herself with) is our supervisor. Not the facilities manager, not the HR guy. Our immediate supervisor, whose job it is to handle the situation she is concerning herself with.
But she probably doesn't want to see our supervisor just now. She is pretty stupid, but not stupid enough to have missed how VERY pissed he was with her, her daughter, and her friends. today. All day. ALL DAY.
My fellow hag and I spent much of the afternoon hoping the supervisoral tornado would strike today. Nope. But the ax will fall soon; the oxen have begun their inexorable march. The wheel is turning. And cranking up speed.
Maybe the best part is the dawning knowledge that they are clueless as to just how very thin their ice is becoming. After his third grim-faced/tight-lipped trip through the room, they still didn't get it, and kept right on pulling the rope...
Driving home every night makes up for it all. By the time I cross the county line I am smiling; the facial muscles telling me in no uncertain terms how unused the wee things had got over the past few years. The roads are perfectly banked, I miss the Stutz more than ever!
Life in a tin cabin clinging to the side of a North Georgia mountain is truly growing on me. I'd forgot how very much I like living in the mountains. Silly me!
I'm sitting here at a makeshift computer table keying away and pausing only to light a cigarette. I'd forgot how very civilized it is to be able to choose if I want to smoke inside the house, or out. I'd forgot how wonderfully clear my thinking can be when I am not having to get up mid thought and go outside for a smoke.
I think I also forgot how nice it is to be able to go to the fridge and know the food I put in it the day before (oh Hell, the HOUR before!) is still right where I put it. I'm seriously considering trying the oven out this weekend in that time honoured test of all tests-the chocolate-chip cookie bake.
The first few days in the tin cabin were, um, somewhat stressful, if only because I moved in on Sunday afternoon and was without running water until Weds morning.
But on payday I bought a microwave instead of a shotgun.
Don't get me wrong, I am armed. I just didn't buy the shotgun.
More than likely, I will. Tin cabins on the side of North Georgia mountains somehow just call out for a good .12 gauge or .30 'ought' tucked quietly behind the door.
17 August 2006
Hullo everyone, it's nice to be here. I just flew in from the real world, and boy, are my arms tired:)))
Ya know, I am sorry, but I really could not resist...
Anyway, I'm back online. It took a while, but not as long as I thought it would, so things are good.
I've been checking in on a couple of blogs while at work-STRICTLY WHILE ON BREAK OR LUNCH I promise.
Matter of fact, I've got some research to do, so I'll write at ya later.
Good to be back. Really good:)
30 July 2006
Boris and I bid our friends and readers adieu for now. I am just going to finish this post, and then I am going to unplug for a while.
I WILL BE OFFLINE FOR AN UNDETERMINED PERIOD OF TIME.
THANK-YOU FOR STOPPING BY.
PLEASE BROWSE MY ARCHIVES.
PLEASE LEAVE ANY COMMENTS HERE ON THE HOME PAGE.
UPON MY RETURN TO CYBERSPACE I WILL READ AND REPLY TO EACH.
PEACE BE WITH YOU ALL.
29 July 2006
Today is moving day. Last night I brought home the boxes and bubble wrap my co-workers graciously accumulated for me and stashed in the supply area.
As the sun rises this morning I have gone to the blogs I've found along the way, and left messages for my blogger friends; I've made final lists in my head of IMPORTANT THINGS TO DO RE: THE MOVE; I've tried with a small measure of success to convince myself that this move will not be a bad thing all around and that coyotes will not eat me and the dog as we explore the new environs...
July 2003-I see the Internet for the first time (VERY briefly) as a friend I am visiting checks her email. I find it interesting...
January 2004-My employer sends a stripped, semi-crashed computer running W95 to my office, and tells me I can have it as long as I use it to connect to the Internet during business hours and check the new company web page for messages. Naturally, I am expected to pay for the connection...Four days later I am starting my first online college course.
Hey, if I'm paying for the connection, I should get something out of it, right? And it was not at all long (within weeks, really) that I outgrew the old computer, and had gone into hock for brand new state of the art computer, promptly named Boris at the suggestion of a dear friend and WHO fan. (Oh, come on, surely you know "Boris The Spider." Can you think of a better name for a computer??)
I highly recommend going to college online, especially as a crash course in Internet, Outlook Express, message boarding, Microsoft Office Suite, and directed research.
Frankly, I also recommend AOL as the first place to start as a 'net neo. They kept me safe, and along the way taught me a lot about keeping myself and my computer safe.
Finally, I launched my little anachronistic self into cyberspace alone-just me, Boris, and IE.
FF-Oct 2005-I BLOG THEREFORE I AM. After an rather unkind cut by a rather pompous little pinhead, I need to know I am.
At first, it was a self-affirmation, a vent.
Along the way I ventured to explore the Blogosphere, meeting some really great bloggers and making some surprisingly old fashioned connections through the venturing. I came to care deeply for them, their concerns, and their loved ones.
I've been blessed. I've been comforted; I've been encouraged (not always a good thing:); I've been instructed; strengthened, and granted the oportunity to share in the wisdom of ages.
And now I go offline for a bit; getting back to basics as I re-establish my independent living self. My routine will change, and I will have the chance to reflect on the things I have learned as I go about creating a new routine required by the art of living alone.
I need to do this, really, although I am a bit unhappy about being offline-I have Internet connections at work however I think it highly unethical to abuse the privilege.
I will miss the intoxicating wealth of knowledge and simultaneous lunacy abounding online.
I will miss being able to read Reuters and AP 'raw feeds' and I will miss reading behind the lines at CNN;
I will miss, though, most of all:
Curious Servant (Jobstale.blogspot.com)
Barbaro and his fans (vet.upenn.edu.barbaro/messageboard)
The group candles (GRATEFULNESS.org) I often go here to light candles for us.
Everyone at A Dress A Day-I think it's a woman thing, guys-(dressaday.com)
The kids at myspace (MATT, PLEASE CALL HOME!! Chris has my new address and phone number)
And although this is going to sound silly, I am really going to miss seeing the shape of that biggest Little Rascal-Bart Simpson, as it/he appears on my Favorites navigation menu to the left of the main window.
No, really, the number and placement of keyed characters on each listing (I make files for each group of listings, for example "Sewing Online" and "Interesting People"; each file holds a trove of bookmarks.) creates the shape of Bart Simpson's profile.