26 September 2006

Another day.

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...

Another day.

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

Part of me feels compelled to say that I wasted this day-all I did was clean my computer and read. I meant to vacuum, wash dishes...

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 around me, here at the tin shack, and at work, and it barely registers-I've been in Georgia for nearly a year; the 4th of October it will have been one year since Gator and I collapsed on the floor of Roomie's former den and slept for for over 20 hours.

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

I've been busy the last month or so. I've been 'moving-in', working late, 'moving-in'...I've been spending time at a support group online for grandparents without visitation; I've been reading dog blogs.

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

I'd be proud of myself for waiting to read the Ratsinger's speech before forming an opinion if I hadn't had so much trouble keeping myself from thinking some decidely less than charitable thoughts about his speech after I read the convoluted mess.

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," she said, "that's how you know it's real..."

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.


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

Yesterday once again demonstrated to me the true Great Divide in the country. I managed to overcome my anger rather quickly, considering. But I wonder, how do WE fight this hideous division between us?

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 hurt.

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

That morning I woke up (I found out later) at the exact moment FLT 11 hit the North Tower. I overslept that morning, which has always made me wonder why that morning? Usually I am up before dawn.

"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

Pop dug the pool by hand shovel, enlisting the work crews (he owned a factory), the household help's husbands and brothers, my brother; heck, the littlest of us had a pool related chore. Pop taught me that if you want or need something, there is a way to obtain it-with dignity demonstrated by elbow grease and pluck.

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

After Pop died, 21st December 1985, I had to take care of the last 'loose ends' stuff. Not that the job involved all that much as Pop knew he was dying, and had spent the better part of the two years leading to his death in tying up as many of his own loose ends as he could.

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!
OK, yesterday at work the workplace hostility, instigated by the quintessential workplace bully, ratcheted up to such a hot point that I left early, and called in sick to work today.

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've been through some changes. (Haven't we all?)

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.

Especially for:

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

Once upon a time ago, when Fox was a little boy, and Crusty was still worthy of a real first name, we thought Crusty was going to be laid off and so we downsized in a hurry.

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

As posted before, I frequent www.gratefulness.org, finding tremendous comfort and strength there especially on the candles pages. I have several groups going, and am a daily lighter at many others.

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

I told a co-worker yesterday that I am nearly three quarters of the way through an attitude adjustment.

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.