30 December 2008

Early into November I hit "SUBMIT" on my personal web page of our company's HR site-it's how we request time off. Not even a full second later the whole building shut down and my co-workers joked as we stood outside during the subsequent evacuation drill that by actually hitting "SUBMIT" for the first holiday time I'd requested since April 2006 I'd crashed the system.

My holiday began just after 6pm on Tuesday the 23rd of December; follows my account of it so far...

I rejoined the human race a few hours ago; whew, it's been a long road home! Actually I've been working on the return for a bit but it became quite a serious effort two weeks into the month of November.

Regular readers will recall the post wherein I confessed I'd been, been, been-damn, what does one call it when one's fiance wakes up with frostbite and calls from an ocean away to say "Er, um, ah, well, you see..."

(Was it my recently enlarged crooked smile Sam, the one you said warmed your heart, that turned your booked tickets into someone else's? Sorry for that, you can be a bit of a snob, but not that much. 'Sides, you and I agreed you would spring for my dental work in lieu of a wedding present, didn't you? Or was that meant as a joke, too?)

I've not been outside the house since Christmas Eve, which was to have been my wedding day oddly enough. I'd not bathed, or tidied, or done much of anything besides drift from couch to computer to freezer for something edible and nukeable until yesterday afternoon when I finally could smell myself and forced myself into the shower.

A few hours ago it occurred to me the reason my mouth felt nasty was because I'd not brushed since Christmas Eve so I did that.

A well intentioned friend, knowing that I work more than anything else, sent a Honeymoon Basket to my office, scheduled to arrive Tuesday afternoon to ensure its inclusion on the honeymoon.

I took it home with me Tuesday night telling my co-workers and my little supervisor that I was going to eat my self into a stupor and thereby miss the actual having to live through what should have been my wedding day (and night, let's not forget that, hmmm?)

I finally opened it Wednesday afternoon upon my return from an insane little outing to the grocery during which I put the most completely stupid items into my cart and therefore ended up back at The Tin Shack with a bottle of Merlot of all things. The Kroger house brand, fer crying out loud-try as I might I could not find a French wine on the shelf, and I wasted a hell of a lotta minutes searching the wine section of my LOCAL supermarket for one like the bottle I found at Bruno's of Dothan Christmas 2003, dammit, which actually managed to be the bottle drained to the bottom at the home of my son's then fiancee (who just happened to have been born and raised in France, so they woulda known a crummy bottle, ya think?)

I also ended up with a bag of Kroger Cheesy Rolls, second on my 'comfort food' list, which I discovered to be chock full of little pepperoni slices, so I had to throw the bag out. I don't eat pork even when it is mixed with beef. Yes, it's partly religious (God said "Don't eat this meat" and I'm gonna argue with God?) and partly that stupid little (and I do mean little) heart thingy I have going on that requires me to keep my total sodium intake at or below 1500 mg a day.

So I've been watching TV, eating a bit, not drinking-bottle's still corked, sleeping A LOT, and generally keeping my heartbroken little self away from the rest of the human race in an effort to not spread my un-cheer.

I've seen just about every Christmas movie available to someone who hangs onto cable access by the barest fingernails, and the infomercials one can see at 0300 are truly dangerous if one has a functioning credit card left these days.

Luckily I don't so I am fairly safe, although a coupla products were interesting enough to tempt me very briefly to throw on some deodorant/clothes I am willing to be seen in public wearing and run down to Walgreen's for a prepaid credit card.

Luckily the temptation passed very quickly. Something about bathing, brushing, dressing that had no appeal for me, or was at least too much to be worth whatever gimcrackery it was that momentarily caught my interest.

That November day that I hit "SUBMIT" I'd realized how unlovable I've become, how pathetic, how stereotypically 'crazy cat lady', how completely unfun, how (to quote someone Crusty sicked on me back in '94) boring.

I decided I am in need of an intense period of self-evaluation, introspection, and maybe even a little self delivered head smacking.

The past six days have been interesting-I actually thought I would be in a fever of home improvement and other projects but I've, as previously noted, been indulging in nothing more than aimless Webbing and TV watching.

To my credit I did start a new blog called "YOUR ARMS REACH" (found at http://yourarmsreach.blogspot.com/ to encourage my fellow Man to save the world one neighbour at a time, and frankly I am hoping it is a movement that will take off in the New Year.

So, I guess I'm not all that messed up after all, and the six days of aimless Internet and TV have been more productive than I want to admit. More interesting, I've only need my sinus meds twice a day as opposed to the four I need during the work week.

Even more interesting, I've decided I'm not so much boring as I am bored with a meaningless life-not that I ever chose a meaningless life in the first place, but when you lose everyone you care about, and you lose your home, and you lose your faith in just about most of your fellow man, and you lose interest in just about everything no matter how damn hard you try to make your self get interested, well, you become bored.

Funny that. As I type that I am undeniably bored I can hear Sam I Am telling me only stupid people get bored. He was right, you know, but in a way, he was wrong, it is possible for an intelligent, funny, interesting person to become bored-it happens when everything that makes life interesting and therefore not boring is drained out of your life.

God, help me, I am going to try to become interested in living again. It's just that home and family including a husband with couth were all that I wanted out of life, and I lost them, didn't I?

BTW, I tossed the Honeymoon Basket. Most of the stuff in it was made by companies that use Chinese food products, and I have a personal rule about eating melamine. It's DON'T.

27 December 2008


I participate in several forums online; last night on one of my favourites a fellow poster took exception to my suggestion that we start working on next Christmas by filling a shoebox or two a month for a child in our own town first instead of one in another country. Her response included the "I've travelled in other countries and seen the poverty there is far worse than here" line that truly angered and dismayed me. Follows my reply.

"Yes, I've lived outside the US also.

Among other countries I've lived in, I lived in Guatemala during the last years of the civil war and was horrified at the poverty there-it existed openly amidst great wealth in the hands of an increasingly small and ever more powerful upper class. I also witnessed the beginning of the end of the middle class there and was equally horrified to see the same begin in the US when I returned in late '96.

I have seen neighbours here in the American South quietly die of untreated dental, heart, and other disease due to lack of health care-people who had 50K+ salaries and good insurance until they were downsized at an age that made them almost unhirable; I've seen neighbours make their life savings last and last until finally the money ran out and their utilities were cut off and they died of hypothermia-right here in America.

I've seen mothers prostituting themselves to feed their children and to keep a roof over their heads-yes, right here in America-after a bad divorce left them with nothing.

I've seen parents abandon their children because they could not feed clothe or house them after losing jobs that paid barely enough to bare minimum care for their families but not enough to put so much as a dollar aside because that dollar went for day old bakery bread so the stomach would be fooled into thinking it was momentarily filled.

I've seen neighbours kill themselves after their retirement fund was 'devalued' and they found out their supposed home equity was gone now that their property value dropped to a quarter of what they paid while their taxes stayed the same or were even raised.

Having lived on the Gulf Coast, I've seen people who worked hard every day of their life lose everything including family members in savage storms that came back again and again-some of those people are still in tents or FEMA trailers.

I've seen, with my own eyes, Third-World conditions right here in the USA since my return from Central America, and those little pockets of despair are growing-right here in the US.

As a contributor to OXFAM and Doctors Without Borders, I thank-you for your contributions to global need; as a fellow world traveller and an American I ask you to look around your country and your town and see if you can do more within arms reach to prevent the horrors we've seen elsewhere from happening here.

I don't know how many people read this blog, until now it hasn't been important to me except that the hope has always floated that one day my son would post a comment and I would know that perhaps he doesn't hate me anymore.

But now I care, very much, and I am asking that if you have for some reason chanced upon this blog, or you are a regular reader (comment poster or not:), that you would join me in this challenge for 2009.

ARMS REACH can change the world one person at a time-your world, my world, everyone's world.

Reach out only as far as your arms can reach to touch one person and you will have touched the entire world. In a time of once unimaginable evil ("Santa Massacre Leaves 10 Dead" Fox News; "Sex Slavery and Child Exploitation Thriving In America" MSNBC; "2nd Playground Beating Child Dies" CNN) we still have the choice if our arms reach will be for positive or negative.

Anonymously adopt a school child-supply the rest of this years school supplies and decent clothing; pay for a high schooler to participate in a sport or arts activity-schools have to charge for that now and many teens have been priced out of the very thing that could have a profound impact on their life direction.

Figure out a way to have a profoundly positive impact on your community and post it here so that your idea can be shared, can be spread to other communities. Crochet or sew for babies, sick kids, healthy kids with no grannies; teach a child to make things; find someone in the grocery whose cart is filled with the bargain foods and whose face is pinched with worry-drop an envelope with twenty (or ten, or five) dollars inside and with the instruction to "Pay it forward someday" printed on the front into the cart when they aren't looking.

I believe in this country. I believe our citizens can save the world. I believe that salvation begins within arms reach.

"Save only one life and you will have saved the world."

Join me. Let's do this thing!

24 December 2008

Christmas Eve 2008.

I left work last night around six-for the first time in a very long time I didn't pay attention to the time. I didn't because I was bone weary, ready to start my first holiday in nearly three years, and honestly a little pissed off at the kid who thinks he is my supervisor.

As I will be out until the 5th of January, I had to do my end of year evaluation before I left.

The first time I did one of these I was excited and looking forward to a real one on one with my supervisor, and I was not disappointed.

Since then the process has been an ego-driven exercize in futility. Pencil whipped by some, and used as revenge by others, the evaluation process is one of the worst aspects of my job.

Up for another promotion, I needed a fair and honest evaluation. What I got was an obvious attempt on the part of Pinhead Boy to derail my promotion.

Too bad he blew it. Sigh. I wonder which one of us will have a functioning badge on the 2nd. I am only slightly tempted to pop over and check on the 2nd as I am hoping to be finishing off some much needed home improvement projects on that morning. It will be interesting, though, to see if I get called in over my much needed and anticipated holiday.

I don't suffer from the vanity that I am indispensable but I am an adult who has had some experience and I know that the potential for disaster looms large for Pinhead Boy. He is blissfully ignorant of his danger.

I highly doubt he will call for help-he is rather thick and thinks he is going to be able to justify firing me while The Boss and I are both gone at the same time. He is like a teen-ager who is rubbing his hands in glee that Mom and Dad are going off and leaving him alone with all the grown-up goodies.

I intend to spend a bit of quality time with my evaluation-line by miserable line and then I am going to find out how to lodge a protest that will not be dismissed as sour-grapes. I wish I had enough money to leave my job and open my own business. I know just what I would do, and I am damn good at it. I am tired of working (like most others) for idiots.

I could love my work if not for idiots.

Well, we'll see how it goes while The Boss and I are off. I'm pretty sure the collapse is going to be monumental, and I am most sincerely hoping it doesn't affect our clients because I really do love my job.

I'm not completely stupid and intend to find a job offer I can't refuse over the next ten days. Gods, wouldn't it be novel to have A Real Job? One where I could actually do my work without having to go around total idiots who refuse to recognize their own faults and then make the needed changes so that he/she could guide me to complete work success?

Happy Christmas, I'm off to see if I won the lottery:)

21 December 2008

At 2145 hours on the 21st of December 1985, my father died.

Well-intentioned comfort is offered: "Time Heals" "It's a blessing, he is no longer suffering"

Bah, humbug!

My Pop wanted to live no matter the difficulty; in the 23 years since he died I've missed him more with each passing day.

Mind, he was no plaster saint-he had some serious faults and failures in his life. He did, though, unflinchingly face my brother and me before he died and took complete responsibility for those of his failures that profoundly impacted Harry and me.

Of course there was a need for all of us to find forgiveness towards Pop, and I have come to believe that I am the one of all the children who was most able to find that forgiveness, I who was the most profoundly impacted.

My father perpetuated the lie that his second wife was my birth mother-a hideous lie that caused me to long for death rather than go on as her child. We called her Alice Capone and the day I discovered the truth was the happiest of my life. My father called her Dirty Dort and he had many reasons for giving her that nickname. She was truly the awful wicked stepmother and why he kept up the lie until he died is beyond me. But at least he told the truth with his dying breath-frankly a drama I could have done without, but oh well, at least the truth came out.

Harry and I got to the hospital at the same time that afternoon, each having thought the other had the day shift. Instead the Guatemalan man Pop had hired years before as his valet had faithfully stayed with Pop until one of us arrived. He told us he'd not called us because he knew how tired we were from the constant vigil at Pop's bedside since our adopted cousin had taken Pop to hospital Thanksgiving night.

Typical of the old man, after we'd cleared off Thanksgiving night he'd sent his valet home, and had then promptly gone into respiratory distress bad enough to force the understanding another hated hospital stay loomed. He waited until close to midnight then rang our adopted cousin instead of us because he didn't want us to be the ones who checked him in. The prednisone and theophylan were causing some mental confusion and he'd told us in a moment of lucidity just before his death that he hadn't wanted to take the chance that his confusion would cause him to blame us as the bad guys who'd dumped him in hospital-how John felt about that one I'll never know because we stopped talking after the funeral and never made it up before he was killed on 9/11.

Pop's doctor stopped us in the hallway to give us good news. He would come off the heart & lung support in the morning, and if all went well we would be able to take him home Christmas Eve!

Jubilant, we went into the CICU room Pop was in, and then totally ignored the last actual words our father communicated to us-"Turn back on the air!"

Intubated and tied down to prevent another tube pulling incident, he asked for paper and pen. A burly nurse held his arm down at the elbow, and Pop scratched out his last words.

The burly nurse gently reminded Pop he was confused (which Pop did not take well) and the air was still on. Furious, my feisty little father shooed us off to have dinner, and while we were gone, he died.

The fury and lucidity in his eyes were complete, I'd not seen my Pop that fully 'here' for nearly a month. I knew something was terribly wrong; he knew I knew and tried to support my momentary assertiveness against my idiot brother and his supremely idiotic wife but with the nurse supporting them, they won, and we allowed ourselves to be shooed out.

I've often wondered if Pop checked out mostly because he couldn't stand the thought of spending the warm months at my brother's in company of the total pinhead wife.

We left the hospital and made our way to the church on Olivera Street, the closest one to the hospital. We gave thanks and then went to dinner at one of the nicest Mexican restaurants on the street. Reservations are required, but the maitre'd took one look at us and made a gracious concession.

We were seated at a lovely table, and tried to enjoy the mariachi music, and then the flamenco dancing. Unfortunately during the premier act our father died.

The three of us were in a jubilant mood until 2145 when we all looked up for the air conditioning vent to see if we were under it as we'd all been suddenly struck with a cold chill.

We looked at each other and I looked at my watch "9:45 pm" I said. Nothing more was said, but we all knew our father had died. We grimly tried to force down our meal, just arrived, and the attentions of the staff who for some reason were paying us particular attention.

I sensed their awareness something was wrong, and I knew they thought they had somehow disappointed us. I finally stepped away from the table and went to the maitre'd, telling him our father had just died in hospital. The flamenco dancers immediately stopped their performance, the mariachi began to play mournful music, and the staff put a sort of barrier around our table by positioning serving carts between us and the other diners as we tried to finish our meal and depart without creating a further stir.

We paid the bill, and then stopped at every cantina between the restaurant and hospital. The return journey took us until 0300; at every one of the cantinas the barkeep asked what was wrong, and I quietly informed him/her the horrid news, at which point the raucous crowd
would quiet, making their way one at a time to our table to express condolences.

My brother became more drunk, at one point causing me to wonder if I could get John out to help me control him because eventually we were going to have to go back to the hospital and claim Pop's body. At the last cantina before the hospital the barkeep sensed trouble as we came through the door and met us so close to it that I felt a breeze on my back as the door closed.

"Que es eso?" he demanded to know, trying to make it clear Anglos were not welcome in that particular little sliver of alcoholic amnesia by blocking us access to a booth a bare arm reach from the bar stools with his body and belligerent tone (not to mention the Spanish).

I elbowed my way from the back and quietly replied in my flawless Castellian accent that our father had just died in the hospital across the street. He then refused our money and the wake thrown that night in that little cantina for El Pistolas, my Pop, was everything my father could have wanted from his long and warm years of acceptance amongst the Mexican Americans of Southern California.

Finally we arrived back, and my brother was now less drunk somehow, although I could tell he was near breaking down, and I thought it best we attract less attention by not signalling we somehow knew before the doctor had a chance to inform us.

So, when we walked through the back door of the ICU unit and the nurses all turned to us with horror in their eyes, I shooed my brother and his wife right back out, telling her firmly "Get him outta here, I'll take care of this!"

The head nurse cried as she told me how hard they'd tried to bring him back-45 minutes of trying, but he'd flatlined at 2145 and never came back.

They gave me his things, called down to the morgue to bring out the body for the family to view, and sent one of the nurses to escort us to the viewing room.

It's different when one dies surrounded by loving family in a quality hospital-the family views the body lying on a warming table, covered to the chest with fresh linen and a lovely blanket different than those wretched hospital waffle weave blankets. The staff is quiet as they bring the family into the room, comfortable and well-appointed with soft chairs and couches, piped in classical music suitably constrained.

The staff expertly assess the survivors-will they need to sedate, or can they leave the family for one last bit of privacy with the loved one before the business of transporting the body to the funeral home? Then they leave if they can and the good-byes begin.

They apologized that the body wasn't warm, after an hour of trying to find us they'd gone according to instructions and had already begun the freezing. We waved them off, they left, and we stood there stunned at the sight of Pop, dead.

He looked dead, it was so clear to me at least that Pop was gone. His skin was grey under the tan, and when I laid my hand on his shoulder to steady my self as I bent down to kiss him good-bye, his shoulder was stiff and ice cold.

"We're orphans now" I thought, and we left the hospital without our Pop. I thought of my children snug in their beds down in Orange County, did they know Grandpa was gone? I thought especially of my little boy, who needed my Pop and had just lost him.

14 December 2008

I should be doing any number of things other than blogging. OH well.

So, I'm surfing my fav bar trying to remember why I bookmarked this or that site, and I click on one of the TEOTWAWKI ones, and next thing I know my toes are tingling (you know the feeling, it's the same one you get when you are standing on the roof looking over into the back yard, or on the Grand Canyon South Rim at one of the ridiculously low 'barriers' the Park Service must know are not going to keep any tourists from falling over given half a chance) and my stomach is churning.

The End Of The World As We Know It actually comes around fairly often, usually on a personal scale but occasionally on a state, national, and even global scale-ARE YOU AND YOUR LOVED ONES PREPARED FOR DISASTER??

Jeez. Oh yeah, we're prepared. Whatever.

The cats have 'evac paks' and I have the route to theirs and mine mentally mapped so well that if TEOTWAWKI hits in the middle of the night I actually stand a chance of getting to the cats and our bags so that we can bug out...to where I've no clue. Oh yeah, we're prepped alright!

Every Fall I try to get a kit in the car, too, ya know, 'just in case'. My car kit usually includes a sleeping bag and food of the dehydrated kind, and some camping basics like a kwik lite BBQ, paper towels, stuff like that. Back when I had a family I tried to have more things in the car that would comfort my folks during the disaster, but since I have lost everyone I don't trouble myself overmuch-as long as the cats have kibble and I can cook something when I get tired of the beef jerky I'm good.

I grew up in earthquake country, and learned about disaster prepping early on 'cuz 'ya never know' when The Big One will hit, especially if you live close or right on top of the San Andreas fault.

And of course, growing up knowing the USSR was pretty close to dropping The Big One on us any day (Duck and cover, duck and cover) meant the obligatory nuke drills, and the also obligatory viewing of "The Day After" movie once it hit the airwaves-ensuring most sane people who were paying any attention at all were going to an uneasy sleep praying to be at Ground Zero...Personally I will never ever forget the pictures 'they' showed us tender youth of the horrors Hiroshima and Nagasaki were dealt back in '45-"That would be us, courtesy of the Reds!" intoned Mr. Box, our eighth grade history teacher. (Wonder how he felt when Detente happened?)

Still, 9/11 was The Day The Earth Stood Still for most of us, even though most of us had gone through the terrible assassinations of Kennedy and King and Kennedy-TEOTWAWKI moments to be sure.

And of course, if you lived in Florida for Hurricane Andrew (which we did), that was truly a TEOTWAWKI experience, because most of us (up till then) thought we would all dodge That Big One at least in our lifetime, although of course we prepped-plywood across the windows, bottled water, etc.

Driving north out of the state for good a few months later I wanted to shout across the median at all those people heading south into the state "Get out while you can!" and I felt pretty guilty about how lucky I was to be getting the hell outta that particular Dodge.

I managed to be in Central America (during a civil war no less) when Opal wiped out the power in our SouthEast Alabama homestead town for two weeks-the neighbours told us via snail mail that the tornado came up our driveway but then turned at the last minute into the pasture instead of taking out our little place of the Redneck American dream (a tin shack we'd remodeled and owned outright).

Whew-forehead wiping time, or so I thought when we returned in August of '96; the boy and I had missed not one but two more silver bullets by postponing our first and then second flights-one of which crashed into the Everglades, and the other in Mexico (never told Fox we'd been scheduled for that Mexican flight, matter of fact, I may not have told him about the one that crashed in the Everglades we'd booked for, either).

Who knew we'd survived Andrew, Opal, the war, and two plane crashes only to have TEOTWAWKI occur courtesy of Crusty? And man, did that one pack a wallop.

Disaster strikes no matter where you are; no matter how well you think you are prepared, you are frankly fer shure gonna have forgot something for the evac pak.

Maybe it's time to invest in one of those fanny evac paks, ya know, just in case...

Um, yeah, I feel much better now, umhum.

04 December 2008

I've joined the 21st century. I have VOIP.

I gave up a home phone the day before 9/11/2001. Who knew the world would be shaken to its core the very next day?

I went out to Cell One and got a prepaid phone 9/10/2001 because I'd finally managed to get the house phone shut off. I had to stop paying the bill, and our credit with them was so good it was four months of non-payment before the phone company got the message.

I'd had to resort to such foolishness because the rat bastard Crusty refused to transfer the line into my name, or even have it shut off-I've finally figured out he had serious control issues.

I've lived happily with simple cell service for over seven years; I had a phone in the apartment when I was a storage facility resident manager but used it only for the business. I used the cell phone for everything.

But Monday afternoon my cable/Internet provider called and made me an offer I couldn't refuse. Tuesday after work found me shopping cheap telephones at the local Wally; Wednesday after work found me puzzling over the instructions for setting up the Caller ID menu; this afternoon found me leaving work early to come meet The Cable Guy.

Icy rain fell after he finished the exterior work and after about a half hour inside I was back on the road to Walgreen's for batteries to power the Caller ID feature on my new phone.

So. I have a house line again, and not just the local Ma Bell for me, oh no, it's VOIP. I wonder how long I will wait to make a call-I haven't anyone to call just now so the new telephone will sit in all its um, modern splendor, until I have need to make a call.

Feels strange to know there is a phone in the house. I have to get used to the idea.

The cats are unconcerned; I'd changed my cell phone ring to one more like a 'real' phone so they are used to the sound of a phone ringing. But I wonder what they will do if it ever rings while I am out.

I wonder if I will know what to do if it rings.

26 November 2008

All downhill from here. It hurts, ya know?

Once upon a time, long ago, and far away, I was eloquent. Articulate. I had friends, and friends had me.

I had a son who was everything to me and the years during which I lost him stripped away everything from me-hope, faith and of course, love.

"What do you want to be when you grow up Bianca?" Asked the one person in flesh I knew with all my heart loved me completely.

"A granny!" I declared, and my one true love whom I called Sam after the book he read to me to make me stop being contrary (Green Eggs and Ham "Would I could I, Sam I Am?"), replied with all the solemn wisdom of a boy two or three years older than me.

"You have to be a mummy first, I think, you can't be a granny unless you are a mummy first."

I was of course horrified at the thought of my one and only cherished dream tied to a period of lurching about in trailing wrappings, having just watched the Boris Karloff version of "The Mummy". Almost as horrified as Sam I Am was when I told him in a fit of three or four year old love that when I grew up I was going to marry him.

Alas, Sam I Am lived primarily in southern Wales. Grew up there, all the while romancing me with The Beatles, Diana Ross and the Supremes, Credence Clearwater Revival, The Beach Boys, and later Jethro Tull and Led Zeplin. Sam I Am has the greatest taste in books and music.

("Those were the days/my friends/we thought they'd never end/we'd sing and dance/forever and a day...")

I thought he would show up one day and stay forever, no more leaving, no more good-byes 'til next time. No more jet aeroplanes and laughing rows over pronunciations of aluminum and aeroplane-"Dear God Sunnie, you're British, how can you not speak King's English?? Now, say it after me-Al - lu - min - i - um..."



All the while knowing in my heart that Sam I Am was not the man God ordained for me at the dawn of time, but oh please God, can't you change your mind?? I trusted Sam like I've never in this or any life trusted anyone.

Mr. Do-The-Right-Thing, which explains his childhood horror at the thought of marrying someone God meant for someone else, and never ever to know that decency endeared him all the more to me.

Ah, temptation, and Sam I Am dedicated songs to me over my local radio using up his precious hard earned pounds, then would go silent for weeks, then pop up out of no-where to tell me he just had a feeling I needed him, which I did.

"Mr Postman, wait and see if you've a letter, a letter for me" I waited for the postcards and the blue airmail envelopes, the messages from Sam I Am when he gave in; I never stopped listening to the radio on the chance that Sam had given in and stood patiently feeding coins into the phone box gulping mouth.

Fourteen and smart enough to ask me for the phone number and call sign of my favourite radio station (KEZY Anaheim!), then call so that I and anyone else listening would know that a boy in southern Wales, GB, cared enough about ME to ring the station. My first and last name unusual enough that when he called (and his calls were timed to ensure the largest audience to our local pop station) there could be no doubt who was the intended-it made my day, my night, my week, my life.

We would have children who would love me because he loved me, would respect me because he did, would honour me because he did, who would believe in me because he did-he would be my partner and we would raise a strong, united family.

He changed his mind, went to college over there instead of over here. My step-mother stole my college fund, and I joined the Coast Guard.

Angry, I married a total jerk I met while on active duty; Sam I Am graduated from college and went on to med school.

I divorced the jerk and tried to get on with my life; Sam I Am finished his residency, became a surgeon.

I met the guy God ordained for me at the dawn of time-oddly enough also from Wales, and headed for med school, Sam I Am stayed out of the way while I lost the man God ordained for me at the dawn of time; I married another jerk whom I divorced in September 1998, then came back saying "I can't go all my life waiting to catch you between husbands!"

Back and forth, off and on, we long distance (and all too rarely up close and semi-personal) tried again. For several years. Finally he asked me to decide (like I hadn't already!), and I said "Yes, Please!"

He said he'd try to talk to Fox, we'd be a family, he'd be a good step-father to Fox, and we would all live happily ever after.

For the first time in nearly ten years I let myself hope and believe, maybe a little. I kept it to myself, mostly, telling a few people at work, but keeping out of the blogs because frankly I just had a feeling that writing about it in online would jinx it.

Silly me.

Sam I Am's cold feet got so cold he has frostbite.

Fox still hates me, and I forgot to thaw the little turkey breast I got because ya know, Thursday 27th November 2008 is just another day.

Like 25th December will be.

Like the rest of my life will be.

I've known since October 28th, the day I was supposed to pick Sam I Am up at the airport.

Keeping it out of the blogs didn't protect it one damn bit.

25 November 2008

I. Am. Not. Doing. Well.

Today it was once again proved to me by my co-workers that I should just STFU.

We lost two 'team members' yesterday and our work load is increased tremendously. Everyone is in a spin that would make the Taz proud, and they finally managed to totally, completely, fully piss me off.

I became very very quiet. I intend to stay that way. In part to preserve my job (at least through this wretched -welcome to my world all you fellow New Working Poor-economic downturn) and in part to preserve what very little is left of my sanity.

However, I have this DEEP need to exact some kind of revenge-a sure sign to any one left who cares enough to know me that I am really in danger of walking away from this bunch of loonies.

I could rant on incoherently, but to what avail, ergo what's the point? I am so everlastingly and utterly burned out on my opinion/judgement/feedback/information being sought only to have it totally ignored, worse, derided and contradicted.

And three days later when I'm proved right told I should have been more assertive, or told, well, "uh, I needed to hear it from someone else."

So when today the child who thinks he is smarter than everyone (and was recently caught ignoring our boss in favour of the wonky Accounting 'team') deigned to ask me a question in an email, I answered, and oh yeah, hit 'reply to all' and that he shouldn't believe me but check my facts. I added a smile, do I get points?

Wonder if my badge will work in the morning.

Nothing got logged, nothing was done the way we should have done it including all of the stuff that should go into the shredder but went into the trash because I was being a prima dona according to the resident PITA and they didn't used to have to do all that...

Yeah, I do wonder if my badge will work in the morning, and I hate myself that I care and am tempted (but not enough to get in the car and go back there to clean up after all the real prima donas) to get in the car and go back there to clean up after all the real prima donas.

Oh God I miss my son, I miss having a real life, and I am pretty pissed that those little shites got me again-I should have just gritted my teeth and put up with their stupidity because I'm right and they know it and the real reason they were such PITAs today is that they know they were wrong.

I hate that I care, did I say that already?

The rebellion started last night when:

One of the two caught doing stupid stuff decided that she would contradict my instructions to one of the temps, and then compounded this error by going around me to her partner in crime, who jumped on the bandwagon and when our mutual boss didn't catch on (because he is too busy putting out the fires caused by the caught two and their partners in crime who were walked out the door yesterday morning) and thus gave tacit approval to their antics, the rest of the 'team' joined in.

Well, I wonder if my badge will work in the morning.

22 November 2008

When does something become the last straw? How many last straws does a body have?

I've been so busy at work that I've not been online for a week, and when I got home this afternoon I decided I would boot up and check out the news.

Bad choice. I should have listened to the little voice in my head that said "Nah, not today. Google something fun; window shop the new fashioned way. Do anything but go to the news sites..."


How does a person keep reading the news when the first headline that comes up regards a teen killing himself on webcam?

The young Floridian, a college student, posted that he'd taken a drug overdose. He trained the camera on his bed then laid down and slowly died on webcam.

Viewers were posting IM messages deriding him as a fake, or that he'd not ingested enough of the antidepressant found later in his body.

Many people watched for many hours as a young man slowly died on webcam.

Finally, after several posts that he wasn't moving-breathing, one of the viewers contacted the kid's Internet provider and asked them to contact the police.

Who came, broke down the door to the kid's room, and determined he was dead. They turned off the camera, and later the vid and comments were pulled from the website that had hosted his suicide.


So, how many last straws does any one of us have in them before doing something like this?

How many?

02 November 2008

Whenever did Absorbine Jr manufacturers decide to put the ointment into a plastic bottle??

I've not bought it in a few years but recently realized I needed to start stocking a reliable multi-purpose antiseptic again and so yesterday tucked a carton into my hand basket. When I got home and opened the carton I was surprised to see the container is plastic.

Then I flipped the damn thing over to find the Triangle Seven-loaded with bisphenol-swell. The stuff is useless if the critics are to be believed.


If you clicked the link and read the article, you can see the critics of the product are impressive-Yalies don't like the stuff, and that's good enough for me! Check out the citations, this is not your pop-science wiki, but a very well written report on the chemical by reputable (and peer reviewed) sources.

Jeez I am so glad I bought a ton of glass bottles for my grandson-hope his mum continued to use the glass after I moved up here! Everything I've read says the worst effects come from exposure during early development.

So, back to the store goes the Absorbine Jr. I'm going to have to find something else-more than likely I shall now (instead of later) have to become a home chemist as regards medicinals. I was kinda hoping to hold off on that, I've only just now learned to make my own 'beauty' supplies.

And I'm going to have to be careful about what I buy and use for disaster prep-glad I was never much into canned goods as a suitable stock-up material.

Gods, how very damn depressing all of this is becoming; natural and man made disasters on increasing and people all over the world are so tense it seems to be it won't take much to set them off. See what turning away from an agrarian society does?

If ever there was a time for pulling the wagons into a circle, now surely feels like Time!

26 October 2008

The situation has become quite dire, and grim is not an overstatement-the government and the Wall Streeters have finally caught on. Please do not bother looking at the mainstream news media unless you already know how to search the back pages. Check out not so mainstream news media outlet-Google Drudge Report, Life after the Oil Crash; hell, Google TEOTWAWKI, that oughta cover ya.

(BTW, have you noticed that right about the time the average Joe figured out the real news is buried on page 14 on the bigger newspapers, the newspapers went online and you all of a sudden couldn't find anything worth more than bathroom paper at the local newsstands? 'Coz it's just so much easier to bury stuff online than it is on the hard copy...)

OK, Junior, it's Mom here, and I want you to know that Ed and Chris both know how to find me should you decide you want to bug your little family the hell outta there. I've got a little bit of a doomstead going on up here, and could frankly use your help getting the last few things done-the renting near neighbours have for the most part bugged out and I'm sitting here with the locals, whose children are straggling in in larger numbers every day-it hurts and simultaneously warms my heart to see them reuniting and forgetting past problems in face of the economic collapse that is probably gonna hit week after next.

Then it will get bad, really bad, son, and I hate to think of the three or four of you walking from there to here. (Your babymama knew this was coming and I hoping/praying with all my heart she is begging you to get up here...I told her years ago that I would make room for you all no matter how pissed I am, and I'm hoping that she remembers that part about no matter how pissed.)

I so very badly wanna be wrong, and who knows, I may be off by a few months (OH PLEASE GOD, PLEASE!!)but son, it is coming, and where you are living is going to be hit so hard-of that I am completely certain, and I am not alone in this. As I wrote above, everyone is catching on, and that is a good and bad thing.

Good that people are waking up, bad that real panic is probably only a few days out, and I really do not want to think about your little son out there on the road as you make your way north during a time of extreme civil unrest.

I am hoping the bailout buys us more time, but...

Forgive me for sounding like a nagging mom, but Fox, HURRY!

PS-Frye, you too if you need/want to...bring yer gear.

30 September 2008

I tell myself this cannot be happening, but it is-I have NO gasoline in my car and so cannot get to work.

I went looking on Saturday and Sunday but couldn't find gas.

I went looking on my way home from work last night but when the fuel gauge warning light came on I came home and parked.

I have enough gasoline to go perhaps three-five miles with some measure of confidence, but no more.

I live about sixty miles north of Atlanta and I am sick and tired of hearing reporters on the TV saying "Just an hour north of Atlanta gas is free flowing..." Oh steer droppings!

Last night the neighbourhood men fanned out with five gallon gas cans trying to find enough gas to get people to work but returned after two hours empty handed.

I cannot afford to miss work, no-one can. But I am going to have to call in and explain that I can't make it in this morning. I have an important meeting at 1030. I had two solid hours of prep work that could not be done ahead.

This is insane, how can we have let this happen? I knew this was coming and could do very little to prepare, living on less than 'paycheck to paycheck' since the first of the year. I've cut back, cut back, cut back, cut back, cut back-where do I cut back now?

Knowing I am not alone in this is no comfort to me at all-I hate thinking about the suffering going on right here in my little area! None of us deserve this, we didn't have ludicrous mortgages, no Hummers in my neighbourhood! No credit card debt, no loans, no zip. We paid cash or didn't buy.

So why are we in this mess right along side the selfish trash that had to have a balloon mortgage to feel 'middle class'??

This is insane! PUHLEEZE do not tell me that the gas shortage has nothing to do with the mortgage meltdown unless you are completely comfortable with the exposure of your incredible stupidity.

Oh man, this is BAD...

29 September 2008

Whew, what a weekend!

Friday night I got home to find the freezer had arrived. It was sitting in its crate on the little porch just waiting for me to drag it in the house and try to imagine what it will be like to have a real freezer sitting in my kitchen.

Visions of power failures dance through my head...

Saturday morning the handyman and I trekked down to Home Depot where we got the things I would need to finally put my kitchen back together (ahhhh, 'Adventures in Remodeling'); thanks to the freezer and its attending needs, I couldn't afford most of the things I needed. Oh well.

I am now the proud and profoundly grateful owner of a small chest freezer-between it and the food I put it in I am flat broke. But it was soooooooooo nice to be able to cook a real meal-the fridge is back in its proper place, the range is working, and the dishes are unpacked. And washed. And used tonight for a real meal, the remains of which I will put in the freezer tomorrow after work.

I've finally unpacked my kitchen. I started on it about noon yesterday and finally ran out of steam a couple of hours ago. It's been sitting in boxes and on the kitchen table for over a year, but today I finally moved in. Everything needed to be washed-pine pollen and dust. The plastics still need a good washing up but I still haven't figured out just where to put that, so I guess it's a good thing I finally gave out before I got to those items.

I walked outside after dinner tonight and looked at the kitchen light shining out onto the front yard. The porch light is a bit too strong, and I made a mental note to change it for one of the CFLs. The solar lights are working so the path was lit up and looks so pretty against the privet I've tortured into shape against their habit of billowy streamers trying to pry loose the screens.

I miss my son. I miss my grandson. These are so frightening times we are living through, and I wish my son and his family were here where the air is still fairly clean, and the humidity fairly low; where neighbours still act like neighbours.

We've got together and worked out a few things, the handyman is going to do some home improvement things for me that I can't do myself, and in return I am going to put up meals for him to microwave, everyone has agreed to be on the look-out for gasoline and fill their five gallon cans for each other if need be, another neighbour is sharing his produce with me in return for me canning some and freezing some for him. I'm doing some sewing and painting for another neighbour who is frail. People are bartering skills and wisdom all over the neighbourhood. We've teamed up and are watching the area against garden and clothesline raiders-it has been happening on the edges of the neighbourhood, and we watch out for each other's gas tanks, too.

And the President of Venezuela is making friends with The Bear. Why are so few people concerned about the Russian nuclear cruisers and gunships harboured down there, why is there no outcry about the aircraft?

I turned six during the Cuban Missile Crisis. My grandson is four, and we are having another crisis, several really.

Hard Times. God help us. Please.

24 September 2008

Jeez, does it ever get better?

We have a temp who has been listening to his new BFFs, who will drop him the minute they get what they want-me in trouble. They think they succeeded today, and it may be until tomorrow that they find out how wrong they are.

But then again, I wonder if I really even care. The only reason I keep going back there is because I am not interested in living out of a cardboard box, so I guess I care a little.

Still, how f'ng stupid are some people-and why do I always have to be the one to point out where and how these ejits are manipulating themselves into bigger trouble than they need to?

The current trip is to make our boss think no-one can work with me, when in reality they are trying to work it so that my temp-now trained and damn good at what he does-will be posted into their work area-to pick up their slack, but he doesn't know that yet.

If they get their way-and I am very tempted to let them have it-he will figure it out and it will too late for him

Oh yes, these little new BFFs are the last of the problem children, and they are using all of their little tricks that worked for them in the past.

We'll see.

On another wild hair, have you tried to get gas lately?

22 September 2008

Summer ends, Autumn begins.

I love Autmn. The many cliches, all true for me.


18 September 2008

Thirty-one years ago this very minute, I was dying.

Eight units of blood later, I was still dying.

It took another week before the doctors who delivered my first living child pronounced me "out of the woods" and sure to be the next contestant on "Who's Gonna Get The Worst Case Of Post-Partum Blues?"

She is born and it is nearly a week before I get my first look, my first hold, of my first born living child.

By then I am pretty sure it was already too late for my daughter and me, she'd been held by her father, who was sure he was about to be a widower raising a child alone; she'd been held by Alice Capone, who showed up a day after my daughter's birth, in response to the "We really don't think she is going to make it..."

Step-Mum held court in the hospital nursery, milking the soon to be grieving mother/grandmother for all it would get her.

("Nana", how grotesque was that? To this day the only "Nana" I can bear is the dog from Peter Pan.)

Two weeks post delivery I crawled into the car with my husband, daughter, and the Steps.

Home we went, to the chilly Yerba Buena Island housing unit we got due to the new daddy's active duty service in the USCG (oh yes, stupid me, I married a guy I met while on active duty, how cliche-I really thought I had to marry him after we'd had sex)

The Steps decamped, and the husband's mother descended, and at one point I locked the baby and myself into the bedroom.

To her everlasting credit, I was the horrid one, and she was the injured victim-a sweeter soul than Eleanor I've met only once, and that one is my BFF since ninth grade.

My poor mother-in-law, and she was soooooooooo nice about how really incredibly rude I was!

Thirty-one years later I can only hope that she had a good life, still lives, and happily; the last time I heard of her was in the very early nineties when her latest daughter-in-law called to tell me she really understood why I'd divorced my first born child's father.

No, really. Cathy was too good for Tom, but that is my very biased opinion, and really, Tom was not nearly as warped & twisted as Crusty. Well, there was the time he 'accidentally' knocked me down a flight and a half of stairs when I was seven months pregnant with our first born-relatively unharmed I jumped up and ran back up the stairs grabbing his oar (Tom rowed for the University of Hawaii, he also played football for them) from the display and using it to break three or four of his ribs.

Both taken to hospital, he had to be persuaded by the SPs that it simply wasn't done to knock one's wife down the stairs and then try to have her arrested for breaking one's ribs in response.

Welcome to the World, kiddo.

She moved to Hawaii to live with her father in 1993, and today she is thiry-one years old.

10 September 2008

Happy Birthday Pop! (9 September, 1921) I miss you. Nope, you were not perfect, but you were not terrible, either.

I hope you have made the acquaintance of Blake Green, since I really believe that between the two of you passed on dads, you guys shuffled the papers on Judge Little's desk until at 09:09 on 9 September 1999, he changed my pending divorce into full on.

Hard to believe it has been nine years since that! Even more strange to remember where I was at the exact moment the papers were signed by the good judge-I was at the rest stop on the FL-AL border agreeing to be Crusty's next of kin in case something untoward happened to him as he was posted back to permanent duty in a dangerous place. Not to mention that he had the sort of habits sure to make that place even more dangerous, but it really wasn't my look-out anymore, thank-you God, Pop, and Blake Green.

I drove down to the border in my 'hoopty car' (dunno why the kid called it that, it was pretty tired and had about another unsafe 250 miles left on it's master cylinder) and Crusty met me in his brand new Lincoln Town Car.

He gave me what was left of his freezer and dry foods (which I threw out at the fireworks stand on the way back into Dothan-it make me sick to look at, and I knew Matt was still not nor ever would be hungry enough to eat it either) and then he asked me if it was OK for him to list me as his next of kin.

I agreed, and on the drive home, decided if he croaked I was going to have him cremated at a pet crematory, put his ashes in a Folger's coffee can-he drank Maxwell House-and then I was going to plant said ashes in the town cemetery encased in tons of concrete. I'd top it with a tombstone reading "Don't Go Here" and not another word-no name, date, or any thing beyond the warning to let it be.

I'm pretty sure Crusty has a different listed next-of-kin after nine years.

And Happy Birthday, California. (9 September 1850)

I think I kinda miss you, too, but not in a "Gee, I wish I were there" kinda way.

06 September 2008







Wake up to realize thirty-four years are the past...

My step-mother (who had default custody after my father moved out in '72) had by Fall of '73 moved in her boyfriend, claimed she and my father were divorced, that she had married her boyfriend, who came to the gas station I was working at and dragged me literally by the hair to the high school across town where he was a teacher. He forced me to register for my senior year, claiming that he'd adopted me and therefore had the right. I hope one day to have the time and money to have my high school diploma re-issued in my real name.

After graduation I went camping for three weeks with my boyfriend. We toured Yosemite and King's Canyon, where the flora and fauna triggered a whopping asthma attack in said boyfriend causing us to cut short our trip and start back down to Orange County.

While on the road that day we listened to the radio and so heard President Nixon resign. Having named my cat Leon Jaworski, I was hardly politically indifferent, but hearing Nixon quit his office brought me to the total awareness that I needed to grow-up and do my part. The boyfriend and I looked at each other and in that look were the words it would take us another couple of months to speak aloud-"Ciao baby, it's been real, but..."

Almost immediately after our unpacking his car my step-parents had me packing the family station wagon (a '73 Ford, go figure) for our tour of the Wine Country.

(Excuse me, even in '74, who the hell takes their 17 year old on a tour of the Wine Country?)

While on the road back to Southern California we stopped for lunch on Cannery Row, and while trying to ignore the fact that I would soon be back in a massive mobile death trap courtesy of their state of drunkenness, I watched the marine traffic through the huge plate glass windows over looking the bay.

A United States Coast Guard small boat raced out of the harbour, and in the seconds it took for that brave little vessel to clear my line of sight, I knew how I wanted to spend the rest of my life-knowing as I somehow did by then that while God proposes it is Man who disposes and I therefore needed to find a palatable way to provide for my-self.

You see, dear and gentle reader, I also knew the Wine Country Tour, the 25' Bayliner boat sitting in the side yard, the late model fully loaded Ford station wagon, both steps very fashionable wardrobes, the mortgage payments, and more, were being funded directly from my college fund...

The day after we got back I called the recruiting station up in Santa Ana. Because I was a week or so shy of eighteen the recruiter told me I had to bring a parent with me to be tested both mentally and physically, and I did have to endure the presence of the steps for those initial steps to the Rest Of My Life, but despite my near desperation to have it done I waited until the day after I turned eighteen to sign the recruiting paperwork.

The recruiter then told me to return to the station ten days later (with a small suitcase containing no more than two changes of clothing and the bare minimum of personal grooming aids) to be sworn in and leave for basic training.


"Raise your right hands and repeat after me..."

"...I solemnly swear to uphold, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States of America, against all enemies, foreign and domestic..."







Wake up to find thirty-fours years are The Past
Once upon a time a six year old girl went out into her father's fig orchard to ask God if it was OK for her to go into a convent and spend the rest of her life praying for His children who were hurting.

But He answered by giving her two choices, and neither was a cloistered life of continuous prayer.

He offered her life as an opera singer and showed her what her life would be like if she chose to sing on a public stage.

(The Lord knows all of his children!)

What the little girl saw was how lonely she would be in spite of the many people who came to hear her sing.

Then He showed her the second choice and that is the one she chose. She chose it because at the same moment she knew He was hoping she would chose thusly, she was awed at how perfect the second choice was for her!

I don't know why He did not show her that she would lose (if even only for a short time) all the people He meant her to be surrounded with-her beloved and loving family. Perhaps He did not show her that horrible time because he knew it was but a 'might be' and not a 'will be'.

Maybe He did not because He knew she knew that Life is after all, Life, and that sorrows come amid great joy; that she knew that she would lose some of her loved ones because that is part of Life, that some leave us for one reason or another...

I'm not Job, nor Jeremiah, nor especially Jonah. I am me, and I want my family back. I do not want to live in a cave, and I do not need to be given a time out in a whale's belly to contemplate the errors of my ways.

I am like Joshua! My house, even if only a house of One, serves the Lord!

Am I like Joseph?

Have I the strength of that great One? Joseph turned the utter horror of being betrayed by his own loved ones to God's purpose-being in the right place to help his starving family (the very brothers who sold him into slavery down in Dothan!).

Do I go ahead to prepare the way for those who hurt me so badly if they should be in need?

Forty-six years later, the little girl would still make the second choice, and spend the next forty years in hope and love for the knock at the door...

"Jerusalem, Jerusalem! How I have longed to gather you as the hen gathers her chicks under wing! But you would have none of it!"

Once upon a time...

01 September 2008

It ain't over yet, so nobody get too excited.

Gustav could still cause serious flooding in Louisiana and Texas; Hurricane Hanna looms and is beginning to look like a serious threat to Savannah, Georgia. Tropical Storm Ike has just been named and looks as though he might just head into the Gulf behind Gustav.

And what would be Josephine is trying her darnedest to form off Africa.

Hanna is looking like she might do more damage than Gustav has done so far, making landfall between Savannah and Charleston (as one who lives in North Georgi, I can tell you with reasonable confidence that with a Cat 2 hurricane, Savannah and Charleston are so close together that it really doesn't matter if the storm hits either one-both would feel the full fury of the storm.) likely by Thursday or Friday.

I've said so many times before that you, dear reader, must be bored to hear it again-oh well-I am a climate refuge.

I left the Gulf Coast region after Katrina but really because of Ivan, a year earlier.

What I've not mentioned is this impending sense of doom I feel, and have found many share.

The two groups of evacuees (Gustav and Hanna) will strain resources, perhaps to the breaking point. Shelter operators are now talking on CNN about the very real possibility that the two groups will meet in the middle, so to speak, as they all head the same direction-AWAY FROM THE COASTLINES-and will present a supply nightmare disaster relief providers have lately been having nightmares about.

Imagine the post apocalyptic nature of it, sheltering two groups of natural disaster evacuees. The eeriness of it is surreal to imagine really, but having indulged in many a "Disaster Flick Weekend Binge" I can tell you that you should see the movies I've seen where not one but several natural disasters threaten the very survival of Man.

And ya know what? All this feels like one of those movies, the better done ones, we're not talking "Killer Bees" here, although maybe we should...seen any honeybees lately?

I chose this area, been trying to get here for decades. Now I am here, little money for prep, no family around me to help with the prep for what more and more people are now 'getting', that climate disaster is going to very soon present most of us with very real merest survival challenges.

Yeah, I know, "Jeez, get over it, lady! It's not that bad! Jeez, what an old panic queen!"

Yeah, ask anyone who will be forever grateful to the Coastie that plucked them and their families off those roof tops three years ago, anyone with the horrific misfortune to have been in the Super Dome..."Hey, you're like over that silly little thing, right?"

So here I sit, watching the weather do things it has simply NEVER-EVER done during this and several past lives-become increasingly violent, and completely unpredictable.

(Not to mention the crazy behaviour of the general populace-this I have seen before, and it ALWAYS indicates fear and total panic due to an impending sense of doom...)

All indications here are that the coming winter is going to be harsh. Cold, very cold. Most of this past summer I have really only run the AC to keep the humidity down, it simply hasn't been all that hot. My cats are already putting on heavier under and top coats; the squirrels tails are more bushy than I have seen in years.

And for the first time in my life, I am thinking about learning to can the veggies I grow. Usually I freeze but this year...

30 August 2008

Well, it happened, I've turned fifty-two. This past week. It's been an interesting week:)

I'm playing with a full deck now, according to a fellow 52er, and as a full deck player I feel I am entitled to a whole hell of a lot of respect. I appear to be getting it, too, as work yesterday went along nicely, and that has gone a good way towards improving my mood and outlook-not that I am stupid enough to believe things will ever improve there to the point that I look forward to each new business day. I don't. I literally have to drag myself there, and the disappointment that creates is depressing to say the least.

But oh well, I seem to be getting through it and that realization is a help. Crusty wanted me to have to drag myself to work so that I would know how he felt everyday-not going to ever happen. He had me to try and help him see Life does not have to be such a flippin' tragedy-I have no living breathing optimist standing next to me, dammit, but in spite of Crusty's very best efforts, I am still willing to be optimist for myself.

Speaking of the sorry piece of East-Euro-trash Crusty, Hurricane Gustav has him set for being on the worst side of the storm when it hits. I am trying VERY hard to pray the storm falls apart before it hits the Gulf Coast, but frankly I really think it would be bloody perfect if Gustav hit Crusty, but just Crusty and his house, and just about anything he holds dear except living beings, and washes every bit out to sea. Most important, if the storm does hit Crusty (and only Crusty, please God) I pray with my whole entire heart and soul that that sorry excuse for a person DOES NOT GET ANOTHER TAX-PAYER FUNDED REBUILT BEACH SHACK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I cannot tell you, dear and gentle reader, how very outraged the notion of Crusty and his ilk using hard working tax-payer money to rebuild a house in such a disaster prone area makes me.

I mean, COME ON! If we as a people can be angry about welfare cheats, how is it that we turn and pay to rebuild the ultimate welfare cheat's follies on the beach?

Growing up in Southern California I watched in amazement as people built houses (expensive, and in clusters-a certain recipe for disaster!) along sand cliffs-excuse me, sand cliffs? WTF were they thinking?? Certainly not "I say, it certainly does not make sense to build a home along a sand cliff that has traditionally and annually crumbled during the SoCal rainy season, now does it my dear?"

And they built in arroyos-dry creek beds for those of you raised elsewhere. HUH?? DRY CREEK BEDS? There is a good reason you do not build a camp in a dry creek bed-like when it rains that dry creek bed becomes a raging mini-river waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay faster than you could scream "OH S*IT!"

We live on a geo-physically unstable planet. Meaning-some places are nice to visit but you certainly wouldn't want to live there.

And I am certain I do not ever again want to spend my hard earned money supporting your surely drug-induced arrogance

So, if you live in a disaster prone area, I say, except for immediate humanitarian aid, you are and should be, on your damn own.

As in rebuild at your expense, not mine, you cheating idiot wanker (and oh yes, I damn sure know what that bit of vernacular means).


I am a climate refugee. I did not ask my fellow Americans to support my habit of living in danger zones. I got the hell outta there, and have been working hard ever since to pay my own way. It has not been easy. I actually need some help but I am not about to ask for a free ride, and I really think a free ride is what these morons are asking for when they go back and rebuild.

Why is it different for Them-because they built ridiculously expensive beach 'McMansions' and that somehow makes helping them cover their stupidity more right than helping some poor kid who made the colossal mistake of not being born into an upper income family, so they couldn't afford college or even staggering amounts of student loan debt loads, so they had to take a low paying job, which made every day a struggle and they couldn't afford to relocate, or even pay for the gas to get the beater loaded up and outta there...

Jesus weeps.

24 August 2008

I have been remiss-this is a blog and I should keep on it better.

A blog is an online journal, used by the unknown to update the blogger's social circle updated.

Or, in the case of the completely unknown, a blog is used to vent, examine, consider, keep track and keep on track.

I have the rare reader and do not even respond most times, so socially inept have I become in the past two+ years I've been writing this thing.

I open the dashboard and find myself paralyzed-in my increasingly boring life, what could I possibly have to say?

My life has become terribly boring-I know very few people, go no-where but to and from work with the rare exception of a quick shopping trip through a store on my daily to/from work route. The shopping trips are equally boring, I run in and grab a few groceries from Publix or grooming basics from the Wal-Mart (a store I especially detest but must frequent for my allergy meds and less expensive cat food). I try to make the trips count so that I do not have to come back any time soon.

Once upon a time I was much less boring and I grieve deeply for the lost and missing Me.

I want my life back; I want my son, my grandson, a home, a place, a bloody damn meaning!

Friday night as I surfed a news site I read that a US diplomat has been sentenced to twenty years for committing sex crimes against children in the countries he was posted to. Reading this of course reopened wounds, and I googled the ex only to have his father's obituary come up.

My ex-father-in-law died in hospice care on 18th Feb 2008. The obit listed his survivors leaving off my son, and I have such mixed emotions!

Firstly, because I know now that my suspicions are correct (Crusty filled his all too willing to believe family with lies to cover his prosecutable crimes) and I find it incredibly sad that Fox has been cheated yet again by an utterly evil man.

Yet...those were the most wretched people! Their life was small, colourless, empty, venal, meaningless, and a complete illusion. Made it easier to buy into Crusty's lies, although at least one of his sisters knew the truth about just what a piece of ambulatory fecal matter her brother is. She lacked the courage to turn her back. A self-confessed coke whore (to me one night during yet another of the torturous 'family reunions' his mother was always having), she further confessed she had no courage whatsoever in regards to her mother...

But his mother, while a real pill, did try and so did his father. I think that the years and years of his lies finally caught up, and in 1997 I flat refused to go to see them...

He got me to pack the car and we went, the three of us, to Charlotte, North Carolina. He wanted to check the town out as he was contemplating moving us there. On the way back he pulled off at his parents exit (near Greenville, South Carolina); I was filled with cold dread at the thought of having to endure his parent's inhospitality and I got him to stop in the car park of a local business-closed as it was Sunday afternoon.

Fox and I got out of the car and flatly refused to go another inch if it meant ending at his parents crumbling piece of carpet bagging excess. A tremendous row ensued and the owner of the business came out to see if he needed to ring for the police.

Crusty was frantic that Fox and I accompany him to his parents, my son and I were equally frantic to not.

We won that one, my son and I. Five miserable hours later we were in our own drive, into the house, and back into our unhappy routine.

The illusions.

I begged, many many many many many times for a paternity test, for he acted as though he did not believe Fox was his son, and others, primarily his family, acted that way too, and I finally got it, too late, that Crusty was slandering me behind my back and had been from the start.

But from very nearly the start I begged him to go for a paternity test because I stupidly believed that once he knew the truth he would change, be a better and nicer person...

How really very stupid of me, ya know?!

He didn't want to know the truth and he could not afford to have me know either.

And deep down inside, I used to tell myself that if by some miracle Fox was not Crusty's child, I could grab up my beautiful boy and get the bloody hell out of Dodge without any qualms or guilt that I was breaking up a family, the way I felt when I divorced my daughter's father so many years before.

Because there are only two reasons I stayed. One being that, and the other being the gun Crusty kept to mine and Fox's heads all though horrific years.

Crusty's little snowball, I wonder, did his father ever know the real truth? Will my son?

I want my life back; I want my son to know the truth. I want vindication and I want all of this before my son is another day older-I WANT MY FAMILY BACK, DAMN IT!

29 July 2008

LOL, or maybe not...

I've been amusing myself in varied ways trying to stimulate the aging brain I drag around. Until recently one of my amusements was going to the website www.passiveaggresivenotes.com and reading through the posted notes. (I would then segue into the truly hilarious website www.overheardintheoffice.com. I'm going to keep that one up so it is a current amusement. But I digress.)

I enjoyed the posted notes from people who are wittily hostile while maintaining a thin veneer of civility against the total bores with whom the note writers are wroth.

Alas, I will have a difficult time enjoying now that I find out the web site owners are members of a youthful set who find the note writers displayers so-called passive-aggressive behaviours that are simply (like totally, OK?) contemptible. I discovered this dismaying news after I paid more attention to the side bars, after overhearing the little wretches I work with going on about people who use passive-aggressive behaviours.

OK, I'm going to completely pass on sharing my view that these little "Git outta my way ya old f**t!" wankers are total losers who can't stand elegant facetious humour (Crashing bores, the lack witted!) because they are incapable of creating any on their worthless, selfish, useless own...

I'm usually the oldest person in the room at work, although mercifully that is changing at the end of the week. Yes kids, I am moving back out to my old desk, although it won't be my old desk in that our new boss of bosses is trying to humiliate the rest of the new 'team' she is assembling by cramming all six of us into mini-cubes I've taken to calling cubies.

It has to be that, can't figure out why the hell she would do it otherwise! Six of us, two pushing forty, one over forty, one of us over fifty, and two of us over 60, every one of us with several years in for this company and all of having held various positions of considerable trust and authority-now will be hunched into mini-cubes like parents at the kindergartner's 'Meet Teacher' night. What else can this new team seating assignment be but an exercize in deliberate slighting and humiliation aimed at the stubborn old fools we? Oh, it's gonna be swell, all of us crammed into our little cubies in our little room.

I'm trying not to complain (all the blogging while I have another window up and am busily sending out my resume in hopes of a "REAL JOB"), it could be worse, I could still be trapped in Hell (the workspace I will be vacating hopefully Thursday morning. Please God).

Scary to be a mere 51 years old and the oldest worker in the room. All those thirty something eyes vibing silently and oh so eloquently that you are a PITA in their way-the way they can't find with out parental assistance, BTW, but NEVER point it out...I liken my workspace to a den of uneasy and hungry little hyenas pissed that Mummsey is still claiming the larger share of the scavenges. Have I mentioned that for the most part I am completely sick of the young people I have been working with??

I try to tune the little beggars out. They don't like me and I've given up trying to like them beyond Christian duty. But last week they were louder than usual, and they were being rather disdainful of the passive-aggressive people who use excessive politeness to express their displeasure instead of being an adult and knocking the shi* out of the person they are mad at. (Huh?!)

I swear I thought p-a was the condition of being such a little craven sniveler that the only possible expression of the unhappiness is sullen work slowdown and an increase in "Oops, I didn't mean to destroy that business machine by feeding so much paper into it a massive paper jam resulted and we will have to wait for the hideously expense tech to fix it because the shredded paper bits the machine ate are everywhere, including sucked into the motor-oh wow, will we have to get a new one? Bummer. We won't be able to work for days. Management should buy better machines."

GRRRRRRRR. Really, this all reminds of when those little anal retentive brats decided to change Halley's (pronounced since the good astronomer's day as 'Hail-ee's') to Halley's (pronounced incorrectly but oh so pompously by these literal minded scuts as 'Hal-ee's').

If one more idiot result of the lunacy of the '80's child training model of "You can't respect anyone else until you respect yourself" condescends to me I am going to give them something legitimate to cry about.


05 July 2008

Happy 232 USA!!

I got up this morning and read the Decalration of Independence online at the National Archives, hung out my new flag, then dragged myself down to the grocery, then came home and cleaned house, napped, and woke to help a friend finish my new garden path.

I came home from work Monday to find this friend mowing my lawn (wow, who knew you could use a mower like a bush hog??)

I came home Tuesday to find this friend hacking away at the area in front of the tin shack with a pickax and laying construction bricks in the trough.

I came home Wednesday to find this friend spreading landscaping plastic, then pavers, then marble chips between the two rows of up-ended construction bricks he'd laid Tuesday.

I came home Thursday to find him installing solar path lights on my beautiful new path.

Today he told me why he'd done this (while I am trying to figure out how to pay him back).

He's a great guy. He's been through some tough times and is trying to get back together with his ex-wife, a woman with whom he has raised a beautiful young woman, and is now helping to raise their grand-daughter.

She is a great person who has put up with some pretty tough times caused by his drinking.

He wanted to say thank-you for talklng with him while he was sober, and refusing to do so when he wasn't, and for telling him to his face while sober why I won't talk to him sometimes. For telling him a few other truths he wasn't ready to hear until I'd said those truths calmly and repeatedly over the past year and a half.

He celebrated another sober day today. Tonight he took his ex, their daughter and grand-daughter to the town firework show. He drove, for the first time in years his family will get in the car with him behind the wheel.

This morning when I checked the news online I saw a bit asking for Joe and Jean Average American to upload their photos of the most beautiful place in the country, and all day I have been racking my brain trying to decide which sight I've seen in this country that is the absolute best.

I set off my little sack of fountains in my driveway around 9:30pm, and as I used BBQ tongs to dump the burned up fireworks into a deep bucket of water I turned around and looked at the front of my house with it's beautiful new path, flowering lilies, and solar path lights; I looked at the spot-lit American flag hanging from my front porch, and it hit me that I was looking at the most beautiful place in America.


Think about it, and I think you will agree that your home is the most beautiful place in America, too.

So, thank-you Mr Jefferson, Mr. Franklin, Mr. Adams (both of you), Mr. Witherspoon, Mr. Gwinnet, and certainly, Mr. Hancock.

Thank-you to all 56 signers of The Declaration of Independence, to the lads (and a few lass') of the Continental Army; thank-you General Washington, and Mrs. Washington, too for being so good as to share her husband with our people. Thank-you Mr. Revere and friends; thank-you all, our brave first Americans who decided that Home is worth standing up for.

Thank-you to all those who have served this nation with their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honour so that I could call a tin shack on a North Georgia mountainside home, so that I could live free.

I've been to other countries and trust me, with all her faults, America is still free thanks to them.

Then, now, always, Home is worth fighting for.

27 June 2008

I told someone once that there were some things you never get over, never get through, never get past...Thank-you to the fine gentlemen of The Moody Blues, who say it far better than I ever could; apologies to my late great friend Ron whose roguish eloquence was truly irresistible, but not for today.

"Lost In A Lost World"

I woke today, I was crying
Lost in a lost world
So many people are dying
Lost in a lost world
Some of them are living an illusion
Bounded by the darkness of their minds
In their eyes it's nation, against nation, against nation
With racial pride
Thinking only of themselves
They shun the light
(shun the light)
They think they're right
(think they're right)
Living in their empty shells

Oh, can you see their bodies thrashing
(so many people, so many people)
Crashing down around their feet
Angry people in the street
Telling them they've had their fill
Of politics, people who kill

Grow... the seed of evolution
(so many people, so many people)
Revolution everyone
It's just another form of gun
To do again what they have done
Let all our brothers come and get some
(so many people, so many people)

Everywhere you go you see them searching
Everywhere you turn you feel the pain
Everyone is looking for the answers
Well look again, come on my friend
Love will find us in the end
Come on my friend
(on my friend)
We've got to bend
(got to bend)
Down on our knees and say a prayer

Oh, can you see the world is pining
(so many people, so many people)
Pining for someone who really cares enough to share his love
With all of us so we can be
An ever loving family
Have we forgotten who loves who
(so many people, so many people)
Children from a family tree
That's longer than a centipede
Started long ago when you and I
Where only love....
(so many people, so many people)

I woke today, I was crying
Lost in a lost world
So many people are dying
Lost in a lost world
So many people, so many people
People lost in a lost world
So many people, so many people
People lost in a lost world

[ www.azlyrics.com ]

"The Day We Meet Again"

The day we meet again
I'll be waiting there
I'll be waiting there for you
Cos the years have been so lonely
Like a dog without a home
It's dangerous when you find out
You've been drinking on your own

The day we meet again
We will walk in peace
Thru the garden down the road
Where the mist of time is lifting
See it rising in the air
Like the shadow I was chasing
When I looked it wasn't there
Oh no

But just in case you're wondering
What was really on my mind
It wasn't what you took my love
It's what you left behind

And just in case you're wondering
Will it really be the same
You know we're only living for
The day we meet again

So hold on - and don't let go
Time heals - you know - I know

The day we meet again
I'll be waiting there
I'll be waiting there for you
Cos the years have been so lonely
Like a dog without a home
It's dangerous when you find out
You've been drinking on your own

The day we meet again
We will walk in peace
Thru the garden down the road
Where the mist of time is lifting
See it rising in the air
Like the shadow I was chasing
When I looked it wasn't there
Hold on baby don't let go

[ www.azlyrics.com ]

07 June 2008

OK, I've been thinking-how much of this is my fault, my misunderstanding, my mistake?

Still thinking.

Still Thinking

Still thinking.

Nope, although I may be a little sensitive now, I damn sure wasn't when I took this stupid job.

But I'll give this a few more thoughts.

Just in case.

03 June 2008

Knowing that this is all nothing personal does not help. Things are bad all over-I know this.

I still have a job, but it is becoming harder to get through each day. My current 'direct report to' is losing his mind. Really.

He has a bad day-he takes it out on me.

He calls me by the name 'Deborah'-trust me, my real name is not Deborah, and I use my real name at work.

He tells me not to log the received shipments, then turns around and wants me to print the spreadsheet for him to take to a meeting, or he asks me to look something up on the log.

He tells me I am snippy in my emails, and he made me submit all emails to him for vetting.

He tells me not to speak to anyone from the third floor, then writes me up for being rude to them because I would not answer their voice mails-because he said I wasn't to.

He makes constant suggestions that I gossip at the smoking area, prefacing every so-called confidential impartation of our mutual boss' latest stupid move with the statement "What's said in our workplace stays in our workplace" then looks directly at me and warns me not to gossip in the smoking area.

If anyone compliments my work he negates it immediately.

Our new mutual boss is in the process of figuring him out and he knows this and is becoming frantic in his efforts to drive me to quit.

This morning he came in from a meeting with an intra-office envelope addressed to me and opened it, then looked at the contents for a long time before passing it to me.

I went out to the printer to retrieve a print, when I returned he demanded to know who I'd spoken to out there, saying he'd heard me speaking to someone.

I wasn't.

I could go drearily on recounting his growing displays of impending psychosis but will suffice with:

Yesterday afternnon he was on speaker phone with two directors who were trying to get him to do his job-he was expending far more energy trying to avoid doing the work they needed done than doing the work would have taken, punctuating his growing anger at them (one of them our mutual boss) by using one of the crudest descriptions of what his doing the job would symbolize to him that I've heard in years.

He calls black people 'chimps' behind their backs; obviously feels so threatened by women that he is openly and vulgarly hostile to women, to their face (the other director he was arguing with is a woman).

He is going to fire all of us before they finally fire him, and there is nothing I can do about the fact that I am just his first target.

He was taken to task today by our mutual boss, and took it out on me-this afternoon he cut me hours again.

I tell myself that he must be heavily mortgaged and in deep financially that he is willing to be so damn ruthless-I've found emails between him and two others in which they make arrangements to get together to plan the transition of our department to another department head. The emails go back months, and are a clear proof that they deliberately destroyed our high rating with our clients in an effort to justify the transfer of power.

On successful completion, he was promised that he would have my job.

Instead he was (of course) used; one of his cronies took her retirement rather than risk exposure-Blondie was no two bit schemer, she was second class all the way in that she could not acheive the sting but could sense when it was going wrong and could get out quick.

The other crony is on his way out, although he refuses to see it.

Ever see the NBC TV program "The Office"? Ya know the guy Jim met in Scranton, the one who lost it so badly he was sent to Anger Management? You know, the one who proposed to Angela in the season finale, that one.

Well, the other crony is a dead-on ringer for that guy on "The Office", right down to the idiot mannerisms and cliches.

It is funny on a TV program, but right now is not funny to those of us who could go down before this guy is finally outed as the loony he really is-how long will it take for them to realize that this ass has cost the company at the least hundreds of thousands of dollars in his bid for power-oh yes, kids, Ejit Boy has stated in my presence that he wants to take down our business unit manager.

Ha! She will shred him. I figure she is giving him enough rope to hang himself with...TICK TOCK, my boyo, time waits for no one, not even and maybe especially those convinced of their impunity, like you.

But not being into schadenfruede, I frankly could care less-I just wanna do my job.

But not there.

I know now, it is nothing personal. But dammit, why can I not find a real job????

11 May 2008

Another Mother's Day. Where ever you are Mummy, thank-you.

My family was a little dysfunctional. I used to think it was a lot dysfunctional until everyone else's skeletons began tumbling out of their closets and now I know comparatively, my family was only a little dysfunctional.

My father was barely 21 years old on 7 December 1941. The next morning he was one of the thousands of young Southern Californians lined up outside of that Los Angeles recruiting office. Have you seen the picture? The line of men volunteering to go fight the Japanese wraps-twice-around a long Los Angeles block.

He met my mother while both were assigned to Fort Richardson, Alaska-according to him when he finally spoke of it a gajillion years later.

She was British-don't ask, I can't tell you-he was American of deep and closely held British (officially Scots, really Welsh) roots. They married. He was transferred, she went back to Britain to wait for him while continuing her war work; family legend has it that they met over a weekend in London as the war was about to end and she became pregnant with my oldest sister.

So she got on a boat and went to America to meet her new in-laws (that must have been fun), give birth to her firstborn, and yes, await her husband to return at the end of the war.

My sister was about a year old when he finally got back-he spoke Polish and German and the Army needed him in a few places other than America.

Things were a bit stormy. They managed to have my two older brothers, one in 1950, one in '52 or '53; then Pop for whatever inexcusable reason, started to, um, wander.

I gather she did not take that well; one family story has her smacking him on the head with a cast iron frying pan-Go Mum! Another has her making her final escape at the point of a snub nose thirty-eight that she flung out the taxi window as she left never to be seen or heard from again. She'd come for my older siblings (and I hope, me) but only got away with one, my second oldest brother.

Pop paid private investigators for years trying to find her and Danny Joe, but thanks to Mum's connections and her war work connections, they disappeared into Time.

In 1954 Pop got caught. His chippy got pregnant, and Mum went to Reno for a quickie divorce.

Pop and the chippy went to Tijuana for a quickie marriage.

The chippy's baby was born on Mother's Day 1955 and died on 1st July 1955.

Pop apparently went to Mum for comfort. Repeatedly. And she got pregnant. With me.

But I was born in late August 1956 and people were different back then, laws, too. Pop ended up with custody of all of us, and a very quiet whisper in the family was that the chippy had got preggers again too, around the same time Mum did.

The chippy's second baby died, the whisper continued, the babies were switched and Mum told I was the dead one and that's how I went home with the quintessential wicked step-mother.

My older sibs were taught to lie, that Alice Capone (my nickname for Mommie Dearest after I caught her embezzling from the family owned business) was our mother, and eventually they believed she was my mother and hated me for breaking up their happy family.

They really made a lot of my growing up a living hell. Mostly the older sister, my brother had moments of kindness interspersed with his more frequent moments of benign neglect except for the one time he beat the hell out of me when I was about 11. (That beating is how I knew deep down he blamed me for something...)

I grew up knowing something was hideously wrong; that I did not fit; that I was utterly unwanted, but that my dad loved me in a way, although the older I got the more uncomfortable he became around me until finally from about age 16 to age 26 I didn't see him except three times around the time my daughter was born.

When I was 15 my older sister exploded, and I got her version. It got me thinking, but I knew nothing for sure until the year Pop died, 1985.

We were cleaning out his apartment and I cam across a photo of him, three small children sitting on a log, a black Pontiac, and a woman that I for a quick second thought was me. I asked him how he got that picture of me but as the words came out of my mouth and I handed him the 8x10 I realised who it was.

He looked at me in horror, I looked at him with what had to have been a mix of joy (after all, who wants an Alice Capone for a real mother) and shock.

My sister, my two brothers. My dad. My father's first wife. The family car. All of them on a picnic.

And I was a dead ringer for her, his first wife. The mysterious and missing Nadine. And Fox, well Fox is a dead ringer for his Uncle Danny Joe, or was; the picture shows Danny Joe at about the age Fox was at the time, around three.

Months later, days before he died, Pop was delirious. He thought I was Nadine and kept saying that we had to get me a dog.

So Mum, where ever you are, Pop wanted me to tell you he never stopped looking for you and Danny Joe but not to make things hard for you, only to tell you that he never stopped loving you, never stopped regretting his wrongs to you.

I wish I could have delivered the message face to face, because I would have liked to tell you how even though Life has been less than perfect I am still really glad that you are my mother and not Alice Capone; that I think I understand how things happen and so don't blame you for leaving me behind if you did-I'm pretty well invested in the belief that someone official told you I was dead but am able to accept it if you knew I was alive and you still left. I just wish I knew for sure.

I'd also like to let you know that for all the things he did wrong, he wasn't that bad a father, except for the Alice Capone thing. I think his biggest problems were straight out of WWII-his war experience, meeting and then losing you. That changed him. Too much I think, and for that he was always heartbroken. Pop walked through the rest of his life shrouded in grief at what he saw in Europe, and what he lost with you. He never spoke aloud of it and therefore it etched itself on his whole body and soul.

I saw a picture of the two of you, him in a nicely tailored suit and you in a lovely black frock, dancing in a huge ballroom; you both look about to come apart but there is something of a glimmer of Hope in both of you as well. I'm terribly sorry the promise of that hope was never realised.

Happy Mothering Day, even though three of your four children were stolen from you.

Wish you were here, you have grandchildren and at least one great-grandchild, and I would so have liked them to know you!