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...