No Relation

Something about Buck Henry. I don’t remember now. I do remember that at 4:46 when I thought of the opening line to a story that included the name Buck Henry I also thought it wouldn’t seem so profound in the light of day. Considering I can’t even remember what the line was, I guess I was right.

I don’t kill flies. I don’t intentionally kill anything. I hate how our culture uses killing as the first way of getting rid of something it doesn’t like. Fly nearby? Kill it. Gopher in your yard? Kill it. Ants in the kitchen? Kill them. Don’t like the mouse in the walls? Kill it. Death culture, that’s what we have. It extends to plants too. Go to any store’s “garden center” and you’ll find a whole aisle devoted to poisons to murder other beings with. Genocide abounds.

Lately it seems driving around I’ve come across more and more trucks with giant ants, bees, wasps, spiders, mice, etc., on them, all in the business of killing. I can hardly log on to the Next Door app anymore. All the posts whining how someone saw some wasps outside so how can they kill them. I respond to leave them alone and the pack pounces.

I should be a hermit. I can sit in my house and the flies will buzz by. Sometimes they will be annoying. Flies can be. But I don’t think that my annoyance justifies their death. I have taken to leaving the corners of my screens open all summer long. Contrary to popular belief, this doesn’t let the flies in, it gives them an escape. Except for this time of year when things outside are getting cold, they don’t want to remain inside. Ever notice how they congregate at the windows? They want back out. They don’t know how they ended up in these artificial boxes with giant clear panes they can’t get through. When they head back to the sunlight, they run up against clear obstacles and search all the edges trying to escape. Since I’ve left the edges of the screens open, just a crack wide enough for a fly, they leave. I have a couple of windows that don’t open and the poor things die there. I think it’s sad.

What does any of this have to do with my desire to write a story that had Buck Henry in the first line? Absolutely nothing. There is no relation. I just thought about writing it and ended up here.

Shedding the Rust

A friend asked me if I write on my blog. Not much, I said. I actually have been writing, just not here. Not a lot, but I’m trying to make it a habit again, trying to do it every day, even if just a half an hour. I am rusty. It doesn’t come as easily to make lovely sentences any more. I need to practice and shed the rust.

After he asked if I’ve written on the blog I scrolled through it on my mobile phone and read a few of the last posts I’ve written. I was not surprised at the lack of number of posts, but I didn’t feel like what I had written was fake, which was good. So many times when I read old posts they seem so fake, and I hate it.

I have ideas of what to write, but often I just don’t want to share so much. This is the stuff that ends up in what I write but not on here. I’m the opposite of how I used to be in this regard, the opposite of how so many are these days. Oversharing is the norm. I have no desire for this. I lean in the other direction, away from disclosing too much personal information. Not personal information such as that I think my breasts are too big (which is true, but meaningless), but personal information such as what I’m experiencing and feeling in reaction to what is happening in my life. All the online algorithms think they know us, but they don’t. They might track stuff and try to predict what we want to buy, but if the ads I get are any indication, they’re wrong. Maybe it’s because I’ve made every effort to block every attempt to track what I do. I don’t know. Maybe they would know some stuff, but even my searches wouldn’t reveal the inner workings of my mind as I perform chores on my farm, mulling over whatever is floating around in my brain.

Somehow I got onto texting with Milla about the little people and animals stickers people put in the rear windows of their SUVs or minivans. We realized that ours would be so expansive we would not be able to use the window. It would be:

👸 👸 👸🐶🐶🐶🐶🐱🐰 🐴 🐴 🐴 🐴 🐴🐐🐐🐓🐓🐓🐓🐓🐓🐓🐓🐓🐓🐓🐓🐓🐓🐓🐓🐓🐓🐓🐓🐓🐓🐓🐓🦃🦃🦆🦆🦆🦆🦆🦆🦆🦆🦆🦆🦆🦆🦆🦆🦆🦆🦆🦆🦆🦆🦆🦆🦆🦆🦆🐟🐟

Yes, that is quite a lot, I think.

So another meaningless blog post that reveals virtually nothing except that I have a lot of animals. And that I can cut and paste emojis. I love it.

😶

Have a mouthless day.

My Spam Rubber

Akismet has protected my site from 284,202 spam posts already. They roll themselves out to protect me from spam venereal disease. Oh, I’m so popular with the algorithm machines. They tell me I’m writing “most great best post” and I can “learn sell many item on special marketing plan.” For some reason, it’s not enough to tempt me. I don’t even see them anymore. Years and years ago when this started, I’d get them in my inbox. This was back in the day when people actually read blogs and wrote real comments on them and you could actually meet people in faraway places and become friends with them. Nowadays, people “like” blogs so you’ll go read theirs and “like” them back so they get followers because having followers and being liked in this way is more important than reality and in fact some people kill themselves because they don’t have enough of them. Tragic. It’s all fucking marketing and I fucking hate it. I’d rather have spam than that shit. I can’t stand the commodification of everything–EVERYTHING. It’s all facebookified. Gag, spit, puke, blurbppprtth. NO.

When I get comments now, they are to tell me to go look at someone’s blog on how to “market” myself. Hard as it is to believe, I have no desire to market myself, and if I did, it wouldn’t be through my blog. So the blog goes unused, but the spams keep coming, only I don’t have to look at them.

I wrote to wordpress and asked about taking back my domain. I claimed and bought it years ago and they “kindly” set it up to pay them for it each year. Well, they sold it on to the domain monopoly. They didn’t ask me. They didn’t make it clear what they were doing. I didn’t sign anything. They just took it. Now if I want it the domain monopoly wants thousands of dollars. For my own fucking name. That I bought and didn’t say anyone could have. This is the world we live in. Creaky, greasy, greedy end of empire.

Have you noticed that internet searching has changed? Type in anything (into startpage because I don’t want my searches monopolized either) and good ol’ greedy Amazon will be at the top. I’ve taken to typing in a minus amazon when I want something. Or type in something you just want to know about and the first sites are those selling something. Just want information? Good luck with that. I often put in site:edu so I get education sites.

I’m PROTECTED. Akismet as prophylactic. “Do you want a condom with that?” We are getting to the point where existing in culture requires we sheathe ourselves in rubber. I don’t want spam, likes, marketing, electronic billboards, being tracked to sell me stuff, any of it, so I wrap myself in a metaphorical rubber to keep it all out by staying off the blog I used to enjoy, never searching on the google, refusing to enter “contests” for a “chance” to win, having no television, never turning on a radio, going into the settings buried deep in my phone and turning off location services and tracking and following and notifying and bugging and bothering. It’s like being followed by a pack of blood-sucking gnats all the time, a little cloud of them surrounding us trying to suck out our blood and marrow and life. No wonder everyone is so exhausted. Late stage capitalism is a fucking vampire.

How did I get here? Not where I intended to go. I just thought it was funny that I’ve had 284,202 spam messages, and “115 are still in my inbox.”

4 Visits to Your Blog Today

I get stats on how many people read this blog. I’ve had times in the past where it was in the hundreds a day. Overall I think the total visitors over the life of the thing is over a hundred thousand. Not so much traffic anymore. Today I have had 4 visits to my blog. That’s what it says: “You have had 4 visits to your blog today.” I don’t think I can keep up with this. The sheer numbers are overwhelming. I know it’s because I never write anymore and most of what I write is boring, which is part of why I don’t write so here I am with my four views today. A couple of weeks ago it got up to over 30. Not sure why. I didn’t write anything that day. Maybe someone shared an old post when I was witty. Who knows?

The blog wants me to link to facebook. Trouble is, I don’t have facebook anymore. I hate facebook. What a huge, useless waste of time. We get 100 years if we are lucky, and probably less. Why would I spend it staring at nonsense and nonsense and nonsense? But I know I’m in the minority. In so many things I am in the minority. It’s why, I think, I am so alone. I have my 5 people and that’s it. There are a handful I would like to be more friends with but my efforts there have not been reciprocated so…

I played with my dogs today. I was giving them treats for lying down. I told George to lie down, he threw himself on the floor and got his treat. Abbie laid down quietly and calmly and got her treat. Then I asked Oliver to do it. Before he could move, George threw himself on the floor in front of him. I DID IT! I DID IT! I’M LYING DOWN! GIMME A TREAT! Oh for crying out loud, George, would you get out of the way? Oliver sat with his head back like he was trying to avoid being smacked by a crazy Dachshund paw. Peaches sat looking at all of it as if to say, “When is it my turn?” She hasn’t learned lie down yet. She’s just a baby. But she sits and sits very well, little angel. All of them are good dogs.

I have to go give my horse his medicine. He’s finally home after 3 weeks at the vet college. He’s been home long enough for me to change his bandage three times and the wounds are looking better and better. Keeping him sane is a challenge though. Thoroughbreds are bred to run, bred to exercise, bred to move. Making one stay in a stall day in and day out is torture for them. Poor guy. I hope all this stall time works and he heals back to one hundred percent. If not, I guess he’ll be my expensive pasture pet because he’s not going anywhere. If by chance you read this and want to help out with the vet bills, I have set up a GoFundMe here. All help is genuinely appreciated. It’s been a tough year, especially for vet bills.

Okay, four people. I’m going to stop writing. Actually, the four already read this so it should be okay, maybe two more people, I’m going to stop writing. I’m hungry. Horse needs drugs to battle infection. Buh bye.

Loose Socks

Socks have to be in deep lockup for me to wear them. I can’t stand them loose; if they’re loose, they drive me bananas. So…only jailed socks for me.

I wanted to know if I was really a ghost so I tried walking through a wall. It didn’t work. Either I’m not a ghost or as a ghost I’m unable to walk through walls. If it’s the latter, that is somewhat disappointing because being able to walk through walls would be one of the most fun things about being a ghost. That and invisibility.

Stuff and Things

It occurs to me that most people in our culture have lost sight of the fact that in chasing money, we are essentially chasing things. Someone wants a thing, and their desire for more money is the desire to have as many things as they want, when they want them. That’s what having more money brings. I’m not talking about the people at the very bottom of our capitalist triangle who have to struggle just to survive, those for whom a few dollars would mean the ability to stay very basically comfortable. I’m talking about any level above having what one needs to survive easily: a safe place to sleep, food, and health well-being. “Security” as it has been sold to us, is theoretically having enough money in the bank to ensure the safe place to sleep, food, and health. Yet for most it goes beyond that into wanting to have things. Ask anyone with dreams of riches and it is the lying on the beach or yacht anytime that they want, the clothes, the jewelry, the gadgets, the cars, and on and on, that fill their dreams. Pinterest is filled with photos of all the things that humans want. People will spend hours creating these online photo albums of all the stuff they desire. (In the meantime, while posting these things and dreaming about them, the interactions with humans and other non-human animals around them are limited.)

Yesterday I dropped off some stuff at the donation center. We are moving so we are getting rid of stuff. I have felt this immense urge to purge. What is all this stuff? The line at the place was cars deep, everyone ridding themselves of things, some of which had to have been wanted at some point. Either that or or they were ridding themselves of stuff someone gave them either out of a sense of duty to give, some obligation, or some other self-serving necessity. Perhaps for some the thing was given in love and received as such, but at this point, the thing is now being discarded, filling a warehouse, filling a landfill, being sold into places where the abundance of things is not as profuse as it is in the good, ol’ USA. Stuff, stuff, everywhere. In the meantime, we destroy the earth to build enormous buildings to house the things. We rape and pillage the land to carve roads and fill the land with things, things that will rot in piles long after we are gone.

Portland is so Friendly

Portland is so friendly. There is a show about how hip and nice everyone is. Lots of people are moving here. But shhh, don’t mention that the livability everyone raves about is virtually gone. Rents are sky high. Traffic is abominable. Food prices remain stagnantly high even though the price of gas has been consistently low for years. Jobs are scarce and wages are below national averages, but hey! We have a great t.v. show named after us and that’s just swell, right? If we told the truth about how Portland really is, all the people who think it is so wonderful might not make the move and the city “leaders” would lose all that commerce kickback and that would be bad. Other Americans watch the special show and see the Subarus at the stop signs waving one another through, and the friendly restaurant customers making sure they know the chicken’s history before they will eat it, and think Oh! I want to be in a place like this!

Let me you in on a little secret: It’s all an act. Portlanders aren’t really so friendly; they just want you to think they are friendly. It’s friendliness for an audience: I’ll speak really loudly in the grocery store offering you the cantaloupe we both reached for so everyone knows how friendly I really am; I’ll wave through the car in front of me so all the cars at the stop sign can see I’m friendly while ignoring the 18 cars stuck behind me; I’ll drive really slowly behind the bike in the middle of the road going 4 miles per hour because Hey! I’m chill with with it. Nevermind that the biker isn’t friendly at all and will chase you down and flip your ass off if you dare go around him because “sharing the road” means people driving cars are all assholes who deserve to die while bikers are revered Gods who can do whatever they want. They get a pass from the courtesy rules of Portland because they are riding bikes and that is better for the planet, right?

If I seem sarcastic (and how could I not, because I am being incredibly sarcastic), it is because I have lived in Oregon my entire life and Portland off and on since 1988 and I know that the marketing campaign that paints Portland as it is is complete bullshit. I’ve known this for years. Anyone who has lived here most of their adult life knows it is bullshit. We talk about it being bullshit. So why now am I suddenly discussing the bullshit on my blog?

I live in the Overlook neighborhood of north Portland. I don’t live in the Overlook neighborhood proper overlooking the ridge for which the neighborhood gets its name. I live over toward Arbor Lodge. It is less ostentatious, more racially diverse, and less economically advantaged over here, but that is changing rapidly.

Mine is currently a BadAss neighborhood. A few years ago, some guys made a Portland Badassness Map. They put together all the little things they thought made the different neighborhoods in Portland cool and hip, that is Badass. See it here. My neighborhood is moving up that list. I think their criteria included the ability to walk to bars, beers, food carts, strip bars, and coffee, but really it comes down to the most gentrified and expensive. (They could have sorted it by which neighborhood had cast out the most poor and colored people and replaced them with white educated people and it would have kept the same parameters. The Pearl (and these italics are so that the name is stated with a hint of sarcasm) is a “Hella Badass” neighborhood, the Pearl being the most stolen-from-the-poor-and-given-to-the-rich-neighborhood of all and one of the reasons all those people keep flooding in.)

I realize that in my neighborhood I am one of the gentrifiers. I didn’t know I was doing it when I did it. I just wanted a house I could afford and when I bought my tiny little house that had been a rental for 20 years I had no idea that my neighborhood would soon be a hotbed of coolness and that the value of my house would nearly double within three years, but such is the nature of gentrification. One of the things I valued about the neighborhood when I bought it was the fact that there were many brown faces walking by. Lately, the brownness is disappearing. I also valued the fact that all of the children in my daughter’s school weren’t wealthy. I’ll bet that will disappear too as the prices continue to climb.

But I digress. I was on a rampage about the Overlook Neighborhood Association. I never did go there, did I?

So I live in the Overlook neighborhood and there is an Overlook Neighborhood Association. They hold meetings and print a paper that is favorable to building ugly cement monstrosities along Interstate Avenue that don’t fit with the character of the city or the neighborhood. Basically, I think they may be a bunch of rich assholes who moved here from somewhere else. All of the meetings have been when I have either had to work or could not find a babysitter so I haven’t gone, though it is my goal to attend one, especially since they have decided to vehemently oppose the homeless camp at the bottom of the overlook ridge. They claim they would like the camp to be “managed responsibly,” but really that just means they want to move them out. Here is a quote from one of the emails I get from the association:

The Overlook Neighborhood Association Board at its monthly meeting on Tuesday discussed the homeless camps at N Greeley Avenue near N Interstate Avenue. Board members expressed particular concern that the city has neither communicated with the neighborhood nor followed through on its promises to manage the camp responsibly.

Therefore, the Board today sent the following letter to Mayor Charlie Hales and members of City Council asking that the city immediately close the camp, exercise emergency authority to open humane shelters throughout the city, and help campers relocate into them or other more suitable places.

Yes. Get them out of here. We don’t like the way they are, all homeless and whatnot, because homeless people don’t act like we do. They live in tents and are dirty and all that. They pee outside! So we want you to shut them away somewhere else. If you can’t do that, then we will just have to do this:

About 75 people attended the Overlook Neighborhood Association special meeting on Wednesday to discuss the homeless camps on N Greeley Avenue near N Interstate Avenue. The OKNA Board heard from a couple of representatives of Hazelnut Grove and about two dozen neighborhood residents. They provided thoughtful, compassionate ideas about how the neighborhood association should respond to the current city plans for the homeless campers.

After the neighborhood testimony, the board discussed the options and voted to take two steps in parallel:

First, we will send a letter to the city reiterating our opposition to allowing the camp to exist on a site that is unhealthy and unsafe. If, over the neighborhood’s objection, the city chooses to issue a permit for the camp, we request that it include provisions that will address concerns raised by neighbors and will improve health and safety for all. Among them, we will ask:

That campers be required to register under their legal name as residents so that the city and neighbors know who is living there. That there be a cap on the number of campers allowed. That a firm deadline be established by which the camp will shut down no later than the expiration of the city’s emergency declaration in October 2016. The mayor’s office has repeatedly stated that this is a temporary, short-term solution. It’s time to define what that means. The full letter and list of requests is in the works. It should be available early next week. The Board will post it to the OKNA website and send it out to our email list.

Second, we will consult with an attorney regarding our legal options to address the city’s plans through litigation if necessary. We remain deeply disappointed that the city has refused to engage with us in any meaningful way and regret that legal action seems to be the only course forward to have our concerns addressed by the city.

Essentially, this is the thoughtful and compassionate view of my neighbors who care: that we get to know everyones’ names (even though we don’t know all of our own neighbors’ names, but hey, homeless people are all criminals), they have to leave by next year (because money and jobs are plentiful in beautiful Portland and they block our view), and since you haven’t done what we want all along, we are hiring a lawyer to sue your asses and send those skanky homeless people packing. They ruin our view of the industrial wasteland along the river! But if we say we are compassionate, we are, and that’s what counts, right?

The City of Portland gave Hyatt Hotels something millions of city dollars to build an ugly hotel by the convention center so more people could come and stay here before moving here and making the city ever less livable by the second and so that the NBA would hold an all star game here, because THAT is important (more traffic, more people, more homeless hidden away in outer Gresham or somewhere). The City cares about its rich friends who build hotels. They are busy! They are important! They invest! The City is too busy being busy and important to be spending the money of its gentrified citizens making sure that people without money have a warm and dry place to live or food in their bellies. Most of those gross homeless people are probably mentally ill too, so the truly compassionate thing to do would be to just kill them because they aren’t able to fully participate in the capitalist dream anyway. Although I did discover in attempting to find links to back up this claim that there are lawsuits trying to block the payment to Hyatt. I am heartened that some people can see that it is fully insane, but my cynical self supposes it has less to do with any real compassion and more to do with hubris.

Meanwhile, in Iran, part of the Axis of Evil, residents have created spaces where those in need can take the excess from those who have too much. See the BBC article here. These spontaneous charity drives were created to help those in need. Interestingly, as these charity walls increased in number, the citizens saw them as evidence that their government wasn’t doing enough to help people in need. Imagine that, expecting those who govern us to take care of everyone rather than making sure their views aren’t sullied or that hoteliers have a free rein to build.

I can see such walls popping up in Portland. However, here citizens would not see such charity as proof of lack by their government, but as proof of how good we are. We could make a Portlandia episode out of it. Portland, the do-gooder city, gets rid of its old clothes and helps out the poor! Aren’t we wonderful? Why don’t you move here and join us? When you get here, make sure to kick out the homeless people you probably displaced when you drove up the costs of living because such an eyesore would ruin the image you have created of yourself as friendly and compassionate. Welcome!

Internal

My crises are always internal. I doubt most who see me would notice the turmoil in my own head. I look like I’m just there, but I am an illusion. My own illusion. We are all our own illusions. Some of us are maintaining our crises internally, while others’ are out like sheets on a line flapping in the wind.

If Wishes Were Horses

I have heard the expression If wishes were horses. I don’t know where I heard this. I am resisting googling this before I write so my writing is not colored by whatever I find on the internets. I keep thinking that if wishes were horses, there would not be enough room on the planet to sustain all of them. And also that wishing and wishing and wishing does not make something true. Desire, desire, desire leads to wishing, wishing, wishing. If every wish were a horse this would be a very strange planet. And what about the horses themselves? Perhaps they are wishing too. What then?

For me, if wishes were horses, there would be a herd indeed.

I did do an internets search and found out that it comes from an old proverb. Horses can be interchanged with birds and fishes. This proverb is recorded in English from quite an early date. A version of the expression appeared in the published works of William Camden in the 17th century. The first known citation of the proverb in the form we now know it is in James Carmichaell’s Collection of Proverbs in Scots:

If wishes were horses, beggers wald ryde.

The date of Carmichaell’s work is unclear, but it does appear to have been published in his lifetime and he died in 1628. Whether it was Carmichaell or Camden who first recorded the proverb is currently not known.

I wonder if this means that beggars didn’t get to ride horses in those days. This should not surprise me. Owning a horse is an expensive proposition. Capitalism would have ensured that those at the bottom of the food chain did not own a horse, which requires food and shoeing and a place to live. No, beggars would not have ridden.

Okay, stream of consciousness, too early because I can’t sleep post is over. Suffice to say, for me, if wishes were horses, I wald haft love.

Thickness

I started to write something and forgot what it was. Thick brained. Lately I feel thick brained, thick limbed, just thick. Like I’m moving through goo.

I used to be airier. I felt like I could flit here to there, there to here, flit, flit, flit.

No longer. Somehow my flitting self landed in something like tar, and movement of any kind, whether mental, physical, or spiritual, seems nearly impossible.

What is this thickness? How to move beyond it? I cannot say. I do know that things like typing this and having the cursor suddenly bop to somewhere else on the page makes me feel like finding a cave and crawling in it. It keeps doing that and the annoyance is part of a mountain of similar annoyances that are a part of modern life. I think this modern life is part of the thickness, likely the cause of the thickness.

Somehow I must find a way back to flitting. How to do it living in this world at this time? I have no idea.

Isabel’s Thought for the Morning

This morning I was wiping down the kitchen counters, picking up clutter, moving here and there. Isabel was sitting at the dining table eating her cereal. She turned to me and said, “Maybe our dreams are real life, and real life is our dream.” Yes, Isabel. I’ve considered that myself. I love living with a five year old. They get you out of the space of business as usual and remind you of imaginative possibilities.

Business Plan

I’ve decided I’m going to start my own corporation to operate in competition with Monsanto. I’m going to hire a bunch of scientists and get them to patent dogs and cats. Then when people try to breed them, I’m going to sue their asses off. Of course this will be after I’ve harassed them and terrified them, taking photos of them out walking the puppies and cuddling the kittens. I’ll have a field day with those idiots who are stupid enough to post a video of themselves on YouTube. How dare these people interfere with my right to own life? I’ll also go after anyone who buys the puppies or kittens unaltered. If they think they are going to let those animals breed without my getting paid for it, they have another thing coming.

Asses

I used to write all of my thoughts down. I don’t write all of my thoughts anymore.

Tonight I crossed a street, and then crossed a parking lot. Two men were walking up the sidewalk when I entered the parking lot. Halfway across one of the men shouted at me, “You have a nice ass!” I said low and to myself, “No I don’t.” Then I got to thinking about the concept of a nice ass and observed that having a nice or not nice ass is a weird construct, but I also thought that the man who said that probably didn’t think it was a weird construct. He probably just had some idea of the way asses look and determined that some ways are nice. I suppose this is the way most people who think about asses being nice or not thinks about them. But I find it odd that we determine that certain shapes of body parts are nice or not. I know there is some biological basis to finding certain features attractive, that it seeks out opposite and healthy genes, and youthful characteristics that are likely to increase the success of child bearing. However, I’m not sure I see where asses fit into that and I wonder how it is that our society has developed into one where we make judgments about body parts. Actually, I don’t really wonder about it. I can ascertain how we got to this place. I just wish we hadn’t, that’s all. Not because I’m offended when someone yells about my butt, but because we are where we are now and that we are headed where we are and it’s not pretty.

I spend much too much time alone. And it’s probably a good thing I don’t write my thoughts down anymore.

Dear New Seasons

Dear Mr. Deli Man at New Seasons:  I know it’s late and the time changed, so it feels later in your body than it really is, but could you please be a little more attentive and properly put the chicken in the plastic bag rather than getting only its hindquarters in, thereby leaving the remaining chicken in the paper bag that isn’t designed to hold a greasy glob of cooked meat? Thank you.

Dear New Seasons:  Thank you very much for installing toilet tissue holders that actually turn easily when one pulls tissue off them. I can’t tell you how much this thrills me. So many stores are stingy and obnoxious with their tissue. It’s a real drag to have to pull one square, have the roller catch so the square tears off, then the roller rolls backwards so that the edge that just tore is in the back, leaving you to then scratch and pull to get that edge to the front, only to repeat the process 10 times in order to get enough tissue to do your business. I don’t want to wipe with my fingertips; that’s nasty. New Seasons, your generous tissue holders make me grateful to you every time I’m forced to use them. Thank you.

Dear Carrot Buyer at New Seasons:  Are you a new employee? Are you a particularly gargantuan human? I have to ask because the carrots you’ve chosen this week are enormous! I could have used one for a bat. Maybe you aren’t actually large, but a sports fanatic, and you would just LOVE it if someone used one of your ginormous carrots and a potato to start an impromptu game of baseball right there in the produce section. I could see it! Thank you though. I only needed to buy two of the things to make my soup, which is easier to carry without a bag than more carrots would have been. I don’t like getting bags in the produce section. They’re plastic and not good for the environment or wild animals, so I definitely prefer skipping the bag. The giant carrots made this more possible.

Dear New Seasons Stuffed Animal Pricer:  I get it that stuffed animals at the grocery store are a pure profit item for you. Who buys stuffed animals at the grocery store anyway (people who forget to buy gifts for small children at a regular store and are up against a deadline possibly?). What I would like to know though, is why you have to charge so danged much for them. Maybe you know purchasers of stuffies at the grocery store are in a last minute kind of thing position, and you are therefore taking advantage of our having not planned better. I would like to suggest you don’t take advantage of us. We’re already feeling precarious, having waited until the last minute and all. Maybe you could lower the price just a teensy, weensy bit? Please? For me? Thank you.

Dear New Seasons:  I would like to suggest that if you run out of whole cooked chickens in your deli section that you allow those of us who wanted one to purchase a whole uncooked chicken for the same price. The reason I make this suggestion is that, surprisingly enough, chickens from New Seasons that are uncooked cost MORE than chickens that have been slow-roasted in that cool turning thingamajig that leaves the meat falling off the bone. The cooked ones are way easier for us buyers, which seems to me to make them a premium item. Raw chickens are way more work. Shouldn’t the higher premium chickens cost more? Or at least the same? But they don’t. And some of your delis are not hip to the cooked chicken demand. The location by my house is AWESOME. They rarely run out of cooked chickens. The one by my old house, not so awesome. They ran out all the time and never seemed stocked like the one by my house now. But either way, making the raw chickens the same price would be oh, so very helpful. Thank you.

Dear New Seasons:  I checked out the Green Zebra. It’s so dang small, you can’t pass another shopping cart when you’re pushing one. And pricey! I’ll keep going to you, so whew!, right?

Dear New Seasons:  I am a loyal customer. New Seasons is always my first choice for food from a grocery store. I have to confess though, that I’m going to be stepping out at another store in the future because they have local, organic fuji apples for half the price of yours. They also have organic, steel-cut oats for a dollar a pound less. On many items, you’re actually cheaper than a lot of the stores people think are cheaper, like Fred Meyer. Fred Meyer is a joke. So is Albertson’s, and Thriftway, and Safeway. I hate all these stores. They are over-priced and have way too much processed and non-organic crap. Plus, they’re REALLY expensive. Arborio Rice at these stores, same brand, same size, costs over $2.00 more a container than the same arborio rice at New Seasons. And they can’t even compare when it comes to produce and meat products. But New Seasons, Sheridan Fruit Company has you beat on a lot of things, and I’m just going to have to buy there more often. I’m sorry.

Dear New Seasons:  You sell Gin Gins, my all-time favorite treat, for $3.99 for 3 ounces. This works out to be $15.96 per pound. I was able to locate Gin Gins on the internet in bulk:  Eleven pounds for $62.00, and shipping is free! Don’t ask me why the sell lots of eleven pounds instead of some more round number like say, ten, but that’s how they sell them. That works out to be $5.64 per pound. Even when you had them on sale at 3 ounces for $2.50, they were still $10 per pound. The bulk price is better, so I bought eleven pounds of the things. I admit it. That bag should last a while. Sorry, New Seasons. stepping out on you for the Gin Gins too.

Dear New Seasons:  Final letter of the night, I promise. I just wanted to say that I love going to your store. Everyone is always nice, even when they’re putting the chicken halfway in the plastic bag. All the workers seem not to mind being at work. The customers even seem happy. You help the local food scene. You buy meats that came from humanely raised critters. You’re a bit overpriced on some things (like fuji apples), but I can deal with that. Sometimes when I’m feeling down, I’ll go to a New Seasons just to get a pick me up. I like you, just the way you are. Too bad you’re not a man because I’d date you in a minute.

Dancing Like a Sugarplum Inside my Head

Where did it come from? Why is it there? It came from nowhere and hung in my mind billowing like clothes on the line, the words playing over and over,

a ripe jolly old elf, and I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself. …a ripe jolly old elf, and I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself. …a ripe jolly old elf, and I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself. …a ripe jolly old elf, and I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself.

…the fragment just plays, wispy and light, over and over as I take a shower, as I blow my hair, as I feed the dog, as I clean the microwave.

It isn’t Christmas. I haven’t even thought of Christmas. I even remembered my dream right before waking and it wasn’t about Christmas. I have not listened to or read the Night Before Christmas.

So can someone tell me why the right jolly old elf is ripe and why he’s dancing like a sugarplum inside my head?

Lead Me From the River of Woe

If we wish to turn away from that which torments us, do we also turn away from that which inspires us?

I am concluding that some of our deepest compassion comes from our deepest suffering, yet we must survive the desolation in order to make it through to compassion, and sometimes this can feel impossible.

Some days, in order to turn away from the shadows, I bask in the simple light of my little girl. I’m like a fucking Hallmark greeting card. She glows and I glow in return. She radiates divinity. It is impossible to remain in dark places when my focus is on her.

Do I lose artistry in leaving the banks of Acheron to turn toward my Venusian angel?

My Thrilling Coffee Shop Visit

So for some reason I can’t fathom, the coffee shop where I like to go has decided to play the same damn 80s tape over and over and over. No matter when I come in, early morning, late afternoon, midday, there it is, belting out Michael Jackson or Madonna or Bob Marley or one of several one-hit-wonder songs from the era that, if heard, will stick in one’s brain for HOURS and DAYS after. This has been going on for weeks. What happened, did they lose their iPod? They should run across the street to the little used shop and buy something else. Anything. Even a different 80s tape. Please?

I don’t miss Papa Don’t Preach. I don’t. I heard it enough in the 80s. Madonna can sort of rhyme. Preach. Deep. I get it.

I don’t mind Thriller so much. In fact, I really kind of like Michael Jackson, freak show that he was, but I keep wanting to claw the air when I hear it, and I’m afraid the rest of the coffee shop won’t dance with me if I start, so…

Prince’s girl doesn’t have to be rich or cool to be his girl. She just has to leave it all up to him and give him a kiss. He also doesn’t want her to act her shoe size. I have a question about this. If your age is 3 and your shoe size is 10, like my daughter, does this advice still apply? I think maybe he would rather she act her shoe size in this case. Also, is there a point at which age and shoe size align? Maybe an 8 year old would wear size 8 ladies, but she would sure have some really big feet. I’ll have to mull that one over.

As an aside, there are two years out of every decade where birth year juxtaposes with graduation year: 1946 and 1964 and 1968 and 1986. That’s it. There aren’t any others.

The Thompson Twins. Yeah, well. I admit it. I had their tape. I played it a lot until one part got too thin and finally broke. I had to pull the little parts out, cut the thin part away, and tape it. Then the song skipped. You can’t do anything like this with CDs. I tried. I had a CD with a deep scratch that just would not play, so I used one of those CD repair kits that is supposed to fill in the groove. It didn’t work — it broke my CD player. I don’t recommend it. Tapes weren’t great because you had to fast forward or rewind or turn over to get where you wanted on the song, but you could keep taping them together forever if you wanted. My patience for whatever they played wore out before they ever did.

Another aside, did you know drinking blackberry juice will stop diarrhea? Yep. Seems counterintuitive, but it works.

I wish my coffee shop would change the music and that when it does, it would turn down the volume. I can’t think when the music is too loud, even when I like it.

Ooh. Something not 80s. Marvin Gaye. I have a thing for Marvin Gaye. So hot, and that voice, that amazing, delicious voice… Okay. I’ll stop.

This is Completely Bizarre

My friend and I were fooling around on Meetup. I would put in a term to search for groups and see what Meetup came up with. I put in the term Sociopath. Meetup came up saying, “There aren’t any sociopath meet ups near Portland just yet.” Meetup then offered some alternatives that are slightly close and might suit me. Note what choices it offered:

Screen shot

It offered Investment EducationWealth CreationBusiness Strategy and Networking, and Professional Networking. Isn’t it ironic that Meetup thinks a sociopath group would fit with these business groups?

Can Someone Please Help Me With This Letter?

Dear Ms. Gardner,
We regret to inform you that, despite our previous assurances to the contrary, we will not be able to return your brain.  Unfortunately, your brain was part of a shipment of brains that was lost at sea over the Bermuda Triangle, a region of the northwestern Atlantic Ocean in which a number of aircraft and surface vessels have disappeared in what are said to be circumstances that fall beyond the boundaries of human error or acts of nature.  As you may know, some of these disappearances have been attributed to the paranormal, a suspension of the laws of physics, or activity by extraterrestrial beings.  Although substantial documentation exists showing numerous incidents to have been inaccurately reported or embellished by later authors, there is no doubt that many ships and airplanes have been lost in the area.

As is often the case in the place just described, the plane carrying your brain simply disappeared off any radar.  Despite extensive searches and radio calls, we have been unable to make contact with the aircraft, its crew, or the items on board.  In fact, one search plane was also lost in the process.

We sincerely apologize for this egregious error.  We realize now that in attempting to save time by crossing this area of the Atlantic Ocean in order to decrease costs and thereby increase profits, we have created a huge liability for ourselves.  Our only hope is that because it was your brain that was lost, you will now lack the intelligence to realize the error was ours (despite this letter) and do nothing against us in retaliation or to mitigate your loss.  We also offer our condolences; a deficit of this magnitude must be quite distressing.  We certainly understand how you must be feeling right now, even without your limbic system.  There must be some awareness on your part that something is, well, missing.

As evidence of our sincerest and deepest sympathy, we would like to offer you this $10 gift certificate to Amazon.com.  It is our hope that you will be able to locate a nice children’s book or some other fine gift befitting the current state of your intelligence.  Perhaps a book on the alphabet or counting will allow you to find work at a telephone control center or at customer service for a credit card company.  In fact, we would be willing to put you in touch with our affiliates in these areas should you require assistance in becoming gainfully employed.  Additionally, we would also like to provide you with this gift of a handsome wallet for your identification and in some cases, pizza.

Again, please accept our apologies.  And have a happy holiday.  Thank you so much.

Sincerely,

Brain Restoration Services, LLC

Dear Brain Restoration Services, LLC;
I so much appreciated your letter.  Your kindness in letting me know that my brain had been lost in the Bermuda Triangle, and then your further kindness in offering me the $10 gift certificate and possible assistance with employment were both truly above and beyond the call of duty.  I accept the Amazon certificate, by the way, and look forward to locating a book I can now read (as reading has become somewhat difficult in the weeks since losing my brain).  I would like to take this opportunity to thank those who have been helping me in all areas, including reading, feeding, and wiping drool from my chin.  Without you I may actually have drowned.  Much gratitude also to my cousin for typing this letter on my behalf.

I would beg your further kindness, if at all possible.  Unfortunately, Amazon does not carry drool rags.  I searched their site high and low (again with the assistance of friends and family) and was unable to locate one in my price range.  I did locate a towel designed by a famous designer (his name escapes me at the moment–a not uncommon occurrence these days), only this towel was both quite large and quite expensive.  It was not really suitable for my needs.  I would prefer something absorbent that will withstand frequent washings.  Actually, two or three would be most suitable so I have something to use whilst my soiled rags are being laundered.

I also would like to inquire whether you are aware if others who lost their brains in this unfortunate incident might like to get together, not for a support group, but to play.  I think it would be quite enjoyable to build things with blocks or stack plastic rings with one another.  Our caretakers may even be able to trade ideas on dealing with the excess drool and, um, issues surrounding personal hygiene.  I have been made to understand that diaper changing on adults is rather difficult, as you may imagine.

Again, I so appreciate your thoughtfulness and hope this letter finds you well.  I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Yours sincerely,

Lara Gardner

Life is Like That

I often think of new little products, waiting patiently in their boxes to be used. They’re so new and orderly. Pick me! Their calmness and order seems to say as they lie there in their box, waiting to be chosen. They have been waiting their entire life for use, and here you are, choosing. Will it be me? Their orderliness seems to ask.

I wonder whether a pantyliner or other hygiene product really wants to be used. They might think it’s what they want, getting out of that box or off that shelf. A new home! But then they come to realize that their use isn’t necessarily something desired. It results in the trash can or the sewer or the landfill.

I suppose a pantyliner or other hygiene product has no idea that being placed in someone’s crotch or in an armpit or between toes is a bad thing. They have no other existence to compare theirs to. Although the pantyliner might. It meets the underwear and thinks, Oh, a friend. A different sort of friend. Then the pantyliner gets covered in goo and is tossed in the trash, and the underwear gets to stay. It’s not fair on some level, but life is like that. You get to be a professor. She gets to be a mother. He gets to be an electrician. Someone is born and starves in Africa. Another is born and is obese in America. We are all on our different journeys. This really is simply how life is.

Dental Floss Just Doesn’t Cut It

Blurb for the day:

I love popcorn. Too much. I often feel sick after eating too much of it, especially on an empty stomach, but I still keep coming back and love it. If you’re going to eat it though, you have to invest in a water pik. Dental floss just doesn’t cut it.

I Remembered Insomnia

I remembered that I didn’t sleep last night, that I woke at 4 in the morning and that the brain turned on, even though I ran through every means I know to try and shut it off, short of taking drugs, which are not useful when taken at that hour because they leave me feeling hung over the following day and I could not afford to feel hung over.

I remembered that I lay there thinking about finishing my taxes, and whether I’m getting enough exercise, and money, and my children, and global warming, and the novel I am not writing enough of, and you, even though you don’t deserve my thinking.  I also remembered that I thought “You don’t deserve my thinking” and took pains to steer my thoughts elsewhere, even if the alternatives were not very appealing either.

I remembered when I felt tired at 8 and couldn’t understand why because 8 is not that late that, oh yeah, I didn’t sleep last night, and that also, oh yeah, I didn’t go back to sleep, which I usually do, and that, oh yeah again, I had to get up at 7 a.m., but that when the alarm went off, I reset it for 7:20, but still didn’t fall asleep, so I reset it for 7:50, but finally gave up and got up at 7:30 because lying there and not sleeping was foolish and that if I did fall asleep I would feel misery at having to awaken.  Yes, this is a too-long sentence, but forgive me because I’m tired.

Life is Like That

I often think of new little products, waiting patiently in their boxes to be used. They’re so new and orderly. Pick me! Their calmness and order seems to say as they lie there in their box, waiting to be chosen. They have been waiting their entire life for use, and here you are, choosing. Will it be me? Their orderliness seems to ask.

I wonder whether a pantyliner or other hygiene product really wants to be used. They might think it’s what they want, getting out of that box or off that shelf. A new home! But then they come to realize that their use isn’t necessarily something desired. It results in the trash can or the sewer or the landfill.

I suppose a pantyliner or other hygiene product has no idea that being placed in someone’s crotch or in an armpit or between toes is a bad thing. They have no other existence to compare theirs to. Although the pantyliner might. It meets the underwear and thinks, Oh, a friend. A different sort of friend. Then the pantyliner gets covered in goo and is tossed in the trash, and the underwear gets to stay. It’s not fair on some level, but life is like that. You get to be a professor. She gets to be a mother. He gets to be an electrician. Someone is born and starves in Africa. Another is born and is obese in America. We are all on our different journeys. This really is simply how life is.

Bedtime

Tonight I ran, pushing Isabel’s stroller, for a half an hour.  Ava ran with us.  We ran up and down hills and across sidewalks.  Many of the sidewalks were bumpy because of large tree roots.  I love the large trees; I do not love the large roots pushing up the sidewalk.  However, given the choice, I would take the trees and the bumpy sidewalks over no trees.

Anyway.  After I ran I came home, took a shower, and made dinner and washed the dishes, then Isabel was tired so I put her in jammies, changed her diaper, and put her to sleep.  I lay there too for about a half an hour.  It was only 9 o’clock.  I could have completely stayed asleep, but I was still wearing contacts and had not brushed my teeth, and then Milla came in to kiss and hug me goodnight, and I knew if I stayed there I would wake up at 1 and not go back to sleep.  I got up and started working on my book and now I’ve hit a wall, a tired wall.  I can’t write anymore.  I have to go to sleep.  I still have not taken out the contacts or brushed my teeth.  Ack.  I’m going to have to do that before I can sleep.  Instead I sit here and type this.  Okay, I quit.  I’m going to bed.

Accident or Intention?

It has been my experience that when one does something inadvertently or accidentally to another person and it causes harm, the person apologizes profusely.  Perhaps it is a leap in logic to presume this is always the case, but I think in most cases, if someone causes harm unintentionally, apology is the appropriate and common response.  Accidental action, unintended harmful consequence, apology.  I can recall some instances where there was an accidental action, unintended harmful consequence, then acknowledgment of the harm, and acknowledgment of the action.  However, I cannot recall any situations with accidental action, unintended harmful consequence, and defense of original action without an apology.  If there was an accidental action that caused harm, there was an apology as well.

How common is it, do you think, that there is accidental action, unintended harmful consequence, then defense of the original action as accident without apology?  For instance, I trip you accidentally, you fall and get hurt, then I don’t apologize, but instead say Ah well, it was an accident…?  Considering cultural norms surrounding apology in this circumstance, it does not seem to be a stretch to presume that if I trip you and you fall and I don’t apologize, that the original tripping was not accidental.  In this instance, it would be necessary to look to the surrounding circumstances to determine whether or not my action was intentional or inadvertent.  For instance, I’m wearing big shoes that I’m not used to wearing and holding my feet out at a funny angle because the shoes feel odd.  It would not be hard to figure it really was an accident.

However, if there is a footprint on the back of your leg in such a way that for that footprint to have landed there I would have had to have kicked you, and then you were harmed, and then I did not apologize, it would not be difficult to surmise that I intended to cause harm.  I may have intended to kick and tripped instead, but the original intent was to cause some harm thereby negating the need for apology.

Ah, it is all speculation.  I know it wasn’t an accident.  If it were, there would have been profuse apology.  The resulting damage may have been greater than predicted, but harm was still the intent.  The fact there was no apology is just another factor that proves it.

Third Person Lara

Lara is staying up too late.  It is her own damn fault; she fell asleep with her infant at about 6:30 in the evening and slept until almost 9.  Bad idea.  Bad idea, indeed.  Now Lara is awake.  But Baby finally fell asleep at half past midnight, so Lara can go to sleep too, after she brushes and flosses her teeth.  Poor tired Lara. Let’s hope her infant doesn’t wake up at the butt crack of dawn.

Lara thinks she should change her name, but she doesn’t know what name to change her name to.  She doesn’t like the name Lara.  It is such a wimpy name.  Plus no one can pronounce it properly in the United States. It’s always LORuh or LAIRuh, not LARuh, like car, or bar, or far, or tar, or mar, or even the letter R.  It’s not hard (or the word hard), or difficult even, but people here can’t do it.  And even when she spells her name for people, they still stick in the damn U.  What the hell, people?  There isn’t a U.  It’s not the same name.  Laura is the feminine of Lawrence.  It is a Latin-based name.  Lara is a Slavic name.  It is not related to Lawrence.  But try telling that to the morons who refuse to call her by her proper name, dang it.  Annoying.

Okay, awake is going to win if Lara does not head to her bed.  First to the bathroom sink and the toothpaste and the toothbrush, then to the bed.  Sleep.  Sleep.  Ahhhh…

Pointless Rambling

Gads.  It’s getting to the point where I can hardly stand to read anything about the news anymore.  The level of disconnect of so many citizens in this country is disheartening.  So many people get all their information from one news channel and screaming talk radio.  So many have zero knowledge about the issues they scream about.  They know a few buzzwords, but have no idea what the hell it is they are talking about.  And it seems that the typical response of these ignorant fools when presented with a logical, educated response to their ranting is to diverge off into another unrelated rant.  Seriously disheartening.

On a personal note, too often lately I have writing ideas that do not get written down.  I’m back where I was five or six years ago when I didn’t write things down and would lose so many good ideas.  I do that all the time now.  Back then, I decided to carry around a tablet to write on when I thought of something.  Then I became good at writing every day on the computer (and especially this blog) and the ideas started getting captured. Then I took my life down a path and did not end up at the expected destination and stopped writing as much and the ideas are getting lost again.  I think the notebook is going to have to return to capture some of the ideas.  Disheartening too.

Isabel is lying on my lap asleep.  Milla and I watched a movie tonight called The Private Lives of Pippa Lee.  Sadly, I could identify with Pippa’s feelings of helplessness and despair.  I loved it when she finally realized she was free from the cage of a life she created for herself.  I wonder what is going to be my catalyst.  Is there going to be one or am I stuck here forever because I made decisions I thought were the right ones and they turned out to be not so great?  For years I went through life just kind of taking it as it came.  Then I started living with intention, making decisions with some effort towards control of my destiny and things turned out worse.

Of course, here I am saying that with this daughter on my lap I would not trade for anything ever.  With Milla I knew without question that I did not regret one second of my life up until the moment she was conceived because I would not want anything to have happened that would have led to life without her.  Now I would not trade Isabel for anything, but I have regrets.  I cannot reconcile these two perspectives.  I do not know how I can want Isabel with all my heart, yet know that I hold so many regrets.  Although come to think of it the strongest of my regrets are for after she was conceived.  I could live with the choices up to that minute.  I actually wish I had done things much differently after.  So I suppose the two aren’t so different.  Good to realize.

Today I bought a Kenneth Cole leather computer bag for twenty bucks.  Not bad.  Fits the new computer.  My personal computer is a Macbook and it’s smaller, so the new computer would not fit in the bag.  I was thinking I was going to have to get some ugly thing because I didn’t want to spend much, so this was a nice buy.  I would have liked to find a yellow or orange or pink leather one, but that would have cost a lot more, so this will do.  Black works.  Plus it’s big enough I can carry files in it too.

Well I’ve wasted twenty minutes writing about not much so I’m going to stop and go to bed.  I’m tired.  Good night.

How Do I Love Thee

Ah, sleep.  My lovely friend, you are my blissful savior.  For months you have evaded me, trickling in and out like a stealthy lover.  Yet tonight you arrived on my doorstep to spend the night, lolling beside me on my bedsheets, holding me close to your bosom.  Each time you have graced me with your spiriting presence you removed my mind, carrying it off to unknown vistas.  Your visit has restored my thoughts, revived my spirit.  Please do not leave me again–my heart and mind will break without you.

And Then

Liz Cheney is as big a fucking hate-mongering idiot as her devil father.  Spawn of the devil keeps his evil going…

I may have been followed this morning.  A woman I had seen on the train got onto the elevator with me and did not choose a floor while I was on the elevator.  I do have to say though, that she did not get off at the 6th floor as I did.

When I go to businesses that ask my name, I make one up.  Your name?  Aristophanes.  Spell that one.  Then pronounce it.

We are losing.  Here is my prediction of what is going to happen:   The ginormous corporations will continue to get bigger and proliferate.  The masses, increasingly ignorant and sedated with fast food, television, noise,  sports, and religion will become even stupider, turning back into the peasants of the middle ages.  The power elite are going to win and the poor are going to help them.  The poor want to be rich and if they were given the means, they would act the same way so they don’t question being constantly sold and mollified with product, trying so hard, kissing vacations goodbye and futilely trying to shovel their toddlers into Harvard.  Since they will not become a part of that which they seek, they go along and buy their lottery tickets, stuffing their faces, plugging earphones into their heads and turning up the music so they can drown out their own oblivion.  They believe it when they are told there is a magnificent being in the sky who cares about them and will take care of them after death so they don’t have to concern themselves with the fact that the place in which they are actually living right here and right now carries other possibilities.    Numbed and choking on corn and petroleum, they will let the power class continue to take them and take the planet.  In time, those of us who are in the minority and see the damage and want change may rise up and revolt, but success is an unlikely prospect.

And a thought from my friend Carin:  Something that’s been bugging me.  Self righteous boobs claiming to be upstanding and moral whilst they are posing half nude with photographers, getting boob jobs and participating in a meat, sorry, “beauty” pageant.  Or teenage twits who claim they are the voice of abstinence-only sex ed while holding their baby that they conceived obviously not through abstinence.

As I walk to the subway, ride the subway, and walk to my office, I’m filled with thoughts and observations.  The moment I walk through the door and sit down under the flourescent lights, the thoughts fritter away into the ether.  I wonder as I’m walking if I should stop and write some of the thoughts into my notebook, but I don’t do it.  My notebook used to be full of thoughts, but right now the only words there are a note I took to remind myself to contact my daughter’s school about an art teacher who smashes art pieces she deems unworthy of her almighty judgment.  Other than that, nothing.  Is it the flourescent lights?  Maybe it’s the air-conditioning.  Maybe it blows the thoughts from my brain.

My Ideas for Presidents’ Day Celebrations

I saw this funny blog headline.  It said, How to observe Presidents’ Day.  Don’t work.  Other than that, I don’t know.  That is hilarious.  But I know one way.  Dress up like your favorite president!  If you have one of those jobs where they didn’t give you the day off, like so many, you’ll really impress them with your verve and spirit!

Last night I went to listen to music at this place and I swear, a man channeling John Wilkes Booth was there!  He looked EXACTLY like him!  He even had a similar haircut.  My girlfriend pointed out that he also slightly resembled Sean Penn and you know what?  He did!  So I went out on the web and googled images of John Wilkes Booth and Sean Penn to compare.  Man, I wish I was blog literate enough to post the photos here because they have to be related.  They look exactly alike!  At least they have very similar long pointy noses.  I think actually that JWB was more handsome than Sean Penn is.  Just a bit.  Except for the fact JWB murdered a president, they also have in common that they are both actors.  Perhaps they are related.  Wouldn’t that be weird?

Another way to celebrate Presidents’ Day would be to memorize famous presidential speeches.  Then if someone says something to you, answer with the speech.  That could be cool.  If everyone went around one day spouting presidential speeches, perhaps we would all learn to be a bit more oratory.  We could also renact days off from the times of Washington and Lincoln whereby everyone goes on picnics and races in potato sack races or pie bake offs.  Could be fun!  Another possibility is to celebrate the byproducts of the Presidents’ Day holiday.  For instance, we could celebrate not having to check the mail or go to the bank.

Since stores have already appropriated every major holiday for mass consumerism and commercial gain, and since Presidents’ Day primarily serves as an excuse for stores to claim a sale and some jobs to give folks the day off, I propose the stores get more into the act and start selling outfits and decorations for Presidents’ Day. We could all go buy lights shaped like Lincoln standing tall, his hand on his lapel, his top hat high on his head.  Or little Washingtons holding cherry tree axes (truth of the fable be damned).  They could sell Washington and horse figurines to pretend to cross the Potomac.  They could make giant blow up dolls for the front yard wearing festive red, white, and blue clothing.  It could take American yard decor to a new level of tackiness.

I have a friend who is a buyer of holiday goods for a major store in the area.  I ought to talk to her about getting her store in on the act.  This could be the next big holiday thing, with decor coming out at the same time as Valentine’s goods, a week and a half before Christmas.  Could be fun!  Or the lucky few could just keep getting the day off.

Happy New Year Musings

I got a headline in my email inbox that said It Will Never be 2008 Again.  Well, it will never be this moment again, or this one, or this one.  We have all these silly human traditions to mark the passage of time, yet time passes every moment. Each one is a new beginning and an ending.  That moment is the future, now it is now, now it is over.

And on and on.  Every year I mull over this curious holiday celebrating what is essentially the same moment as previous, but we label it as new, give a party, scream and shout, and have another method of categorizing our time.  It does its job, to some extent anyway.

Blogging to Ease Off

Busy busy.  Feast or famine, right?  I went for weeks with little to do except going to the beach, taking Milla to school, and working on some stuff I’m writing.  I would apply for jobs, go to interviews, and other interim things, but for the most part, I was bored out of my skull.  Then Boyfriend came to visit and we decided to move together to NYC and life suddenly hit warp speed,  I decided definitively to apply to grad school at Columbia.  I met a publisher who liked my work and offered me some editing assignments.  My housemates have a friend who needed help in her costume shop.  I have been writing pieces on Huffington Post and wanted to keep going with that.  Literally, all this hit at the same time and I was suddenly buried in things to do, so much so that I felt enormously pressured.  On top of it, my darling Milla went to visit her dad.  He has some changes going on in his life and it will be good for them to spend some time together until I get there, but I miss her like my arms are missing.  Yikes!

Anyway, life has not been conducive to daily writing on the blog, althugh I am getting writing done, just not here.  But I feel like I need this as a mental outlet and when I’m not getting it, the pressure seems only to increase.  Luckily today I was able to take an additional day off from the costume shop.  This is a good thing because I have started to feel like I’m coming down with something.  I woke up coughing twice last night and it took a while to stop.  This morning I was buried in the throes of sleep when Boyfriend sent me a text message at nearly ten that woke me up.  Thank goodness!  I would have kept sleeping all day at that rate.  My body is telling me to find a way to ease off.  Okay, so here I am.  Blogging to ease off.

Miscellaneous Ramblings

I keep having these thoughts when I am driving or lying in bed that I think I would like to write about.  Then when I sit myself down in front of the computer and have sorted through emails, responded to skypes, and talked on the phone, none of them are left. I’m not talking spectacular stuff here, just thoughts I would like to write about for myself.  Ah well.

I miss Milla.  She is in Boulder with her dad.  I will be there soon enough, but I miss her oh so much.  It is much more difficult to have her gone when I am in Hawaii where I have not enough to do.  Well, that’s not true.  I am applying to Columbia University for a master’s in journalism.  That is going to take some time. I lined up my references.  I need to begin work on the essays that have been floating in my brain since I decided to do this.  There are things to do.  But my body is rebelling.  It is tired and feels rather like viruses would like to invade.  It is difficult to concentrate when viruses want to invade.

I cannot wait to move to NYC.  Every time Boyfriend and I look at apartments or how to travel across the US, my heart goes pitter patter in excitement.  Apartments are not as ridiculously expensive as one would expect and the neighborhoods look just cool.  I have not felt for a very long time that a place was right for me, but this place, it feels right.  This move, it feels right.  The sense of vagueness of purpose is gone, like I have been a laser poking around in the dark and now I have found my target.  I’m so excited, I can hardly stand it.

You Winner Lottery National!!

You winner in lottery national!

Ooooh!  Excitement!  I received an email today that said just these words.  Can you believe it?  Yeah, me neither.  Somehow I think if I won the lottery, several things would be different.  First of all, I would have had to have actually played the lottery, which I don’t, so it would be difficult to win.  Second, wouldn’t you think they would notify me in some other manner than email?  And finally, would the email really say, You winner in lottery national? Call me a fool, but I would think it would at least say You are a winner, not just You winner.

I hope I haven’t lost out by deeming this message junk and deleting it.  I really hope I have not done some serious damage or something.  Geez.  Oh well.  I have to hope I’ve done the right thing.

Tonight my computer acted like it had Windows installed.  Eeewwwww yuck!  Damn thing.  It kept freezing when I tried to do a find on Firefox.  I had to do forced shutdowns twice and had to just use the button to turn the entire computer off twice.  It was all very annoying and Windows deja vueyish.  I was finally able to restart properly and things appear to be on track, but that Windows behavior, it gets me all sketchy.

Random Thought

You know, I was thinking this morning about giant bank failures after Wachovia bit the dust.  Surprise surprise.  I looked through the FDIC bank failure list.  While it appears a few small banks have failed recently, the number of large bank failures to small ones is bigger in comparison to the overall number of banks.  Perhaps part of the problem is that these institutions were too damn big…a dinosaur effect if you will.

This got me thinking further about those who scream and yell about big government, how it is horrible, etcetera.  I don’t hear these same people screaming about ginormous companies.  They would probably say this is because the giinormous companies are “private” and don’t use taxpayer money.  But that is a false argument.  Just because the money isn’t deducted from a paycheck or mortgage statement doesn’t mean it doesn’t come from taxpayers, and it probably means we paid extra so the private business could make a profit.

I don’t know where I’m going with this.  I just got to thinking about it this morning.  It’s not a discussion I have heard.

Drive Your Car, McCain

This piece can be seen on Huffington Post:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/lara-m-gardner/a-leader-should-be-able-t_b_129341.html

Out of curiosity, I made a small survey of job postings just to see what kinds of skills employers are requiring of potential employees. Among other things, one of the primary requirements of job seekers is that they possess the ability to multitask. Multitasking is a simple concept really. It means doing more than one thing at a time. Quite a lot of jobs require it. I did this because of all of the discussion yesterday on McCain’s desire to cancel the debate, as well as his temporary cessation of campaigning, both in order to “focus on the economy.”

How does this “focusing on the economy” work exactly? Does one sit and stare at numbers for a while in order to create this focus? Perhaps it means getting together with other people to talk about the economy. Maybe it means actual participation as a senator, an activity he was rightly allowed to place on hold while running for president.

What I find confusing is why McCain’s focus on the economy cannot take place concurrent with running his campaign or why it impacts his ability to debate. If he knows the issues, if he is prepared to lead this country, then he should be able to think on his feet and debate as necessary. He should be able to throw out a sound bite or two or answer some questions on talk shows for his campaign. Basically, he should be able to multitask. While debating may require some skill, certainly campaigning does not require as much. All he has to do is show up.

The man has been a senator for what, twenty-six years? Based on the number of years McCain has spent in public office, debating and campaigning should both be skills in which he is quite adept. These activities should be the sorts of things he can do without a whole heck of a lot of effort, the sorts of things at which he should be able to multitask quite well. It should be easy for him to focus on the economy.

For McCain, debating and campaigning should theoretically operate like driving a car. At first, steering and braking and shifting all at once is overwhelming, requiring our complete attention After a few years, these actions become so automatic we do not even realize we’re doing them. We can focus on other things while we’re driving, even stressful things like driving someone to the hospital or navigating through bad weather. Although our basic skills may be diminished, requiring greater attention so we do not end up in an accident, we do not suddenly stop being able to drive at all just because something bigger is happening at the same time.

I find it puzzling and distressing that rather than using the economic meltdown to display his prowess at multitasking, in order to focus McCain must stop performing skills that should be as automatic to him as driving a car. When older drivers reach the point where they cannot perform these basic functions we take away their driver’s license. If McCain has reached this point, should we really allow him to drive the country? I don’t think so.

Sleepy

I’m sooooo tired.  Somehow adding the extra o’s makes it more.  I like that, that adding a few extra letters means emphasis.

When I first arrived here, my insomnia returned with a vengeance, mostly because I missed my boyfriend and sleeping with him.  Then a couple of weeks ago I started sleeping a bit better, actually making it through the night.  Of course, it helped that I figured out to close the windows to the noisy roosters, put up curtains to keep out light, as well as remembering to wear my usual eye pillow and ear plugs.  These things helped immensely.  Plus I think I just settled down or something and was able to sleep.

Yet the night before last I woke up and could not go back to sleep even though I knew I could sleep in the next morning (for some reason knowing I have to get up the next morning makes insomnia worse for me).    I was tired and grumpy most of the day as a result.  Last night I was so tired and fell asleep quickly when I went to bed.  Only this did not stop me from waking up too early this morning.  Goddamned insomnia.  I hate it.

Yuck.  I know the experts don’t call it insomnia if it doesn’t last 2 weeks.  Whatever.  It’s all not sleeping.  Last night I fell asleep sooner than the night before, which is good, but I’m still pooped this morning so I am going back to bed.  Hopefully I will be able to get over this hump or I’ll turn into a monster and it won’t be good.

Missing is So Unkind

What possible biological basis can there have been for us to evolve a mechanism that allows us to feel like a limb has been removed when we miss another human being?  Is it truly only the mating sequence? Why couldn’t our biology be content to know another mate will someday take the place of the first?  Or is it that in ancient times if our mate died or was lost to us, we couldn’t easily find another?  Is that it? Maybe it is something else.  Whatever it is, I just don’t get it.

Perhaps it is some other mechanism that has simply gotten stuck in the missing another human category.  Maybe we’re supposed to feel serious missing when we lose an actual limb because losing an actual limb could pose a serious detriment to our ability to hunt and gather.  It would impact our ability to find a mate. Perhaps the two are juxtaposed in some manner in certain brains.

I know I am not the only one like this.  I watched this film last night called My Blueberry Nights.  One character, rather than live without the person who left him, drives himself into a tree.  This after drinking himself into oblivion every night for months.  Yep, his limb missing mechanism was severely out of whack. And the woman who left him realized after he was dead that she missed him like a missing limb as well.  So her missing limb mechanism was juxtaposed onto her missing partner as well.  Maybe I’m onto something here.

I am going to see the person who I miss in a little over a week.  Ironically, I am feeling his absence more acutely as his visit draws closer.  It is like knowing he will be here, that he is somehow within reach, makes the desire more visceral.  I have to fight myself NOT to send him text messages telling him how much I miss him and all the things I want to do with him when he gets here.  I have to force myself to be here and now, focus on my legs, focus on my arms, recognize they are actually in place and I do not require a prosthesis.  I can do this.  When I do this it is easier.  See brain?  Limbs intact.  Man will arrive shortly so stop thinking about him so much.

Then he calls and I’m listening to Woody Herman sing about being in love and clouds having silver linings and his own melancholy without his dear, the piano tinkling perfectly in the background, and I feel that old familiar pull in my belly.  Gads, missing is so unkind.

Ginormous Headache

My head hurts like nobody’s business, right at the base of my skull in the back.  I slept wrong.  I wear this eye pillow.  It was cockeyed, plus my regular down pillow had slipped under my shoulders, so I awoke basically balanced on this little lump of eye pillow and my skull screaming in pain.  Every time I turn my head, I see white light and feel like vomiting.  The only thing that alleviates the pain is to stab my thumb or a finger deep into the tight muscle.  Unfortunately because of the angle, my arm cannot twist that direction very well.  I’ve tried stretching my neck to the front and back, left and right, to no avail.  This is so much fun.  I think I’m going to have to try an NSAID, and I generally avoid taking medications for such things.  Only for this, I don’t care.  It hurts that much.

I don’t know why I”m blogging about this.  It’s kind of a ridiculous subject.  But I told myself I would write some blurb every morning and all I can think about right now is this headache and Vantucky.  I know.  It’s silly.  There is a town next to Portland called Vancouver.  Portlanders call it Vantucky.  The reasons for this are self-evident.  Boyfriend is going to Vantucky this morning and he called me on the way. For some reason, the word Vantucky is stuck in my head, along with the headache, and the lyrics to Judy Garland singing I’m Always Chasing Rainbows.  It’s quite a combination, I can assure you.  The song is getting annoying.  It’s been crawling around in my head, worming its way through the neurons for days now.  I’m ready to be rid of it.  I will have to listen to something else over and over and over in an effort to make it go away.  Then that song might get stuck, but at least it will be a different song.  Last week it was Cape Verdean Blues.  I did not mind that song being in my head.  It flittered around, showing up periodically.  I would hum bars of it here and there.  It did not sit insiduously on one line for hours like the chasing rainbows number.  No.  It was a pleasant visitor.  Chasing rainbows is like a houseguest who has overstayed her welcome, leaving empty dishes around the house with food stuck in them and her underwear in the bathroom with the crotch up.  I want her to leave me.

I’m off to take drugs to try to obliterate this headache, then I need to take my baby to school.  Hopefully by the time I return home the drugs will have kicked in and this pain will have been alleviated.  If not, I’ll poke a nail in my hand.  It would probably feel better than this wretched headache.

Miscellaneous Thoughts

So I’ve been convincing myself that it is okay to skip inconsequential writing because I’m working on a book.  The problem is that when I stop blogging or at least writing in my journal, then the words start pounding on the inside of my skull again and I start turning a little nuts.  That’s not a good thing.  I am not the best human when I am nuts.  I guess even when I work on a book I will have to write some little blurb here or in the journal or I’ll never end up completing the book because I will be in an insane asylum.  What a wierd brain I have, one that requires I write in order to be functional.  It also doesn’t seem to remember this until it’s going blathering nuts and I start wondering why I’m such a bitch all the time then I think Well duh, Lara.  It’s like food and sleep.  I know if I’m off and losing my mind, food and sleep are usually required.  I should add writing to the list because lately, I’ll have the food and sleep and still be going nuts.  Duh.  Write.

I have had a lot of thoughts about the political situation in this country, but there is so much to say and so many people saying it, I feel a bit overwhelmed to even know where to begin.  The progressives seem to understand that the McCain Palin ticket is a disaster.  It’s all we’re hearing about.  My question is whether average Joe American who pays little attention to politics can see past the fact that Palin has hot legs and McCain is a good ol’ boy.  Unfortunately, I’m not so sure.  Of course, there is the consolation that a person with these views would not likely vote, but that’s not much of a consolation.

I read an op ed piece today whose author said he did not want someone he could take out for a beer as the leader of the free world, he wanted a super hero.  My sentiments exactly.  I would love to try and reach average Joe American with that image…we need superheroes running our country or we will not be leaders for very long.  I cringe at the thought of what the rest of the world will think if McCain is elected, how humiliating that will be, especially after Bush.  I am not a person who gives much credence to what other people think, but I do care that our country does not appear as a pathetic joke.  If that moron and his Caribou Barbi are elected (or steal the election, which is a possibility with Diebold still in the picture), we may as well kiss our asses goodbye.  Or stage a revolution.  Unfortunately, in 2008, I do not see many people willing to go there.

I read another article where the author argued that we need to send Hilary after Palin.  I could not agree more.  This would eliminate the complaint that the men are picking on her because she is a woman, and Hilary is brilliant as an attack dog.  I wish she would do this.  Come on, Hilary.  If you are with the Democrats, do this for your country.  Take that pitiful excuse for a woman down.  She wants to claim she’s on your side, but she’s so far from anything you represent, she deserves your intelligence, your debate, everything you have to offer.  Go for it.  Do it for the country.  Do it for women.

Apparently Obama went on the O’Reilly Factor.  Here’s hoping they don’t edit the piece before airing it in such a manner to make Obama the fool.  I don’t trust that O’Reilly bastard or his network one bit.  Putting someone who can answer questions intelligently next to a man who screams, cajoles, and calls names….I’m not so sure. We will see.

Well this is it.  We’ll see if I can tame the word poundings.

Another Political Blog

So now no one will read me. For some reason when I go on and on about how pathetic I am, my readership goes up tenfold.  I write something political and it drops. As a political commentator, I’m an unknown voice screaming among many.  I would think I am the same thing as a pathetic wreck, but apparently not.  Or else people like reading about all the pathetic wrecks, so adding me to the mix is okay.

So here is my political blog comment of the day.  Well, actually there will be two.  First of all, I went to McCain’s site yesterday.  His first paragraph says that he wants to overturn Roe v. Wade.  Then he says he will appoint judges to fix this decision.  Then he says he does not believe it is right to appoint activist judges who legislate from the bench.

Problem number one:  Is he, or the person who wrote this drivel since McCain is apparently unable to use the “innernit,” completely unable to see the hypocrisy in this statement?  I will appoint judges to overturn this, but I do not believe in appointing legislating activist judges?  He obviously thinks appointing someone to overturn a decision is not appointing an activist judge, thereby immuning him from his own hypocrisy, or else he completely misses that what he says is hypocrisy.  In either case, it’s a problem.

Problem number two:  When judges interpret a law, which is their job, it is not “legislating from the bench.”  It is doing the job of a judge.  Congress (or another lawmaking body) writes a law, executive branch gives it the stamp of approval, judges interpret.  Very little of what is written is 100% clear.  Facts need to come along and give a law some teeth and meaning.  Freedom of speech?  This does not mean you have the right to encourage someone to rape someone else.  And on and on.  All the words in a law need to be interpreted.  That is the job of the judicial branch.  Lawmakers jump up and down and throw a fit because judges do exactly what they are supposed to do.  That is the POINT of a three-branch system.  If lawmakers do not like how a judge interpreted a law, then the problem is not with the judge but with the way a law is written.  If lawmakers want judges to interpret a law a certain way, then they need to write that way into the law.  Otherwise judges are left trying to determine what the hell the lawmaker meant.  If an executive does not want a law to be interpreted a certain way, then the executive should not sign the damn bill into law until it is written more clearly.

It’s basic civics McCain.  Maybe instead of focusing on your time in the military 40 years ago, you ought to spend some time going back and relearning basic US governmental structure.

This leads me to the other McCain criciticism of the morning.  Why is it that we constantly have to hear all about McCain’s military service?  Is this all the guy has done? Uh, yes.  The other 60-some odd years of his life are irrelevant, at least that seems to be what he wants us to believe.  Let’s focus on the fact he was a POW and ignore all the other crap he’s done in between because if we focused on that, we know it would be hard to sell him as a leader.

Annoying.  That’s all I have to say about that.

Spinning Time

My blog has turned into two things.  One is me going on and on about how pathetic I am.  The other is my ranting about the godforsaken political situation in this country.  It’s as if my sense of humor has taken a monster shit and been flushed down the loo.  It does not exist anymore, at least in writing.  I am not sure though that I ever had it.  I just had these magical moments where things came to me and I wrote them down, but they are gone now.  Or maybe it was just that I was not living in mental chaos all the time.  Lately I feel as if I live in mental chaos, in this box where I just want to know what the fuck it is that I want out of life and I go for it.  But the times I’ve known what I want and gone for it have been monumental failures, so I have really almost given up trying.  Well, I don’t know about that, but I’ve not known exactly what I want for ages, and that has been a big part of the problem.  Recently, I have figured out exactly what it is that I want, but it is one of those things that requires others on board and I have not exactly figured out how to present these desires to the other parties involved.  The result is that I mope about wanting these things, wondering if they are the right things to want, waffling whether I actually do want them, then wondering again if I do in fact want them how to present these things to other involved parties.  It’s a conundrum, I can assure you.

As it is I just spin time, organizing my room, thinking about things I want to write, sitting at the computer and staring, trying to remember what it was I sat down for, then getting up and wandering over to my bed to stare at the wall, continuing in my humorless vein.  It’s a good time.  It’s such a good time I am going to do it again right now because I am tired.  Good night.