Thursday, December 06, 2007

December Wishlist

I don't know many of you. Maybe, if you were all live pine needles  or carpeting the forests of the world , I'd know a smidgeon of one of you. Even with the assumption we've never met, I can still have a wish or thousand for you. 
I can wish that, if you have an addiction, you seek help and recovery from it before it destroys you or your co-dependents. 
If you have children who are in danger from guns, gangs, or poverty, that they survive long for a shot at a good life. 
There are a lot of gadgets that you don't need but might want, and there are handbags that will steal thousands of dollars from you. I wish that you don't get these things because they will diminish you one way or another in the long run.  
If you can't get to sleep at night, because of pain, guilt, worry, or self-pity, I wish you would be able to sleep as soon as your head hits your pillow. I wish you a "just right' pillow. 
If you are holding back, I wish you become a person who gives forth.  
If there is a committee meeting in your mind that is messing with your will, I hope you can kick the creeps out so that you can listen to the single, sure voice that is yours. If your true voice is distorted or mad, I wish that it would become clear, comforting, and aware of the truth. 
 Truth exists. It's easy to ignore because it can either be quite soft spoken or so intense that you may not care to acknowledge it, but truth  exists and loves to be discovered by you. 
I wish that you are able to understand the people, places and things around you and that you learn which of these is of most value to you; I wish too, that on more than just a few marvelous occasions, the people in your life understand you. 
If you are alone, I wish it to be your preference, and if you are trying to feel less alone, I hope you succeed. 
I wish that you enjoy having the nose you were born with, and that you and your body are on reasonably friendly terms. 
Maybe if I stop writing now, I'll be able to sleep; I'm rather tired. I wish you a good night's sleep.
Oh, of course, I wish that someday soon, (tomorrow!) that you are able to live in a  peaceful world. Good-night, stranger mine.

Saturday, December 01, 2007


So today  go car shopping with one of my two wimmen friends here in PC Bleach. We drive an hour to a cute country town that has a dealership with good ads in the local rag. I gets in a cream, Lincoln Town Car Executive Suite series or some damn thing . It's the most wonderful car I've ever even dreamed of driving let alone driven. Interior dove gray leather with tortoisehell dash doodads, a sound system that makes Jimmy Buffet sound ike poor dead Pavorotti, 20mpg's in town, $9,500 which I coulda gotten to $9000 because he started at $9,900, and 80,000 on it, which I own up to is a lot of miles. Kathy says she can see my head glowing as I maneuver this dreamboat (I know what that means, finally) out of a wildly crowded parking lot, even though the car is twice the size of the Cavalier 24Z I'm used to driving-WHICH IS THE WHOLE POINT. I don't want to drive a big car, but my Aged P can't bend his knees almost at all. He could slide into the back seat of this baby and his knees would barely have to creak. So I call derr Papa. NO!  In his best Christopher Walken voice he hoarsely shouts, YOU DON'T NEED A BIG CAR, YOU NEED A LITTLE CAR THAT GETS 75 MPG FOR CHRISSAKES, and I says, BUT I NEED THE ROOM FOR YOU AND I CAN MANAGE THE COST. And he says, NO! YOU CAN'T AND DON'T MAKE ME A FACTA IN THIS. I'M NOT A FACTA.  And I says well, then I might as well stick with the car I've got and you'll just have to bend your knees even though you can't, but of course he can't hear me he says and I hang up my friend's phone because I've lost another miniscule black cell fucking phone and she knows I'm upset and EMBARRASSED!

And my Dad and Brother P who I also live with don't think WE NEED A DOG either! But I do. I don't have anyone to sleep with. Do they understand this? Not is what I think.

So I get home and I'm gonna pout, you know, but Papa asks me if I've HAD ANYTHING TO EAT ALL DAY!  And I answer him POFUCKINGLITELY even though I'm thinking OF COURSE I KNOW PEOPLE NEED TO @##$$ EAT!

And then Brother R calls and needs my help immediately and begs and I cash a check for him and he tells me he knows a guy with the same kind of Lincoln with 212,000 miles on it and HE'S STILL DRIVING IT!

So then I'm back with my family house-mates (ha) making them turkey tetrazinni and I can't even stay mad enough not to make my father a hot toddy for his cold.

And then, I try to order Christmas cards from the Met for derr Walken Papa and they take on $20 bucks to the discounted la-di-da price for shipping and HANDLING! WHAT'S WITH HANDLING?  So I cancel and we will not have Childe Hassan Christmas cards from the Met, if you don't mind for CHRISSAKES! Sheesh!

Friday, November 23, 2007

Cultural Literacy

I taught special education in public and private U.S. schools for fifteen years and during that time probably gave fifteen hundred tests. A phrase I came across, again and again, was “cultural literacy.” There were, and are, facts, figures, fantasies, questioned on basic skills tests, i.e.; I.Q. tests, PSATs SATs, and even GREs exams for children and young adults. What do we mean by “the cradle of civilization,” Victorian society, and who were James Joyce, Horatio Alger, Daffy Duck, and Marie Curie? Who was Al Capone? These are the sorts of things we wish a college graduate to know, it seems. in addition to quantum physics or fluency in Arabic.

When I was a seventh grader in a parochial elementary school in suburban New Jersey, I took one of these tests, and my reading score was the same as a sophomore in college. I did not skip any grades. I had not been brought up traveling the world, and I certainly was no genius. But I grew up in an atmosphere of conversation about current events, fiction and non-fiction reading, and parental regard and encouragement. Wherever our interests lead us, within reasonable parameters, my mom and dad urged us (three brothers and myself) to journey.

Life magazine’s arrival by mail every week was an important happening in our household, possibly eclipsed by the monthly appearance of National Geographic. Ed Sullivan was “must see T.V.” and I’ll never forget my father’s laughter over Sid Ceasar and his Show of Shows. We had Rod Serling and we had the yearly showing of The Wizard of Oz and Mary Martin’s Peter Pan. There were also nights devoted to reading, homework, and or discussion, and everyone in the family, including my mother and father, were involved in these activities.

I’ve already written in The Linnet about my Nonnie, and her fabulous treasure trove of fairytales, nursery rhymes and songs, but there were also uncles, (Jerry was a soft-shoe dancer), aunts, cousins, my other grandparents, and my brothers, their friends, and of course my friends who shared what they knew in a mysterious carousel of knowledge. There was my ballet teacher. My father painted in oils. My mother took me to plays. Everyone, everyone read. And, yes, everyone talked about what they read.

Have I mentioned school yet? Not very much, have I? Hmmmm. Could it be cultural literacy, even then, had little to do with school and everything to do with family? The first volume of The Great English Poets didn’t sit among the picture books on my second grade classroom bookshelf. It sat in our living room. In a bookcase right next to the television.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

The Underclass Keeps it All Up

i'm not a sociologist, nor an anthropologist, nor a psychologist. I'm not an ologist of any kind. Just so you know.

What I am is fed up with sad. There is entirely too much sad and there are way too many addicts. Sadly. I remember dancing to records about going to San Francisco. Believing I would get out of the burbs one day and that I would at that point be able to join the singers, painters, lovers who were busy making the world hum. When I did get to Berkely, in the mid-seventies, I saw yuppies and drug addicts. Drank cappuchino and stepped around the meth freaks as they ranted. Where did all those drugs come from, anyway?

There were the strong, sexy sixties, with remarkably unified voices protesting racism, military industrial war-mongering, poverty, then the war ended in Vietnam, Watergate happened, and a whole bunch of drugs came into the country and blasted the living brains out of some brilliant heads.

The same people are poor. The same dealers rule the streets. The same wars are fought for profit and adventure, and the people who populate the underclass are stil stoned, or trying to get stoned, or in prison or hospitals because they got stoned or got caught (!) doing something stupid. I put that cute little parenthetical exclamation point there because that seems so silly to me. The people committing crimes are not very well hidden. How do they decide which ones to catch, say, on Thursday mornings?

I'm fed up with sad. One of my family members married a woman who is addicted to crack. She was clean when they met, but crack is very good at keeping the people down. The drug doesn't leave anybody who has had a fling with it alone for long, apparently. She will be going to jail soon. She should already be there, but her current legal status is as mysterious as is the fact that crack is there for her, right where she expects it to be, right where everyone in this city knows it is, any time she wants it. Why is that, I wonder? It's a strange reality to get a fix on, isn't it? The underclass has, and knows, it's place, and the other classes are just glad it all keeps working out.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007


About fifteen years ago, I started having strange sensations in my arms and legs, double vision, sundry weirdnesses. So, I went through a gazillion tests, mostly aimed at ruling out Multiple Sclerosis, ended up seeing a rheumotologist at Georgetown University Hospital in Washington, D. C. and he had no trouble at all diagnosing me with fibromyalgia. Well, that seemed rather a vague thing to me, and I was a busy teacher, and fed up with going to doctors for tests that were inconclusive, so I decided, "Oh, well!" and put the whole business in one of the junk drawers in my mind.

Then in 2000, I was diagnosed with heart disease, had open heart surgery and an endarectomy (spelled more or less correctly) and that became a prime time health concern. I eventually went on disability, in fact, because the root problem (tiny arteries) could not be surgically treated.

This past summer, my stomach made her debut as a leading player in health dramas. Again many tests, a cancer scare, and finally, I end up with a rheumotologist again! (Who happened to be black and I very nearly said, pleased and surprised, "Oh, wow, a black doctor in Panama City, Florida!") And lo, and behold, he diagnosed me, without hesitation, ordering blood tests, or any tests for that matter, with fibromyalgia and he said that I'd probably had it for a long time. Duh.

I said, "So it's a real thing?"
"It's real, he answered."
"You know, I've heard that before, but I honestly forgot."

He handed me a pamphlet, and it was all about me. I have heart disease, and I have fibromyalgia. That's it. I'm done. I know what is wrong, I can explain weird things about my body to myself or to anyone else who needs to know, and I can carry on. What a thing!

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Soul-Soothing Seaport

On Friday, October 5, a nurse told me over the phone that I did not have cancer. She gave me this news without shouting, She was casual, downright breezy when she informed me that "everything looks fine." What an odd thing. I've never been in a position to tell someone they did not have cancer, but knowing myself as I do, I imagine that if I were, I would be pretty damn excited when I delivered the news. Oh, well. We don't need nurses at the other end of the phone to share our joy, do we? But wouldn't it be a fine thing if they did?

So. Knowing I did not in fact have to face dealing with cancer, I decided I'd better do something about my dog-my heart, "Baby," (she came to me with the name) an impossibly sweet Maltese, had not been eating for a week. I would search for signs that my fourteen year old dog was just "off her food." Baby, too, did her best to deny the state of her affairs. She put on an eager show when it was time for a walk, our routine demonstrations of mutual love and friendship seemed almost normal on both our parts-I didn't let her know I was worried, and she tried to hide how badly she was feeling. We managed until I got the biopsy report, and then it seemed like my dog and I both knew it was time to pay the piper. Baby not eating was a clear, serious, extradordinary signal that all was not well with her health. So I took her to the vet that day. And later that day, because she had acute renal failure and wouldn't recover, I held her while she was euthanized.

If you love a pet, you know how I felt when she died. If you don't, or never have, you will not understand and there's simply nothing I can do about that. So be it.

A week later I took a short trip, by myself, to the small seaport town of Apalachacola. I stayed in an elegant Edwardian B & B for two nights and enjoyed the off-season ambiance and incredible October weather. The second afternoon I drove to St. George Island, across two fabulous bridges from Apalach, a drive covered in fifteen minutes, walked on the nearly empty beach on the Gulf of Mexico, and said good-by to my dog.

Seafood, antique shops, privately run bookstores, coffe houses, all these favorite things helped ease me into acceptance. Baby had driven from Maryland to Florida with me when I made the trip to try and get my sick mother's medications straightened out. She'd waited while I climbed in the window of a drunken brother's apartment so that I could see if he was still breathing, and when I opened the door for her, she insisted that he wake up and smile at us. A few years later, when I left my husband, Baby drove south with me again, and settled into our lives as care-givers of elderly parents. She was my assistant, providing the daily dose of comic relief.

Enough! Anyone reading this who understands, understands. Of course I was delighted to find out I didn't have cancer, although I still felt, and feel lousy, but it was almost unbearable to then hold my dog while she received her lethal injection. I am hoping life does not offer two such experiences in the same day again.

As far as the travel diary portion of this blog entry goes, Apalachicola is a gem, The Coombs House Inn a gracious, tasteful retreat, and there simply isn't weather any better than sunny October days on the Florida panhandle, If there is someone you need to say good-by to, or someone you need to share some loveliness with, I heartily recomment Apalachacola-home to the inventor of air-conditioning and 90% of the country's oysters-Florida

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Eve of a Biopsy

Eve of a Biopsy

Tomorrow morning I’m having a biopsy done. My uterine lining has thickened when it should have thinned. I’ve been feeling lousy for a couple of months, so something must be going on down there. I haven’t been privy to the information, however. A teenaged gyn is going to have to tell me. Odd, isn’t it? That so often we are the last to know exactly what is happening in our own bodies. There are ultra sound techs, radiologists, pathologists, nurses, and doctors who all get the news before we do. They’ll take a sample of the tissue tomorrow, but it will still be days before I know the result. Maybe another whole week will go by.

I wouldn’t mind waiting if it weren’t for the inevitable mind games. Because I haven’t been feeling well, I don’t tell myself, “Shoot, it won’t be anything.” I want there to be some information out of all of this-information that will lead to my feeling better.

I also say, “You know that this will at least mean a hysterectomy, so there will be _ _ _ _ _time out for surgery and recovery." Then, there is the, “Oh God, what if they want me to go through radiation and chemo, and my hair falls out and I’m sick all the time for months? In and out of various medical venues, shlepping around? Ycch.”

The fatalist in me gets some prime time, too. “You have cancer everywhere, dear, and will be dead in six weeks, tops.” If I follow that thought path for more than a few seconds, I can actually get cheerful about it. You know, thoughts of spending the money set aside for older age on a fabulous cruise and flamboyant living. That’s tricky, though. For that line of perusal to work, I have to be feeling good for the duration of the “living in the lap of luxury,” portion of life left to me. I want to be looking my best, too, as I cruise the Aegean or the Scandinavian fjords.

Okay, I think-I’ll just stock up on painkillers and symptom relievers so that I’ll feel fine while dying. Oh. Shit. I didn’t mean to actually write that. Silly me. Of course, it won’t come to that. Of course the biopsy will indicate an annoying course of life-saving measures that will assure me my old age allotment. Which is what we are supposed to want, right? Long life at all costs? At all costs? All costs?

Must I think that is what I want? Will the health police shackle me to an IV pole if I politely refuse to pursue the dream of a healthy, happy old age, via a miserable, indeterminate time of abominable, noxious, treatment? I don’t have children to worry about or worry. And honestly, I can’t love the people I love any more or in a better fashion than I already do, so I’ve clear-sailing, conscience-wise, as far as they go.

I wonder if the thoughts I’m having about it all are quite normal. My inclination is to think that people do think this way on the eve of a biopsy. Never mind how foolish I’ll feel when I get the news, as I surely will, “Oh, nothing to worry about-just a little this or that. Take two aspirin and see me again in three weeks, but please don’t call.”

If they say the other thing, will I have the courage to beg off treatment? Even if the odds are bad, I think we are all expected to say, “Yes, doctor. Do with me what you will.”
I might much rather say, “Right. I’ll just take a prescription or two, get them filled, and enjoy a wonderful change of season. Autumn can be so beautiful.”

I’m kind of curious about what might be beyond the veil of this life. I can’t conceive of emptiness, so I’m really not expecting it. I can’t imagine myself not being, so I’m not afraid of that. I’m dead certain that if we are all indeed going through some kind of preliminaries, the Main Event will be well-worth the training, the waiting, the practise, and that those flashes of brilliance we've all experienced, however briefly, are trailers for the brilliance that is to come.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

It's the stupidity, stupid!

I'm not talking politics. I'm talking politicians. Haven't they caught on that public figures are under 24/7 surveillance, so to speak? That they are a gazillion people out there just waiting to get "the scoop" on someone doing something? Did Bill Clinton think that La Monica would not talk? What woman that age (any age?) would not talk about being with the Prez? And even if Craig had not waved at an undercover agent, how did he know it wasn't Bob Woodward or someone much sleazier, journalism-wise, in the next stall? I don't care, and I'm not just saying that, what gets people off, unless it's violent, involves children, or animals, but I can't believe these people take such dumb chances, and that the revelations about them won't be instantly available. Well, I can believe it, but Jeez Louise!

Remember in Woody Allen's "Everything You Wanted to Know About Sex, and (or was it but?)  Were Afraid to Ask? There was a couple who couldn't do it, unless they were in a super-risky public place? Wasn't it the woman who had that particular hot button? Maybe that's the problem with these guys? Dunno. Whatdayathink?

Trust Me

Of course I parked on the opposite side of the hospital from where I needed to go. There are two of them in this town, and I’ve learned to factor in time for getting lost when I time my arrival for a test. I can’t keep the layouts straight, and I’m rather glad is hasn’t gotten to the point where I have mental blueprints of our local hospital designs in my memory bank. I don’t care to know my way around them. If I make it to sixty without becoming that familiar with them, I won’t complain.

An indoor mile or so later, I arrived where I was supposed to for a “solid phase gastric emptying study.” I showed my picture ID and insurance card to two window people then sat in a small waiting room. I had just enough time to write down the names and dosages of my meds, which I’d dumped in a tote before leaving my house. They always want a list of meds, and I always forget to write one out the night before. Well, I need to have some non-compliance. After all, I’ve conceded to the point where I keep a bag in my closet, packed with an extra toothbrush, pajama bottoms, etc., in case my heart goes wonky enough to need a sudden ER trip. I think that’s a fairly strong admission of guilt regarding my health.

Just as, my list dutifully finished, I was sneaking out of the waiting room to find a Ladies, a young man with remarkably red hair called my name. I followed him and he, Michael, let me use the lab restroom before beginning the test. Soon enough I was sitting where he told me to sit.

“Did you take a pregnancy test,”Michael asked.
“I don’t know. Don’t you? I went and got the lab work done that Dr. Evans ordered.”
“Did they do a pregnancy test?”
“Maybe. They took blood and urine, so they probably did.”
“I need to see documentation.”
“I don’t have any. They didn’t give me anything.”
“You could have asked them.” He looked upset.
“No one told me to ask and anyway I couldn’t possibly be pregnant.”
“I need documentation that you are not pregnant if you are under sixty.”
“Trust me, if there were any chance, I wouldn’t lie about it. I might even put the news on the front page of the Herald Tribune.”

I like red hair, and his was a beautiful sugar-maple-in-Vermont color, but I don’t envy redheads their complexions. His neck and face were getting blotchy from annoyance with me. A woman, my age, sitting on a stool at a long counter, turned to us.

“Let her sign the waiver, Michael. You won’t get in trouble. She’s not pregnant.”
“Yes. Let me sign the waiver. I’m quite sure I know the facts of life-it’ll be fine.”

The woman smirked and went back to her paperwork.

The unsmiling tech handed me the paper, which he had ready on his clipboard (I suspected I wasn’t the first woman to arrive for this test without proof that she wasn’t pregnant) and I signed, my conscience clear.

He pointed to a paper towel covering a lump that was sitting on a side table which was covered with more paper towels.

“Underneath this towel are some scrambled eggs, with just a tiny bit of nuclear material mixed in with them. You won’t even taste it. What we’ll do is, you’ll eat the eggs and then lie under a machine and we’ll film their progress through your system for ninety minutes. Now when you eat the eggs, please be careful that you don’t spill any on the table, the floor or your clothes, because then the radioactive material will get spilled, too. Uh, it's best if you lean right over the bowl while you're eating." Michael's smile flashed briefly. "Ready?”

“Yes. Sure.”

With that he quickly slid the table in front of me, waited while I covered myself with napkins as he directed, and whisked the paper towel off a little Styrofoam bowl. Michael disappeared as soon as he exposed the eggs. Salt and pepper packets sat next to the bowl. They glowed intensely yellow, but I ate them, without seasoning. After all, I wasn’t having a meal, really, was I?

Michael, somewhere out of sight, called out asking me if the eggs were gone, and when I shouted my assent, he came back and directd me to lie on a narrow table. He covered me with a thin blanket against the sixty-five degree room temperature and left me under the nuclear scanner for an hour and a half. Not a bad test, really. I dozed, and even had a radioactive dream.

Hopefully they’ll find that the eggs followed the usual routine in leaving my stomach, without being held up by a nasty obstruction, and I’ll be able to wait in peace two more weeks until they do the biopsy of my uterine lining. It’s gotten thick, you see, and it shouldn’t have. I’ve done with the child-bearing part of my life. Honest. I’m not pregnant.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Fashion Idiocy

I get Bazaar through a credit card reward program. I've resolved to make sure I get one of these fashion glossies every year because it's a chance for me to travel in outer space, cheaply.

One issue or so ago, Bazaar had Ann Hathaway on the cover. She was wearing a designer evening gown, I forget whose, with one of those new corset belts. They are about 12" wide, cinched tight, and decorated with little padlocks.( Jennifer Lopez wore one on the cover of a Fashion Rocks thing, only it looked siightly more plausible with her grey tank top and slinky black pants than tied around a ball gown.) I can't imagine why one would go around wearing padlocks. Someone did, however, and now they are de riguer for the "smart" set. Padlocks make me think of gym lockers, bicycles, suitcases before the war on terror, garage doors, or storage units. None of those things are glamorous. But hey, what do I know?

Anyway, Ms. Hathaway's cover shot had her dressed in an ensemble that cost over $28,000 dollars, without shoes, because they weren't shown, and didn't get credit. The cost of her outfit would support a family in Indonesia for generations to come, It would be more than enough for a second car, for a family that needs one; it is the average teacher salary in Savannah, Georgia for one year's work.

The clothes Ann wore ( I've been thinking about this enough to feel I should be on first name terms with the actress) weren't even costumes! She had on a dress and belt, and presumbly undewear and all, and the idea of the get up was that someone might want to buy that dress and belt to go to a party? A charity ball? What?

I think I may be turning into an anarchist. I have a friend who is one and I think he may have the right idea. Haute Coutoure is one of the reasons I know that the rich are different. If you have that much money to spend on an evening gown, and an ugly padlock belt, then you have too much money and need to get rid of some of it. Personally, I don't see why anyone needs more than say, $2,000,000, That amount should be enough, don't you think? Stash that cash in the bank, and it will make money for you. No worries. At least no big ones, regarding the mortgage and all. Then after the $2,000,000 mark is reached by an individual, yeah, one person per 2 mil-that's more than enough, that would be it. I can think of a lot of things to do with money besides letting people who will spend it on apparel with a vague reference to a chastity belt, or maybe a barn door, get their hands on it. Can't you?


Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Martin Heavisides has invited me to a game of revelation tag.

These are the rules: 1. The rules must be posted by each participant at the beginning of the post.
2. Each player posts 8 facts about himself/herself.
3. Tagged parties post their own 8 items in a blog, and post these rules.
4. At the end of the blog, each player or 'tagee' must post the names of eight people s/he is tagging in turn.
5. And inform said tagees by e-mail, telegraph wire or telepathy if blessed with such ability, but in any case inform them or they'll have trouble participating.

Here are my random facts:

My Catholic school didn't have speech therapists, and I had a bi-lateral list until I was 28, when a drama teacher traded me speech therapy for movement classes for his acting students. He taught me exactly where to put my tongue when I made certain sounds. I practised night and day and after three weeks the lisp was gone! Somewhere in Wyoming a TV station may still have a tape in which I lisp (earlier interview) when I first appear, and I don't when I'm interviewed live.

I remember walking around my family's new house when it was under construction and wondering how we were going to live without a roof. I was 2 and a half.

I'm much more gullible than I let on.

I've never been any good at sarcasm, and have only just learned not to be intimidated by those who are.

Eight, huh? When I auditioned for Juilliard, I slipped at the beginning of my solo and slid under the judge's table. i think that's why i got in. They remembered me.

i would like to fall in love again. No, I like to think I would like to fall in love again.

I stayed drunk the entire year of l981. I haven't had an alcoholic drink since january of l982, So it goes...

I never expected to become so fond of certain people who I know only through my computer. I'm a little uneasy that they'll disappear. I hope not.

i've tagged: Diana Ferraro, Marie Lynam Fitzpatrick, Becky Soto, Frank O'Connor, sj sumner, Mike Woof, Yvette Nmi Managhan

July 23, 2007 11:30 PM

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Stop Yelling at Me!

I am not going to accept responsibility for global warming, the war in Iraq, the corruption of our politicians, the poverty of 37% of American children, FEMA's response to Katrina, or any of the rest of the horrible things in the world that i hate. I will accept responsibility for voting according to my conscience, after trying to become educated through sources that I have been told throughout my life, maybe do, maybe don't tell me the truth.

For fifteen years I taught special education but ,all, I could do, on a daily basis, was my job. I could work ten hour days, love the kids, and do what I could get away with about teaching them things that would be useful to know, as opposed to things that would be on a test, and what I knew about solving problems. I couldn't overrule the school boards, build the children who were homeless, homes, or put their families back together. I couldn't even put people in my own family back together, once they had fallen apart.

Everywhere that I've lived as an adult, except for New York City and southern England, places that had realistic public transportation, I've always had a car. I've had to if I wanted to work, eat, live. I will buy a hybrid as soon as I can-but that might be tricky because I'm on disability for heart disease, which developed when I was teaching and may well have had something to do with frustration. There are many Americans on fixed incomes because they are sick or got old, who would also like to buy hybrids and live in solar heated homes.

i vote for people who say they are doing what they believe will help the environment, but I can't send money to every foundation that wants me to save the polar bears, as much as I'd like to. Or the wolves. I'd like to save them, too. But in defense, I did spend a year caring for my elderly mother during the last year of her life, and now I look after my father and my brother, who also has a serious health problem.

I do not spend hours writing to representatives, making phone calls or campaining for people who I think might do a better job running the country than the...crew running it now. I'm too busy trying to cope with doing the best I can with my family, myself, my neighbors, and yes, dammit, my art.

I don't feel like I got what I asked for, and I don't think I'm an Ugly American. Since reaching adulthood during the Vietnam War, no, since my teenage years during the Civil Rights movement, I've, with lapses certainly, done my best to make things right. So stop yelling at me for being responsible for the mess. I did not acquiesce to the current state of the world. i didn't. I never did. And now, I'll go check on my father.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Man of my Dreams

I have a new crush. Bigger than the ones I have for George Clooney, johnny Depp, and a mandolin player I met in Savannah. This crush is huge. The guy wears glasses, has grey hair, broad shoulders, dresses in good suits, and spits his words with courage and decisiveness. Yes, that's right. The man who used his MSNBC spot to ask, no, demand, that President Bush and Vice President Cheney search their souls for any remaining smidgens of decenecy and patriotism and resign from their offices.

Mr. Olbermann left movie stars and mandolin players in the dust. He's my new dreamboat, fantasy guy, companion for the proverbial desert island. His wife and kids, if he has them, (I'll google) need not worry, however. I've yet to stalk, write, call, or camp on the doorsteps of my other crushes during the course of my life. But, I gottatellya, his speech on July 3rd, during "Countdown" stirred my loins, put a gleam in my eyes, moved my heart to race, stopped, for a bit at least, the merry-go-round of my repetitious, disgusted, political thought-tape.
Bravo Mr. Olbermann. My heart is yours.

Saturday, June 30, 2007

New to me-"Religious" Massacre-20,000 dead

Yes. On the morning of July 22, 1209, FRENCH Catholic Crusaders murdered twenty thousand men, women and children. Through the stupidy of young Cathars who went out that morning to kill a few of the "Host" they spotted on the bridge to the city, the gate was left open and the Crusaders stormed the city of Beziers, a stronghold of the Cathar movement in Languedoc region of southeastern FRANCE. Pope Innocent lll called for this Crusade of French against French, because the Cathars were heretics. The mis-named Pope was quite sure that these heretics deserved to die. The nobility of northen France were happy to go to war, because winning meant gaining power in a region where they had none. I won't go into the whys and wherefores-anyone interested can look up this incident, and the twenty years of war that followed, or they might be interested in the Spanish Inquisition, rooted in this European Crusade and which rose from people being disagreeable in the extreme about matters of faith. I mention it here because a) religion drove the killing, b) the winners stood to gain power and wealth, c ) everyone involved was, by their reckoning, on the right side, and d) there's nothing new under the sun when it comes to atrocities committed in the name of god.
Bezier was decimated almost 800 years ago. Two car bombs were found in London yesterday. I imagine Pope's soldiers would think of me as a heretic. I know Islamic fundamentalists think my beliefs are those of an infidel. It's okay, because I know the truth. God's on my side.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

PC backlash

Hey, I know a lot of things went into la la land with PC stuff. The jokes about being politically correct were funny for awhile. I taught Kindergarten when we were going through the transition from Halloween parties to "Fall Festivals." Didn't make any difference, really. The kids still bought Halloween costumes, and I read my collection of whimsical, and even spooky, picture books. No worries.

Then it became Winter Break, and for most of December we were busy in the classroom doing crafts and studying, well, in a five-year old style all kinds of celebrations and customs that roughly coincided with Christmas. Didn't much matter. The children had a good time doing all of it, and the adults knew that the kids knew that whatever went on in their homes would be the real deal. Or whatever didn't go on in their homes.

But, you know, being politically correct had its beginnings in ugly stuff. Racial slurs. Religious bias. Bigotry and hate. No one expected mountains to move; mountains didn't move. But more books featured multiracial children in less stereotypic situations. Families in books were more diverse, more confused, more realistic, and multi-ethnic. Moms in the books went to work, and not just as teachers or nurses. Children needed these changes, and educators, most of us, welcomed them.

What's going on today? What is this thing about free speech meaning it's cool again to say any damn thing one pleases about whatever group of people that's caught the attention of the speaker? I'm confused. You know? If it's square to be PC, is it cool to verbally abuse anybody and everybody again? Isn't a racial slur still a racial slur, but it's okay because, "well, no one's going to call ME politically correct?" Humor doesn't have to be ugly. There are more problems with hate groups than ever, and you know what? That's still a bad thing in my book. But hey, I know I'm not the only one who feels that way? I don't want to gag anyone that wants to talk. But I'm not going to listen to them, white, black, male or female, if what they're doing is spouting something that is belligerant, abusive, and, well, stupid.

We're not there yet, you know. We are not on the other side of the struggle and in a place where so-called "jokes" don't offend, and further the hate. I live in the South-and my neighbors aren't the Huxtables.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Of course, the grocery bill is higher. Why is it not as clear to people who eat as people who buy that food costs more? I'm talking about intelligent, news-watching, Time magazine, aware of the war on the middle class family members looking at me-the shopper-with accusation. How can I spend that much on groceries? Am I spending it on groceries? Why, yes. Not lipstick. Not Mont Blanc pens. Oranges. Fresh vegetables. Meat!

It's time, you know, to put two and two together. Household budgets are stretched. We spend more on gas. Truckers spend a fortune on gas. Prices go up at Piggly Wiggly, Food Lion, Publix, you name it. There was a time when buying fresh, rather than frozen or canned, was something home-makers did because they cared about health and were willing to spend extra time preparing nutricious dinners. And keeping the fruit bowl full was a matter of course. We are, we middle class, are, returning to a day when Christmas stockings were full of oranges, because they were a luxury for all but the rich. We are getting there. No, we have gotten there. The news on CNN-you know, about the war in Iraq? About oil companies making profits and the price of a gallon of gas changing, often rising? About the agrinomics? They translate to higher prices for everything we stand on lines to pay for. Those spanking, clean, new supermarkets with enormous parking lots sell food. Survival. I may have to cut costs. Maybe I'll try a week of beans and rice, and see if I can save on the weekly food bill. Maybe that will bring some hard facts home to the folks eating the meals someone does the shopping for. Accusatory looks, indeed. it ain't me, baby. It's the 2007 American way.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Rant-What's with these acres of wasted indoor space?

I just caught an IBM commercial. Dad had a football game on. There are four suits, i think four, certainly no more than five, and I think I saw one small red-clothed doing-nothing table, in this HUGE space. A wall of windows climbing stories high, and I'm no good with judging space, but it looked like acres of immaculate, empty, fake marble,"area." I suppose the purpose of it is to walk through to get to the offices where people work in cublicles.

I mean, really. All that space needs to be heated, or cooled, cleaned, lighted. Materials go into building all that indoor emptiness, and it's everywhere-the inside empty space. Maybe out of the photo frame were groups of elevators, (there's a word for that but I forgot it) but they certainly weren't close by. Even here in PCB, the new medical center they built on the beach has wide, wide hallways with maybe a couple of people using them at a time. Every SINGLE elementary school has at least a dozen portable classrooms in this town-taking up grounds that were once used for play.

I remember when they built the new Juilliard at Lincoln Center. The dance department got two (beautiful) dance studios. The rest were leased to New York City Ballet to help pay for the building. They were supposed to be our studios, of course. And guess what? Acres of empty space for no practical reason at all. And guess what else? They built the practice rooms for the musicians WITHOUT SOUNDPROOFING. The pianists could hear the violins who could hear the trumpets, oh it was awful. They had to hang every little practice room with insulating curtains. Unbelievable.

Okay, the outside public space at Lincoln Center is cool. Day and night filled with people, a huge, cooling fountain, performance events all the time. (We even staged an anti-Viet Nam war protest after the students were killed at Kent State.)

No, what infuriates me is all this acreage devoted to what? Ego? Someday we'll run out of space. And fossil fuel. And people who can afford to live close enough to these enormous buildings to work there in little cubby holes.