Saturday, August 30, 2008

Found on FaceBook

I found this on April's facebook page.

I fell in love.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

The Bugs Are Back In Town

On Being Confined Indoors

What are you, oh most fearsome bug
that haunts my balcony?
You've terrorized my fearless cats
and scared the pants off me.

The noise produced by your hind legs
fills up the Southern sky.
Perhaps it's just your mating call
but I'm prepared to die.

Your wingspan rivals aer-o-planes -
you drone most dreadfully.
I've seen young field mice carried off
by smaller things than thee.

You've got to be four inches wide
and two more inches high.
I've never seen your kind before -
you'd make St Gratus cry.

Those pinchers that you wave around -
were those supposed to be -
or were they just gratuitous
when Satan set you free?

I've always felt that bugs had rights -
I wouldnt hurt a fly.
But then again I've never had
one stare me in the eye.

I'd catch you in a pickle jar -
I'd risk the devil's wrath
would "suicide by insect bite"
not be my epitaph.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

A poem FOR me!!!

What a way to start a morning!! Eratosphere has a Tribute to Critters thread and Donna, God love her, wrote one for me.

Our Mrs. Heidy-Halberstein
will save your ass or crack your spine.

She’s in your face or got your back,
protecting mice when cats attack.

Her strong positions, fast opined,
strike with force and charm combined.

She fans the flames then stirs the pot.
But that‘s okay, we like it hot!

Thanks, Donna. I needed that!!!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Words on War from Someone Other Than John McCain

We've all heard McCain speak on his war experiences - ad nauseum.

He walks, he talks, he postures and pontificates. He collects a tax-exampt $58,000 a year in disability money even though he's capable of doing all of those things and more because, his staff says, he is "technically disabled."

I'm sick of hearing John McCain talk about his heroism, (he got shot down - losing his 5th and final plane, for those of you who keep count of such things,) he spent half his life in the military ( he spent a grand total of about 20 hours in actual combat,) his grace under pressure, (he cracked after 5 days like a hard boiled egg on the edge of a counter top.)

How about a few words from a real hero?

Meet Ron Kovic - paralyzed from the chest down for the last 40 years from a wound received during his second tour in Viet Nam - listen to what he's got to say:

"I am the living death, the Memorial Day on wheels. I am your Yankee Doodle Dandy, your John Wayne come home, your Fourth of July firecracker exploding in the grave."

"We who have witnessed the obscenity of war and experienced its horror and terrible consequences have an obligation to rise above our pain and suffering and turn the tragedy of our lives into a triumph."

Now that's a man worthy of the title "veteran." People like John McCain dishonor him and every other veteran of Viet Nam or any other war every time they open their mouth and vomit forth pap and propaganda.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

McCain-Rich vs Obama-Rich

The candidates were recently asked what would be a "rich income" and Obama said $250,000 a year and McCain said five million dollars a year.

I think what the candidates have forgotten is that "rich" isn't always defined by a monetary scale.

In the early 70's I was a very young and very single mother - my son and I had a small, low income apartment in a not-so-good neighborhood. I had a 12 year old car with bad brakes and a faulty exhaust which a dear aunt had given to me. I slept on a mattress on the floor, not because mattresses on the floor were in vogue, but on a $3.00 an hour waitressing salary the cost of a real bed was impossible to justify. My son slept in a crib which was 25 years old. I rarely ate the day or two before payday - the money I made just didn't cover living expenses and food enough for both of us.

But, looking back, if someone asked me when I felt the richest and the most secure, I'd have to say that was the time. I was rich because I had a job I liked, I had a car that ran, I had a roof over my head and I had the best baby in the world. I had friends and I had family, I had my health and, most of all, I had hope for the future and boundless optimism.

People who are afraid of the future, people who are pessimistic, people who are suspicious, those people never have enough. Whether they make $30,000 a year or $250,000 a year or 5 million dollars a year - it is not going to be enough.

I don't necessarily think that money is the sole concern of the working class. It is to the extent that they sometimes think it's the answer to all their problems - and then they get more and they find that it's only the answer to some of their problems. More money might buy them a better house, but it won't make that house a happy one or a safe one.

I'll go out on a limb here and say that the very rich worry far more about money than the very poor do. When you're worried about survival everything else pales and disappears in comparision.

As for those in-between here are some of the things having more money won't do; Having money won't make you stop fearing that your son might end up fighting in a war no one believes in, it won't make the gas crisis go away, it won't make you stop fearing that you're going to someday be the victim of a crime, it won't make you trust the government or the politicians who run the government, it won't make you love your neighbor or make your neighbor love you, it won't make you healthy or intelligent or bright or beautiful.

Having money simply gives you more to lose and heightens your sense of insecurity. Hence, the 5 Million Dollar Candidate being so quick to suggest war. It is a get them before they get me mentality. The more you have, the more paranoid you become that someone is going to try to take it away.

If a politician could find a way to give us back our optimism and our hope, he'd be in like flint. I think Obama's trying - but we've become, as a nation and as individuals, much more jaded and fearful then we were when JFK was able to give us Camelot.

In the recent Saddleback forum one of the questions was "What would you do for the orphans?" I was appalled that neither candidate bothered to even touch on why we had orphans in the first place. Get rid of the wars, get rid of the diseases, get rid of the religious and political persecutions which kill parents around the world and you've gotten rid of the bulk of all orphans in the world today. It is a problem humanity has created. It is a problem humanity can eradicate. The question should not have been, "What can we do to care for the hundreds of thousands of orphans in the world today?" The question should have been, "What can we do to prevent the further orphaning of children today?" You cannot fix a situation if you do not eradicate the continuing cause.

It is far easier (and far less costly) to prevent a problem than it is to cure one. That goes for all problems, wars, energy costs, religious mistrust, racial hatred, health issues, enviornmental concerns - not just orphans. It's all a mess right now but it's not reached critical mass yet. It's a very full pot, granted, but adding to it by fear-mongering, war-mongering, painting visions of future doom, "talking tough" without being able to back it up, lying, story-telling and name-calling is not going to fix it - it is going to make it overflow and catch fire.

Taxes, at this point, are (or should be) immaterial. Nothing is free - everyone should be willing to pay a fair share of what's necessary. That goes for the rich as well as the not-so-rich. Make it proportionate and I don't think the poor man's going to object. Arguing over what constitutes "rich" isn't going to change anything. It's not just about dollars, it's also about sense.

Common sense.

Doesn't anyone have it anymore?

We wouldn't need nearly so many tax dollars if we didn't have so many unnecessary costs in the first place.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

A Modern Day Romulus and Remus

A newborn baby abandoned outdoors in winter by her 14-year-old mother was found safe in a dog pen with a mother dog and her brood of puppies near the city of La Plata, Argentine.

Farmer Fabio Anze found the naked baby girl on Thursday, being kept warm among his dog China's puppies. Anze called the police and the baby was taken to a hospital.

Egidio Melia, director of the Melchor Romero hospital, told television and newspaper reporters that the baby was just a few hours old when she was found, and was in good health although she had some bruises.

Nighttime temperatures are chilly but not freezing in the Southern Hemisphere winter in the rural area around La Plata, 40 miles (60 km) south of Buenos Aires.

Police said they had located the 14-year-old girl who gave birth to the baby outdoors during the night.

It was not clear whether the mother left her baby in the dog's pen or whether the dog found the baby outdoors and carried it in to join her puppies.

Insecticide and The Sandwich Generation

What a cruddy week. My mom's been in the hospital, my office has an infestation of gnatty little fruit flies and my boss tried to poison them and ended up poisoning me, instead.

I've been home sick with some sort of allergic reaction to the indiscriminate spraying of large cans of Raid in an enclosed office space where all of the windows and all of the duct work and all of the fresh air vents had been duct-taped shut prior to said spraying. The aforementioned Raid spraying was done in addition to the professional exterminator's spraying which had been done only hours before. This has happened not just once, mind you, but twice on different days. My throat hurts, I'm hoarse and it feels like an elephant has been sitting on my chest. Plus I can't get the smell of insecticide out of my nose and throat. I've been staying home for two reasons, 1) It hurts my throat to talk or swallow and 2) I'm afraid of what's still to come. The building maintenance supervisor (after drilling a hole in a wall and inserting a small scope, not unlike the one which a gastroentologist would use to ram down your throat and look into your stomach with) is talking about jackhammering the tub and cement flooring in order to reach what he describes as "Several feet of standing green water which is trapped beneath your bathroom in which we think the bugs are breeding." Many years ago two of my three children were stricken with Legionnaires Disease. I have not trusted any source of stagnant water, much less "several feet of standing green water" since then. It took forever to diagnosis, they very nearly died and even though they were fortunate enough to survive while many others did not they still suffered lingering effects for years afterwards.

My 85 year old mother has been hospitalized in Indiana for the last 10 days. What started out a half-treated UTI progressed into confusion, dehydration and an inability to ambulate. Considering she's lived alone since my aunt died several years ago, that's a problem. For now she's fully recovered from the UTI but she's still unable to walk or dress without assistance. My sister and I have had her transferred to a short term rehab facility - hoping she can get her strength back and return to her home. I'll most likely be going home in a week or so to help her get back on her feet and to assess the situation. Best case scenerio she'll be able to function with some daily visits from relatives, friends and whatever social agencies I can find. Worst case scenerio, she won't.

It's awful to get old in some cases. To be unable to care for oneself must be the worst of the worst. In my mother's case there's nothing medically wrong. A good bit of arthritis, a small touch of forgetfulness, a whole lot of sadness and anger at the world in general and her family in particular, but nothing threatening or fatal. Her heart is good, her lungs are good, her circulation is good, her overall physical health is excellent. Her mental well-being is another story. She just can't or won't get out of bed and care for herself anymore.

They say you're lucky to have your health when you reach a certain age but I suppose if you feel like you have nothing else it's nowhere near enough.

I have officially joined The Sandwich Generation.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Coincidence? You Decide!

A Blaine man was found dead five hours after his wife returned home from jail for attempting his murder.

Ya gotta love smallish town headlines.

Waiting For The Sun - Flash Prompting

Who Is This Coming?

It's almost six in the morning and it's still dark outside. She's nearly comatose, but not quite. She hears although she seldom speaks, she sees although she does not acknowledge, she thinks but she does not share her thoughts.

Mostly she just ignores the world around her. She's spent a long time, almost 86 years, in this world - she thinks that maybe she's ready to leave it behind. It's not what lies beyond life which frightens her - it's the act of leaving that she's still a bit uncomfortable with.

On the other hand, there's nothing holding her here. Everyone she knew once is gone. She's buried her mother and father, two good-for-nothing husbands, a son, a daughter, one tiny unborn grandchild and an untold number of friends and lesser family. She's outlived every one of them. They were weak, the whole lot of them - not one of them was as strong or as tenacious as she.

The thought makes her smile.

Suddenly she hopes there's an afterlife. God knows this one hasn't been all that good to her. But then again, maybe the next one won't be, either. She's always believed in both God and science and she knows that for every action there is a reaction. If there's a heaven then it follows that there's also a hell.

She quits smiling then and fumbles for the rosary that the nurses let her keep underneath her pillow. A little insurance praying never hurt anyone. Even though it's almost morning and shift change she's still tired and praying always puts her to back sleep.

She hopes that damn hospice woman doesn't show up today. All that talk about relaxing and closing her eyes and going towards the light makes her skin crawl. Oh sure, they mean well, but she wasn't born yesterday, you know. There's no long tunnel, no longed-for family waiting at the end, no golden light beckoning. She's seen enough of life to know that just as there's only darkness when you close your eyes there's also only darkness when you die.

By the third Hail Mary her mind begins to drift. For some reason, even thought she hasn’t thought about him in years, she remembers the man no one wanted her to love; the soldier she'd sneak out of the window to meet when her parents thought she was safely sleeping. She remembers the ring he gave her before he left for Normandy, the one she wore on a silver chain around her neck where her father wouldn't see it. She remembers the plans they had for when he returned. The ones where they were going to run away and be married and live happily ever after - just him and her and damn the differences in faith and family.

She smiles a sleepy girlish smile and suddenly her heart beats faster, her respirations increase. She drops the rosary and tries to sit up but the old familiar pain in her chest suddenly hurts too much - she thinks about ringing the bell for the nurse, she thinks about the soldier who never returned, she thinks about how easy it would be to let the pain consume her. She struggles to reach full consciousness and wonders if it's turned into morning yet.

She forces open her eyes and turns her head to look out the window. Ah, thank God, the sun's coming up, bright and beautiful as always - it's time, the day nurses will be here soon enough. She's made it through another night.

Thank God for the sun; she loves the sun - there's safety in the sun. Bad things only happen in the night, nothing bad ever happens when the sun is shining.

Mindful of the ache in her chest, she slowly raises her head to get a better look as the last few bits of sunrise break over the horizon. But wait - what's this? How strange. Is that a young man in an old fashioned uniform smiling at her, holding out his hand? It almost looks as though he's in the center of the sun, waiting just for her. How can this be? She thinks she might be dreaming. She forgets her pain and fearlessly struggles to a sitting position. What is this speck in the familiar morning brightness? What sort of man could stand in the hot hot heart of the golden orb? Could this be Him, coming out of the sun?

Friday, August 15, 2008

Incredible Video Cat + Crow

More Flash Fiction

There’s a child in the water – the greenish, yellowish, brackenish, and overwhelmingly pine scented water. He’s upside down, both feet in the air, with his broad baby shoulders wedged tight against the ridged sides of the deep metal wash bucket - almost as if he tried to crawl, headfirst, back into the soothing liquid heat of some warm primal birth canal.

But it’s cold. The dirty water’s cold. The baby’s cold. The room’s cold, the house is cold, everything’s cold. I’m cold. And it's all so quiet – except, of course, it isn’t. Everyone else’s slower sirens are still arriving outside and inside there’s a screaming mother and a cursing father and somewhere, in another room, there are children playing and a television set is blaring, incongruously tuned to Sesame Street.

Underneath the drunken father’s loudly offered explanation, the unintelligible high-pitched ramblings of the three small babbling brothers, and the mother’s hysterical and repetitious “Holy Mary, Madre de Dios,” I can hear the familiar voice of Oscar-the-Grouch, stuck right-side-up inside his own silver can, grousing at some unseen intruder.

It's the baby, it's just the baby that's so awfully quiet. It’s unusual for toddlers this size to be so quiet. Truthfully, I’m amazed by how still everything seems to be when, if fact, if I’d just quit thinking about how quiet he is, I’d realize that things are rapidly approaching unbearably noisy.

And so I do – and instantaneously I want everyone around me to shut-up. I want the mother to quit keening and the brothers to quit babbling and the father to sober up and quit yelling and I want someone to go into the other room and shut the goddamn television off and make that stupid whining Oscar just go the hell away. I want the sirens outside to stop sirening, I want my heart to quit pounding so loudly in my ears that I’m almost positive that I’m going to be sick, and, most of all, I want that god forsaken clean-footed baby to pull his big-old swollen infant head out of that carelessly abandoned bucket of last night’s dirty-assed Pine-Sol water and I want him to grin some crooked, wide-mouthed, 6-toothed, 13 month old grin and I want to hear him holler “Peek-a-boo” at all of us so that I don’t have to be the one to walk over there, yank him out and confirm what I goddamned well already know to be true.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Playing With Flash Fiction

I've been experimenting with "Flash."

Dangerously addictive stuff.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Humpty-Dumpty Elizabeth Edwards

I am so disgusted with John Edwards. Not angry, not disappointed, not surprised, not forgiving - just disgusted. And just a touch outraged.

I am disgusted for what he's done, not to the public, but to his family - more specifically, to his wife, Elizabeth. I am sorry she must face her betrayal in public. It's hard enough to face in private.

I was married to a man who cheated. In my particular case we were no longer married when I found out. We'd been separated for months by the time one of his friends let that particular cat out of the bag. We'd split up for various reasons, alcoholism, child abuse, physical and mental cruelty, lots of good reasons, but infidelity was not one of them.

I remember going home after hearing the news - and feeling numb and disbelieving. By then it's not that I didn't think him capable of such an act, it's just that I didn't believe myself capable of not knowing. I was not angry at him - I was angry at myself. I never said, "How could he?" Instead I asked myself over and over again, "How could you not know? How could you have been so trusting, so blind, so stupid?"

It's not just about the act itself. Sex is fairly cheap - and it can be (and often is) meaningless. What it ends up being about is betrayal. The betrayal of trust - the time stole from yourself and your children; the money spent on another woman that could have fed your children; the ordinary conversations he had with her that you were home alone starving for; the dinners eaten alone while you believed he was working overtime; the nights you stayed awake, waiting, until 2 or 3 in the morning, convinced that he'd been in an accident; the numerous nights you spent in some emergency room with a desperately ill child, frantically trying to reach his father and being unable to do so; the thought that everyone knew - except you, of course. And close on that thought, the thought that everyone either pitied you or was laughing at you - and had been for months, maybe even years.

I'm not sure which is worse - the pity or the laughter. No one ever sets out to be the object of pity or the butt of a joke. No one in their right mind wants to be either thing. Maybe it's worse for some of us than others - sometimes your pride is all you have left and when even that's taken away the despair that follows is without comparison. There's nothing left to hold onto. As the spine stiffens, the core cracks.

And in the end, it doesn't matter. You either survive or you don't. Most of us do. I'm sure Elizabeth with survive this - she's a strong woman that's survived much worse - her son's death at 16 and her own diagnosis of incurable breast cancer. The question is, however, why should she have to survive his mistake his failure?? Acts of God are simply that - acts of God. Children die for reasons unknown to man, people get cancer at random - God challenges us and we rise to meet the challenge. Man, however, has no such divine right - rgardless of how infallible or how above the law he may think he is.

Her ability to trust is ruined. There will always be some small part of herself that she'll never be able to give to anyone else ever again. She. like I, like every other individual, male or female, who's ever been betrayed by someone they loved, will go to her grave with the knowledge that love and trust are not synonymous, that they are two different things, and that you can never again think of one in tandem with the other.

No amount of excuse, no amount of I'm sorry will ever put those two things back together again.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Sleeping Cats Don't Lie much does big black kitty hate little black kitty? Maybe not so much after all. At least not so much when nobody's home. I came home unexpectedly quiet this afternoon - and caught them in the act!! Ah-Ha!!