Monday, December 31, 2018


Another chapter in the "wait, but slavery ended, isn't racism over?"/"No. No, it is not." American saga...

In her research, she traces the decline of the supermarket in communities of color—specifically black communities—to the late-1960s, when unrest broke out in several major cities following Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination. As white flight to the suburbs accelerated, urban supermarkets closed, citing security and financial reasons.

It is an evergreen astonishment that their partisans take the GOP seriously (I typed partistans there, and perhaps could have just left that as is) - even as they absolutely refuse to take the implications of the GOP's policies seriously at all. "Gingrich confessed he’d forced the closing of the federal government partly because Bill Clinton had relegated him to a rear cabin" ... "Gingrich acknowledged that his pique at the seeming slight had prompted him to send Clinton a tougher spending bill. 'It’s petty,' he said, 'but I think it’s human.'"

... and that, little children, is how the Republicans piqued ALL of America's way to Hell. Thanks again, Ron - and thanks so much now, Don.

"The War of Two Peters"
Y'all. My decorum is tested.

Monday, December 17, 2018


It happens all the time in casual speech—saying carpe diem rings deeper and graver than “use time wisely.

I know I link The History Blog a lot, but here is a post resurrecting one of the old interests at my own blog, which I haven't touched on in a long time: jewelry design. Take a look at the simply stunning geometrical engraving on this remarkably preserved bulla. Exquisite.

Tom Williams' blog has a great discussion about authorial exposure, participation, and the many varieties of advice authors can find online, on his 12/14 post - this is one of those times I will say, "READ the comments!" (FWIW, I actually do get more engagement on my personal posts, but I think the past few years of caregiving and death have led me to tap into some thoughts and themes that resonate - and, given a lack of actually getting this blog OUT there, those posts are the ones that bring people to pipe up.)

Per usual for this year, I am running short on content but don't want to leave this post in Drafts any longer, so please enjoy these photos of December snow, decorations, and The Poobahs. My spirits of the season ...


Penelope side-eye is the BEST side-eye

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Thursday, December 13, 2018

Call Me Mueller

Guess who’s got the White House’s
Teeth all chatterin’ about
Flynn and Cohen and their doin’s,
Individual 1 and the im-puh-lications
Gentlemen sweatin’
It’s time across the board, with no doubt
Donny’s is like WOW!
Punchin’ like he is drunk,
Fingers all pointin’ him straight to hell.
Could be criminal.
Makes sense for a snitch to take him down POW.
Rocked the House
What is that sound?
Watch me drop, drop, drop him to the ground.
Wait for the four, drop to the floor,
Add up evidence to get the score.
I been the WITCH, yes I gave no drama,
Stealthy, intelligent Special Counsel.
Not the Clintons or the Obamas,
It’s that sexist racist, now gonna CALL ME MUELLER.
Shady politics, I gave no drama,
Stealthy intelligent Special Counsel.
Not the Clintons or the Obamas,
It’s that sexist racist who’s gonna call ...
    Me …

Monday, December 3, 2018


The older I get, the more interplanetary sciences strike chords with my faith. On the ancient waters we - and our planets - are made of.

Best. Advent. Caledar. Ever. Will you check back? I will! Stunning, stunning, stunning.

I have been a bit full of woe (when I've troubled to blog at all) this year, so how about an observation of what seems to be an uptick of heartening news in terms of our material history?

It feels like there are more stories of repatriation of artifacts - not just one behemoth, say, like The British Museum, investigating shady deals or sending cultural art and items home, but a wider movement. Take a look at just a few recent pages of The History Blog, and see how often looted and alien-"discovered" pieces are returning to their contexts. Or national treasures kept at home. These stories, along with rescues and restorations, are good for the soul and sometimes kind of fun.

Merry Christmas to all ... not everything is falling apart!

Edited to add this ... sometimes, we do have to let certain pieces of the past go. And that's okay too.

And, yes. The eagle-eared might catch A Certain Connection which is interesting, if only on a personal level.

Monday, November 12, 2018

Your wrist

That scene
in Pippin.
Where Catherine sings paeans
to the arch of his foot.

In high school, that was illuminating
and silly...
and I liked it and laughed at it,
though not because
I understood.

the picture of you
Your face is always visible from its place
but today
I saw only the line of your wrist
and for a moment
it was unfamiliar
but I stopped, I looked at it
and was reassured.

Your wrist is elegant. As are your fingers.
Long and lean, immaculate, powerful.

Your wrist.
I miss it.
It held me once.


Wednesday, November 7, 2018

I have eaten the plums

The sun is back out. America's midterm elections are over. My friend V ... well. Losing her is awful, it's cruel. But she is not hurting now. Doctors can't use her body to experiment now. And those who love her - I am humbled they embrace me. Her husband, her family, her beloved friends: beautiful, beautiful, wonderful people.

This time has been hard. Like so many families, the remains of our nuclear unit - just me, mom, and my brother now - endure terrible political strain in these times. But, just for this morning, it's virtual hugs and three courses of "I love you." Because these strains have everyday, real consequences - this has, in some ways, been even harder than watching my lifelong friend die. Or, perhaps, it only got in the way of comprehending and mourning. I only know this has been the hardest thing to bear, over this past week.

We are all enduring a confluence. My brother is traveling to the memorial of a friend of his, and beautiful V's will be remembered on Saturday. As her kids do this, my mom is now watching her own oldest friend in town "giving back", as some say in the South. It may be we all suffer the loss of our dear Deebo, my stepfather - and each of our dear friends.

The light of inspiration peeked out not too long ago - unsurprisingly, after The Conference, but also very much under the influence of other friendships. Leila, especially, uniquely lights my creative way. She and I have so much in common, but we write such different works, and about the time I did a recent beta-read for her, I also happened to find the ENDING for a short work we began an embarrassing number of years ago in our writing group. It's been drafted two different ways, I let it settle in a certain direction, and for now it is sitting quietly, resting, rising, awaiting both her feedback and my final attentions.

Writing. Feels. So. Good.

There truly is nothing else like writing.

And so, with voting done and the sun out and my family whole ... I open up the WIP, the big dog, the "real" work. The novel. Just open it. I shall scroll about in it, find something to alight upon, and read a little bit.

Research feels like a good way to go. I fear it may have to be, at long last, the pogrom. (Yes, now, of all moments.)

Sometimes, the way writing feels "good" is different from other times. It's not always pleasure.

Sometimes, it's memorial.

Saturday, November 3, 2018

Getting the hang of Thursdays

Publishing late because ... that's how writing (even a blog) goes at times like this ...

Before me lies a sea of irritations. The thing I see is that they all ebb and flow in three currents, and all of these currents sway and merge, and the three are related.

On Tuesday morning, one of my oldest friends died. She has been there for me in situations where no other fried, not even Mr. X, could stand behind me. She has been quietly present, she has been raucously beside me, she has been kind and crazy and tolerant and irrepressible. She died with a hundred health issues, a good husband, a heart of gold, still fizzing electrically even after, really, our girl was gone from us.

Yesterday, I donned mourning - for a girl who loved Hallowe'en, I put on my looks-like-a-comic-character-makeup, and changed the dress to black. It was a hard day, but leavened by good people all around me (it will never stop being a blessing, how overwhelmingly human my colleagues and employer are), a good meal with my mom, and trick-or-treaters.

Today was harder.

Reaching the point, by 2:30, where I could not comprehend that the day was moving so slowly, I could barely pick up another envelope to open it. It took me all day long to open the incoming pile. Something far beyond "fatigue" pressed down on me, and I succumbed, I let it press. Exhausting and torturous. And it's strange, because last night and the night before, I have slept. Going to bed pretty early, indeed, and not getting up at the crack of 5:40.

I was putting off calling one of my guys. I knew he wanted to put me on a new project, and at the same time I was fighting off some niggling persnicketude from our "Services" center, and - did I mention about that succumbing thing?

My boss needed me to set up a call, so I toddled to his office, and the few steps that took, the conversation with a human, woke me up a little bit. So I called the guy back, and ... it turns out that he's fighting some niggling persnicketude from our "Services" center.

And a month ago, I was fighting a very related form of? Niggling persnicketude from our "Services" center.

Is it weird, that talking with my frustrated guy out in Texas, telling him that this is an "opportunity" for Operations wasn't even me taking a bullet or making a joke?

There is a sea of irritations, and there are three currents, and the currents are swirling in niggling persnicketude. And I can, perhaps - at least learn enough about the niggles to begin to deal with them.

I was in the hospital with V and her husband W two and a half weeks ago, when it looked like she might be dying. That afternoon, they "saved her life." She was transferred to a new hospital after that, maybe-diagnosed and then not diagnosed with yet another shockingly rare and dangerously mortal disease. They found a surgical complication we knew was a problem was worse than previously known. More surgery. More life support.

Really, though, no more *life*.

On Tuesday barely after four, W called me and I caromed around my bedroom putting some clothes on my body and thinking what I would need at the hospital. I got there at five. And we sat. Watched the sun rise. Family and friends came.

It was the first I have been with V in too long. All these hospital visits; I have been a poor friend over the past year. And it is too late. Except to be there for her family, for W.

She died with music playing.

I still can't believe she is gone.

I still can't believe she is gone ...