Wednesday, March 30, 2011


I am REALLY getting sick of this random getting-logged-out-of-eBay-even-though-I-checked-the-"keep me logged in"-button business. And the random prompt for my password when I'm in the middle of things. And the REALLY random bizarre BS Blogger started pulling yesterday, which has gotten worse today. Good grief.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Oh Ow You Guys

Today's only search strings:

springtime bad headaches make me sick

what can i take for a headache insead of ibruprofin

I feel for y'all. And here's a way to avoid my pill-popping ways: ICE. As much of a fool for analgesics as I am, when I am at home and not at the mercy of office space, the single finest and FASTEST cure for a headache is to freeze it. Keeping a pint of fruit sorbet in the house is actually workable, but the best way to manage it is simple ice packs (use the bag of frozen peas or corn if you don't already have multiple ice packs - but buy at least two, so you can rotate them as one thaws out on your raging head). I've tried the gel masks you're supposed to refrigerate, and it's bearable but I find those uncomfortable - and, frankly, smelly.

And if your headaches are migraines, here is something you should know. IF you can catcth the incipient symptoms, it is actually possible to stop certain migraines dead in their tracks - no drugs, no weird spells, no bargains with the devil. Give yourself brain freeze. The nerve signals caused by THIS form of headache actually interrupt those of a newborn migraine, and short out the relays attempting to build a nasty network in your neurons. Brain freeze is simple, of course - get a Slurpee (a cure for so *much* on a hot summer day) - eat some ice cream fast ... keep a spoon in the freezer at all times, and put it against your soft palate when you feel the first pain.

For all I have become the stooge of the pills, I do know about non-drug methods of managing pain. I also know that, usually, they are FAR speedier in their effects, and vastly more satisfactory in producing results. I just got lazy somewhere along the line. And The Lolly has no thumbs; so she's rotten at taking care of me this way.

Monday, March 28, 2011

The Cocktail

My headaches haven't been as bad as they were in years past. The local honey, I do think, gets some credit for this ... but I realize, there is also a problem. A little over a year and a half ago, I hit the hospital thanks to one of my headaches. It was a reasearch trip - eliminate the worst, scan the headbone, scare the neighbors to death. Go home and sleep it off. The headache was, even for me, remarkable in its power, and that is clearly saying something; for those of you who've suffered this blog long, you know I'm able to manage levels of pain in my head most people would go mad enduring. For years, in fact, I didn't even bother with analgesics except very rarely. About seven years ago, though - the job was one of the worst of my life. This was the year I had a headache which continued, never stopping, but infinite in its variety - waking and sleeping - without relief for even a moment - for the course of over three months. Every day had its cresting bad hours, every night even unconscious, my brain was to one degree or other generating, and experiencing, its pain. The air in my building made me sick, and the nature of my position poisoned my head. I was, sincerely and literally, NEVER without pain during this period. And I think it was then I finally devised my cocktail. There were times I was desperate with the pain. I remember describing it to X - like millions of nanobots excavating my eyeballs from the inside, with millions of microscopic, cruel blades. I remember the night he and I went out with my mother, to move a refrigerator, when I had that level of a headache. I remember turning to my medicine cabinet. I would turn to my prescription. A very mild barbituate (I could take it in the daytime with no ill effects, fuzziness, nor fatigue): Phrenelin Forte. It was a very, very long time before I realized the reason I had sleep apnea so horribly, so terrifyingly, along with my headaches, was that this pill - the only thing that really worked for me - happened to come with the power to stop my breath. (Hey, and may I thank you *yet* again, Dr. W., you utter moron. Because it's not like my father DIED OF LUNG DISEASE - so it was a *great* idea you had, to give me a drug which "may cause severe breathing problems" ... Nice.) And so. Somehow, over the course of time, I began putting one aspirin, one acetaminaphen, and one ibuprofen together. After the headache a year and a half ago, when my mom, who'd been worrying and lecturing me about this "cocktail" for several years, importuned the ER doctor to tell me to stop using it - and he looked at me and said, "Does it work?" and then said, "Then take it," when I said yes ... "Or you can take four Advil at a time if that helps" - I won a vindication, and my cocktail became legitimate. And then it became two Ibu's and two Acet's, and maybe one aspirin for good measure. Then it became four Ibu's, and if that didn't work, within two hours I'd add two Acet's. And if that didn't help, at least one aspirin and one more Ibu before bedtime. Hey, I'm not drinking or something. I ... usually won't take four acetaminaphen, what with the stomach thing and all. It was ibuprofen the doc approved. So those have crept up in quantity. *** But my headaches ... are not as bad as they used to be. It doesn't hurt that my job is the best I have ever had, perhaps. It doesn't hurt that I'm comfortable in most ways. But it is unusual, for me to have a springtime without constant head pain, too. What *isn't* unusual, anymore, is for my go-everywhere bottle of meds - some of the ripoff-brand, caffeine-inclusive Faux-cedrin, some Ibu's, some Acet's, some aspirin ... and the last two or so, even, of the old Phrenelin Forte (because, yes, Virginia - there are headaches bad enough, you REALLY do not care if you wake up gasping for breath in the middle of the night) - to run out in weeks instead of months. It's never odd for me to find one of the types of pills in there has run out, and I have to take a fistful of the others instead. I remember my self of twenty years ago, who hardly bothered over headaches ... and I remember that year of the unremitting pain ... and I'm not an idiot. I wonder if it's not a disservice to my intestinal lining, to indulge quite as much acet as I do. I wonder if the pain would not be smarter, to just endure it. But the headaches are so much worse than they were twenty years ago. I think. I'd swear it, anyway, if someone judgy were asking me. And I haven't used the prescription in at least two years now, maybe three or even four. I know it's been a LONG time since that idiot quack doctor prescribed the things to me; by now the little lavendar capsules are more talisman than active ingredient anymore. I just know I get headaches, and I don't want to keep them. And you can't give them away. And really. It's not like I'm drinking or anything. And the ER doc said ...

Err(or), Um

I keep getting a network signon popping up, though closing it is having no effect on me. Why the heck is it coming up, though? Bleah.

I'd ask X, but he's unavailable. Bleah some more.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Kicked Out ... and Soldiering On

I should have gone to church this morning; not because it's an imperative unto itself, but because I needed it and felt and knew that - but I was feeling small and dirty and mean, and turned over in bed and would not go. It takes a bit to kick the church out of me. Having adopted the habit late (as a volunteer), it has an urgency youth's exposure had never made it. But I clung to a nasty temper, and laziness, and stuck out my lip and wouldn't do it. There is a certain stubborn influence, which is the cause of the worst of my temper, which feeds this petty arrogance. I couldn't meet this stubbornness without indulging in my own. And meeting it with conciliation hasn't been a working prospect.


I started off my day on Thursday, decided that challenges were what I needed. I dug in and I met them - "Bring it on," I actually said out loud to people - and beat them down ... and still watched the day explode. Friday was worse, but that was personal. And so I start this week, this stubborn week, which refuses to not come - inexorable - with heels dug in and jaw set, insistent on asserting myself. This week will not get the best of me. Neither will its pettiness and meanness. You hear? You will not get the best of me. I *am* The Best. Indivisible.

Saturday, March 26, 2011


So The Box came up on my Netflix DVD qeue this week, and I am watching it. Strange to realize fairly well into the movie that this guy who works at NASA, and his wife, live in Richmond. That's ... a bit of a commute, for a guy not making corporate executive wages. And in 1976 it was next to unheard of. I've known some who do it, but it's rare, and pretty unlikely for a guy who's portrayed as not making tons of scratch. Never mind the accents (not bad in Generic Southern Drawl terms, but certainly missing out on the distinctive local twangs that come with our drawls), which most southerners (and Englishmen, I suspect) learn to simply live with, if not successfully ignore, out of Hollywood. There were a couple of interesting CGI'd establishing shots of the city as it appeared 35 years ago; not bad. Some of the CGI on Frank Langella's face was unfortunate - not least the design itself, which went a little too far for belief, in service of a supposed creep-factor. At the end of the day, the film still plays like exactly what it is; an extended, but not exceptionally deepened or enriched, Twilight Zone (circa 1980s TZ at that) episode.

The WAN MEEL-YAN DOLLAR "prize" is still comedically little, even with the time period, and the dilemma never really plays. Without pressing the button, there's no film, so it's impossible to generate suspense over the non-question of whether it will be. So a huge swath of the film is expended on unecessary "buildup" - which isn't.

I'm enjoying it okay for the teleplay-level diversion, but it makes me sad Langella got into this thing - and even I can see what a waste of Cameron Diaz's smile this role was for her, dour as she's called upon to be in every single scene. Her husband seems about fourteen. It's not a really *bad* film (she says, having watched 56 minutes at this point), but ... I'm not laughing. I'm not crying. It isn't becoming a part of me here.

Though, to be fair - after the week I have had ... a movie would be hard put to be anything like satisfying for me.


The follow up to the bad day at work (as distinct from the other bad days, and the bad nights, all this week) is this little tidbit: It turns out that that audio conference call? The one that connected those of us who'd been booted off the video conference - but didn't connect us back to it?


We were heard by everyone still connected on the video bridge line. We just couldn't hear them.

Good thing I stuck with that joke about not having anything to say without an HR issue ... rather than saying anything ..,


This week just kept getting worse and worse, and didn't even improve once Friday night (should have) provided some relief,

Snow Tomorrow

I'm going to need a word with Punxsutawney Phil, it seems.


Friday, March 25, 2011


Where we love is home - home that our feet may leave, but not our hearts.
--Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr.

Hmm. True in its way, but such a tricky proposition.


Between the frustrations, distractions, unbelievable difficulties at work, worries, wounds, and stream of bad news this week, I've been a fully unpleasant person to be near.

There's always one who forgives and forgets. It's that forgetting part that seems to be key ... and people are excruciatingly cruel about withholding that from each other.

Dogs, though ... their way of living in a moment is to be admired.

I'm so fortunate I've got my Lolly. Even if having anything else seems impossible: she is awful good.

That girl might get to hop up with me tonight. She's been wanting on the bed again lately, after a weird period of months she couldn't stand getting up there.

She'll probably curl up a while with me this time. Just earlier, I could feel the warmth of her tungsten head, her big old Volvo-head, pushed against my foot. Sid's an excellent lying-at-your-feet-just-being-there dog.

She's also not half bad lying at the foot of the passenger side of the bed. Kind of crooked up behind my knees.


X Post Facto

My strange existence online, being one of those weird old people who still believes in privacy - and wants it, or at least believes in controlling my electronic identity pretty strictly, is something I share in common with X. There's probably an extent to which I learned it from him, as much as growing more crotchety and indulging the privileged pomposity that comes with age.

And ... the more and more I read, the more and more I am glad I *am* as old as I am, and have been able, at least somewhat, to manage this for myself.

I was very slow to come to Facebook, and when I did, I was very quick to leave again. For the life of me, the entertainment value of flinging a few colored pixels at a "friend" I neither see, speak to, nor even recall the existence of outside my Wall is utterly lost on me. I find the byzantine connectivity of Facebook intensely intrusive, and bafflingly unappealing. The content, such as it is (and there is not much) is stutifyingly drab and uninteresting, the sort of "look at my vacation pictures" self-indulgence once considered to be the height of boring/boorish behavior when sociability involved interaction in the first person, verbal conversation often extending to actual *minutes* in duration (!) with just one other person, and possibly interesting (sometimes good) food.

The point, finally, was impenetrable to me. With those people I was interested in, and friended, I felt no actual interplay on FB. I *have* lost some of them, losing my profile, but some of those had my email, and we don't seem to talk - so priorities prioritize, and decisions sort of don't get made. The little actual writing people do on FB seemed to me rarely to approximate anything I would or could call communication, mostly just unilateral comments. Of the automation of interests, turning activity or fascination into insubstantial algorithms: the less said the better.

Finally, the touchy-feely-ness involved neither touching nor feeling, nor even the most basic reaching out between people. I enjoy quite enough inability to touch or interact with some of the people I love most. It's been an endless source of joy for me and X, the cause of a veritable font of difficulty for us, loving, but being denied ... I really don't need to synthesize more of that.

So. When the wrong person tried to friend me - rather than go through the process of ignoring or rejecting them - I shut down my account. I've never missed it, and wasn't interested in my profile even when I had it. It seems to me there's been zero net loss in this decision. And I am acutely apt at identifying my losses.

Of course, some say an author needs to be on FB, and Twitter, and I can't deny the possibility EVER again amen. Yet I do find myself seduced by the hope that the nature of my genre, historical fiction, doesn't lend itself to 140-character bursts of chatter in the ether, nor can it be much served by flung girdles (... "what the ... ?"), livestock whose invisible cookie poops will feed my personal data to advertisers and political campaigns, or "dude such a rotten day" scrawled on an electronic wall. I like to think fans of WRITING prefer actual reading to snippets and miniature animations, detachedly judging the hotness of my friends and family, or wondering why I wore that particular sweater.

I'm not much a traditionalist, but I'm ungraciously old-fashioned, in my way.

So today when I read YET another article about the way the act of opening an internet browser (and - for the record - the link you are about to see actually is *not* all about Facebook, to be fair ... though FB beats at the heart of any and every approach to the subject of contemporary privacy - and will be hollered about sooner or later in any dscussion thereof) is an act of public exposure on hundreds of invisible levels, I gawped; I gaped at people's stupidity, and marketers' duplicitous avarice; I shook my head at Kids Today; and I thought about how blessed I feel to have grown up in a world where I was invisible.

And then I took a link, and opted out of one of the most heinously exploitive data-collection initiatives, perhaps, in the history of the world. I felt dirty just going to the site. Apparently, however, the opt-out is legitimate and effective (I found it at another of those sites prone to hollering about FB, at which it had been used and subsequently determined kosher). So please follow that last link. If you followed the "invisible" one, I'd hope you're eager to do so. And X, this one is on me, for you. Heh.

Thursday, March 24, 2011


At this time of year, my wee slew of PBS channels offer lots of nice, juicy programming about the Holy Land, the history of Christianity, European studies of the Church, and Jesus. I love these things; Biblical archaeology, even at its most tenuous, makes such peaceful entertainment. Right now, I'm enjoying "Jerusalem: Center of the World" for nothing even remotely like the first time, and almost glad "Big Bang Theory" got bumped by basketball. Just the silly plinkering harp music is the ticket right now.

There's little about this stuff that engages me spiritually (if anything at all). But it reminds me of when I was little, and the Old Testament was the most fascinating series of stories in the whole world.

Plus, they show so much of that antiquities-montage stuff I enjoy so much, with arts and artifacts punctuated by anachronistic imagery, sometimes recreations (LOVE those), and the most wonderfully incongruous people and professors chosen to be the talking heads. Yummy.

Way Less Discouraging

And also short and sweet.

Very sweet.



It takes a prodigious day to kick me in the stomach, but this week has been bent on delivering, it seems. One personal frustration, a maternal owie ... and today. Which started off as a challenge and ended as a fiasco, once out of my hands - but still with me in the sights, to take the focus of the "I don't think we should be having these fire drills" reaction as the whole thing fell apart.

At first, a day like today might have provided me the opportunity to distract myself from other thoughts. There was a long-planned event in the offing, and that always gives rise to stuff to do on-the-day. Frustrations, sure, but at dress-rehearsal rush to a performance levels of stress.

Then we found out that someone hadn't booked the room they said we had. And he was out today. Hmmm. Scramble-scramble: call the local Guy Who Helps, he's away. Ping the party planner, tell her the rooms we've been asking for booking confirmations on since MARCH 15 ... aren't booked. Call the backup guy. Call Guy Who Helps again, get confirmation he's never heard of our event, which exactly figures. Stop pestering him and actually do something.

Call the local techies. Call the person who DOES have the room reserved, who's going to get a surprise when a virtual meeting suddenly starts to play on the system this afternoon. He's not there.

Call some more local people, figure out the room thing.

Call the guy with the reservation again, and - miracle - feel surprise and joy when he answers. "And I would not have picked up if it wasn't you."

(Look back on THAT sentence as a key victory for the day, from the comfort of 5:50 p.m., and dog-walking pants, and dinner on the stove. Shew.)


Get the room. Send updates to local techies and main-backup-guy: we can do this - so do it now. Get set to go play Julie McCoy Your Extremely Apologetic Cruise Director at the people actually in the room - get sidetracked talking to the in-house executive and two managers, explaining that there are some communication problems between the setup procedure for our division versus the setup procedure for the entire entity, so we have technology but we almost didn't have ROOMS. Field quick call from Guy Who Helps, to be told he's been told he is no longer supposed to support our division. Be really rude to him, as management is all at my cube waiting to hear what the heck is going on.

Go play Julie McCoy Your Extremely Apologetic Cruise Director. Win a new point for the team, and go upstairs triumphant.

Make a call to backup guy: joyously confirm tech is a "go". Conference on with local person #1 and have a preparatory confab/confirmation session. Start to feel confident. Let Backup guy go, conference on with local #1 and bring on local #2 for extra confirmations and insight into actual operations. Feel way more confident. Exchange cell numbers.

Get call from Guy Who Can't Help, offering to help. Go downstairs and work the tech with him, all of which goes okay.

Go upstairs for no-lunch to be available by the phone until time to go downstairs.

Go downstairs. Watch the event begin. Notice the same glitches the central command says something about. Hear them say "we're going to disconnect and restart" ..

... and basically witness the complete disintegration of three months of event planning.

We disbanded around half an hour in, and attempted to dial in on the audio line.

Which wasn't connected to the main event.

We laughed together. When someone said, "we must have something to say," I responded, "Not without an HR issue" - and got a pretty good laugh out of that.

It was over, but not in the sense of actual completion. Le Sigh.

I hope tomorrow will be a little kinder.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011


The other day, straining against the weight of the earth and the resistance of that one longer root, transplanting that camellia, I thought I was going to be sore in the morning. The bod was kind, and gave that a good miss.

Today, though, I feel another kind of sore. I'm headachey and tired at bone-depth. I keep scolding or just rebuffing Sid for things that aren't her fault, or for being scared of the storm I don't hear until too late. I mean - I'm a woman gruffly "NO"-ing at her because I'm not paying attention (especially to her), when she is scared and has had my love and assurance so abundantly so far this week.

Poor kid. (Then when I realize I've messed up, she's quite right to be like, "Where were you ten minutes ago, Guilty Nice Person?")

Geezit, and it's ten-twenty. What have I done with today? Well, I haven't stamped nor even signed that query I printed to send to the UK last night.

It must be time to go to bed.

Prayer for My Mom

Please say 'em if you got 'em.

Thank you ...

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Sense(less) Memory

I had the strongest taste-recollection of London broil, driving home today. London broil is, for some reason, a meal I associate very strongly with X. I don't really know why; though I know he likes it, I can't bring to mind a specific night when we ate it together. I'd eaten it before I knew him, and have since he has lived so far away. Yet it *will* insist on puppydogging him. The memory is twinned to him, so beyond the simple pleasantness of a food I enjoy, it resonates ... and I really don't think there's any particular reason why.

I know he had steak the night my father died. I was hardly able to eat, and when I did venture a bite of his meal, I bit my tongue so hard another bite was not forthcoming, and I bled for rather a long time from the error. Like most things that day, that week, it left my stomach cramped and still eager to empty itself angrily.

That wasn't London broil.

So why the memory at all, particularly ... and why the heck is it glued to X?

Brains are so bloody weird.

Monday, March 21, 2011


After a really acute (if short) stomach bug last night, then digging up chunks of my yard today, dragging significant portions of it around, shoveling other chunks of it back where it was, around the roots of that vagrant camellia bush of mine, then finally garden-raking the last little mounds of earth in for a finisher ...

... ohhh what I would give for someone to rub my back with Myoflex.

While The Lolly might be NICE enough to do it, I'm game for neither her smooching-application of the cure, nor her giant hard toenails either.

There are definitely times being alone just sucks. Tylenol is not the same.

Alpha, Day, Omega

This morning, with the summons, I didn't have to report until 9:30. Since I'm usually at my office by 7:30, and the drive today would have been less than half as far, I had two hours to sleep in.

Of course, I slept rather poorly, but still it was pleasant to relax, at least.

It stayed dark in the house this morning. I was surprised when I woke at 7:30 to a clap of thunder, and it was not really light. The hail began very quickly; small and tinny-sounding hail, but there is no mistaking the sound.

Lolly came over, and I immediately invited her up on the bed. She doesn't get up with me very much at all anymore; perhaps a function of age. Perhaps partly owing to that blanket she loves so much ... or maybe she just feels safe, and prefers to protect *me* these days. But today she needed me, and was pleased to lie down with me on the bed. She had to settle a couple of times; ending up bum-to-my-belly, so her head was guarding the direction mine wasn't.

I don't have to do much soothing with Sidney anymore. When she and I were new, I often had to put conviction into her calming. "It will be okay, you are okay ..." But since we got new windows, since she grew to trust me, since she's just grown a bit older and less fearful, all she needs is a hand on her back somewhere.

And so I lay today, an arm flung up along her side, her belly under my wrist, my fingers on her ruff. It's a very fine thing to lie with a good dog, and feel her fearful cry-breaths turning into calm ones ... into rasping snores ... into peace ... into the sleep-sounds of dreams. She was gently bunny-kicking me in the soft spots, chasing rabbits in her oblivion. The warmth of her fur on the inside of my arm.

By the time it was time to actually get up (from 7:30 or so, we had a half an hour - and even then, getting up and getting ready were pretty leisurely paced), the rain had followed the hail, had died down itself, and the sky - no lighter - was at least emptier. When we walked, our heads, if not our feet, stayed dry.

By midday, it was bright and sunny, one of those days when "storm" becomes an unrecognizeable concept.

For a while.

Just after eight (regardless of what Blogger quasi-"thinks", it is now 8:49), the sound came in, and I went out. Sat on the back stoop in air grown cool again, and listened to the wind, the thunder. Huge swaths of the sky, just lighting up. The entire north, horizon-wide. Not as loud as the clap this morning. But, gently, inexorable.

I thought about the camellia I transplanted today (almost able to rip it out of the ground without a shovel). I never looked over at it, in the growing dark. I just looked up.

And now I sit, Siddy back up next to me. This time on the couch, up against me. Sitting up some, but more and more just lying against my leg. Warm, that fur. Sweetly stinky - it's been weeks now since she had that bath. And not trembling. Just needing me. As the day's omega storm moves southward ... and away, along with the day.


One of my family happens to be a Japanese woman, and she has sent an email to let people know how her family are doing. She puts it so simply - that human self-monitoring and compassionate behavior are making so much of a difference. Though they are not in the north, her parents and other relations have stories, and there are so many they know who have been less fortunate, and who have not yet been contacted.

She makes an interesting point about the news - that Japanese media do not want to scare people, so their focus is on providing information. That deliberate clarity I was finding so important on NHK. There is much to be said for a journalist who is bearing up and holding on along with everyone else.

My prayers remain in Japan, as so many of us have been. My support needs to go in other, more concrete - and organized - ways, too. Time to go to the Red Cross, I think.

Well Alrighty Then

I'd been called for jury duty this morning, and was to report in at 9:30 for selection, and be ready for a 5-day trial. Apparently, there was a plea bargain or something; I just got the call that I have been de-called. So on to work I go.

It's funny, the single commonest response to this news has been the many ways to get out of jury duty. I know that's the cliche' and nobody's ever supposed to desire to do their civic duty ... but, honestly, for the life of me, I really do not understand that. I guess it's that I don't understand what the sacrifice is supposed to be for these people, who so devoutly feel they mustn't be prevailed upon for this. Boredom is really the only thing I can come up with, and the inconvenience to a job. But ... that, I guess, doesn't hold water, at least not with me. Maybe it's because I'm "just a secretary" (yeah, and you can read that with a fair measure of morally superior facetiousness in this case, I guess. Maybe the fact that I don't define myself by the means to my paycheck makes me just the sort of lemming fit for the stultifying degredation of serving my community. Eh, who knows.

Either way, instead of getting in my car right now with a slim purse and a fat book, I'm about to pack up my laptop, my purse, my smallish tote of work goods and extras, and lug my way into the office. Two hours of jury duty for my timecard - and all of that served in my own home. An irony, that the one who wouldn't mind serving gets the free pass all the disgruntled types get so het about ... ?

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Search Me

My post today on NHK news has become one of the top hits for searching the phrase "Bearing up, holding on" and I am actually a bit embarrassed at that ... There's little someone as ingorant and remote as I can say which is of any relevance to Japan right now. For those who end up here, please accept my apologies. However, here is a link for Japan 7 Days which might be more worthwhile for you. I could not find the actual video, unfortunately. (So my first post's first sentence, advising finding NHK online won't get you to Japan 7 Days, though there is a lot of coverage other than that show.)

Super Moon

It's a beautiful night to go outside and look at the closest-orbiting full moon you will see for 18 years. So go and look at it.

Honey Therapy

I have heard for years that consumption of locally-made honey can be very good for allergy symptoms. I never had allergy problems when I was a kid - but when I moved away for some years, going to college in the midwest, and marrying a man there, I learned that coming home could trigger the problems. That was more than fifteen years ago, but to this day allergy season (which is to say - all seasons) is hard on me. Even so, I've somehow never gotten around to the honey idea.

Yesterday, my New Best Friend at work squired me out on a field trip to find local honey. She's new in from California, and clearly more proactive about her allergies than I have been. We went to Lavendar Fields to partake of the honey - and other goodies, too.

I hadn't counted on the scent memory; but it gave me a wonderful feeling. Opening the door to the shop at the farm, the beautiful and overwhelming scent of lavendar envelops you. I haven't smelled anything like it since visiting my brother's family; simply beautiful.

It's nice to know such beautiful lavendar is available here - and the local honey.

It's also nice to link up with this sense-memory, and smile that I have bought my ticket to go see my family again.

(The third niceness? I haven't sneezed one single time today - and I feel, nasally, perfectly fine. Huh ...)

NHK News

If you have the access (and, being online, you do), NHK News is the best outlet by a huge margin for clear and straightforward coverage of the developments following Japan's earthquake and tsunami. It has been the only source I've seen that explained coherently exactly the geography and consequences of the Daichi and Daini nuclear facilities' failures in Fukushima Prefecture - and, of course, being domestic to the events, coverage is extremely deep, and affecting. NHK doesn't have competing priorities right now; their coverage is deliberate without being completely detached, it isn't hurried, yet it is immediate in the best sense of the term. NHK is also coming to me through one of the three channels provided to me by my region's outlets for public broadcasting. One more reason to preserve this institution (which also provides a conduit to BBC News, feeds from Belgium and France - and, yes, even Al Jazeera in English ... which I can't bring myself to watch, but which I actually am glad is made available to me - it's something I might learn from, if I weren't quite so skittish about the source itself).

NHK has brought me, for a couple years now, cultural programming, and this PBS station has included much Japanese scripted entertainment as well, and this past week it has provided genuinely impressive reporting on the ten thousand tragedies of this catastrophe. Right now, I'm watching "Japan, Seven Days". "Bearing up ... holding on: we'll see you again," says the remarkable woman so professionally, but personally, bringing me to tears right now.

Human beings are wondrous in their beauty sometimes.

Friday, March 18, 2011


A perfectly astounding amount of editorializing and even reporting has been done on the topic of Quantitative Easing, the boosting given to the economy by Ben Bernanke's policy. Even as much reading as I have given it over many months, though, it's not the most transparent topic.

So please enjoy this, one of the best articles I have seen on the subject, summing up the cruise so far, and also offering something rather positive to boot. Never the worst thing in an economy like this, when financial-disaster-porn becomes so wildly popular in the media.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

I Also Signed

... my state tax return and two hard copy queries. Got the bills paid and the pile o' junk cleared and reorganized (all, of course, into new piles - but significant portions of that are now piles in the recycling bin). Today has been a day of accomplishment.

Got a great deal done at work, my organization has left little wandering around loose on the desk, and those red PENDING folders of mine are very much tamed. Did some orders, enjoyed the space, kept people happy. Even myself.

Little time left before bed, but I am still enjoying myself.

And still looking at that query sheet and wishing the agents who specify response times EVER actually held to them. I hate not getting my rejections, it's irritating.

I've Signed

... have you?

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Abbreviated Day

Today was the car's sixty thousand mile/x-number-of-years-old (it actually only has a bit over 53K, you see) checkup, so I got to get up just a little later than usual, and used the dealership's courtesy van for a somewhat shorter workday. I found out belatedly I could probably have slept in a good deal longer, as the van doesn't head out toward my office until 9:30 in the morning (I am usually in somewhat before 7:30 a.m.): it took me until ten to be in, logged on, and ready to go.

Only to pick up voicemail and learn I report for jury duty on Monday morning. Fabulous (and it could be for five days).

So - ugh - but, hey, a five hour workday. Right? Strangely, the day DRAGGED endlessly - and I was exhausted through most of it to boot. The problem was, I started off with early motion sickness. *Bleah*

Also sort of strangely, for a five-hour day, I actually got a huge amount done. Specifically, I (literally) got a lot off the desk. Specifically, thirteen items of equipment from another department's completed contract, for which the hired guns are sending back their stuff now that they are done.

The fact that, of thirteen (and some miscellaneous change) big packages taking up space in my not-expansive cubicle, eight of them were from this other group was a bit on my nerves, since they've had an admin now for a few months. But they'd been directed to me, so I logged and labeled it all, and lived with the insentient roomies for varying lengths of time.

And today ... they all left me.

That was one of the shorter jobs of work off my plate today, and I got substantially more than this taken care of (you should see my beautiful, neat file drawer ...), but nothing felt BETTER than that did. People were coming by my cubicle and gawking - "hey, there's a desk in there!" Hee.

Still, by four o'clock: time to pack up again and go meet the van. Time to slam a cocktail of headache meds (how I love the spring ...) and go get carsick once again.

Which clung to me a bit harder, for the afternoon run.

Maybe that several-hundred-dollar car bill didn't help. But I did come home still feeling woozy and exhausted. I felt pretty sick, actually, and am not really great at the moment. Sometimes carsick-plus-headache just takes up residence.

The thing about a five hour workday is that there usually isn't any less to take CARE of during it. And with sitting in a cushy (hah) service department waiting room, and nausea bookending the occasion ... well, shall we say, I've spent more enjoyable time off. And, really, with all the busy-ness all over town, the abbreviation can end up not really shortening anything (nor reducing one's general frantic levels).

So I'm about to go up somewhat early, and try for a new night's sleep.

At least I can feel glad I got lots done.

A prayer for Beloved Ex, who works for a state, the which's budget is coming in today.

And a quiet putter for me, unto bedtime.

Sunday, March 13, 2011


I'm an absolutely horrible repeater of things. I tell the same news or story to the same person twice, I come up with the same points quasi-spontaneously over and over again, my mind has its grooves and habits. We all do, but with me I think the tendency is particular, and it helps me as a writer, but it can make me insufferable as a conversationalist. I know it, but I've never concentrated hard enough to cure it.

One thing this recycling spin does is to bring ideas to greater clarity.

A great number of the posts here started life as conversations, or go on to become conversations. Probably the disproportionate contributor is X. We were talking the other day about how the concept of album-rock, something so common as to actually be a part of our social lives growing up (I remember going over to my friend P's to listen to his records, and often to listen to him playing album tracks on his guitar ... "woo Stairway!" ... or to M's to sit in his mother-in-law's apartment pad with the homemade party light, set to pulse *to the music*) but now now that format is clung to mainly by prog rock and less mainstream genre music these days. CDs are losing supremacy (NPR says the digital format actually sowed the seeds of its own demise, and that does have an interesting sense to it, yeah), and people pick and choose their tracks.

I don't think the world is becoming greatest-hits limited necessarily, but the harvest is a lot less even now.

X also came up with the descriptor of me I used recently, in the black sweater on a book flap blurb.

A lot of people don't "get" the X thing, and it's not like it tickles me to death all the time, being too far away to see him enough - but his brain, his conversation, are indispensible to me. The way his brain makes my brain work would be literally painful to live without - life would be less without him, even "just" in the only real form we have, conversationally.

When we memorialized my dad, I said of him at the time that life with him had been one long conversation. Our last had nothing to do with the hospital he lay in; we talked about X a little bit, about my birthday, which was near. We talked about Roman history, the end of the republic, the dictator Sulla, the women in that world. I miss talking with dad. There was the one person who set a standard of interest in others that's probably ruined me for most other people's attentiveness.

He never knew about my book. I didn't start it until after he died. Talking with him about it would have been ...

... I've missed being able to talk with dad. He would have been so enthusiastic. He was so interested, in so many things. He was a nice person, but not just some grinning schmoopy happy face. He respected people, but even so they had to earn it. He was differently musical, omnivorously literate. He was always quoting Ogden Nash, or classic american poets, or Kipling, or snippets of music, when he whistled. Mozart, Souza, or Chitty Chitty Bang-Bang, he was varied. As educated as he was, when he had a heart attack, it was probably spy novels he consumed the most of. Dad loved Bond and Le Carre, he was a bit of a "man's man" in certain entertainments, but he also had a big collection of original Broadway musical albums.

Dad was a really REALLY interesting person, and the longer I go without talking with him, the more he fascinates me.

He also, I think, probably had a talent for keeping me on a point. What the one was initially guiding this post appears to have been lost, unfortunately. But stream of consciousness. This is a blog, after all.

I miss my dad.

I'm also hungry. So I'm going to put down the maudlin-pencil, so to speak, go out in the sunshine he would have described as "glorious!", and forage for a meal.

It'd be sensless, after all, to sit here pinned to a computer, with a Sunday like the one we seem to have going on, going on out there. Just moping about the departed. So in memory of dad: a quest for a good meal, on a lovely spring day.

Friday, March 11, 2011


I don't slack much at work - there's never time - but today I actually indulged in taking a break to do some writing ... and ended up skipping lunch entirely, without even noticing it. New Best Friend, B, was aghast, but to me it seemed incredibly obvious. Given the choice between writing and food - as much as I love food, writing is going to win, when it is *happening*. And that's not monomaniacal writer, or posing dillettante - that's pure, unadulterated, "have you ever WRITTEN??" talking. To put down a scene? Who would do that for a sandwich, seriously?

(Or, for that matter, for my own homemade stew, which was RIGHT THERE and I wouldn't even have had to go buy it!)

Writing wins. Plain and simple. Don't ask an addict to turn away from whatever-the-fix. And don't act surprised at my negligence when I've written a good scene and lunch went right on by me. I'm not over-dedicated. But I know what's important, and when writing is happening, even my nieces might be less interesting.

(Not that I can imagine a time in which I'd be writing when they were around, or they would be around when I was writing - heh.)

(Okay, X might be less interesting. How about that, then.)

Writing, when it's happening, is top priority, and the only possible fulfillment. Don't try to exchange that for any other reward.

The Best

When I was seventeen (... it was a very good year ...), I hit the Dalton Books at the mall and found myself caught up by a cover. It had a tautly ... forward ... black-haired man on the cover, doing the Romance Novel Pose with some little blonde.

Twenty-six years later, the cover seems unfortunate to me, but I'm glad it appealed to me at the time. That cheesy cover brought into my life perhaps the single best and most influential piece of historical fiction I've ever read. (Influential on my own work. It's perhaps the one piece of writing in terms of the tone it struck - as opposed to actual subject matter and plot - I try hardest to emulate, and which entertains me most elementally.) The novel is Parke Godwin's "A Memory of Lions", and I know of nobody other than myself who's read it - unless I lent them the book myself. In the world of historical fiction at large, it's not entirely obscure - but it is old enough, and individual enough, that it doesn't have the footprint of a Bernard Cornwell, or "Katherine".

I describe my own work as muscular, and it seems likely to me that Godwin places more emphasis on, and therefore elicits, more passionate emotion - but the writing seems to come from a place where storytelling rules all, and so the work transcends any genre in that way. Godwin also treated Robin Hood, and was a varied enough author to also write comedic sci fi of the most contemporary kind, a pretty rare thing in authors these days, who mostly have to stick to one kind of world in order to continue marketing effectively. For him, it feels like *what he has to tell* is the most important thing of all - so his urgency within a story creates the urgency OF the story. I remember lending my copy of Memory to a friend some years ago, and when she returned it to me, she was almost breathless at discovering this incredible story.

Because an incredible story it is. Political, individual, powerful, and fair - we see the way an incident turns into another, and builds, and rolls into inevitability - and, far more importantly, we see it from many points of view. There are clear progatognists in this novel, but the villains are few. One man does his best, and another does the same, and - the way blended societies work - this means they become adversaries, completely aside from their actual feelings toward each other. One woman loves her daughter, and the daughter loves someone else, and in order to protect the child, the mother seems almost cruel. Another mother worships. A man is relegated to being a beast. There is almost constant brutality, and stretches of this plot are so incredibly tense I come away from them even after all these years feeling incredibly energetic.

The period - post Conquest Britain - is beautifully well rendered, but its details are (as rich as they definitely are) strictly in service to the story. The characters are believably of their period, and absolutely engaging. The story is suspenseful, sexual, mysterious, by turns a little atmospherically mystical, cultural, unafraid to be comical, and human in the most fully-realized way a novel can provide. We see scenes of a young girl, tentative in the world; and we see war in its inexorability - and all of this plays, all of it works. Godwin never loses the voice of any character, and they don't leap off the pages - they walk, entirely distinct, entirely whole, entirely authentically, through their world.

"Memory" trained me in character and in treatment of a historical subject. It also does that one single most important thing in the world: it entertains me. It owns me completely, when I read that book - even when I read just a single scene, which I have done many times. I have quoted it literally, and almost certainly I've quoted it metaphorically at times in my own writing. I turn to it again and again, and it is ever-fresh, always as gripping as the first time - and, as I've grown older, even more than the first time, with more and more experience. Its appeal owes much to experience, too - that a man of nearly fifty could write a girl of seventeen - and one born almost a thousand years ago - so believably (and all the other characters as well) is testament to how vivid a writer has to keep every part of their own life, in order to create new lives in words.

I have a small trove of those novels and writers which are most important to me. Donald Harington. Mary Stewart's Arthurian novels. Undset, too. But Parke Godwin, and "A Memory of Lions" never stop growing even more important to me. And I still aspire to its magic.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Search This

To whomever took a shot with this search string:

diane major phone number

If it happens to be me you were looking for - believe me when I explain that anyone who needs to have my phone number has it, and that anyone who doesn't should know better than to waste my time trying to get it in this way. Don't call me. Thank you.

Also, not for nothing, but - good grief what a naive search attempt in the first place. There are eleventy-squillion sites out there BEGGING to sell you my personal information (hah) and you're hitting up

Unlisted since at least 1992 and loving it.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Reach Out ...

Life's sense of humor is fairly weak, all things considered.

I come home today and the message light is on. Before I bother finding out which auto-dialer has blessed me with an actual voicemail, the phone rings twice. At one point it is my drugstore robot. And next is the finance company for my windows, asking for a payment they apparently never received, when I sent a check on February 15. Great.

Ask me if I've bothered considering the possibility the message was left by an actual human. My mom's on vacation, and everyone else ... well, as TEO and I say: yeah - but no.

Life? It's weak, as punch lines go. Just sayin'. Saw it coming a mile away. Very formulaic, very predictable, this joke.

Late Adopter

I bought my first CD stereo in 1998 or so, and instead of going blu-ray with my tax check, now that the Dad Memorial DVD Player won't play, I hit up Teh Intarwebs and looked at both and went with the latter. I'd figured that DVD tech would be cheap, but thirty-eight clams for a brand new Sony was still surprising.

A little amusing, too: my old model player, eight years on now, still has a ticket price of $100 on it. X doesn't buy by a quick-obsolescence factor, apparently. It *was* a very nice appliance, I was sorry to have had to replace it. (I remember he apologized to me at the time, for having bought a silver component when my TV and VCR were black boxes. How dare he mismatch my system!?? ... But the new one is black.)

So at long last, Jacob's Ladder, stuck at the top of my DVD queue for - what, two months now ? - because I don't like watching discs on my laptop (for no good reason, I am aware), and lined up behind streaming Buffy, is sitting in the new box, ready to burst forth. Well, or at least trickle.

I watched this flick with Beloved Ex when VHS wasn't a joke - perhaps as much as twenty years ago, I could not even tell you. It's been a long while, and my memory of the thing is saggy. I know there's a teasing Owl Creek Bridge-ery to it, with all sorts of post-Nam angst attached as well, but apart from a blonde kid and Tim Robbins' upset-face I have almost no memory of it.

Hee. Danny Aiello plays someone named Louis? Please tell me it's not Louis Cyphre, because I would have to get the giggles. I'm also not loving seeing Eriq LaSalle's name, he tends to kind of irk me the slightest pointless bit. Ah well. A sepia wash an an inaugural mediocrity to christen the new player.

The first one got "Office Space" and "Brotherhood of the Wolf" - an interesting pair of flicks to watch on the day or two after your father has died.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Dissed Interest

It's a strange but true fact that I have amazing friends and family so absolutely wonderful that the very knowledge of their love is the measure by which I maintain a standard of gratitude in my life that rules its every aspect ... and that a number of those I have the closest, deepest, and longest relationships with are not much interested in me.

There's no way to write a lead like that without looking dreadfully sad-sack about it, but for me these days it's more an intriguing point of conversation than much of a booey-hooey piece of dramatics. I am VERY much loved. My friends and family are of the deepest value for me. And I am for them, I actually know that.

But ... I don't interest several of 'em.

There are those who just don't understand my life - the way I went off and didn't stay married and have chillun's. The way I wrote some sort of horrendously long book about a kind of oddly obscure subject (how'd she come up with that anyway?). The way I live alone (who does that anyway?). The way I am a secretary. Pick your aspect, I have a lot of odd ones. And many I don't think all that strange which can still be alienating.

It wasn't a plan to Be All Nonconformist and set myself apart from people. There are a LOT of people who gravitate to the odd stuff I'm into. Eleven of 'em "follow" me right here, and I know they're not the only ones reading (hi, X). But there are people who can't relate to me. Or who don't keep up with me. Who, just for whatever reason, have missed out on a lot of me - because I'm not static, and I keep growing - but not because they don't care. The likelihood is - they don't know there's anything to miss.

Time moves FAST, it's wily stuff. And lots of it goes by between one compelling reason to email, or call, and the next. And Diane gets out of the habit of calling A or B or C or whomever, because who wants to be the constant pestering pain in the behind? And holy smokes, where did a YEAR go!?

It's not like I don't do this myself. I was thinking of beautiful K and her dear husband T just today, realizing I have not reached out to them.

People require connection to cultivate connection, and it's amazing how easy - especially once you reach a certain age - it is for a short gap to widen, and to turn into a pretty big one. Kids to raise, illnesses to manage, jobs to worry about and be stressed by.

I wonder how *many* of us look at the people we are supposed to be close to, and see blank incomprehension, when we get a glimpse of a face at all? I know it's not just me. But all I can feel is me. And I know I have a lot of love - but almost never actual attention. It is such an unusual occurrence for my phone to ring it confuses me to see my message light on (until I pick up the message - always just the one, when there is one at all - and learn that it's the drugstore calling, or my dentist). It's not rare for the sound of my phone ringing to actually cause me to jump out of my skin. I actually get startled when someone thinks to contact me.

And then there's conversation, and it's over, and I hang up ... and my weird brain gets all swirly on people. I'm such an interesting person, but those who respond to that aren't necessarily the people one might "expect" to be most engaged by me. Which itself is so interesting to me. And then I think about the way we lapse with each other, and I forgive us all. And then I think about talking to my niece this weekend (perhaps the most intensely *interesting* person in my life, from my perspective!), and talking with my brother, and I remeber the last time I talked to one person I adore, and how fun that was, and then I remember the time I spent over an hour laughing my stomach sore with someone else, looking at unbelievably ugly shoes online, and then I remember the way my ex always calls to say happy birthday, and something makes me think of my dad, and I go off into the fugue state this sentence has become, and life's blessings go all messy and run across my brain, and suddenly a molecule shifts in the universe, and I am a cat or a dog, and just transfixed by the experience of a moment.

Then the phone rings, and I have to go check caller ID.

Or I just hit send/receive and get no email. One of those things. Maybe. And the day goes back on.

Hippo Anniversary ...

... of sorts ... Today I put in to take April fool's day off.

It was the first full day of unemployment for me last year. The idiots even missed pranking me on the right d*mned day. Idiots.

I came home that day, wearing a great little blue dress, looking adorable, and I changed from that into dog-walking pants, or jeans perhaps. And then I sat down on that sunny, beatiful day - made the calls one has to make - and then I watched a movie.

Cukor's The Women is a marvelous little film for springtime unemployment.

And for wealth porn, if you like that sort of thing, too.

But (as is the requirement because this is a blog) I digress. I got a lot done those first weeks. Job hunting (continued from the three months I'd already been doing it before the layoff even came), errands. Taking things to Goodwill, getting small things done and taken care of.

This year, I want to take a sunny Friday (or even a spring-rainy one, if that's on tap) and use it to go to Goodwill, give some platelets and plasma, maybe wander somewhere wonderful.

And marvel at my great good fortune, this spring, as opposed to where I was with that old-fashioned company who had no clue what to do with me (and rode a ten percent reduction in workforce to a bonus payout of over 180% - profit-grabbing idiots). Poor idiotic saps.

Sunday, March 6, 2011


Sundays aren't alone in this, but they have a unique claim on my tendency to turn into the young girl I once was, and think about what could be. Today I'm fantasizing about making stew with X. Sharing with him my domestic goddess-tude. Being in this cheering, pretty house while the rain goes by. Him playing with the Lolly - he's the one who actually first showed me *how* to play with Sid, when she was still fairly new to this home. Not even talking. Just being.

Whoa, That's Ugly

A more perfectly designed top for visually minimizing a woman where she doesn't want it, and maximizing where most prefer to look narrow is INCREDIBLY difficult to imagine. What an unbelievably poor design. Wow.

The End of the Weekend

The basement below me is churning softly as the laundry agitates, and the kitchen smells warmly of onion, tomato and celery, with a hint of Worcestershire. I'm getting ready to peel the carrots and potatoes to cut them into the stew. It'll be time to add water, too. Buffy Season 4 continues apace, and I managed not to cry when Oz drove away. It's quiet today. I can't believe it's after five.

The sky is still light. Days are longer and longer, and I keep being surprised that it has become March already. Time is a quick mover; how does it keep so silent on those cat feet?

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Rainy Tomorrow

Sunday will be a rainy one. Not cold, but a nice, grey soaker, and I am so looking forward to it. The house is clean now, as am I, but with all the shoving, I didn't do laundry. So tomorrow I see one short-ish trip, for lots of produce (no farmer's markets open this early in the spring; but I sure do feel like doing that vegetable stew thing), accompanied by generous amounts of napping and/or dozing, good reading, and clothes cleaning. I might even hem that dress I've been meaning to get to. Doesn't it sound perfectly delicious ... ?

The Day of the Shoving

It is the Day of the Shoving of Furniture.

When spring time comes, and the air gets warmer, and the days get longer, Diane gets nesty, and sooner or later, there comes a week when she finds herself thinking, "Where will this beautiful new chaise go, the happy addition to my cheering home?"

And then begins the Swiffing-of-under-of-things, the piecemeal vacuuming-as-we-go-along, the sweating and puffing, the brute forcing and redeploying. And the living room is set up early, to catch windows-open weather cross ventilation. To open up as much space as we needed to curl down around to keep things cozy in winter time. To realize, seriously, JUST how much light this living room really gets.

Later on will begin the ordering out. I still haven't decided on Arianna's, Flying Dragon, or - possibly best of all - Roma's. But it's not even five, and Season Four of Buffy is just underway on Netflix. There's much light left in this day, and I am neither hungry ... nor even close to being done cleaning ... just yet. And the decision itself is one I can savor, as I set up my happy home for its fresh new look, and take breaks to listen to silly stuff on Netflix, and get around to cleaning *myself* up just as nice as the house will be soon enough. And then relax for the rest of a peaceful weekend. Mmm.

The living room is done, and it looks very nice. Next up, a little kithen and bath scrubbing, the dusting upstairs, and what vaccuming remains. I think I will change the bedspread for the cotton quilt, too. Then a nice Saturday night of laundry, and possibly reading. Not a bad day. I am a stupidly fortunate woman.

Hee for Leila G.

Came up with a new nickname for Lolly this morning, and I thought you might like it:

The Cutest of Borg

Resistance is futile.

Some days, being a dork is TOO much fun.


Okay, found a rather less gratifying search string than that last one:

majoros diána porn


Friday, March 4, 2011

"Secretary" - or ...

... "The Answer to the Question of Why I Do the Job I Do" ...

By working faithfully eight hours a day you may eventually get to be boss and work twelve hours a day.
--Robert Frost

Thursday, March 3, 2011

What I REALLY Want for the Economy ...

... is to keep some nice literary agent working and selling, with the genuinely fantastic product I've created in The Ax and the Vase.

Yep, that'd save the world's little flow of cash. Wouldn't it?

Made In - Made Over and Out

I've been enjoying ABC's Made in America series. At a high level, it offers some good inspirations, but it misses some nuance, which could have been addressed in their "partially" made in America angle. The fact is, as much merchandise as is composed of components, the "made in" label is a less clear descriptor than we tend to think. I've worried myself about "made in China" - and I'd still pay good money for shoes made anywhere but that country, seriously - but I realize, too, that in fact some of the electronics made in China actually depend on tech still coming from us. NPR actually did a great piece on this about three weeks ago ...

(F)or every iPod that the United States decides not to import, the "decline" in recorded exports from China is $150 — but only about $4 of that value was added in China. In other words, China's GDP declines just $4 for each lost $150 iPod. Japan, on the other hand, contributes about $100 to the $150 value ...

I've wondered at times whether my buying from domestic *sellers* makes any difference. The only sure bet is buying local, it seems. Only with produce and antiques, the limited kinds of things I know are sold here, from here can I feel partiuclarly "sure" about choices. Hence my evangelical support of Roma Ristorante, Arianna's, the Mediterranean Bakery, my favorite thrift, antique, and secondhand stores, heh. I'm not as good about our farmer's markets as I should be - but it's been on my mind to make some vegetable stew lately, and break in my crock pot - so maybe some time sooon a neighbor and I will do that.

It used to feel like eBay, of all things, allowed for a lot of control on buying retail versus buying from actual humans, but the humans are fewer and fewer - or at least the huge sellers are becoming so ubiquitous it's harder and harder to find the people. Not impossible (I love that fair-trade seller in the Pacific Northwest, from whom I've bought three wonderful little lamps!). But it takes more effort, and I fear not everyone views eBaying, as I often do, as a pastime unto itself.

Sometimes in life, I wish I had a guide. Sometimes, I get so frustrated with that directionlessness I resent the need to research and study just to buy a secondhand dress online because I can't find what I'm looking for at Second Debut, and I want to just buy six Chinese ones for spite at myself and politics and the economy.

But most of the time I just wish I could find a good, and not wildly expensive, pair of basic black leather pumps made in the USA.

Tee Ha, Tee Ha, It Is to Laugh

Ha ha!!

Hilarity du Jour

The only search string showing in my stats today?

"Charlie Sheen off his nut"

I am so happy.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Small Consolation

Well, re-reading that post from the last trip, it looks like I had TWO connections on the way home on that trip. Ew. This time, just one each way. And I did get aisle seats at least. Though well enough back in the row count, unfortunately.

I will not be able to stop myself looking and finding out there were direct flights, tomorrow. And I will not be able to stop KICKING MYSELF for what a moron I am, plunging in with my very hard earned money. Ack!

But: the thing is, I'm going to see Wow and Squee this summer.

That is a bunch of a lot to be excited about!


I think I may have made a HUGE mistake tonight. I bought my tickets for vacation. Under the influence of a headache.


I didn't find any nonstop flights ... and it seems to me there ARE nonstops - and for about the same price I spent on a bleeding connector (both ways) through EWR. Oh if only I had looked beyond Travelocity ...

Oh my aching HEAD am I going to be upset if I look tomorrow (it would probably make me a little sick to even try to look tonight) and see that I could have done this an easier way. Gaaahhhh.

At the end of the day, I don't so much mind the timing nor the inconvenience ... and at least it isn't a stopover in Chicago. But Newark doesn't buck Douglas Adams' "no language has ever come up with the phrase 'as pretty as an airport'" theory either.

No, for me, the inconvenience is secondary. It's this that really bothers me. Barfing in public is actually the least of the hateful experience of airsickness ...

Gah. Someday, I'll find a better way to travel.

And still not be able to afford it. *Bleah*

All Your Toupees Are Belong to Us

As a rule, I don't find celebrity meltdowns to be of much interest, but this week's Mad Men festivities are strangely intriguing. We've got Muammar Gaddafi on the one hand, positive "his people" (ahem) are very much in love with him when they are screaming for his blood; and Charlie Sheen on the other, declaring nothing less than WAR on the hand that feeds him (hilariously suggesting that his lawsuit will be figured at the princely sum of "more gold ... more gold ... all your toupees" and no thin whack of revenge for the slights performed upon his raging ego).

The invocation of war is interesting to me in particular. I've encountered people who consider infractions against their sensibilities some sort of cause for "war", and seem to have no more idea how entirely bizarre a path of logic that is than Sheen has of how he's playing. Tone. Deaf. But fascinating. The off-his-nut fury of his delivery, with the hermetically perfect bubble of un-self-awareness, is ... interestingly over the top. This is a guy with zero sense of his audience, but 100% commitment to his "passion" (see yesterday's post regarding *that* nomenclature), which he so devoutly swears Is. Not. Anger.

Uh huh.

Of course, he also thinks it's great that his toddler children are blessed with such a "rockstar" dad, and have porn stars and nannies to raise them in a great big polygamous happy home. Where their mom is doesn't appear to have held much interest for the reporters so gleefully focused on this car-wreck-not-to-be-missed shambles of a "man".

He also seems to be under the impression his brain is special and, though he's incapable of adequately choosing adjectives, clearly superior to "everyone else". No read on the room, and far gone to any ability to regard himself in any way, least of all with the slightest objectivity.

And so Charlie Sheen has declared war. He has SUFFERED, and will punish that (supposedly) billion dollars worth of people who enable his insufferable career by annihilating them. With his special brain.

The requirement that one must declare war is one so entirely outside the realm of normal human behavior I find myself fascinated by how easily this guy comes to the 'cause' ... and how heartbreakingly committed he is to this piece of off-his-nuttery. I have NEVER liked Charlie Sheen, but wishing his various children ill is beyond my capability, and what he is doing to them simply being the geriatric slut hound and adolescent wannabe-rebel that he is is actually sad. This is a man who, with all the physical appearance of a cancer-stricken eighty-year-old, perceives himself as an Adonis, and considers not at all the slightest contribution he might have to make to the world, what he might give, as a man, to any other person. He's gone, and really always has been, and the fact that he's tearing down other people - and finds that JUSTIFIED - is more than a little sickening.

Of course, these are people who - voluntarily or not - hitched their wagons to a guy whose sole claim to cleverness in the twenty-six-or-seven years he's been plaguing us with his "talents" is that line about the toupees. That show of his has been an offense against good entertainment (and even an offense against TELEVISION - which is pretty much *comprised* of egregiously offensive content-for-money) from day one, and those people will mostly find another way to make a living. So I I feel about the same level of pity for them that I felt for the chilly little number who married that WHACKO adulterer I once worked with, who - being a man of no ethics and no sanity himself - finally left her for his mistress. He wasn't a fine person in the first place, and she committed to him and to what he was - then divorced her for the newer model (... I wonder if he declared WAR on her ... that'd be typical of that manner of a "man"), there's a pretty fair extent to which I figure Chilly got what she signed up for, marrying Bat-Splat-Crazy-Unethical-Man. Likewise, following the star of Charlie Sheen. No respect for women, no respect for himself, nowhere remotely in the region of talent most people would calculate as appropriate to his gargantuan paychecks, and no interest in considering himself as a human being, nor in any other human being outside his ever-more-flaccid-and-ashen skin.

When I first met X, a very VERY slight treble in the timbre in his voice reminded me of Charlie Sheen. That's the closest I can come to saying I have ever considered Sheen's existence in personal terms, beyond simple/generational awareness of him. He used to have okay hair, but I always thought the combo hawk-package of that overwrought chin and beak of his were a bit much for the level of appeal he was apparently able to exert (on prostotutes anyway ...). So it's strange to find him at all relevant, and so the interest I'm exhibiting is sort of like that for a snake in a glass case. Though I like snakes as much as the next guy, actually.

It is Week of the Whacko Boys, people. Thursday and Friday will be positively dull ...

(I know I left out Wednesday. But tonight has America's Next Top Model going for it!)

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

I Saw An Eric!!

Today I passed him; seventies guy. Sort of tall, sort of skinny, a few years older than I. You could tell maybe he used to have floppy hair. And he was wearing those light brown, soft-soled boots that make you remember the ones now seen only in reruns of That 70s Show, but which once upon a time were EVERYWHERE - they were, like, the archetypal shoe. Man.

And I thought to myself: Oh my goodness. Eric Foreman.



You cannot do a kindness too soon, for you never know how soon it will be too late.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

We none of us ever like to remember that too late is always around the corner. Hence the indulgence of so many empty ego trips. Le Sigh.


I've often found that people who hate one another, from outside their own perspectives, turn out to be remarkably similar individuals. Politically, they might be antithetical. Spiritually, they may have little in common including even direct opposition to each other's ways. But personally, they are often similarly pugnacious and self-righteous ... or "passionate", if one is looking from inside their point of view.

One of the people I love best is among the bitterest, most brittle humans I've ever known. Willing and often able to write off those closest in relation, short tempered, and intriguingly interested in creating and having an effect on others. Oh, and in exerting Will upon them, too. Hm.


When I was fifteen, and again when I was seventeen, I dated my first boyfriend, LT. I'm not sure what drew us back to each other, but we never broke up in anger, than I can remember, and almost thirty years later I am well disposed. I do remember some of the things I got out of our relationships, though (becuase they were distinct, in my mind; the second one was in fact very strong in character, much more emotional than the first time we dated).

LT had gone to college by our second go-round, and had become, as college boys do, more philosophical with (ahem - hee) "age". And we talked about the nature of relationships; probably the first conversations I ever had of this type.

He must've been taking a mythology class (it was perhaps too early in the eighties for Women's Studies to have enough traction or presence for this to be the likely feeder), and told me about the archetypes we seek. More than having a "type", he said, men and women actually often have an "archetype". (Caveat: for the balance of this post, perspective will be limited to hetero expressions; my apologies, but if I am frank, in 1985 I was too; so, if needlessly limited, it is at least appropriate to the context of the seventeen-year-old girl I was.) For men, they seek - I remember this prase so clearly - The Daughter Goddess. They seek the woman who personifies in their mind and heart, a creature out of some psychological, subconscious soup. This isn't necessarily defined in the immediate stereotypes of "pretty princess" or "she's a goddess", but in those things that more deeply speak to an guy, from the youngest age.

My own first crush was on Mohammed Ali.

But my first "love" - anchored in the visual, and in wish-fulfillment (I never thought, even at age four, I could have Mohammed Ali) - was Randy Mantooth. Or, Emergency! Guy, as he has pretty much always been known to me. There was something about skinny white boys with dark hair (and preferably long hair, to be honest ... oh, and apologies/acknowledgements to my eminently Nordic Beloved Ex of course) that got to me from the get-go. When I got older I recognized something enough removed from my dad (the height, the thinness) that appealed to me for its different-ness, and something enough like him (the contrast of his coloring) to reassure me. My "Son god" - appropriately, certainly also influenced by the beautiful pictures of Jesus Christian girls all grow up with - was safe in his conformity to dad, AND in his other-ness as well.

Most people I know, no matter the variety of their dating history, or their consciousness of it, gravitate to some "type" or archetype in one way or another. Even if it's not a matter of looks, some "hook" or other maintains a thread through our relationships. And I have my standards apart from looks - good looking and a dork are minimum requirements for me. There's always something.

X is probably the first person I ever went out with who didn't have at least some amount of a "thing" for pale girls with dark hair and red lips. Some of them have reveled in it openly (that first boyfriend of mine was consistent in what he liked, visually; I remember, too, the time I found a picture of him and me I could not remember - and it was of him and another girlfriend!). Some have been a little vague, but definitely responded. But X seems not to have drawn a visual through-line among his girlfriends and ex wife. No assembly line of bodily features, either those I have discussed, or even those sometimes discussed in your finer locker rooms. Probably some continuity of confidence and effervescence. But a series of very individual individuals.


The other conversation I remember with LT was when he said I confounded him utterly.

"I am an impress person! And you refuse to be impressed!"

This surprised me immensely at the time, because of course LT impressed me pretty seriously, as a fifteen- and then as a seventeen-year-old girl. I had a *crush* on him, he was my first kiss, he was my first boyfriend - he was all the silly stuff we invest in those milestones ... and he was the first boy who repaid my interest with his own. Not impressed with him ... ?

Well, maybe I didn't want to tip my hand.

And maybe I was a sarcastic, caustic kind of kid.

Oh, wait ... I realized ... I refused to ACT impressed with him.

Which is half the battle in impressing someone - if not the entire hill one's trying to capture.

It's been my aim, though, through years of boys, to value the practical over the rose-colored. They've all known what a romantic I *am* - but few have ever seen it demonstrated much publicly. My girlish side is devoutly offscreen most of the time.

So if you want to impress me, you had better have some goods. Those things that impress me:

  • humor
  • dork cred - with a sense of deprecating humor about it
  • intelligence
  • kindness
  • unique perspectives
  • ease

Those things that never will:

  • anger, self-importance, posturing, loudness without force of intellect
  • bigotry, hatred, narrowmindedness, ugliness, blah-di-blah
  • threats or bullying
  • attempts to impress me

Even on those occasions threats get someone something they "want", they are empty forces indeed when considered in terms of their merit and in fact usefulness. They're little but temptations to force a hand - but manipulation is manipulation, and any desserts it earns are dusty little cakes indeed. I know of twelve-year-olds with more unique and useful approaches to problem-solving. So it's always interesting when someone actually goes in for emotional violence that cheap and embarrassing.

I know too many people not to know some who indulge this sort of thing. Sometimes, you could wish "passionate" people were capable of more maturity. Maybe I missed one bullet point on list #2 above.