Thursday, January 27, 2005

Kids say the darndest things

I was reading Finslippy the other day (I figured out how to link that site to this! I think it even takes you to the relevant post) about the humorous results that can occur when toddlers with muddled pronounciations tackle common phrases, and I was reminded of this incident when my son was 2.

N, Hubby, is a pretty laid back guy most of the time, but something about driving brings out the beast. For years we've had words about his tendency to go off on a swearing tirade when someone in another car ticks him off. I point out that after all, they can't hear him at all, but I can, and I'd just as soon that I didn't. When the kids were learning to talk and repeating everthing I pointed out that it was especially important to watch what we say.
One day we were all in the car when someone cut N. off. He went "TSK" and sort of sighed, and I was so proud he'd controlled himself. Then from the back seat comes this wee voice saying, "Stupid bastard". We lost it.

So does any one else remember Art Linkletter, and the segment of his show called by my title here? It was a LOOOng time ago. My sister was on his show once, when he broadcast from the Crippled Childrens Hospital in Miami, she told a joke which I have long forgotten. I was so jealous
But then siblings of handicapped children are, I think, a confused lot. They don't want to be handicapped themselves, of course, but they tend to resent all the 'extras' that their sibs get--fussed over, rolled up to the front, special treatment at school and so forth. And they feel guilty for feeling that way. Conflicted, I guess you'd call it.

To those of you leaving me nice comments on my last post, thank you all, I have been touched by them. To anyone leaving not-so-nice comments, why bother? I'm just going to delete them. Some people have hearts so small, it's a wonderment their blood doesn't just puddle up in their tiny chests. Oh well.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

I'm a survivor

I've wrestled with deciding to post this for several weeks. Some may question why I would post such a private thing on a public forum, and all I can say in my defense is that I need to. To let others with similar stories know they are not alone; to publicly renounce my preoccupation with self destruction; to encourage anyone facing their private demons to seek professional help. Anyway, if this is too dark for you, pass on by. No harm done.

I'm a survivor.I've tried suicide twice. At the time, it seemed like the correct thing to do. It's not that my life was such a mess, although it was stressful. It just seemed like, no matter which way I looked, the future seemed bent toward becoming an emotional drag on everyone that knew me. I didn't want to be remembered as the sniveling whining wreck that I saw myself becoming. I wanted people to think of a funny, clever, hard-working woman with a good husband and two great kids, with a successful scientific career and friends who would miss me. I felt, instead, like I was losing my mind, dwelling on incidents that occurred 50 years ago and about which I (even now) had doubts had ever occurred. Everyone involved was dead but me. If I was dead, too, then it DIDN'T happen, right? And all the madness, the voices, the lost time, the nightmares, the sleepwalking, the cutting, none of it would be real either. And so I took the drugs, after careful research into how much and what would be fatal, and still I lived. Did you know, if you survive a serious suicide attempt and end up in the intensive care unit, that you won't be treated very well by the staff there? You're an anomally, the sick person who did it to themselves, and somehow not deserving of the same sympathy or consideration. They made sure any new nurse coming on-shift knew my background, in very blunt terms, and did it where I would overhear. They handled me roughly, spoke brusquely, wrote me up in their daily notes because I got up "without permission" to use the bathroom. They wrote that I lied about my symptoms (when in fact I was confused and barely aware of where or who I was) and that I was "sullen" (although I can remember smiling at them ALL THE TIME because I so wanted their approval and recognition). If it hadn't been for being closely watched I would have tried to finish the job; my psychiatrist and therapists knew that and made sure I knew that if I had been successful, they and my family would have been devastated. They let me know that I was worth saving. In the end it took a lot of therapy and a lot of work by myself and my therapists, and the love of my family, to get where I could again think of myself in a positive light. I take meds, and probably always will. I can't ever take my mental health for granted, and I watch for signs that I'm slipping before I get too bad. I don't ever want to have to do this again. And I feel overwhelming sympathy with anyone who has ever faced their inner demons and clawed their way back from the edge, for their courage and will power, and I know that when someone is sucessful in committing suicide, it isn't because they are weak or narcissic or pettily vengeful, but because they were in so much pain they literally could not think past it. And I know that once you have taken the step to end your life, you will have crossed into territory that only another suicide survivor can recognize, you are profoundly changed forever in the way you regard life and death. There will always be a residue of that decision to end your life, and you can't unknow what you know from that time. But you can take strength from the beating of your heart, the air in your lungs, the resolve in your deepest spirit that didn't let you go when everything looked the blackest, and you can know that all life is a struggle for everyone. It's how you face the challenge of continuing, how you just pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and move on to the next chapter, that determines whether your story is read as a success or a failure. I'm a survivor.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Going down....

Oh man, what a start to the week. Sunday night my family took me out for dinner to celebrate my birthday, and when we got home, I slipped on a piece of tracked-in ice and fell down the stairs. It wouldn't have been so bad if I had landed on my well-padded derriere; but I landed on my rib cage, up high on my back. Quite took the wind out of my sails. After a miserable night in which no position was comfortable, I went to the doctor's on Monday. She checked me out and (hurrah!) gave me drugs. At least now I can sleep, and Advil seems to do the daytime well enough, so I'm back at work today, easing into my chair and planning to stay there all day. I hate to fall, that awful sensation before you hit, knowing it's going to hurt. Only thing worse is being tossed off my horse; there's plenty of time to reflect on how I'm too old to be doing this >again<. And it's so much further down, too. Then after you get dumped, you're laying there in an ignomonius heap, listening to the retreating hoofbeats and knowing that you still have a loose horse to catch, get back on, and ride home. Makes 4 wheelers look really attractive (the only time they are).

Of course, when I was 24 I got thrown off a horse and didn't need to worry about catching him. I was in an arena, and he broke two vertebrae in my spine. I laid there, reflecting on the general unfairness of life; then I got in the ambulance and found out my future lay in body casts and braces for the next several months. When I could finally ride again, I was so petrified my teeth chattered. My horse (not the one that dumped me), bless him, seemed to understand my fear, and never put a foot awry. I kept him until he was an old old horse, moved him to WV, and eventually had him put down due to illness, but he's the one I think of when I reflect on California days. I even rode him in a parade in downtown San Francisco, stepping over cable car tracks and being unfazed by balloons, noisemakers, marching bands and every scary thing you can think of. I used to wash his mane and tail and then blow-dry them -- he was a palomino and that white mane and tail needed regular shampoos. I'd use a vacuum cleaner on him too. Amazing animal.

The forecasts for this last weekend were way off, thankfully. We got a mere 2 inches of snow and no ice to speak of, rather than the 10-12 that were forecast. I still can't drive the Miata, as our road is still icy and slippery, but the son is still unemployed and his is a 4-wheel drive so I'm set for now. The way my back feels, I don't think I could get in and out of the Miata anyway, which you don't so much get in as put on. Add to that the rear wheel drive, and it's a non-starter in the winter. Probably why, at nearly three years old, it has 14,000 miles on it. What can I say? I like Miatas. This is my third.

Friday, January 21, 2005

Blog Explosion fan

I have recently (this last week) signed up on Blog Explosion to increase traffic here. Much to my surprise, it works! If you're reading this, I guess you know this, since all of my hits have come from Blog Explosion.
But as a side to this, I find that reading blogs is an insidiously addictive habit. It's like eavesdropping on conversations in public places, except you get the whole story instead of just snippets.
I remember riding on BART one time in SF, and sitting behind two women discussing a mutual friend and her trials and tribulations. My eyes were popping when something they said revealed the truth--they were talking about a soap opera. Whew!
Anyway, blogs come in all shapes and sizes and as I'm clicking through, I find that what catches my attention and what causes me to wait impatiently for the GO to appear is pretty consistent.
I click past all the religious ones, anything that starts with a bible verse. It's like listening to people critique stories about the easter bunny--too much fantasy for me (just my opinion!).
I click past most of the political ones, the deep division in this country after the elections is really disturbing no matter who you voted for. The opinions expressed by foreigners about our election are interesting, tho. Yes, 50,000,000 people can be that dumb.
I click past any blogs that deal with how much they drank, who they threw up on, what the other people were wearing at the party, you know the type. I'm not offended, just bored. I don't know why drunks think they are so entertaining.
I give the music review sites a quick scan, but I'm so ignorant of the modern music scene that I don't know enough to understand them.
I really like the ones with photos, not "art" photos, just the random snapshots of people's lives.
I really like the blogs from the UK and Australia folks, their slang sounds so new, and their lives so different from mine. Some of the blogs from other countries are readable too, if the English isn't too fractured. Some of the American sites suffer from bad grammar, spelling, and that annoying habit of sprinkling ''''' everywhere, possessive or contractions notwithstanding, and that makes them tough to read, I feel the need to pick up my red pencil and correct them, and it's so hard on the screen! I personally re-read my posts and edit them if I catch new typos, I think it's the least one can do.
I mostly read the "diary" type entries from women and men to whom I can relate: mothers and fathers with kids (well, duh), family life, job woes, pets, chores, and so on. I'd read a post on what happened when the deliveryman came anytime rather than an expose on some Survivor episode.
I blogmark any likely site and come back to read more when I am not surfing the blogsphere. Some of them are definitely worth a second look.
So leave me a comment if you feel moved, and I will try to do the same. This is so cool.

Addendum: I am amazed and thrilled at the way my site counter is climbing up there--Not a huge number, but plenty for me to feel good about. And real live people are leaving me comments, some of them quite complimentary. Woohoo! My birthday is tomorrow and this is an un-looked for present. I'm on my way to check out their blogs in turn.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Motherhood, and why Not?

I never had much to do with babies. When I was growing up, our neighborhood was all older children, and there was only one family I baby-sat for, they had seven children. I learned lots from them about sibling rilvalry, but not much about child care. Partly because I spent a lot of my time there just sorting them out. They all shared red hair and freckles, and for some reason, the parents named them all starting with"V"; by the time I'd separated Vivian from Valerie from Victor, Vincent and Vance, it was time to go home. I always wondered what was up with that family, do you suppose they were into having their own platoon, the "V" brigade? They did wear a lot of khaki.....
But I digress. When my daughter, R., was born 8 weeks premature,in CA instead of WV where we were moving to, I was blown away. I'd done what academic types do with a new situation, read; but nothing I read could prepare me for the reality of surfactant levels, apnea, bradycardia, gavage tubes, transfusions, monitors, and 8 weeks in the ICU nursery. I am convinced they kept her an extra week to give me an intensive Motherhood 101 course. I knew exactly what I needed. When they released her at last, I flew home to my mother. I got to her home in FL, handed her the baby, took two Excedrin and hit the sack, I hadn't really slept in two months.
My mother was a pro with the babies. She worked in a grocery store, and I have seen babies push their mothers to one side and climb over the cart handle to get to my mom. She could quiet a fussy one in under a minute; they'd give a little sigh, relax, and by the time she laid them back down you'd never known they had been crying. I'm convinced that some mothers brought their kids into the store just so she would get them to nap. So I knew R would be in good hands, although I think even Mom was daunted at first.
Did you know, babies kept in the ICU are never in the dark? There are lights, radios, people talking, alarms alarming 24/7. Premies don't cry much, so that they can save it all up for when they get home and the lights go out. At first, they only way to get R to sleep was leave the lights on and a radio blasting. To really get her awake you needed a blaring smoke detector at least, otherwise no noise fazed her. It made for a stressful transition. But whatever that "mom" gene is, my mom had it in spades, and R was sleeping through the night, in the dark, by the time I flew home to WV. I had some problems at home, one evening R was exercising her freedom of screech and N asked me what was wrong. I told him, "I've checked both sides of her and there are NO written directions anywhere." Or in other words, who knows? But she survived, flourished even, and when her brother C. was born one year and 9 days later (wince) we were old hands at the baby game. Parents with only one child are amateurs as far as I am concerned, only when you get two or more do you get pro status. Two under two years old qualifies for hardship consideration (and a good shrink).

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Road warrior

One day last week it was actually warm enough to put the top down on the Miata. I was on my way home, sitting at a light to turn left, when the car behind me honked his horn. I started guiltily and lurched out into the intersection before I realized the light was still red! The guy behind me was laughing like a maniac. I got out of the car after getting my handgun out of my purse, walked back to his car, said, You want funny? Try this on...and shot a hole clean thru his windshield. There was a pause; his windshield starred all over and fell into his lap. I got back in my car and drove away. No, that's not what really happened. I sat there, half way into the intersection, for an eternity while the cars in the other direction squeezed past my bumper. When the light finally changed, I turned, inwardly seething but outwardly cool, and the yahoo behind me zoomed past while I gave him the one finger salute. Ah, but on the other side of town, there he was again; only this time he was pulled off the road and Smokey was writing a ticket. Sweet! I tooted and waved for real.....

And what's up with this weird weather? I saw girls in shorts last week, brrrr. But it was warm, 70 degrees one day. Today it was 3 degrees when I got up this morning, time to break out the warm boots. I hate it when my feet are cold, the rest of me can be sizzling but if my feet are cold I'm miserable. How come hot flashes don't reach your feet? I saw a great bumper sticker (I collect them, a virtual collection of thousands now) that said, "I'm still a hot babe, only now it comes in flashes"

So you suppose women in hot climates get cold flashes? I wonder about these things, I feel like someone has to. Like, do you think female bullfrogs are called cowfrogs? Is a whole group of sealions called a pride? Do you suppose they call it "medical practice" because they haven't gotten it right yet? Are we "patients" because we have to wait so long in the office before being seen? Why is "backup" a good thing for your data, and a bad thing for your tub?

Someone has to keep track of these things.

Friday, January 14, 2005

Let's hear it for the Marching Band!

Oh, band days. We live in a rural area, and our local elementary school, back 20 years ago, was Bad. Everyone agreed it was bad, except the first grade teacher who was heard to say, We learn these kids good here. So after considering the options, we decided to put the kids in Catholic school. This wasn't easy for us, we're not Catholic, or even spiritual. The story of their survival in the Catholic school system is a tale for another day. What I want to write about here is their transition back to public school when the oldest reached 7th grade.
Everyone said the local junior high school was a little rough. The kids of coal miners are often brought up to a tough standard of behavior, and kids raised more gently sometimes got trampled by the raw language, the fights, the disdain for all things academic. It's better now, we've all been urbanized and coal miners are more likely to run for the school board and city council as not. But in 1985, all the citified parents knew that the way for kids to survive at SJH was to be in the band. Most of the band kids had parents pretty involved in their activities, and because of the way school classes were organized, these same kids tended to be scheduled right thru the day with each other. So on the appointed day, I went to SJH to register my daughter for the fall.
I said, Oh, by the way, she'll be in band. The registrar said , What instrument does she play? and I thought DOH! I hadn't thought of that! I thought vaguely that they would assign an instrument. So, thinking fast I said, "Flute!" I mean, I couldn't think of which instuments were in a marching band, I knew her braces would give her heck if she played the trumpet, which was the only other instument I could think of. The registrar answered, Well, Mr. E (the band director) may want her to audition, and I thought DAMN! Better get a flute and figure out where the fingers go......
So off we went to the local music store where we rented a flute and got the name of a local flute teacher. She had about two lessons before summer band practice started, and she could no more read music than she could Sanskrit. She would come home and say, I played twelve notes today, and I'd say, Don't drop your hands in your lap and sigh when they get to the hard bits, just keep wiggling your fingers and nodding to the beat, no one will notice. R. cocked an eyebrow at me and said, "that's what the other kids said to do too." Mom's not so dumb. By the time band camp came, just before school started in Sept., she was an old pro. When school started, my somewhat timid daughter was confident in her new classmates, knew where the bathrooms and the cafeteria were, and had learned finger twindling --er, flute playing--like a master.

I learned my lesson though, and started her brother on drum lessons the same summer, a year before he started band. It's a lot harder to fake bass drum.

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Fountain Pens!

OK, now I KNOW most (normal) people aren't excited by fountain pens, but if you're into collecting, or even just frequenting flea markets and the like, it's not a bad item to watch out for. Although maybe I shouldn't increase the number of people competing for the remaining treasures? Ah well....Fountain pens are one of the few/the only collectible that is still used in the way it was originally designed. They're small, and collecting them won't entail building a new addition onto your house. They're portable and (mostly) non breakable, so you can pack them off to new quarters without sweating blood that they'll be wrecked. Your whole collection can even go in a modest sized safety deposit box.
And it's so neat to hold a pen made in, say, 1938, and picture who might have owned it, what they might have written with it: love letters? bank foreclosures? prescriptions? Maybe a novel, or a historical treatise? Where might it have been carried, back in the days when one had ONE pen and used it everyday everywhere--to the War? Europe? the coalfields of appalachia? And the satisfaction of seeing how your (mundane) penmanship assumes character when you write with a REAL pen. Never mind the inky fingers. The occasional smudge. THIS is what real penmanship is about.
And in this throw-it-away (even before it is used up) era, these were things of beauty that were made to be used and to last. Gold, colored brightly, engraved, fancy shapes and a range of sizes, from Debutante to Mammoth, there is some collector for all of them. There are even teeny little pens that were worn, via a ring on top, by the lady of the house, on a ribbon 'round the neck, or on a pin. The prices for these overlooked treasures is still modest (mostly), although that probably won't last for too long, but they can still be found for a song in estate sales and so forth, not like all the art/collectibles seem on the antique shows.
So poke through that box of miscellany you got from Grandpa's house and see if an old Eversharp Coronet is in there, waiting, like a secret friend, for you to find it and once more put it to use writing that next masterpiece. And if you don't want it, for gods sake find someone who does, and keep it out of the landfill. Grandpa would approve.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

The days of Elmer, GFH

I was going through some old photos last night and I came across a group of them from, oh, around 1985, when the kids were 4 and 5 years old. In the photos, they're holding a bucket for a small white goat, which is standing on his hind feet to reach. Cute. And I thought , Elmer!! The Goat from Hell! I (mercifully) haven't thought about Elmer in years and years.

It started off as a good idea. We hadn't lived here long and most of the property was covered in an impenetrable thicket of multi-flora roses, blackberry vines, wild grape vines, poison ivy, all intertwined around and over black locust trees (think of thorns the size of your thumb). Every weekend we'd venture out to whack away at some minute portion of it with scythe and loppers, only to have it grow back before we even got back in the house for fresh band-aids, sort of like the castle of sleeping beauty that the prince battles. A friend, B., suggested we get a young brush goat to graze on the stuff. I was sceptical at first, but B. assured me that goats are brush eaters by nature (not grass grazers as I had thought) and that one would clear the place "in no time". So off we went one weekend to the livestock auction with B., and came home with a 4 month old wether goat we named Elmer. Note, when I say wether, that means a male that has been separated from his, er, nuggets. No one, outside of goat breeders, wants billy goats. Every day we chained Elmer to a tree in a different area, and between eating the stuff and dragging that chain across it, he managed to clear a swathe pretty well. There were only two problems. First, Elmer loved our Husky dog. Whenever he got loose, he'd make a beeline for the dog, peacefully sleeping on the front porch, and he would, um, straddle her and proceed to hump like crazy. You try explaining this sight to a five year old. "they're playing" I'd say. My daughter would reply, "I don't think Shadow likes it much." To get to the dog, Elmer would cross our driveway, and if one of the cars was in the driveway, so much the better. CLippity clip he'd scale the trunk, up onto the roof, and then down the hood and off the side, sharp little hooves gouging away at the paint. If he was dragging the chain, he'd make sure it got dragged over the car too, just to make sure the sides of the car didn't feel left out. This is when he began to be known as the GFH.
The other problem was, Elmer didn't like going in his shed at night. It stands to reason, right? It was clean and dry in there, fresh straw on the floor, water, salt block, grain, hay, all the mod cons. So of course he took a bizarre dislike to it, standing on his hind feet and bawling at the top of his lungs if you were within earshot of the shed.
And did I mention horns? Oh yes, Elmer grew horns. It seems you can either get the vet to cut them off, or you can paint the horn buds with some caustic stuff that keeps them from growing in; B. was a little vague on what you used and where you got it, so we just let things slide til Elmer had a nice set of wicked horns.
Fast forward about two years. Gone is the cute little kid. Now we have a BIG goat, his diet clearly agreed with him, one that stamps his foot and tosses his (horny) head at you when annoyed. By now the dog is a wraddled wreck, just the sound of clip clop sends her frantically trying to get under the deck and away from the (horny) weird GFH. The property is devoid of any and all brush cover, and the cars have a peculiar dimpled surface.
The final straw was one day after it had been raining all week. I had Elmer firmly by the chain and was taking him to the shed for the night. It was a tricky manouver, to unclip the chain, push him in the shed with your legs and shut the door all in one motion. The ground was muddy and wet, and my timing was off. Elmer threw himself in reverse and took off for the front porch, with me still firmly holding onto the chain. He had me off my feet and down in the mud so fast I left a hole in the air. By now we had fence posts up, connected only by a single strand of electric wire. As Elmer towed me effortless into the fencewire, just as he whipped the chain through my lacerated fingers, I thought, this goat has got to go.
Now hubby, N. is a softie. He didn't like the idea of selling Elmer, afraid that he would go to someone who would abuse him. I was rooting for someone to barbeque him. But on a Saturday, N and I loaded the GFH in the back of the pickup and headed back to the auction. We finally got him in a little pen, said Whew! and went out front to wait for the auction to begin. There was a little paddock area in front of the auctioneer, they would open a door on one side of it and usher in one animal at a time to be auctioned, and then open a door on the opposite side and usher it out. It went pretty quickly and when it came time for the goats, they moved all of them into one big pen near the entry doorway. Every time they opened the entry door, I got a glimpse of Elmer. I knew it was him because he was humping away at all the other goats, big , little, male, female. B. was at the auction too, and I thought he would do himself harm, he was laughing so hard. But when the time came, Elmer sold quickly, and we were off before they changed their minds.
I just hope they didn't have dogs.

Friday, January 07, 2005


Goodness that soapbox is high, isn't it? So much more comfortable down here. Saw my therapist for the next to last time last night, soon there will be no more shrink-rapping on Thursday nights, crikey, changes the whole dynamics of my week. Maybe I'll join some Vo-Tech class instead, ceramics or scrapbooking, something stress-free of testing or performance. I am so very done with academic classes, for years I've poked along getting overeducated and over stressed for no earthly good reason except to "stay current", sort of like treading water for an indefinite period - paddling like mad to go nowhere. I haven't convinced my frugal self there is no need to buy more spiral-bound notebooks or pens -- I have enough pens to last until the NEXT millenium -- I don't need them and gods knows the kids don't need them, but it feels strange to pass up all the back to school displays. Maybe just a few rolls of tape? In case?

The cats are all wired for some reason, at 3 am last night they decided to stage WWIII, complete with ambushes, kamikaze attacks, and high fives. My eyes are so bloodshot it looks like I've been doing drugs, but it's just sleeplessness. THEY, of course, will sleep all day today so they will be fresh for tonight's new assaults. Guess it's a good thing they can't manage weapons, I'd have to hose the blood down every morning just to get to the bathroom.

Seems like many of the random blogs I've been reading the last few days are dealing at some point with the tsunami carnage in the east. I can't really wrap my mind around the kind of death toll statistics that are being published, at some point it just boggles. Still, the daily death toll worldwide is something like half a million, on just a normal day, how can that be? Is it any more horrific, that these people died at once in a catastrophe, rather than one by one of accident, disease, homicide, etc.? The people who die of those "ordinary" causes left just as many grieving families, economic loss, emotional turmoil in the wake of their deaths as the tsunami victims, but we don't wax eloquent about their losses, do we? As I've said before, it's a strange old world.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Wild Wonderful West Virginia

I'm really really tired of people who bash West Virginia who have never even been here. The ignorance of hearing jokes about indoor plumbing, incest, dental hygiene, and on and on, as if everyone in West Virginia was straight out of a 'Lil Abner cartoon, or as though we all live in Mayberry. I've lived other places - Florida, Tennessee, South Carolina, California, and believe me, West Virginia has no reason to be ashamed. Physically, it is so beautiful here that I can't believe it's also so cheap to buy land. The people are so friendly and helpful, they even stop their cars and wave you out if you are waiting to turn -- most places they gesture with one finger instead of a wave. We have top-notch medical care, golf courses, white-water rafting, rock climbing, more universities than we know what to do with, Hi-tech consortiums, a state of the art FBI facility, a cutting edge forensics degree program, and lots of malls. We all wash regularly, wear designer clothes or not as we see fit, vote in elections, and cheer our football teams on. This IS the twenty-first century, after all; there isn't a whole lot of regional differences left anywhere anymore, with the continued homogenization of culture, the result of TV, the internet, the telephone and national education for even poor old hillbillies in West by God Virginia. I've lived in WV for nearly 25 years; my family lived in WV in colonial times, back when it was western VA, and were farmers with substantial land even through the Civil War, and both World Wars. The bones of these hills are the bones of those ancestors, and I'm damn proud to be here, thank you very much.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

New bumper stickers sighted

Here are my favorite bumper stickers recently:

If you believe in telekinesis..raise my hand.

Support bacteria...they're the only culture some people have.

Never under estimate the power of stupid people in large groups.

Earth First...we'll strip mine the other planets later.

If I had a dollar for every time I had sixty cents, I'd be in Canada.

Some days it doesn't even pay to chew through the restraints.

Did the wizard get back to you yet about that brain?

I've stopped listening..why are you still talking?

Monday, January 03, 2005

Fresh start?

It would be nice if we really did start the new year off with a clean slate. No regrets, no old resentments festering away, nothing to apologize for, no debts to pay, social or otherwise. If we could concentrate on the resolutions we (perhaps) made, lay out a game plan for tackling them. Heck, I'd be happy to start 2005 without a hangover (from sleeping pills). Instead we have to just muddle along, trying to smooth our path thru life without making anyone else's too rocky as a result.

I wish there really was an afterlife, where we'd get to see again all those folks who have died and left us bereft. Where we would grasp some Cosmic Purpose in all the evil and suffering we've seen, where the Meek would actually inherit the earth, and the Good would get their just reward. Maybe all the socks would finally emerge from whatever black hole they fall into, and match. Maybe the appliance would last past the warranty period, we'd never need to find that lost proof-of-purchase, clothes wouldn't shrink the first time they are washed. We could eat whatever we liked and never gain an ounce, and everything good for us would taste good too. All our pets would live active and healthy and as long as we do, and no one would abuse them or neglect them. All the kids would be funny, and a pleasure to be around, where no one had to nag about the homework, the trash, their clothes, their music, and they would find their parents at least as interesting as the family pet. No gut-wrenching phone calls in the middle of the night, no meetings with the principal or the probation officer, no "too late" and "I'm sorry" that never make things right again. The list could go on and on.....

But when all is said and done, here we are in our imperfect world, snatching happiness on the fly and hoping for the best. We'll have awesome sunrises and thunderous storms that will make us be glad for shelter, and we'll try to make sure everyone else has shelter too. And it won't be enough, and kids will still go to bed with no beds, no food, cold, hungry and abused by people who should love them. The veterans will return, damaged in soul if not also in body, and be met by indifference from the public who have moved on to today's new crisis. And it will all seem so unfair. And it is unfair, and we'll try to fix it. One day at a time. One person at a time.