Sunday, January 31, 2021

Jumping Into the Unknown

Image by Mohamed Hassan from Pixabay. Thank you.

Wow, is it time for a new post, or what? The last one was over four months ago. But I digress. It's been a long, cold, lonely winter...

But the sun and hope are coming!

It's no secret I'd rather live north of the Mason-Dixon line. Husband is okay wherever. I know, that's hard to believe, but it's the truth. As long as he can play bridge at minimum inconvenience to him, and as long as moving doesn't bankrupt us, he's okay anyplace I am happy. I'm lucky that way.

Decisions have been made. Now we are one step closer, once we both get C-19 vaccinations and boosters.

Image by Jill Wellington from Pixabay. Thank you.

(Something I sent to someone about me:)

"Permit me a brief reminiscence: We lost a lot when 2008 happened. The company where my husband worked for 30 years went bankrupt (it was coincidental--he wasn't in the financial industry, but in very obscure and mathy tech), our retirement funds shat themselves, and we were living in a high tax state with NO chance of selling our modest home in a neighborhood chock-full of foreclosures. And no income except my husband's unemployment. He was 63 with a PhD from MIT and couldn't even get hired as a greeter at Walmart. I was 57 and later (finally) worked part time at the age of 64 in a field related to my old techy one, for three and a half years. Thank God.

"I know financial pain. We nearly lost it all. I spent a good seven-plus years absolutely terrified, not sleeping, shopping at Aldi, and eating a lot of beans (or not eating--it wasn't fun). But we finally sold the G-D house (after learning how to fix it up so we could sell it--it was hard work) and moved someplace cheaper to lick our wounds. I don't like Kentucky, but it's better than a cardboard box in the Northeastern US in winter. That's the truth.

"Nov. 2008 I got pissed off--anger has always motivated me positively--and I taught myself how to day trade. I didn't make a lot of money at it, but, damn, I felt that I was giving them all the big middle finger. And I had a great time! It also gave me hope. At the last, I didn't lose money, and I only made a small amount of profit. I let it all go. I'd proven something (to myself) and what I did was better than sitting around moping. It gave me back my strength.

"I wish everyone the thrilling experience the of beating the big guys. Because the game is indeed rigged. There is no f'n doubt. I work as I can to change the system these days."

So--what now?

This is what I think will happen sometime in 2021. As COVID-19 and the whole vaccination mishegoss continues to F us all over (but YMMV):

1. We'll get vaccinated.

2. We'll sell the house.

3. We'll move to an apartment somewhere in Massachusetts.

4. We'll buy Massachusetts real estate we can afford (no idea what that might be).

I feel so free today.

Image by Myriams-Fotos from Pixabay. Thank you.

Monday, September 14, 2020



I'm engrossed in a novel that I would not have ever read--"Patient Zero" by Jonathan Maberry--if it had not been for the strong recommendation of a writerly friend back when we hung out together in New Jersey. He's been gone for a couple of years now. He died suddenly (at 54, I believe) but, in a sense, not unexpectedly, because his lifespan was not going to be long despite his many medical procedures and drugs. He and his wife moved to Florida a few years ago, and he had asked me more than once to come see him (he rarely traveled great distances due to his health). I carry profound regret that I did not go see him when I could. As is often the case with me , when I think of him, I feel I did not appreciate him nearly enough when he was still around, cracking wise and eating french fries, one of his food passions.

(Glenn and Maberry were friends, BTW. Glenn knew an amazing assortment of people.)

Now we are in the midst of a pandemic--STILL--and travel for a lot of us has ground to a halt. But at this time, "Patient Zero" feels oddly appropriate to read. Not necessarily because it concerns a deadly pathogen--a lab-manufactured designer pathogen that, if unleashed, will kill all mammals because it infects in seconds. Yes, seconds. It turns people into what appear to be zombies, although they are not in reality. They are filled with mindless rage, bite everyone they can to infect others, and are damned near impossible to kill. (Maberry's science is surprisingly valid, well-researched, quite inventive--and frightening.)

Sometimes I feel a bit like a zombie, moving through the sameness of my days, and I wonder what the hell happened.

The other major cultural shocks in my life--and perhaps in yours--have been sudden: 9/11. The crash of 2008. For some of us, the assassinations of the Sixties: JFK RFK, MLK Jr. But this pandemic sort of snuck up on us. It's not like the other, sudden events that change lives. (Even if you knew no one affected directly by 9/11, and lived far from NYC, the ripples of that have affected all of us in one way or another via governmental changes.) Like it or not, we live in a post-9/11 world, and its effects have been exacerbated by the increasing acceleration of technology.

The book is set in the post-9/11 world (copyright 2009) and this fact saturates the story. Thinking about it made me ponder what a post-pandemic world might be like.

(Honestly, this all hung together better when I was musing after a much-needed nap.)

Will some of us continue to wear masks for years--maybe the rest of our lives--even after a vaccination becomes available? Assuming a vaccination eventually becomes available? What will our future look like--our stores, our schools, our gathering places? How will we use public transportation safely? How will we sing in choirs? How will we relax in a nice restaurant for, say, 90 minutes, to celebrate a milestone? How will we relax at all?

I have no answers. But the feelings I get reading "Patient Zero" and reading news and opinion pieces about COVID-19 are remarkably similar. Not because of the disease factor, but because of the zeitgeist, for lack of a better word, that suffuses the story.

It wasn't until a few years ago that I fully realized what a tsunami is like. It's not usually a 20 or 40 foot wall of water, but instead a relentless incoming of ocean that builds and builds and builds until buildings, trees, etc., are covered many feet deep.

That's what this pandemic feels like to me--not a sudden shock with far-reaching effects, but a relentless tsunami with insidious waves that eventually cover you.

I'm waiting for them to recede.

Tuesday, June 09, 2020

COVID-19, Black Lives Matter, and 2020

Well. It's been almost a year since I wrote something on this blog. How's 2020 treatin' ya?

Yeah, I know.

Not long ago, it was winter, and scrambling for a mask was one of the things I was doing, along with figuring out how to get food into the house, where to find hand sanitizer (I finally got some three days ago), and reading everything I could find on COVID-19.

And just when it seemed as if life was under control...

No, it was never under control. You know that. And black people getting killed for doing not one damned thing exploded into chaos and people getting their eyes shot out with rubber bullets and old men getting shoved to the ground by the police for nothing, left on the pavement to twitch and bleed from the head until someone finally called 911.

Someone I know posted the following (paraphrasing because I don't remember the exact words): "I miss the 90s when all this shit wasn't happening every day!"

It's true. I recall thinking that the 90s were boring, when I was living through them.

I'd love to have the boredom and normalcy I experienced 25 years ago back again. Please.

So. 2020 isn't even half over and I've got no idea what I might do to salvage a year where I had planned more travel and seeing family and friends, because after YEARS I finally, finally had the opportunity to do so.

I'll bet you're at a loss, too, over what to do next--maybe how to pay your bills.

So, ho-hum, nothing to do but sit home, stew about sick family, sigh because, with my risk factors, attending a protest would be really dumb, and walk and run in virtual races to raise money, and--

Wait. There's a lot we can do. See the graphic at the top of this blog post. Do what you can. Make noise. Donate. Educate yourself (I'm speaking to whites). Read. Cook. Garden. Love your family. Cherish the time together. Lobby for change. And, oh yeah, vote. Vote them ALL out. And you know which "all" I'm referring to.

Because, when this garbage is over...

Change everything. Make it so. Engage.

Sunday, July 07, 2019

Why I Am the Way I Am (Partly)

When I was a teenager, my mother told me two things about sex:

1. Don't do it until you're married.
2. Once you're married, you have to do it.

Hand to God. Her words.

But this blog isn't about what you might think.

When I was 15, she handed me a hardbacked book (I forget the title) and told me to read it for more information about, you know, the dreaded thing called sex.

It was a book about eugenics, meaning Nazi-type breeding for "good genes", only dressed up in "science." It was from the 1930s.

Even at a very inexperienced 15 (we can get into my misconceptions about sex and the male body at another time), I knew this was bullshit.

And her gynecologist gave it to her.

And his last name was GERMAN.

And she was IN LOVE (well, in lust, if my mother ever felt lust) with this guy.

How do I know? She told me. She giggled about him like a schoolgirl, as the saying goes.

Holy shit.

It was only recently I put all these pieces together.

My mother gave me USA-proto-Nazi bullshit to read as a teenager to educate me about sex. Even I could see through it.

She thought it was great stuff. Hawt, even.

I was as appalled as an ignorant rural Sixties teen could be.

I still can't fully wrap my mind around it.

This incident, plus serious emotional abuse at the hands of both my parents, warped my world.

And that's all I'm going to say about my life before the age of 18.

(Seen on the internet in a Thirties eugenics book)
Seen in NY Times: Source, Yale University, Harvey Cushing/John Hay Whitney Medical Library

Friday, May 03, 2019

Better Things


So. It's been a while.

Kitty died on March 19. She grew too sick and was in pain. It was hard to let her go. In certain ways, I have not fully grieved her passing. But one thing, other than recent travel alone and friends, has helped.

It's a TV show, and you should give it a try, especially if you're female, have female kids, and are sick of certain societal aspects. "Better Things" airs on Thursdays at 10, FX Network, but if you use the link here, you can watch all the full episodes of Season 3. There might be a link to earlier seasons.

As has become my custom, when my husband is out on Friday afternoons, I pour a glass of wine and watch the show. Season 3, episode 7 ("Toilet"), made me scream with laughter. The one I saw today (episode 10, "Show Me the Magic") made me gasp with amazement and weep for my own losses, most recently, Kitty. Even if you don't enjoy the toilet humor of episode 7, this show is real, y'all. If you watch "Show Me the Magic," you'll recognize the scene that made me gasp when you come to it, late in the show. The scene that triggered my much-sought-after tears followed.

Pamela Adlon, whom I have loved for many years, co-created the show and stars in it. FX describes her character, Sam Fox, as, "a single mother and working actor with no filter, raising her three daughters in Los Angeles. She also looks after her mother, an English expatriate with questionable faculties who lives across the street."

No filter. I love that about Sam, and I certainly can identify, as someone who has practically no filter herself.

You might hate the show. You also might not enjoy all episodes. Some are hard to watch. But it will touch you if you give it a chance, and it only gets better with each season.

If we are fortunate, we go on to better things in life eventually. I'm not sure about after death, but I believe we continue to exist on some plane--some call it "the wider life." If that is true, then Kitty is romping in a field, pain-free, and eating her favorite foods. It is my fondest hope that I will be reunited, somehow, even if only on the molecular level, with the humans and animals I have loved after I die.

The current season of "Better Things" will end soon, because all things do eventually end. Peace out.

Adlon in a funny and slightly disturbing scene from "Better Things"

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Blue Skies?

image courtesy of jplenio, pixabay. Licensed by pixabay.

Skies in central Kentucky have been pretty gray and are getting me down. And yet, I feel as if blue skies might finally be showing up. My dental work looks to be at an end until April (praise Jesus), some things in my life now appear under control (not that any of us has anything under control, you understand), and I'm singing again with a renewed interest in the local classical group. Last night's first rehearsal for the April 5 concert went well, and I love the music: Mozart, Bach, Purcell, etc., all the old stuff. (Sight-reading Mozart I don't love quite as much, I admit.) 

But it's been a tough winter. They've all been tough since we moved here, each for different reasons. This year, my winter depression has increased, and I suspect the climate is to blame. I miss the cold but bright days of Massachusetts. Believe it or not, New England is generally sunnier than central KY. I've just about had it with the insufferably constant gray skies. Not having traveled in many months isn't helping, of course. Fond memories of Destin remain.

But all is not terrible. A reason to celebrate always seems nearby. I'm making art with acrylics, which feels wonderful (TG the husband goes away on Fri afternoons so I have some glorious alone time to make art!), I'm working on projects around the house--including planning the 2019 garden--I'm exercising, and friends and church provide an invisible safety net I can feel supporting me when things go badly. Feeling supported is something I relish, because much of my life, I felt little to no support.

Chores that have needed doing for one, two, even three years are slowly being dealt with. Expenses are being tracked and brought under control. Budgets aren't far behind. It's a lot of work, but the work is necessary and pleasing. On top of that, I'm decluttering, I'm cooking good food, I'm volunteering and making a difference, and Kitty seems back on an even keel after a nasty crisis at the end of last week.

All in all, everything is improving. Last fall/the holiday period were rough, with medication problems and other snafus, but as I move further into winter, I can feel the days lengthening. It reminds me that spring isn't too far off, so I need to prepare before the good weather and sunshine catch me by surprise.

My favorite season is certainly not winter, though I enjoy a New England one complete with alternating sunshine and snow (as opposed to rain, rain, rain here in KY). I need sunlight like I need oxygen and hate taking antidepressants because they are simply no substitute for the real thing. At the moment, I can't travel to sunny areas, so the trapped feeling comes and goes. But if we had some real snow followed by some bright sunshine, I'd not feel half as bad. Cross-country skiing...

I cannot wait for the end of February. That's when I'm finally able to phase off the drugs and enjoy the lengthening days. Then, March arrives, and it's time to plant the cold weather crops, and summer is on its way. Life turns up the volume at that point.

But I admit it's nice to hibernate a bit in front of a heater, reading a good novel or bingeing on old TV shows (I'm almost through season 2 of "ER", one of my old favorites).

Do you have a favorite season? I'd love to hear what it is.

Do you plan to grow a garden this year? If so, are you trying anything new?

Wednesday, January 09, 2019

The Unbearable Heaviness of Anxiety

Image courtesy of geralt, pixabay. Creative Commons licensed.

Tough times today. I have some major dental work scheduled this p.m. that is freaking me out. Dental work beyond a cleaning/x-rays is my biggest phobia. I have yet to find a dental practice that is as compassionate as the one I had in Massachusetts (God bless you, Dr. Poras), but until I find one, there's nitrous oxide and speaking up about things that bother me (like forbidding novocaine shot into my jaw joint rather than in the gums around the tooth, because jaw injections cause lingering pain that lasts for 8 weeks--NOPE, not dealing with that!).

The reasons for my anxiety lie in my youth, and are not important here. Suffice it to say that I need a lot of support today. I have a friend who volunteered to go with me to Lex, but I've decided to go alone and just have the gas. It worked for my recent root canal, which had me wild with agitation. And I know I alone am the best soother of me when things are rough. Call it an unexpected positive derived from learning to cope with a shitty, abusive childhood.

My serenity is seriously compromised today. I might go someplace afterwards for a snack/meal/drink because I'll be released around 5 PM and won't be able to deal with rush hour traffic in Lex. I'll need space. TG someone is home with my Kitty because she has not been well lately.

I generally take a shower before I go see any health provider. Not today. That's how wired up I am. Sorry, dudes. Hopefully I am not too stanky.

I know it will all be okay later, but for now--please drop a good thought or a prayer for me.

This is why I've never read the book/seen the movie "Marathon Man." Tortured in a dental chair? Oh, HELL, no. RL is bad enough.