Sunday, May 17, 2020

Hometown memory

Just saw an ad on TV for some kind of heating pad that is weighted and safe to last all night long.
This, of course, reminded me of something from when I was maybe 10 or so.

My grandmother had a friend who lived on the outskirts of my hometown, right on the edge, on a dead end street. It was paved, but lonely. Okay, for the longest time, this woman, Dodka I will try to phoneticize her name, lived in a shack with no toilet or running water, though I do believe electricity was forced upon her later in time.

What made me think of this poor old lady who did not speak English in my vicinity, was the horrible way she died.

It was a fierce winter. Snow was piled high in drifts. I doubt anybody even knew someone lived in this shack, not even the town. 
The old lady, in an effort to be warm, plugged in three heating pads and slept her last sleep.

When she was found, many days later, she was burned to a crisp, inside and out.

My grandmother found out about her passing weeks later. I do not know whether she would have done anything to alleviate the woman's situation while she still breathed because most people didn't give a rat's ass about Dodka. She had no family.

The killer thing is, when the town was tearing down the shack, a great deal of money was found in the walls and that part of the dirt floor that had boards over it.

Is there a lesson in this? 
Either: Spend it while you have it  or
be careful using heating pads. 

Thursday, May 14, 2020

Weather or not

The sun is beaming brilliantly into the windows. Birds are bathing atop the pool cover. The lilacs are in full glorious bloom, the day lilies will soon shoot up with their brazen orange flowers, the azaleas are doing their utmost to cheer the world.

Unfortunately, these lovely things cannot cure this Corona virus plague.

Pity, that.

For if they could, everyone would be out, gazing and sniffing and allowing the sun to warm their late spring bodies.

There is no cure yet.
People somewhere are working diligently to find one, but it takes time. In the meantime, people are dying.

This is a cruel purge on us.
A flood would have been much more effective. Just saying.

Of all the various things I have thought about writing here, this is what came out.
No humor. No innuendo. Nothing but a furrowed brow.

Yet, there is still hope.
I can never lose hope that this epidemic will be resolved...weeks, months...years?

How long can you tread water?

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Gee

All the azaleas are blooming.
There are lots of green leaves on all the trees.
The sky is blue. The clouds are puffs of white.

It is freakin' cold outside.

But, nevertheless, I went for a little ride with husband to the place where you can dump yard waste. It is about three miles away from our house. He trimmed some forsythia bushes that were scratching against the RV, I think, but he bundled lots of branches and leaves into two recycling cans and two huge paper bags.

Off we went.

Last time I was out of the house was 4 MAR 20. It was a scarier world and nature wasn't being very cooperative. I did see some tulips that day, but nothing like the lilacs and dogwood of today.

And it was grey everywhere that day.

But not today.

I even stepped outside and took a photo of myself to prove to my buddy that I had gone outside to sit in sunshine. Of course, I chased away the birds at our feeder and the sun disappeared just at that moment, but I was outside.

No biggie.

As I have been meditating while inside the house, I came up with all sorts of grievances I wanted to write about.
Luckily for you, if anybody is reading this, I have conveniently forgotten all these topics until the next time I suffer a grievance.

Even my desk chair has jerked down. No matter how I try, I can't get it to stay up.


Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Warning!

There ought to be a law somewhere about looking at oneself in the mirror after the age of 50.

Here in my seclusion, I have had the opportunity to gaze at my eyebrows, tweezers in hand, and try to undo the damage. Most of the hairs on my left side are white. I find this appalling because the brow on the other side of my face isn't white. Well, not completely.

So, as I am gazing with contempt for those errant brows, I realize that they aren't the problem.

Underneath my eyes, not where bags are, but on my cheekbones, I'm in trouble.

Whoa! Where did those weird puffy parts come from? 
They disturb me to no end.
I slather on moisturizer every single day and yet, they persist.

Okay. I have to admit that I am old now.
I held on to being not old for a long time. People in bars or those I met for the first time often were amazed that I was as old as I said I was.
I have even had to produce my driver's license to prove my age...although not recently. But I don't get out that much, and certainly not to bars.

Anyway, I look old.
I feel old.
I am old.

Word of caution to all those lovely young chickies out there: You'd better enjoy your bodies and faces now because, in all too few years, you will be subject to what I face now.

No matter how hard you try to avoid it, you're going to get old.

And wrinkled. 
And spotted.
And warty,
God Forbid!

So please enjoy your youthful appearance now, while you have it.

I could burst into song right about here, but I won't.

Getting old sucks, but it sure beats the alternative.

Good luck. 

Friday, April 17, 2020

Ah hah!

Perhaps you have wondered about the picture on this blog. The Victorian inn with the pink background. It was created by my artist in residence, Karyn, to hint at the story I was working on...The Mermaid Arms.

That may have been as much as 8 years ago.

I wrote much of it, all including the end, which is spectacular even if I say so myself.

But, I did a bad thing.
I wrote out of sequence.
I had several people wanting me to write, so I wrote. Chapters, scenes, anything that moved me. 
All out of order but the first six chapters.

Yes, I am grievously ashamed of myself for doing this because when I tried to put it all together, I couldn't.

I made a timeline.
I read and reread. I figured out most of it, even the last eight chapters that were as well formed as the beginning six. So, what remained was the middle.

Oh, it did not lack for happenings and excitement, but it was rather jumbled.

So, one week while in North Carolina on vacation, I put it all together. Every chapter and scene and it made sense, with the exception of one chapter.

It needed to be included as it showed tremendous character development. But it hung out there like an extra foot or entire limb. Freakishly just there.
Alone and abandoned.

So I quit working on the World War II story.

Herb stated that I would never finish it. Such a sweetheart, but deep down inside, I guess he may have been right.

Until yesterday when in a flash of mental lightning, I figured out how to make it work.

I have to change the POV and it will slide right in where it belongs.

And, in case I would forget it, I actually wrote down a note and the first sentence so I would remember.

Now...all that remains is for me to salvage the chapter's meaning and rewrite just a bit in the POV of the protagonist.

To quote Peter Pan--Oh, the cleverness of ME!!!

Monday, April 6, 2020

Seeing the light

There is a scene in the Man from Snowy River where the heroine is lost in the outback of Australia, somehow having run away from her father's tyranny. She is stuck on a cliff and, naturally, the hero finds her in a terrible rain storm and rescues her.

He has had the hots for her all along, but she is a rich girl and he is a lowly nothing who works for her father on the ranch, or station I believe it is called.

She has had an epiphany whilst up on the cliff in the rain.
She sees what's going on clearly, possibly as one is supposed to do when one faces imminent death.
She says to him, as he has rescued her, "I see it all clearly now."
He doesn't believe her, perhaps because it is truly what is in his humble heart, or because the story doesn't quite end there.

I don't exactly remember what more is said, but I do remember her saying the bit about seeing things clearly now. It's been years since I last saw the movie.

But that one line has stuck in my head.
I'm 71 years old. I like to watch Godzilla movies, I like to watch UFO and alien stuff on television. I love my family. I have many wonderful and dear friends.  I love my country.

What I see happening here is appalling. I see horror. I see pain. I see death and disease and people working their hands off to fight something so unbelievable...something more horrific than war...or a movie monster.
And I see rampant stupidity with people who fail to see what I see.

I'm not the one on the cliff.
They are, and the cliff is getting really crowded.


Friday, March 27, 2020

Of course it is about the pandemic

Since my older brother introduced me to Stranger in a Strange Land, I have been an avid reader of science fiction.
It sorta goes along with my fascination with cryptids and UFOs and fantasy. Anything that wasn't quite real, but could be, interests me.

Recently, I had the privilege of editing a book by a new author. You can find it on Amazon under Antigenesis, by D.S. Whitaker.


I highly recommend this book. The author might have been reading the minds of the people in charge. And, it has a wonderful science fiction twist that will make you smile.

Please give it a chance.

Monday, March 9, 2020

A great loss

The Greatest Left-Handed Banjo Player this side of the Mississippi passed away this weekend.

He was my good friend.


He had a good heart, a fierce love of music and taught and wrote books and was a Boy Scout.

My heart is so heavy! 

Why do such gifts to the world pass in such pain?

Unfair. Totally unfair.

He leaves behind a lovely, loving wife and two strapping sons.
And lots of friends.

And I'm one of them.


Thursday, February 27, 2020

Name game

Things that keep me awake at night.

In high school, there were various pairings that later became permanent. I don't know why this came to me. I had been sleeping.

Anyway, there were two kids who were actually very beautiful. Small in stature, but very nice to look at.

The young lady had a last name an arm long. I won't write it out, but let's say, combined with her short first name, she boasted 10 letters,  maybe more, as I do not recall the exact spelling of her names. Add an e, take out a c, can't remember and am too lazy to look it up. This is a blog, not a scientific paper.

Anyway, the guy's name, with a shortened version of his first name, contained 10 letters, also. 
Wonder how he filled in the blanks on those college board exams. Not enough spaces, for sure.

So, they did marry. If they hyphenated their surnames, wow.

Why did I think of this?
God only knows.

I know that if my husband had to fill in his whole first name and surname on a test blank, it would not fit, either. FIFTEEN LETTERS




Friday, February 14, 2020

Facts and theories

To those folks who think voting against Joe Biden is a great idea...well, you are being manipulated by the Russians,

This is bizarre, of course.
Suddenly, Joe is too old, out of step, can't speak (he stutters) and somebody is scared shitless he'll get elected president of the United States. 
How does one handle this situation?
One puts an old geezer who talks like a cable TV character in the fore. In addition, one puts a totally inexperienced, but brilliant, young man right behind him. A man who has proven himself in other ways, but won't sell to the masses in the south and midwest where they take their religion seriously.

I feel the need to insert this here.

Let me take this moment to include the definition of a word bandied about lately that very few people actually understand. 
        Here goes: Oligarchy--ol·i·gar·chy
                       /ˈäləˌɡärkē/
        noun: a small group of people having control of a country, organization, or institution.
  1. ("the ruling oligarchy of military men around the president")

Clear now? Get it?
Allow me to go on.

For all you gun handlers and avid Christians, here are some facts about the folks in Russia who are yanking your chains.

Russia had the highest number of abortions per woman of child-bearing age in the world according to UN data as of 2010.
Does that bother you a little?

Oh, wait, there's this thing about the right to bear arms. Hang on. Russia recently announced even tighter restrictions on just who can own guns...and has threatened to confiscate privately owned weapons. After all, the more people who have guns, the more people who can shoot the authoritarian leadership that still exists. Here's a little factiod for you: Recently, Putin has announced the creation of a National Guard...super cops that aren't called KGB but he does not forget where he came from. Their prime objective would be the confiscation of guns from Russians. There are numbers of illegal guns flooding into Russia...what do they know...but these are considered threats.

Still thinking the Russians love you, kiddies?

If the Russians get the US president they want, again, this is their government's way of thinking. Abortions? Fine. The Christian far right is against a woman's right to decide what goes on in her own body.  There. The Russians have a rocky record regarding that, but currently, well, they use abortion instead of birth control. Chew on that.

And as for guns...if you love your right to keep and bear arms, and you are afraid the liberals in America are going to take them away from you, so you can't obliterate wildlife with your automatic weapons, think what a Russian inspired government would have here.

This is odd, I know, for me to go so political on my own blog. These thoughts came to me while I was thinking of the sudden rise of these two men while Mr. Biden has dropped in the polls. If it is because of the Russians and their ability to step in and out of our politics with such ease, these ideas popped into my head.
I cannot express my fears as eloquently as I would like. I have held back, but put forth these insights because this is what I do and where I do it.

I want to know if anyone actually reads my words, and if there is any value in my conclusions. While this is still America, I wanted to go on record.

Free speech. Free thoughts. No KGB, no Secret Police. But plenty of scary people with more power than they deserve are lingering in the background and, if we are not careful, the country could be led down the garden path away from democracy into chaos.


Monday, January 27, 2020

Words

Somewhere between 4 and 5 am today, yes--I know there should be periods after the A and M, but I'm not going to bother, I had several thoughts that disturbed my sleep to the point where I couldn't.

One I can't mention as it was not pleasant.
The other, far more pleasant.
I remembered a word used in my house that was silly and probably made up out of nowhere.

Snickelfritz. Or something like that. My mother took German in high school so it might have derived from that somehow. Or it could have been something from a 1930s song that I have never heard before.
Like Ishcabibble. Or Ishkabibble. Turns out that was the name of a character from an old band...a joke character, usually blamed for doing something stupid. I actually caught the character in an old movie...a lovable dork.
Anyway, Snickelfritz was a term of endearment, I hope.

Another word: Googiewommer. This is a noun, for sure. Usually replacement word for the actual thing one can't remember the name of. Hand me that googiewommer, will ya?

There are others. I will write them when they come back into my brain.

Question now is, do you have any funny words that aren't curses, that you remember from your past?
If so, please let me know.

I love increasing my vocabulary.


Monday, January 20, 2020

Martin Luther King, Jr.

He had the right idea.
Too bad, he had to die for it.

Now...let's think of some other people who have had right ideas and died for them.

Jesus.
Kennedy, John and Robert.
Ghandi
King
Tupac

That was the side I agree with.
There is another side. I can't agree with these people, either.

Saddam Hussein
Qaddafi
Hitler
Mussolini
Mao


Now,wait. I observed something about both these lists.
They're all men.


Monday, January 13, 2020

Fire

Last night, a fire raged in the town next to where I grew up. It was the downtown we shopped in. It was where my parents grew up. I spent the first year and a half of my life living there.

It was a huge 7 alarm fire. Firetrucks from neighboring towns came to help put it out, some from pretty far away, to use their ladder trucks because the structures that were burning were multi-story apartment buildings under construction.

Bound Brook, NJ has had its share of disasters. The main street was flooded in 1999 by hurricane Floyd. Twelve foot high water marks wiped out stores and businesses. They rebuilt and the gov't put up water barriers to keep the nearby Raritan River out of the town.

In order to erect these new apartment buildings, several old useless buildings were knocked down.

When I was a child, this area of the downtown had an active business section, a continuation of the main street. There was a fishmonger, a butcher, a bicycle chop, a shoe shop.  People used these stores. Before the supermarkets and chain stores arrived, many years later, this area was viable.

But, things always change.

The houses for the most part remained, along with the people, usually somewhat new to the country, as were  so many families in the 40s-50s.

And it remains that way as the big old houses were converted to apartments.

It had a heart beat.

It is alive and, until last night's fire, it was a safe place to live and raise ones' children.

Now, there are ashes. The new buildings are in ruins. The people who lost their homes wouldn't have been able to live in those luxury high rises....

But, luckily, not too much damage was done to the old neighborhoods. 
The stores and families of my youth are long gone, but there are people, nice, hardworking people still living in that end of town.

Bound Brook will once again rise from the ashes, or flood waters, to shine again.

Thank you to all the first responders who saved so much with their unceasing efforts.

Thursday, January 9, 2020

On Being a Luddite

Those poor Luddites. They existed for a very short time awhile ago, like in the previous two centuries. 
They were famous for eschewing technology...like steel plows, store bought cloth, prepared meals in a box that came to your door...that kind of stuff.

They died out rapidly, though remnants of that kind of thought still exist in limited ways among certain German type religious orders--Amish, Mennonites (not so much) and Hudderites. They are a minority, though, and I think they are maintaining their traditions with breaks when horses and buggies are rather inconvenient in 2020 USA.

Anyway, yesterday I finally got my second child to delete all these files of other peoples' writing from my WORD. I know nothing about where this stuff goes, how it is kept and brought up with a stroke of a few keys and all, but I knew I had a shitload of words that were not my own stored somewhere in the magic box.

I got the feeling these words that were not my own were clogging up my computer so I wanted them out. Of course, I couldn't do it on my own, but the kid stepped in after four months of begging on my part and within 20 minutes max, deleted all those thousands of words. Books worth! Several times over.

That done, to my relief, I decided to do some registering for the writers' conference in April. In the past, although the preferred method of payment was cyber, which I do not trust even though I do have an account but I don't know why, I have paid by check. Yes, paper. Yes, it may have been a royal pain in the ass, but I was allowed on account of everybody loves my wit and general vivacity.

It didn't work.
I had to go through that thing I do not trust and entrust it with my credit card numbers  because I can't remember passwords or even really how to use that thing...though it would allow me to pay by credit card through them. Cost me an additional $3!!!

I am pissed off.
Yes, being a Luddite is difficult and I can hear those little rat bastard millennials shouting OKAY BOOMER, but know what I say to them?

F*ck off, babies.