Monday, July 5, 2021

July 4th, 2021

 Yesterday, amidst the flag waving and the sparkling skies, I came to realize something...something important.

It wasn't the day to celebrate our soldiers, those who gave their lives for their country or those who are still in the various frays around the world. It was not a day to celebrate how very wonderful our country is, either.

America is flawed.

There are parts of our past that make me ashamed. I am not alone in this. I could list some of the bad things we have done as a nation: how we treat indigenous people, how we treated slaves as animals and still hold some of our people as lesser than some of us, how we took Hawaii from its people on a whim of pineapple producers, how we forget that Puerto Rico is part of our country, how we only lent ourselves out to fight in world wars until we ourselves were attacked, how we have hated the millions of people in the former Soviet Union and China because we were afraid of them...there are so many more instances I can cite, but that's enough for now.

What I want to say is that, 254 or so years ago, some men who could think came up with a plan to establish a new country. One founded on some sort of equality for men who had land and money, and given the principles of the times, it gave certain people a way to climb up the ladder to become citizens who had a right to choose their leaders.

Very wise, but flawed.

They could have, right from the start, done away with slavery. In order to get other things they wanted, they deemed more important, the founding men gave up that idea in favor of two houses of legislature, one representing population, the other equally two members from each new state. It worked, sort of.

They could not foresee everything. In a few years, they had to add a list of rights to the initial idea of constitution, which made things a bit better, but still not achieving everything to make this union more perfect.

Therein lies the problem, but they did try hard. They really did.  And it works fairly well, just not perfectly.

We can all sit in front of our televisions and see injustice and exclusion and war and death that should be bettered. Some of us come up with solutions and pass these brilliances on to our legislators and sometimes these ideas change things. Look...women can vote and old office. The oppressed are slightly less oppressed than they were before. America is still the place people want to be. That's why they keep coming here.

But these rich guys in Pennsylvania didn't get everything right, first thing. And people living now are reading far more into their words to suit themselves and the things they want. Some people like their changes, others do not.

Some people need to view the world through eyes that see the wrong and try to make it right.

This is what America really is, and really should be.

I thank my ancestors who came to this country because the country they lived in was beyond terrible. America was the shining light in the darkness of their old worlds. They came here, worked hard and climbed slowly up a rung or two of the ideal American ladder of success.

They were successful because they wanted to work at it. They tried to shake off the old country ways that didn't allow them to become something other than peasants who owned nothing. And they wanted to be safe.

That's what we all really need to be. Safe. Safe from worrying about the knock on the door. Safe from horrid diseases and unnatural deaths and murder. Safe to own things some people never can have in this world.

Maybe we are too content to sit back and let the bad things roll away from us. 

Maybe we have to do something more to make this the land of the free. Have everyone equal, no matter what.

This is my independence day salute to America. 

I love this country.

Friday, July 2, 2021

Late June, 1963



 Back in the early 60s, two horse crazy girls attended the huge horse show in Johnson's Park in New Brunswick, NJ.

It was what they looked forward to every year...must have gone to the show for many years, though I cannot number them now. At least from 1961, that's for sure.

They reveled in the fact that they bore "exhibitors" badges, obtained from a local horseman who frequented the tavern owned by one of the girl's fathers. It made them get into the festivities and the horses without question.

Too bad neither had a horse to exhibit.

Too bad they had nothing other than love of horses to keep them going through the heat of early summer.

But it was wonderful, being there among the riders. The smell of the horses surrounded the girls. The thrill of watching the events. Rising on invisible saddles when the horses performed so beautifully by clearing a jump. Seeing what they wanted for themselves but never obtained.

Reaching for the moon.

But for three days at the end of June for so many years, they were as close to heaven as they could get.

These people were so far beyond them. The wealth involved in keeping a horse, much less several, as whole families rode in numerous events. Their tent stables were lined with expensive tack and ribbons from events won. The jangling of the bridles as these wealthy few got their horses ready to show or removed the tack that would have to be cleaned for the next day.

Three days of heaven for little, silly, love struck girls.

I would go back in a second!

Sunday, June 27, 2021

Because I could not stop for death, it kindly stopped for me

 Not me, not really. I mean, we're all dying slowly, right? Some faster than others.

I learned today that one of my sorority sisters passed away suddenly.

I am very upset.

She was one of the most talented individuals I have ever known. I was not close to her after her marriage, which produced two girls, but I recently started hearing from her on FB. A little now and then. But I consider that keeping in touch.

I don't know how she died or the cause. But I am saddened that the world and her family has lost someone so precious.

So sorry, Fitz.

Monday, May 31, 2021

Forensics

 Several years ago, my mother gave me one of her back brushes.  She had two or three, so she gave me one.

I never used it, put it away meaning to use it if I ever needed to scrub my back.

Well, my back itches. Getting old, I guess. Itchy and itchier!  The doctor told me it was because of old age. Humph!

Yesterday I found the back brush and took it to the sink to see if it needed to be washed or at least dusted.

Oh, it needed more.

There were silvery white hairs stuck in the bristles.

My mother's hair.

All that is left of her!

All her own DNA.

Not what was cremated. Not what was dumped into the lake behind her house. Not what was buried next to my father.

Hers. 

My mother's last remaining bits.

The girls and I removed the hair from the back brush and put it into a small plastic bag.

It's almost wrong. It's almost pathetic. 

But it is her.



Monday, May 3, 2021

Passing the word


 My bank password was screwed up because I didn't log out of my last session which was about, oh, I dunno, months ago.

Some nice people at the bank helped me.

Only took 20 minutes.

Now, I ask, why did I have to change my password yet again?

Because this computerized banking system is bullshit. At least I got to talk to human beings to straighten things out.

Now I have another problem...getting paid from PayPal, which doesn't believe I got sent money.

I am perplexed. I hate this shit. Send me a check........

Yes, I am no angel.

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

We found our 1968 Buick Grand National listed for sale on some internet sale site.

It is not for sale. It never has been, was never listed, but if it were, considering the money put into it in the past few years, I'd want $60,000 for it.

So, however it got listed on a national selling site, if it doesn't get taken off or down or whatever, if somebody is willing to give me that amount of cash for it, I'll consider.


 

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Oncologist today 

This is the first time I will be actually in her presence in over a year.

So many things have happened since then.

I thought all my physical problems were psychosomatic, but they aren't.

So, naturally, I'm scared. They will draw blood and she'll look me over and hopefully say, hey, you're okay, nothing to worry about, even though it has been twelve years almost since your last chemo treatment.

They never say "cured". They never even say "in remission" anymore.

Because they know cancer is evil and will lie in wait for years and years to come back in another form.

This time, I am worried about my skin. Bumps and little scabs and sore parts. And recurring shingles. Or....

Always that OR.

Always wondering when that other shoe will drop.

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Glimmers

 I don't want to jinx anything.

I really need to express myself in some way, so here are current thoughts and observations on the world and me.

Something seems a little bit better. Yes, I got vaccinated. The rest of my immediate family is half vaccinated. Today, there is some kind of problem with my type of vaccine, but I guess if I were going to die from a blood clot caused by maybe this vaccine, I'd be dead already as I got the vaccine on 12 MAR 21.

Fortunately, I am still alive.

Moving on, the trees are shedding pollen and starting to get green around the edges. Our day lilies have reached at least a foot above the dirt and the gladiolas are shooting up, along with bits of those two other plants I cannot remember, but one gets really tall and has purply pink bunches of flowers and the other has spindly leaves and loads of yellow flowers. All is good there. The lilac bushes have leaves.

That cheers me.

What also cheers me is that some of the skin infection that has plagued me all over my zaftig bod seems to be clearing. I don't want to go into detail, but it is not fun, has not been cured through three different types of cream meds and antibiotics. Perhaps it is because I am not all that bothered by the news, well except for the useless killing of people, but that irritant has quieted and I feel a huge wave of calm washing over my psyche.

Is it my imagination?

Are things getting better?

The numbers of COVID illnesses keeps rising. I still don't go anywhere. I talk with friends via Facebook and telephone and email. They send photos. I try to remember to take photos to send.

I see my oncologist next week. I do not want to be complacent because cancer comes when it wants to.

I've been so lucky to have lasted eleven years beyond a stage 4 lymphoma diagnosis!

And I keep fighting. 

We all keep fighting to survive. We all try to do our best in these trying times and we all want to go back to our lives the way they were. 

But, well, you can't go home easily. And even when you do, it isn't the way you remembered it was.

Monday, March 22, 2021

Waiting

 Here I sit, surrounded by open desktop, phone, tablet and landline, waiting for a virtual call from my oncologist.

Obviously, something went wrong, as it is now 20 minutes past time for the appt.

Maybe I was supposed to sign up for something that I didn't sign up for. Last tine I had a virtual appt, I got an email with directions to follow to sign on, which I did, and the call went through. Now I wonder whether I was supposed to sign up for something different.


Sign up. Password. Wait. Who are you? Didn't you get the email? Didn't you get the text????


Technology only works when there is a to and a from.



I guess I am not sufficiently a to.

Sunday, March 7, 2021

Over the past few days

 My mind has been tumbling, forward and back.

The days are slowly ebbing away from me and I have accomplished absolutely nothing. But I think that is because I am just treading water.

I haven't even been reading.

I have the newest Janet Evanovich book and it sits on the end table, unopened. I may have read the dust jacket.

Oh, well. I took a photo of my front yard. Karyn took a photo of my long hair. I think I have gained five pounds since the braces came off.

Frankly, I don't give a rat's ass.

The driving force seems to be wanting to get vaccinated.

That's not much, now, is it?

Only perhaps the biggest thing since Jonas Salk.


This photo is of me and my best friend, 1970. I like to remember that day. Her father had 3 whole pigs roasted in a pit for his company picnic.

Life was simple. I accomplished some stuff back then.

Friday, January 15, 2021

Hot Pork

 Back in the pre-Christian era, one Alexander of Greece built himself quite an empire. It stretched from what is now Spain in the west into the area of present day India in the east. (It was so huge, the very idea of it in the past made Julius Caesar cry because his empire wasn't all that big.)

Anyway, Alexander, who became known as being pretty Great, died. He was not all that missed by his four beloved territorial generals, especially not the one called Seleucus, his particular buddy. Thus, with this huge empire existing minus Alexander, the four generals divided the empire up among themselves. For some reason, Seleucus got the majority of land area...from Persia to India. The other three got areas with more people and goods, less sand.

Seleucus was ambitious. Why settle for his measly quarter dominion? He wanted to replace Alexander's entire empire and was quite willing to use his army to obtain more territory. He had amassed a huge army which he supplemented with War Elephants. Elephants carrying archers on their mighty backs. Sharpened tusks and armor...they were fierce and terrified Seleucus' enemies by there mere presence. Think about a dozen or more charging tons of pachyderm busting through the enemy lines, trumpeting and slashing away with their ivories.

So, thus equipped, Seleucus gradually led his army into the territories of the other generals. And won. Gradually, he reconquered the lands to the west...with the help of his infamous War Elephants.

This went pretty well as a military tactic, but not forever. Some brilliant strategists on the other side came up with the idea of setting wild pigs on fire and sending these much smaller animals rushing into the line of elephants. Call it porkchop potential The boars were coated in pitch which was then set aflame. Fiery piggies rushed up to the War Elephants. The elephants apparently were quite afraid of the flaming pigs and broke ranks, turning back into their own soldiers,  scattering and killing them.

Fire Pigs.

Porcine projectiles.

Took down the mighty Elephant Army.

Seleucus did eventually end up taking over most of the rest of  Alexander's Empire, but met his end at the hands of one of the other generals. 

You never hear much about Seleucus the Great but the story of his barbecue tactics lives on.


Tuesday, January 5, 2021

Celebrity

Indefinite time period, but within the past 10 years. Who can remember dates when it is the event that is important?

I am sitting in the waiting room at my local hospital, which I believe has changed names twice since then, but no matter. I am sitting there with my daughter who had to drive me because I was too weak and sorta out of it to drive myself. Maybe it was the x-ray waiting room. There were so many tests back then I just can't remember.

Anyway, after I sign in and go back to my seat, I notice one of the ladies behind the counter smile and hand my papers over to another woman. Then, she pronounces quite clearly, "I see we have a celebrity in here, today."

 I look around the crowded room (pre-covid) looking for maybe Cher or Angelina or even Rosie O'Donnell. Not there. And everyone is staring intently at me.

Huh? Here I sit, wearing sweat clothes and a silly but necessary Finnish reindeer herder's cap on my head, braided wool down the side and pompom on top. Everybody is staring at me?

I do not blush. I cannot blush...totally impossible. I am yellow with chemo coursing through my veins and look like crap because the cap is hiding the fact that I am bald. 

Staring at me.

All I can think of is that somebody had read my books or maybe, my celebrity was on my chart as a joke.  I smile. Cast my glance around the room. Yes, people are still staring at me.

Okay. For one nanosecond, it was cool. 

Just the one.