Saturday, December 31, 2011

Last Day of the Year

A New Year is a time of new beginnings, resolutions, auld lang syne and all that. I suppose if I have to pick something, I've made an attempt at dressing a little better. Suki introduced me to skirts and boots. Aside from
a day at work being called Pocohontas, I'm managing to pull off a nice colorful skirt, plain top, more jewelry
and a jacket, with my new suede fringe boots.
That said, I've let my hair grow, colored it darker and make an attempt each day to say at least two nice things. That is enough change for now.
I don't know whether the new year will bring a Kindle. I like the physical act of holding a book and reading it in bed. A kindle doesn't have all that much appeal to me right now. I had a panic moment last night when I ordered Arguably, by Hitchens, and the Kindle version autopopulated and poof!  I thought I was out 14 bucks.
Bottom line is I dared to try their HELP CHAT to fix the situation and an awfully efficient man (?) named Nahdeep was instantly about to credit me and I was credited in mere seconds.  Try that with Verizon.  Another story.
For those who know me, I have spent years of my life on hold or in endless menus with Verizon, and have managed to raised my blood pressure more than a few points.
I hope the New Year brings me less frustration, and more relaxation.  I hope the election year doesn't force me
to give up TV altogether.  (the attack ads with the lies/distortions/half-truths, etc.) I hope the stock market continues to climb...(5.5 percent this year!) and I hope that we all are healthy, relatively speaking, next year and that my pets are safe from imbecile neighbor's dogs.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Who is Looking Back I glanced up from my desk to look out the window, and something was looking back.

Holiday Random Thoughts

Two old men were talking at the bar. "You know, a lot of people used to come in here." His friend didn't miss a beat. "A lot of people are dead."
That pretty much said it all. They sipped their beers in silence for a few moments, and I really didn't catch much else of what they were talking about. It's true though. A lot of people are dead. I found myself thinking of Crazy George, now dead, who used to come busting in just about every bar I ever cared to sit at on a Friday night. It didn't matter where you went, George made the rounds and passed through most places in town. Though he was always "on the way" to some German club in Ohio, so he never stayed long. I miss old George. I got his Christmas card the day after they found him dead. That felt strange. No one was ever sure what he died from. Everyone should have an eccentric, unpredictable friend, just to keep life interesting and have good stories to tell. He will live on through stories for many years. Like the time he caught the bar on fire doing flaming shots. That sort of thing.
It's nice to see people from out of town at the holidays. Catch them up with what is going on here. See what life is like "out there." Wherever "there" is. One thing is for sure, a lot of people, (the ones who aren't dead), left here for jobs. I miss those people. Sometimes I think about what the town would be like if they had stayed, found work, built homes, had children here, etc. Continuing the cycle. We have a dying town. And, though we love it, the underlying sense of loss is always there. You can see it in the eyes of every parent who has to take their grown children back to the airport. Or trudge off to the Post Office to mail gifts to rarely seen grandchildren.
The ham is in the oven. The house smells good. I'm done shopping. All good things. - Some of us are still here.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The Longest Night

The big fire at Solstice was higher, brighter and more lively than ever. A big weather front came through just as we were starting to light the fire this year. The winds whipped all around...first from west to east...then east to west. Sparks shot higher than the tallest trees in the nearby woods. I was just thankful it didn't rain a bit. This after a good half inch soaking that occurred most of the day. Good timing, and a good time. - Next year is 2012. And the world is supposed to end on Solstice next December.I hope not. - For now, let's just get through this longest night.

Happy Solstice!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Cat Commercial

The Sunday Morning Muse, December 18, 2011

 No sunrise today...just a dusty snowfall on the rooftops with lots of cloud cover.  I watched a Jon Stewart/Christopher Hitchens clip from the Daily Show back in 2005, talking about the Iraq war. The site has a few interviews up with Hitchens because of his passing this week. I enjoyed hearing these two men talking about their positions. Funny how a truly intellectual discussion about the war, a real discussion, not platitudes and talking points splattered about, is actually on a Comedy Channel.
The war is over now. In time for Christmas. Cue up John Lennon. I lament the loss of life, and the huge cost. It is time to move on. And I don't mean to the "next" war.
I ventured into the stores yesterday. Don't think big mall, think local stores. Don't get me wrong, I like to shop, but mostly I like it better when I go in and know exactly what I want to get someone. Not aimlessly float around. I waste so much time. I was distracted by space heaters of all things. Didn't actually buy one, and went through each and every one trying to find something for the porch. I lost a lot of time doing that. 
And instead of wrapping things when I got home, I managed to devote a good hour looking up all kinds of tabloid articles on the Van Morrison/Gigi Lee/Love Child headlines. The story gets sadder and sadder. From it's bizarre beginning two years ago with the birth of a child. To the cancer death of the mother, and now, this weekend actually, the world finds out the baby died eleven months ago. All this without a word.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Friday, December 16, 2011

The Pale Blue Dot, Again

Once again I find myself fixated on Voyager I. I can't get the image of the earth, taken from 4 billion miles away in 1990 out of my mind. Just a speck. Now Voyager is approaching the end of our solar system...the edge between the system and what is really the space that exists out there among the stars. The camera onboard was turned off years ago...because there is nothing to see. Voyager is measuring the solar wind and still sending back useful information. Because until now, we could only guess at where the "outer" space really begins.
This little man made contraption has travelled about 33 million miles a year, since 1977 and is out THERE further than anything has ever been. Ever. And everything we ever were, are and maybe ever will that little speck.

Christopher Hitchens is Gone

One of the greatest intellectuals and provocateurs of our time. Christopher Hitchens has died. My first thought: I feel really bad that I can't read what it felt like for
him to do so. He would have described it so well.
I'll miss reading his column.

Today's Thought

"If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need."


Sunday, December 11, 2011

Pink Martini

The Sunday Morning Muse, December 11, 2011

A cold Sunday morning with smoke coming out of chimneys all across the valley. Today I'll just do a quick mental rundown of things which crossed my life in some way this week. First off, I read Christopher Hitchens latest column, Trial of the Will, dated for January in Vanity Fair. Compelling reading, to say the least. He re-examines the notion that what doesn't kill you, makes you stronger. I look at the phrase in a whole new way now. Hitchens, in a life or death struggle with cancer, still summoning up the strength to write. It's because that is who he is.
A close family member had a heart attack this week. He is a miracle of modern science already with two shoulders replaced, a knee...several back surgeries, a prior bypass surgery. A six million dollar man. His record shows his ability to fight back. To see him he still looks every bit the truck driver he once was, retired now. He is big in my thoughts today.
Politics seemed less important this week. It's like I've become bored of the circus acts and am watching the crowd instead. The crowd yesterday in Moscow on the news, estimated at twenty five thousand! The people are upset with Putin, and determined to expose election fraud. People speaking out in Russia...against the Government. Wow. I think this brings the whole Arab Spring concept to an entirely different realm. The "internets" and I phones and all this technology has let the horses out of the barn. The oppression of people, the control of people...that dominated so many nations/cultures is reaching a critical point.
Entropy...increasing state of disorder, is a concern, as the world economy is not in great shape. Everywhere change is occurring that will play out in ways no one can really predict right now.
Scary, but exciting stuff.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Decorating at Home

A small manger set on an accent table. One of the three wise men are missing. Mom says he ran away. I think it was probably the one with the gold.
I found a water candle to plug in. It is a cheap kind. Not sure if he works, or if it is so old it could
burn the house down if it does work. I'll plug it in where I can see it for now. My infamous oil candle collection lies in boxes...unopened for many years. Long ago I lived in a little house with a closed in porch that had these wonderful long shelves and was all windows. I had them all lined up out there. I've lived several places since then and never anywhere that I could display all of them. They do tend to smell from the kerosene...even the stuff that is not supposed to smell.
We have four spinners left. They look like little plastic bird cage ornaments with metal spinners
in them that spin when they get warm. My grandmother had them on her tree long ago. We put them on the tree every year. I don't have many items that belonged to Mu. I think I have one of her candy dishes and some Finnish table runners and a blanket. Oh and her God-awful fake fur hat. I'll never wear it, but I'll never part with it.
I put up these vintage plastic bells on either side of the garage door. They are easily 1970's, and they aren't anything special. Probably someone would throw them away, but I put them up every year somewhere. My mom had a step uncle....or perhaps he was her father's cousin, we were never sure...who married a woman who lived up on the hill. I never met the woman until she was 95 years old, and I was searching out people who may have photographs of my relatives from mom's side in Poland. Her name was Anna. And she did have plenty of photographs from her late husband's side which no one would want, and happily gave them to me. Pictures of my grandpa and his cousins during World War I. Sadly, I didn't get to spend more time with her. She was ailing...and she thought she would die before Christmas so she started giving me her Christmas stuff. Thus, the bells. She lived to see another Christmas, but not much longer after that. I was very grateful for the photos.
Ironically my own baby picture was among them.
Well, I better get back to work.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Reponse to Newt's Get a Bath Statement

Reg Henry was spot on today. Well said.

Freddie Mac is probably no longer hiring historians at a consulting fee of at least $1.6 million—the job Newt managed to swing for himself—and it would be a waste of a good bar of soap if an ex-Occupier were to get his hopes up.

Catch the Wind

Rock 'n Roll Hall of Fame announcements today! Congratulations Donovan!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

The Sunday Morning Muse, December 4, 2011

Well, it looks like the sun is coming up again, a particularly pretty sunrise as you can see.... and life goes on without the Herman Cain sideshow to distract us from our hum drum lives. He finally quit yesterday. What will drive the big 24 hour news cycle now?
It makes me nervous when people refer to themselves in the third person. Cain did a lot of that. It's like that Seinfeld episode...Jimmy. A little ego goes a long way. You gotta have a certain amount just to aspire to anything, really. But normal people get put off by arrogance, especially when it seems like you have set yourself up as the great OZ, and now someone has shown us a little of what is behind the curtain.
Sometimes things don't go as you want them to. He wanted Ginger White to stay hidden. When their relationship was exposed...he tried to find something to blame. After all, this wasn't part of the Herman Cain plan. This isn't the "Herman Cain" he has invested so much time "creating." The is a small compartment of his life, and he couldn't "control" it. Imagine!
I find it isn't the world conspiring against us, so much as it is our reaction to the world. Even if it seems the world is conspiring against us. Politicians have met stranger fates. Think Howard Dean. One taken off a mic while he was addressing a crowd. A moment of exuberance... broadcast infinitum on all the right wing talking head shows, until they created the image of a madman. A short lived moment, unplanned. Changing his fate. He had no control over that either, but the perception...remains. But I digress. I was never really a Howard Dean fan anyway.
Oh well, politics aside, I'm still not much in the ho ho ho spirit. Neither is Sambo, sitting here on my desk casting furtive glances toward the door behind me. yyyyyyyyyyyyyyuuuuuuuuuuuuu
(That was the cat on the keys.) She is constantly on the lookout for Sweet Pea. They still haven't forged a loving relationship in all these months. It's a source of stress. Perhaps more cat toys need added to the holiday shopping list. Diversions.
Onward. Another pot of coffee to brew. The sun is up.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

On Being Cocky

Kinky Friedman once said, if you have a choice between being cocky and being humble, always pick cocky. There will be plenty of time to be humble later when everything goes horribly wrong. Then you won't get the chance to be cocky.
That pretty much describes the rise and fall of Herman Cain. Today is the day of his "big announcement," according to the media. He plans to say whether the Cain Train has derailed. I suspect it was a long night at the Cain house last night. The self proclaimed soft-hearted man probably engaged in a very thoughtful conversation with is wife about his secret, very troubled friend.
And now the spotlight falls on Newt. I won't even delve into the sexploits of New Booty-Newty and his tendency to trade up on wives and dump them for newer models when they get sick. Nor the 300 thousand in fines in ethics violations, and all his other baggage. Lobbyist? He isn't a lobbyist...he is an Historian. That's worth millions of dollars. I guess you could say he is an historian, because he is trying to rewrite history.
But here we go. I wish I had his million dollar credit line at Tiffany's. At least the jewelry is portable....for the next time Newt "trades" up. He married a smartie.