SWANN’S WAY

This dissolves into a mess of old letters and correspondence & won’t make any sense after the part about a coloring book.  Just skip past it to the “Cotton Candy” post. Maybe someday I will learn how to cut and paste and move the jibberish. You have been warned.

LAGNIAPPE

*I know I often mix up “to” and “too” and other grammatical boo boo’s, so don’t be
sending me punctuational emails…mentally add or subtract an “o” if your obsessive.
And yes, my mother was an English teacher.

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GOING UP?

I grew up: exactly like Kay Thompson’s Eloise. Really, even the part
about riding up and down elevators to annoy other passengers,running
wild in the lobby’s, driving bellmen and staff crazy, inviting passing
vagrants to join me for lunch in the hotel restaurant and watching the
horrified waitstaff’s reaction. Like Eloise, my parents were seldom
around. Even today I still think heaven is “room service” and when
I’m depressed I always check into a hotel. A midnight order of Chocolate
Gateaux (silly french word for cake- sort of redundant n’cest pas?)
can make almost any tragedy seem trivial.

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SOMETHING THERE IS
The best church I ever attended was the Unitarian Universalist. This would
also fit in the category of most drugs used…talk about a Higher Power

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Anecdote:

Miss Haldol, an ex-nun, taught French in our high school. She was incredibly naive. The principal was a big fat guy who would come in and stand at the back of the class smoking a huge cigar.  One day after he had come and gone Miss Haldol said: “Ooooh I just love the smell of those, those…what do  you call those things?” From the back of the class Gary Flynn, the resident wiseass shouted: “Miss Haldol… they’re called hard ons!” Whereby the angelic faced Miss Haldol rolled her eyes heavenward and coo’d: “I just looove the smell of those hard ons.”

[Ok, it was ME and not Gary Flynn that said they were called hard ons.]

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When I was four years old I got hit by a car going 50 miles an hour. It didn’t run me over, the impact sent me soaring into the air. My parents, who were at an auction bidding on antiques at the time, felt so guilty about leaving me home alone they told me (after 6 weeks in the hospital) I could have anything I wanted.

That’s how I got my first Paint By Numbers kit.

I had a cast from my toes to my thigh, it was so heavy I couldn’t walk and had to crawl around, dragging that thing behind  me for months. The Judge made the guy who hit me pay me money. My parents tried like hell to get the money, but the Judge was smart, he put it into an account that couldn’t be touched until I was 18.

I used the money to buy my first car.

When you’re five and strangers are cutting a cast off your leg with what looks like a power generated pizza cutter, your toes become incredibly precious to you. Even now when I hear an electric saw I’m compelled to remove my shoes and socks and start counting, just to reassure myself.

Since my father worked in radio and sold “air time” naturally, we never had to pay for anything. He’d trade air time for goods and services. I doubt that Curt Gowdy or any of  the other owners of these radio stations knew what my dad

He gave my sister a brand new car which she would drive to the race track everyday.  She worked for Junie Bresnahan as a hot walker and a jockey. This involved her having  to travel through the Callahan tunnel every morning during rush hour. Even though my dad supplied the car, she never bothered to fill it with gas so it became almost a daily ritual:  she’d run out of gas in the middle of the Callahan tunnel and had to wait until this giant rubberized  “Zambonie” type thing came and pushed her car out.

You may remember her. You may hate her.

Dining was always interesting since we ate out almost every night since we moved so much and it depended on who my  dad had for ‘clients’. There was a place in a town that my dad had worked a deal at. It was a function  hall that catered weddings and other events.

So picture this: The proud parent’s are celebrating their daughter Rachael’s Bat Mitzah, they’ve spared no expense. The best food, the best band, flowers, etc. Except, over in the corner of the room is this mangy  little family. They’re huddled around a table and they are EATING RACHEL’S BAT MITZAH FOOD!

I have no idea how the owner explained our presence, perhaps he said we were the “lucky bat mitzvah gypsy’s”.

Th Doublewide gypsies

I got married very young. The minute I got married I wanted to quit. In absentia. I stayed married (I was raised a Catholic but used the rhythym method to get around it) only because we were both too lazy to divorce and we had many investments together, none of which I might add, were children.

In those early days I would probably have  been only too happy to help Betty Broderick reload her gun.

Living in the South, this tended to raise all kinds of havoc with men. Southern men seem to be more territorial, they really  like to cock a leg and mark their property. If I’m wearing rain gear I usually don’t care.

Eventually, I got officially unmarried.

I guess that means I’m not lazy anymore.

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I have a masters degree from Smith College. The minute I graduated I quit. In disgust. I wasn’t going to practice Social Work with a bunch of “wannabe MD’s” who couldn’t cut it in medical school. Seems that by the time my graduate school days ended the field was literally crawling with these DSM toting, jargon spewing, client label dispensing men and women. Most of the MD’s that were involved and have always been involved since they got involved, where blithely dispensing medications to keep the staff happy and to hell with the patient.

I have always been on record as bitching about this practice from my first days as an 18 year old counseling aide onward.

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Where I live:

It depends: sometimes on a very small island, sometimes you can find me up in a remote area of mountains in a cabin on a lake, then again I might be in “the city” getting my fill of civilization.Some times I stay at a wonderful hotel that I have always loved. Once they started building their “spa” and destroyed much of the beautiful grounds I bought a house nearby to stay at. But sometimes I still like to stay a few nights and sit by the immense fireplace and visit with old friends and talk to some of the more interesting guests. Ok, I also like to see if the matches that we used in our “lick, flick and stick” match contests are still there. If you’re ever there, go to any of the giant columns in the lobby and look up (or don’t). Sometimes when I go into the city I get into trouble, most of the time on purpose.I don’t know what need this fills, well actually it’s got a lot to do with authority, pretentious places and foolish people, being alone for too long and needing to act out. I also like to go shopping, go out to dinner and tip big.

It usually depends on the status of my current relationship/s. I’m probably trying to end one, start one or just “checking in” on one.Variety truly is the spice of life and the antidote for complacency (ok, commitment). I tend to hit the road when things get too serious.

While I do enjoy spending time with other people, I also like just being by myself. There is no greater joy that being able to wake up when ever you want and not say a word, just brew some coffee, stare out the window, pet the dog, pick your nose, or pull your shirt up over your chin and pretend you’re that “Joe Bazooka” guy.

You don’t have to make any excuses for wanting to be alone to do absolutely nothing at all.

I haven’t met many people who can truly understand and accept this and not find something hurtful in it.

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Ok, you may be wondering what I have against nuns and the Catholic Church. The nuns I knew were like the Nazi SS. Those women were mean, sadistic, child abusers. But I don’t hold a grudge.

The Catholic Church: Really, do you want to get me started?… I mean I could start with the Borghia’s and go from there, but I won’t. Let’s just say that somewhere in Massachusetts is a town that has a very poor section, I mean people are fighting over empty cardboard boxes for beds. Children of Hispanic and Vietnamese heritage are running around like they’re starring in an Alfred Steiglitz photo shoot, barefoot, filthy. The place is scary and yet right in the middle of this pathetic poverty rises up a giant cathedral, with spires you can see from Route 2, hell you can probably see them in Boston on a clear day. And yes, this “Aberration” is a Catholic Church.

What’s so bad about a church being in a slum? Nothing…except maybe the fact that it has GILDED FRIGGIN DOORS! Like one door handle could have paid for a daycare center or something.

Whenever I look at those doors, all I can see is a golden calf in the shape of a church. It makes me sick and that’s all I have to say about that.

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I have a dog: He’s a Rottweiler (as opposed to a Kurt Weiler), he’s multi-talented: He sings as good as he dances. He won’t hesitate to tie on an apron and bake me a ham. He surfs every chance he gets. He looks really scary and we like it that way.

Truth be told he is a real sweet guy, he loves all living things except maybe cats because they sometimes kick his ass for no good reason.

Hanging a minimum of ten at all times

Hanging a minimum of ten at all times

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My father lived in Honduras for many years. At age 70 he married a young woman there and they had two children. Eventually, when he was in his mid 80′s his health declined and he had to come back to the states to live with me.

I remember standing in the airport at 1:00 am watching the elevator go up and down, up and down. I knew it was my father. I grabbed the nearest security guard and said “Hey, my dad’s on that elevator and he’s not well, and you have to stop it so I can take him home. The security guard at first refused and we had quite a fight in the airport lobby, meanwhile the elevator is still dinging away: 1st floor, 2nd floor, etc. Up and down.

Finally the guard gave in and used a key to stop the elevator at the lobby. We both stood there waiting in silence for the doors to open. Slowly they parted and there stood my dad, his hair sticking out from his head, a wild look on his face.

“What a boat ride!” was all he said. The guard backed away, hand on his pistol until we left the building.

I miss my dad, especially during holiday times. He made a great Christmas tree.

My Father and his daughter Jaqueline in Honduras.

My Father and his daughter Jaqueline in Honduras.

I’m not a disaffected youth, I’m not a misanthrope, I’m not an “old Sophoclean”. Hell, I’m just a woman trying to get through this life with as little pain as possible and be as purposeful as I can.

What I am: A half Russian/half German Catholic raised and lowered girl who keeps moving away from things and people. My physical appearance hasn’t changed much since I was 18: I’m 5′ 6″ tall, weight 120 lbs, have l ong dark hair, look very Mediterranean (which just means I get a tan when I pass by a window). I usually run about 4 miles a day and swim for about 45 minutes. I’m not fanatical about either of these things, I do them because they make me feel good.

METRIOlarge

When I was 10 my mother got charged with writing a bad check over twenty dollars. In Florida that’s a felony. Apparently none of the adults in my family wanted to hang around to see what the penalty would be. We ran from the law until I was 17. When my mother was finally caught, a judge took one look at our many travels and threw the case out in disgust. If it wasn’t for the U.S. Marshals I would never have passed Geography.

In twelve years of school I attended over fifty schools. I think the ninth grade was the only year I attended one  school start to finish and I failed that year.

I was expelled from parochial school in the second grade. They said it was because I always turned my homework in on the back of my “Cinderella” coloring book. This is completely false. I always turned it in on the back of my “Mein Kampf” coloring book.

End of swann’s way – skip to Cotton Candy Post.

WARNING…SKIP THE FOLLOWING – IT’S JUST A COMPILATION OF

OLD EMAIL AND CORRESPONDENCE THAT WILL MAKE NO SENSE.

IF IT DOES…CONSIDER THERAPY…

Just skip to the Post called Cotton Candy.

I’m to lazy to fix the mess below

SHOOTS AND LAUDES:

I’m afraid to go to sleep at night. The other night I had this apocryphal dream…

An amazingly dream with side bars of semi conscious remarks, very Shakespearean in it’s ‘sotto voce’ observations:”…How did a sandbox get into an airplane that just morphed from a battlefront and why am I wearing cotton candy shoes?…” kinda of stuff.

It was real scary. All about those big questions: What is it going to feel like when I die? Where will my faith kick in and see me through it and to the otherside? It was supposedly about my “end of days” but it suddenly had a cast of thousands. Most were strangers, but my siblings were there in various degrees of viscosity.

At one point, after a lot of near final points, this seemed to be IT…the big moment! There seemed to be like a nuclear blast of light and what I thought was intense heat…so intense it didn’t hurt because it was so quick and then after the after burn looking around at everyone else looking around, wondering “are we there/here yet and where’s the big Answer?”.

But then an engine would rev up and we’d be like oh, guess we didn’t have enough jigawatts last time, hang on, they’re trying again.” It got a little boring after awhile and I remember my side bar sotto voce musing that “what ever I ate that night I was NEVER, EVER going to eat again.”

When I woke up I was tired and cranky and very “I’m not even going to try and interpret this shit, it’s so basic even in it’s mystical ‘go on, try and figure this…and this…out”

I didn’t care. Well, I must have because I didn’t fall asleep until almost 6 AM, which we all know is the bogey man’sofficial clock out time.

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FOR WHAT IT’S WORTH:

I can only repeat what most folks already know: money can’t buy happiness. It’s a lot of fun having it but it brings with it a lot of very bad things too. Look at many wealthy folks, famous people…and some not so famous people. “Wealth” can be interpreted in many ways…I consider myself wealthy because I have good health, I think I’m wealthy because I woke up and the sun was out and I still haven’t had a cigarette in 8 years, I’m wealthy after years of a poverty filled heart where I could find no love or peace and even though it took a long time to find a kind love who can put up with me I refuse to look back at those years of loneliness…I’m looking at much happiness in the future years of love (hopefully). I think I’m the richest girl in the world because the guy sitting next to me in the yard, at the beach, in the car is my best friend and who makes me laugh so hard I can’t breath and my face hurts from smiling! Now that’s what I call winning the lottery. You too my friend, you are such a talented man, so knowledgeable, funny, creative and kind too. I worry about you because you seem (I’m not there so I don’t know this for sure) to isolate yourself…

“Self and Memories” sometimes make for a bad match. Together they go backwards…never forward. You know the past, you lived through it once, good or bad it ain’t going to change no matter whether you talk about it You may have different needs or feelings about your life, everyone is unique. But I have found that this works for me…ain’t nothing in the past I want to revisit or think about. I have even avoided reconnecting with good friends from years ago because they will want to know every single detail up until now…and I just don’t want to retell it. I wish I could tell them…”Our conversation starts at “right now…suffice it to say I’m still alive so let’s go make some new memories”. I really struggled with the mental health profession. I don’t agree with many of their methods. The only time a bad memory is useful is if it explains a lingering unwanted behavior.

Now, I don’t think outsiders should give advice…they can share experiences but truth and healing and wellness come from within…think about that without the sappy greeting card ring it has. Skilled professionals can help you get there but the fixing has to be done by your own mind and spirit. Well, that’s just my opinion. I seriously contemplated the option of not continuing to live a life with no quality, no joy, only fear and isolation.

Being a Christian, this caused a great dilemma for me, you can’t just over-ride God cause you’re not having any fun. Again, just my opinion…but I believe God gave us free will and a mind and to be lazy and just jump off the planet is jyping God of what he created us for…this life is one long dilemma, a chess game if you will, not created to be cruel, I don’t believe God is cruel.

And though I had to take some lessons in who was doing the driving here on earth (God most certainly is…it’s like learning to dance by standing on your father’s feet…awkward but tender and loving). But I try to always focus on the here and now and the promise of contentment in my future…not total happiness, how unrealistic, those who are totally happy are either dead or in a coma!

So, I have found that my body doesn’t produce certain chemicals needed to keep the whole engine running smoothly…one little grain of sand in the mix throws it out of wack…and so I make it my job to make my time here as peace filled and filtered from things that disturb me (believe me there are lots of things, many are still inside me but I refuse to allow them to control me and sometimes that means avoiding certain people who enjoy embracing the things that I find dark and disturbing) nope, I value every day and I am the second mate on my ship through life.

And even when it all gets crazy again once in awhile, I know that it will be ok, this to shall pass…can’t have happiness if you haven’t got sadness to underscore the value of contentment. And I am realistic…people die, people change, some people are mean or cruel. Life itself is not intentionally hurtful but it can often be hard, that is the nature of life.

Life is NOT STATIC, it’s constantly changing, something I have a terrible time dealing with but it doesn’t change a thing getting mad or just thinking about the unfairness, etc. Find a path around or across and hopefully learn something along the way. That to me is the best part. to look at how I figured out a way to overcome something makes me feel satisfaction.

I also believe in sharing whatever I have learned for whatever it’s worth may be, but I never, ever force my way of driving on anyone…as I said we are unique…the only thing we all have in common is that we have a choice, we have a brain, we have tools we can use to help us work things out. No one else can do it for us. To look at how I figured out a way to overcome something makes me feel satisfaction. I would go to a Doctor if I had a broken wrist…I’d get it support until it healed and guess what…when things heal they are often stronger than before the break…how great is that.

Always I find some jewel in the hard scrabble life…and it is those precious stones that I look at and realize why this confusing journey might have some purpose. I certainly don’t know what the real purpose is or even if there is a real purpose but it doesn’t matter…I still have to live this life and since I don’t have the answer I don’t worry about the question…I spend my time finding ways to make the journey easier and that pretty much takes up all my time. Well, I shall end my silly preaching by saying you have my hand to hold, even if it is ‘a girls’, and you give me strength in your friendship as does holding the hand of others in my life…great song…”Lean on me…”, how true. And you have so many hands to hold…in the words of Napolean Dynamite: “Lucky!”

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THE VAPOR

What are they doing over there?

They were alive and breathing just like me. Now no one is in the box when it’s opened This is not a very funny magic trick…

So where are they? Why can’t they give me a sign They broke rules while they were here They sure acted like they knew a lot Why can’t they break a rule now Just a small one…tell me which way to go Right? or Left?

Or lie down in the middle of the street on a busy day.

Couldn’t they slip me a clue? Just hug me for a second point a finger wipe a tear

Are they being held captive? Are they cold? Do they feel? Do they remember who I am? Will they recognize me?

What if all this silence is the liet motif,

The big score… Indifference makes a loud silence It rattles around, inside my head Like a glass marble I’m too young for these games

They forgot to include the directions the compass arms hang limply here…or there

Another new place no one told me I was going to No warning, lamb to slaughter, only it never quite dies it just watches silently while they use sharp objects to slice off a piece or two

I am right back where I was angry at not being consulted

no one ASKED me would I like to attend

Probably because they knew I would have said no thanks I’d rather not be

Who are these people? why do they step in front of me

I try going around or turning away but they won’t be avoided

They force me into their lives and then tell me how I ruined them how mean and selfish I was – I am I did NOT ask to be with anyone

If I could have I would have crawled into some dark corner and hidden there yeah, I would have used some oxygen, but only because It’s a mortal sin if you force yourself to stop breathing.

Who said you can’t win for losing? They were right.

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NO

I want to close my eyes
until there is not even a hint of light
and start walking, keep walking
whatever happens

God can’t hold me responsible

I never saw it coming.

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I WROTE THIS:

I was twelve years old.

I had finished Black Boy. Now I was reading Native Son while sitting on the cool, green grass on a hot summer day at a lake in North Carolina that reflected off pale and pasty flesh, not unlike that of gasping fish thrashing about trying to breathe, in that sweet water. and you know everyone in the lake was white. Niggers were not allowed.

Life is as sharp or as dull as you let it be and make no mistake: the choice is always yours.
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DEAR SANTA

OR

LETTERS TO ZELDA

YAHOOOOOO!! I knew it wouldn’t be long before you moved away from the ‘dark’ side.
Hehehe…our plan is working. You can move back anytime! We need you because we are so dam unorganized and at loose ends and you are the best combination: cool yet pretty normal.We promise to stop being sad if you come back. In the meantime, I’m gonna hafta put my big girl shoes on and make some decisions and get some things rolling…If I wait for ”him” to make a decision on anything I will probably die first. He is such a man…all ”yeh, yeh” and no action….his nickname should be “I’ll do it tomorrow”. So, I have to go forth and find a way to make him think he did it all.I think that maybe I will start by selling or donating all this extra “Stuff” so we can free up room and then we can have more space to rent. But if you will bear with me…it will all work out. In the meantime… This place is yours when ever you need it.If you have an idea when “He” is coming home let me know and I’ll have a place ready.And…and…I’m going to start redoing the yard, I planted some ‘soon to be huge’ little trees so you won’t have to look at icky stuff for too long and the construction is done across the way. My biggest plan is that when we close on the house I will go and beg them to let me have a business  permit so I can open my little antique shop where nobody buys anything but I can sit and play with all my cool stuff. So, don’t worry about a thing…we couldn’t be happier that you are coming back (and we promise to be much less insane when you get here!). Have a wonderful Christmas.We’re gonna get cracking on the holiday spirit…tonight we plug in the fake tree from Lowes!! It doesn’t get any more festive than that! Peace out
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THE DEATH OF INNOCENCE
The feeling of helplessness, frustration. The agonizing reality that there are things you will never, ever have control over. Things that are completed without regard for you. In spite of you. They are just simply done. They can never be undone.  They can never be undone. They can never be undone.
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PREACHING TO THE WIRE

Why do people stumble in here? Self discussion is so ‘over’ I figure I’ve got the place to myself.That’s why I post little Ann Frank diary/journal/bs here.Well then I shall commence to writing. Let’s see, today I gave our 20 year old pug a bath…yes, it is like a lesson in futility. She is so old she can not see, she has a tooth or two and so her mouth sits at a cant. Shh, yes, she wears diapers with the holes cut out for her tail which amazingly still wags. At what I have no idea, she’s blind, deaf and so fragile but she loves Rob and she finds his clothes and snuggles in for a year long nap.She’s so old that I sometimes have to check her pulse to see if she’s alive.I hope she goes quietly in the night to her beloved owner Jackson, who must be astonished she’s stayed on this earth so long.You know Jackson, if it weren’t for you Rob and I would never have met. If any good thing can come from such a sad and brief bout with Cancer, this was it. You brought us together…I clipped your nails and rubbed cream on you to keep you from getting dry skin. Rob entertained us with prolonged wheelies in your wheel chair and even taught me how.Remember the foolish ‘preacher’ who was so lazy he brought you “THE BIBLE” on 49 CD’s. Yup, old and new.By the way, he has since parted with his age appropriate and long suffering wife and brand new wife is still wearing braces!You know Jackson, if it weren’t for you Rob and I would never have met. If any good thing can come from such a sad and brief bout with Cancer, this was it. You brought us together…I clipped your nails and rubbed cream on you to keep you from getting dry skin. Rob entertained us with prolonged wheelies in your wheel chair and even taught me how.Remember the foolish ‘preacher’ who was so lazy he brought you “THE BIBLE” on 49 CD’s. Yup, old and new.By the way, he has since parted with his age appropriate and long suffering wife and brand new wife is still wearing braces!I’m sure there’s a place for him in heaven, I just hope he likes changing stinky diapers. He seems to have programmed his e-sermons so that he can just drop them off if he has time. And lately he is always shouting “Thank you! Jesus, thank you!”I guess they’ve made a lot of improvements with those irritating jagged wires that stick out when you get your braces adjusted. So, he’s got that going for him.Oh yes, he has a small house filled to the brim with donated food that organizations or government folks give him. I know because I brought my yearly Thanksgiving feed the poor basket and he looked at it and laughed. When he swung open the doors to that mega pantry I understood why.

But I don’t think he’s sharing… There’s no sign that says “Starving People Come Here”. Maybe he needs those fruit loops for his new toddle- um wife.

Our little barrier island is very small so I try to be fair and visit a different church each week.

I don’t know if he got a replacement drummer since his split with the wife.

Anyway he has a camcorder where he records he and his child bride romping around, singing bible type rap songs. I don’t judge I just observe.

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Our little barrier island is very small so I try to be fair and visit a different church each week.

I don’t know if he got a replacement drummer since his split with the wife.

Anyway he has a camcorder where he records he and his child bride romping around, singing bible type rap songs. I don’t judge I just observe.

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EACH MAN’S DEATH DIMINISHES ME, FOR I AM INVOLVED IN MANKIND

Jeez Louise, you said everything I feel about homesteads and land. I even had a good cry last week wishing my Dad was here to fix my life and my Mom to make me one of her lopsided chocolate layer cake’s and hug me while ashes from one of her Kool’s dropped on my head.

Land is what saved me. I never lived anywhere longer than six months or so. And what ever bits of “roots” that linger in me of soil, trees and smells of cedar, salt air, pine and the memories of a wonderfully bizarre family life tear my soul to bits.

But I am delivered to the promised land and as you said recently…, why change roots…here is as good as there and in my case it really is. Just feeling happy in my “comfort zone” (I live exactly the same distance from the old farm where I grew up and catty corner by a few hills).

I have made my home here and buried my Dad here, which I don’t think he’d really be happy about, I worry he’s bored parked under these beautiful mountains and not overlooking some Titty Bar, but I’m upright and he ain’t so he has to deal with it for now. I also have 3 PVC ash filled cremains of my beloved dogs secretly buried at the corners of his grave. I tell him: “One more dog and you’re gonna have to move, Dad.”

My older sister died in 1994. I also have a year younger brother and a 5 year younger sister. I love them but I chose not to be around them. They hold dear all that I consider wretched in our family: sarcasm, hate, vengence. My brother sued me when my father died, I had taken care of my father for 3 years.

My brother never spoke to our father once, which is fine, that was between them. But the minute my dad died my brother hired a lawyer to sue me and keep me from inheriting money left to me by our father.

He actually wrote this to me (I have it framed and posted over my desk at home): “If you will give me a minimum of xyz dollars than I will love you again”.

So, I love them because they are family but I do not like their values, ethics, or mores.

There is a dark place we all have in us, it’s a place I choose to keep shut and they choose to embrace. So it’s best to keep my distance and I am always polite. When my brother sends me a letter every few years asking me for money and I say no, he always says the same thing to me: “You’re a fucking bitch and I hope you die!” and then he disappears for awhile.

My sister is much smarter… Do you know that look the first child gets when he sees his new sibling who is displacing him? That gritted teeth smile… that hug that crushes bones? Well that’s how she is with me, but she always writes, sends me things and tries to visit. I am always nice and I almost always find some reason for politely turning down her visits but I have to give her credit for her endurance.

Even though my ex-husband gambled away all of that inheritance I asked him to invest for my siblings & I, God still left me with more than I need.

The one thing I am sure of is that you can never be sure of anything. And second….money & possesions are the Damocles-ian cigarette ash just waiting to drop on your head and the Albatross around your neck.

It brings out nothing but unhappiness in human beings if you let it. So, as my father before me did, I own a simple car, a funky 1960′s ranch house but it sits on a delicious acre of fertile soil which I garden and plant and which gives me the greatest joy in my life.

I do not owe anyone any money. I live much like our father did. Although he was well off he was a simple man and prudently mended his clothes and drove a nondescript car. I remember him telling me, how he, dressed in clean but worn and patched clothes, was waiting to make a large deposit when the bank opened so he approached a man in downtown Boston to ask him what time it was and the man swore at him, shoved a quarter into his hand and hurried away!

I have no other family, Cousins, Aunts or Uncles so I do cry when I miss my family and I read a lot.

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UNION SOOT

Also, just to let you know…I will have to clean this house, move furniture into clusters so that Roy and I can fit an entire house full of furnishings down to the door knobs into this house which already has an entire house’s worth of stuff from where ever it was I moved from last.

AND…AND…a store full of ANTIQUES! So please forgive me if I am unavailable for a few days or so…

Roy is wearing his big boy pants and I’m fixing to put on my shoutin shoes so I don’t want yun’s to think I don’t love you or care.

I gotta pretend to pull my weight, so I’m gonna say my brief ”Bye ya’lls”.  And I hope you are not too sick on your stomach from the medicine, Shug.

Be sweet, love yun’s.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
DAUGHTERS OF THE MERKIN REVOLUTION:

YIPPEE! YAY! You’re back and well enough to send me a letter!

First off – have you and John been inhaling plastic fumes? Seriously! I hope you reread what you wrote me so I can proceed to collect my jaw from the floor where it fell. John is being a bad boy! and I will kick his shins cause I know TV Karate!

It is absurd to even think about you doing anything… you must rest! What do these people, including your own hither-thither self, think you just had – the removal of a mere splinter? I am usually the odd one but even in my La-La world I know having surgery on your body is like a MAJOR INSULT as it is called in medical terms.

Don’t start doing that thing mothers do when they want to show the world how lovingly pathetic they are. My mother was the champ: Don’t worry, I’ll eat off the plate with the chip on the side…I’ll drink from the broken glass with the jagged edges and I certainly don’t mind a little gushing blood on my spaghetti that I’m eating with my hands!  You just enjoy the food I slaved over for hours after working all day. Our mothers knew how to make us feel so awful you wanted to run out and adopt a gaggle of pot bellied Biafran babies, starving and all sore from being crushed by the gigantic and real, non-plastic melons of Sally Struthers!

Charleston is not leaving the south for many years. Your vacation home will be icky new and lacking foliage and you are telling me you’re gonna golf????  No way. Your a girl…

you’re the weaker sex, you’ve just macro-managed an expensive college failure and the no thanks for paying up of a typical teen daughter…your clogged arteries and you managed to do all this while hiding Ann Frank’s baby’s mama’s father’s family in your attic along with Maury Povitch! Here, have a giant cup of glass shards! Would you like some Holy Water sprinkled on top?

Ask someone to cook for you this week…and clean. Packing is so silly, you don’t know the ‘feel’ of the house or the South…unless you’re packing cheese nabs and Pepsi’s and Vy-Enna Sausages and buckets o’ lard (and yes, we really do have industrial sized cans of pure white lard at our supermarkets).

Nothing will fit in down here. Unless you plan on being a name dropping, uppity southern snow bird and hang with the other uppity, dull as dirt, southern snow birds, cause if you aren’t – you need to practice some important things: like

saying “I need twenty cent”… “I got a run in my hose” and the word: Yuns. As in Yun’s need to come look at our Okra. I love Yun’s. Call me when Yun’s get home, etc. Also it is mandatory to love sweet tea, call your waitress “Shug” (southspeak for Sugar) and leap for joy because you can go into the local IGA or Bi-Lo smoking cigs and barefoot!!!It’s true…it’s ALL true… You can do this down here. Nobody knows what time it is, nobody cares what you wear or if your eyebrows have a space between them….all your Vera Wang possesions will only cause Beavis & Butthead type laughter because you said ‘Wang’.

So, sink back into those fluffy pillows, grab a good book  and ask the maid to please bring you some sweet tea and Okra.

Love Yuns…..

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

MOLDY MADELINES

OR

PINING FOR THE F-JORDS

First off: Can we agree that this man is a closet misogynist? or at least girls have have beaten him into that mind set, so forget what he says…he’s a platnimum card holder in the “Spanky Women Hater’s club”. Now…all kidding aside, this is a common occurance. Can I psychobabble please? First, I will give my credentials to prove I am an ‘expert witness’: My husband cheated on me on my wedding night! I followed him from bar to bar secretly for years. I let air out of both of his tires on the passenger side with a BIC pen…Bailiff, please show the Judge and court this exhibit…  Ok, where were we…oh yeah I had just let my ex-husband drive home on two wheels and two rims from the Calamari club. He never noticed until the following morning when I was long gone and standing with a client in Judge Singer’s  court room. I became a fitness addict because my ex-husband thought that Rhonda Smith AND Evelyn Jones both had awesome bodies. I went back and got my Master’s degree because Laurie Brown was sleeping with my ex-husband and vice versa (Can I get an Amen for B Wright?!) So, I know all about infidelity and curiousity and the line between. First I would like to say that 99% of the time that an “old” girlfriend or  boyfriend is searched for (even BEFORE COMPUTERS)  is because the looker-upper is suffering from a usually mild form of Marital Ennui. I like to call them the “what if’s or the “If only’s”. They are bad little bastards because they are rooted deeply in the sympathy/romance department of our psyche’s along with the Pony we never got, the Schwinn bike we are still waiting for and a bunch of other stuff lingering around like the plague.

The reason the ‘what if’s’ are so bad is because they share something in common with swiss cheese….HOLES and lots of them. Holes where we leave out how our spouses walked 15 miles barefoot in a blizzard because we wanted Dunkin Doughnuts at 3 AM. We forget that spouses endured incredible pain giving birth to even more pain…children. Or they did something as small as buy us a special book or when an inadvertent bout of gas made an audible sound ‘they’ took the blame…etc. Easy to forget that when you look up bouffant and your face is staring back, they didn’t care. No, we remember with glazed eyes how much nicer that old boy/girl friend was, how they made us laugh, how we loved the same music and how hard we humped in dad’s car to our special song…. <—special songs are ruthlessly involved in stirring up old flames! Even a few of Marilyn Monroe’s husbands kicked her to the curb for being dull or boring. What we have – we take for granted but when we lose it ‘it’ consumes us…”it” sits with us while we watch tv with our same old spouse, “it” winces when it sees the grey hairs or wrinkles or that extra weight our life long partners have accumulated. “It” makes us argue and fight and then think “See, that person’s mean to me, I bet anyone else would let me have the remote!” And this can all be true…. but if you are bored, antsy, tired of being flogged for old sins …well, what do you think that ‘other’ dream date’ has been doing all these years? Buffing their Buster Browns? Sauntering in their saddle shoes? Being the muse for The Portrait of Dorian Gray? If things are so swell (think Scarlett O’Hara visiting Rhett Butler in jail dressed in her Mammy made curtain outfit) Luckily, Rhett gets a look at her hands and the jig is up. She’s not the cuddle bunny she was, no she’s a driven woman looking for a man….A real man…the by gosh! Because her significant other has ruined/left/run off/ax murdered her life. But dammit, you can’t get them out of your head, they lay down with you at night softly kissing you, they wake up with a Folger’s coffee smile and a brief case filled with security. They were the one Mom really liked and was furious because you didn’t marry him or her.

Well Bunky, the truth is that they are nothing like you remember. Physically maybe but mentally they are right wing leftists. They’ve been drinking their hemp tea for so long they wouldn’t think of sitting down across from someone drinking a can of Tab or Mountain Dew. Some of them would drink Kool-aide for Obama other’s would drink Kool-aide because of Obama. They’ve got Agida, hemmoroids, hair club for men hair, they won’t understand your ‘phobia’s’ or habits and will make that smirky face and tell you to get over it…and the sex? Male or female, it doesn’t matter, it’s for sure what ever it was, it’s a lot more wrinkled and stretchy than you remember and they have to take a pill or two to get it to work which makes you so nervous that you take five other pills to calm you down. Think….Banana in Shea stadium…like who care’s anymore? I personally would give up everything for a spontaneous embrace, a loving laugh because they find it endearing that you have your shirt on backwards AND inside out. When you look at a picture of yourself and cringe they grab it and say “I love it when you make that face!” And if you should decide to throw it all away to ‘follow your dream’ just once in your life? It’s probably a sure bet they will eventually be pining for the person who came before you (all puns allowed) or even worse…COMPARING you to whatiz/er/name.

You know, I always find it interesting that a lot of people seek me out for advice on this stuff….usually because they’ve seen me with a variety of different men in my life…only what they don’t know is that those men are mere bandaids to help me cope with the most painful, horrific feelings of betrayal, being unloved, being disposable, etc. I am not saying YOU are doing so….you don’t even really know me, but in my life all I ever wanted was one person to love me unconditionally. The rest? Just crutches, time wasters, ego builders but not a one could be classified as loving or loved. And since I don’t enjoy wearing a sandwich sign explaining why I do the things I do so life isn’t so sad people write their own scripts about me. Very fanciful too, I might say! And some are anatomically impossible…but what can you do…you can’t tell everyone because then it becomes sort of “thou doth protest too much” and blows up in your face. Ok, I’m sorry I made you wait for my answer but I had to lay some foundation on why I make my decisions. In all truthfulness, I tend to go from one safe person to the next, each time telling myself…this one is the real thing, this is my reward from God…etc. And it doesn’t really matter who the current safety embrace is because I am me and everything that I have experienced: loss, hope, love, fun, excitement, depression, faults and qualities are still with me. I can’t see the other person really, I can only see them from my eyebrows up as my fingertips grasp the ledge to keep me from falling… In that position almost everone looks pretty dam good, but the minute I’m back on solid ground and calm what do I do? I throw myself right back in the same situation. And…and…if I knew why…then I would be a gazillionaire because I would have the answer to life…. So my answer is questions: Can you step out on that ledge and keep balanced? Can you step out far enough to enjoy the wonderful breeze, the sweet perfume, the brief amount of excitement and then step back onto solid ground with the wonderfulness of knowing you came, you saw, you experienced and then you went home safe and sound. Rarely, is the dream we hold onto anything more than that. Sure it happens, you read about it “COUPLE REKINDLES DECADES OLD LOVE” but most don’t tell you how it ends…everyone loves a good love story.I am guilty myself….I have hinted to you to intercede on my behalf with old loves who I ran away from when I was running away from the entire state of Conneticut nightmare!

My answer is that only you know the answer and you won’t know the answer unless you give it a try. Me, I’m a chicken so I never let go of a sure thing until I know I have something better. I know that at one time in my life a wonderful, smart, kind man came into my life without me knowing and without me wanting him there. But he took a chance and he pursued and probably unbeknownst to him, he inadvertently saved my life at the same time by gently steering me into a healthier life style before it was trendy. He didn’t judge me, he stuck by me and the only mistake he made was that he didn’t listen to me when I said: If you want me to stay, you have to let me heal and I can only heal in a different enviroment because staying here I will be conned, persuaded, scared into, bribed, and everything else a scared little girl can imagine into going right back into the lions mouth because that is, for all of it’s foulness, the only place I know. It is an enemy I am familiar with…even it it’s an enemy that will cause my death…it’s all I know. So, for me, I went back to my marriage because I thought that’s what God wanted, what I was supposed to do, I was a good girl and I was granted a full worthless pardon. When I might have stayed with this person and….? who knows? I can tell you that I was sure he would not like the real me…I wasn’t a wild and uninhibited free spirit that he knew….I was a plain, shy girl who had one main man in her life besides her father and when I stepped out of that relationship I was as a lamb to slaughter. How I survived I don’t know. But I have loved ‘the memory’ of this kind man for over 25 years….and called him at least once a year for the past 25 years to say thank you and could you forgive me? But I must have done something I didn’t even know, I didn’t know he loved me then, I wouldn’t have known what love looked like if it kicked me in the head. I have wanted to go back and give back and say ‘this is me’…yup, I’m dull, I read a lot, I don’t drink (anymore) I don’t smoke (anymore) and I never used drugs. I am as boring as a salvation army worker. So, my answer is yes and no…if it will bother you and cause you to wonder and hope for 25 years…and you know yourself inside and out, good and bad, go for it if there is nothing you are leaving behind except endless recriminations, abuse and loathing. That’s what I stayed with but I didn’t know it then. I’m older and wiser and that’s how it always is.

The lady or the tiger?
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

POP GOES THE ZEIST:

I know exactly what it feels like to be betrayed by a spouse. It basically ruins the foundation or at least cracks it for the rest of your life…

How do you ever trust again? Can you? Obviously I thought I could but I can’t…

I will always wonder if it’s about money (in my case it was everything and THE LAWN that looked greener; from day one with him).

I thought I had managed to settle my pain and deal with it and overcome it so why did I marry again?  I always refuse to see the nasty and bare truth and will fall on my sword making excuses for the people I have invested my heart in.

You basically DO have to kick in a sliding glass door and attack me with your hands around my throat before I acknowledge that perhaps you really don’t like me.

I am so mad at myself….I didn’t need to put myself in this marriage and I don’t know why I did. The honeymoon isn’t even over and suddenly I see me second guessing myself.

Honestly, if I were rich or filled with confidence I could overlook it and just dream along but I am at some milestone that God only knows who put it here but it’s here and I can’t wriggle around it or duck under or climb over….it’s there….like the great wall of China and it stands there with all the time in the world and all the impassivity a wall can have and it screams ‘DEAL WITH ME NOW BITCH!‘ and God I don’t want to.

I want to jump in my Barbi canopy bed and hide under the covers. It doesn’t mean a darn thing that I have assets if I’m stuck in quick sand and can’t move without sinking.

Maybe this really is my own personal Zeitgeist except I forgot to read the manual and I don’t know what my options are. Maybe it is what is….this historical light bulb of realization and then ‘poof‘ your gone.

Maybe there is no answer…it’s just a sick, metaphysical joke….you build up to this cresendo and since no one can ever possibly reach the top they never bothered to build a theory on how to get over and down…you know – the old ‘reverse Zeitgeist trick’.

Fuck ‘em for only building half baked theories and conundrums…. Those frikken bastards postulate all these theories and then they have the nerve to die and leave us questions but no answers!

I want to go give wall eyed Sartre a kick in his leathery balls and blast his words to smithereens. All of these great thinkers….they spent all of their time thinking of these horrific, existential  hypotheses and then they up and fuckingDIE!

That is so unfair, it’s cheating. I hope their eternal ‘whatever’ turns out to be sitting in a sand box playing Fish with one another! I can just see Neitzsche throwing sand at Goethe who turns and bites the shit out of Hegel who punches Jung in the head so hard he has bad dreams even when he’s awake and then shoots Camus’ mother and finally  a giant cat comes along and takes a piss on all of them!

You know what I want? I want my Mom and Dad! I want my Dad to send lawyers, guns and money and get me out of this! I’m innocent bystander who somehow got stuck between a rock and a hard place & I’m stranded here in Asheville.  Oh Dad, GET ME OUT OF HERE!!!!!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

KNIGHTS OF THE LIVING DEAD

I am learning new things all the time. I don’t think it was even an option for me to consider doing something and having it be a humbling failure.

I don’t know where my brain went at those times, but it’s with me now and I have to recognize that I made a mistake.

Sooo…what to do with this little epiphany? Not much really. It sort of means I am looking up at the world rather than staring down and pulling bits of food off of my clothing.

Of course the broken parts don’t feel very good but I think I’ll live through it. It’s not like I did anything on purpose or with malice…I’m just naive &  dumb.  I let my heart and hopes lead me to where I am now. Maybe that’s why it’s tolerable. It’s like “I’ve had a good run but it’s over and I have to go back to being alone.”

So now, people can peek at my life and see it really isn’t just mountains of fun. I don’t think I had them fooled anyway. The only one I fooled was myself.

So what the hell am I talking about…I’m talking about failure. Why something didn’t work out.  I just wasn’t smart, I just took a chance and while it was good it was great and now that it’s cracked and won’t let itself be fixed I can feel that I gave it my best.

I don’t see myself through others eyes like I used to but looking around I seem to be the only one not up to my neck in the tar pits of gloom.  Overall, I have a good heart and I don’t carry grudges any longer than my tiny brain can remember to have a grudge. I didn’t hurt anyone and no one purposely hurt me in that “I am miserable because I created monsters and they left to terrorize the villagers and now I’m alone again” way.

It’s easy to get sucked into that mind set: “look how badly people treated me, look how patient and forgiving I was, look at how people came back and took advantage of me…blah, blah, blah.” It’s a self fulfilling curse…go out, find some screwed up individual who pretty much tells you right up front “I’m a screwed up individual so don’t get involved with me” and then totally ignore that warning, in fact keep coming back to that person and making pitch after pitch and eventually you get lucky and catch them on an especially whacked out day and they (even then) reluctantly accept.

Lead them swell chested and victorious to show them all the things you have that should make them consider themselves lucky. Emotionless assets like possesions, bank accounts, vehicles, all that you can throw up in the air to keep them from looking too deeply at you and seeing that perhaps you are hurt and lonely and you don’t have a clue how to find a person who loves you without using a lot of bait and a bear trap.

Problem is that the poor slob you’ve chased is so confused and caught up in their own misery that they can’t even appreciate or recognize the self exploding package you’ve forced into their hands. Yay!  Uh, ok, I don’t really know why your giving me a credit card because I am slowly poisoning myself but thanks for giving me a way to do it faster.

Then install them (yes, I said install, like drapery) in your dungeon like home and show them they don’thave to do a thing and you’ll go to work and they can just hang out randomly banging off the walls while your gone and then feeling grateful that you came home so they can’t stop banging off the walls.

It’s like two people bowling side by side…you’re not really paying attention to what they are doing because your busy trying not to get a gutter ball. If you make eye contact it’s because you both make a strike…well that doesn’t mean anything other than you both got a strike and it’s back to your own lane.

But where was I, ah yes….you’ve accomplished some goal that only you can appreciate…you captured a mindless, broken zombie…how hard is that? The zombie hasn’t got a clue they are your prize or that they are supposed to be impressed or feel emotion, for crying out loud they are zombies, they just clomp around, eyes glazed over, wandering endlessly…that about sums up our exciting zombie lives.

So…ya got yourself a real live dead zombie…it stays in your home while your away, you can bring it out to impress your friends.  But wait a minute…somethings missing and I’m not talking just about a nose or an eyeball, I’m talking about emotions…feelings…bowling in the same lane together!

Without that important component of ‘life’ or cognition you really don’t have much more than an empty shell lying next to you at night.

But if you keep feeding it flesh or cash or whatever and it gets a bit of stability and it stumbles out of your house while

your away, whose fault is it if they wind up hanging out with the other zombies and weirdos? It’s what they do! Unless you want to invest some emotion and empathy and energy to see if this pinball like wretch can even be brought back to life, what do you expect is going to happen when you wake up in the middle of the night and it’s gnawing on your feet.

‘It’ doesn’t have a clue where it is, what it is or what it’s supposed to be doing BECAUSE IT’S A ZOMBIE! You fool, you didn’t capture a prize possesion, you just stuck out your foot and tripped a floundering bag of air. You bought a car without an engine. But then you get pissed because the car never goes where you want it to go, it just rolls down hills and smashes into things. So now you’ve got this engineless, wasted individual who you think is entertaining your creepy friends when your not home and YOU GET PISSED!

You feel sorry for yourself, you feel used and abused and because you are not completely without a soul your final act is to send it to a zombie rehabilitation center.

THEN when all the stick pins are pulled out and this addled, almost fixed human tries to communicate you take it outside and kick the shit out of it for mistreating you.

Sigh, and the sad part is that you don’t do this once, you keep doing it! In fact you swap zombies with your closest friends so they give you dire warnings lest you try and reconnect with this being that you’ve sheltered, show ponied, taken to the voo doo doctor for healing and then when the healing is almost done you kick it out the door.

And there you sit, your whole life, moaning about how you’ve been a victim, over and over. Forgeting that you actually went to the zombie round up and kept dragging them home. A bit of advice: if you’re not feeling like an A lister, be brave, go for the red carpet strollers anyway instead of picking the same awful ghoul-friends over and over!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

FOR SALLY:

I miss you

We were supposed to grow old

together

Still We are forever

flying down that mountain road

And For one single moment

The world held it’s breath

So we could hear the joy

I am grateful we had that

I refuse to be sad that we had no more

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
FOR GOD’S SAKE DON’T READ ANYTHING WRITTEN ABOVE…IT’S A COOKBOOK!

(I always wanted to say that). Actually it’s just old letters, emails dumped into wordpress.

I WARNED YOU. I THINK IT GETS LESS WEIRD AFTER HERE.

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