Thursday, September 30, 2004

Banned Book Week

Yahoo! News - Go ask 'Alice' about Banned Books Week

Haven't managed to read a banned book -- unless you count resource books for "Mage: The Ascension", an RPG game I'm running. I suppose those would count if libraries carried them, but they aren't your typical library book, and each one comes with a disclaimer stating that "this is a game" etc.

Because some people need practical advice.

Monday, September 27, 2004

And today

we opened the windows -- for the first time in 4+ months -- and are letting the breeze blow through. It is temperate and breezy today, the distant sound of chainsaws like the bawling of calves. Trees are down everywhere, signs are torn up, the occasional house has roof damage and all of them have torn or missing shingles. But the sun is shining through high, scudding clouds, the air is mild and clean, and really, it isn't that bad.

Well, for us. For other folks, it isn't quite as pretty a morning, although the somewhat lower temperatures and breezes are a relief from unremittant heat and humidity if you've lost your power and A/C.

64 for more days and counting.

I keep hearing that song from the movie "The Poseidon Adeventure", which has to be one of the sappiest ear-worms ever, but...

There's got to be a morning after
If we can hold on through the night
We have a chance to find the sunshine
Let's keep on lookin' for the light

Oh, can't you see the morning after?
It's waiting right outside the storm
Why don't we cross the bridge together
And find a place that's safe and warm?

ahhh, the 70's.....

Last night's weird dream involved a couple I know. The woman was sadly informing me that, while staying at their house some weeks before, I had wiped off my lipstick and makeup on a square of very rare heirloom silk. She was tearful and reproachful and I could not understand how it had happened. Then she showed me the fabric.

It was a tissue. White, double layered, with the faintest smudge of pale foundation and some streaks of reddish hue. Even as she held it up, the layers began parting.

She was all about forgiving me if I just showed the appropriate amount of sorrow, grief, and perhaps some sort of compensation. Her husband was confused and obviously embarrassed. I offered to replace the thing and pulled some tissues from a nearby box. She denied they were the same. We held them up close to each other, hers and mine. Tiny, nearly invisible imprints on each were identical. She was crying over a piece of heirloom tissue, and was even shredding it as she cried. Nothing I could say would remedy the situation, so I left. I heard her husband begin yelling at her, and she was pleading that she'd had a difficult childhood.

I've no idea what it means, if anything, or where it came from, but I woke up feeling like I'd spent time with a crazy relative I had to be nice to.

Sunday, September 26, 2004

It's wet

Ol' Jeanne is blowing outside, but she hasn't turned north yet. She's still a healthy distance south -- although the trees and shrubs outside are bending and twisting in every direction and it SOUNDS terrible. We still have power (obviously) and, unless we get whammed when the storm turns north (looks like Tampa will get it this time) we should be ok.

Messy, but ok. I can handle that.

Still, my chances for fondue are low. Dammit.

Saturday, September 25, 2004

Here comes the rain again

and there's not a damn thing to be done about it.

I expect, actually, the death toll to be a little higher this time. People are worn out, weary, bored with going through their prep, over the whole adrenalin thing. Some are not going to do what they should do. Their judgement will be clouded. They will wait a little too long and try to leave when it's too late to go anywhere.

It's going to be ugly, I think.

For me personally, I'm pissed that the storm seems likely to ruin dinner plans with some of my favorite people at one of my favorite restaurants, plans that actually took a few weeks to come together. Petty, yes, but that's the truth. Our hurricane kit is packed and in the hallway, we've got canned food and drink for at least 5 days, we have propane for lamps and cookstoves, and the Husband has stocked our standup freezer with bags of ice from last time. All we really need is some catfood and the camping gear from the storage unit. We aren't even boarding our windows (that might bite us for the windows in the back, but we are prepared to deal with it)

And after all, this is my named storm. I was sort of wondering when she'd be coming to visit.

Inexplicable dogs, Inexplicable dreams

The twisted yet mundane nature of my dreams always leaves me feeling like I should be a supporting cast member in a middle rated sitcom.

This morning I have three separate dream memories and a bunch of confused images. The clearest is a commercial jingle over an image on a paper tag. The image is that of a girl, somewhere between 10 and 14, with short twin pigtails and a surprised, open-mouthed look. The picture is a black and white line drawing done in a heavy lined, woodcut style. I can see it quite clearly. She's looking down at something that appears to be just starting to explode. The jingle runs "She's a Zap Girl, Zap Girl, yeah!"

This really bothers me.

The next is an actual sitcom scene between Tim Conway and Mariel Hemingway. She's in her buxom teen years and he's still got hair with color. They are agonizing over their age disparity, with him telling her that he cannot date her because he's thirty and she's eighteen, and he's going to confess everything to her father (Tom Bosley -- remember him?) and he goes to the back door, rings the bell, and when Tom appears, says, in a defiant-yet-embarrassed Tim Conway manner, "I'm taking your daughter out. Have her ready by 7." Then he leaves. There is raucous canned laughter and Mariel stands, arms crossed, looking smug.

I don't get this one at all.

The last is the most confusing. I'm in some sort of department store with stark white floors looking at a rack of women's clothing, mostly thin fuzzy sweaters and pleated suede miniskirts in bright summer colors of red, turquoise and bright blue. There is a young couple with a baby in a stroller at the other end of the rack. The woman is pulling off clothes and holding them up against the baby -- they are, of course, far too big. Her husband looks tolerant. I make some lame joke, holding out the smallest red suede mini skirt, saying "This might look cute on her." The woman looks at me, puzzled, and I think for a minute she doesn't speak English. She grabs an armful of the clothes and lays them at my feet. As I'm putting them back, her husband explains that she's Lithuanian.

This isn't really an explanation. I move on, and in the housewares I discover a dishwasher ladder. Yeah, I know, but that's what it was. It was a long pole with a plastic square on the end and a curve on the other. One side of the platform was molded like steps, the other side was smooth and it was hinged on the pole. The idea was you balanced the steps against the front of your dishwater and counterbalanced the curved end -- it made no sense to me as I was looking at it, and certainly looked physics defying in the photo illustration. I played with it for a while until the Lithuanian woman and her husband came back around. They bought one, even though I warned them it wasn't going to work.

About this time, my dog woke me by banging her metal food dish against the bars of her crate, like she was a prisoner in Sing-Sing. The puzzling (and annoying) part of this is that her crate door was open and she was spilling her food all over. Calico is a highly inexplicable dog.

Friday, September 24, 2004

Toast Therapy

It's a weird sort of week. Tomorrow, it will be one year since I restarted talking to the world. I'm not tired of it yet, although sometimes I do wonder what I'm after.

This has been the week of Weird Tears. I find myself crying over odd things -- never big, sloppy crying jags with snot on my face and no tissues in sight, just little moments of severe choking up and wet eyes and everything sweeping over me like tons of water and I have to stand there somehow and not get swept away. I cannot get swept away. I've been swept away before and the long fight to get on the ground, feet down, and figure out where you are is just too long to go through again. It's easier by far to refuse to be swept off my feet.

Part of me suspects that, now that I'm post miscarriage, my body is trying to remember the whole "in sync with the moon" thing and this is all personal hormonal experimentation. That would explain why I'm fine and happy one minute, and seeking Kleenex the next. All my cats are now wary when I start the little hiccuping crying sound, because I've grabbed them each into a heartbroken hug and wiped my little tearstreaked face on freshly arranged fur. For my overly appearance consious cats, this is an insult of monstrous proportions. It takes HOURS to get fur arranged just right.

My cats know how I feel. They know exactly my emotional state. They just don't CARE.

So anyway, have I ever mentioned how much I love buttered toast? I love buttered toast. For a while, I was considering using a picture I have of toast with butter as a logo. Honest. I can go through a whole loaf of (really good) bread just making and eating toast. I don't need jelly or honey or peanutbutter. Just good toast and butter and I'm happy. Toast makes everything better because you can't eat it while you are crying. It won't work. Soggy buttered toast is a nasty thing. So, if I eat toast, I have to calm down, and since the toast is good, I feel better. Toast Therapy.

Thursday, September 23, 2004

More Poetry in the Judiciary!

There are important distinctions to be made in law, you know. Aside that, can a drunk on a horse really said to be driving? Most horses are smarter than that. And isn't the person who rear-ends you always in the wrong?

Yahoo! News - Court Rules a Horse Is Not a Vehicle

Of course, there is a certain poetic beauty in Justice Michael Eakin's dissent...

"A horse is a horse, of course, of course,
but the Vehicle Code does not divorce
its application from, perforce,
a steed as my colleagues said."

"'It's not vague,' I'll say until I'm hoarse,
and whether a car, a truck or horse
this law applies with equal force,
and I'd reverse instead."

I think more decisions should be handed down this way. Can anyone on the US Supreme Court come up with something this good?

More Summer Reruns - and it's Fall!

There was a time (long ago before cable TV) when summer television was nothing but reruns and movies-of-the-week, interrupted by baseball. I think the logic then was that in summertime, no one was staying inside to watch TV, so why bother with programming anything new?

Now, however, we live in a world where time of year has much less effect on television viewing. While reruns still exist, they tend to migrate to "TVLand" and independent stations. New TV shows have such a short initial life span that you can't even get interested in them before they are cancelled, much less see a rerun in the summer to be sure.

I wish someone would tell that to The Weather Channel

Ivan is reborn? That storm IS Jason. Now it's heading for Texas as a tropical storm. It's just unbelievable. And Jeanne (my namesake) is circling back around for a second stab at the East Coast. ("South Florida? Nobody rained on South Florida. It's fresh meat!")

One thing about Florida -- the weather is ALWAYS good for a blog entry.

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

You read what you want, I'll read what I want

Picked up the hint that Banned Book Week is coming up from Solonor because he's just a book banning kinda guy.

I don't quite grasp the purpose of banning books, just like I don't quite grasp the ongoing fuss and froth about Miss Jackson's 2 second titty. I don't quite know what it is people feel they are protecting their children from. If anything, such an incident is an opportunity to say "Honey, I don't beleive that's the right thing to do. I think it shows a lack of respect for the female body and sends a message about sexual conduct being cheap." Or whatever your point of view is. But, trust me, kids know what breasts look like. The more you hide something, the bigger deal the hidden thing becomes.

My own experience runs like that -- for example, my parents never made a fuss over alcohol. My mom was a bartender, and my dad worked for a beer distributor. If I asked to taste a drink, I was allowed. Usually I hated it. If I wanted to have a drink at a "grown up" party, my mom would fix me a mild -- but alcoholic -- version. I rarely finished them. In highschool, I never went drinking with friends because I had no interest in it. There was no mystery. I had seen people get drunk before and had a low opinion of it. I was legal to drink at 18 but did not celebrate with any alcohol at all. I've been tipsy possibly twice or three times in my life. I've never gotten so drunk I was sick or passed out or could not control what I did. I credit my moderate attitude toward alcohol to my parents, and their open attitude about it.

I read all kinds of books while growing up, often running across books out of my understanding. I had some very good teachers who guided my reading, making suggestions and teaching me about literature. They taught me to pick out the messages in books, and to develop my own judgements by comparing my thoughts to what I was reading. "Protecting" someone from an idea by continuing ignorance of that idea is not protection. It is abuse. It is better by far to discuss the idea and to explain why you disapprove.

Of course, if you don't know why you disapprove, if you are reacting emotionally to propaganda and the assumptions of others, if you haven't examined and thought about something, then, yes, you can find ideas a scary thing.

One idea that I find particularly interesting to discuss is the idea of killing. It is a tenet of our society that killing is wrong. Yet, we send soldiers to war to kill others, because sometimes killing is right. We support the ideas of killing in self defense. Many support the idea of state sponsored killing as a form of punishment for killing. We will watch fictional depictions of killing, and allow children to watch them, as entertainment. No one feels particularly moved to "protect" children from such things, or they seek to "protect" by preventing a child from knowing and discussing it. There is no reason, no thought, applied.

A child is protected with knowledge, not ignorance. Read a banned book, and encourage a child to read and discuss one.

Giving It All Away

I donated my dad's pickup truck. It's going to support the local public radio station.

It's an old, black 1990 Ford F150. Huge. It's been sitting in the driveway all year. I took it as my "fee" for being executor to my dad's will. It's a big roaring manual transmission. I can't drive it -- I can just manage the clutch. We held on to it because we had the boat and it was the only vehicle with a hitch. The boat was donated a few months ago. Time for the truck to go.

Funny thing was how much that truck reminds me of my Dad. He didn't have it very long -- he bought it used with incredibly low mileage maybe 2 years before he died. The'79 Cadillac SeVille he had before lasted 18 years. I learned to drive on that thing, although I could never parallel park it. It had a three body trunk, and there were still pine needles from our very last live Christmas tree in there.

But it's time. Slowly, slowly, I'm peeling away the things to which I cling so hard, the things of my past. So much of my life has been temporary, it seems, that I get attached to things. I hold on to everything until eventually I realise what a lot of junk I carry around with me. The truck is one more piece of that. I can't drive it, we don't use it, and it isn't my Dad. It's just an old truck that I can't sell for anything, but I can get a tax write-off for it, and support something worthwhile, so that's what I'm doing.

How hard it is amazes me. I'm serious. This is hard. When the tow truck comes to haul it off, I will most likely cry. I hope I don't until they leave. It's too hard to explain.

I try to think of my life in terms of what I have, but sometimes it seems my life is all about what I've lost. I think I've moved beyond something, gotten over it, finally made myself realize that clinging to all that loss is not good for me, but sometimes I find myself back in time, at the moment it happened, standing there in my who-I-was-then shoes, going through it all again.

Ugh. I'm fighting off big waves of "poor pitiful me". Things hurt. That's how it goes. You move on. You go past it.

Having the space in the driveway will be good. It looks like a used car lot out there now. That truck is not my dad, and doesn't represent my dad, and getting rid of it is not doing anything bad to my dad's memory or to him or who he was and is to me. It's just a thing, ephemera, a gas guzzling monster of a machine, and it should go to someone who can use it and appreciate it.

Right now, thought, I have to hug a cat.

Why Buzz Gets Up In The Morning

No, I never knew there were lyrics to the Theme of "I Dream of Jeannie".

Oh boy. Then I found this.

Star Trek Theme Song Lyrics
"Star Trek"
By: "Alexander Courage"

Beyond the rim of the starlight,
my love is wandring in star flight.
I know he'll find
In star clustered reaches
Love, strange love
A starwoman teaches.

I know his journey ends never.
His Star Trek will go on forever.
But tell him while
He wanders his starry sea,
Remember, Remember me.

and this...

Star Trek Enterprise Theme Song Lyrics
"Where My Heart Will Take Me"
Written By: "Diane Warren"
Performed By: "Russell Watson"

It´s been a long road, getting from there to here.
It´s been a long time, but my time is finally near.
And I will see my dream come alive at last.
I will touch the sky.
And they´re not gonna hold me down no more,
no they´re not gonna change my mind.
Cause I´ve got faith of the heart.
I´m going where my heart will take me.
I´ve got faith to believe. I can do anything.
I´ve got strength of the soul.
And no one´s gonna bend or break me.
I can reach any star.
I´ve got faith, I´ve got faith, faith of the heart

Blessedly, there are none (listed) for "Voyager". "Deep Space Nine", or "Enterprise". You CAN take a geek thing too far, although that's sort of what being a geek is...

Monday, September 20, 2004


I'm so thinking this is a joke

Closer to home, the upper-air carcass of hard-to-kill Ivan is plowing westward over the Florida Peninsula today. A small surface low has formed off the southeast coast of the peninsula in response to the disturbance aloft, and is scattering downpours and thunderstorms over much of the state. It's not out of the realm of possibility the low could develop further once it crosses the peninsula and moves into the Gulf of Mexico tomorrow.

Ivan leftovers returning to the roost. It could go back to the Gulf and get a recharge? This is disaster movie stuff where you just can't get Jason to say freaking DEAD. This is eye rolling, smirking, creative cursing worthy.

Now, I'm not saying that it will happen. It's pretty unlikely. Chances are small. Still, the very THOUGHT is just this side of unbelievable -- I can concieve of it happening, but it's just so incredible that I can only BARELY manage it.

No, hurricane reruns belong on TV, not in the sky over my head. Ding Dong, let Ivan be dead.

Just Watching Can Hurt

Ever come across the little idea from quantum physics that says whatever we observe is affected by the fact we are observing it, that what we see is not only affected by our point of view, but by the very fact that we are viewing? I think this is part of the whole Shrodinger's Cat thought experiment, but I'm too lazy at the moment to look that up.

Staring at the whales may not be a good thing.

I don't know that the study will find a direct correlation between whale watching and declining whale populations, but I bet a good arguement could be made for the negative effect whale watchers (and their boats) have on the whales' environment. And it's a shame, really, that people trying to see something that thrills them, inspires them, or even evokes feelings of love and desires to protect are potentially causing a problem.

Maybe it really goes back to that saying "If you love something, set it free." That means, I guess, not hanging around to watch it being free while in your diesel powered boat.

In some time

Mom's visit was a hit-n-run affair -- she only stayed the night and left early this morning. She will be back on October 18th, I think, to begin moving in to her new house. After waiting for so long -- since 2001, really -- it's actually happening. I guess it won't make a real impression until January.

The weekend was quiet -- I haven't left the house since Friday.

Everything I just tried to type about that statement demonstrates something pretty disturbing. I sense the grey enfolding blanket of depression hovering over my head. Time to do something. Looking over the last few entries, I can see it popping up. Damn, but it's sneaky.

Oh well, it can't win. I know about it. I know what to do.

I just opened a fortune cookie (for which the cats are now hinting for a taste -- they don't eat everything, but the demand the right to sniff everything for food potential). It says

"Luck is in your near future, look for a new opportunity in your life today."

Ok, just a fortune cookie ( a tasty one) but that't not a bad way to look at my day.

I am lucky. I have a nice house, I don't have to work full time, I have a handsome husband who really loves me, I have time and ability to do things that interest me, and I have friends who enjoy my company. I'm reasonably healthy and those problems I do have are solvable, either with effort or with time.

It's raining today, a soft, cooling rain, the kind of rain that in September means that the heat of summer is finally easing off and the wonderful weather of winter will be coming soon. Autumn is my favorite season, and always has been. Perhaps it was because I always enjoyed school -- well, at least, I always loved buying school supplies. But Autumn, more than spring, meant the coming of opportunity, the chance to try new things. Living in a subtropical zone means Autumn is very much like Spring-- flowers bloom, gardens alternately baked and flooded over the summer can revive in the slanting sunlight. I'm thinking about restarting my patio garden, neglected for so long. Starting over, starting fresh, sounds good. Winter is never so severe here that I can't grow herbs and flowers right into January. I haven't really paid attention to a garden in some time.

Saturday, September 18, 2004


I'm so tired of bleeding. More treatments to make it stop, to which it responds by increasing.

News on the MIL front. They've opened the development she wants to live in early. She's arriving tomorrow afternoon to sign paperwork, etc. She will be staying here. The house must be prepared. Isn't that huge a deal, really, because things are not that messy, but I spent time tidying. I'm now worn out.

I spent a half hour switching between a watching two guys hang storm gutters and The Herculoids.

I can't focus. I can't find anything I'd like to do that matches the energy I've got left.

Oh, I have a new addition to my braces. They've placed a spring on the archwire to push two of my lower front teeth apart so that a third tooth can be brought forward. I did this before, so I wasn't surprised. However, I now understand why my teeth didn't bother me as much when I had braces the first time -- then, after the initial misery, everything proceeded slowly. This treatment is much faster, and thus much more painful. I can chew without problem, but there is no biting or nibbling. I can't even nip off a hangnail.

I could read -- my stack of books is considerable. I could write -- I've got five stories in progress, and several that need revisions. I could fold laundry. There are a lot of possibilities. Mostly, though, I want to take a nap.

Friday, September 17, 2004

In a hat

Forgot to relate this tiny tale. While making the dreadful drive to Atlanta right before labor day, during one of the long traffic jams, Husband noticed something odd in another car. This car was a late model land yacht, driven by a tiny elderly lady with the thin, air-injected, unnatually pale red hair I now associate with snow-birds. In the passenger seat was a fairly young man, wearing a floral patterned bucket hat and one of those pleated front button down shirts commonly called "Cuban shirts" around here (they have another name, but I can't spell it). In the typical fashion of stop-and-go traffic, she zipped ahead of us only to have us pass her a few minutes later. That's when I noticed the young man had not moved. I watched him for a few seconds. He was sitting at an unusual angle, and he didn't blink.

Then it dawned on me. He was plastic. He was inflated, in fact -- it became obvious as I studied the thing.

Our passenger was napping and I had to wake him up so he, too, could witness the snow-bird with the Inflate-a-date in her car. We passed her a few more times and pondered -- was she somehow afraid that she could protect herself from car-related crime with this terrible looking thing? husband-substitute? Her only date? A home decoration she didn't want to re-inflate later?

She eventually vanished in the traffic and slipped from my mind. It wasn't the first dummy in a bucket hat I've ever seen in a car, but it is one of the few I've seen who wasn't driving.

Mostly Clouds

We haven't had a really sunny day in weeks now. It's been cloudy or partially cloudy since the middle of August. There aren't even hours of clear sky -- just clouds. It isn't THAT unusual to have daily rain in Florida ("liquid sunshine" is rain, not orange juice, no matter what Anita Bryant said) but it's making an impression.

When the sky takes on that particular shade of just-before-rain dark grey, everything that is green is suddenly twice as vivid. Trees stand out in Technicolor. Bushes and grass look more real than real. The grey clouds change the quality of the sunlight that filters through, especially when the clouds fill one part of the sky, but the sun itself is still visible in another. The light goes very white and thin, highlighting the edges of everything. Shadows lose definition. Even where there is noice and activity, a blanket of heavy quiet hovers. A storm is coming.

I have a memory from very long ago, one that, to me, typifies in a snapshot what Florida is. I couldn't have been more than 5 years old, possibly younger. My mother and I were driving home from visiting my grandmother in North Carolina, so I suspect we were coming down I-95. We were in North Florida because we were coming over a rise, practically a hill, and I could see the fourlane highway in front of the old blue Ford as I leaned over the bench front seat with the cracked vinyl upholstery. The sky ahead was just shades of grey above black, the clouds massed heavily on the horizon with no break or undulation or variation in color. On either side of the highway were the round, almost perfect spheres of citrus trees, dark but bright green against that sky. In the distance on the left I could see the white and red shapes of buildings, probably the home of the grove owner. It was most likely summer -- the trees had fruit but it was still small and green. A forking arc of lightening cut the sky to my right, seeming to land where the road pinpointed on the skyline ahead, splitting that familiar, threatening, dark grey mass with a blaze more than white, the pattern still seared in my vision when I closed my eyes. It's a snapshot in my head, the lightening like the glare of an old-fashioned cube flashbulb for the instamatic camera.

That Florida doesn't exist anymore, you know. While there are still groves, usually they back up to houses or strip malls, or they've had corners cut out for drug stores and gas stations. The unbroken miles of trees, all aligned, the tall metal sprinkler heads jutting up 8 or 10 feet, have been replaced with tract housing. The old Citrus Tower now overlooks miles of identical roofs spreading in all directions.

It's trying to work up to an afternoon storm today. I've heard thunder already, even though sunlight is doing its best to shine through the window. Partially cloudy days feel brighter than many sunny days because the light is diffused and redirected and comes at you from all directions. Everything has multiple shadows that fade up and down, each a little off from the others. Spots of pure yellow gold sunlight are part of winter here, shining on the carpet for the cats to curl up in, sparkling through stained glass ornaments in windows, picking out the rainbows in the morning dew.

In the summer, there are mostly clouds.

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

And introducing, from the South Atlantic


That's my middle name, from a cousin who lived with us when I was born (technically a second cousin once removed -- my grandmother's sister's granddaughter. Thus it goes amongs hillbillies.) I feel a certain interest in this storm. Maybe she will just remain a tropical storm, never doing much, and the name will be recycled into future lists. Maybe she will churn her way to a cat 3 or 4 and do all kinds of damage, so that her name will be retired and pictures of her archived. A notorious storm.

Speaking of notorious storms, Ivan is giving us a miss and the boards have come off many windows. Still plenty of brush piled around and trees tipped over. Looks like Ivan will do a nice job smashing up the Panhandle and parts of Alabama and Mississippi. New Orleans will get pretty wet, too. Everyone gets to evacuate this year.

That's not so good, really. I was listening to the news interviewing people who had evacuated for Frances only to have her go lightly on their house. Now they talk about sticking it out to the last minute and waiting to see which way the storm will go before making the decision to leave. It's the old "cry wolf" thing -- get a warning, leave, have little or nothing happen, decide the warnings aren't effective or that your area is magically immune... people have very short memories. Some predictors are saying the heightened activity is a start of a new cycle of more active Atlantic Hurricane seasons. I'm thinking that the coastal areas are going to be much less popular real estate. Maybe the Federal Government will do there as they did on the midwest floodplains -- buy people out, return the land to a natural state, and maintain that it's just not good to live right where danger is bound to happen.

That's the paradox. People pray the storm doesn't hit their home or their area, that it will go elsewhere. Then, when it does, they decide it wasn't really that dangerous. And it's rare a storm simply vanishes without doing anything, not once it has revved up to a Cat 4 or 5. Oh no, hurricanes go for the coastline whenever they can. If they can't get rooms in Miami, they go to New York (1938, called The New England Express) and further north.

I've never been through the heart of a storm. I've always been lucky, living in areas that were sideswiped or missed entirely, only seeing the outer bands of rain and wind. Husband has never been through one either, and has a bit of that "can't happen here" mindset. He thinks I worry excessively when storms come near our area, insisting on making preparations (although I think this year has gone a ways to convincing him I'm not so silly). I don't lean on my luck, though. While flooding isn't an issue here, wind, rain and tornadoes are all very real to me. It CAN happen. It eventually WILL happen. You do what you can.

So I'm going to watch Jeanne and see what she does this time around.
Lots of things floating through my brain that I've thought of writing about. Because I can't focus on any of them for long, I'll sort of stick them all together and see how it looks at the end.

I've noticed a commercial from the "swiftboatveterens" agains Kerry, lambasting him for turning in his medals as turning his back on the "symbols of his country". Waitaminute -- military medals are national symbols? Uh, no, I don't think so. Aren't they symbols that a particular branch of the military recognizes a person did something specific, like serve with valor or do something difficult? And if a person turns those medals back in, aren't they saying "I don't want recognition for what I did, because I don't like what I did" or "I don't respect you for wanting to make me feel special for doing something I think was wrong"or even "Nyah, Nyah, I don't need you to tell me I'm ok"?

As for national symbols -- if you lined up two dozen medals from around the world, how many people could pick out the US ones? I don't think they count as symbols of our country. any more than our currency are symbols. They might INCORPORATE symbols -- eagles, flags, olive branches, laurals, stars, etc. -- and they might represent particular actions or events, but that's about it. We should not confuse symbols with the things upon which symbols are placed. A sticker of the US flag is not, for example, an actual US flag. If it were, and you have one on your car, you'd better treat it the same way you'd treat an actual Flag. That goes double for the little car window flutter flags -- those puppies get tattered and dirty, you'd better be burning them properly, with appropriate ceremony. Otherwise, you are either hypocritical, suspiciously selective, or ignorant.

I suspect those veterans who have started up this argument are doing some self justification. They don't need to do that. They do not need to speak ill of another to be proud of themselves. What one person or group does concerning the medals he or she received has no bearing or effect on what anyone else does. It does not reduce or change their meaning, or change the nature of the actions or events behind those medals, or reflect any kind of value judgement. Letting someone else's actions affect how you think about yourself is a sign, in my opinion, of low self esteem. If you don't want Kerry for president, fine. You may have convincing arguments that persuade your vote. This particular arguement is facetious. Find more concrete reasons. These are not persuading me and in fact are making Kerry look better to me.

Hmm, that's probably an invitation to hate mail, but...hey, I disagree and nothing I've seen has changed my mind. It's not likely I will change anyone else's mind, nor are they likey to change mine on this topic with this arguement.

Speaking of commercials, I've noticed a new form showing up on several cable stations -- little sneaky "slide in" adds, usually in the lower left corner, that ooze into the program itself to tell you who the sponser is and sometimes other things, like upcoming shows. INCREDIBLY ANNOYING. Well, you can't skip them because they are in the show itself. Argh and argh again. I'm just waiting for them to start "sliding in" ads during other ads.

Oh, and there's a new British cable channel that shows commercials all the time -- nothing but.
Husband is waiting for some US company to try that idea. He has always watched the commercials.

Tonight is chorus rehearsal -- Christmas concert coming up, and a few little concerts here and there to do. Second run on this. I'm still not a tenor, but it's nice to have people recognize me and want to talk to me.

Monday, September 13, 2004

Personal weather update

The weekend was spent quietly working on a beading project, going with Husband to see MIL and entourage (she drove down to start the ball rolling on her new house) for his birthday dinner, and then going out again Sunday for sushi and beads (which I did not find, drat it all).

I've gained a lot of weight since last year, a combination of long months of weakness from post-miscarriage bleeding and natural lethargy. My blood pressure is going up. This is a bad thing. My mother died of stroke and my father of congestive heart failure. Both grandmothers had strokes. One grandfather died of a heart attack. My pathway is clear.

Now to get off my ass and start walking on it. I'm thinking about trying the 10,000 steps program. I used to walk daily with a friend or with Husband, but eventually just stopped doing it. Now seems like a good time to start that again. I need to make myself do it even when I must walk by myself, a thing I really hate. Walking alone means I spend far too much time thinking, usually in circles, and so I'm going to get the ol' CD/MP3 player out and look for books on CD to add to my collection. If I can "read" while I'm walking, maybe I'll feel more efficient or something (like I'm so efficient when I sit on the bed and read...)

Anyway. Latest news on Ivan puts him far away from Florida for the time being. The audible sigh of relief is making the remaining trees sway. People who boarded up their windows haven't taken the boards down yet while waiting to see if storm #3 was gonna knock the hell out of us again. Of course, nothing is set in stone with hurricanes. Ivan could just as easily turn right around and whack us upside the head. Look at the storm tracks for last year or find a historical map of recorded storms -- it will be a mass of lines, because storms just go where ever they can and the variables are too extensive for the forecast models to be completely accurate.

I've been reading up on hurricanes to pass the time. And doing bead work. I've made some fairly nice looking pieces that will go into the next art show we do.

Oh, and a last bit about this year's miscarriage. I went to the doctor this morning and everything is fine -- as far as it can be fine, that is. I'm still weak from thebleeding, which varies in intensity from hardly anything to mini-deluge. My uterus and I are not on speaking terms yet. I still have to Get Off My Ass. And Husband and I are tossing around -- just in conversation, just in a testing phase -- the idea of adopting a child or possibly two, and what brand of new difficulty that will create for us if we decide on that route. I keep going back and forth in my head between the idea of remaining childless and putting that energy into other things, or of opening up our lives to nurture a child not handed to us by the Universe but "selected". Yeah, yeah, I know, but it's still full of questions and comparisons and things that are not rational or logical for me.

I'll keep you updated.

Saturday, September 11, 2004

And other times

it just feels good to be loved. I count blessings and I count people who care about me and I'm grateful and happy.

Now, for my two favorite jokes. Wince if you must.

Q: What do you call a boomerang that doesn't come back?
A: A stick.

Two nuns are riding bicycles through Rome. They turn down an old side street. At the end of the street, one nun turns to the other and says, "I've never come that way before."

The second nun says, "It's the cobblestones."

Friday, September 10, 2004


Only once in a while, I'll hear one of the girls at work talking. She's 17 weeks pregnant, young, the daughter of someone else who works here, someone I've known a long time. I hear her talk about her pregnancy, I hear the other women talk about theirs and I feel like a failure.

There will never be someone who inherits my beautiful singing voice, my lovely eyes, my thick brown hair. I won't pass along anything from my mother and father -- my dad's laugh, my mother's smile. It all stops with me. I never thought it would matter to me, but sometimes it really does. The sense of failure is like a wave over my head, cold and shocking.

Thursday, September 09, 2004

Today's Good News

My mother-in-law has sold her house.

Now, for most of you, this isn't earthshaking. However, there's much, much more than merely a house being sold.

Oh no, for this means that, for the first time in my married life, my mother-in-law will NOT be living with me for 3-4 months of the year. Oh no, this year she will be busy decorating her own new house about an hour's drive away, where she will have friends and activities and we can see her a little at a time. She's far enough away and in a busy enough area that, if Husband and I manage it properly, she might not set foot in our house for another 12 months.

It means her furniture comes out of our spare room. It means that we will not have to tell our friends they can't stay with us over the winter months, or will have to sleep on the couch. It means that, for once, we actually are in total control of our own house for THE WHOLE YEAR.

It also means that we are close enough to watch out for Mom, to take care of her cat when she travels, to see her on holidays, to ENJOY her company rather than ENDURE it.

I'm going to dance now.

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

And back again (The uncut version)

Ok, let's get into details here. You know you want to know.

After Tuesday's pain, Wednesday was relatively peaceful, and we made the last minute preparations for our yearly trip to DragonCon. We have done the art show there for the last 3 years and had already paid and arranged for this year. It's hard to walk away from money you've paid and promises you've made -- at least it is for us -- so we were going.

Hurricane and miscarriages notwithstanding. I mean, damn, this is DRAGONCON. Biggest SF/Fantasy/Horror/Comics convention in the southeast, and possibly the whole country. It gets bigger each year. So we piled into the van and we drove.

Usually the trip is a leisurely 7-8 hours, depending on food and potty stops. However, while we were trying to leave Florida, so was everyone else. I-75 had long stretches of traffic all piled up for...nothing. Nothing there. No accident, no highway patrol, no naked man on the side of the road, nothing. There were some places where they were working on the road, but it wasn't actually blocking the roadway. Then you'd pass some magical point that looked just like every other point you'd passed and all the traffic would go away. It made no sense.

Now, this wouldn't have been so very bad except for one little factor. I was passing bloodclots about every hour as Miscarriage Pt II began. Oh yes. If you go back to when I started this weblog, you'll read my detailed tribute to August 2003: The Month of Blood. Well, here I am, a year later, and damn it if I'm not doing the same thing. Only this year's new twist was Bleeding In The Car.

There was no way to stop often enough. There wasn't any method to prevent it. I sat in my own blood for some very long hours -- yes, it soaked through the (black) shorts I wore, and I put papertowels under me to protect the seat. I had cramps, and then the entirely too disgusting to describe sensation of passing a clot, and then the sticky-cold-wet-yucky sensation of knowing it was just too damn late to bother with finding a bathroom. A couple of the bathrooms I did seek in my desperation were, indeed, requiring desperation to brave. One little convenience store wonder had a double stall with a single door at the end so that you could pee in tandem. You had to be friends -- no way around it. I didn't look in the toilet because it would have been bad. I was just grateful to escape.

In any case, once the objective of the hotel was achieved, the bleeding slowed down considerably and everything went along quite well. The show was good, there were no particular problems, and we made about as much money there as we ever have (hip hurray!) I didn't get to see Peter Woodward this year because I didn't often escape the booth, but Wayne Pygram (Scorpius of Farscape) did stop by to get a massage and gave us a couple of signed photos and a CD he's done. I made the mistake of thinking him British instead of Australian, but that's because I did my best to keep the show going by never watching a single episode. He's got a bit of that Patrick Stewart thing going for him. I was all about it. Also saw Marc Singer of Beastmaster fame as he did a quick run-through of the art show. That about did it for Famous People I Have Spoken To for this year.

So, then it was Monday and Frances the Hurricane had become Frances the Tropical Storm, dropping rain and blowing wind all along I-75. We decided that wisdom indicated driving through this in the dark to get home at 4 am and then go to work at 8 was STUPID. We stayed the night and left the next morning, in much less dramatic weather. For the same reason, we did not use 75 into Florida, but took the old and lesser used backroads to 441. That was, once upon a time in the 50's, THE tourist road into Florida, but now it's mostly little towns, trailer parks, and old farms. We saw lots of flooding and downed trees. Trees cracked in half by wind, trees split and burned by lightening (saw three of those), trees uprooted from the rainsoftened ground and pushed over. It was impressive and a little scary.

And now I'm home and...the bleeding has started again. I woke up this morning in bloodsoaked bedsheets, an act that inspired one of the cats (she knows who she is) to clamber up and pee there. Oh joy, oh rapture, I'm home.

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

And back again

Short version: Drove on Thursday to Atlanta for DragonCon. Got caught in the mass exodus and a 7 hour drive became 10 hours (there's more to this). Watched the Weather Channel constantly. Watched storm head for Atlanta. Left this morning taking back roads to avoid flooding and heavy traffic. Another 10 hours go by. Saw lots of downed trees and flooded areas. Got home. Roof is missing shingles, but everything else is ok.

The detailed version will follow.

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

The Morning After

Last night was the inevitable Night O' Drama. The cramping started in the afternoon and as the evening went on, got progressively more intense. Husband was, as ever, his loving, supportive self, despite his usual fluster. My being in pain puts my always in control, always knows what to do Husband in a ... well, tizzy works. Yeah, a tizzy. As long as I am able, he needs me to tell him what to do, because he can't think of anything except that I'm in pain. However, once I announce that I can't tell him what to do anymore, after an initial minute of staring, he jumps into Boy Scout mode and takes care of everything. I love him so much.

I hate vomiting, which means I rarely do it. I can count the times in my life where I have vomited, each one clear and vivid. How some people can say they feel better after they vomit evades me. Vomiting just makes me feel even worse. Usually vomiting indicates I'm in an extreme situation. Last night added to my total count. Pain induced. So that will indicate just where I was.

Happily, I suspect the Chinese herbs I've been using to reduce bleeding helped. Last year, I bled so much that I passed out on the toilet (no kidding, and I'm not a rock star or anything.) This year, once I passed some sizeable clots, it wasn't much. I only got dizzy for about half-an-hour and that was as much because I was hyperventilating as anything else. No passing out. We did call the ER to see if going in was advised. In typical ER fashion, the lady we talked to didn't know diddly. She said they weren't that busy, but there was no guarantee i wouldn't be sitting in one of their waiting room chairs squirming and crying for a few hours before they put me in one of the examination rooms to squirm and cry for another two hours until a doctor was free to see me, at which time said doctor would examine me, stare for a minute (while I let this complete stranger poke about the private portions of my body, which is NOT my idea of funfunfun. I don't make a good hedonist) and announce that I'm spontaneously aborting. Then there would be a sonagram (I won't even detail this process, as you just don't want to know. Really. They could use sonograms as a form of torture.) Then they'd very possibly put an IV rig in one hand (but no IV -- that takes another hour and I have to bleed more) and leave me to wait for a while longer. Some time after that -- it would be some exotic hour by then -- they'd come back and confirm what they said, maybe give me some fluids, and if I really begged, they'd say I could have some Tylenol for pain. Then they'd send me home with orders to rest.

Oh, and that would cost $100 out of pocket, plus the lab fees, and three months of wrestling with our insurance company to about the other $800 we paid for emergency services.

We skipped this little adventure in medical science. When you've done it once, the reruns lose interest.

So, around 2 am the pains lessened, I stopped sweating and freezing at the same time, stopped twisting and writhing and getting tangled, and around 3 I went to sleep. My dreams were so disjointed and weird -- strange machine parts that had to be put together, crowds of little Japanese scientists hovering around largetv screens, pointing, massed shapes in miasmic colors flowing like a 1968 movie trying to depict an acid trip. When I woke at 6, I was still hurting, but much less. At 9 am I woke up again, sore like I'd done 100 crunches, but able to move.

An interesting side cats seem to know when I'm not well and refuse to leave the bed. Well, at least two of them will not be removed, Ophelia and Benny. LaGuz and Wesa took up guardian positions on other furniture, and Pooty paid a few visits in which he tried to climb on my stomach and chest to purr at me (I could not take his weight and he went away in a huff). Bea, the smart kitty, stayed in her favorite spot and promised to see me in the morning. But Ophelia and Benny took up positions at the bottom of the bed and would not be moved. This morning, Ophelia spent about an hour, on and off, entertaining me by attacking a string tie from a pair of shorts that were hanging over the foot of the bed. Now, Ophelia is La Blob -- 18 blubbery pounds of fur and attitude. She also talks to herself. She chased her tail for a bit (she's almost 10 now), chased some invisible bugs, and tolerated some cuddling. She's now asleep, exhausted by her efforts.

It's a better morning. Trust me on this. And we decided sometime last night that this much pain with no baby at the end is just not worth it. Unless something changes, we will not be doing this again.