DOG FARTS. Oh my god, the dog farts.
That is all.
DOG FARTS. Oh my god, the dog farts.
That is all.
But you will pay…. you gonna pay tomorrow; you will pay tomorrow….
Ha! Maybe this is indicative of where I am in my life, but this song popped into my head about a week ago, and I cannot get enough of it. It is playing in the house constantly.
Today Dave woke me up to go running, which I think makes him a great guy, because when you move across the country there is a lot of fast food involved, not to mention that I have, really, two food obsessions only, Mack Mancos’ pizza (now called Manco and Manco after a bitter family feud, but for me it will always be Mack Mancos, and the bitter feud just makes it that much tastier. Delicious pizza made by questionable people… what could be better?), but that is in New Jersey, far far away, and my other food obsession is In-N-Out Burger, which happens to be never farther than five miles away at the moment. My daughter has a new friend who recently immigrated from China, and she does not have good English yet, but she knows how to say “double-double,” and she would eat there eight days a week if she could, and I’m not that far behind her, though my greed is limited to one cheeseburger, no spread, ketchup and mustard, raw onion, extra pickles. Man am I hungry! So, suffice it to say I was glad Dave woke me up to go running. But, I had trouble really waking up, and I lay on my side looking at him, eyes fluttering open and closed, and I thought, “preview to dying, here you go, it’ll be just like this, fluttering in and out until you flutter out. It won’t be so bad.” Ha! I’m not a dark person. Of course, Dave could always go first, in which case I’d be lonely, and I’d have to buy a Roomba.
“No! Save me, save me from tomorrow. I don’t want to sail with this ship of fools, no no.”
The singer, Karl Wallinger, also wrote the song, and the lyrics are just amazing, IMHO.
“Avarice and greed, gonna drive you over the endless sea.” What drives us all, except the desire to live better than we are currently living? And it keeps us going and going in an endless march of carrot and stick. If you’re not marching your either rich enough to stop, or you’ve given up.
Last night was my second night tutoring online for a new company, and it was a cluster fuck of experiences, beginning when the platform wouldn’t load and I literally had to delete it from my computer and re-download and install. Technology could not work if we weren’t all way more tech savvy than we give ourselves credit for; we’re all tech support now. But that’s Vanilla Sky, and we’re on World Party, not Paul McCartney. Every time I finished feverishly typing with one student a pop-up would appear advising me that there was another student and I had 14 seconds to prove I was there and accept the student. I imagine being the person on the other end of any chat service is like that, like when you chat with Amazon people, and I have a lot more empathy for them. I plan to be a lot less demanding in the future, which I think Karl Wallinger would probably be down with. It’s a rat race, driving me over the endless sea on a ship of fools I don’t want to be fucking sailing with. Karl, save me from tomorrow. I keep telling myself it’s only temporary, and I don’t have to show up if I don’t want to. But I’m gonna do it, “Drawn by the promise of the joker and the fool, by the light of the crosses that burned… you will pay tomorrow”
“Oh oh oh oh
Save me from tomorrow”
Which of us hasn’t had that sentiment?
“I don’t want to sail with this ship of fools”
It helps that Karl sounds like Mick Jagger on this track, and I love the way he smiles through the whole video like he’s having a great time prophesying my doom. And my doom is so damn catchy! This is an easy one to get stuck in your head over and over, but I don’t mind it being an ear worm, not at all. I can hear it in the shower, I can hum it to myself in the dark night, I can sing it while I pour the morning into the cup, dark, sugary, enticing me to keep rolling on the ship of fools.
Trust me on this one… get on board.
Above is one of the many photos of the young Queen Elizabeth.
Below is a photo of my Aunt Sara, probably when she was a bit older than the above photo of the Queen, but it’s the only one I could find of her easily (without groping through shoeboxes full of photos).
In my family we always felt like they could have been sisters. And both were, I believe, very dutiful and correct ladies in their lives.
It’s most certainly the end of an era, and I feel that these two women, both gone now, would have had much in common and been good friends, had they ever had the opportunity to meet.
My Aunt Sara was, I think, a sensitive creative person who was married to the wrong man, a man who was extra intelligent, and extra devoted to rules and duty, and not very loving to a creative and soft-hearted woman who did not manage to remain that way during their marriage.
My aunt was a gifted water-color painter, and sewer. She could make complicated clothing like lined suit jackets and silk scarves with rolled edges.
My aunt once told me that, in the year or so before Marilyn Monroe passed away, she had often thought of inviting her to dinner, because she looked, in the news, to be sad, and tired, and she thought she could use a place to take a break from her life. When Marilyn passed away, my aunt was sad but not surprised, she’d said. I tell this story because I always felt it was perceptive of my aunt, to clue into another woman’s pain, and I think it would have been lovely if that dinner offer had been sent and accepted.
In many ways, the Queen, because she had wealth and privilege, probably had an easy life, and in other ways, for those same reasons, it was probably hard.
My aunt was married to an incredibly smart, respected, and talented doctor, who was also very critical of her and unkind. My aunt had a lot of money, children who had little to nothing to do with her, a lot of time alone on her hands, and a sensitive artist side that was largely unfulfilled. She was, I believe, also deeply in love with the wrong man.
Prince Philip seems to have been a strong and controlling person, dominant, and I wonder, had Elizabeth not become queen, with all eyes upon them, if he would have been loving, kind, and faithful for life. My uncle certainly took pride in being faithful, but it was like it was a chore he shouldered with little complaint, when in fact he complained a lot, and often, and embarrassingly publicly. Many times my aunt spoke in front of me of how she wanted to leave him, but she was, I think, too in love to ever go.
Queen Elizabeth had her problems and missteps like all of us, but she was who she was, it seems to me, unfailingly, when I am certain there were times she would have liked to have been different than what was expected of her. I think she did a lot to bolster morale and, in general, help her beloved country through the challenges all developed nations have. In any case, she seems to have done more than a good job at it, and I hope she’s enjoying a cocktail now with her beloved spouse, and all their former corgis.
And I think it would be more than lovely if she could, now, in the beyond places whatever and wherever they are, get to meet her doppelgänger, my aunt, Sara.
I am one of those annoying people who always has advice, and who is always thinking about how to proceed with life.
When we lose people, places, things, etc., the challenge is moving forward. Sometimes it can feel disrespectful to move forward, as if we are not giving enough notice to grief, and what is gone. Also, though, I have noticed that it sometimes feels, when I am in grief, like I am a rock in a stream. I am still, and grieving, but everything, including the thing being grieved, is whipping past me in the current, and it becomes my choice, I often feel, to decide whether to stay behind, and if so, how long, or whether or not to move forward.
There is a brilliant chapter in the brilliant book, The Things They Carried, by Tim O’Brien, that covers this very point. The chapter, “Speaking of Courage,” illustrates quite clearly how a soldier, home from war, and in grief, is not only passed-by by life, everyone around him that he used to be in step with has moved forward in life, and his time in the war made him behind them, but his grief keeps him behind. He is grieving the loss of a fellow soldier, and feeling responsible for it, and he cannot let go. War, of course, is a shit-show, and none of the foot soldiers are really responsible for what happens after they find themselves in the meat grinder of war, but that lack of control almost makes them hold on to their position as the rock in the stream when they return, and they stay where they are, hoping for a way to affect a situation that they had no control over, and that, for them, is over. For myself, when a pet dies, like my cat Jones, see prior post, I often feel myself asking what might have happened differently to cause a different outcome. I think this double whammy of grief, and trying to control the out-of-control, keeps us still in the water, cemented, while everything alive and good rushes past us.
And, so, we must first (and here is the annoying advice part) tell ourselves that we are allowed to pick our feet up out of the riverbed. We are allowed to recline onto the water, and let the current move us forward until we can start paddling and directing our flow again. The first step to heal is to allow ourselves to move. It’s not disloyal, or shirking our duty, or unkind. There are so many living things around us, still needing and wanting us in our lives, that to stay still is the selfish part as it helps no one.
But how the fuck do you get yourself to loose your grip on the pain of grief, the pain of being out-of-control?
One thing that always helps me is to watch a funny movie, like really funny, can’t help but laugh even a little. Or my favorite movie, which is all about releasing grip, The Darjeeling Limited. That one always helps, even though it’s not funny.
Another tried and true way for me to become alive again is to create. When we lose something, and we respond by creating, we gain something. Maybe it is not as wonderful or large or etc. as what we lost, but it is creation in a space that is left bereft. We begin, in a small way, to fill the void.
So, today, I created my lunch. Homemade hummus (which makes it almost impossible to eat store bought), is what I have created today. My hummus has chick peas (garbanzo beans) in it, and also olive oil, and lemon juice, and tahini, and garlic, and cumin (I love cumin!). To serve my hummus I like to add some chickpeas on top, and some drizzled olive oil, and some ground salt, and… this to me is the genius part, some hand-chopped pistachios. You could make this with any bean of your choice almost (maybe pintos would be too soft), and any spice, and any nut or seed. It would probably be great covered in sesame, or served with little pickles maybe! I ate mine with some tortillas that I laid in a hot cast-iron pan for a minute to stiffen up.
I look out the window at the white tulips atop Jones, and I feel so sad, and I miss him. I told one of the other cats last night as we looked out the window that Jones was on the wrong side of the glass. And he is. But, he had a bad disease that I couldn’t fix, and it broke my heart to let him go. And isn’t that the best we all can hope for, that we break someone’s heart a little when we have to be let go?
But I cannot stop and be a rock in the stream. There are other people and pets I am supposed to be loving, and they deserve me too. I need to start moving in the water again. And creating, even a fancy lunch, is a good way to start.
HA! I took this snap, just to see what I’m looking like these days while I tutor… and there it was… Tina Belcher, TUK shoes, and Tom (Robbins). Three Ts. Coincidence? Probably, she typed, with a wry expression on her face.
Lots been going on lately, not all good, but all different.
We said goodbye last week, to Baby Jones, or Jones, or Pinstripe Jones, as he was originally named.
Jones was a very sweet boy. He loved chasing the laser more than anything else, and he liked treats (Temptations) and wet food, and tuna. The funny thing about Jones, he always had his cuddle moments with me, but otherwise he kept to himself, and, just like Rosie, about two weeks before we could see he was sick, he started getting more friendly and cuddly with the other two humans I live with. He is the kitten I stole from a little girl while at the SPCA. Yes, I did that. We were in the kitten cage… she and her mom and me and one other person, and they released about 30 kittens that had just become eligible for adoption into the cage. It was like being in the glass case full of dollar bills from that old TV game show… you know what I mean. There he was, Jones, the striped boy I wanted. I tried to grab him, but he was like lightening around the cage and then, like that, the little girl somehow nabbed him. “I’m sorry; he’s mine,” I said, and took him and turned and walked out of the cage, while she and her mother stared at me with their mouths open. And just last week Jones died, too young, and with a very aggressive form of cancer. Am I sorry I stole him from a little girl? Nope. I’d take a short-lived Jones any day over no Jones at all. He was a very sweet young man. Sorry little girl. But, you’re in your teens now, and probably glad your cat is still alive. And I’m glad that Jones had us to live with in his short life. It is my feeling, having had a few feral cats now as pets (and Jones definitely was the son of a feral cat, and a bit uncivilized himself) that feral cats just don’t get the lifespan of non-feral cats. They have a charm all their own, and they certainly need us more, but they’re going to break your heart sooner than their more domestic brothers and sisters. I think the outdoor life is just hard, down to the cells and the bones.
At one point we had five cats here. And in the last three years, one went back to my mother (she had asked us to take two of her cats, and one, Henry, just never got comfortable around our dog, though our dog basically ignores the cats, so Henry went back to my mother who, after she gave us her two cats, went and got another one! So now Henry is with her, and her other cat, Joey, and is happy.), and Rosie, the feral tortie darling I rescued from a school parking lot that was wedged between I-95 and 295, succumbed to cancer (in her nose, and not treatable) in 2020, and Jones left us this year. It’s curious, because I was so worried about how Jones was going to take traveling when we move next month (in other news, we’re moving), and he always loved Rosie best of all; they often snuggled, and I have felt he’s missed her, and now he’s right next to her, together forever. I would have rather had Jones with me, but maybe he had other ideas about who he wanted to be with. I do think, having had five, that there is a limit to how many you can give good attention to if you have more than one cat per person. I know that we loved Henry, but it seemed like there was always someone else trying to get rubs first, and then add his fear of dogs in… it’s tough to give enough to all. And our dog is a fellow who doesn’t like to share his mom!
I was going to continue… but maybe that’s enough for today. Jones deserves his time, and so does my grief, which feels deep, as it always does when I lose a furry baby. It is down in there, burrowing away into my heart, and it won’t stay quiet for some time to come.
Oh, Baby Jones, Baby Jones, how I miss you. You had the softest most luxurious fur I ever felt, even softer than your long-haired brother. You had a sweet and gentle personality, and you were a big boy; you looked like a mountain lion until the day, oddly enough, you didn’t; you seemed to have gotten smaller overnight, and we should have known that it was not our perceptive abilities that had declined, but your physical ones. I love you, and you’ll always be so special to me, and I hope your journey was easy across the rainbow bridge to find your darling Rosie. Give her a kiss and a cuddle from us.
Do you like Humphrey Bogart movies?
How about Raymond Chandler mysteries?
Join us online for a conversation with William F. Crandell, award-winning author of Let’s Say Jack Kennedy Killed the Girl, Book 1 in The Jack Griffin Detective Series.
In this hard-boiled adventure we find a young senator Kennedy’s personal and political future at risk when he’s set up to take the fall for a ghastly murder. Working against time, bureaucratic red tape, his own personal demons, and individuals who want him out of the way, Detective Jack Griffin must identify the real killer, assuming he survives long enough.
William F. Crandell returned home from the Vietnam War with a taste for adventure, a skeptic’s eye, and a hundred thousand stories. Awarded a Maryland State Arts Council Individual Artist Award for his private detective novel, Let’s Say Jack Kennedy Killed the Girl, Crandell has published short stories, book reviews, scholarly articles, journalism, state and federal reports, political analyses, and congressional testimony that he presented in Washington hearings. An Ohio native, Crandell received all his degrees at Ohio State University, completing his doctorate in American History with a study of the interaction of McCarthyism and Republican politics. Bill is a former DC speech writer for Veteran’s Affairs.
Click below to register for the Zoom link:
Whenever possible I have a little fun with my creative writing classes with Magnetic Poetry.
This past semester, while cleaning up from our play-day, I found some nice word combos, and isn’t that the point of Magnetic Poetry?
So, c’mon, poem with me…
Comment with your creation!
No, you don’t have to use them in that order…. 😉
Whenever possible I have a little fun with my creative writing classes with Magnetic Poetry.
This semester, while cleaning up from our play-day, I found some nice word combos, and isn’t that the point of Magnetic Poetry?
So, c’mon, poem with me…
Comment with your creation!
No, you don’t have to use them in that order…. 😉
When’s the last time you visited my page?
An even better question is, “When is the last time you updated your own page?”
Are you a published writer? You gotta link your page to your blog, and keep it updated. Go in every so often and change your photo, etc. I always find it strange when I meet a writer who looks nothing like his/her photo because the photo is so old. Get rid of your HS yearbook photo and update it. Listen, you may have a wrinkle or two you didn’t have before, but your true fans wanna see you. The real you. Sometimes, if you look at your page as if you don’t know you, it can give you a boost, seeing all you’ve done, or it can give you some juice, seeing, “I can do more!”
Update yourself. 🙂
Do you know the words to the Pink Panther theme song by the great Henri Mancini?
The words are, “Dead aunt, dead aunt, dead aunt dead aunt dead aunt dead aunt dead auuuuunt de-eh-eh-ed aunt.” And so on.
At exactly 3:08 pm yesterday I heard my dead aunt say my name.
My dead aunt, when she was alive, had a habit, throughout her life, that I was not fond of. She was a practitioner, nay, even a master, of the pop-in.
She was my mother’s older sister, significantly older, so she seemed to feel she had the right to do certain things, one of which was to pop-in.
And, as my mother never kept her door locked, and never would have turned her sister away anyway, my aunt could always pop-in.
This usually meant that whatever was happening at home, from cooking dinner to eating dinner, from hanging laundry on the line, to playing a game as a family, to being about to leave to go to a movie, or to the beach for a week, whatever it was, it had to stop, immediately, and wait until my aunt decided the pop-in was over. And, frequently, my aunt showed up to complain about her very emotionally cruel husband, or just to be vague and ask all of us a lot of questions to try to make some conversation as she was bored, her husband was cruel, and her kids had gotten the hell out of there as soon as they could, so she was lonely, and alone. I knew it, and I loved her, but geez, she had bad timing. As an example, she refused to come to the baby shower my friends threw me for adopting Sophie; she didn’t cotton to the whole adopting from another race and country thing, but she didn’t mind showing up just when we were about to leave (I was home from CA and staying with my mom) and making us all an hour late. We were literally on the front step when she pulled up, and my mother, who had the only car at the time, turned around and marched back into the house and sat down, clutching her keys so that we knew we were not escaping without her. My aunt slowly lumbered out of her car, up the drive, and into the house, and I had to make everyone tea and get out cookies. My aunt spent the hour or so dropping little hints about the adoption not being a good idea, was generally unencouraging and moody, and, I think, handed me a 50 dollar bill before she sighed a long sigh and left. Boy, was it fun driving to that shower with my mother after that (as my mother always thought her sister knew best because she was older, and she had married very rich), because now my mother was also in opposition to the adoption plan, and anxious about being so very late to a shower where my father’s girlfriend was also going to be, and where they all had been kindly and awkwardly waiting for us for over an hour by the time we arrived. My other aunt, my mom’s best friend, showed up and was a lot of fun. Here’s to dearly departed Aunt Peg, who I enjoyed enough to almost be willing to see while she is dead.
I want to pause here and say that we all have a birth-family, and a childhood family, and they may or may not be the same family, but when you get your very own, grown-up family (GUF), that you put together out of your chosen combination of spouse, kids, friends, pets, etc., your GUF should come first, people.
OMGosh. Do I really need to write that?
Yes. I do.
“I’m so sorry; we’re just headed out the door. I will call you_______” when I’m not headed to the movies with my kids for the last showing of (movie) that if we don’t leave now we will miss. SERIOUSLY.
When my aunt popped in she would open the front door, stick in her head, and say, “Dianne?” emphasis on ANNE, with a slightly louder-than-usual, slightly aggrieved-sounding voice.
That is what I heard yesterday, just when I had finished my long to-do of household chores, and, very hungry, was going to make a sandwich. I heard what sounded like the front door swooshing (my front door, not the one in the house where my aunt used to visit my mom), and my name, said in the same way (I am, unhappily, named after my mother.), “Di-ANNE?”
Lets face it, there are people I knew who are dead who I would love to see again for one last chat, except that, for all of them, universally, they’d be dead.
Dearly departed please don’t visit.
Dead people should stay dead and not visit.
No one has ever accused me of having a spiritual side. I do not believe in an afterlife, or a divine whatsit, or prayer, or past lives, or karma, or karma-chameleon, or zen, or chanting, or whatever. Nope. That dog don’t hunt in my worldview.
And so I knew that it was not my aunt yesterday, but just a trick of the milieu of house noises + hunger.
I do not believe my dead aunt was suddenly thinking of me, or that she died, years ago now, at exactly that moment, or that she wants to tell me she’s glad I got the child, or still recommends against getting the child, or that I should call my mother, or that she’s hanging out with my brother and he’s okay, or that the money she always meant to give me is hidden in the samovar, or whatever. And, in truth, for those who espouse such thoughts about their own lives, it sounds to me not unlike a tropical fruit that people have been known to slip on.
The sound I heard sounded like my aunt, but, of course (do I need to write “of course?”), it was not my aunt. But it did once again reaffirm for me that, no, no, no: dead people should not visit, and, in my view, it’s the thought of them being able to visit that makes horror so horrifying. And not because they’d be zombies or ghosts, but simply because they’d be back. And dead, and probably smell.
Dead aunt, dead aunt, dead aunt, dead aunt, dead aunt, dead- I think Mancini must have felt the same way as me.