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Name: Justine
Location: Annapolis, Maryland, United States

Justine, is a little bit more than you'd expect. This is where you are supposed to put your "elevator speech". What you'd say if you were in the elevator with somebody you wanted to connect with. I don't have an "elevator speech". If I ran smack-dab into one of my "heroes" I'd just have to smile and be polite and keep my yipper shut and that's probably for the best anyway!

Friday, February 27, 2009
Snitching a good idea from Hammond Heaven
In my taste for all things "Top Gear", I've got plenty of good company on the web. There is the oft mentioned James May Message Board. There is also a Richard Hammond appreciation site called "Hammond Heaven".

Hammond Heaven has an MP3 Shuffle Conessions topic and I've decided to toss the idea in here.

The object is for you to put your MP3 player on "shuffle" and list off the first 20 songs that play. No fudging or fiddling to play only the "cool" songs. This is a warts-and-all free-for-all. Put your MP3 playlist results in the "comments" for this post and we'll see what we're all listening to.

I'll start off with my Who laden list from this morning.

1. A Little Is Enough - Pete Townshend
2. Pictures of Lily - The Who
3. Athena - The Who
4. Love Ain't For Keeping - The Who
5. Badlands - Bruce Springsteen
6. Crazy In The Night - Kim Carnes [Were'd this come from? I've never heard this song before.]
7. Won't Get Fooled Again - Pete Townshend Live
8. A Question of Honor (Knock Out Mix) - Sarah Brightman
9. Roll Me Away - Bob Seger
10. How Can You Do It Alone - Pete Townshend
11. Working On A Dream - Bruce Springsteen
12. Free (Swiss American Federation Mix) - Sarah Brightman [My bittersweet theme I think.]
13. Secret Garden - Bruce Springsteen
14. Old Red Wine - The Who
15. Rough Boys - Pete Townshend Live
16. Going Mobile - The Who
17. Dancing In The Moonlight - King Harvest
18. Face The Face - Pete Townshend
19. Love, Reign O'er Me - The Who [My current yummy favorite.]
20. Save It For Later - Pete Townshend [The section where Pete offers prizes for those who know what this is about is cut off this recording.]

When the list popped out I wondered what geezer space alien loaded the player this week. But I have to confess this one's all me.

Olly olly oxen free - come and have some fun with me.

Hope to hear from YOU!

Can I blame Kiff for the Kim Carnes tune?
Everybody blames Kiff
Everybody always blames Kiff.
Thursday, February 26, 2009
Down the Rabbit Hole With James & Jamie
Yesterday takes the cake for "Down the Rabbit Hole" experiences.

I crawled out of bed to go to work and I collapsed. Blam. The world went whirly and that was it. When I righted myself, I phoned in to work and phoned the physician. There was nothing to be done but rest. I went back to bed before I fell over again. Sleep clamped down on me before I had time to add up how much money I was loosing by missing work.

The earth spun onwards. I lapsed into the coma sleep of a sick day filled with vivid dreams in exquisite detail and rich color. I was having tea in a garden behind a sunshine yellow clapboard house. I dozed on the green velvet sofa of my own interior design firm. I capered in the topsails on a sailing ship. I writhed down to the deck and updated my charts. I carefully stowed my glass and sextant in my leather rucksack and went to speak with the captain. Instead of my customary Pirate Captain Jack, James May was standing captain. Charming in 18th century regalia, his hat held by a cabin boy, he was barefoot. When I asked him where his boots were, he said he had sensitive feet and he just couldn't stand them. About the time I began to wonder about splinters in the deck the scene changed again.

The sumptuous sun traveled unseen left to right across my bedroom window. I drove race cars, collected Rembrandts, restored a sumptuous Victorian house, and ended driving an ambulance carrying Adam Savage from the set of "Mythbusters". Apparently Adam accidentally launched himself out of a canon and fell in a marshland. Jamie Hyneman, the other "Mythbuster", was at the hospital with us. He was grumbling that he'd told the "damn fool" to stay out of the canon.

Isnt' that the way of it? You tell your friends not to crawl into canons and they do it anyway.

It was well after sundown when I woke. I had a sandwich and watched "Dog the Bounty Hunter" and "Ghosthunters" caper around for a while. Then I slipped back into the arms of Morpheus.

The night was filled with adventures in a textile design museum with Jamie Hyneman and Dame Judi Dench.

My imagination has a brilliant central casting.

Today I was stable enough to get out of bed and hurtle around the beltway in my loaner Cadillac DTS. It's an 8 cylinder rocket with mushy suspension and a wicked understeer. If they'd mate it with the CTS and get a CDTS it might have everything wicked and sumptuous all together. Perhaps that is what the CTSV is. But a manual shift for a daily driver is just out of the question. The DTS has incredibly luxurious trim and details. It's like riding inside of an out of control leather handbag. The seats, dash, shift, steering wheel, and console are all done out in shiny black leather. Unlike the shift on the CTS with it's luxe polished wood surface, the DTS shifter is small, suggestively shaped, and covered with nubbly leather. It's like grabbing hold of some mutant alligator pecker. Very creepy. In celebration of my gazillionth loaner in two months I parked in an illegal edge spot a the end of a row in the company parking lot. If they give me a ticket, it's a federal offense. They also don't have anyone on file with that tag number. It's jack-rabbit freezing out there and I'm not schleping in from the back forty and having another asthma attack. Pardon me, but I'm tired of hacking until I urf up.

Oh, my life is so interesting. James May, barefoot pirate captain or not, must be having more fun than I am.

At least, sometime during my flight through Wonderland, I put some new tunes on the MP3 player. More "Who". There must be ten versions of "Pictures of Lily" on there. Oddly enough, part of my name is "Lily". But I don't think I've ever been pin-up whack bait.

Such an over achiever am I.

Sail on gentle James. I wish you a nice pair of Crocs to soothe those scaulded tootsies.

...Aw come on baby.

...Aw come on baby.
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
I suppose
I suppose I should fix some of the horrendous spelling and typing errors I've made in this blog. I suppose I should also tell you something insightful and wonderful about my last 24 hours on the planet.

Last night my stalwart cohort and I spent two hours filling out paperwork to get mom into the veterans residence. I also discovered I'd let my own prescriptions run out. Oh, and the car is full of water again.

That's about as exciting to read as the grocery store adverts. And here you are sure there will be no chance of a two-for-one special on Oreo cookies.

I wonder if James May likes Oreo cookies? Oreos make your teeth such a wonderful nasty shade of black when you're eating them. In last night's episode James was left alone in a garage all night to tune some weirdo car. His sole request to Jeremy was for a "bag of chips". Hmm. With a bag of chips most folks could motivate me to work on something old and slobbery too.

James bravely ate his "fried taters" and tuned up a mini-van looking thing. His tender care got the slobby thing up from 98 horsepower to 206.

At this point I feel the urge to say something about how "with tender care" I could be brought about from a wreck to a peppy version of myself. However, I know that ain't nobody going to give me any "tender care" save for shooting me between the eyes. The only tune up I'll get is going to be solo as well.

Since all of this is boring me to sleep as I write it, how about I tell you of my late night visitor last night? My ginger haired playmate from the autocross follies of a few weeks back.

This time he arrived alone at an indecent hour and with a bottle of mulling wine. Since it was 26 degrees last night it was a welcome hostess gift. We warmed the brew in the crock pot and proceeded to get crocked.

On his own, Ginger was more flexible than previously suspected. He was also much more charming, less clinical, and very talented. It was well after 3 a.m. when he recollected himself and took his leave. I slept well and will most likely have leg cramps for a week. Overall a splendid encounter.

Have you considered that bridge I have for sale?
Monday, February 23, 2009
Down the Rabbit Hole . . .
"Alice In Wonderland" and "Wind In The Willows" were the two books I hated when I was a kid. The first one because nothing made sense in it. The second one because nothing happened in it. Now that I'm older I'm told that "Alice" is a cunning satire about politics and government buracracy.

This would explain why I have been playing croquet with a flamingo for the last three days. I'm doing well in the standings but I feel a bit out of sorts.

On Friday my stalwart companion, "DM", and I attended a two hour orientation the veteran's health system,tracked the elusive state veteran's administration to room 1231 on the 4th floor, and drove 120 miles round trip to put in an application for the state veteran's residence.

We did all this with the stack of paperwork that took us 4 hours to complete several weeks ago. We returned with another stack of mind boggling paperwork that has to be filled out by mom's current physician.

Of course, the current physician has disappeared. Forms we requested three weeks ago have not been returned. We are stopped in our tracks.

"DM" is bravely going to corner the doc while he is on rounds this week.

After years of working in large industry I should understand the immense inertia and huge spools of red tape that exist in a government organization. But just because I know how to play croquet with a flamingo for a mallet doesn't mean I have to like it.

Mom fell yesterday and we spent the better part of yesterday and last night in the emergenty room. She's ok. It was just another fubar of red tape. We were waiting for test results from a test they didn't run for several hours. Then mom and I both got cranky and the test was run and read.

My car was away for 2 weeks to have a water leak fixed. Saturday night it rained and Sunday the car had water in it again. The car goes back tomorrow for another round. I'm seriously thinking of trading it in.

James May must certainly be having more fun than I am. I read soemthing he'd written in his column about having a whole program of "burning junk out of the attic". Like the reverse of an antiques roadshow. I cordially invite him to my house for the first bonfire. Just leave my apple box full of my childhood dolls alone and take the rest of it. Oh, and leave the typewriter.

When my favorite plastic dolls resurface they will join their sisters in my guest room. The typewriter goes on the counter, it got shifted by mistake earlier.

My guest room looks like something out of a bad Twlight Zone episode. It's full of ceramic figurines and porcelain dolls. My inner child has its own room, I guess. But since my inner child has a shelf full of models and train sets of its own, I'm not sure who decorated the guest room.

I've been eyeing a new custom made "reborn" doll. The dollmaker starts with a nice base vinyl sculpt, then roots hair, puts in glass eyes, and paints in skin tones. They are incredible works of art. I want to make one myself but I don't want to accumulate all the tools and paints. I like to try making a doll type and then do one or two dolls. It might be easier this time to order a doll. I bought the vinyl scuplt two weeks ago. I've been in contact with an artist. The income tax refund is back. I do not want to spend it on something practical!

Now I'll need a name. I think I want a boy doll to go in the collection. Don't have any baby boys yet. I know I won't be using the name "Michael", "Tony", or "Wayne". Any suggestions?

"DM" is coming over for paperwork tonight. After that I am slinking off for a 12 hour nap!
Thursday, February 19, 2009
Mercy Mercy Me, Sombody change my MP3
MP3 players are handy, dandy, and help me drown out the sound of the guy over the cube wall fighting with his wife via telephone.

The only drawback is that, because they are so small, MP3 players go into the bottom of the rucksack and get forgotten.

Every night I schlep the gizmo home and promptly forget to update the tracks on it.

It's not that I have to rip my CD collection to siphon off new music. I have a subscription to Rhapsody-To-Go. I can plunk that player with 8GB of any type of music. The trick is to remember to do it.

Luckily today I found a "Who" playlist on the player that hasn't been in rotation so there's a bit of "fresher" music.

Of course it can be a bit distracting to try and read a hex dump with Roger D moaning "Reign o'er me" in my ear. My minds eye pulls up images of Roger prancing around half naked from the "way back" days. He had the nack for looking more distracting in a pair of jeans and a crop top than if he'd been buck-naked. That rippling abdomen looked like it needed biting. We girls would comment and speculate on the lack of a 'goody trail'. Now the hairless sheen is in fashion.

When I was young and vital and interested in the hunt, hairless meant "not quite ready yet". Although I've never made the mistake of thinking R.D. would be harmless.

Ah! That little editorial voice is screaching in my ear! It's howling that I shouldn't comment on Roger D and his caperings any more than I should speculate on Mr. May's habits. Significant difference here though. . . . Roger D performed half naked in a rock band. Big diff between a journalist on a motoring program and a rock singer.

If Mr. May starts doing a semi-nude rock act on "Top Gear", then it's open season. Based on the number of photos of Mr. May flipping the photographer "the bird" appearing on the "James May Board" I suspect he won't be going "exhibitionist" anytime soon.

All this thought of half-naked men displaying "the goody trail" reminds me of a pair of poison green OP cord shorts "W" used to wear in the "way back". If he didn't perch modestly in a chair he'd give a good view his "goody trail" start to finish. Before we started dating, when he was a member of my gang or friends, he gave me several charming displays of talent that he swears were accidental.

The daft girls today don't know what kind of window shopping they've given up with this "boxer briefs saggy baggy jeans" fashion for men.

In the "way back" time tight jeans and short OP shorts were required. There were the "stuffers" and the "hide-ers" and the "modest". Even if a guy was modest he certainly gave a nice display walking away. Being a "leg letch" from "way back", I'll say the shorts were my favorite. No matter what anyone says about Tom Sellect, that man gave khaki shorts the best display they'll ever get.

It was as much fun to give as receive. I remember how much fun it was to wear the "nice girl dress" and hide a dainty set of garters and stockings underneath. You let the "darling boy" stumble on things for himself, instead of wearing the garter belt on the outside. There was something more fun about letting only the "select" know that you were equipped with "race suspension".

Guess that's the way of the world though. We're either suppressing ourselves to the point of having a stroke or we're going flat out to orgy on a rocket.

Ummm. Roger's gone quiet. Pete is cranking up Eminence Front. He's right though. We all forget we're hiding behind an "Eminnence Front".
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
Monday Monday
Monday, Monday, can't trust that day.
- Ancient Mama's & Papa's song lyric

So true.

If I have a three day holiday weekend I can 100% count on getting sick on Friday and being flat out until mid-week the next week. Not only do I get to not have fun on my holiday. . . I get to waste what tiny bit of leave I've accrued to be sick.

Or maybe it's "W". Every time he even thinks about coming to visit I get the "Regimental Bark", bronchitus, stomach bug, or some other mystery ailment that is floating in the air.

Now I'm going to do something I promised I wouldn't do, but that's only because I did it the other day and now I have to set things to rights.

My buddy "D" speculates about Mr. May's alcohol consumption. I shouldn't have mentioned her thoughts. "D" had 2 alcoholic husbands. I've been wrapped up with a few alcoholics in my family and in my love life. "D" and I both project when we see men drinking. I should not speculate about James May's personal habits. I apologize to Mr. May and to anyone else who has read my ruminations.

I very much enjoy Mr. May's work with Top Gear and in other projects. I will admit to being exceedingly envious when I see film of him driving CTSV's on the salt flats. I am human, I am envious. Mea Maxima Culpa.

I wish Mr. May health and happiness.

Come to think of it, I wish that for myself.

P.S. - "W"s brother-in-law literally drank himself to death before our eyes and we were powerless to help him. In the end he submitted to hospitilzation but his body was too damaged and he died of alcohol related organ failure. He was a sweet and caring man who had the misfortune of finding two of his newphes dead from suicide. When his wife contracted cancer he was so sure of her death that he set about drinking himself into a stupor so he would miss it. She is alive, in remission and a widow.
Monday, February 16, 2009
James May Has More Fun Than I Do
Tonight's Top Gear put James May in a Cadillac CTSV driving on the Bonneville Salt Flats.

Envy doesn't cover the mix of sins of discontent in my mind right now.

What I couldn't believe was how bitterly he complained about his CTS during regular highway driving. Compared to the Corvette and the Charger in the line up, the CTS is a baby doll for daily driving. (Granted he did have the manual.)

When he hit the first curvy road, the CTSV got him. Just the same way it got me.

Oh yeah. Car lust. It's a thing unto itself.

My pet Caddy is out in the driveway tonight. Thanks to Jeremy Clarkson convincing me that Caddy had made a non-slush-mobile and James May talking me into buying a used high dollar car. (High dollar for me anyway.)

But don't think for a second I wouln'd rather be on the salt flats opening up a ruby red CTSV than in beltway rush hour traffic. Oh no. James May is again, having more fun than I do.
Friday, February 13, 2009
Oliver is coming home!
Oliver is coming home tonight!

He's back from the bodyshop with his rusty bits repaired.

I hope this will be the last repair needed for a long time!

Today I started researching local autocross schools and events coming up locally. I'm thinking about taking Oliver out to autocross. A lot depends on how comfortable I can get driving him before the begining of March. The first novice autocross class begins on March 22nd. All I'd need to start would be a decent pair of shoes and a helmet.

"W" and I could go helmet shopping together. Wouldn't that be sweet? He works at a motorcycle dealer so he knows a bit about helmets. It would certainly make people wonder what we got up to in the bedroom, or the garage, or the kitchen.

I'm hoping the bite marks and bruises from last week end heal up before "W" arrives. He'll be suspicious. :) Have you made you mind up on purchasing that lovley bridge I offered you?
Moses at the Drive In
...Aw come on baby.

image courtesy of Google/Life archive

Ironic isn't it?

Moses is parting the Red Sea but he seems powerless against a lot of parked cars.

Moses in the parking lot clicking his car alarm and looking for his charriot. It's an odd thought, but if Moses were here with us today he'd have the same problems we do.

Moses' people problems are legendary. His crew got up to such mischief that they earned a "time out" from God. Now they'd make a sit-com about it like "The Office" or "Clerks". I can imagine the promo blurb now:

"Moses tries to reign in the wacky gold calf worshipers and finds himself the defendant in a descrimination lawsuit. The jury pays out but the "Big Judge" steps in and sentences them all to a long walk in the desert."

Imagine the tabloids attacking Moses' family on the front page:

Moses, Really found in a bullrush basket or an illegal adoption?

Moses DNA Shocker! We reveal his true identity.

Moses Adoption Terror! Court documents show illegal handling of child aid by Pharoh.

Moses. Is he fit to lead or did murder of fellow children scar him for life?

Moses breaks down in interview: "I survived it's my duty to change the world."

Poor guy. If he were alive today they'd be trying to lock him up, car bomb him, or force him to take antipsychotic meds. They wouldn't even let him fly with his staff.

The world of ancient faith and miracles is so far away. It's difficult to tune in to the mindset that miracles still happen every single day for our benefit.

In the last three weeks I've had money, help, government programs, options, parking spaces, and paperwork appearing miraculously all around me. Thank you God.

I asked for help and it came. I am thankful. I was up the creek without a paddle.

I'm not the most elegant in prayer. I'm always torn between the "be specific" caveat and the "I have no idea what I need" school. I usually go with the "I have no idea what I need. Please help me." Or the "Help me be a good daughter and do what Mom needs."

I haven't been reading the "secret" or doing some "mystical teaching". I've been crying and making honest, faithful requests for help. I'm glad God takes direct requests. I hate to think that I'd have to buy a book and follow some secret procedure to pray and be blessed. I stink at following directions when I'm upset. It's a good thing for me that God's Grace is open 24X7 for black sheep in Chevys in the last row at the Drive In.
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
There was an edge? Really?
“The only ones who know where the edge is are those who have gone over it.”
~Hunter Thompson

"Fortune is on your side. Play it for all it's worth."
~ Fortune Cookie From Friend Today

Last week I sailed right over the edge.

I didn't realize it at the time.

My pre-conceived notions of going over the edge left me oblivious to the act itself.

The natural notion at this point is to say I'm fighting to climb back up and over the edge to get back to where I was.

I'm not.

I don't want to. I have no intentions of going.

I sailed off the edge of what I thought and believed about my life. I snapped and broke and tumbled down the other side and into something new.

It all feels different, but I can't say exactly how. Things are more solid. I seem to be able to say "No" and have it respected. I seem to be able to navigate without so much interference. I feel stronger at the helm.

I am still exhausted. I still have a frightening time trying to sleep at night and wake up in the morning. But I don't feel frantic about it any more.

I'll get my stupid car back from the repair shop sometime this year, I guess. My mom is going to Charlotte Hall Vets home whether she likes it or not. The furnace will eventually get paid for.

I'm having a house guest this weekend and I'm going to enjoy myself. No worries about what I do or don't get up to. After 25 years "W" and I should be able to do what we blinking well please without anybody being in a huff.

My house looks like a tornado came through and left bits of paperwork everywhere. "W" knows how to step over things so he'll be just fine. I'll stock up on Chex Mix and Dr. Pepper and we'll phone out for grub.

The bills will all get paid at some point. The mortgage and the power are up to date. Everybody else can go suck an egg.

Everybody is jockeying for position at work. As long as they pay me and don't make me work all night every Saturday night. . . they can all go to hell too.

I've got other things I want to do and it's high time I got up to them.

The next room in the house to get the overhaul is the office. It's time that room became more usefull. I see cabinets in the future.

As for mom and the guilt machine. I'm not visiting right now. I'm not putting up with the bullshit.

As for getting my health back on track. I'll heal after while.

I know where the edge is now. It takes away a lot of the fear.

I don't know if James May is having more fun than I am today. I think he's in Austrailia with the Top Gear Road Show. I wish they'd come to the U.S. but they won't. Some asshole is trying to build a US franchise with different hosts. That deserves to fall on its face.

My buddy "D" says that she thinks James is a hard core alcoholic. She says he talks about getting looped too much. She also says he's starting to look like an old drunk. I can't argue with her on that point. In the last few years he's gone from a cutie to looking like my Uncle Howard. Uncle Howard was a full out drunk. He looked like one too. Orange peel skin on the face, ruddy complexion, gin blossoms, and the overall malaise of a drunk. When he was sober he was the sweetest guy going. When he was drinking he was mean. He was also grabby. I kept a table or chair between us at all times. His brother was a bigger letch. When I was sixteen I flat out told them both to keep their mits off. Of course this was in the middle of the family Christmas party and it was in a loud voice. Everyone looked at me in shock and the room grew quiet. My mom ambled over to the guys looked them in the eye and said, "You heard her, keep your hands to yourselves you horny old goats."

The room hung on the brink of a donnybrook for a moment. Nervous laughter broke the silence. No body laid a paw on me again.

Sometime shortly after that I was lost. Never matter the dark road I travelled from then until last week. Now I'm back. I don't plan on disappearing again.

Justine is back boys. The game's on.
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
Black is Black . . .
. . . . I want my baby back.

It's been a week since I've seen Oliver. I turned him over to the Cadillac people for repairs last Tuesday. The replacement part, it turns out, isn't a single light and lens. It's a lens assembly that makes up 1/2 the trunk/boot lid, holds the number plate, and the backup lights.

Yesterday I offered to go to another Caddy location and pick up the part if they couldn't get it from GM directly. That's when I found out it was more than a lens and a gasket. Once the part arrives it has to be sent, with the car, to the bodyshop to have the paint matched.

Today the car went to the body shop without the part to have the rust damage repaired. The spot on the body where the trunk/boot lid latches to the main body of the car is rusted. That has to be cut out, replaced with another piece of metal and painted to match. The piece lives behind the trunk/boot lid, bumper, gasket and trim. Once it's fixed it shouldn't show when the lid is closed.

The Caddy dealer did, however, swap me loaner cars last night. I turned in the Pontiac Grand Prix with no turn signals and picked up another Cadillac CTS.

At first I thought it was a manual, but it's the non-sport automatic transmission. This one is "diamond white" aka egg carton pearl white. It has a black leather interior and I'm oh so glad it's not summertime.

It's such a relief to get into a familiar feeling car. I'd only had Oliver 4 weeks before he went away.

I spoke to the service writer about which extended warranty he prefers. He suggested that I have my car "Cadillac Certified" and get the Caddy extended warranty. I'm going to find out how much that costs. Another extended warranty is in my future. The choice is which one.

I'm impatiently waiting for my tax refund. I had planned on paying down bills with it but I've suddenly got "mom" expenses. I'll have to tuck my money away and use it help get mom moved to a permanent long term car facility.

Heavens my life is boring.

Perhaps I should tell you about the interesting little 3 way diversion I had last night. That lovely ginger haired man from the auto cross club stopped by last night along with a raven haired "person of interest" from last weekend's festivities. They dropped in with a six pack of Killian's Red and saying they were taking me up on my invitation to come over to see my car collection.

We stashed the beer in the chillerator and ambled out to the car barn. Rogn puffed up and gleamed with pride as he gave a tour of my 4 wheeled pets. After much hemming and hawing, we agreed to take the Bentley out for a spin. I was pilot and my guests piled in the car. Under the amber light of the full moon we motored out to the boat landing on "lake nofish" and parked. I hadn't really intended to park, but it's just too difficult to drive a car with someone trying to get your clothes off.

I never knew exaclty how flexible the seating in the Bentley was. I also didn't realize that those lovely leather loop handles are perfect for hooking feet into. For a bit I was afraid things might get out of hand and I might get hurt. Luckily everyone maintained their manners, as much as there are manners in a group grope in a car. It was delightful overall. A new experience for me as well as the leather in the car. Despite furious mopping up operations last night, Rogn had to condition the leather today. He did his best to remain mute when I put the car back into its spot in the barn. Under the florescent lights I noitced there were bum prints on some of the glass works. I wouldn't mind seeing my red haired beauty again. The raven haired darling has lost his novelty, cruel as it may seem. I think he much felt the same of me.

If you believe that, I've got a wildlife sanctuary in Florida to sell you.

I am terribly afraid that James May is still having much more fun than I do.
Monday, February 09, 2009
I don't want to know about evil. . . .
This afternoon leads to a break in the Pete Townshend monopoly on the MP3 player. Right now it's Dr. John and "I Don't Want To Know About Evil. . .I only want to know about love."

Spent the morning playing phone tag and trying to make appointments to turn in paperwork.

Days and nights are all mixed up from working late. We have a few scheduled weekends coming up where I'll be working midnight to 8 a.m. I must remember to smile and say "overtime please". The cash would be a welcome addition to the regular payments on the furnace.

Nothing worth writing about. Work, dreariness in the mind, shocked nerves, and a odd sense of time going on.

Ordered the parts to make a 'reborn baby' doll. I'm a doll making junkie but oddly enough haven't picked up a needle to work on a doll in years. I have a box full of heads and limbs waiting for me get some time for play.

The Kit Kat Clock sculpture is almost done. I'll post some pics here when it's finished. One of the side panels isn't looking to suit me but haven't solved what to do to it yet. The inside of the back panel and the hinges are all that remain. I make have to break down and buy a quarter yard of muslin to make the hinges with. Finding my muslin in the storage room seems like a daylong proposition at this point.

It's been 1/2 a year since I finished the first cut at sorting out the mega-storage load of stuff from my house, mom's house, and my parent's old house. The attic has a set of ghastly treasures to be sorted and disposed of. I've also noticed that my office/studio and storage room could use another thinning out. Things are orderly but there's too much stuff to find anything readily.

How exciting to write about is this?

Should I tell you about the orgy I went to Sunday afternoon? It was all amyl nitrate, "Slippery Stuff", and the crew from the local auto cross circuit. It's amazing how much mischief ten adults can get up to on a plastic cloth with a gallon of cooking oil in a windowless basement on a Sunday afternoon. Amazing how you wouldn't suspect who's packing metric and who's packing English gage wrenches when they've all got their kit on. One of the fun things about having males outnumber females is that during the frolic parts of the festivites there are choices available. I also know why they keep the short red haired guy on "Team Catscratch". He hasn't got sense enough to change a tire but he's still very useful. :) By sundown we were exhausted and had to help each other in the shower to get the oil off. Afterwards we all ambled down to the diner for a group feast. We all got a bit paranoid as we were seated in amongst the elderly Sunday night out couples. We though perhaps we still smelled a bit too much like a funky walking tossed salad! That sweet red-haired man was nigh on crippled but he had a buzzy glow of sweet satisfaction. One of the other guys drove him home. After he had his apple pie he was too droswy to navigate the highway.

If you believe that, I have some real estate to sell you with a bridge on it.
Saturday, February 07, 2009
After the fire. . .
It's quarter of ten on Saturday night. I'm sitting at my desk at work, waiting for the 10:30 maintenance run.

I spent four hours this afternoon sitting at my dining room table filling out paperwork for the veterans administration. Thank God I had help. It took two of us to sort through the pension application and the application for the veterans assisted living.

"D" kept a checklist and attached stacks of forms, receipts, insurance card copies, bank statements, and bills to each other.

I ran around the house pulling documentation out of cabinets, boxes, folders, files, and stacks.

We labored through the applications and a page of things that still needed to be resolved. Transferring pre-paid funeral arrangements, having artwork appraised and sent to auction, and how do joint-accounts figure into medicaid forms?

It was enough to make a strong woman go down in a blaze of madness.

I never did find the stub of a paid insurance bill from six weeks ago. Even after prayer, it remained submerged in the buckets of paper.

"D" and I fought through. Without her as my wing-woman I would have been taken away to hospital in a cage. In the last 90 days I've turned in veterans health care paperwork and stipend paperwork. I was limping back to base with bullet holes in the fuselage before we started.

When she left we had a 3 inch high stack of completed paperwork on the dining room table. I left it sitting on the polished wood table under the stained glass lamp. It sits there like a holy writ.

"D" is planning out our strategy for an inspection tour of the vets center. She's laying out a campaign to get mom moved without anybody getting hurt. (especially me)

When I moved mom into the place she's living now the guilt and the anger from her almost put me in the nut house. The worries over money and her deteriorating condition are about to put me there again.

"D" is also planning on driving me to all veterans administration meetings. I'll pay her the going hourly rate she charged me when she helped me break down all the stuff out of mom's house.

Say what you will about paying for good organizers and ombudsmen, they are worth every penny twice over.

I'm still cranking "The Who" and Pete Townshend on video and audio. The song "After the Fire" has my ear.

"What happens after the fire?"

Hopefully life.
Wednesday, February 04, 2009
I wonder If James May has ever read "The Pearl"?
Afternoon is bumbling into evening. I've got twenty minutes more on the clock and my brain is boiling with a "todo" list that looks like a GAO report. Then my mind pops, snaps, and wonders if James May has ever read "The Pearl".

Writers sometimes will tell what they're reading. Sometimes it's a good way to pick up a new author. PN Elrod reccomended the "Harry Dresden" series from her reading list and I've been a fan ever since.

I can't remember James May ever saying what his reading faves are. He wouldn't mention "The Pearl" anyway. I acquired my copy in college and it's still a hoot. I checked the other day and it's still in print. I'm not talking about Steinbeck's story. I'm talking about the tome by my fave Victorian author, Anonymous.

Whatever the history books and the highly touted publications say about the Victorian Era; nothing says more than the Victorians themselves. "The Pearl" was a journal of voluptuous reading published in newspaper form in the late 1800's.

No, I have no idea why this thought popped into my head.

I'd put even money on a cominbation of stress and tranquilizers. I haven't felt this kind of screaming fear, absolute desperation, and pain since I was nine years old. The pain is brilliant, wet, and shines. It isn't my heart breaking. My entire chest has been ripped out clean to the backbone. The ribs, lungs, and viscera gone like chaffe from wheat. It's only heart and backbone struggling and twitching in a raw ruin. The pain glimmers, cold and close, like a can of yellow paint. Nothing has been this real and absolute since I was nine years old and watched my father walk out the door never to return.

Bright, electric, gleaming, toothy, personal, alive, close, wet, sticky, the pain is here. It's back. It's broken through every boundary, buffer, numbing zone, fuzzy memory, and chemical. Nothing has been this close, immediate, or overtaking. Every nerve left in my body sees not the 38 years in between the summer of 1970 and now. Every connection is remade, every synapse is alight. Every bone, every hair, every tooth, every cell, melts and reforms itself back into that 9 year old girl watching her family disappear in waves of vapor on a hot summer night. Father disappears in red rectangles of tailights going south on Plainfield road. Mother melts from the assembly she held into someone bitter, spiteful, dead, cold, hateful, broken, and far away. Life went away. Existence followed. There was no more childhood. I was instantly old. Every moment was holding on and breathing through the pain. Every second was pretending that loss was nothing, that nothing was in fact loss. Every blink was agreeing that this was how life should be, and all that it required was for me to be appropriately tough. There was no process, no transition to be made. It was all supposed to be a 'blink' and then on with the new program.

I couldn't work fast enough to catch up. I walled up everything I couldn't hold, everything I couldn't process. I walled it up and build the wall thicker and thicker every day. I embraced that life holds no joy. I embraced that only continuing is essential. Work, provide the necessities. Joy is dangerous stuff, not something for mortals to seek or hold. Thought and nerve endings and miles of walls.

Now, in the moment of decision to place my mother into a veterans hospital, the pain has returned. Wet, raining, glorious in it's absolute-ness.

Without warning it's back. Coating me in shinning, raw, wet, all consuming presence.

Monday afternoon it drove me to a crumpled lump in the floor, screaming for God, panting and wretching and listening for the sound of any help that might come. By nightfall God had sent me angels in all guises. By yesterday afternoon he'd found me a way through a thousand decisions and more pages of paperwork.

Last night he opened up the pain and let it press itself against my face, against my chest, and let it soak itself into every cell in my body. It's working its way through me like a fire. A cold, wet, yellow fire.

My shaman tells me the pain is back because it's finally time to heal it. She tells me that the pain is here so it can end.

38 years is a long time to fight a white hot darkness pressing itself into every moment and every muscle. 13870 days is a long time to fight to fix something that was never my mistake to begin with. It's a long time to try and repair something that was never mine to fix. 332880 hours is a long time for an aging child to try and ignore the death of her family. It's a long time to hold sadness at bay. It's a long time to hold pain's head under the water of the ocean.

* * * *

Sometimes grief leaves no words.

I wrote the above yesterday afternoon. I chased the pain until the words faded like sunlight. I reread this post this morning. It's mellowdramatic, heated to overboiling, and ineloquent. It's as close to explaining to what happened yesterday as I'm ever going to get. I don't think time is going to give me a lens to describe it through. I think it's one of those things that has to be screamed out when the event is on you. Time and distance rob it of the light and intensity.

The pain moved through me, front to back, until it took me over every nerve's worth. Like being a cracker sopped full of yellow paint. It soaked throughand leaked away. It evaporated, dried off, and left me quivering and scraped raw.

Like the crisis of a fever passing, it subsumed me and moved off. I was left laying in the aftermath, still alive. Feelings of completion, aftermath, survival, an opening road took their turns ebbing over the raw places.

Thirty eight years of pain, death, loss, sorrow, all swepty through in a high tide of five hours time. Now they are gone and over with. I feel like I don't ever have to feel thme again. No more holding them off, no more building a wall, they've caught me and they are over.

Anything I saw is inadequate.

Last night I fell into a sleep so sound I missed two hours of the alarm clock ringing. I tumbled back to bed exhausted adn slept until half past noon.

When I rose and left out for work, the street and the neighborhood looked different. It looked like a place I'd never seen before. Before I made the corner I felt excited to realize that was my neighborhood. For the first time it hit me that I have my own house now. My house, my neighborhood, my life disconnected and free from every single day of the past.

I'm free at last.

Am I still tired and shaky? Yes. Do I dread filling out the stacks of paperwork and the horrible drive to take mom from her apartment to the veterans home? Yes.

But, somehow it is different now. I have caught the storm and I've weathered it. The blackness of the past is rolling away now. It's a thunderhead sweeping away over the far horizon. I'm not in Oz and I'm not back in Kansas. I am firmly in the middle of my own life and it's a new experience.
Twilight Zone
Hello Kiddies. I've been off dealing with the world of assisted living, Medicare, veterans benefits, pensions, annuities, and the state nursing home board.

Monday afternoon I collapsed. I'm under treatment for exhaustion.

The car is in the shop again.

I've hired a assistant to help me with the fresh hell of paperwork that has arrived via post and email.

I have not seen any television candy with crazed Englishmen driving cars in a gleeful fashion.

I strongly suspect that quite a few people are having more fun than I am this week.