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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Let the Ranting Commence Anew!

Ok. I gotta couple things bugging me. Shocking, I'm sure!

First off, I read an "advice" column today that suggested that a man that was being belittled by his wife perhaps deserved it. Perhaps he needed to hear about his shortcomings (as it were).

However, let's analyze this...

If the situation was reversed, the man would be called a bully or verbal abuser.

So what's with the double standard? Do you think that one is less offensive to the recipient? I have been witness to my fair share of verbal abuse. People I loved have done it to me. Whether it's being overly controlling, or attempting to make me feel bad about myself or telling me that I need to exercise and "keep fit" in order to be lovable.

The whole notion of love being contingent on some sort of behavior, or the way you look or acting a certain way that is "right" in the opinion of the spouse, parent, friend or loved one? Well, in most cases, that's utterly bullshit.

Of course you cannot go around poking people in the eye and just say, "Well, your love is supposed to be unconditional..." That's not what I'm talking about so just shut up! (That's also not nice to tell someone to shut up, by the way!)

You know what I'm talking about - the person who tells you that you are eating wrong (What the fuck is up with that?), or that you have too much ketchup on your fries (I f*cking LOVE ketchup) or that you're disgusting because you're using your fingernail to dislodge a piece of shrimp from your teeth. If you don't LIKE watching me do that, then DON'T LOOK AT ME!! For the love of PETE!

I once had a person (and he knows who he is) tell me that he liked picking on me because it was "fun."
That's the day I started making my exit plan.

So, let's reverse this whole sitch. If a woman was doing this to her husband, isn't that just as outrageous and unacceptable as this idiot was to me? Why, yes. Yes, it is. So, let's stop the double standard, kids. It's not fair. There are PLENTY of shitty women out there.

I happened to see one such idiot female this past weekend when we were in the Los Angeles airport. Her son was fussy (I am equally fussy when traveling long distances - most humans are), so she actually hit him OVER THE FACE with the edge of a menu in a public restaurant. He, of course, was ashamed, alarmed, sad, mortified, upset, and mostly SCARED of his asshole mother.

I was LIVID. Luckily this boy has a protective father - and the little boy resorted to hiding for quite some time behind his Dad.

What I REALLY really really wanted to do was walk over there and hit that shitty woman right over the head with a menu. I was bigger than she was and WAAAY more riled up. I wanted to see how she felt about being publicly shamed for her poor behavior choices.

So, instead of inciting a riot and getting myself arrested (I'd have been happy to do so), I sent potent brain waves to the Dad (he saw me looking at him and then looking at his shitty wife in utter disgust) to LEAVE HER SORRY ASS. What a douchebag. (And I'm being unkind to douchebags right now - at least they perform a certain service...).

No one. Not one person deserves to be treated so unkindly. I hope this woman stumbles upon this blog and recognizes her shitty self. Her little girl was watching this whole thing unfold. And this shitty mother? She got the little girl to "side" with her, against the little brother. So, now the Mom and little girl are blaming this little, helpless boy for the Mother's shitty behavior.

It was nearly impossible for me to just sit and watch. The husband did finally intervene and tell the Menu Mom to simmer down and let it go. But it wasn't until Menu Mom had her index finger right in the Dad's face - she was reprimanding HIM for protecting the boy.

AAAACCCCKKKK! Children are a PRIVELEGE. They are not your punching bags.

Grow up, parents. Don't have kids unless you're equipped with endless patience, imagination and kindness. No kid deserves that kind of treatment.

Nor does any adult.

The end.

Oh, and thanks to the asshole who stole my new G3 Quantum Tablet computer out of my purse. I have a tracker on there, douchebag. I'm gonna find you and press charges. LAX jerk.

Trippin' maaaan! To Massachusetts and Back. Phew.

(Just a reminder, if you click on a photo, it will enlarge for you!)

A beautiful mountain pass in the Kenai Mountain range.
Fall colors in Alaska are sages, yellows. oranges and deep green.

So, as you all may be aware, I left last Saturday the 11th to return to Massachusetts for a visit with my Gloucester and Salem peoples that I really didn't get to see before I packed up and moved my arse to Alaska.

It was kind of a closure trip meets walk down memory lane with my new husband who I will call Mr. Big and Tall. (He is both (if you get my drift! Hey there Mom and Dad!)!)

I wanted to show Mr. B&T the leaves in October in New England and also the National Seashore, which ain't all that easy to access unless you know the right places and the right people. Luckily, I worked as a researcher and guide for 20 years, so I got to know all the nicest places and people.

So we arrived in Boston about 9pm EST on Saturday night and then drove up to my dear friends P and M's house near Annisquam. She has a lovely house in the woods overlooking the Annisquam River. The house and her garden are TO.DIE.FOR. I love it there. It's quiet and lovely and she's the hostess with the mostess. PLUS they have a little sweet hound mix named Maggie who reminds me SO much of my dog Phoebe it's kind of crazy! Same feisty attitude along with a humorous personality...

Mr. B&T and I stayed there for two nights and then headed North along the coastal route from Gloucester to Essex, Ipswich, along coastal NH and then into Maine. We stayed in Kennebunkport at a GORGEOUS bed and breakfast called The Captain Jefferd's Inn. I cannot recommend this place enough. The accommodations, gardens, staff, amenities and food were nothing less than perfect.

We ate that evening at The Tides Beach Club which is located right on the beach. A beautiful place featuring fresh, local seafood, a very talented Executive Chef and great staff. The bartender knows his stuff, I'll say!

After Maine, we headed down to Salem, MA to stay with another great set of friends, L and T, at their 1800s home near downtown. We had dinner with my excellent friends Hank (of pun fame) and his schmoo, Marylou who I love and adore. They made us an Italian feast (as they are both excellent cooks) and we got to hang out in the garden and enjoy the unseasonably warm evening.

The next day, it was raining and windy, a feature of a perfect October storm in New England. Mr. B & T and I drove up the coast again through Salem, Beverly, Beverly Farms, Manchester and then on to Gloucester. I got to have lunch with my Captain Jeff that I hadn't seen in EONS! I am proud to tell you that I set Jeff and his wonderful wife up on their first date. They were married about a year later! They are so very good for each other...Jeff and I blabbed for hours and then he showed me their new home and drove me all the way back to Salem. I miss my Gloucester peeps.

I also got to see my excellent friend K and her beautiful daughter E...It was recently E's 5th birthday, so I brought her wonderous goodies from Alaska. She was quite wide-eyed and very appreciative. I love them both just tons. Miss you K & E!

The next day was my day to wander around Salem and visit with about 853 of my closest friends...I didn't realize how many people I know and love in Salem! Crazy how that happens after you live in one place for 26 years...a person tends to make a few friends along the way! Many thanks to all of you who visited and spent time with me. I miss you all and appreciated your time during the bustle of October...


I will leave you with some pretty pictures of fall in Alaska and a joke from my Hank! Ciao for now, dear readers!
The fall view of the Chugach Mountains along Northern Lights Boulevard.

Pretty trees along the highway near Seward.
A gorgeous fall day on our way home from Seward. We saw rainbows three times on this trip!



And finally, a word from Hank (I love this one!):


Ship in distress: May Day, May Day, help please.
 German in need of a Berlitz English course: Jah, vas is wrong?
 Ship in distress: we are sinking and need assistance.
 German in need of a Berlitz English course: Jah, I vill try to help, vas is it that you are sinking about?


Friday, October 10, 2014

Friday. Fun. Day! Random pic alert!



Old Faithful at Yellowstone National Park! She's still faitful!

My cousin Paul and his betrothed and beloved Kelly!

The buffalo DO roam! Huh?? Who knew? Made for quite a traffic jam!

Get out the way, dumb car things! I do be bigger and can tip you over!
So, dear readers...All 18 of you!!

I'm probably not gonna be ranting and raving on here for a week or so - am headed off to see my peeps on the East Coast of this good old US of A!! Yippppeeeee!

Our doggies and home will be in the care of a small and dedicated team of 20 somethings (who I'm hoping will chop wood for us and basically enjoy the warmth and loveliness of this here house of mine@@!). The dogs are totally spoiled and uber loved. Breakfast today was nectarine pancakes, with cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg. Washed down, of course, with beef sausage.

Good gravy. Our dogs eat better than 90% of the world's population. Kinda gross, but - whatcha gonna do? I can't feed the world, can I? Well, I certainly do my part. Feeding my 6 foot 3 inch husband, a nineteen year old woman and various and sundry humans that enter my realm = A LOT OF FOOD!! Yeesh. You all eat so much? Where do you PUT it all?!!

Annnyyywhooo, I'm a nervous nellie upon the eve of traveling, so my stomach is being quite foppish. Peckish am I right now. Washed down a berry/nectarine smoothie and had a little coffee. Still feeling sort of meh. Hope the pepto will do the trick.

I'm weird. Have alwaaaays loved the taste of pepto bismol and alka seltzer. Numm.

I know from these all too well and also the importance of eating the right foods when you're not feeling so spiffy. I had a peptic ulcer at the tender young age of 7 when my parents moved me from my beloved Karen (of Bye Bye, Pie fame) and entered me into this school up in Traverse City, Michigan where I spent the rest of my youth (pronounced Yoot - a la Joe Pesci in "My Cousin Vinnie!"). Anyway, this school was HUGE and scary to me and had many floors and some MEAN ASS kids! This one girl (and you know who you are) used to harass the SHIT out of me. ALL THE TIME. Major asswipe bully you were. And I didn't deserve it.

Well, I FINALLY fessed up and told my Mom about it and then she got in touch with the authorities at the school. So, that girl got in trouble which only PISSED her off more! She would stalk me wherever I went. Beat me up once when I was at the public figure skating rink! Boy, she was a prick.

So, I learned to be stealthy - always on the lookout for this fucking girl who fucking hated me for NO> GOOD Reason.

How the hell did I get on this subject? I was gonna talk about Salem and fall and pumpkins and leaves and my wonderful friends who I miss so much.

Annnnyway. Because of this constant vigilence, I got me a nasty ass ulcer. So I had terrible stomach aches all the time. My mom thought I was just trying to avoid school, so she made me go. Oh, that was a tough time for me - terrible tummy aches and trying to concentrate and the harrassment by that girl and then finally, FINALLY, my teacher noticed I wasn't eating and my Mom finally came around to the fact that I was in miserable pain. She took me to the doc, and sure enough, I had a peptic ulcer.

So, I had to take bacid in milk (I liked that flavor too!), ate tons of potatoes and peas and all those basic foods (base as opposed to acid - not like the bass guitar or the fish. Good Lord. I'm scattered today!).

Annnnyway (yeesh) I got a lot better, and it was kind of from that experience that I learned my interest in foods and what they can do for ya. And how seasonal things are the things we're supposed to eat - we're just animals, after all...

So now is the season of cider (even hard cider's fine), citrus that has been stored properly, frozen berries and canned tomatoes. Rum, whiskey - the clear alcohols are for cooling, brown alcohols are for warming (this is all well documented stuff from China, Japan, India, Europe...old school, man!). Eat pumpkin, nectarines, peaches, squash, potatoes, peas, summer veggies that are cooked - even wilted lettuce, kale, chard - all yummy in your stews made with meat or beans or fish or mushrooms, loads of vegetable stock or creams. Gotta fatten up for the cold winter ahead .

Unless you live in fucking Miami. David. Yeah - YOU. Lucky guy loves his heat over there.

When we were all recently in Columbus for my cousin's gradzitation (I like to say it like that) I was non-stop bitching about the heat and humidity (nearly 90% humidity. Blech!). And David was out power walking in it for like 5 miles. What the WHAT?

So. There. I have no idea why I needed to tell you that.

Carry on. Carrion. But don't carry on the carrion. THAT stinks!  : )

See you soon, Salem peeps! See you next week, Alaska peeps!

Here's me - signing off. Roger, roger. Victor, vector. Alpha Bravo Chi square and pip pip and eat your Cheerios.

xoxo back atcha shortly.

Ciao.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Nathaniel Hawthorne was a Saint

This is a quote from Nathaniel Hawthorne's birth home.
It is emblazoned on the wall in his parlor.



I'm not sure if you've ever read Nathaniel Hawthorne's works - from his poems to his beloved Sophia to his master works like The House of the Seven Gables or The Scarlet Letter.

Sophia writes of her husband's work:
I am always so dazzled and bewildered with the richness, the depth, the ... jewels of beauty in his productions that I am always looking forward to a second reading where I can ponder and muse and fully take in the miraculous wealth of thoughts.
Another Hawthorne quote from his birth home, now in situ at The House of the Seven Gables in Salem, Masssachusetts. I lived across the street from HSG National Historic Landmark District for 20 years.
I happen to adore and admire and simply love Hawthorne's way of expression. His simplicity and complexity are all intertwined in the sweetest, most loving and romantic of word choices:

What we need for our happiness 
is often close at hand, 
if we but knew how to seek for it.

This is on my mouse pad. I read it every day and I remember to be grateful for all that has been shown,  given and blessed upon my soul. God is good, God is great, Yaaay God!  : ) That was one of my first prayers and it still works for me! 

Now, I ain't talking religion or some place you gotta go to give thanks. It can happen every single minute and taking pleasure in a beautiful vista, an apple or your puppy dog or a fine cup of coffee. It's the same.

Yesterday I found some writings that I had written from the time I was 14 up until just last year. I'll share what I wrote two years ago after I lost my dogs, my husband and my job. Little did I realize I'd also lose my home, my beloved Grandma Marion and then my Marcel and I was left holding a big old bag of shit. 

Here's the passage:
The things that are completely
taking over my thoughts.

I cannot and do not feel like
doing anything.

My brain is no longer clear.

I am so fucking sad.

I am so fucking lonely.

I cannot concentrate or think in
a linear way.

I am constantly worried about 
money.

I am constantly worried about
my financial security if I
cannot find a job.

I made a BIG mistake only taking
2 years of alimony. I was
NOT thinking straight at the
time and was in the post-separation
state of euphoria.

I worry about Dallas.

I worry about myself withOUT Dallas.
(
Will I get out of bed?
Will I feel even more lonely?
Will I just want to give up?

What the fuck am I going to do for
work? I feel useless and like
I have no skills.

Why doesn't anyone seem to care
except for my Mom & Dad &
occasionally Dan?

I reach out to people & they can
only be there for me for a 
short while. They don't stick
around??

Where is Karen? Where is Penny?     { (they were there all along) }

Where am I going to go?

What do I need to do?

How the fuck did everything get so
bad all at the same time?

Why did my therapist treat me so poorly
at the last appointment?

I need to sell this fucking house.
And then What?
   Where do I go?
    What do I do?
     Who will even care if I
          stay or go?

How do I start all over again?

How much longer can I go on feeling
     this way? I can
      barely fucking function.

This is so totally suck. I want
     someone to help, but there
     is no one. So, that leaves
     me.

I feel numb.
I don't care about anything.

How is it that there are people
     all around, but there is no one?

I need a break. One good. really good -
     thing to happen.

I just feel so tired. And spent.
     And overwhelmed and sad.

Am I going to regret this with 
     Dallas? I want him to be okay
     and I want ME to be okay.

Will I ever feel happy and silly and
     like myself again?

WHEN.

I don't want to wait much longer to 
     have me back. I don't like
     this person. this feeling. these
     thoughts that keep me frozen.

I am scared.

Am I going crazy?

Why won't this just go AWAY?


SO, yes. There's that. It's the age old dilemma of letting go in order to break down into a million shards of brokenness. In the break-down is the delicious task that lies ahead of building up from a place of innocence and grace. My Dad and Mom and both my wonderful step-parents told me to have faith and hope. Keep your head down and just plunge forward into that abysmal nothing and there WILL be something at the end. They all told me that. My cousins, my Aunt, my Uncle, a few essential souls that reached out to me out of nowhere. You all know who you are and I love you desperately for helping me when I didn't know how to help myself.

And then this morning. I had a friend over last night and he's a young and up and coming poet and artist. Nate is his name. Well, Nathaniel is his name...Here's what he wrote to me after I gave him a book last night (and it's hand written in gorgeous cursive like Hawthorne himself):

In the end, their was a new
Time behold, my emotion your
This treasure is more than I could fathom
Upon this time, my words may not grab them
   Lost I am for this world
     But this gift brings my hand 'for Saints.

His name is Nate Rank. Watchout world. He's on his way!

(Aren't words wonderful?)


Wednesday, October 8, 2014

A Poem by Veronica A. Shoffstall

This poem was given to me by a friend when I felt very very alone. I found some of my journals today and read them. In the journals were my ups, downs, trials and tribulations. Concerts, dances, love, betrayal (not just by the boyz, but also my own betrayals), let-downs, happy times and sad times.

I found these writings to be so incredibly honest and poignant, given the gift of perspective that I happen to enjoy now.

After so much loss, what the hell choice do you have but to just. move. On.

So, this poem is not written by me (I wish I had that gift!). It is written by a sage soul, Veronica A. Shoffstall.

It's called:

After A While

After a while you learn the subtle difference
between holding a hand and chaining a soul
and you learn that love doesn't mean leaving
and company doesn't always mean security
and you begin to learn that kisses aren't contracts
and presents aren't promises
and you begin to accept your defeats with your head up and your eyes ahead
with the grace of woman, not the grief of a child
and you learn to build all your roads on today
because tomorrow's ground is too uncertain
for plans and futures have a way of falling down in mid fight

After a while you learn that even sunshine burns if you get too much so you plant your own
garden and decorate your own soul
instead of waiting for someone to bring you flowers
and you learn that you really can endure
you really are strong
you really do have worth
and you learn
and you learn
with every goodbye, you learn. . . . . . .

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

It's all Hank's Fault...

Another gem via my beautiful friend, Hank, who I love and adore!

Thanks, Hank:



The Pleasures of Reading...
 
I love to read. When I have nothing to do I pick up a book and read. Sometimes I read for fun. Other times I read to learn something. I really enjoy reading.
 
Sometimes I become unhappy while reading. I will be enjoying a fine story when all of a sudden a big word will stare back at me. Now I know a few big words but, after all, isn't it true that in simplicity there is beauty?

Take the other day. While reading a particularly engrossing story I ran across the word "scree."  
I later found out that the word "scree" meant "pebbles and rocks." Why didn't the author just say "pebbles and rocks?"

Another thing. People just can't say anything the simple way any more. Yesterday I read about a guy "adroitly manipulating the shifting mechanism!" So he threw the car into second gear.

Now if I were a writer, I would try to avoid confusing my readers. We all feel that confused and pompous prose has no place in contemporary society. It does no good to engulf you readers in a sea of indistinguishable trivia.

I feel quite strongly about this. I feel that perpetual adherence to enigmatic expression stultifies intellectual response. Furthermore, excess circumlocution inevitably leads to incomprehensible mayhem.

When authors engage their literary crampons into my lethargic intellect, I feel like poking my pate into a catatonic mound of fronds and lianas. I would rather ascend icy scarps or embroil my ego into a capacious sea of undulating hummocks than perambulate through a plethora of insatiable verbiage.
 
It all leaves me flaccid as a sprag.
 

On Contemplating Your Navel...

The David. What a beauty Michelangelo created. At the possibility that you will think I'm full of shit
(which I clearly am), my husband looks this good. I am a lucky schmoo.
So, Matt Damon (LOVE) and this wonderful man named Gary started up the incredible organization known simply as Water.Org. No less than miraculous things are happening because of their simple mission to bring clean water and sanitation to third world countries where a child dies EVERY 20 SECONDS due to water-borne illnesses such as giardia (which I got just recently here in Alaska), dysentery and other painful, unnecessary diseases.

Watch Matt Damon and Gary talk about their work and the incredible things that happen when women and children have easy access to water...Children get to go to school, study, learn, have hopes and dreams. Women get to work at their jobs, to make money to help better the life they live. Pride happens, smiles happen, community happens. Instead of the women and children (who are the primary water providers for their families) having to walk miles and miles, back breakingly cart home gallons of water, just to SURVIVE, they instead are gifted with time and clean, sanitary water.

So, you there. American idiot. When's the last time you had to walk miles and miles and miles to drink dirty, virus and bacteria filled water?

Oh, never? Right. Never. Ever.

So, let's all get off our collective duffs and start helping our brothers and sisters who suffer. Take that stupid $5 half-caf, double mocha, grande ridiculous hipster stoopid coffee and your $100 designer fucking shirt and matching shoes (gimme a break) and make a donation to the people who need it.

And, same goes for you Republican, corporate greedy jerks. WTF? Why you wanna have all that cash and do nothing good with it except buy another island and another house and another this or another that?

You know, I used to scoff at the idea of tithing. I DO take issue with the riches that many of the large churches accumulate in the name of God or Jesus or whomever your Idol of the day might be.

Why, pray tell, do we not just directly give the $$$ or the water or the aid to the peeps that need it? That's kinda like getting rid of the middle man, isn't it?

And I'm not talking about only the third world countries here. We have many needy right here in the good old US of A. Homeless. Addicted. Mentally ill. Children, men, women, animals, the abused, the elderly, the orphaned...

The list is too long and too depressing. Ugh.

Also, too, when's the last time you read up on another religion other than yours? It's quite useful. And it gives you a perspective on where others are coming from - mentally, spiritually...I love me some Buddhism, Hinduism, Judaism, Christianity, and even Islamic beliefs. You can't hate someone until you understand them, right?

That old adage about judge not lest ye be judged, or the other one that you should never judge a book by its cover or even the one where we're told not to judge another until you've walked a mile in their shoes.

Well, let's get on with it, shall we? Don't get me wrong...headway is being made daily! I'm just impatient! I've always been that way...it's in me bones! Hey, don't judge me, dude!!  : )

I'm so sorry for being so ranty lately. Alaska and lots of healthy living and good therapy and relief from my depression has made me cranky. Ironic, I know. I don't purport to make sense! I'm just little old me.

Now's the Non-Sequiter Warning time!!! BEEP BEEp Beep!

Pitcher time:

I love this.
This was blatantly stolen from my dear friend Bob's facebook post a few days ago!
Thanks, Roberto!






Hee. My friend Karen says "the diabeetus" and "veedeo" and I love her for that! Photo from icanhazcheezburger.com.

My beautiful friend getting ready for a night on the town a few nights ago.
She's a keeper, that one and so lovely, right?

Approximately 35,000 walruses in need of a place to mate, have taken refuge in Northern Alaska. They can't find any icebergs to do their deed, so they've taken to a beach. Not a bad choice by the walruses, however, this speaks to CLIMATE CHANGE and our need to reduce greenhouse gasses. This, while interesting, is f*cked up. Photo is credited to NOAA/NMFS (and if you don't know what those acronyms mean, you should)

My co-pilot Phoebe! I love this picture of us.
She is currently gnashing her teeth and playing wildly with our other little doggie, Jax.
This is poor Jaxie trying desperately to stay awake! He's only 9 months old and just the sweetest, funniest, hilarious, smart ploopie dog. He's basically a small, white pig-sausage snort machine.  That farts. A lot.

COOKIES! And fruit. And pretty things. I am grateful every day.

The Chugach Mountains. I see them every day. Utterly paradise here. 


Phoebe passed OUT. She and Jax play and play at a thousand miles a minute and then they CRASH!
 I wrote on Twitter yesterday that Phoebe has two speeds. Asshole and Exhausted. This was E.
 And it never takes long for her to get back to speed #A. Oy to the vey.

My cute house. It's very fall-y right now. Chilly and crisp as a Jonathan Apple!