Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween

It's a pretty quiet night here at the old homestead. From what I hear, downtown was fair crawling with costumed children happily trick or treating their way from store to store, but out here on this edge of town we hadn't seen any goblins.

Until a few minutes ago, when I heard a rapid fire prattle of Spanish in high excited voices followed by a knock (rather low down on the face of the front door). I grabbed the big bowl of treats and went to see who it was.

Five costumed children, under the age of nine, trailed by two women. One had a baby bundled up in her arms.

'TRICK OR TREAT!' came the chorus. So, I handed out candy and remarked approvingly on all costumes. They were practically vibrating with glee but every one said thank you without prompting. I only had to give Spiderman a little bit of a look to get him to lower his decorated brown paper grocery bag long enough for me to give candy to the two rather small princesses. To his credit, he looked sheepish about it.

As they turned to go, one of the women spoke quietly. And they all turned back around and said as one 'Happy Halloween! Thank you!' before they started to leave. The woman with the baby in her arms looked a little frazzled and tired so I held out two more of the candy bars.

'For you and your friend. It's hard work taking that many children out to go trick or treating.'

She smiled and replied 'Muchas gracias.'

'De nada.' I even made the little hand twitch that so often accompanied the phrase in San Antonio. I had also just used up about one tenth of my rusty Spanish.

She stopped. She thought for a moment and then spoke carefully but clearly.

'Thank you very much. Happy Halloween.'

'You're very welcome. Have a good night.'

Monday, October 22, 2007

Settling In

And after a long blogging break, we're back on the air.

Y'all, moving is a pain in the ass. Seriously. My rule of thumb based on a childhood as a military brat is that four moves equal one house fire.

Very little got broken, all hail the helpful friends who lifted and hauled. In fact, less got broken this time with me packing and Himself and friends loading the truck than got broken on our previous move. Our previous professionally packed and loaded at no small cost move, that would be.

Also, no animals were lost in this move. Oh, the cats were traumatized and refused to come out of the carrier at the new house for over six hours, but that's just cats. And now the cats and the goofy dog are all happy in the new place. Clancy has his very own corner of the living room and two crates in different rooms for his napping and lounging needs.

The month not blogged has been spent slowly unloading boxes and finding that things already unpacked are not in their best places and shifting things around. It's slowly coming together though. We've also been slowly getting artwork on the walls which always makes things feel more homey.

In fact, for me, the art on the walls and the books on the shelves are practically my defintion of homey.

Meanwhile November is bearing down on me like a runaway dray cart. November is Thanksgiving and this year Himself will not be at work or on call so we are off to see the family. Therefore we get to drive the Columbia River Gorge, which I love beyond all reason, and then on to see his folks at their little place in the woods. Since I have The Best InLaws Ever I'm really looking forward to this.

Plus, well, turkey and fixin's is a good thing.

November is also National Novel Writing Month, aka NanoWriMo. nanowrimo.orghas all the gorey details.

Nanowrimo is, for the non-link-clicking among you, the zany idea that writing a novel in a month is a good idea made even better by doing so in the company of thousands of other writers from around the world. This is my sixth year of doing Nano and I always find it enlightening. By enlightening I mean amusing, annoying, exhausting and exhilerating in about equal parts.

Kind of like life its ownself, really.

Friday, September 21, 2007

To say nothing of the dog

Well, yesterday we got an errand out of the way and returned home, intending to grab a couple of items, walk the dog and go grab a bite to eat.

Um. Yes. About the dog. The elderly, stressed by the boxes and confusion dog.

The dog I put into his crate before we left to run the errand because he's stressed and clingy and crate=den=good in dog tribe parlance.

The dog who apparently had soothed himself at some point yesterday by eating a wodge of my LUSH brand handmade soap.

I will leave the details to your entirely too vivid imaginations, but suffice it to say by the time we had cleaned things up and reassured the unhappy dog neither of us felt up to going out to eat.

So the dog, he got no supper last night and I got no sleep as someone needed to be within earshot in the event of further disaster. The dog he got Peptobismol, but Do. Not. Want. So he got cuddled and apologised to and then had a tricksy mean TwoLegs shove a baby medication syringe in his mouth and force the issue.

And the dog, he got no breakfast. And more Pepto. And he was very sad. Plus, the boxes and the confusion are still around.


This evening, since symptoms had been under control for almost 24 hours, the dog he got plain cooked white rice. Jest a leetle bit, you know, and some careful watching. And then-

And then the dog he got plain cooked white rice and canned PUMPKIN. Which dogs thought was pretty damn fine.

He's mostly back to normal, and the bland diet will continue for a few days just in case.

But, CANNED PUMPKIN, yay, says the dog. Tomorrow there will be rice and pumpkin and some plain canned chicken. He will think he's in heaven. Despite the boxes and the confusion and stuff.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Why Doesn't She Just Leave?

Whenever the subject of domestic abuse is under discussion, eventually the pnrase 'why didn't she just leave?' will get tossed into the mix.

Not helpful. Seriously not helpful. If you haven't enough life experience or empathy to figure the answer out on your own, let me repeat here something I said in comments over on Feministe. (You are reading Feministe, right?) (Note to self: blog roll.)

I have a simple response to the ‘why didn’t she just leave?’ crowd.

Imagine, as an exercise, that someone is going to walk in here right now and put a gun to your head and tell you that in one month you have to be living in a completely new life. You must accomplish this with no extra funds beyond what you have to hand right this minute.

You can tell anyone you like what you are doing and ask for help. But, if the guy with the gun finds out about it, he will come and shoot you.

You can continue to go to work, but at any time for the rest of your life, if the guy with the gun decides to, he will come and shoot you. Likewise, if you have kids, they can continue to attend their present schools and sports and social activities- unless and until the guy with the gun decides to come and shoot you.

Church? Same deal. Your family and friends? Same deal.

If at any time while you are getting ready to go the guy with the gun can tell you are planning to leave or see any evidence of your actually doing anything towards leaving- bang.

Now, by nefarious means, it seems the guy with the gun has managed to get his name on your bank account. Your credit cards. He has, in fact, complete and free access to your entire life. He’s going to be coming and going from your home with impunity.

Call the cops? Okay. Maybe they’ll believe you. But unless they take him away to jail and keep him there- well, you know where this is going by now.

Now, let’s twist this around. Maybe the guy with the gun says he won’t hurt you- if you don’t leave. Or make him mad. Maybe he says he wasn’t serious, maybe he says he was just so upset, maybe he says he’s sorry and he really loves you and it won’t happen again.

And maybe, just maybe, the guy is in fact someone you loved and trusted and he isn’t like that all the time. Maybe he’s usually charming and maybe everyone you know and love and trust think he’s a good guy. Maybe when you try to talk about this little problem they ask you what else was going on, is he stressed at work, are you keeping the house clean and the kids quiet, are you sure you didn’t do or say something that made him angry? Maybe your mother thinks he’s great. Maybe your kids love him.

Maybe she doesn’t leave because she doesn’t know how. Maybe there isn’t anywhere to go, maybe she doesn’t have a support network, maybe her pastor and her boss aren’t as all-fired understanding as the ‘just leave’ crowd suggests. Maybe she can’t afford rent and child care and car upkeep on what she can make alone.

Maybe completely uprooting and re-arranging your life isn’t all that easy after all.

It's easy to armchair quarterback this issue when you don't have a dog in the fight. When it's not someone you love and trust and maybe even made a child or two with, when it's not your family and friends who are asking questions (or not asking questions, like 'what happened to your face?'). When it's not your child who has to be snatched out of the house under cover of darkness and doesn't understand why we can't go home, when it's not you sitting in a rotten chair in a busy police station to explain to a desk cop why you need to file a report- yeah, 'just leave' sounds easy.

It isn't easy to admit that the person you love is hurting you. It isn't easy to accept the idea that there's nothing you can do to make the person you love stop hurting you. It isn't easy to walk away from your entire life. But it would be a hell of a lot easier if people didn't ask questions like 'why doesn't she just leave?' and then not seem to want to actually hear the answers.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Move is a four letter word

For perfectly understandable reasons, our landlady wants to move.

Into the house we are living in.

Cue the six stages of moving; shock, denial, searching, panicking, bargaining, and acceptance (also known as a numb resignation which saps the very life from one's already weary limbs).

We have two adult cats, who I love in the 'what the hell possesses you to do that, you damned feline?' way familiar to cat people everywhere. And we have an elderly, loving, beloved not-precisely-small dog. Clancy the WonderGoof is a twelve year old Golden, so not so much with the 'dogs under twenty pounds with agent's approval'.

Renting with pets is a bit like inviting strangers to casually rifle through your wallet. Deposits or flat out non-refundable fees are the order of the day. I can understand the property owners' side of this and I sympathise. Nobody wants their property torn up.

On the other hand telling me it's five hundred dollars non-refundable per pet and then renting your property to three college boys from Boise is a trifle mind-boggling. I promise you, my cats don't smoke pot and my dog has yet to throw a kegger for eighty seven of his closest friends. And none of my pets has ever had to have the police called on them, gotten into a fistfight over a football game on tv or dropped out and moved back to Boise to live with Mom and Dad. It's a trade off.

After three and a half days, nearly one hundred phone calls and a lot of driving around with a very patient friend, we found a place. Now, she said with a hollow laugh, all we have to do is pack and haul everything we own to the next town over.


I moved a lot as a military brat and later as a military wife. I've started over from scratch at least three times in my life, where from scratch is something like two kids under four years old, three suitcases and thirty dollars cash. By any standard I can think of, this is an easy move. I have plenty of time, plenty of help and enough money for all the fees, deposits and general costs.

Yeah, I'm whining about having to do it any way. Our last move involved packers and drivers paid for by the company and still managed to be hellaciously miserable in some fairly major ways.

The rule of thumb I learned at my mother's knee: Four moves equal one house fire. Things will get broken, lost, not fit in the truck, not fit through the new house's door, the list goes on. Moving is putting your life in boxes. It's like triage for your choices on everything from art work to coffee mugs. Everything you own has to be picked up and examined and mentally justified.

One approach is just say to hell with it and take everything. That way madness lies. Trust the woman who once helped move a friend only to discover some of the boxes we were hauling down very steep and narrow stairs had been packed for a previous move- three apartments and two cities ago. Out of kindness to our helpers and our now middle-aged backs we have decided to forego this approach in favor of something a little more measured.

So I am taking the time to go through the shelves and cupboards and pulling out the things I am more or less sure one of us cares enough about to actually bother packing, loading, un-loading and un-packing. I'm pretending we won't have any help and the things we'd move even if we were doing it on our own are going to make the grade. The once amusing coffee mugs? The copies of books bought in airports and never re-read? The supplies for crafts I no longer pursue? They can be donated elsewhere and go to someone who will find them useful.

(As a public service announcement, if you are advertising a property for rent- put pertinent information in the freakin' ad. Answer your phone and return your messages. It should not take prospective renters four phone calls to learn you absolutely will not take pets or that the place was rented out a week ago. And five hundred dollars per pet, non-refundable, on top of first and last months rent, a cleaning fee and a deposit? Plus an application fee for background checks, a credit report and contacting our last three landlords? Good grief. Getting a top secret clearance takes less paperwork.)

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Moments of crisis

Himself was working very late. I was up and brooding about - well, frankly, about a mundane personal matter. Brooding for me means clean but outrageous pajamas, about one glass of wine too many, a hand-crafting project just slightly to complicated to permit distraction. Hey, brooding means not sleeping, the least I can do is knit a few rounds on a lumpy sock, right? Brooding is pretty damn useless, so might as well keep the hands busy while the mind grinds away uselessly.

So, I'm trucking along on a sad and lumpy sock (my third ever). Because even if we don't find a house to rent and end up living in a carboard box under the bridge by the community theater*, we will still need socks. Especially with winter coming on.

So, basically it was Artsy Fartsy night down at the Anxiety and Self-Indulgent Corral.

I very nearly didn't answer the phone. I was feeling about as social as a bear with a beehive on her backfoot. But some impulse made me grab it on the last ring.

"Dat you, darlin'?" His Cajun accent, which comes out stronger when he's stressed. Right now he's just barely intelligble. He sounds tired, beaten and sad.

Twentyplus years I've known this man. I know him like no one else does. I cut him no slack, I say the hard things. Watched his romatic life the way the Hurricane hunters study the gulf, knowing that there was a hell ofa storm lurking out there somwhere. Not one of of his wives or girlfriends has ever understood what we are to each other. Sometimes we don't either but we keep drifting in and out of each other's lives.

Underlying all our differences, which are fabled in story and song, are the things we have in common; shared history, a decades long faith in our friendship, pride.

We are both damnably proud.

But tonight he's in a crisis. Shaking in the grip of one of the anxiety attacks he's been having since his last combat turn in Iraq. Doing this where his kids won't see is becoming second nature. Their daddy crying upsets them so he'll lock it down until he can get sometime alone.

He gasps out a shorthand version of what's happening. Between sentences he keeps saying he's sorry to bother me, but I'm all he has, the only one he trusts. He's crying.

I am solidly supportive. I push my love and friendship through the phone for him to wrap up in. I in slip in questions about his welfare, about his and the children's safety. I reassure him that he is not a bad person for not being the perfect model soldier.I talk him down, I get him grounded.

I get confirmation that he has an appointment to be seen by the VA. We compare our litany of aging related health problems- arthritis, bum knees, the bad back he got during a helicopter training episode gone sour. We are neither of us nineteen anymore, I remind him, and he chuckles.

And that's the sound I was waiting for. Not a damn thing has actually changed and his situation is still pretty fucked up. But that irrepressible chuckle, and the way he drawls 'Now,darlin' you did that on purpose' tell me we've won through. No matter how bad tonight gets, there will be a morning.

Some nights its's touch and go. Now we'll do the goodbye dance. He tells me he's never understood why I've put up with his shit for twenty years. Icollect my lightest and airiest voice and reply 'Because I love you, you dope.'

A few moments later, he's hanging up toget some sleep before another day like the one that ground him down so hard he reached for the phone to call me. I continue working on the sad and lumpy sock (now with new stitch tension issues).

Finally Himself somes home and I give him the news. He tells me 'I worry about him.
I wish there were more we could do.' I nod, sleepily.

'Bedtime. World saving and sock knitting and house hunting are hard work. You have to get your rest.'

*House hunting was successful a few days later, because I had fabulous luck and even more fabulous support.The lumpy sock comntinues apace and may actually end up fit to wear by some one not too picky. Kind of like life, really.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Aftershocks that rock my memories

One upon a time, when I was a young military wife and  mother, we were stationed in at a post considered a bit of a plum Job. Honestly, on what st. sgts make the only way we were going to be  able to travel to Hawai'i was courtesy of the United State Air Force.

Orders came down and packers arrive and inspectors declared our former quarters had been cleaned to military spec. We were off bound for Schofield Barracks and 12-18 months on The  Rock.

It is not hyperbole to say that those few months in Hawai'i changed my life.

It was a tight community, the four family townhouses that made up enlisted housing had much deeper roots and traditions than you might expect of neighborhoods where no one is likely to still be there in a year or two. There were caravans of cars to take the children to the shore. Everyone knew everyone, and we all watched the wandering pack of kids who roamed from yard to yard.  

Four of the dead were stationed at Fort Lewis, to the north of here in Washington. The other ten were all assigned to Schofield Barracks. The streets where the curtains are now drawn are the same ones where my two oldest children raced their Hot Wheels.

And now the official cars, with their impecably dressed notification officers, are pulling up to doors, reading off the name plates. The chaplains are composing themselves for a moment in the tropical sweetness of the trade winds. There are things they must say, traditions that must be honored, standards which must be met.

When the doors open in answer to that knock- there may be shock or pleading or anger. But there will likely not be very much surprise. The families who live onpost in places like Schofield or Lewis all know this could happen at any time. Next week it could be your door that gets the knock, and the speech that begins with 'It is my sad duty to inform you-'.

There are two Scofield Barracks in my mind now. One is the place of impromtu BBQs and the sound of slack key guitar drifting on that impossible scented wind. The other is one where women, like I once did,  are holding down the home fort, hear words they have heard before in their darkest most frightened dreams. Where neighbors and friends bring casseroles and boxes of tissues, and someone to gather up the children and take them to another house to play.

And in the silence, with the notification officer possibly still sitting there, a cup of coffee awkward in his hands, the women weep. Or hold themselves together to make phone calls to family back on the mainland. They cling to the hands of neighbors they will soon lose, for widows and orphans don't live on military bases.

Outside the post there are tourists admiring the waves rolling in. They will eat and shop and sit in the sun. And here and there as they go about their days in paradise they'll hear snippets  of news. The names will be released, flags will fly at half mast.

There will be phone calls made, arrangements for travel and final resting place of the body. And while that is going on, the families are learning how long they can stay in their quarters before they have to decide where to go now. The military will see to it they have help and support, such as it is.

And in not so very long, those empty quarters reassigned to new soldiers and their families. And the impossibly scented wind will sigh between the buildings and the children will go back to playing,  missing their old friends and getting to know the new kids.

And they'll watch for those cars, long official cars, with solemn men in impeccable uniforms, moving slowly down the street while the driver searches for the set of quarters with the right name on the door. As it's happened at least 3227 times already.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Find out when 'Stardust' is showing near you this weekend and go.

We had an excellent time and will certainly see it again on a big screen if we can. And we are so going to own this one when it comes available.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Blog Against Racism: The Sequel

More musing on racism.

I'm mixed race. I don't look it. Most people looking at me spot the generations of Irish my mother's family brought to the table. A rare few spot my paternal grandfather's Scot's contribution in certain family features.

It came up once, when I won an essay contest and should have been given the family tree inspection to see if I qualified for the DAR. The committee ladies were taken aback when they saw my father.  Once my parents admitted they knew of no branch of the family coming to America until well after the revolution, everyone relaxed.

The only places I routinely get spotted as mixed race are where a good portion of the people present are people of color. Black people may or may not spot it. Hispanic and Caribbean folks catch it less than half the time, though they do note another anomaly in my 'passing' (which I'll mention later.) I've had Native Americans casually enquire as to which tribe I belong. 

For a couple of years in my twenties I lived in Hawaii, my father's birthplace which he hadn't seen in two decades. It was like my magical passing cloak disintegrated in the tropical sun. Small packs of boys pelting by on the beaches addressed me in pidgin. Little old ladies selling wares at roadside stands would stop in mid-spiel, eye my cheekbones judiciously and demand to know 'who are your people?'. WheneverI gave them my father's name they would give a crack of laughter.

"I know alla bout dem boys! My (brother, husband, father, grandfather) go school with them!' Yeah, I wasn't passing here. It didn't bother me, but when my father came for a visit he found it uncomfortable. The seething mass of cousins wanted to come around and drink and dance and eat and talk story... to do, in short, the things he had left Hawaii in order not to do. My mother found the food too strange. The stories of my father running wild in the sugar cane fields and cutting school to take his board to the beach bewildered her.  And it turned out I knew nothing of Hawaiian art or culture.

It was a strained homecoming, never repeated. I didn't fit in. I had been raised to be white. I didn't know how to be Hawaiian. Back on the mainland I passed again, but now with a niggling awareness of what I was doing.

Fast forward. My two oldest grandchildren are half-Hispanic. Their mother makes a concerted effort to see that they hear and speak at least some Spanish, an effort aided with good will and gusto by their paternal grandparents. Theirs will be a different experience in growing up mixed race in this newer America. And now I sometimes use endearments in Spanish when talking to the treasures  by phone.   Most white people don't even notice it, but Spanish speakers do.

The thing I have done differently from my parents it to be out about being mixed race. When white people say things, the things they would not say if any of Them were within earshot, I call them on it.

Sometimes it's polite. "That chain email you sent around about how all schools in America will be teaching in Spanish? My grandchildren, the ones you've met and had to Christmas dinner?They're Hispanic. Their father's family has been in this country longer than yours, by the way."

Sometimes I'm less polite. "That kind of language is not allowed in this house. Nor are those kinds of jokes. We'll talk about this later, when I am sure I can be calm. Right now, I'm going to have to ask you to leave." (Yes, I had to make that speech in the middle of a party I was throwing-to a very old friend. My hands shook for an hour after he left.)

So I'm like a human stealth fighter jet. I get in under the radar because no one sees it coming. That friend mentioned above? When  asked what the hell he was thinking, his defense was he had forgottenI am not white and my grandchildren are not white. He couldn't quite explain to me why words like nigger or jokes about wetbacks were magically made okay if there were only white people present.

Racism lies pretty lightly across my life, but it's still there, and I'm one of the 'lucky' ones who can pass. And I know perfectly well I have only been brushed by the destructive force racism can be. But because I can pass I hear things said, in casual conversations that make me doubt the airy assertions that racism isn't a problem any more.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Blog Against Racism

Short version: Racism sucks. Don't do it.

Longer version: As some of you know, I am a pasty pale person. No, seriously, cave fish white is my natural skin tone. I was raised in the most whitebread home you ever saw.

I am mixed race. My father is half native Hawaiian, with black hair and skin the color of mahogany. My mother is, and this may be hard to believe, even paler than me.

I am fifty one years old. Some of the most signifigant years of my childhood (1955-1960) were spent in the Deep South, much of the rest in rather non-cosmopolitan parts of the Mid-West.

My father passed. From the day he arrived on the mainland he ignored or denied his native heritage.

I remember segregated drinking fountains and swimming pools. I know that often the people in town were scandalized at the idea that there were colored families living right next door to white families on base.

One of my earliest memories was of the evening we showed up at my father's next duty station in rural Mississippi to discover we were the very first military people to arrive. Evidently, the date on Dad's permanent change of station paperwork was slightly incorrect.

Right. Picture this. Spring of 1958. Rural Mississippi. Coming on dusk. Young couple, a dark skinned young man and a pale red haired woman hauling two very small children in an overloaded car. The woman, by the way, is heavily pregnant.

There's no one at the base gate to let us in. There's no one at the base at all, it's too late for Dad to call anyone tonight and the town is small enough to have exactly two pay phones. He pulls into the only gas station to ask for directions to the nearest motel or boarding house.

The man looks at him. Looks at us in the car. Looks back at my father, in his uniform. Shakes his head.

"I can't help you."

He then turns and walks back inside, with a muttered order to the mechanic who is sweeping up.

The mechanic approaches, Dad asks where the nearest motel is located. The mechanic shakes his head.

"There's no rooms in town for you folks."

I think my mother understood him first. I remember her starting to cry.

It was past supper time, getting dark and we had nowhere to go.

In the end, the black mechanic finished locking up and had us follow him down the road to the little not-quite-a-town where the black families lived. Where the black families had lived for generations even though they went into town to work. There wasn't a motel but there was a woman who had rooms to rent. We stayed there for several days until an officer and a couple of non-comms arrived and opened the base.

We lived on base the entire time my father was stationed there. My father refused to consider moving into town. If the base hospital hadn't opened in time my sister would have been delivered at the civilian hospital. By law the words "Mixed race" would have been stamped across her birth certificate.

My father was even more adamant about passing for white after that, both for himself and for all four of us children.

I was very young. I didn't understand, sitting in the car on that humid spring evening, why that man wouldn't help us. All I knew was he had a very strange look on his face when he said "I can't help you." And my father flinched and my mother cried.

The kicker? By the lights of the time and place, that wasn't a bad man. He didn't use any of the more usual words. He even sent his mechanic out to help us. He didn't have to do that. There were plenty of people who wouldn't have faulted him if he'd refused to lift a finger.

So, when I catch myself being a clueless white person, that's the moment I remember. One moment, almost fifty years ago, and I can still see the way my father's jaw went tight, still hear my mother swallowing her sobs out of stubborn Chicago Irish pride. They were stranded and helpless in front of their children.

"There's no rooms in town for you folks."

I don't know what it's like to face racism every day. I do know just one moment of being the target burned into my brain.

Don't do that.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Bright shiny new blog, oh how I love thee.

I am the driver on this bus and I have no map. Come along for the ride, if you like. But, be told, this blog will be run on the Bright Shiny Object Management System. So, if I suddenly veer from semi-articulate discussion of my position on the Iraq war (against, by the way) to how feminism informs my urge to set fire to my television (deeply, in the event you were wondering) to what I saw at the local farmers market (yummy gorgeous food and cute dogs)- well, it will really be as if we were sitting here face to face. That's the way my mind works. I have a magpie mind and the world is full of Bright Shiny Objects.

Some days I get hooked into a news story and trawl the Internet looking for more information or the reactions of bloggers I like. (Note to self: Blog roll) Other days I read a book and discover I must now track down the rest of the author's work. Because, you know, like I need more books. Right now if we had the yard space I could put a two room addition on this house, built entirely out of books and still have enough books left over to fill them. If you are a decent life form you will not introduce me to another cool bookstore, unless you are likewise bearing a gift card.

Some days I go work out and then spend the day musing about the weird baggage American women have about their bodies. And from there I am off into the twisty maze of passages that surround food and health and size acceptance and aging. (Welcome to middle age, here is your bad back and your AARP membership.)  

Some days I am mired in the past. Some days I cannot take my eyes off the future. I'd like my flying car now, thanks. And a pony. (Well, no, probably not a pony.)
I speak and write in parentheticals. I love the Great Pacific NorthWest with the fervor of a recent immigrant. I dabble-

-well, frankly 'I dabble' is pretty much my motto. I could have won an Olympic Medal in Cross-Country Dabbling by now if I'd been more serious about training. Right now it's fiber arts and photography and messing about with an idea for a novel which are taking up most of my time.

And now blogging. I'm learning as I go. But we pretty much all are, all the time.

The blog name?

I have insomnia. Had done my whole life. But now I have the rockingest doctor in the world and she sent me to a sleep specialist. This means I can now say things like 'my in-home blood oxygenation monitoring ruled out sleep apnea', which is the sort of thing one must say to insurance companies in order to get them to pay for one's sleep medication. One must also have an actual doctor give an actual diagnosis, because 'I haven't slept in thirty years' is not medical-y enough for insurance purposes.

And my rocking sleep doctor wrote down in my records I have chronic insomnia which is (like me) 'persistent and intractable'. I told him 'that would so be the title of my blog, if I had one'. And now, I do.

Begin the beguine

It's been nagging at me for some time (as services went to hell in That Other Place I journaled) that what I really wanted to do was a blog.

Someplace where my ramblings and ruminations were less likely to be followed or proceeded by someone else posting the interminable 'which root vegetable are you?' quizzes. (I am, as anyone who knows me can guess, the noble and under-appreciated rutabaga.) Somewhere I could discuss my own sometimes terrified reactions to the daily news. Somewhere I could post my rants and my paeans of praise.

Besides, in the procrastinating on one's novel game, 'I was working on a post for my blog' sounds far more grownup and serious that 'I was five hundred entries back on my Flist and still not caught up, but at least I know now which species my inner rodent belongs to!' Or maybe not, but don't disillusion me just yet, I haven't even got the new wore off this thing.

The freedom of knowing that a whopping three people will read this in any given week may lead me down some dangerous roads. But it will be an adventure.