This week the sunflowers went from this ...
... and the pears went from this ...
... to this:
This week the sunflowers went from this ...
... and the pears went from this ...
... to this:
Now that Gary and I are back to our old habits, we are having our old disagreements.
One disagreement is over what to watch on the television. He was quite miffed that I refused to watch The Nutcracker with him. (“Dancing mice,” I said. “Sugar plum fairies. Hard pass.”) I may still use The Nutcracker as a bartering chip to get him to watch the 1970’s Jim Hutton Ellery Queen series.
Instead, what we settled on was Poirot. It’s a mystery series, with some much needed English charm, and absolutely no dancing mice.
Once we got three shows in, I checked how many seasons there are. It’s no fun when your binge-watch prematurely ends.
My heart stopped when I saw that it ran for 24 years. 1989-2013. Luckily, there were “only” 13 seasons and 70 episodes.
While I was on high-dose steroids in 2005, I installed Karaoke software at work, and then I sang Karaoke in my cube during the work day, even while my boss stood next to me. She would not sing with me, nor would Friends 2 or 3.
Now President Trump is on steroids — specifically Dexamethasone, the same steroid I was on in 2005. I cannot wait until his next campaign event. He is going to show even worse judgment that he usually does.
Will there be Karaoke?
About a month ago, I was looking out at the patio from our back door, and noticed a peculiar metallic noise. It didn’t take long to track it to the one metal thing on the patio: the Weber barbecue kettle.
A squirrel had identified the ash-catching pan as a recent Amazon purchase, and decided the aluminum would be a great thing to sharpen his teeth on. He walked around the circumference of the ash pan, stretched up and and grabbed on to it with his front paws, and gnawed all around the edge of the pan.
I opened the door and said, “Why?” The squirrel ran off. Two minutes later he was back, gnawing.
I wondered why a squirrel would turn his back on two types of peanuts, topped with birdseed, and choose a metal pan instead. (“LIKE THE FAJITAS!” Belly said. “IT’S BECAUSE HE CAN’T.”)
Then, last weekend, I heard a very upset squirrel making the alarmed squirrel bark noise. And he didn’t let up: it was fifteen minutes of this nonsense. Finally, I went out, tracked him down, looked under the tree for any squirrel babies, talked to him a while, and eventually he shut up.
Later that same day I was in the great room with Gary when we heard a stowaway French man rewiring the attic. (I seem to think all those men who are discovered living in attics are French.) I listened more closely and realized the noise was coming from the eaves.
I went out and confronted the squirrel, who immediately ran off.
I didn’t know at the time that aluminum is a squirrel’s favorite treat. I feel like I should get a block of aluminum and nail it to the trunk of the tree for a more convenient squirrel dental hygiene experience.
Our dining experiences have been very dull these last few months. It has been months since Gary and I ordered a pizza. For some reason I got a yen to have a date night and order something other than fast food.
As soon as I opened that mental door, my belly growled, “ME WANT FAJITAS.”
”Hm,” I mused, “Fajita‘s might be good. Where would —“
”FAJIIIITAAAAS!’ the belly demanded.
I set Gary on an on-line hunt for fajitas. “I think Applebee’s has them.”
While I know that I have had steak, chicken, and shrimp fajitas at Applebee’s, Gary couldn’t find them on the delivery or pick-up menus.
”Try Friday’s,” I said, while the belly sang a little sing about “F-A-J-I-T-A-S, FAJITAS ARE THE BEST.”
Gary looked and said, “Friday’s doesn’t have them either.”
”LIAR” said Belly.
”That’s so odd,” I said.
He said, “I think maybe it’s the presentation? You know how they always bring them out on that really hot pan? Maybe for the true fajita experience they have to warn you that the pan is hot.”
I talked the belly into Mu Shu Pork, instead, but still, how obstinate is my belly for picking the one food I can’t order?
I have read authors say that sometimes, you think a character’s going to do one thing, and then as you type along the character does something else.
”Horseshit,” I think, because I am a lady. “How could that happen? The characters are imaginary. They don’t think any thoughts without the writer putting those thoughts there.”
Of course, I’m not actually writing anything at this point. I’m making an absurdly detailed outline. I was working on exactly how I will get to my Big Midpoint Scene, in which the male friend earns the hatred of the heroine by revealing his participation in the big sting and I realized, “What am I thinking? He would never do that. It goes against all his principles.”
I think I can get around it by having him participate in the scheme on a limited basis. That gives me a chance to keep the outline as it is, and then it gives him a chance to spell out what his principles are, in case his principles aren’t clear by then.
Right now he’s stomping the dust off his boots and giving me a look that says, “What were you thinking? Do you even KNOW me?”
Abandoned Draft Version:
c – symphonies neesum dorma bnl Food – can control it 'drugs Smoking – 40 yo smoker Exercises – ed and mcdonalds
Any guesses? Anyone? I think I was mulling over all the things people do to control their bodies and moods with outside stimuli.
I suppose I meant to expound on how we all jack with our guts, our moods, our serotonin in our own ways. (Still, the supposed (mythical!) high from exercise is the least effective, least immediate, and of course is the one most universally approved.)
I should listen to more music and eat less pie.
I was astonished to realize it’s only about 31 shopping days until the election. It feels wrong.
Is it the weather? It’s not that cold: it can’t be election weather. It’s certainly not see your breath at 6am November weather.
Is it because we haven’t had daylight savings time yet? Is that the problem?
It’s because I have not received a single political robo-call this year.
I can only assume the lack of calls is because this year I signed up for Nomo-Robo. That’s the cable service that listens to see if a call is being blasted to multiple landline phones, identifies that as a robo-call, and hangs up after one ring.
(Yes, I’m keeping my landline. Call me after the apocalypse and I will invite you to a raccoon steak dinner.)
I do get get multiple one-ring calls a day. Much more tolerable than multiple political robo-calls a day. If I turn down the ringer and skip the calls that appear to come from my exchange (that’s the first three digits, children) — it almost seems like it isn’t election season.
This week the sunflowers went from this ...
... to this:
The pears went from this ...
... to this:
Who said what during the debate:
Wallace: “Please, gentlemen!”
Me: “Jesus, there are no rules? And no commercials?”
Biden: “Would you shut up, man”
Wallace: “Mr. President, did you pay $750 in taxes last year?”
Biden: “You are the worst president America has ever had.”
Wallace (shouting, legit full-on shouting at the president): “NO!”
Me: “Are we just going to cut back to Rachel Maddow with her head on the desk?”
Wallace: “Condemn white supremacy.”
Biden: “My son was a drug addict. He got over it.”
Me: “Shhh, Joe. There’s a drug addict right there.”
Biden: “I’m having trouble following his ranting.”
Wallace: “I’m having a little trouble myself.”
What could have been done? All I can say is to agree the moderator should be allowed to cut the mic, or else the moderator could quietly ask his question and if a candidate was talking over it and didn’t hear it, too bad.
I watched the new episode of the Great British Baking Show.
Per usual, afterward I looked at my kitchen, saw my seven overripe bananas, and was inspired to make a full batch of banana bread.
Behold, the bread.
Miraculously, They are Risen.
My banana bread very rarely rises, and if it does then the dome collapses on itself anyway. I watched in wonder through the oven door as the bread rose, crested, and stayed in place. And then when it slid out of the pan without assistance I thought, well, this is divine intervention.
”This is going to taste awful,” I assumed, because when does food achieve the convergence of both pretty and tasty? Almost never. Yet miraculously, an entire half loaf was gone by the next morning.
I feel I could apply to the Pope and be on the road to sainthood based on this miracle.
I am watching a new show: The Goes Wrong Show. (I believe it’s based on The Play That Goes Wrong, which depicts actors trapped in a play filled with failing props and missed cues and disintegrating sets.)
I’ve only seen the first three episodes, but it had some really remarkable physical comedy. I forgot how much I like slapstick. I remember in the eighties there was a show called Perfect Strangers, and I watched just for that.
Then I started noticing slapstick everywhere, like the first “Led Zeppelin” episode of NewsRadio.
I mentioned to Gary that my slapstick sense seemed to be turned on again, and he said I might like The Three Stooges.
“No. They are not funny,” I said, because that is what I believe.
I guess the difference is that the Stooges slapstick island is so hostile. It’s all escalating anger and violence ... whereas Perfect Strangers had the Dance of Joy.
I have been plagued with an annoying wet cough. Not bad. It’s a little cat cough. It could be allergies.
Gary also has a cough, one of those dank phlegm-y coughs where you think the cougher must be putting it on. I don’t see how his lungs are still anchored after one of these coughs.
Yesterday afternoon we were both coughing.
Him: HUAACCHHHKKKKIKKUKUKUK. Ack. HARUMMM HARUMM. Ack. HUAACCHHHKKKKIKKUKUKUK
Me. Mheh. Is there any cough syrup?
Gary looked in the medicine larder and announced there was no cough syrup.
Given that I was working and he was not, I asked if he might go out and get some cough syrup. Flat no.
Last night I was awakened at one am by Gary coughing. I wearily slogged out to the room where he was fully awake, watching the news, and shaking the walls with his coughing.
”Gary. I can’t sleep with all this coughing. This is ridiculous. I’m going to go out and get cough syrup.”
And here is what happened next: I spent an hour finding the all-night stores now that Walmart is not open at night. I found many closed stores that teased me with their blazing lights. I tried the convenience store, but they only had pills, not syrup. I finally found, and bought, $75 worth of NyQuil/DayQuil at the all-night Walgreens.
While I was doing this, Gary took some cough syrup and went to bed.
“Wait, what,” you say, “I thought there was no cough syrup.” (Yes. That was my question, too.) But what I said to my sleepy husband was, “You took something?”
”Oh,” he said, “I had some of MY cough syrup. I said there wasn’t any for you because you can’t use my bottle. It has my germs.”
So it would appear we have separate medicines now. While he was roaring and harrumphing (HUAACCHHHKKKKIKKUKUKUK!) — I was asleep, and then he thought my little cat cough (Mheh) woke me. Then I was so dismayed by my wee cough that I made a nighttime run for my own sterile bottle of cough syrup. Because evidently we have his-and-hers bottles now and his is secreted in his room.
That was early, early this morning.
After I woke up, I thought we might have a conversation about the wisdom of hoarding separate bottles of cough syrup.
“What are you saying, cough syrup?” he demanded. “I don’t have any cough syrup.”
”But you .. But ... In the middle of the night you SAID you had taken cough syrup.”
”I did not. I took NyQuil.”
”Gary ... NyQuil IS COUGH SYRUP.”
”No. It does many things.”
I got his special personal bottle of NyQuil (yes, I touched his bottle) and pointed at the word “COUGH,” but he was right, it does not self-identify as cough syrup. I mean, for THIRTY FIVE YEARS we have referred to it as a cough syrup (THIRTY FIVE YEARS) but now there’s a new marketing campaign and it’s “the nighttime, sniffling, sneezing, aching, coughing, stuffy-head, fever, so you can rest medicine” now.
His cough is totally gone today, by the way. I am still making my Mheh sound.
Abandoned Draft Version:
God same voice as when depressed
So, when I was in junior high school I got in with the Baptists and became saved, born again, converted. It didn’t last past my father’s death. I had to reconsider all my beliefs after Dad died, given that he was not one of the elect. Just like what happened when Mom died. My beliefs were all re-evaluated and I did a deep cleaning of the basement of my soul.
So, after Dad died, the New Testament took the biggest hit. Any words of Saint Paul were winnowed out, plus any belief based on half a phrase (Rapture) or based on church convenience (Purgatory).
God stuck around though, because I had heard him. Not a voice, but I had heard my conscience — never so loudly as when the Baptists called for people to come to the altar and accept salvation. That “voice” was loud and external. Those weren’t my thoughts. Must be God, or a higher power, or whatever you like to call it.
That fundamental belief in God stayed around until I became depressed the first time. Then I heard the external thoughts again, but this time it insisted that I was not worthy of any kind of salvation. It was the manifestation of the Excessive Guilt bullet of the “Do You Think You are Depressed” quiz.
I believe Tipper Gore had the same question when she became depressed, and her Mormon friends told her it was the voice of Satan. A convenient explanation, but Satan was tossed out of my belief system back in the Dead Dad Purge.
And now that I say all that, it seems I’ve said it all before. I did, almost a decade ago, albeit more briefly, and with less vulnerability, here.
My MRI came back clean last week. No new lesions. Of course, that was useful before, but now I’m more concerned with brain volume, which wasn’t measured by this year’s MRI technician.
I can tell you exactly the white matter I have lost. I have lost the neurons that allow me to spell the word “because”.
Somehow my hands have lost the ability to type the letters of “because” in the right sequence. It always comes out with the same two letters transposed.
I’ve never had trouble with this word befoer.
Looks like there’s a short in my “b followed by e” synapse.
I don’t have stellar typing, but it’s just so odd that my muscle memory has decided to fail on this particular word. It’s not the only word. I know to correct “form” to “from” every time I type that. Looks like I need to add “because” to the list of double-checks.
It might be because (did it again) I have begun to use “because” more often now that someone pointed out the distinction between “since” and “because” (again). I was using “since” exclusively, and now I’m just over-correcting.
Over-correcting doesn’t lead to auto-correction for some reason. Perhaps that’s all that has happened. Maybe auto-correct has been saving me up till now, but it’s sick of my lack of personal responsibility. Just because. Oh! I got it right this time!
I very rarely hear non-liberal voices. I do have three conservative friends on Facebook, and will I keep them (even though one is a devoted Trumpster) because I like to hear other points of view.
That same spirit led me to watch the President’s press conference last week, but because most news channels are fact-checking him I don’t often get to see the raw craziness. So I went to C-Span. And because the president was tardy I got to hear the C-Span callers. The men on the street phoning in to express their views.
Oh my god. Did you know that the Democrats are keeping this covid “myth” going so that they can destroy our impression of Trump’s stellar economy so that he will lose the election? Evidently we got every country in the world to cooperate with our nefarious scheme.
It reminded me of my favorite Colbert bit of last week (ignore the poorly-placed first commercial).
Supposedly there’s going to be a U.S. Covid vaccine before the November election. I think this could happen. I mean, it would be salt water, and they would slap the appropriate labels on it and put it in syringes, but it will do no harm.
Much has been said of the 1970s swine flu vaccine, but because Mom had polio, my vaccination horror stories are polio-related.
In 1934 and 1935, Kolmer, described as a scientist, gave polio to monkeys, ground up the monkey spinal cords (more accurately killed the moneys and ground up their spinal cords) and then injected the concoction into children, which did not go well. Well, phase 2 of the trial went well, when Kolmer injected himself with monkey spine polio, but when phase 3 started some children ended up with with polio. Another scientist tried treating the monkey-spine fluid with formaldehyde to kill the virus. Surprisingly no one died from this concoction but he was still disgraced.
In 1955, the Cutter lab distributed dead-virus vaccines, only the virus wasn’t quite dead yet. 113 people got polio either directly from the vaccine or from contact with someone who had the vaccine.
Modern-day Polio vaccine: the polio vaccine given in third world countries is causing polio to spread.
I am not an anti-Vaxxer in any way. I think clinical trials are great. My big concern is that after trying the salt water, Trump’s lackeys are going to fill their syringes with Covid monkey spines dosed with Clorox and call it a vaccine, when real vaccines take ten years to make.
Based on my brief foray into Home Depot yesterday, what will work will be masks. Everyone had a mask, and except for the two Home Depot employees , the mask covered the mouth and the nose. I wanted to visit the cleaning aisle and clamp those two noses shut with clothespins.
I can wear a mask for ten years while they come up with something useful.
The neighbors across the street are moving because they have sold their house. (The Biden yard sign didn’t influence anyone, I imagine.) They’ve been our neighbors since 1988. I still don’t know their names. The husband is Gary ... something that starts with a V or an R.
Here are the names of some of our other neighbors:
We do have a couple whose full names I actually know. And why do I know their names? Because they’re written down, one in a text and one in a letter permitting me to trim part of their tree. That letter even gives their last name. Wow.
I vow to speak to the new neighbors and write down their names.
I made the mistake of watching the 9/11 footage last week. I watch it every year. There are just some things so horrible your brain never absorbs them, and no matter how many times you remind yourself, you still can’t believe it.
Similarly, I can’t count the number of times this year I’ve had to say, “Did you ever think we’d ever be in a global pandemic?” And no matter how often I say it, I cannot believe it.
The double punch of watching the replay of an unthinkable attack, while avoiding an unthinkable virus, just did me in. Evidently I can only absorb one unthinkable thing at a time. Perhaps some people can’t absorb any unthinkable things. Hence 9/11 deniers and covid deniers.
What was the year Bowie and Prince and Debbie Reynolds and Carrie Fisher died? 2016? It was the same year Trump was elected, speaking of unthinkable. They had the Zika virus, too. That was a bad year.
And good god, 1918 - 30 million people died in six months from their global pandemic, and there was an active World War — and evidently someone poisoned people in Chicago restaurants: didn’t know that. Happily, no movie stars died because there were no movies.
But you know what didn’t happen in 1918? Ruth Bader Ginsburg didn’t die in 1918, she died last night. That unthinkable event unleashed such a level of cursing on Facebook that two friends wisely removed their TeddyJ affiliations from their profiles.
Damn it all to hell.
Abandoned Draft Version:
The first neuron feels an electric charge, and when the charge builds up enough that person discharges all the distress to the next neuron down the line. Eventually when enough energy is discharged, you will have activity: a muscle moves, an eyelid blinks.
Here's how most families work. Certain people are nerves. Certain people are muscles. The nerves pass electrical impulse betweem them. A charge builds up, it becomes too much for one nerve to bear, and the electical excitement is discharged to the next nerve down the line. The first nerve feels great then, of course, and takes a nap, leaving the next nerve to unload on nerve number three, and on and on.
Eventually the last nerve unloads on a muscle, and the muscle jumps from all the nervous energy that's been amplified down the line. The muscle does something - usually what the nerves tell it to do.
Gary's a nerve. There is no question.
... and I must be the muscle? I think this was a long way of saying that Gary believes “a problem shared is a problem halved.”
Thirty-two years ago Mom bought us a chair, to ensure she would always have a comfortable living room chair she could use when she came to visit.
It was a nice enough blue La-z-boy, not one of those giant Taj-Mahal padded monstrosities, but a sleek, acceptable model.
Then at the turn of the century, the living room went all-out Mission/Craftsman, and there was a reproduction settle and a Morris Chair, and the modern-day blue chair was shunted into the bedroom and became Gary’s chair.
A few years ago, Gary deemed the living room Morris chair too uncomfortable - so we compromised and added a Mission-inspired faux leather recliner for him. He accepted it, but would never recline in it, out of loyalty to his blue chair.
The blue chair was so dear to him that he would repair it when bolts and screws pinged off the frame when he reclined.
Gary’s loyalties changed early in the pandemic, when his lungs felt bad enough that he wanted to sleep in a recliner. Then, twice, the blue recliner refused to un-recline and Gary got caught like a turtle on its back. As a result, one early morning when I was too asleep to argue, the living room faux-mission recliner and the torn, worn, and broken La-z-boy swapped places.
“No” I said, when I woke up.
But he pled Covid-lung, and he couldn’t recline in this without the fear of being trapped, and he would consent to recline in the faux-Mission recliner in the bedroom now, and I realized the pandemic meant that no one would see it anyway.
It’s been defiling the living room for months, but when he became stuck in the blue chair again in the living room while watching the news (picture an angry purple-faced turtle), a new compromise was reached. A twin of the now-beloved faux-Mission recliner has been purchased, but for now the twins will stay in separate rooms, and the blue La-z-boy ...
” ... will be out out at the curb,” I said.
“Really? Your Mom bought us that chair.”
”She is looking down from heaven and believe me, she is behind me on this.”
”It can’t go out with the trash.”
”Well, then, down in the basement.”
“No, I can use it in the computer room when I read the newspaper.”
I suspect it will be used as a base for the unread paper collection, freeing up the black trumpet case, but whatever.
We have been using Shipt to get our groceries. A few days ago we placed an order, and we didn’t pay attention and missed the Shipt text messages, so the shopper had to call Gary to ask a few questions. Gary apologized profusely for not being by the phone to get her texts, then gave the phone to me to authorize a bacon substitution, and then I apologized as well, then I asked for Vidalia onions, if she didn’t mind, apologized again, and hung up.
When I took a moment to read her first text it said, “Hello, this is your Shipt shopper and favorite next door neighbor.”
Months ago, when my neighbor recommended Shipt, she mentioned she delivered for them, but I had never seen her in action.
So that was odd. I felt I needed to go out and greet her at the door and entertain her to make up for my politeness and formality. Then her husband came out, and her three small children arrived and demanded to know why a mommy’s car was parked in the wrong driveway.
Luckily I had already tipped 20% online, or else that would have been even more awkward.
Gary has been feeling a little bit better - enough that he can stay awake for four or five hours a day, so we are back to binge-watching television in the evenings.
I came upstairs from painting last weekend and I noticed he was still watching what he’d had on when I started painting two hours before.
“You have to watch this,” he said, breathlessly, “It’s really good. It’s all about Mary, Queen of Scots.”
“Mary, Queen of Scots!” I said in the obligatory Monty Python voice.
“You would love it. It’s a historical drama.”
So I asked about the only bit of MQofS trivia I know. “Does Elizabeth’s I’s rival in love end up at the bottom of the steps with her neck broken? I remember that was so suspicious she couldn’t end up with the man she supposedly loved.”
”Did they mention the rival had advanced breast cancer and that’s probably what really did her in?”
”No, you are wrong. I mean, she did have cancer but then she threw herself down the steps and framed her husband. Mary wouldn’t do that.”
Based on the cancer-nod to historical accuracy, I decided to give it a chance. It was like history slanted toward teenagers. Or tweens. Tweens who would own a grimoire, like my husband, and believe in seers and prophecies.
It was called Reign, and as the IMDB review states in the first sentence, “This is a show for girls.”
Days later, after it was all over, we went to Wikipedia to sort out what was true and what was not, and he was bereft to hear some of his favorite characters were not historically accurate. (“No! Not Leith! He wasn’t real? Are you sure?”)
Then he was bereft and wrote some poems in his grimoire.
Dr Fauci says to hunker down. Life won’t go back to normal until the end of 2021.
Doctor, I love you, but I cannot hunker any harder. I’m already doing extra hard hunkering. Way harder than a person with an immune system operating at 100%.
But solidly at home for another six seasons? Is it possible?
I wonder if the Trump politicos knew that the Woodward recordings would come out right before the 9/11 anniversary.
I certainly heard the similarities, listening to the documentaries on 9/11. I got to hear both George W. Bush and Rudy Giuliani say, “The most important thing For a leader in a crisis is to appear calm.”
Did they know that September 10th would be the perfect day to make the “Calm” excuse? Sure, they said, “Trump downplayed the risks of the pandemic so people would remain calm.” Then the next day we see images of a clear-eyed, young, still-sane Rudy on 9/11 assuring us that we just need to stay where we are, stay in our homes, and we’d be fine.
Of course, to make the comparison accurate, Rudy should have walked through the streets (without a mask on, remember) and he should have said, “Lung cancer from breathing in this epic cloud of dust? It’s like having allergies. It’ll be gone in a month, like magic.”
Abandoned Draft Version:
High school dq t c gay not gay
I did actually post the story of the high school teacher who got the student pregnant, denied it, and yet married her, losing his job (but probably avoiding a statutory rape charge).
I did not mention the other teacher, who hosted an event for students at his apartment, where he had an impressive display of Playboy magazines fanned out across his coffee table. I was accustomed to Playboys, given that Dad was a fan, but there were SO many, especially compared to how Dad squirreled his away. I was taken aback. The teacher shrugged it off. “It’s just a magazine.”
Years later I mentioned it to a man who had recently met the teacher in question, and that guy said, “I don’t know why a gay man would have Playboy magazines.”
”Oh, he’s not gay,” I said, thinking, did you not hear me? Playboys! Obscuring the entire coffee table!
My friend replied, ”Oh, he’s gay,” and then made a convincing case that was more than hearsay but less evidence than I’d want in the 90’s if my job were on the line.
The only thing the two stories have in common is that they gave me a peek into the sex lives of the common suburban high-school teacher. I don’t know that I needed those peeks. I know that I was a common suburban high school teacher at one point and I hope I was as neuter as the angels.
This week the crypts went from this ...
... to this:
I don’t like the detail on the arch that I added. But, I like everything else. The stoop looks right now. So, even though the far left crypts should still bee even darker, it’s done.
This is the original photo:
The pears went from this ...
... to this:
This one is going to take forever. The crypts took like three months, didn’t they? These pears are an eighth the size but the glazing will put you all to sleep.
I was conversing with the young people at work about our “development objectives.”
(If that phrase sounds like corporate double-speak to you, well then congratulations to you. Nice to be independently wealthy. We working class have salaries based, in part, on our personalities. My personality flaws are part of my work review and my managers get to play amateur therapist on a semi-annual basis to determine what is wrong with me so I can change.)
I find this foreign, but the young co-workers don’t. They accept this, but find it demoralizing, so I was thinking of ways to alleviate their pain. (Works Cooperatively — 5 out of 5.)
It occurred to me that we could all game the system. I could go into my next review and say I struggle with Works Cooperatively, then just sit on my rear until my next review, when my boss will applaud me for my efforts; having noticed many examples of me Working Cooperatively.
I was amusing myself thinking of how to best recommend this to the young people, and thought I should call it the “Briar Patch Strategy.”
Luckily, I caught myself. A quick check on the Internet proved that Kids Today have heard “please don’t throw me into the briar patch,” but they think it means “don’t throw me under the bus.” They don’t know the whole story of the clever rabbit — born and bred in the briar patch — begging that he not be thrown into the thorny place that only he knows how to navigate.
“Don’t throw me into the briar patch” is such great shorthand, much more pithy than “tricking someone into punishing you with something you excel at.” Sadly, it’s from the controversial Uncle Remus stories. I can see how people today think the Uncle Remus stories are racist, and I blame that mainly on the Disney version, Song of the South. I’d never seen any of that movie before five minutes ago, and now that I just looked it up on YouTube, damn, that’s racist.
I didn’t learn my Uncle Remus lore at the movies, I picked it up in book form. I clearly remember reading the 1880’s stories out loud. Picture my ten-year-old self sitting cross-legged on the carpet in my sunny yellow-wallpapered suburban home, phonetically sounding out:
‘Drown me des ez deep ez you please, Brer Fox,’ sez Brer Rabbit, sezee, ‘but do don’t fling me in dat brier-patch,’ sezee.
(When I realized “sezee” was “says he,” I felt like I had solved the Rosetta Stone. I went out and told my mother. I was an adult before I heard Brer was short for Brother.)
So while the current 30 year olds might not know of the briar patch, here’s a 2006 animated film called The Adventures of Brer Rabbit, which brings the stories back, minus the dialect and the Wise Uncle telling the stories to the white child. I just bought it and watched it just to wash Song of the South out of my head.
The Briar Patch is the climactic scene. So if kids saw it in 2006, maybe in about five years I’ll be able to reference “briar patch” again and young people will know what I mean.
There is a tradition in Santa Fe New Mexico. According to my brother (and this is confirmed by Wikipedia):
My brother woke me up at ten at night to watch Zozobra burn. He has had a bad 2020. As have we all. There are usually 10,000 complaints in the box o’ Gloom. This year it was 100,000 items.
I approve of this burning puppet scheme. (I approve of all things involving marionettes). I might need to have my own mini Zozobra event on the barbecue.
Today marks the third time the Celebrity Hat has been out of Her box this year. First for Friend #2’s fundraiser, then for the Virtual Kentucky Derby, and this past Saturday for the rescheduled Kentucky Derby.
Just a few nods given to 2020:
Abandoned Draft Version:
Religion God doesnt listen to the prayers of a Jew bacon Mormonism is a cult catholics candle burners hooted probably be;lieve we have funny hats and saints poetry as part of belief
This is the abandoned draft that popped up when I searched for “bacon burner” as it does indeed contain “bacon” and “burner”.
All I can make out from this is that I was considering how some religions hate other religions. By their hate ye shall know them. A leader of the Southern Baptists I joined in my youth declared that God doesn't hear the prayers of a Jew. (Why is bacon there? I suppose because God only pays attention if bacon is involved?)
I believe the comment about God abandoning his chosen people came to my attention because another Baptist had recently warned that Mormon presidential candidate Mitt Romney belonged to a cult.
One thing did make it into a post. A Southern Baptist boyfriend was the source of the next phrase, “candle burners” to describe Catholics. Gary hooted when I told him about that. “Did he think we all wear funny hats, like the pope? Do we sacrifice chickens to the graven images of the Saints?”
And then there’s the last line of poetry as part of belief.
No idea. Really no idea. Maybe I was thinking that poetry is deliberately vague, and much of the Bible is written in poetry, and why can’t the Souther Baptists let other people have their own interpretation of the poetry? I don’t know.
Why wasn’t this post fully born? I think what happened is I started to write it and realized it didn’t express how “religions” spend a lot of time hating each other, it worked out so it was Southern Baptists specifically monopolizing the hate. Perhaps I didn’t want to offend.
This week the crypts went from this ...
I think it’s almost done. Needs more darkness. All the whites need a little brown. And I might do the little details on the arch door and the left side of the arch. And the columns on the right crypt need to be tidied up. And the stoop by the arch.
I need to find a place between realistic and just-winging-it.
And the pears went from this:
I worked this week on having the novel’s main characters answer Proust’s Questionnaire. I only finished it for the male character, Joe. The exercise has made clear to me that even after Jerry’s multiple drafts of the novel, and the four decades of maturing in a cardboard box, Joe is actually a pretty thin character. Every answer goes back to his one personality trait.
As I started answering the questionnaire for the female character, Maggie, something else occurred to me.
Maggie Ryan was originally Aggie Lawless (yes, it still makes me wince, and I didn’t even choose it). She got the M for my mom, Margaret.
So, Maggie and Joe, right? Been Maggie and Joe for eight full months now.
So today at work, as I was making appointments with my boss, MAGGIE, and scheduling a meeting with MAGGIE’s boss, JOE, that my characters have the same names as my direct supervisors.
It’s possible I realized that before, but I don’t think so. Would I forget that? You would think it would have been reminded of it every day.
Idle gossip doesn’t bother me. Who’s doing who, who got caught for what, I don’t care. I don’t even care if people gossip about me. In my experience it’s:
Sometimes people use gossip about other’s misfortune as entertainment. I know I’ve done it myself. For example, I’m a little sad we didn’t get the double Laura / Marco hurricane we were promised last week. Disasters far away are dramatic and juicy, and I give myself a pass when I talk about them.
Sometimes, instead of looking for disasters far afield, someone is so starved for drama they look to their friends, and if there is indeed a delicious disaster among their friends, people feed off that drama. It happens. Your friend has had a crisis, then all the friends discuss the details, no doubt with compassion, but looking for a little attention and excitement too.
But that’s when your friend has a crisis. Sometimes, some bland little hiccup occurs, and people, again looking for drama and attention, gin the hiccup up into death and destruction so they can be more entertained. Let’s say someone named Jane has a cough and feels tired, and the next thing you know, your friends are all sending Facebook thoughts and prayers for Jane as she battles lung cancer. Then Jane sighs and questions the value of these friends who evidently are so bored they want her to have lung cancer.
I say this as a hypothetical, “Jane” is not a real person I know, and my friends don’t imagine I have lung cancer, and I am pretty sure if I did they would ignore it after a Very Special Cancer Girls Night Out.
But still, it’s so galling when I see this. To be fair, I suppose the same gossipers do give themselves lung cancer too when they have a cough or a hiccup. Still annoying.
Here is a quandary.
As I said during the 2016 election, I don’t like yard signs.
Put another way, I like getting along with my neighbors more than I like yard signs.
So here is the 2020 yard sign debate.
I said, “Gary. We can’t put out a yard sign. It will affect the neighbor’s sales potential. Let’s wait until after they sell the house. It’s just common courtesy.”
For a moment he looked like he saw the point, and I could tell, because he frowned instead of yelled.
But that was only for a moment, and then he yelled “DO YOU WANT TO LIVE BY NAZIS? IF THEY DON’T AGREE WITH BIDEN I DON’T WANT THEM MOVING IN MY NEIGHBORHOOD.”
Seriously. No doubt the rest of the neighborhood feels that way about us, but I didn’t mention that, and I haven’t brought it up again. I think the realtor is going to make the decision for us. I think that sign is going to vanish in the night.