Archive for December, 2009

Something finally made me laugh. Look, I’m never for people dying of thirst or getting eaten by coyotes or whatever, but what these people are doing is illegal in both countries so, ya know, there’s some risk involved. What’s the point of laws, borders, regulations if we just ignore them and provide GPS devices to folks crossing the border illegally? Just shut down the border guard stations, eliminate customs officials and open the borders. Why pussy foot around the issue? Unless…opening the borders is actually not desirable to you, either because you’ve created a nifty new tool to help illegals and stand to make killer bank off it (if they are no longer illegals, the product is less utilitarian and just becomes a standard GPS device. You created nothing new and your marketability is drastically reduced. Bummer). Or, opening the borders pretty much eliminates your political platform of human rights for illegals. Who’ll vote for you now? Or, perhaps that age-old elitist mantra applies — I believe that illegal immigrants from South of the border should be able to come to this country and live wherever they want and I will defend my position loudly and try to make you feel bad if your position is contrary, regardless of the wisdom, pragmatism and civility contained in your argument! … now I’m going to go to my gated community full of all-white, medium to high income families and pay my undocumented gardener under the table a pretty low wage all things considered.

And the euphemism “Transborder Immigrant Tool” literally had me throwing my head back last night with a good hearty laugh, something I badly needed. So thank you ridiculous capitalist “scientists” masquerading as human rights defenders. You’re awesome. Keep up the good work. I should be back to full strength in no time with this kind of hilarity to keep me going.

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The story of Blue

I am preparing myself for a trip to the vet with Stella this morning. She won’t be coming back. I have watched her slowly decline over these last few days until she was abjectly refusing any of the necessities of life — food, water, trips outside to the bathroom. My wonderful brother Drew, who has taken us in these last few days and extended the offer until I’m ready to leave, told me that this means her will to live is gone and she’s just hanging around for me. I can’t let her do that.

She has been a loyal friend to the end, even choosing this time to go. She accompanied me to DC but couldn’t stay. But she got me there. And, frankly, I’m not sure I can handle being there without her. But I’m going to try. What’s more, I’m unencumbered by the need to get immediately back — I’ve had the luxury of being able to stay and care for her as long as I needed. Again, she couldn’t have picked a better time. She was always that way — never complicating things, just simplifying. And she’s in there now, just sleeping and occasionally fighting for breath. Just slowly fading. But I can’t let her suffer for me. I wouldn’t be a friend to her.

This relationship with her — this love and loss — is one i’ve not experienced before. Growing up we had dogs, but never were they allowed indoors. My father is old-school, from the Georgia mountains, and dogs were outside animals. Cats, too. So the joys and trials of sharing a home with an animal came later. And I never sought it out — Stella was one of a bunch of puppies left in a laundry room at one of my first apartments and I was quite literally tricked into taking her. I liked the puppies my property manager was trying to find homes for, but I didn’t want one. I was too busy with work and negotiating my first really intense relationship to bother with the responsibility of a puppy. Just take her for an hour, they said. Fine. For an hour.

13 years later, Stella remains the reason I made it through that first real relationship. She let me cry on her for almost four years of navigating the rough waters of young love. And then later, as I grew and my needs changed, she listened to me as I worked out who I was, what I would accept, where I wanted to go. And occasionally, along the way, others fell in love with her, too. My father, the crusty mountain-man, most notably. My parents — mom, nursing a slight fear of dogs her whole life — even let me bring her in and keep her in a room when I would go home. Their dog stayed outside of course. But Stella stayed with me. Stella had a grin you see. She literally smiled when she saw someone she loved. And that old mutt tail of hers would start to swinging. And you couldn’t help it — she was ridiculous and silly and pampered and gentle and fiesty and lazy. And you just couldn’t help it. She snuck into the heart and wouldn’t leave. I had one boyfriend who, by the end of our relationship, was really okay if I went but I think losing the Stel was something that made him almost reconsider losing me. He used to let her sleep in the bed when I wasn’t welcome. I need to let him know that the old girl has gracefully and gently chosen her time to go. That’s how she was. Elegant and gentle, with a giant smile and a heart to match.

I write now because in a few hours I won’t be able to. I have cried my eyes out until I think I can’t cry anymore. But I know I can. I know I will. I’ve been trying to think about what I have to do when my time in Atlanta this trip is through — I have freelancing work to complete, freelancing work to find, follow-up interview emails to send, job announcements to apply for, friends to contact, relationships to strengthen. I have to touch base, reconnect, get to work. I have to find my own unique place in this world while letting go of one of the things that defined that uniqueness. Right now especially that’s something that scares me. But I have to try to stick with the plan and try to make a life for myself in my new city, even though all I want to do right now is lay on the floor and rub the old girl’s ears and make time stop so I don’t have to feel this way. I have to live.

But Stella doesn’t. She’s done enough and I have to let her go. I’m just not sure what things will be like without her. And I’m sad. But one thing that the old girl always did was help put a new perspective on things. Because she made me laugh. And so, I gotta send her off with joy somehow. And somehow I will.

UPDATE: Heard this on the way there and it’s always been a special song for me. It brought the joy I was seeking to bring to the situation. Blue was the old girl’s nickname. It’s not an overly happy song so you may not get why it brought the joy, but it has had great significance for me in life in a million different ways. And now there’s one more. I’ve so loved being tangled up in Blue.

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I like this disco nativity. Just sayin’.

Working on being back in a routine for good people. Just bear with me a little longer. I’ve had to make some adjustments and changes — large ones, not the least of which included moving four or five states North — and my head is just taking a minute to clear. However, the power of you my old venting ground wordpress friend, has drawn me back for a few more observations. Writing is sanity for me at the moment — the comfort of familiarity. And so, on you I rest my head and spill out my thoughts. And obviously I’m feeling prose-y because I’m waxing all poetic and junk. I’m just weak right now people and regressing back to the book nerd I was as a child. Charming, I know.

Now, I recognize that this kind of personal writing is inane and boring to most. But it is nothing less than a necessity to me at the moment — and it just occurred to me it’s something no one can take away. Nice. — so, as always, feel free to move along.

I would like to say that I have fallen in love with my new city and have already found a million things to do and am flitting about like the belle of the ball. Damn would I like to say that. But the truth is I have been nursing a very sick dog, and dealing with the reality of a foot of snow everywhere — particularly under, around and on top of my car — and negotiating some personality issues (all of which I’ll write a little more about further on) and these have kept my focus and attention away from really beginning to discover where I am. However, as always, the survivor in me has kicked into full gear and I may be beginning to make the right decisions at last. When everything’s in disarray, a natural consequence of moving and starting over, it’s hard to make heads or tails of anything. But this kid’s a fighter and heads or tails shall be made. And the promise of why I moved my butt up here will be realized, despite what appear to be large obstacles and stumbling blocks obscuring my view. So, let’s talk about that, shall we?

Stella is ill and not eating and vomiting and barely able to walk sometimes. While I think I have the vomiting under control — it was a result of the not eating so guess who’s pretty much force feeding her? You got it. This kid. — but the depression that set in with this move and the restriction of her freedom — this is a dog that was able to walk out into the backyard at any time and roll around in the grass and scratch her back — led her to refuse her food (the magic, very expensive food that keeps her arthritis in check) which led her to have trouble walking and, I would imagine, begin to feel some real discomfort, and led to the vomiting every time she drinks water. Like I said, I’ve begun to moisten her magic food with water and mix it with some wet food, make a gross little mash and heat it a little and then, literally, tilt her head back, slather it on her tongue, manually keep her mouth closed until she swallows, and hope she keeps it down. It’s working. The vomiting is subsiding but she’s not getting enough to really affect the rheumatism yet. We’ll see. Now, I tell you that gross, pity-party story to say what’s really on my mind —

The relationship I’ve developed over the last almost 13 years with this animal makes it nearly impossible for me to consider putting her down. Sounds strange I know. I’ve made that decision before to alleviate the suffering of an animal and it felt very, very bad. This is in no way an indictment of the practice — I may find myself in that position with her if things get too bad and she doesn’t bounce back from this — but I just want her to go on her time. I don’t want to make that call. I cry a lot these days when I look at her. Also, I feel as though I’ve already made that call by uprooting her and bringing her to a place that immediately dumped several inches of snow on us and put us in a basement where sunlight is scarce. It is safe to say that my guilt is in danger of overcoming me at times.

And now I have to go dig my car out of the snow so I can drive back to Atlanta tomorrow. I hope my little mutt makes the journey okay. I hope I can bring love and light to my family and friends for Christmas. And I hope you all feel the miracle of what this season is supposed to be about — this idea that there is something that unites us all and that whatever it is, it is powerful enough to infuse and inspire a man to preach it out during his time. And, what’s more, powerful enough to transcend time and the cynicism of the ages and live. Such a simple, lovely message. Should have been obliterated years ago the way we humans tear down the meek and simple. And yet…it lives. Hallelujah.

Merry Christmas all.

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Watch out Lester

Tucking in to face the snow that’s predicted to float down all day tomorrow. I will live the rest of my life knowing that my dog blamed me during these, her golden years, for exacerbating the arthritis in her hips. Feeling pretty guilty about that. To the degree that I actually bought her a sweater today — a lovely royal blue turtleneck. I’m not joking. — and have her nicely planted on the love seat with a heating pad lovingly cradling those old hips. Guilt is an interesting motivator.

So, while I obsess over my decisions, here’s something light for your Friday. The zombie ad attracted me. Also, the one to Lester … genius.

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Socialist chic

I can’t take credit for the title, awesome as it is. It comes from John Nolte at Big Hollywood. I own the book that the “documentary” The People Speak is based on. I’ve never read it, although I’ve intended to for years. I’ll admit it: I got it after I saw Good Will Hunting 8,000 years ago. I do love that movie and I liked the idea of history told from the perspective of those who were not the winners. However — and I haven’t seen the documentary either so my authority is pretty much nil on this one. Just opinion people. Take it or leave it. — it sounds like I ought to read it now just so I can get a grip on how attractive propaganda can be when it tugs at the old emotional heart strings. Here’s the thing though: if Zinn postulates that the founders were just trying to set up a system whereby elites could dominate and control all other classes of people — which, by most accounts I’ve read, is what he alleges — and, furthermore, a system that is designed to further the interests of elites into the future, why in the name of all that’s holy is he complaining to the degree that he’s writing a book about the evils of America? Because trust me Mr. Zinn, the founders failed in that endeavor. Know how I know? Because as I wait to begin work in this nation’s city of political power, I’ve been taking advantage of the free time to do things I won’t be able to do later. And the other day I took the opportunity to go somewhere I’ve wanted to go to since practically birth and had never had the opportunity — the National Archives. And, oddly, right next to the documents from the Continental Congresses, and the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution et al, there’s the Emancipation Proclamation and the documents detailing the suffrage movement and civil rights, etc., etc.

So, it seems to me that the founders set up a system, as any eighth grade civics student can tell you, that allowed for amendments and changes to the law and, yes, even overthrowing governments should they become contrary to those precious inalienable rights. Those powerful elites sure have allowed a lot of laws to be passed to protect those “classes” who were originally seen as less than elite.

So, it’s just a bit contradictory for you and the rest of the Hollywood elites, um, actors, to be all whining and complaining at the founders’ failure to create that perfect system of interminable elitism.

You ought to be celebrating. Just sayin’.

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Were I in any way a generous and grateful person I would never write the following but I’m confused by something and a friend of mine recently reminded me that venting things out can be quite useful.

When we spoke friend I haven’t seen in more than two years who lives in my new city it wasn’t so you could hook me up with your friend who, as you not so subtly suggested, is age appropriate for me. (Dudes, here’s a tip in case you find yourself single longer than you anticipate and become interested in a woman who’s a little older: reminding a woman of her age all the time will not ingratiate you to her.) Really, I was trying to reconnect with you because, ya know, we’re friends. I think. Seriously, is this a dude thing? Don’t you maybe want to meet with me first before unloading me on your buddy? I mean, you haven’t been in my presence for a few years — I could have developed a severe substance abuse problem or taken up body piercing. Or are you worried that my wanting to reconnect with you might be more than just a friendly get-together in my mind? Cause, seriously, I know you have a girlfriend and, as you well know by now, I do not insert myself between people. Also, what is that with guys around the 30 year old mark where any contact with a woman must equal hopeless romantic designs? Can we check that ego please? It is seriously confusing to me. Also, and I have to be honest here, immediately trying to set me up kinda felt like you must believe I’m a desperate sort. Let me end the suspense — I’m not. While I know it’s confusing that I’m single at such an advanced age (I was a little worried when I saw the steps leading down to my new place because, really, who needs a broken hip?), I am unmarried for no other reason than by choice. In fact, the opportunity has presented itself more than once in my dating life — as my mother keeps reminding me — and I made the decision to pass each time. [UPDATE: After thinking about this I was reminded of the law student I dated for four months who my mother considers “the one who got away.” He had ambitions of being Governor of Georgia. He also bored me to tears and wore driving gloves. In the middle of summer. In Georgia. I had to end it with him when he told me that marriage between us was some grand metaphor for the old South since his last name was Mason and mine is Lee. He also started telling me what he — HE — would name our children. Sorry mommy, I love you. But I couldn’t…If Georgia ever gets a Governor Mason you can really yell at me then…] You see, there are only a few reasons I can think of that make marriage an appealing prospect for me — to have children, to share finances and to have someone to cook for. I grew up in a huge family and didn’t get a lot of alone time and that has made me jealously guard my selfish me time. Truthfully, the men I’ve dated who were interested in marrying me didn’t understand this. And I wouldn’t have wanted children with any of them. Unkind thing to say? Probably. Also true.

So, if you read this and are still speaking to me, I’m not averse to meeting your friend. Of course I’m not. But dang man. It would’ve been cool just to hang out and have a beer as old friends. I’ll let you know if I’m looking for something more.

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And I’m back. Sorry for being gone so long, but there were reasons. I am officially a resident of Washington, DC. At moments, I kind of freak out and question what the hell I’m doing, but my parents (who are still in Southern Maryland. They leave tomorrow and then, well, I guess it’s real…) and family have been unbelievably supportive and encouraging. My brother John (“The John”) and sis Juge in particular think this is the best thing I could’ve done and both agree that the opportunity to redefine myself should be seen as a great gift. It is true that starting over feels incredibly liberating — free from the mythology of who I was believed to be in my previous town, I’m feeling sort of like a blank slate. The writer in me is excited…

Pops was a bit concerned (but not overly. He just thinks I need to be on my toes) when he saw the new neighborhood and with reason. The several blocks of houses that comprise my neighborhood are actually lovely and inhabited by good folks — one dude walks his dog around wearing a bike helmet as a winter hat. Cracks me up — but the main thoroughfare at the top of the hill that defines the northern edge of the neighborhood is really sketchy. Really sketchy. I’ve done a fair bit of walking around trying to familiarize myself with things and I can say it is my great good fortune that the bus stops really close to my house and I’ll be taking cabs at night if I have to be further downtown without my car. I also made an acquaintance in a dance class I dropped in on down the road who lives within walking distance of me and is very familiar with the city. She used to live in my neighborhood and was giving me tips on how to negotiate the streets and what to be aware of. She also told me that the little pizza joint up the street from my house serves the best pizza in the city. After having a small pie for lunch the other day I believe it. And they deliver. Nice. Also, she seems very cool and creative and interesting and reminds me of my dance friends back home. So the potential friend factor is there. Here’s hoping.

In any event, I’m settling in and getting back to a routine so just bear with me. I haven’t even done any Christmas shopping or sent out any cards. I’m so behind…And, now that I’ve bored you to tears, here’s this little gem for the reading. I want a t-shirt that says “I *heart* Propaganda”.

Also, just discovered this band. Thanks for the gmail status tip Gracie.

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