Sunday, July 29, 2012

Hang Fire

HANG FIRE (1981, from the "Tattoo You" album)

In the sweet old country where I come from
Nobody ever works
Nothing ever gets done
We hang fire
We hang fire

You know marrying money is a full time job
I don't need the aggravation
I'm a lazy slob
We hang fire
Hang fire, hang fire, hang
Put it on the wire, baby

We got nothing to eat
We go nowhere to work
Nothing to drink
We just lost our shirts
I'm on the dole
We ain't for hire
Say what the hell, say what the hell!
Hang fire
Hang fire, hang fire
Put it on the wire baby

Yeah, take a thousand dollars
Go and have some fun
Put it all on at a hundred to one
Hang fire
We hang fire
Put it on the wire baby

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Thank you, S...

...for revealing your blog again, and for sharing Springsteen's New Yorker interview.

There's definitely a pattern:

From the "Therapy Tapes of Anne Sexton" that I've been reading (which extensively quotes psychiatric theory post-Sexton and her relations with her therapist in the '60s):

"Trauma survivors live not with memories of the past, but with an event that could and did not proceed through to its completion, and therefore continues into the present." (Laub and Auerhahn, 1993)

"Adults who have been sexually abused as children are only too willing to believe that the nightmarish memories that begin to flood their waking thoughts are not real. It is a most heartfelt wish to be convinced that what they begin to perceive as a traumatically overwhelming past is merely a fantasy of their own creation." (Davies and Frawley, 1992)

"In the patient who has been sexually abused, the child aspect of the self representation, along with that of the abusing other and their complex system of emotional connection and exchange, is cordoned off and isolated from the rest of the personality. It remains virtually frozen in time, the images unmodulated by any others of a different, perhaps gentler nature. These images become the embodiment of the murderous rage and pernicious self-loathing that drive the child in his or her relationship with others....The child cannot grow. Her anger and self-hatred go untempered, therefore unintegrated. Her world is a world of betrayal, terror, and continued emotional flooding.... Her mind is a constant state of upheaval and confusion. When, as a child, she turned to those around her for a way out, she was confronted with either threats and further abuse or with neglect and formidable denial... She experiences herself as terrified, completely alone, and helpless." (Davies & Frawley, 1992)

I am so mad at so many people in your early life, including those passively practicing "neglect and formidable denial." Trust this simple Leo on one thing: You are not alone.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Kayo Sexton obit

I'd kind of suspected he was a Leo, like ME! :) I always liked Kayo, just as I always liked Leo Ted Hughes. And Leo Bill Clinton. Among other's friggin' HARD to learn to understand a Scorpio woman and to try to get in any sort of groove with her (because she is often INTENTIONALLY PERVERSE!), and I admire all of these strong men's long-term attempts at understanding, and their ultimately innate loyalty (despite the men's own obvious surface failings). See also this blog's entry of 2009: "My Leo Men."

In Kayo Sexton's case, especially: While Sylvia/Ted and Hillary/Bill knew what each were getting into at the time of marriage, I feel kind of bad for Kayo since he and Anne were married at 19 on the basis of sex only! The man had no idea what was to come! :) And from his daughters' later accounts, he kept the family together, despite his own constant travelling for work and Anne's erratic behavior at home.

As the obituary below reveals: He was an energetic but simple man. I'm glad he found happiness with his second wife, and with his grandkids. He deserved the respite after decades of torment in his early-mid adult years.

Also: After years of living in Anne Sexton's shadow, I'm also glad that his obituary focuses only on him. Just a couple of things sneak in: His working for the R.C. Harvey Company (that would be Anne's father's business) and his 1966 African safari (paid for by Anne's Pulitzer Prize money).

SEXTON, Alfred M. II Of Weston, 83, died peacefully at home on Friday, May 11, 2012. Born August 5, 1928, he was the beloved husband of Peggyann Totten Sexton, and revered father of Linda Sexton and Joyce Sexton, all of whom were at his side as he passed. He was a devoted grandfather to Alexander and Nicholas Freund, Katherine Wollmer, Blake and Max Johnson, and also is survived by numerous cousins. Al was a retired wool merchant who worked in the trade following his attendance at Colgate University, where he belonged to the fraternity Sigma Chi. In 1951, he became a navigator with the U.S. Navy aboard the attack carrier U.S.S. Boxer in the Korean War. On returning home, he worked with the R.C. Harvey Company and later for Prouvost LeFebvre, eventually becoming Senior Vice President of each, traveling to textile mills in the Northeast and Mid-West, and was the final President of The Boston Wool Trade Association in 2003. He loved to hunt, fish, sail, play golf, cribbage and gin rummy especially with his grandchildren. He went on an African hunting safari in 1966 and took numerous fishing expeditions in Labrador, Newfoundland and the Northwest Territories. He will be deeply missed by all his loved ones. Donations may be made to either Families for Depression Awareness in Waltham, Angell Animal Medical Center in Boston or Hospice of the Good Shepherd in Waban. A memorial service will be held at a date to be announced. For guestbook George F. Doherty & Sons Wellesley 781-235-4100

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

A Curse Against Elegies

Ha! After my mournfulness of the last post, saying I wanted to write Sexton a proper elegy, I came across this poem of hers today, which I'd completely forgotten about. Thanks, Anne, for a reality/pretentiousness check! :)

This one's for both me and Sandra.


Oh, love, why do we argue like this?
I am tired of all your pious talk.
Also, I am tired of all the dead.
They refuse to listen,
so leave them alone.
Take your foot out of the graveyard,
they are busy being dead.

Everyone was always to blame:
the last empty fifth of booze,
the rusty nails and chicken feathers
that stuck in the mud on the back doorstep,
the worms that lived under the cat's ear
and the thin-lipped preacher
who refused to call
except once on a flea-ridden day
when he came scuffing in through the yard
looking for a scapegoat.
I hid in the kitchen under the ragbag.

I refuse to remember the dead.
And the dead are bored with the whole thing.
But you--you go ahead,
go on, go on back down
into the graveyard,
lie down where you think their faces are;
talk back to your old bad dreams.

--from "All My Pretty Ones" (1962)

Monday, July 23, 2012

Sacrament (for Anne Sexton)

Every year I resurrect
what ash I can, stirring my bits of bone,
and yearning, into yours.

Wine of words to slur my outstretched tongue
in hope of resuscitation. But for whom?
Labials echo, toll. I remain dumb.

--July 23, 2012

Spent the past weekend with Anne Sexton, reading the new "Therapy Tapes of" book, then the Middlebrook bio for the 5th or so time. Sexton's now-crumbling Complete Poems (that I've had since 1986), and paper and pen, also surrounding me. Didn't get out of bed, barely ate or drank, for 2 days.

She always weighs heavily on me. Very beautiful (both appearance and words) and very, very sad. I have to reacquaint myself with her soul every now and then in order to get back in touch with a pure part of myself. To remind me of what suffering is for. (Both she and Plath were truly otherworldly in their depths. But especially interesting because of the concurrent above-ground flashiness and/or accomplishments. Very rare that the public foliage and depth of spiritual roots are balanced so.)

By the time I'd re-read everything in the house, I still greedily (and rather unspiritually!) needed more. So ordered a fresh, non-falling-apart version of the Complete Poems; the two bios by daughter Linda Gray Sexton ("Searching for Mercy Street" and "Half Life") and "Self-Portrait in Letters" (all of which I'd already read from the library but didn't own); plus something new that I found: "The Last Summer"---a book of photographs from said sad summer by Arthur Furst.

When I awoke today for work, had the line "Every year I resurrect/What ash I can" in my head. The rest of the first stanza finally fell into place at lunch. The rest, eh. That feels kind of forced. I felt the first 3 lines were the beginning of a much longer elegy, but the second 3 kind of summed things up too quickly and neatly. I'd like to eventually end the proper elegy with "Give me your hand." (Which has nothing to do with these first lines, but which is a recurring theme in both the "Therapy Tapes" book and in her poetry. Wait. I take that back---A final line of "Give me your hand" has EVERYTHING to do with an eventual resurrection from ash and bone and pure spirit into flesh.)

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Random Notes on James Holmes + James Madison

Prurient interest James Holmes sex-site profile: Just lookin' for love.

Albert Brooks tweeted today: "Hey Congress-You want to pass the Goddamn assault weapons ban now?" (Amen. But the local/state governments should do the enforcing---see my below Constitutional argument.)

Anders Breivik, the Norwegian murderer who killed 68 people last year, bought ammo clips via mail from a US supplier.

Second Amendment to the US Constitution:
"A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."

Fresh in the Founding Fathers' minds were the constant attempts by the British in past years to control/diminish the firepower of colonists, including banning imports, seizing weapons, etc. James Madison wrote the Second Amendment, and his concerns about the need to have a well-regulated LOCAL and STATE militia included the ability to be able to counter a potentially overpowering, tyrannical Federal government and its militia (a la what the colonists had been forced to endure from the British). He wrote about this extensively in his Federalist Papers. See this discussion for quotes from his original text.

And Madison is clearly, specifically TALKING ABOUT MILITIAS. Local fighting forces ("well regulated") capable of standing up to any potential Federal tyranny. He's not talking about any lunatic wing-ding being able to buy automatic weapons on a whim. In short, Madison's whole point--according to his Federalist Papers--was that local/state governments should have the power to call up, and regulate, militias to counter any attempt by the Federal government to suppress "the people."

The problem with the INSANE regular mass-shootings that now seem to occur several times a year in the US: The local/state governments are not doing their jobs. They're not regulating, as Madison had hoped they would do. He didn't trust the Federal government, but he DID place trust in the local/state governments. When are the latter going to step up and DO SOMETHING to "well regulate" who in a community does/does not have access to guns?

Friday, July 20, 2012

New Books!

Huzzah! It's always a happy day when all your books have finally arrived from Amazon! The Ted Letters I already read from the library last year, but I definitely wanted it for my own collection; this one I found for only $10 (and the cover price is $45)! The Justinian book I'd once found in the spring for $17 online (it's also around $40 full price), but the store then said they didn't have it after all; I'd been searching for a deal ever since. So now I have 7 books on Justinian/Theodora...and STILL haven't started the damn screenplay I keep talking about writing! I think I definitely have enough background material now! START THE THING, Self!

The one I'm most excited about is "The Therapy Tapes of Anne Sexton"!! Which just came out a few months ago and I hadn't even heard about until just recently. Diane Middlebrook controversially used tape excerpts as background for her '92 bio of Sexton, but this book apparently goes over all of them! Juicy! (I keep peeking at pages, but I need to STOP or else I'm going to spoil it before starting from the beginning!) :)

Wednesday, July 18, 2012


While waiting at the bus-stop this afternoon, I looked over at a car stopped at the red light, and a woman was brushing her teeth! I was fascinated. I guess she had a bottle of water with her to wet the toothbrush and to rinse with. But...where was she going to spit? Just stick her head out the window? Luckily I got to see the answer before the light changed: She had a cup with her that she spit into!

I've seen eating and putting on make-up and hair-brushing, etc., in a car. But I've never seen tooth-brushing! (I'm still a bit curious, though: Why not brush in the bathroom while still at work?)

Myself, I'm the messiest teeth-brusher in the world. The toothpaste goes all over both cheeks and dribbles down my chin. It's kind of embarrassing for me to brush in front of one other person in the home, much less in front of the whole world! I've tried learning from experts who manage to keep all the toothpaste foam completely INSIDE their mouths, but I simply can't figure out how to do it. Trying it in the car is obviously FAR beyond my meager capabilities.

Here are 3 ways to do it that I found on YouTube:

And an article from Australia: Woman Crashes Car While Brushing Teeth

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Little Wall Walkers (+ Kitties)

I work around campus/downtown, where lots of tour and/or school groups go and where there are lots of low walls separating the sidewalks from the greenery. And one thing that I've had fun watching whenever outside is: A lot of little kids (4, 5, 6) are REALLY attracted to jumping up on walls to walk! They can be poking along the sidewalk with their family unit or school group, but when a low wall shows up, some of them will immediately jump (and perk) right up and follow along sassily on the wall! It's the cutest thing to see again and again!

Today I was outside a building (near a low wall) that had a couple of kid-groups exiting. A college-age young adult was watching over each group of maybe 6 little kids, all around age 4.

The first group that passed me had 4 boys and 2 girls. One little boy immediately jumped on the wall and started strutting along. Two of the other little boys saw what he was doing and immediately followed suit. Then the fourth little boy (wearing thick glasses and looking kind of uncoordinated) tried to get up on the wall himself but had a hard time. :) He finally made it up, but then couldn't keep his balance and had to jump back off! :( (The two little girls just ignored all the boys and kept walking along with the adult.)

The second group that passed me had the opposite: 4 girls and 2 boys. This time, it was a little girl who saw the wall first and went for it! The whole rest of the group seemed to be ignoring what she was doing at first. But then an awkward little black girl carrying a baby-doll also tried it... She could barely get up on the wall while carrying the doll, and then was afraid to move very fast while up there! She lagged way behind everyone else and finally the adult had to call her to come on down off the wall. (Aside from these 2 girls, the others in the group all stayed firmly on the ground.)

It was so interesting and cute to watch the different little personality types in action! And also to spot a pattern after months of observing the same thing happening over and over again.

The kids-n-walls brain glitch made me think of cats while you're making a bed. A lot of even usually placid cats just LOOOOOOOVE it when you're putting fresh sheets on a bed! Most will IMMEDIATELY dive under the top sheet and start dashing around in circles then stopping then play-wrestling with you when you scratch the sheet above them. Their little cat-brains are just wired to ENJOY the sheets! :) I found this photo online with the caption: "This is what it looks like whenever I change the sheets. It is Buddy our cat, in his own way of 'helping.' And watch out, he bites! (not normally, but the anonymity that the sheet provides allows his tough alter ego to show through!)."

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Einstein says:

"If you want to live a happy life, tie it to a goal, not to people or things."

The things I'm proudest of in my life: moving to a completely unknown city all on my own--San Francisco--and getting my graduate degree; getting 7 poems published (without knowing anyone at any of the magazines); creating my Joan Crawford website from scratch; daring to move to New York City all on my own in an attempt to better myself career-wise (and culturally and personally).

The failure of the latter, and the aftermath, was psychologically horrifying to me. I'd wanted success there SO much, especially after how beautiful and interesting and exciting I found the environs. I came home to an utter psychological Wasteland. (Thanks to Austin, the city, for being gentle with me.)

I came across the Einstein quote by accident, but it made me think: There are no people in my life that have been sources of emotional support and happiness. The opposite has been true. I feel that I've accomplished things DESPITE people that I've loved, not BECAUSE OF them. Sad but true. I'd been feeling down about that fact for all of my adult life until I read the Einstein quote. While suffering emotionally, I've also, in the "everyday" meantime, been actually living by that Einstein philosophy without realizing it.

Had it been up to the EMOTIONAL support of people in my life that I've loved, I'd be a drug-addled hooker right now.

Thank god for goals. And for the low-level academic attention from teachers I got in grade/high-school that I remember to this day.

No college professor ever encouraged me to be/do anything more, even when I was writing very good stuff. The male profs were more interested in dates; the women profs, in their own stuff. I was naive: I thought there were intellectual mentors galore awaiting me in college! :)

Friday, July 13, 2012

What the fuck are you talking about?

Got the below e-mail last night re my Joan Crawford website. I read it, and e-mailed back one line: "What the fuck are you talking about?"


Hello... Iam ________. Ive written to u a few times and have also supported ur wonderful website as i TRULY believe with all my heart that you have...little by little...piece by piece..brought Joan's reputation back where it belongs. Thats why sometimes when i see pics of a joan impersonator with a wire hanger, or this current very unflattering portrait of Joan done sometime in the 1980's, confuses me. I do for the MOST part think you are quite fair in HOW you portray Joan. She was NOT perfect by any means, and i am glad you continue to be, as i said, quite fair. BUT does Joan really need the exaggerated paintings or wire hanger pics??? Arent we DONE with all of that?? I will ALWAYS be a HUGE fan of ur site and will continue to contribute when i can. Iam just a regular person with this thought i wanted to share with you. God Bless you, girl! Sincerely, ____ :-)

Sent using Samsung's Galaxy S Blaze....

In my defense, I did go back and forth about the "fuck" before I replied---changed "fuck" to both "hell" and "heck," considered deleting the expletive altogether in favor of "What are you talking about?" In the end, was so irritated by the horrible misuse of the English language (blathering) below that I decided to leave the "fuck" in just for shock value.

What I THINK (50/50 chance) the person below is talking about is a raunchy 1980 painting of Joan by Playboy artist Olivia De Berardinis:

But the thing is, I posted this painting in the "Art" section of the site maybe 6 weeks ago. And I'm just GUESSING that that was what this person was talking about last night. I really did not know WHAT she was talking about. WHAT "Joan impersonator with a wire hanger"? What "current very unflattering portrait of Joan done sometime in the 1980's"?

In short: "What the fuck are you talking about?"

All of that said, though, would I have been so irritated with, and rude to, the writer had the message not been so full of "Iam" and "u" and "ur" and "Thats" and horribly generic feel-good things like "Iam just a regular person" and "God Bless you, girl!" and "J.C.ALWAYSACLASSACT." (RE the latter: Joan was HARDLY "always a class act"!) :)

Not to mention that the writer says she will "continue to contribute when i can"---this person has, in the past 8 years that the website has been in existence, never contributed a single thing. I don't know who this person is! (At least she spelled "exaggerated" correctly...)

In short: "What the fuck are you talking about?"

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Happiness is...

...buying a new monthly bus pass! :)

AKA: "Since I have somewhere to go--work, especially--nearly every day for the next month, the $30 pass is a bargain and I'm not just buying a $2 day pass for random trips to the grocery store!"

So far, 6 months of bliss! (And, even better, $7300 in the bank!) :)

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Don't Call Me Sweetheart Anymore!

Funny that I was writing here yesterday about what a pleasant work environment I now had!

Today a fellow temp worker (graphics guy to my editing; he just started 3 weeks ago while I've been there for 5 months) and I got into a spat because he wasn't doing a procedure right and was telling an even newer person to do the thing HIS (wrong) way. When I corrected him and told the newer person the right way to do the procedure, the graphics guy grumbled and snorted for a bit, then stormed off saying back over his shoulder: "Don't pick a fight with me, Sweetheart!"

How condescending! Luckily, after 46 years, I have a tiny bit of experience being condescended to, so I immediately called back loudly after him: "YOU picked the fight with ME, HONEY-BUNCH!"

I've never been spoken to like that in a workplace.

I HAVE been called "Sweetheart" and "Honey"--in a rude way--maybe twice before: Once by a younger-than-me dyke in an Austin deli, once by a New York-guy in a NYC deli. In both cases, I gave what I think is a perfect response--calling THEM sarcastically by a "pet" name in return. (The Austin dyke just looked at me; the NYC guy stereotypically said, "Hey, sister, don't give me a hard time!" Somehow, the "sister" thrown in there made it clear that he just didn't know any better, so I cut him a little slack for being a working-class guy. The dyke, though, had no excuse for condescending to another woman, especially one older than herself.)

That's all fine from a stranger in a deli, but it's disturbing to have a co-worker talk to you like that. Obviously, he wouldn't have spoken to me in that way if I'd been a regular employee and he wasn't. I'm curious about what made him feel it was OK to talk like that to me: Just doesn't like women? (Seriously, if a more-experienced male co-worker had explained to him that people here didn't work off the desktop, would he have argued with him to begin with, much less making a snarky "Sweetheart" comment?) Doesn't like having an opinion challenged? (Again, what if it had been a male co-worker explaining the correct way to do something? Would THAT have been perceived as somehow "challenging" the guy? And entailed the snarky response?)

Next-day post-script: Being a temp, I certainly didn't want to make any waves at a workplace I like and want to invite me back. But I'll be damned if I let someone speak to me like that. What I did yesterday was send my boss an e-mail asking for confirmation of the correct way to do the procedure that caused the argument. And I threw in the aside that the graphics guy had gotten upset and called me "Sweetheart"... She responded via e-mail with the procedure, which I forwarded to the new person who had initially asked. But she didn't mention the "Sweetheart" bit... Until today, when she asked me to come to her office... Uh-oh!

When I got there, she basically started off with, "No, he didn't!" And then we spent 15 minutes trying to figure out what his problem was! :) I mean, she had real solutions as to how to get him up to speed on procedures, but we also commiserated as women about the piss-poor attitude! :) Seriously--the guy is working in a primarily female environment; a female environment with lots of 30/40-something women who have advanced degrees and are very bright and well-paid and not tending to take kindly to being spoken to like a waitress. What in the hell was he thinking mouthing off like that?

Monday, July 09, 2012

Hearts from Kats and Kosmos

Sometimes The Universe likes to play funny tricks. Like showing me affection, but in kind-of creepy ways. (Like a cat who wants to impress you leaving a dead bird on your porch. Then later eating everything of the carcass but a few feathers and leaving the little bird-heart sitting there as a special gift just for you! You KNOW the cat meant well, and the IDEA of the sacrifice just to show off for you is actually very flattering... But also... EWWWW, Cat! :)

OK, so months ago in March when I got my current good-paying temp job that ends at the end of August, I was also bitching (as I always have to do) about co-workers irritating me: The extremely loud, bitchy graffics woman who wouldn't help me with something I didn't know how to do my first couple of days; the loudly snorting/moaning grad student who wouldn't shut the fuck up in our close space; and then the crappy German guy who TATTLED on me to a boss for mocking the moaning guy's moaning! Jesus! I KNEW that I had to be mature and put up with these people, and just put in my time 'til the end of August and gather in the money... But STILL, I was irritated and wondering if I could, indeed, put up with obnoxiousness through the summer.

Thanks, though, to The Universe for some weird cat-like bestowals. First, the obnoxious woman's youngish (30s) sister died tragically a few weeks ago. I never found out if it was a car wreck or a murder (didn't ask, didn't honestly care), but the result was that the obnoxious co-worker went back home to Houston to live with her family. Gone. Her leaving left an open desk in another office, where the bosses then put the full-time (tattle-tale) German guy. Gone. That left the one loud, snorting, moaning graduate student. Yesterday, the powers-that-be shuffled him off to an upstairs graduate office to make room for more copy editors for all the projects coming in right now.

THANKS, UNIVERSE, for, in a weird cat-magic sort of way, making my next 7 or 8 weeks much more personally pleasant. (I mean, sorry in general and conceptually for things like a dead sister and a dead bird and all, but... still weirdly grateful for the added pleasantness in my own tiny little work-world for the next few weeks. As bereft as I've been for the past few YEARS, I'm certainly not gonna mock any cat-spirit leaving a little bird-heart on my doorstep in lieu of anything "better." Thank you for what you were able to offer.)

(p.s. The hand in the photo isn't mine, just the one photo I could find on the Internet with a bird-heart that looked pretty much like the one my cat Gracie left me back when I met her in 1999.)

Saturday, July 07, 2012

I wanna go home

Listening to "Pet Sounds" after up all night.

You didn't think--oh!--that I could sit around and let him work
You didn't think--oh!--that I could sit around and watch him take you
You didn't think that I could sit around and watch him go
You didn't think that I could sit around and let you go
You didn't think...

Thursday, July 05, 2012

The Courage of Shutting Up

The courage of the shut mouth, in spite of artillery!
The line pink and quiet, a worm, basking.
There are black disks behind it, the disks of outrage,
And the outrage of a sky, the lined brain of it.
The disks revolve, they ask to be heard—

Loaded, as they are, with accounts of bastardies.
Bastardies, usages, desertions and doubleness,
The needle journeying in its groove,
Silver beast between two dark canyons,
A great surgeon, now a tattooist,

Tattooing over and over the same blue grievances,
The snakes, the babies, the tits
On mermaids and two-legged dreamgirls.
The surgeon is quiet, he does not speak.
He has seen too much death, his hands are full of it.

So the disks of the brain revolve, like the muzzles of cannon.
Then there is that antique billhook, the tongue,
Indefatigable, purple. Must it be cut out?
It has nine tails, it is dangerous.
And the noise it flays from the air, once it gets going!

No, the tongue, too, has been put by,
Hung up in the library with the engravings of Rangoon
And the fox heads, the otter heads, the heads of dead rabbits.
It is a marvelous object—
The things it has pierced in its time.

But how about the eyes, the eyes, the eyes?
Mirrors can kill and talk, they are terrible rooms
In which a torture goes on one can only watch.
The face that lived in this mirror is the face of a dead man.
Do not worry about the eyes—

They may be white and shy, they are no stool pigeons,
Their death rays folded like flags
Of a country no longer heard of,
An obstinate independency
Insolvent among the mountains.

---Sylvia Plath (October 2, 1962)

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

6 years of 4th o' Julys

Last year on the 4th o' July, this blog was in the middle of a 2-1/2 month shutdown after 5 years of posting. (I wouldn't bring it back until mid-August.) Sheer depression and hopelessness. No work at all. Little contact with family. No contact with Sandra. I can't remember WHAT I did on the 4th last year. Probably spent curled up in a ball watching TV.

This year: Eh. Not horribly grim like last year. And not at all exciting. Just OK, which is FINE with me, given the alternatives I've experienced! This year, just hung out by myself at my mom's community pool. Ate a light dinner with the mom and chatted. Came home. Here I am. My neighbors currently setting off fireworks just outside my window. But, at only 10:05 p.m., I'm still feeling mellow. (We'll see how I get with more beers after 1 a.m. or so if they're still at it.)

This year's normalcy after last year's horror made me go back to check this blog throughout the past years to see what I'd been doing around the 4th.

2007 was the first year that I was posting in July. (This blog started in August of '06, when I still lived in Austin.) In early July of '07, I'd been in New York City for 5 months. I was only doing temp work and hated living with my first roommate (hadn't yet gotten my full-time gig that lasted for a solid 8 months from late August '07 thru April '08 and enabled me to get my own place). But there weren't that many money woes. And I was still very excited about being in NYC, despite roommate troubles. From July 1 thru July 3 of '07, I wrote excitedly about my boat cruise around the whole island of Manhattan, my ferry cruise to see Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty, and my sightseeing around downtown--the World Trade Center site and Wall Street, etc. (Anybody interested can, as with all the posts, still read and see pictures in the Archives.) This was a GREAT early July! (In Girl News: I was still blogging about Lindsay Lohan!) :)

Early July 2008: My good-paying full-time 8-month gig had ended in April and I was only working sporadic temp jobs. Was worried and depressed about money, though I still had a small cache of a few thousand dollars (quickly dwindling). (In Girl News: Still moaning about Julie L and an even older love from Austin, MN. Still blogging about Lindsay!)

Early July 2009: I'd had one 6-month full-time gig from Nov. 2008 thru April 2009 that only barely paid bills, left nothing extra. I'd been constantly worried about money, though had JUST started getting Unemployment, which would go on for 3 months, so the pressure was slightly off. Cat-friend Gracie had died in April. Much sadness and lethargy. The good thing about this 4th o' July, though, was the fireworks over the Hudson this year! (Until 2009, NYC had had their fireworks on the opposite side of the island of Manhattan, over the East River.) The New Jersey town I lived in, Weehawken, was right across the Hudson from Midtown Manhattan, so I only had to walk 2 minutes for a great view of the spectacle that people had been lining up since that morning to see! So I felt a sense of hopefulness at the special treat! (In Girl News: Julie L completely forgotten; now moaning about Sandra, whom I'd been in touch with since October '08. And STILL blogging about Lindsay Lohan!) :)

Early July 2010: In March of '10, had to return to Austin from NYC/Weehawken since unable to find full-time employment. Lived with Mom in San Antonio, then Austin (when she got her new house) from March thru June, finally getting my own (one-room) apartment in late June. Depressed about isolation from family, little money (only sporadic freelance work). Missing NYC/Weehawken. Huge readjustment period, feeling low about where I was and about life in general. (In Girl News: Met with Sandra around July 4. Disaster!)

Then the drop off the cliff in 2011. And now the modest little plateau that I'm on in 2012, after working steadily since February '12! (In Girl News: No Lindsay Lohan in '10, '11, or '12! Though... I did just have a dream about her 2 nights ago. I don't still think she's so hot, but it was oddly reassuring to see her again...)

Joan/Anne raw

They'd definitely've been burned in Salem.

In modern times, they do it to themselves with their difference and intensity: either die or go mad playing the game 'til the end. (And then later get admired, from a safe distance, by people like me.)

Sunday, July 01, 2012

A Rare "not-on" Joan Face in Public


This whole health-care issue has been hanging over both the country's and my head for two years. "My head" because I was constantly depressed listening to the right-wing's arguments against. From the right wing, there was a little of, "It will cost a lot." But there was a whole lot more of, "OBAMACARE IS TURNING US INTO A EUROPEAN SOCIALIST COUNTRY!!!!!!!!!!" (Caps and exclamation points intentionally representational.) Guess what: European countries like Germany and England and Sweden and Norway have national health-care. And they're socialist. And they're all well-run---much better run than the US. (And have much better credit ratings than the sloppy US.) So what is all of the "OMG" about being "European" or "Socialist" for? What is the PROBLEM with being a civilized country that provides health-care for its citizens?

At one point, I actually got into an argument with someone on Facebook over "Obamacare." The person had equated Obama and, specifically, his health-care plan, with HITLER.(!!) I don't know why it took ME to point out: "You're completely right! Obama and Hitler are EXACTLY the same! One sent people to the gas chambers. And the other tried to give people health care! They're EXACTLY the same." Sadly, I doubt that the person I was responding to actually understood even my extremely broad sarcasm there.

Thursday I went to work, not yet knowing the Supreme Court verdict. I arrived at 9:13, and immediately logged in to Yahoo to find out what had happened. At 9:15, the news came in that the Affordable Care Act was, indeed, Constitutional. I got goosebumps when I read it. I'd been listening to the Republicans' blah-blah-blah for so long that I could hardly remember why I had initially hoped Obama's initiative would pass: As he has often said, "Because it's the right thing to do."

I don't often accept politicians' statements, but in this case: With the overwhelming number of Americans without healthcare (25% in my home state of Texas alone, including myself through no fault of my own other than being unemployed aside from temp work), and with the numerous cases of people WITH insurance being bankrupted when they came down with a catastrophic illness that their insurance companies wouldn't pay for, and with the numerous cases of people not being allowed health-care coverage because of a pre-existing condition...

Thank you, Justice John Roberts, for doing the right thing. Thank you, President Obama, for initially pushing for this and getting it passed in Congress.

(p.s. To Mitt Romney: The health-care plan promoted by you in Massachusetts when you were governor was indeed the forerunner of this national plan. It was a good idea. Why'd you dismiss it this spring when trying to get right-wingers' votes in the Republican primaries? Come to think of it, why'd you dismiss your gay spokesman Richard Grenell just because he was gay and religious nuts like Bryan Fischer--who's often also spoken against Mormons--spoke against him? You need to have a "Sister Soulja" moment of your own if you want to win the votes of rational people in America.)