Tuesday, July 16, 2019



Yesterday, lesbian US women's soccer team goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris tweeted re former US teammate Jaelene Hinkle, who had declined to wear a "Gay Pride" soccer jersey 2 years ago and subsequently claimed that the US women's soccer team wasn't a "welcoming place for Christians":

“Hinkle, our team is about inclusion. Your religion was never the problem. The problem is your intolerance and you are homophobic. You don’t belong in a sport that aims to unite and bring people together. You would never fit into our pack or what this team stands for.”

Hinkle declined a call-up to the USWNT two years ago because she didn’t want to wear a Pride-themed jersey in support of LGBTQ rights.

(1) Why in the world were the US team's players asked to wear a "Gay Pride" jersey to begin with? I'm gay. I don't want to be discriminated against. I want to be allowed to marry who I want to marry, I want visitation rights at my partner's hospital bed, etc. Equal Protection under the 14th Amendment and all that good stuff. But being gay doesn't mean that the rest of the world should be forced to cheerlead/wear T-shirts for me. Give me my civil rights and leave me alone.

(2) RE being "homophobic":  "Phobia" means "fear of." I don't think that most people, including Jaelene Hinkle, "fear" gays. I think there's the old "I hate gays because what they do in bed is unnatural and against the Bible," and then: "I don't care what they do, but I don't have to be forced to support it." I think the latter is a fair stance. Again, as a gay person, I don't give a damn what people think of me --- I just want equal rights and to be left alone.

(3) RE soccer being "a sport that aims to unite and bring people together": Well, yes and no. First and foremost: Sports teams are about merit and COMPETITION. If people come together via a sports team, it's in rooting for your city/nation to defeat the competitor. It's not, obviously, about making everyone feel good or about espousing political stances.

(4) Back to the "Gay Pride" jersey issue: What's next --- Black Lives Matter, Mothers Against Drunk Drivers, I Love Jesus jerseys? None of it has anything to do with soccer. All of it should be excluded from soccer (and other sports) jerseys.

Four Cats/TV Moon

We're all sitting here peacefully listening to Tammy Wynette.

Monday, July 15, 2019

"Left alone, he may do something stupid."

Currently reading "The Fall of the Romanovs," which contains many original documents from those involved with the family post the March 15, 1917, abdication.

In late April 1918, the family was about to be moved from Tobolsk to their final destination, Yekaterinburg. Hemophiliac son Alexei was ill and in pain, as usual, and decisions had to be made re which family members would go first, then who would follow.  Originally, Nicholas was scheduled to travel with the four daughters, with Alexandra and son Alexei to follow. Ultimately, though, Alexandra chose to travel first with her husband and daughter Maria, leaving the invalid Alexei to be cared for by the other three daughters.

Commissar Yakovlev, in charge of the family in Tobolsk, was interviewed in May 1918 re the travel decisions. Surprised that Alexandra had elected to part from her son, he noted that it had been reported to him that Alexandra had said to a confidante, re her husband: "I am afraid that left alone he may do something stupid."

(While Alexandra's advice was usually emotionally rather than intellectually based, and thus often worthless, she nonetheless occasionally provided a backbone to her husband---and remained appalled that he had abdicated while apart from her, when alone at the front in March of 1917.)

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Boogie Nights: Burt Reynolds

Boogie Nights: Jessie's Girl

One of the best scenes in cinematic history.

Boogie Nights Pool Scene

Boogie Nights: Feel My Heat

One of the best movies ever.

Dummy Rapinoe

Two weeks ago, the director of my company invited via e-mail all employees to the video room to watch the US women's soccer team play France. I replied: "As long as Rapinoe kneels for the national anthem and curses our President, I'll root for France."

My boss called me into her office and told me to NEVER send another message like that. I initially felt guilty, but then, at second thought: What was I guilty of?

As it later turned out, another employee filed an official complaint against me with the university for my e-mail, saying "In my 20 years at UT, I've never read something so outrageous." Really?

(As a lesbian, I think I'm able to be more honest than others, who might be frightened of being called "homophobic" or something. Let me say it here: Rapinoe is an uninformed idiot.)

Thursday, July 11, 2019

$800 for "two cats"

After 3 months of living under the radar with my kittens, I finally decided to make the cats official with my apartment complex. Well, semi-official. The place only allows TWO pets, not FOUR. And it's (insanely) $400 per pet. I had to claim two cats, so for the $800 I picked mama Hennessy (tiger tabby) and Georgie (gray tabby) --- only because tiger-tabby Lili looks just like Mama (apartment personnel couldn't tell them apart), and mystery-black-cat Solomon is going to be the first to disappear under a bed if my apartment is ever inspected when I'm not there.

Here's the Unholy Trinity (sans Mama) sleeping on the floor right next to the Mighty Castle that I recently bought them! :)

Saturday, July 06, 2019

George Jones & Tammy Wynette interview (1973)

Tammy Wynette: Almost Persuaded (1967)

George Jones (with Merle Haggard): Silver Eagle (1982)

[Verse 1]
Well, he rides into town on the back of a big silver eagle
Strapped to his shoulders are the burden of staying on top
And the lines in his face tell the story of an uphill flight
You can tell how he feels day by day by the songs that he writes

[Verse 2]
He's loved by millions, somehow he's their prisoner as well
As he rides down the road in his ten wheel aluminum cell
Now he lives for the day that the eagle will carry him home
'Cause the glamour is over, nearly all of his seeds have been sown

Let him go silver eagle, there must be a better way of life
For this great American poet who's singing his songs about
The everyday working man's life

[Verse 3]
One night on the road, just south of the Idaho line
We were smoking some contracts and attempting to alter our minds
Then just before daylight, Hag pushed back his hat and he said
"Are we putting too much emphasis on being a star?
Can we do a little bit of living instead?"

Four cats!

I can't believe that a few weeks ago I was ready to dump two of the kittens off to a shelter, just so I'd "only have two cats." (Having four cats being weird.) Granted, Solomon's failure to poop and pee where appropriate was maddening. But... he/she (so black, I can't tell) has since learned to go in the box! My apartment doesn't smell any more.

I live in a 1200-sq-ft apartment. There's room for four cats. At 12 weeks, they all get along. And I can afford to feed them. And I like them all.

Sweet-looking little "Lily" turned out to be a boy, and the most rambunctious/obnoxious of the bunch. Solid/stolid "George" turned out to be a calm, affectionate little girl (now "Georgie"). Black cat Solomon---who knows what sex, but still the explorer with his watchful eyes who does his own thing...

Along with mama Hennessy, gorgeous little cats. My cats.

Now: Appreciate the goddamn Castle, cats! :)

4th o' July

The anniversary of the last time that I had sex... (won't say how many years ago!)

My 4th o' July was spent lying on the couch watching TV and reading "The Last Days of the Romanovs," then tensing up as darkness fell, waiting for the onslaught of firecrackers. (Firecrackers from dark until midnight are fair, I think. Even until 1am. But after that, they're just punkish and abusive to neighbors.) When I first moved into this apartment complex in April 2017, a group of assholes that I had numerous other complaints about set off firecrackers in the midst of the complex--my nightmare. They've since been kicked out because many other people besides myself complained about them.

This year, fireworks did go off sporadically until about 3am, but at least they weren't RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE OF my apartment complex. So, I guess a good year for the lonely and the pets.

Friday, the day after the 4th: Swim, pedicure, and Cat Castle!

When trying to swim/get a tan in my apartment complex, the best time before the loud hordes show up is usually pre-1pm. I've usually been lucky with 11:30am through 1:30pm. Today, though, luck ran out early at 12:30. I'd been out there for an hour or so with another solo lady, both of us quietly sunning and swimming. At 12:30, a couple of pale super-fat girls in bikinis showed up with modern country blaring from their phone. (I can't decide which is the most obnoxious: Top 40, hip-hop, or Modern Country.)

I'd wished for another hour of peace, but oh well.

Went home, showered, and then went to get my first pedi in 2 years. Had to drive around to four different places (wondering "Why in the hell do I have to drive around looking for a nail place??"). One closed, two super-crowded, the last "normal"---albeit with the first MALE "nail technician" I've ever had! He was perfectly fine...

Slept for hours in the afternoon after all of this... Woken up numerous times by bangs on either the front door or on the wall that I share with Maintenance. Front door banging was delivery of my $130 "cat castle" that I ordered last week in order to keep my four cats from going insane with boredom living in my apartment. Took me 3 hours to put together! Was very proud of myself. And... no one has yet played on it! Come on, cats! (If I were a cat, I would think this was very cool and exciting!)

Yes, I'm aware that I'm now officially a "Cat Lady." (Hey, with extra money to spend, try and please those stuck with you!)

Tuesday, July 02, 2019

George Jones: I'd Rather Have What We Had (1983)

I just heard this song for the first time a couple of weeks ago. Bobby Braddock wrote it.
What great, subtle lyrics (both psychologically about relationships in general, and in particular details like "we used to drink Blue Nun there in room 321"). Plus great vocals from George.

Interestingly/sadly (for George), Tammy Wynette's co-writer for her 1979 autobiography, Joan Dew, was later interviewed and said that one of the reasons she thought Tammy left George was that offstage, he was "boring" --- he just liked to sit around watching TV.  So, though George didn't write this, when I hear it, I think of the bored Tammy breaking his heart after their initial exciting secret affair.

We used to drink Blue Nun there in room 321
Over the river where we weren't well known
Now it's two coffees then off to the office
Then back in the driveway sittin' at home

Sneaking around with me / being tied down with me
Which one would you rather have (be honest)
Dying to be with me / watching TV with me
Is this what we wanted so bad?
Well, I'd rather have what we had

We carefully planned it, what our hearts demanded
No more motel rooms, no more cheatin' lies
Now we're looking at it, a neatly wrapped package
But open it up and there's no surprise

George Jones: Good Ones and Bad Ones

Some come from Heaven and some crawl from Hell
And the good fight the bad for your soul
But it's hard to tell a lie from the truth
When you find one that's easy to hold

There's no way of knowing which one you've been lovin'
Till you leave her or lose her for good
By then it's too late, you just mark it off to fate
Either way, you end up a fool

It's a fine line between Heaven and Hell
When the good makes you feel like you should
It's a fine line between Heaven and Hell
When the bad makes you feel just as good

A good one will love you for all that she's worth
A bad one will take you for more
A good one will cherish the key to your heart
And a bad one, the key to your door

A good one will love you for richer or poorer
The bad makes the bad even worse
A good one will love you till death do you part
And a bad one makes sure you go first

Wednesday, June 26, 2019


I'm so barren, I miss when I used to be able to WRITE ABOUT being barren! :)  I have been trudging along for years now. The highlight of my day being when I accomplish something mundane like getting my car inspected.

Today I took my car in to be inspected and have an oil change. Sans car, took the bus to/from work for the first time in almost a year. Bus home: Innocently loud and annoying (self-consciously singing, wrestling) high-school group of @40 took over the bus on my way back to the garage. Reminded myself that I was glad to have a car and not have to deal with this most days. I felt old and self-conscious around them: trying hard not to look at them while they were self-consciously exhibiting themselves...

What started out as something different for me (back to my bus-riding roots!) turned out to be a depressing example of exactly what I'd hated about bus-riding to begin with. So the day wasn't so different, after all. Just another "blah" kind of day.

Searching for SOMETHING, I went back to my poetry journal. Did I ever have any energy in me? I did, once! At least when writing about my barrenness! (I'd forgotten that I can, sometimes, be fucking, momentarily great.)


What the sky spelled out that day
was no accident; she'd paid
for the words the plane so casually spat in clouds
like the small hearts of birds a cat not yet mine
once left on my ledge.

(I hadn't her heart; I never had.)

The tired pilots wanted only lunch.
The rest of us aground, gaping
at the condensation of what we'd only wished.

The entrails lasted while they did and then

I drove on, swerving back to look
and trace words of love and hurt dispersed faster
than any engine could spurt them.

Sunday, June 23, 2019

My (non-hep) cats don't like George Jones

If I want my cats to hang out with me in the living room, I can't play George Jones after hours. Every single time I've put him on, they all run out of the room!

Tammy, on the other hand, they're cool with. (Overall, she's a lot gentler-sounding, though I thought her high notes would disturb cats...Nope. They sit and listen and/or sleep to her for hours.)

Cats and Joe Jackson

Tammy Wall, Revised

Took the "Tammy Greatest Hits 2" cover to work; at home, added the "Womanhood" cover that I'd been waiting for. (Some people at work--the secretaries, not the scientists--still aren't sure why I have a big ol' George Jones poster or Donald Trump stand-up or framed Romanovs picture there. Just thought I'd add Tammy to the mix to cause even more mild consternation.)

Saturday, June 22, 2019

Solid As A Rock (1995)

From Tammy Wynette's last album, 1995, "One."
Duets with her former husband George Jones for the first time in 15 years.

This old road of love ain't for Sunday drivers
There's very few survivors in a world of hit and run
But we cared enough to hold on to each other
We pulled the load together and look how far we've come

Our love is solid as a rock, like the moon and stars
We built our love to last like Henry Ford built cars
Not one that falls apart after once around the block
Our love is solid as a rock

Through the years we've learned good things don't come easy
Life's a little crazy, and nothing's ever free
All the tears have turned, ain't been no bed of roses
But we're about as close as two hearts could ever be

Solitary Cat Myth

My four cats (Mama and three kittens) like spending time together. I think the "solitary cat" myth was invented by people who got rid of some kittens and then wanted to make themselves feel better.

George and Tammy!

(I'm waiting for the cover of "Womanhood" to arrive...)

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Everybody LOOKS so sweet!

First two: You 11-week-old guys look as awkward as a 3-year-old human still suckling on Mama's breast! Mama Henny has been very patient with you!

The rest:  Don't act like you're all casual and mellow around the blinds and/or the couch! You're not! :)


Lily and Solomon

Lily and George

Lily and Mama Henny

Sunday, June 16, 2019

George Jones - Hopelessly Yours (1986)

I love you. I hate you.
Forget you. But I'm afraid to.
You loved me, or did you?
I'll never be sure.
But one thing's for certain
in spite of this hurtin'
forever I'm hopelessly yours.

From laughing to crying, from living to dying
From Heaven to heartaches I know I can't cure.
But one thing's for certain
 in spite of this hurtin'
forever I'm hopelessly yours.

I cry on the slightest of motions
'cause I'm just going through these emotions.

I love you. I hate you. Forget you.
Hon, but I'm afraid to.
You loved me, or did you?
I'll never be sure.
But one thing's for certain
 in spite of this hurtin'
forever I'm hopelessly yours.
I'll always be hopelessly yours.

Cats Messing Stuff Up

My sliding-glass door has vertical slats, which two of the now-10-week-old kittens have found to be a fun playground. Their original intention was to get between the slats and the glass to look outside, which is fine when they sit there peacefully. But the initial peace soon leads to maniacal running in and out and wrestling, which yesterday led to their pulling 3 of the slats down after tearing the holes that keep the slats attached to the holders.

I live on the ground floor and don't have a privacy fence. And there are two stories of other apartments facing me on that side. During the day, no problem, but at night when I have lights on, people can see right in through the couple of 6-inch gaps. I tried taking a couple of slats from the far right end of the row and moving them to the gaps, plus scooting some of the holders closer together to make up for the spaces... Didn't work. What to do: I couldn't ask the apartment management to fix anything because I'm not supposed to have any pets! But I don't want the weirdos roaming around outside and/or taking smoke breaks peering in at me!

I was busy cursing both my life and my kittens when I had an amazing thought: Check a hardware store! I've never personally been a home-owner, so it had never occurred to me that there are actually places where you can go to buy random things like messed-up blind slats. And then later in the day I had an even better idea: check Amazon! As it turns out, I don't even need to buy whole slats, but just plastic stick-ons for the torn holes! I went ahead and got the hole repairs plus a set of 5 slats just for future mishaps. About $20 for all, which I thought was quite reasonable.

I'm still not quite resigned to my fate of having FOUR CATS in an apartment! But... I AM getting more used to the possibility.

I've put up "Free Kittens" flyers with photos up at work (mail room and kitchen areas) for 2 weeks, with only one response that came to nothing. And I thought that the neighbor whose yard the kittens were born in was going to come over and see the kittens and perhaps take one. (He said weeks ago that he wanted to see them and might take one, and that his neighbor on the other side might also want one. I hardly see him in person, but I left a kitten-photo flyer on his door a couple of weeks ago saying to come on over whenever, with my e-mail and phone number... Haven't heard anything from him.)

If I can't get co-workers or neighbors to take a kitten or two, seemingly my only choices left are (1) a Craigslist ad, or (2) taking two to a shelter. (1) Unlike 20 years ago, when I did get rid of kittens via a classified ad, today I'm much too wary of evil people to ever do this. (2) I don't want any of these kitten in an institutional cage for god knows how long. And so...

I AM getting more used to the idea of living with all four. I've got 1200 sq ft. About 85% of the time, they're fine and unobtrusive --- they eat, sleep, play and scuffle amongst themselves harmlessly. The horribly annoying 15% of things at present, though:
(1) Mama Henny is constantly in heat, and she is constantly talking and yowling VERY LOUDLY. Not trying to get out, as I at first thought she'd want to do since she was a stray: she doesn't come anywhere near the front door when I leave or enter, and when I go out the back to feed Papa Penny in the evening, she also stays clear. She's just miserably in heat. Which will stop once I get her fixed. (Another thing to NOT look forward to: trying to force a once-stray cat into a carrier!)
(2) Black kitten Solomon is STILL pooping and peeing all over the place! Not as often, thank god. But still. Every other morning, there's a pile or puddle of something to greet me. I can't sleep in my bed at all, because he peed there four or five times (until I discovered the anti-pee sprays available --- supposedly something in that chemistry drives a cat away from the area, and he hasn't peed there since). I'm not going to change the sheets and comforter until I know what my cat family is going to look like. If Solomon is one of the fam, then I'm not going to get the comforter dry-cleaned 'til he's maybe 6 months old and finally (hopefully) potty-trained.
(3) The kittens sleep a lot, but unfortunately one of their very active "wake-up-and-play" cycles starts around 5:30 in the morning. Since my peed-on bed (and thus a closed bedroom door) is off limits to me, I sleep on the couch --- right in the middle of their activity. Sometimes their play is quiet, but more often, it involves tumping over water dishes or scratching on the couch (or me!) or messing up blinds or... something. I now get about 4-5 hours of sleep a night.

At any rate, my home hasn't been my home for months. I'm a bit frazzled. I want to be situated again. And I won't be until (1) I know exactly how many cats I'm going to have, and (2) all have been fixed and have their shots, etc. (another couple of months of stress).

Oh, yeah, the good things! I've always liked (the not-in-heat) Henny, since last summer. (Would have preferred that she had turned out to be a boy, though!) And she and the kittens are affectionate and playful with each other. She licks and plays with all of them, as they do with each other. They all usually eat and sleep together (though some are now starting to be more independent; each kitten has at some point fallen asleep on top of me while I was lying on the couch). Mama Henny and Solomon are partial to balls with bells in them --- those two are the most athletic and adept at chasing the balls, batting them like soccer players; George and Lily watch with interest, and Lily tries to join in, but gets scared. Lily's favorite thing to play with is newspaper and laundry lying on the floor---she'll pick up a hank of whatever and start to run with it!

Jesus. I feel like I have kids or something. I think maybe 4 new cats are the emotional-frazzle equivalent of 1 new kid. I kind of miss being utterly alone.

p.s. The cats are also messing up my appreciation for George Jones. When listening alone in the dead of night, his caterwauling is somehow soothing. GJ combined with Henny's vocalizations are not soothing at all.

Found online photo. My apartment slats don't have the fancy chains at the bottom that prevent kitties from running in and out.

Friday, June 14, 2019

"Integrity can be a lonely business."

At a morning meeting Thursday, I was openly impatient with my boss. She's a nice person, and all she said to me was, "Let me finish." But then I "had to" respond with, "I'm sorry I'm irritating you, but I'm just trying to ask a question." The six others in the small room sat in uncomfortable silence. After the meeting adjourned, one of my office friends stopped by. He started gingerly, but then got to the point: "What were you thinking in there?" He basically told me that I had been disrespectful, and I told him that I knew it and felt guilty about it, but that things had built up and I just couldn't help myself.

It's complicated. I work at a state job, where there are some "lifers," and I get frustrated with the low level of gumption and the low, mediocre standards. Although I am 53, I'm still not at the end of the line, work-wise. I'm not just hanging around this particular joint 'til I reach retirement age. I'm still trying to be better and to make work processes better. The latter not popular among the lifers. (My boss isn't a lifer; she's only been there 10 years. But she doesn't like to make waves. She doesn't call out any lifer for their mediocrity or sloppy work. Which I constantly have to correct.)

At any rate, I've been feeling frustrated at work. The frustration burst out today. I felt bad for being rude. But then I read my daily Yahoo Lifestyle horoscope, which shows up on my main Yahoo page when I check my mail:

You can't help but be somewhat of a rabble-rouser at work today, despite your own desire to be otherwise. On some level, your behavior is not entirely your fault. Others are locked into their comfort zones, but you're only comfortable when things are working optimally, and quality is assured. However, productivity might be on the decline and you're wondering what's going on with the team. Although you're prepared to do whatever it takes to achieve excellence, you're not appreciative of the resistance that some give you for your vigilance. Integrity can be a lonely business. 

Yes, usually such horoscopes are about 90 percent generic. But today it happened to make precise sense to me. I never get positive reinforcement from any actual people in my life, but this bit of text from a stranger was psychologically astute: (1) Being confrontational then guilt afterwards. (2) History behind my overt irritation. (3) Irritation because others are not doing their jobs right and because they (of course) resist when being called on their slacking. (4) "Integrity can be a lonely business," indeed. People don't like being called on their shit. (I admit my own "shit" constantly, both personally and at work, so, no, I'm not being a hypocrite.)  The latter gave me particular strength, so I'll say it again: Integrity can be a lonely business. 

No one has ever said that to me before. I live in Austin, which is San Francisco Lite, so most always say to me, "Relax," or "You need to chill," or "Don't take things so seriously," or "Why are you so worried about it?" No one has ever said to me: "I admire your integrity."

Monday, June 10, 2019

My Pee-Stained Life

Thanks to Solomon--"The 10-Week-Old Kitten Who STILL Can't Figure Out the Litter Box"--this is my future. My bed is covered with Solomon pee. Also thankfully, though, US capitalism might be able to help me out.

Saturday, June 08, 2019

Tall Tall Trees (written by Roger Miller/George Jones)

Performed by George Jones, 1958.

Roger Miller - King Of The Road

Every time I hear this song, I think of Sandra's obsession with an old slacker whose theme song this was. Same with showering: Every time I manage to reach my back (which is, um, EVERY time I shower, because I'm not shower-challenged), I can't help but think of Sandra's inability to do so. So... here's to the futile! :)

Trailer for sale or rent, rooms to let fifty cents
No phone, no pool, no pets, I ain't got no cigarettes
Ah but, two hours of pushin' broom buys a
Eight by twelve four-bit room
I'm a man of means by no means, king of the road

Third boxcar midnight train, destination Bangor, Maine
Old worn out suit and shoes, I don't pay no union dues
I smoke old stogies I have found, short but not too big around
I'm a man of means by no means, king of the road

I know every engineer on every train
All the children and all of their names
And every handout in every town
And every lock that ain't locked when no-one's around
I sing...

Trailers for sale or rent, rooms to let fifty cents
No phone, no pool, no pets, I ain't got no cigarettes
Ah but, two hours of pushin' broom buys a
Eight by twelve four-bit room
I'm a man of means by no means, king of the road

Trailers for sale or rent, rooms to let fifty cents
No phone, no pool, no pets, I ain't got no cigarettes
Ah but, two hours of pushin' broom buys a
Eight by twelve four-bit room...

Tuesday, June 04, 2019

I want to go live here for 6 months.

Found on Craigslist today: Longview, Texas. $600 a month. Pines and shadows. And the carpet of pine needles.

George Jones "You Done Me Wrong" (1991)

Remake of a 1956 Ray Price song co-written by Price and Jones.

Well, you tell me that you care
But now you're gone, you got me cryin'
No use denyin' you done me wrong
If I could look inside your heart
Maybe I could find the reason
Why you are leavin' me all alone.

Well, you know it's not so when you say
It's right, you know you lie
I didn't do one wrong thing to you
Won't you tell me baby why
You went and left me here so lonely
I miss you only, for I love you.

Did I ever make you sad so you'd be mad
And love to hurt me
And desert me for so long
Well, you're telling everyone what you done
You think it's funny
Well, listen honey, you done me wrong.

Well you know it's not so when you say
It's right, you know you lie
I didn't do one wrong thing to you
Won't you tell me baby why
You went and left me here so lonely
I miss you only, for I love you.

Saturday, June 01, 2019

Sometimes You Just Can't Win

Just when the sunshine's the brightest
And the world looks alright again
Then the clouds fill the skies
You can't believe your eyes
Sometimes you just can't win

My love never meant much to you, dear
For to you I was always a friend
Oh, why did I call
You have no heart at all
Sometimes you just can't win

I can't live like this any longer
Not knowing just where I stand
I know I shouldn't care
But sweetheart, it don't seem fair
Sometimes you just cant win

And then when the sunshine's the brightest
And the world looks alright again
The clouds fill the skies
You can't believe your eyes
Sometimes you just can't win...

George Jones: A Good Year For The Roses

One of my favorite songs ever. Great lyrics, perfect production, perfect George voice and phrasing.

I can hardly bear the sight of lipstick
On the cigarettes there in the ashtray
Lyin' cold the way you left them
At least your lips caressed them
While you packed

And a lip print on a half filled cup of coffee
That you poured and didn't drink
But at least you thought you wanted it
That's so much more than I can say for me

But what a good year for the roses
Many blooms still linger there
The lawn could stand another mowin'
It's funny, I don't even care
And when you turned and walked away
And as the door behind you closes
The only thing I know to say
It's been a good year for the roses

After three full years of marriage
It's the first time that you
Haven't made the bed
I guess the reason we're not talkin'
There's so little left to say
We haven't said
While a million thoughts
Go runnin' through my mind
I find I haven't spoke a word
And from the bedroom the familiar sound of our one baby's cryin'
Goes unheard

But what a good year for the roses
Many blooms still linger there
The lawn could stand another mowin'
Funny, I don't even care
And when you turned and walked away
And as the door behind you closes
The only thing I know to say
It's been a good year for the roses

Delving into George (and Tammy)

I've been on a huge George (and Tammy) kick for the past few months.

Not an absolutely new kick, because I first started listening to both around 1994, when I was in grad school in San Francisco and missing home and first "discovered" Country. Back then, though, my budget was very limited: I treated myself to one Tammy Greatest Hits CD and one George boxed set ("The Spirit of Country").

Nowadays, though, with my newfound "disposable income," I've been indulging. The biggest expenditure ("splurge" sounds more fun) has been on the Bear Family George Jones boxed sets: Every single recording from the beginning through 1971. In addition to that: Various Tammy CDs and George Live CDs and duet CDs and some LPs, plus every used bio I could find.

Collecting something that you care about feels satisfying, both spiritually and (much less spiritually) when you happen to find a good deal. But the trouble with delving into George and Tammy: The incongruity between their beautiful voices and obvious love for each other with the utter neurotic and destructive messes they were internally, and the outer results...Living for months with how beautiful they sounded together and their trying and failing to love each other because of their obvious shortcomings has been awful and depressing -- kind of gives you no hope.

Oh, but that doesn't stop me. I want to learn MORE! :)  Next up: I just spent $30 apiece on 3 CDs from Australia's Raven records: George '70s, '80s, and '90s.

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

A Sad Search

For a couple of years, I used to eat the below Healthy Choice frozen dinner once a week as a work lunch: fish patty, rice, broccoli, plus an apple cobbler. It wasn't dramatically great, but I always felt satisfied after eating it, unlike most other frozen dins that I've tried.

Then, my local HEB supermarket stopped carrying it, in favor of a new line of Healthy Choice "bowls." (I tried a couple of these --- not very good.)

After accepting my fate, I finally decided to search around online to find out what happened to one of my favorite lunch meals. (Yes, searching for "Healthy Choice Lemon Pepper Fish" is a sad search.) But I finally found that in Austin, only WalMart now carries the old Lemon Pepper Fish meal, now labeled part of the Healthy Choice "Classics." 

So today I went out of my way to a WalMart JUST for this frozen meal! Not being a Survivalist, I just bought three of them instead of 50, which still felt a bit weird and excessive. But still: I really did miss that particular meal and was glad to find it somewhere in town!

Poops and Pees and Help with Laundry

Today was a mixed day with the kittens:

The bad:
(1) I found a kitten poop pile near a pillow on my bed.
(2) I found two separate wet pee spots in the fuzzy kitten-tower. (And I thought all three kittens knew how to use the litter box.)
(3) While in the living room, I heard a mild crash in the bedroom... Someone (probably Solomon!) had jumped up on a nightstand and knocked an ashtray off, breaking it in half.

The good:
(1) Anyone who's had cats before knows: They like "helping" with the laundry. Whether it's with putting sheets on beds or sorting through piles of things... I've had strays, rescues, raised-from-scratch, etc. Whatever their background, they all like to participate in laundry folding. And today the nearly-8-week-old kittens all proved themselves true to their DNA!
(2) After weeks of shyly staying in the bedroom where they were born, in the past week or two, the kittens have been invading the living room: Pouncing all over pillows on the floor, invading the couch (and climbing up on me when I'm lying on the couch).

Georgie and Solomon helping me fold jeans.

Henny Family. Yes, you look pretty, Lily!


Solomon Grundy.

Solomon and Georgie.


Four-Cat Madhouse. Get yer butt off my pillow, George! Yes, you look pretty, Lily!

Monday, May 27, 2019

Physical Symptoms

I'm usually more in tune with my mind than with my body when it comes to making a decision about something. (Though, in truth, my mind has usually been overwhelmed by my emotions; the body has very rarely been paid attention to.) Here's something new to me, though:

Lately (for the past month or so), when I've gone into work, a muscle leading from my neck to my left shoulder immediately tightens up, to the point where I can't turn my head to the left. In addition, and I don't quite know how to explain this: Also in my office, I feel a weird/mildly unpleasant tingling in various nerve endings. Initially, I thought this was just a momentary oddity. But the feeling always goes away when I leave the office. And it comes back even when I'm in the office on a weekend, by myself and away from the typical workday people and stresses. WHAT IS THIS? Asbestos, or just Mental Asbestos, or??

I've perhaps been living too rationally for too long. Is it now time to start listening to my synapses?? (I'm kind of kidding; I'd rather not. But what if it's actually better for you if you do?!)

God keep me from becoming a Snowflake...

Kittens at 7 weeks

I keep wavering between "keep all three of them" (yeah, and become an official "Cat Lady"; along with Mama Henny, having four cats is officially nuts unless you live on a farm) and "god, how will I let two of them go."

The kittens themselves aren't bothersome at all. They're still cute, just now getting bold and rambunctious, venturing out into the living room and climbing up on me. Mama Henny, though, is an indication of what four GROWN cats will be like: Just 7 weeks after giving birth, Henny's been in heat again ALREADY for the past week. She yowls constantly for a half-hour at a time around 4 times a day. (I initially thought she just wanted to go out, but according to online "experts," her constant rubbing and rolling and sticking her butt up in the air mean... in heat. Sounds about right. I yelled at her to STOP IT both yesterday and today, which sent her scurrying away from me into the bedroom. I felt terrible for scaring her. I know she can't help it, but she's been fucking annoying.)

So, yeah, the kittens are cute now, and I love them and their personalities, but... pretty soon they're going to be going through their adolescence and going to need to be fixed, have their shots, etc. (If you haven't had cats before: getting adult cats into a cage to take them to the vet is traumatic for all involved every time.)

So, no, I don't want this angst multiplied by four. Gotta give away two of the babies very soon. (But they're all so cute... And much more importantly, and sadly, than being "cute": I know these babies a little bit. I know their various quirks. I know that they like to sleep with each other and with their mama, and that they like to play with each other and their mama. It's going to be sad separating two of them from their family.)

Solomon, Georgie, and Lily.

Solomon and Georgie.

Saturday, May 25, 2019

Tammy Wynette - Another Lonely Song (Hee Haw, Feb 8, 1975)

I like the SPINNING WHEEL shown non-ironically in the foreground at one point. Like the whole rustic framework, a bit incongruous with Tammy's hipster outfit and lifestyle.

A sidenote: George Jones and Tammy Wynette would officially divorce a month later.

Merle Haggard & Tammy Wynette: Wembley Stadium, UK (1988)

I've listened to this dozens of times -- always get goosebumps when Tammy's voice comes in.

Tammy Wynette - Sweet Music Man (1977)

Sing a song
Sweet music man
Cause I won't be there to hold your hand
Like I used to
I'm through with you

You're a beautiful singer
And a powerful man
But you surround yourself with people
Who demand so little of you

You touched my soul with your beautiful songs
You even had me singing along right with you
You said I need you
Then you changed the words
And added harmony
You sang the song
You had written for me to someone new

Nobody sings the love songs quite like you do
Nobody else can make me sing along
Nobody else can make me feel things are right
But I know they're wrong
Nobody sings a love song quite like you

Sing your songs
Sweet music man
You travel the world with a six piece band
That does for you what you ask 'em to

You try to stay young
But the songs are sung
To so many people
Who've all begun to come back on you

Sing your song
Sad music man
You're making your living doing one night stands
They're through with you
They don't need you

You're still a beautiful singer
But a broken man
But you'll keep on looking for one last fan to sing to

But nobody sings the love songs quite like you do
Nobody else can make me sing along
Nobody else can make me feel things are right
But I know they're wrong
Nobody sings a love song quite like you

Sing your song
Sweet music man

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Real Housewives of NYC

Tonight, while working at the computer, I had on Bravo's "Real Housewives of NYC" in the background. (Most of the "Housewives" shows are guilty pleasures for me.)

One of the themes of tonight's show, via conversations between Ramona Singer and Bethenny Frankel, was of growing up in abusive households. I wasn't paying super-close attention, but... I THINK I heard Ramona say that one of the nasty things she witnessed while growing up in an abusive home was her mother being dragged by her hair down a hallway... That caught my notice because at age 12, my father dragged ME by the hair down the hallway. (He didn't like the fact that I was in my bedroom both watching TV AND writing in my diary at the same time. He'd told me to stop writing, and I didn't.)

Glad that a rich woman talked about this on a so-called "junky" TV show. It is, indeed, traumatic to watch this happen to your mother. And imagine if you're only 12 and it happens to you personally. (I can kind of see two grownups going at each other for deeply personal reasons. But... what's your "personal reason" for attacking a 12-year-old for writing in her diary while watching TV, you POS.)

(Another, albeit much more minor, related memory: When I was forced to live with my mother for 3 months in 2010 after coming home from NYC, I was once lying on her couch during the day watching "Real Housewives." Mom to me: "What does [watching that] say about you as a person?")

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

George Jones: Leaving Love All Over The Place (1978)

I love George Jones. But this one: Ewwww... Way too much information. And: How, exactly, did you mess up the DRAPES?

George Jones: Small Time Laboring Man

In a 1969 "Rolling Stone" interview, Bob Dylan was asked what he thought was the best song released in the previous year; he replied, "George Jones had one called 'Small Town Laboring Man'."

"Small Time Laboring Man"

A dollar an hour, eight hours a day
Will soon make a young man wither away
I work for my family with my wrinkled hands
For I'm a small time laboring man.

Six long days each week I toil and I sweat
But on Sunday my family gives me comfort and rest
Then again Monday morning I'll make tracks in the sand
For I'm a small time laboring man.

I'm a small time laboring man
Fighting against trying as hard as I can
I fight for my country with my caloused hands
For I'm a small time laboring man.

Twelve long months each year my life stays the same
Making my honest dollar in the sun, snow and rain
No, you don't see my family on the starvation plan
For I'm a small time laboring man

Monday, May 20, 2019

No One Will Ever Know

In the 1984 George Jones bio by Dolly Carlisle, Tammy Wynette says that this was her favorite Hank Williams song:
I'd go to bed and I'd have a small Mickey Mouse record player that I'd set in a straight chair right beside my bed and I'd put on Hank Williams albums that have the yellow center and there was one song on there I'd play over and over, "No One Will Ever Know." That was always my favorite song. I'd lie on my stomach sleeping, and I'd take my finger and scratch the needle back to the beginning and I'd play it over and over 'til I went to sleep.

Friday, May 17, 2019

Conversation Overheard: Holden

Today in a common area outside my office, a lady that I barely know was talking to two of my co-workers (high school degrees, 60-ish, worked at this same place for over 25 years) about a friend of hers who had just had a baby, whom she named "Holden."

[Me (to myself upon overhearing): Holden Caulfield? That's kind of too precious and trendy. Like "Scout."]

One of the two co-workers: Oh... like William Holden?

Lady: No... I'm pretty sure it was after the character in "Catcher in the Rye."

Both co-workers: [silence for a few seconds, then one of them] Oh...Cool.

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Kittens eat solid food for first time + Solomon goes rogue

Mama Hennessy has had her own food and water dishes set out since I first brought her inside with the three babies in April. A couple of days ago, I went ahead and set out some separate low-rimmed dishes with kitten chow and water for the babies, just in case they were ready, after nearly 6 weeks, to start eating on their own.

Yesterday, the black kitten, Solomon, briefly stuck his face in his mama's food dish for the first time, plus then tumped over his mama's bigger water dish and made a mess.

This evening, both Solomon and Lily (the tiger-striped kitten) found the kitten-food dish and ate up for the first time. Mama Henny worried about at first, but then lay down and watched.

Afterwards, though, came some rambunctiousness. First, Lily checked out the George Jones boxed sets propped up on the fireplace. But then she immediately ran back to the bedroom, so Mama wasn't too concerned. Solomon, though...

First, he embedded himself in the bookshelf; then, he wanted to hang out by the couch; and then he wanted to pose next to Joan (in my "for sale on eBay" pile). Mama Henny did not like any of this. She vocalized her angst the entire time. And when Solomon ran into the kitchen, she finally dragged him out by the scruff of his neck (as in his baby days 6 weeks ago) and then pushed him on back toward the bedroom.

Lily and Solomon eating solid food for the first time. Mama Henny watches.

Lily checking out my George Jones boxed sets.
Solomon discovering books.

Solomon: First kitten to explore the living room.

Can you spot the Solomon?