Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Barren

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.)


Entrails

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
George

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.