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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Credit

I don’t give myself enough damn credit.

I find myself focusing on what I’ve NOT gotten done each day/week/month instead of what I have accomplished.

And then there are those days when I find myself still in my frowzy, forest green robe and slippers at *gasp* noon. When I notice the time and my bagged out, bedraggled state, my first reaction is ALWAYS a raft of shit “You slovenly cow!," I yell at myself, "Get dressed! Get busy!”  Except, here’s the thing – by noon, I’ve:
  • done the dishes and cleaned the kitchen
  • fed all the cats and cleaned their litter boxes
  • written and drawn my blog post
  • put in a couple, few hours or so at work (since I work from home all freelancey-like, I punch in whenever. This morning, I clocked in at 4:30)
  • paid the bills (and there are always bills!)
  • caught up on correspondence
  • sorted out the day’s menu (what 's fer DINNAH!)
  • made a list of other stuff that needs done around the house
So yeah, I haven’t stepped into the rain room yet BUT, fer poor baby Bast’s sake, I’ve been busy. I’ve been getting shit done!

And I do commit those acts of hygiene. Really and true! Every day!

Now then, it’s molto importante to for me to have a To Do list, prioritize the shit outta that sucker and keep it close at hand (versus losing it under a pile of old junk mail).  If I don’t, well boyhowdy, mountains of shit fall by the wayside.

My fabulous Aunt Mary Ann used to keep a daily diary. I found it while I was sorting out the house after she died. I was SO psyched. I figured I’d get more of a window into her thoughts and dreams. Nope. It was radically banal. After making note of the weather, she wrote what she’d done that day. Dishes, paid water bill, fed birds, dusted baseboards. Yawn.

BUT I’ve come to see that a diary doesn’t need to be about confessions and catharsis (though those are great reasons to keep one). It can be an ongoing Ding Dong Done list – a way to keep myself on track AND evidence, for my too quick to self-chastise brain to see/KNOW, that I am in fact getting mega-loads accomplished each day.

My best To Do list is the daily calendar app on my computer. Generally, that’s just for doc appointments, work meetings, scheduled travel, which bills must be paid on any given day and social engagements. Two things that I need, need, NEED to start putting in there though (if it’s on the calendar, it def gets done) – time to paint and exercise. Lately both keep getting fluffed off and that’s nae good for body and mind functionality.

Hmmm, that daily list’s getting mighty long. Perhaps I ought to schedule in my chill time too. Pfft, nah. I’ll remember! //snorts, rolls eyes//
Gratuitous Seagull shot (Jen thinks of them as the avian version of cats – naturally I concur).

Monday, May 2, 2016

Rain Escape

Damn, I’m glad I didn’t give in to my lazy, Nap Queen inclinations and, instead, went for a ride yesterday. We’re due for rain ALL week. *sigh* Ya know what needs to be invented and mega rápidamente too?

A Holodeck. Just think of how awesome it’d be to simply step through a door in your own home and be on Skye or Hoy (yeah, I’m in a Scotland State of Mind this morning. Could be all the rain). I could hike around the Quiraing, goggle and marvel (but NOT hike – it’s totes beyond me) the Black Cuillin or lay out on the cliff top across from the Old Man of Hoy sketching the guillemots and puffins (just like I did on my very first trip there!).

Hells bells, I could pedal my three wheeled steed through the Holodeck door and ride, ride, ride the paths and single track roads around the islands. In real life, the cost of shipping my trike to Scotland might be prohibitive AND, while there are plenty of two wheel bike rental joints, recumbent three wheelers just aren't a thing... yet.

Ren, just before Rey cleans his slimy clock
Research! I must investigate the shit outta this! My niece Maya's going to college in Edinburgh now – maybe she could scout around a bit for me.

Rey, giving Ren a good old Jedi Fuck YOU
Here's another rainy day thought – a Millennium Falcon would come in real handy right now. Sure, sure, it's reputedly a hunk of junk BUT it's fast, roomy and the pilots are awesome!  Mebbe Rey and Chewie could drop me off in Vienna? Rainy days are great for museuming and Vienna's got a zillion of 'em – all wicked fabuloso too.

Jen, Oni, The Amazing Bob and I all watched The Force Awakens yesterday – this time in the comfort of the living room. DAY-um, I can't wait for the next episode! Rey's a tremendous heroine. I'm just wild about Finn. (and do they get busy with each other at some point? I hope so.) Poe Dameron's gorgeous and I'd like to ogle his big screen presence a bit more. I can't wait to see Kylo outdone AGAIN. And has Han in some way escaped death? Will he return? Is Rey Luke's daughter? I really wanna know her backstory! Also too, why does Luke have a rude looking metal hand versus one that looks more real? If the tech is there to build ships that can jump to hyperspace, if motorcycle-like fast hovercrafts exist and there are droids smarter than most humans, how come he's got a hand that would embarrass Frankenstein?

Just wondering and shit.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Bathroom BS

All this bullshit about bathrooms – not allowing transgendered individuals to use the can that matches their current versus birth identity –  is nothing more than a grotesque distraction from the real shit show. Ya know, get everyone obsessed over the scary, heinous other so we don't notice the hand in our pockets, the abuses of power (and children!!!), the stone, serial hypocrisy. It’s a ploy to distract us poor rubes while they gull us into voting against our own interests.

Meanwhile, the likely Republican candidate for Prez has promised to get rid of gun-free zones around the schools our children attend, defund Planned Parenthood, kill the spouses and children of “our enemies,” bring back waterboarding and “go further,” eliminate the Affordable Care Act, establish a “deportation force,” ban all Muslims from entering the country and this, THIS is just the tip of the iceberg. He’s promoting precisely the opposite of what this country supposedly stands for.

Amongst Trump’s biggest supporters are the white nationalist neanderthals (not to diss neanderthals, mind you).
Taylor said he prefers to be called a "white advocate" rather than a white nationalist or white supremacist.
//snort// of course he prefers "white advocate"— it's all about proper branding, amirite?

And still, otherwise intelligent, seemingly nice people are planning to vote for the short fingered vulgarian.

I saw one of those stupid, lying-ass memes on Facebook yesterday. It had a pic of Prince with a a fake quote where he claims to be a Republican because, ya know, HARD WORK and shit.

A) Never happened – he didn’t say that. Check Snopes before using a beloved dead celebrity to  speak your words, your prejudices. K?
We found no record of Prince's ever expressing a devotion to the Republican Party. In fact, while researching Prince's political views, we found that the musician supported a wide range of political views, and (like the rest of his life and his career) could not be described as fitting into any one specific political category or party.
B) Republicans seem to think that liberals want everything for free but this seems to be a case of MEGA projection.

Fer example, Joel Osteen’s Lakewood Church and all those other grifting, greed-headed god raping big box christianist preachers don’t pay taxes but yeah, they keep fucking that Reagan lie about welfare queens and T-bone steaks.

Sure, sure, Osteen does a winky, winky I won’t say what my politics are but, well, you’d have to be wholly unconscious, 24/7 not to know.
Our general message speaks to staying in peace and being respectful and staying full of joy and staying positive," he tells northjersey.com. "I don't get specific about the politics, but our core message deals with [how] every day, you have to choose to be happy; you have to overlook things that are done wrong and things that are said." (source)
Translation:
Ignore the crimes against humanity, the way our acts and speech go against that holy bible we promote and just bliss out – stay happy in your ignorance of the world around you and keep on voting against your own interests. It’s what the baby Jeebus would want!

Oh and mebbe you could check out the very successful corporations who pay less taxes than the average American and, in some cases they pay none at all. Here's just a few:
  •     Doll-maker Mattel, which has paid zero federal income taxes over the past five years,     received a tax rebate of $46 million in 2014.
  •     The financial services corporation Prudential avoided all federal income taxes on its $3.5 billion in U.S. profits in 2014.
  •     Ryder System, which provides truck rentals and services, paid a negative 0.3 percent federal income tax rate in 2014 and over the past five years a negative 0.5 percent rate.
  •     California-based utility PG&E had negative tax rates both in 2014 and over the five-year period.
Wealthy taxpayers are way more likely to benefit from tax breaks than average or lower income individuals or families. Ten of the largest tax breaks that together totaled more than $750 billion in tax savings in 2013 overwhelmingly benefited the top 1 percent of households, with 17 percent of the benefits going to those top earners. (source)
I just love facts.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Bizarro Dreams and Real Life

Two nights ago my dreams were all about time and space travel which, on the surface sounds like fun. Was this? Ah, non. It was like a black and white 1980s art film – think Eraserhead. Yes, my dreams are absolutely, art school cinematic. Between jumps to different centuries and planets (Mars and Pluto were big favs), I was in a room where an ancient television set flashed and flickered  A screaming man’s face intermittently appeared within. Was this the transporter room? And what was the man wailing about?

There may’ve been a bit of My Twentieth Century in the mix too. Ya know, just to keep things extra solid strange.

Last night, I was frantically trying to come up with the precise amount of paper I’d need to order for a very large booklet order we were about to produce. Yes, as uzh, I was back in the press room where I toiled throughout my 30s. In the midst of a long series of algebraic equations, one of the bindery workers professed his love for me (which, in real life actually happened though we were at a club, seeing a band, at the time) and then a customer came in wanting the huge engagement ring he’d intricately carved in wax, cast in silver. We were a print shop not a foundry but still, we aimed to please – I’d find a place to farm it out to.

‘the fuck?

My only explanation for these extra special nocturnal oddities is that I’ve been putting in way too many work hours this week. Yes, I enjoy my job – graphic design and layout for Granite Print – but, after so many revisions of the most absurdly simple banner design, I just want to yell FUCK you! and MAKE UP YOUR DAMN MIND! But I don't. Of course. I really do possess a wee shred of maturity, civility and discipline. Honest!

Meanwhile, in Bizarro Land (AKA 21st century election year America) there are Citizens for Trump who plan to be at the Cleveland Republican convention "to document every move.” 
"If Mr. Trump walks into the convention center a couple of hundred votes ahead of Cruz and loses the nomination, it will not be a pretty scene," Selaty said. (source)
There are 4,000 Truckers for Trump who intend to drive their big rigs to Cleveland. Bikers for Trump are promising to attend as well.
The pro-Trump groups say they are not seeking confrontation but fear that opponents of their candidate might start trouble. (source)
Gee. Gosh. I wonder if any of these testosterone junkies have guns. I wonder if there’s any overlap with the open carry crowd. Hmmmmm.
"Our members will instructed (sic) that if there's trouble to stand back and let law enforcement do its job," said Matthew Heimbach, founder of the Traditionalist Workers Party, a "pro-white nationalist, pro-working class" party, which plans to have a few dozen members in Cleveland. (source)
Sure, sure. I totes trust that, because this dude said the words (with a winky-winky or no?), there will be zero violence from the grit, guns and big wheels crowd.

Here’s a shocker – I will NOT travel anywhere near Cleveland, Ohio this summer. Hell’s bells, I’ll even avoid flights into Pittsburgh, 133 miles away. Mebbe I’ll ixnay Appalachia just in July though. I gotta get down that way to see mein Vater, don’cha know.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Conversational Narcissist

Listening, REALLY listening – hearing what’s being said, what’s NOT said, paying attention to the speaker’s body language and tone of voice  – is one of the most exquisitely valuable virtues on the fucking planet! I’ve whinged on about this and conversational dominatrices before.

What brings it up now/again? Eh, I’m over-scrutinizing myself, as uzh. I know that I talk more now that I’m deaf. Does my sound system’s crap-outage mean that I’m listening less? Well yeah-duh but, actually, not so much. That is, when I first joined the ranks of the deaf, I was kinda sorta, WICKED preoccupied with adjusting to my new state of being. And recovering. That too. As time went on and I got the hang of the No Sound state, I found different ways to listen.

For the ASL impaired, I carry around pad and pen and my iPad. Yes, I can lipread fairly well BUT, as I’ve mentioned before, I’m no Jedi at this shit. The point here is that listening involves, fer instance:
  • NOT dominating the talk action unless, of course, you're being paid to deliver that speech you're making.
  • Asking questions of your convo buddy. You know, inquire about them.
  • Exercising patience – most of us don't talk in PowerPoint slide format. Ya know,  just FYI.
  • Focusing on the speaker, what they’re saying and how – do they seem comfortable or un? happy or un? thrilled to itty bits? tense and nervous? Body language – check it out.
  • And here’s a biggy, don’t hijack the convo. Don’t interrupt the speaker’s flow with “Oh, I know – this is MY experience and how I felt and what I want and …” etc. Yeah, I totes want to hear all about my friend’s feelings and thoughts BUT LET ME FINISH!
    Gratuitous daffodils
Coco's I'm Listening face
We all have friends and fam who could easily win the gold in the Loquaciously Me-Me-Me Olympics. I don’t want to be like that. Evah!

Also too, I can be a good listener while deaf. Cool? Cool!

While tooling around the 'toobz, I found this cool article:
In The Pursuit of Attention, sociologist Charles Derber shares the fascinating results of a study done on face-to-face interactions, in which researchers watched 1,500 conversations unfold and recorded how people traded and vied for attention. Dr. Derber discovered that despite good intentions, and often without being aware of it, most people struggle with what he has termed “conversational narcissism.”

Conversational narcissists always seek to turn the attention of others to themselves. Your first reaction to this statement is likely, “Oh, I don’t do that, but I know someone who does!”
But not so fast. Conversational narcissism typically does not manifest itself in obviously boorish plays for attention; most people give at least some deference to social norms and etiquette. Instead, it takes much more subtle forms, and we’re all guilty of it from time to time. Everyone has felt that itch where we couldn’t wait for someone to stop talking so we could jump in; we pretended to be listening intently, but we were really focusing on what we were about to say once we found an opening.
“If we were supposed to talk more than we listen, we would have two tongues and one ear.” 

Thursday, April 28, 2016

I feel bad about my neck

Nora Ephron died in June of 2012. This continues to stun me. How could someone so wonderfully, fabulously, presciently, sharply witty die at all and so relatively young too? She was just 71.

Did you know? She was the screenwriter on the very serious Silkwood. That, by the by, is the movie where Cher came out as an actress with def solid chops. I've been a fan of her acting, if not her movie choices, ever since.
           
And forget what the critics said —Heartburn was wonderful.   
       
When Harry Met Sally? Oh god, how could anyone not flat out love this flick?   

My Blue Heaven? This is one of The Amazing Bob’s all time, most fav films.       

Now, I know there really is a quote about how, as Ephron aged, she came to be unhappy about her neck but I can’t find it beyond this:
We all look good for our age. Except for our necks.
Why’s this come up this morning? Eh, I saw a pic someone took of me and Ephron’s line instantly came to mind. I didn't realize until, mebbe, after seeing Heartburn, that I was, and had been for some time, such a huge fan of her keen wit.
…the amount of maintenance involving hair is genuinely overwhelming. Sometimes I think that not having to worry about your hair anymore is the secret upside of death.
I never really put a lot of time or money into my hair until fairly recently. Why bother when the good brain surgeons were gonna have to shave it off soon anyway? It seemed, in my 40s, the cutters were cracking open my cranium near constantly. In any case, now that I’ve got a decent cut and a sweet thatch of purple, I seem to be spending an inordinate amount of time fussing over it and Nora's words come to mind.
Anything you think is wrong with your body at the age of thirty-five you will be nostalgic for at the age of forty-five.
Now, my 30s weren’t prime bod time but my 40s were so, here I am at 57, being all nostalgic for the figure I had at 47.
Here are some questions I am constantly noodling over: Do you splurge or do you hoard? Do you live every day as if it's your last, or do you save your money on the chance you'll live twenty more years? Is life too short, or is it going to be too long? Do you work as hard as you can, or do you slow down to smell the roses? And where do carbohydrates fit into all this? Are we really all going to spend our last years avoiding bread, especially now that bread in American is so unbelievable delicious? And what about chocolate?
Yes, yes – I understand!
Insane people are always sure that they are fine. It is only the sane people who are willing to admit that they are crazy.
Yup.

And here are three brill quotes from her 96 Wellesley College commencement address:
One of the things people always say to you if you get upset is, don’t take it personally, but listen hard to what’s going on and, please, I beg you, take it personally. Understand: every attack on Hillary Clinton for not knowing her place is an attack on you. Underneath almost all those attacks are the words: get back, get back to where you once belonged. When Elizabeth Dole pretends that she isn’t serious about her career, that is an attack on you. The acquittal of O.J. Simpson is an attack on you. Any move to limit abortion rights is an attack on you — whether or not you believe in abortion. The fact that Clarence Thomas is sitting on the Supreme Court today is an attack on you.

Whatever you choose, however many roads you travel, I hope that you choose not to be a lady. I hope you will find some way to break the rules and make a little trouble out there. And I also hope that you will choose to make some of that trouble on behalf of women.

Above all, be the heroine of your life, not the victim.
My dream date would be Nora Ephron, Caitlin MoranDorothy Parker, Jen and me all dishing over the crowd at Sonsie on a Thursday night.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Wham Bam Thank You Ma'am

Sunrise over Logan
I know I’ve already whinged on about these ultra fast wham-bam-thank-you-ma’am visits to see my father. A lot, in fact. They wear me right the fuck out – it’s not just the six hours of travel each way, it’s the intense amount of lipreading, my valient attempts to keep up conversationally.

Jen, who brilliantly handles all the ‘terp action for me, wasn’t able to make this trip. End of the world? Fuck no, though Daddy really missed her outstanding company. Of course!

Helen’s a fab fingerspeller and knows some ASL. The girls fingerspell and are learning some signs too. Friend Michal and Helen’s husband John both have lovely handwriting and are quick to write down what I can’t lipread. So then, I was def not lost in the Talk Sea.
Helen and Daddy

Best of all, they all understand that they need to speak a little slower, enunciate but not exaggeratedly so, give me context – don’t just launch into a new topic, give preface, be mindful of light sources, etc., etc. 

All too soon, heading cack to the Pittsburgh airport
At the end of the day, Daddy and I had an hour alone together – just us. By this point, after our big birthday luncheon party out (Pop's 80th!) my lipreading foo was, pretty much, threadbare. A bit of panic set in. That is, I wanted Pop and I to have a tremendous visit – have one of our old, rousing, everything-AND-the-damn-kitchen-sink, Dada-ish convos – we both really enjoy those (mega understatement alert!). With these rapid action, brief stays, I want every moment to be grand fun (for his sake AND mine). I thought that, without having someone there to fill in when my lipreading drops out, our time wouldn’t be as much of a laugh riot, jest fest.

Bing, bong – I was wrong! You see, though the old man’s hands are kind of crabbed up now, he still remembers a lot of sign. He and my mother learned ASL together when she was losing her hearing and he’s still got it. Awesome! Communication was slower than usual but then, after the party, we were both running in lower gears anyway.

All in all, this was a fab scene BUT I still want to find a way to extend the trip, even by just one extra night. I think I'm greedy for time with the old man. Can't get enough.
Suffragette City – Bowie

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

In the Top Ten

At number one is My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante. The number six spot holds The Story of a New Name, Elena Ferrante again and in the ten spot – Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay
written, once more, by Elena Ferrante.

These 3 books, all by the same author, are on Boston Globe's top ten local best sellers list this week. Second week in a row too. I've never heard of Elena Ferrante which is not say Gee, I know about every damn author everywhere. WHO is this upstart, this newbie?! Fuck no, 'course not. It’s just that, for as much time as I spend in bookstores and libraries AND with her being so heavily represented in the top tens lately, I’d have thought her name would ring at least one tiny jingle bell. Nope.

The New York Times notes that Ms. Ferrante is extremely private, saying:
Compared with Ferrante, Thomas Pynchon is a publicity profligate. 
~snip~
What she looks like, what her real name is, when she was born, how she currently lives—these things are all unknown. 
So yeah, there's my excuse for never having heard of her before.
The cover art, and you know I'm heavily swayed by cover art, is redolent of cozy romance novels for middle aged, middle to upper class, suburban, mortgage heavy, B.A.ed, M.A.ed,  overworked mothers who are, perhaps, unhappily or at least dully married.

The art doesn’t speak to me. If the books weren't, all of a sudden, out of seeming nowhere, glutting up the bestseller list, I wouldn't be giving them a second look.

I know. You're thinking If there was a rocket ship on the damn jacket you'd buy the book no matter what the story synopsis was. //snort// What's yur point?

In any case, could the cover art mebbe be misleading? I read a few different reviews and, yes, it seems the illustrations are fibbing! *gasp!*
These books are part of Ferrante’s Neapolitan Series – the tale of two girls, friends, from financially unblessed families. They grow up, make choices they come to seriously, totally regret – they evolve and shit happens. So it is sounding a bit Little Women-Jo Marsh-ish – you know stories for adult girls who've discovered the prince is actually a dick and they, themselves, are more than just a wife/mother/daughter. OK. Yawn.

The New Yorker post has me all curious though – willing to defy my cover art prejudice and pick one up.
As soon as you read her fiction, Ferrante’s restraint seems wisely self-protective. Her novels are intensely, violently personal, and because of this they seem to dangle bristling key chains of confession before the unsuspecting reader. 
I do love a good confessional memoir-esque sort of a story

How to explain the phenomenon of three of this same author's works on the bestseller list at once and ongoing. Maybe all the local book clubs are reading them now. Boston is, when it comes right down to it, just a small town. Clubs feed off each other, pass things around.

//shrugs// I think I'll hit the used bookstore later this week.