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Sunday, January 22, 2017

We can whimper, we can whine or we can fight back!

An estimated 175,000 people were there on the Boston Common yesterday and Jen and I were two of them.

Despite being up front in the disabled corral, I didn’t see Felicity. For that matter, a lot of my friends attended and I didn’t see any of them either. Warum? THERE WERE 175,000 PEOPLE THERE! It would’ve been a total fucking miracle if I did run into any of my compadres.

I DID see Carlos Arredondo, the cowboy hatted hero of the Boston Marathon terrorist attack, though. In fact, he was standing just outside of our pen.

Elizabeth Warren spoke and, boyhowdy, she was thrilling, funny and inspiring.
We can whimper, we can whine or we can fight back,” Ms. Warren said, as demonstrators in pink hats waved American flags. “Me, I’m here to fight back.”

“We believe in science,” Ms Warren said, adding, “we know that climate change is real.” A police officer patrolling the rally pumped his fists in agreement.

“We also believe that immigration makes this country a stronger country,” Ms. Warren said. “We will not build a stupid wall and we will not tear millions of families apart.” (source)
State Attorney General Maura Healy spoke:
"We're gonna make our case day after day for shared values," Healey said. "I have a message for President Trump. The message from the people of Massachusetts: We'll see you in court.” (source)
From Boston Mayor Mary Walsh,
“We will take this fight from Boston Common to the Mall in Washington.”
There were a lot of wonderful, rousing. mega-inspirational speeches. I am deeply grateful that Jen came with me and ‘terped. But…but….you were up in the Disabled Corral where you could see the official ‘terp. Yes, yes I sure was BUT, though I get on very well in one on one ASL situations, watching a speech about big issues versus simple chit chatting is a whole ‘nother kettle of sign. I could pick out words and phrases here and there but most went clean over ma tête.

I’d feel all terrible and embarrassed and shit BUT I’m a very late deafened babe – I generally do AOK. Having said that, I believe it’s time for another class and more practice with pro-signers. Also too, CART/ closed captioning (on the Jumbotron) would’ve been fab.

The speeches went on and on and while the temps weren't obscenely, bitterly cold, it wasn’t balmy either. Most of the speakers, according to Jen, had, more or less, the same uplifting, fight, fight, fight, this is just the beginning, get organized message. So, Jen and I decided to pack it in. Yes, we wanted to march too but no tellin’ when that would actually commence.

Now for the hard part – getting out of the crowd. It was less than half a mile from where we were sitting to the Park Street T station. Easy peasy right? Not with 175,000 souls packed in and barricades everywhere, We were like salmon swimming SLOWLY upstream. The crowds were all headed towards where we were leaving (mebbe this was where the march began?) and, more than a few times, all we could do was stop, stand and wait for the next break in the wall of people.

At one point, unable to move for 30 minutes and packed in tighter than a Saturday night at the Middle East with Morphine headlining, I turned to Jen and said “gee, good thing I’m not claustrophobic. Oh…wait…I am.” Everyone was so nice, thoughtful, caring and helpful though. We were all, it seemed, being our best, most groovalicious selves. Really gave me a shot of hope.

And then I announced, “Hey, I’m not cold anymore!” Body heat – it’s a way excellent thing.

Eventually we tumbled out of a giant clot of folks into a less jam-packed area. Two wonderful people helped steady me. Jen told me that the woman said “I’m a doctor, do you need help?” WOW! They offered to make a path for us to get through the rest of the crowd (tremendous people!) but seeing a clear-ISH way to Beacon Street, we thanked them deeply and ventured on.

All in all a fabulous, uplifting and thoroughly exhausting experience. My hope is renewed. The rally was just a beginning. Now we must stay connected, informed and energized.
“We come here to stand shoulder to shoulder to make clear: We are here. We will not be silent. We will not play dead. We will fight for what we believe in!”
~ Elizabeth Warren

Saturday, January 21, 2017

I miss...

Rocco's got a few harsh words for the new Prez
I miss listening to spring rains peppered with just the odd crack of thunder. You know, while in bed, window's open. I can just barely hear the drops hitting the leaves and windowpane. So peaceful, so perfect.

I miss walking in the front door to the aroma of TAB's fresh baked cookies coming out of the oven. Oatmeal/chocolate chip with a hint of cinnamon. Heaven.

I miss words and images having real, actual meaning. Take Trump’s inauguration speech, fer instance.

He's, of course, acting/talking as though he won in a landslide. Does he really believe he did or is this just bluff bunkum? Like the rest of the Republican party is he following Goebbels, Hitler’s propaganda minister’s approach to “truth?”
If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it.
Not only did he lose the popular vote by nearly 2.9 million, his electoral win was a real photo-finish.
Trump’s electoral college win, meanwhile, was a squeaker. Trump had narrow victories in three key states (and narrow losses in two others). He won Michigan by 10,704 votes, Wisconsin by 22,177 votes and Pennsylvania by 46,435 votes. So if 39,659 voters in those states had switched their votes, 46 electoral votes would have flipped to Clinton — and she would have won 278-260. (source)
Also, just FYI and shit, when a major newspaper, the Washington Post, has to fact check  an inaugural addresses (of all fucking things) you just know that we’re in for four years of Bizarro World insanity.

Sadly, a lot of people believe Darth Cheeto’s bloviating bullshit and are nearly immune to actual facts. Is there any way to reach them? Make them understand that they’re being taken for the most heinous, destructive ride of their lives? Honestly, I wanna know.

Dan Rather posted a poignant reaction on Facebook. Go to the link for the whole thing – this is just a snippet.
I have never seen my country on an inauguration day so divided, so anxious, so fearful, so uncertain of its course.

I have never seen a transition so divisive with cabinet picks so encumbered by serious questions of qualifications and ethics.
~~~~~~snip~~~~~~~~~
I have never seen such a tangled web of conflicting interests.
.~~~~~~snip~~~~~~~~~
The speech started with a message of an establishment in Washington earning riches on the back of struggling families across the country. It was an odd note, considering the background of many of his cabinet picks.
Already, all reference to civil rights, LGBT rights, health care and climate change are gone from the White House website. Just one hour after being sworn in, the FHA mortgage insurance rate cut was “indefinitely suspended.”

In a bit, Jen and I will head into Boston for the Women’s March for America. Organizers expect more than 80,000 of us. Wow. Naturally, my biggest concern is Where will I pee? Where will I get coffee? and, again Where will I pee?

We'll meet Felicity and her pal Olivia on Beacon Hill at 10:30 and cross the street over to the Common. For the speach portion of the day, there's going to be an ASL 'terp and up front seating so's we can, ya know see the 'terp. COOL! Must remember to wear warm socks, layers, a hat and bring extra batteries for my camera. If The Amazing Bob was here he'd remind me of a half dozen other things and insist that I text him every hour too. Christ, I miss him.

I made a few signs – feel free to download and print out for your own rallies and marches.

Friday, January 20, 2017

O-B-A-M-A

On January 20, 2009, eight years ago today, Jen and I were working at the Copley Square offices, storefront and small production facility of a once great printing company. It was Inauguration Day and Barack Obama was going to be sworn in. We chanted, we teared up, we were so damn relieved.

He proved to be the smartest, most connected-to-the-people, eloquent, talented and savvy president of my lifetime.
That we are in the midst of crisis is now well understood. Our nation is at war against a far-reaching network of violence and hatred. Our economy is badly weakened, a consequence of greed and irresponsibility on the part of some, but also our collective failure to make hard choices and prepare the nation for a new age. Homes have been lost, jobs shed, businesses shuttered. Our health care is too costly, our schools fail too many -- and each day brings further evidence that the ways we use energy strengthen our adversaries and threaten our planet. (source)
Just THINK of how much more, over these past four years, he could’ve accomplished had he not been saddled with a Republican House AND Senate.

True, lasting change can’t be accomplished by electing one big, shiny-ass star to sit up top. The president is not a king, not a dictator and I do dearly wish that President-Elect Cheeto Manatee understood this.

What more can we do now beyond building panic rooms and staying/being, otherwise, engaged – calling and writing our elected officials regularly, protesting and VOTING! Remember, those unsexy lower elected offices are extremely important. 

But, but…but gerrymandering! There’s no hope the system’s thoroughly rigged by the Reich-wing! Yup, that’s me bleating while at peak hopeless dread.

A friend posted this video about how manipulated our elections are. Beyond Putin pulling on Trumps marionette strings, there’s astoundingly obscene amounts of gerrymandering – North Carolina being just one absolutely ridiculous example. The video, while informative ends on a tremendous, there-ain’t-no-hope note.

Is there any hope? I’ll take even a pinpoint of it right now. PLEASE!
The simplest and most obvious reform would be to take redistricting out of the hands of politicians completely. Several states have already set up independent commissions to handle their redistricting - California, Arizona, Washington and Idaho. (source)
So then, let's call our reps and senators, tell them we want them to work toward ending the heinously, bullshit gerrymandering! Also, we can work towards getting more folks out and voting. Register ourselves and others, offer to drive the Olds and Infirms to the polls.

Emily Ellsworth, who worked in Congress for six years, has put together a wonderfully informative 21 page FREE downloadable guide (though donations are appreciated) – Call the Halls: Contacting Your Representative the Smart Way. I just downloaded it and am looking for what I can do as a deafie. I can’t make phone calls but there’s GOT to be other things that I can do.
America:  In the face of our common dangers, in this winter of our hardship, let us remember these timeless words.  With hope and virtue, let us brave once more the icy currents, and endure what storms may come.  Let it be said by our children's children that when we were tested we refused to let this journey end, that we did not turn back nor did we falter; and with eyes fixed on the horizon and God's grace upon us, we carried forth that great gift of freedom and delivered it safely to future generations. (source)

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Breathe, Breathe

I'm feeling mega prickly this morning. There is just so much horrific news right now. It’s 24/7 President-elect Narcissist von Spray-Tan-Addict and his monster imbecility.

Are there any sane, NOT on-the-take, Republicans who will put country before party? Are there enough brave, willing to fight hard Democrats who will get us to the other side of the appalling Hell that’s walking through our front doors? (can we clone Senators Warren, Franken, Harris, Duckworth and Booker? PLEASE!) Do I really have to look at Jabba the Hut's uglier, less socially savvy understudy for the next four fucking years?

To forestall a full blown, panic room building freak out, I’m gonna take some deep, deep breaths. Maybe lay on the floor doing relaxation exercises. This may take all day and, possibly, every day for the next four years.

I’ll begin with scenes which calm me.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

The Art Cure

Dreamed I was in a vast building full of chemicals. It was ostensibly a printing company and these were, I thought, for ink mixing BUT on closer inspection, I saw that they were all ceramic chemicals – clay and glaze ingredients.

My unconscious brain is giving me not terribly subtle hints.

You know that I’ve been wayfaring deep in Sad Valley this month – so many damned anniversaries. There are the happy ones – The Amazing Bob’s birthday and our anniversary. And the heavy ones – the heart attacks, prostate miseries, chemo, the chemo triggered heart attack during the travel ban blizzard odyssey. Yes, TAB and I really liked to pack as much as possible into each winter, especially January.

Now, I totes understand that, in order to rise outta this swamp of anguish, I’ve got to float in it – experience the loss and horror show grief.

Got it but could this be just a weensy bit less overwhelmingly brutal? Please? Bitte? Prego? I’m beggin’ ya!

With the goal of achieving more bearable days I’ve gone ahead and begun painting over an old, large canvas of mine. It was one that never thrilled me so, instead of peeling it off the stretchers and expensively, exhaustingly, stretching new, fresh, virgin cotton duck, I’m employing the time honored tradition of just painting the fuck over it.

a new beginning
It’s 40”x58” and really takes up a lot of my newly set up kitchen studio. I've found that I do, surprisingly, actually use that room for more than making coffee in the AM. I'm gonna need to expand into the dining area. Grand mas furniture rearrangements are, clearly, in my near future.

I've been drawing, doodling, painting on the walls, snapping zillions of pics and all that's been helpful but, given this crazy month of red-letter days, MORE is needed. This new comp is less distraction from and more a channeling of my mondo grief.

Also too, now that I’ve more room in the basement, it’s time to set up my damn wheel, a wedging table and a hand building surface again. My sleeping self has been nagging me, don'cha know.

And suddenly you know: It's time to start something new and trust the magic of beginnings.
~ Meister Eckhart

Beginnings are sudden, but also insidious. They creep up on you sideways, they keep to the shadows, they lurk unrecognized. Then, later, they spring.
~ Margaret Atwood, The Blind Assassin

There hasn't been any art yet. Art is just beginning.
~ Constantin Brancusi

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

What Am I Reading?

Bill Bryson’s The Road to Little Dribbling: Adventures of an American in Britain is currently on my night table. LOVE Bill Bryson. He’s originally from Iowa but has lived in Britain most of his adult life. Bryson now holds dual citizenship and, with his smooth, pithy wit, is able to crank off on both countries.
America has given us a pretty decent modern world and doesn’t always get enough thanks for that. But for reasons that genuinely escape me, it has also become spectacularly accommodating to stupidity.
And referring to his adopted country:
There are loads of people like us. We are all here because we like it here or are married to Britons or both. If I may say so, you are a little more cosmopolitan, possibly even a little more dynamic and productive, sometimes even more adorable and gorgeous, because we are here with you. If you think the only people you should have in your country are the people you produce yourselves, you are an idiot.
At times there’s a definite Hey-you-kids-get-off-my-lawn tone but he serves up prickly disgruntlement with such jolly style. Plus, being an older babe myself, I can SO understand.
The Dunning-Kruger Effect is essentially being too stupid to appreciate how stupid you are.
I recently finished another in Richard Kadrey’s hardboiled, dystopian L.A. Sandman Slim series, Killing Pretty. In it, demons, devils, gods and angels exist but not how you would ever think they would.

In conversation with a scientist, philosopher, immortal friend and collaborator:
“We learn as much from our failures as our successes.”
“Then I’m a goddamned Rhodes Scholar.”
~~~
Dahmer was a drunk with power tools who watched Return of the Jedi one too many times. I know I’ve thought about murder when people won't shut up about Star Wars.
Which brings me to another recent read – Carrie Fisher’s last book, The Princess Diarist. I wanted to be just wild for it, to find every other sentence hilariously inspirational or I-know, I-KNOW just as I remembered Postcards From the Edge.

Her reflections, her drollery seemed muddled though as if she had a a giant mass of thoughts tornado-ing out of her head and onto the page. There were certainly occasional brill, clear flashes and some, now, creepy prescience.
If anyone reads this when I have passed to the big bad beyond I shall be posthumorously embarrassed. I shall spend my entire afterlife blushing.
~~~
I call people sometimes hoping not only that they’ll verify the fact that I’m alive but that they’ll also, however indirectly, convince me that being alive is an appropriate state for me to be in. Because sometimes I don’t think it’s such a bright idea. Is it worth the trouble it takes trying to live life so that someday you get something worthwhile out of it, instead of it almost always taking worthwhile things out of you?
I went back and reread Postcards and, actually, found the same mix of brill wit and clouded, clutteredness. That's not how I remembered it at all. In the dimly lit caverns of my mind, it was this tour de force of scalpel-witted verbal gymnastics and juggling. Possibly the more straight ahead movie version has colored my distant vision of it.

So, that's what I've been consuming. What are you reading?

Monday, January 16, 2017

This is the Sea

OR Why I Hate Facebook Today

Normally I don’t hate ShoutyFace. It can be tremendously annoying BUT, on the main, it helps me stay connected. I’m much less social now – this being due to an amalgam of shit:
  1. Living in the ‘burbs versus Cambridge – getting together with friends who live in other, far-flung ‘burbs (OR the city) means arranging transport (rides or trains) OR convincing folks to visit me here in Valhalla.
  2. Losing my hearing so I don’t go to clubs to hear live music anymore. I could try – see if the beat translates into anything interesting BUT, did ya know, first band in the lineup usually doesn’t hit the stage before 10:30PM. For me to stay up and out that late, I’d need to KNOW, in advance(!), that I’m gonna love them. Morning person here, ‘member?
  3. Losing my hearing so big groups/parties are supremely frustrating and even depressing. I can’t keep up. Feature this – you're deaf and surrounded by 10 happy hearing friends, all burbling along, spewing witticisms and shedding bon mots at speed. You can lipread a stray word or phrase but the rest zooms by like Indy 500 pace cars. Inevitably you feel disengaged, isolated. Yup, welcome to my world.
  4. Age (I’m not a kid anymore. Yur stunned, right?)
  5. The Amazing Bob being ill so I needed and very much wanted to stay home with him.
  6. The Amazing Bob being all dead-ish. I’m way, mega sad so I’ve a difficult time being around folks for more than brief visits. Being social requires a giant hod of energy.
I’ll be taking advantage of the superior voice recog on my new phone and downloading Ava.That ought to help with item numéro trois.

I can and will be more real-world social. It’ll def happen. For now though, especially as we’re in the frozen season, online works goodly for me.

So then, back to why I hate Facebook today – it’s those bloody Memories posts. These two, at left, popped up over the last week, reminding me of TAB’s 2010 New Year’s Day heart attack-ack-ack. We ambulanced into MGH where we stayed for most of the month of January. He had a catheterization and, eventually, quadruple bypass surgery.

Interestingly, afterwards he remembered very little of that month. This is normal – confusion/delirium happens. He’d often ask where we were, why and when could we go home. We played a LOT of Scrabble that month and had a mess ‘o’ visitors helping to buoy our spirits.

When we turned the corner, when my beautiful man was in such brill shape, less than 24 hours post-op, I was blindingly relieved. Ecstatic!  My man was gonna LIVE!

Being reminded of that deeply difficult time, WHICH WE SURVIVED, while I’m trying to endure this first January with, what would have been, his 75th birthday and our 31st anniversary is BIG TIME no fairsies.

And today is the 28th Monday since the center of my universe took his last breath. This, THIS RIGHT HERE, is some seriously fucked up shit.

The Waterboys – This is the Sea

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Meandering Home

Yesterday was cloudy but no rain or snow, so I decided to take the scenic route home. You know, through Southern Vermont, up over Hogback Mountain and then, down along the Mohawk Trail in Massachusetts.

If I’d more energy I’d have stopped in Wilmington to browse the galleries. I just found out about Skip Morrow’s Gallery of Humor. Man, that would’ve been a fun stop. Next time, next time. There are a few other interesting joints, including Gallery Wright which reps regional talent. After gallery-izing, lunch at Dot’s, a great diner-esque joint, would’ve been in order.

For a hamlet of 2,000 (more or less) souls, they seem to have some cool shit going on.

peanut butter, vanilla and maple walnut...I think.
In any case, I pushed through to Hogback Mountain where I stopped for a pic. One of these days I’ll capture the brilliance of this view. I’m determined. While there I, naturally, had to pop into the gift shop for fudge. The Amazing Bob made the most fabulous, wonderful, ADDICTIVE fudge. A few days after his all too early exit, I found a wee bag of it in the fridge. Ambrosia! Each bite tasted as though he was right there, still with me. I tried to make it last forever. It didn’t. Of course.

No, I don’t imagine the gift shops fudge will bring TAB back to me but, while I nibble, I’ll think of him and dream.

From there I made my way, (without even getting lost!) south to Massachusetts. Just before Erving and my inevitable stop at Freight House Antiques, I passed The French King Motel which is, as one could guess, next door to the French King Bridge (named for a big rock. huh). The view from the bridge is tremendous. I keep thinking that, on some clear, crisp autumn day, I’ll drive out, go all snap happy and then spend the night at this modest little inn. Something about roadside hotels really appeals to me. They feel anonymous, hidden, transitory. It’s as though I’m between dimensions – neither here nor there but floating in some limbo-ish, resting place. Yup, feels all sci fi creepy/cool/cozy/safe.

Back to Realityville though, I managed to restrain myself at the Freight House and only bought a wee blown glass squid paperweight. This mermaid (below – approximately four feet long and two and a half feet tall) really called to me though as did this lovely aeroplane. I’m surprised, gobsmacked if you must know, that I didn’t snatch either of them up.

Why didn’t I? Apart from not wanting to spend the bucks, I couldn’t imagine where I’d put them. TAB always said We’re full up. You bring home anything new and something’s got to go. Smart man. So I asked myself, Do I really need my couch or those tome-laden bookshelves? Ummmm, yes?

Got home and, incredibly, Coco and Rocco didn’t guilt trip me for being gone. Granted, they had Jen and Oni feeding and cosseting them up so maybe it felt like more of a vaca. Huh. They both allowed, though, that they would've been happier had I brought the plane home for them.
I think I really gotta have this!