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Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas poem :-D

My Silly Christmas Poem
If I could have one gift for Christmas
It would be for peace of mind
They're out of stock at Wal Mart
So that makes it hard to find

I cant afford the bigger stores
They'd probably have a good supply
But if I have to use my Visa
Not sure I want to try

I looked it up on Ebay
Thought I'd find it there
But I guess no one is selling it
Cause they don't want to share

I tried to knit some in my spare time
But I made a tangled knot
It came out looking more like
Some road kill that was shot
So it looks like this is not my day
To wish on a Christmas star
So I guess I'll have to settle
For a stale Hershey bar

yes this is SUPPOSED to be silly and stupid :-P

Friday, August 28, 2009

The Soldier

He had never thought of himself as having been a good soldier. He drank too much and partied too hard. He sometimes took his work too lightly and his fights too seriously. But he was old enough to fight in Vietnam and had no reason to run from what he considered his duty, so he went... and he fought. When he went home, he realized he no longer fit in. Seeing so many people worry about their jobs, their money, their small annoyances when every day the men and women he had known were dying so that they could worry about those things annoyed him. More than that, it hurt him.
They hated him. They hated what they thought he stood for and what they thought he had done. The cries of "baby killer" and murderer" tore at his heart. To have people think that he and his buddies were killers, that they killed just for the sake of it made him wonder where the spirit of the country had gone. He knew that his fathers war had been different. WWII soldiers had come home to cheers and people who thanked him for saving mom, apple pie and The American Dream. He, on the other hand, had come home to sneers, hatred and signs saying he was no better than a modern day Hitler.

So he went back. He went back to the swamps, to the mud, to the sweltering heat and to the people he now considered his. He went back to the women who treated him like a god as well as the ones who had bombs strapped to their chests as they took their own lives just so that they could kill soldiers like him.

He did this for two tours of Nam. By then the war was ending and they sent him stateside. But he no longer felt like he was at home. So he drank more. He took various drugs to help him forget. He had made it through over two years of Nam without a scratch physically. But the scars on his heart and his mind were irreparable. He no longer knew how to survive without somebody shooting at him. He tried to get help but no one would listen. He was just one more wounded soldier without a scar.

One day, he decided he had had enough. So in a small hotel room in Indiana, he took a gun and he put a bullet through his brain. He left behind one son and a handful of friends. He also left behind a note saying he was sorry. He asked everyone to forgive him but said that he could no longer handle the pictures in his head and the way the world treated him and others who had fought in what so many considered a losing battle. he also said something I have never forgotten. He asked that if this ever happened again that we remember that the soldiers were just doing their job and not to hate them for it.

Sometimes now I wonder... have we listened to him? Or are we repeating the sins of the past and hating the men and women who serve our country during a war that most of us hate?

Twenty Four years ago tomorrow Jerry killed himself. What legacy did he leave behind? What legacy did all the soldiers like him, who suffered for us, leave behind? Do YOU remember them? I do... every March and every time I hear about one more soldier dying. So next time you want to rant and rave over the war, please... can you remember Jerry for me? He was only 33 when he died.

Dear God...

The first thing I want to say is that I hope this letter finds you well and that the questions enclosed in this won't decrease my chances of getting that Godiva Chocolate from Santa later this year. I know you have some pull with him and could convince him to give me coal or even worse, Russell Stovers Candy *shudders*

So please keep in mind that as I write this, I do so with the utmost love. I just have some questions and some things I wanted to say. Some of it will be things you have probably heard 10 million times but I figure if anyone doesn't mind answering things over, it will be You. Some of this is serious stuff and some is just various things I've wondered about.

I have to start with this one. As I sit and drink my cup of Mocha Coffee with it's 30,000 calories per sip, I wonder why You decided to have food be the way it is. Couldn't You, in Your infinite wisdom, have made say, Cheetos, Chocolate cake, Twinkies and other tasty things be the ones that are good for us? Why does it have to be Liver? And Soybeans? And raw carrots? Would it have been so hard to make Liver bad for us? "No! Don't eat that liver! You'll get fat!" would be a wonderful thing to hear.

You know me Lord. You know the one thing I've wondered for almost 15 years now is a simple "Why"? Why is my boy like he is? Is he more special to you so You wanted to mark him? Is he disabled to teach something to me and others whose lives he has entered? But the thought just entered my head that Your son left this life with many marks on him. Maybe in a way, my son is blessed. He has been a blessing to me and many other people. But Lord you know I meant it when I said I would gladly go to You now if it would mean He could be normal. Just say when. I'll be there.

That boy who died in that crash, that drunk driver, those children who died at the hands of their parents, the woman killed by her ex husband... why God? Why? I know life can't be perfect but why do You take the innocent? Why must the weak and the defenseless be hurt? Please... when we meet, can You explain this one to me?

My sister is dying Lord. After two bouts with breast cancer, it has settled in her bones and is killing her. She is only 48 and will leave behind 8 children. She isn't perfect. She and I don't even have a relationship and she can't stand me but she is my sister and I love her. Why God? Why? If she dies, what purpose does it serve? She is one woman, no one important in the scheme of Your Creations. But she is important to people here. Can't you take her later?

I have to ask it. I know you've heard this one too but I'll ask anyway. Platypuses, God?? Ummm...why? Was it just to give us a giggle? They are adorable and all but certainly prove nothing other than you have one hell of a sense of humor. No offense with the hell part. On the subject of why did you make this creature, you know I'm wondering about mosquitoes. Yes yes I know other creatures eat them but they could enjoy a tasty dinner of gnats or fruit flies instead couldn't they?

God, I'm still waiting for You to tell me what You want from ME. You must have a plan for me, a way for me to touch the lives of others, to be of some use on this planet, this small corner of Your creations. I badly want to help people, to serve a purpose, to leave a footprint. So far I keep getting turned away from the places I thought might be where You were leading me. Please don't take too long ok Lord? I want to help... somewhere, someone, somehow.

If I could ask a favor, could you have an Angel who likes to play and read and likes Chocolate be the one who is in charge of those of my children who are up there? When I finally get to meet them again, I'd love knowing they had known of Dr. Seuss's "Green Eggs and Ham" and "Where The Wild Things Are" as well as the joys of chocolate smeared hands. They didn't get to have that here.

Last but not least, thank you for the beautiful weather we've been having. My boys are loving it and Your world looks so fresh and clean. Thank You also for the people I love, this high calorie cup of coffee, the way I feel when I hear a bird sing or see the wind whispering through the branches of a tree on a Spring day. There are many more things I could name but somehow I think You know already. So thanks.

Oh yeah... before I forget. That thing with Your son? That was pretty damn cool of You. Thank you for that gift. I don't say it often enough but I appreciate it.

Love, Janet.

P.S.- You're gonna talk to Santa right? About the Godivas?

P.P.S.- Could you say hi to my dad for me? Maybe give him a hug? I miss him still. Every single day.

I Believe

I believe that cats are intelligent beings with distinct personalities. I also believe that dogs have the approximate IQ of a rock. Any animal that hangs it head out windows at 75 mph & drools & growls at passing cars needs help. I also believe that my first husbands’ family evolved from mutant pit bulls. No insults to any mutant Pit bulls who may be reading this.

I believe in God & Creationism in addition to The Big Bang Theory & evolution. I don’t believe the two are mutually exclusive but that the first explains the second.

I believe that when God said we were made in His image, he simply meant as intelligent beings capable of rational thought and compassion. I also believe that He might have put sentient life on other planets that we may never find.

In saying that, I also believe in the egocentricity of the human race. Who are we to believe that we are the one & only or at least the first? Maybe when the Bible says "we" were made in His image, it was really referring to some being on planets light years and/or galaxies away and WE are the ones thought of as a lower species.

I believe Chocolate is better than Vanilla, but I also believe neither is as good as either Cherry Garcia or Baskin Robbins Winter White Chocolate. I believe chocolate CAN make you feel better, at least temporarily… until you get on the scale.

I believe real love of any kind can transcend all the laws of space & time if you are open to the possibility. I believe this because I have experienced being held by a person who was hundreds of miles away. That person also remembered it.

I believe forgiveness is sometimes easier said than done, but I also believe that if you don’t forgive, it becomes an open wound that festers & only poisons your own heart.

I believe that dreams can give you clues to what you need to do in your life & where you are headed. I also believe that this theory dies a quick death when confronted with the naked flying sort of dreams. THOSE are just weird.

I don’t believe Witches, Wiccans, Pagans, etc. etc. etc have green skin and large noses (well some might if they are ugly and hung over) but that they are your doctor, your bagger at the grocery store, your cousin whom you share many memories with or even your local journalist reporting on the world’s ills.

I believe that those who say their religion is the only correct one and if you don't believe it, you are damned (in whatever way their religion damns a person) prove my theory about the egocentricity of mankind.

I believe in alternative healing right along with Western medicine. I believe there is a plant to cure or at least treat any condition or diseases. I also believe we are killing most of them at a fast rate as our forests get cut down, thus killing ourselves ever so slowly.

I believe in the healing power of ones own mind, but not to the exclusion of getting help. I also believe those parents who watch their children die because they believe that if they wait God will heal them ought to be horsewhipped.

On the matter of another form of death, I don't believe in Capital Punishment because I don't believe that we have the right to make a judgment call like that, no matter how heinous the crime committed. That makes us no better than the criminal.

I believe that there are honest politicians, but sadly, I also believe power DOES corrupt and most people are eminently corruptible.

That said, I believe that the vast majority of people are inherently good with a few sick twisted minds turned evil thrown in for good measure to test the mettle of the rest of humanity throughout time.

I believe that a hot bath and a steaming cup of tea can make one feel better. Especially if you follow it up with the aforementioned chocolate.

I believe that children are instinctively the way we should all be but tend to forget when we reach an age where we learn that people are different & we learn to hate… don’t hit, if you’re nice to the others kids, they will be nice to you, share your belongings, and if someone is sad, give them a hug… it makes them feel better.

I believe that Racism is not dead; it has simply been given a nice media & governmental induced sweep under the rug because it is not politically correct right now. I also believe that someday in the future things will come to a very ugly head before we truly learn racial tolerance.

I also believe in Karma & know that sooner or later, it WILL catch up with all those sick twisted minds *cough...current administration...cough* him & they will learn what it is to fear. If not in this life, then in another.

I believe that Chicken Curry is the food of the Gods… along with a nice dessert of anything chocolate & highly caloric. I also believe anyone who doesn’t like Curried foods needs therapy, but I believe I may be being a bit harsh in that assessment.

I believe that the Natives of any developed country (translate… taken over by whites) are still, to this day, the most downtrodden forgotten races, be they American Indians or Aborigines or South African Blacks. They have the highest rates of poverty, illiteracy, preventable disease, death and suicide of any other races.

I believe in equal rights for women. I also believe that in our enlightened society, we still haven’t reached that point. Not when a woman only makes approximately 73 cents for every dollar a man makes for comparable work. That said I also believe most hard core feminists are lunatics (no offense to any hard core feminists reading this. I LIKE lunatics).

I believe I live in the best nation on Earth. I also believe that for too long, we haven’t acted like it. There are third world countries that take better care of their young & old, their disabled & their veterans than we do. With all the wealth and luxuries we have, we need to do more to shoulder the responsibility that entails and quit turning a blind eye thinking it is someone else is taking care of things.

I believe that anybody who can look at our world & see how meticulously it is all put together, how everything is worked out, or look at a gray sky while the sun tries to play peek a boo through the clouds or watch a baby smile up at them in innocent joy & still say that it was all just happenstance, all just a case of the right atom in the right place at the right time & that no higher power had a hand in it isn't seeing what i'm seeing but that's cool.

I believe that our friends can feel like family & we can love them as such & that family can sometimes not even be friends & we can react to them as we would a stranger on the streets. I also believe that when one finds a friend one truly cares for, you need to hold on with both hands because God alone knows when someone like that will come along again. This I also know from a losing experience that still hurts.

I believe that for every action there truly IS a reaction… I also believe in Fate & that fate has many different paths for each action, so the reaction we get depends on which road we follow.

I believe that a kiss from someone you love can make even a dark dreary cold day suddenly seem warm and bright. I know this one is true because I have experienced it.

I believe that there are many more things I could list from the mundane to the deep, but I would much prefer to hear what YOU believe and maybe I’ll elaborate on my beliefs some more some other time. Peace and God bless.

Cat Fight

This is an old post from my old journal. I wanted to post something silly but I'm too tired to think of anything hehe.

Cat Fight
No gentlemen, not THAT kind so put away the camera and the sex toys, you sickos.

If you've read my journal, you know I have three half grown kitten who thinks he is tough but still has a kitty screechy voice, one eunuch who is fat and no longer feels he has to prove anything other than he really is God, and one who is a bit** and is proud of it.

Well, Merlin, the kitten, has been practicing his pouncing "Yeah buddy i'm a tough dude" skills lately & I often find myself watching, belly hurting, as I laugh hysterically watching him get his butt whupped. Merlin weighs MAYBE two pounds and who does he pick for his opponent? Yep, you guessed it... Ferret, the 20 pound freak show cat. I have always said cats have very definite personalities and todays episode clinched that in my head. Merlin kept torturing Ferret, whose usual response is to raise one paw, lazily swat merlin into a wall, then walk away while merlin sits like a cartoon character shaking his head and whimpering. Today though, I guess Ferret had had enough and while this will sound unbelievable, I swear to you it really happened.

Merlin came over to Ferret and started his usual "my voice hasnt hit puberty yet" growling and hissing. Ferret looked at him and hissed a warning, just the ONE warning. Merlin did a two step backwards as if he couldn't believe his playmate was talking back, then while standing as far away from Ferret as he could manage, reached out his front paw and swatted Ferret on the face. He did this a few times, alternating it with the usual pounces that got him batted to the wall. Ferret had not moved from his spot and had not made one sound since the first warning, but the look in his eyes would make ME hesitant to meet him in a dark alley (my cat...the mafia goon).

Suddenly Merlin did one LAST pounce. Ferret jumped back (I didnt know blubber boy could move that fast), leapt into the air and landed on top of Merlin. He still uttered no sound... what did he do instead? He laid down... ON MERLIN. He then looked over at me laughing my ass off, meowed sweetly at me once, and lifted his paw and started cleaning himself. Merlin was stuck under fat boy, all I could see through my tears was a twitching tail and I could hear a muted whimpering meow. Ferrets belly kept bouncing up and down, and I'm not sure if it was him deliberately bouncing to increase the torture or Merlins wiggling to escape his furry tomb that was doing it. Not ONE bit of that cat was visible other than his tail LOL.

Ferret calmly continued to clean himself with a look on his face that can only be described as smug and satisfied lol. Finally, not expecting a response, I stopped laughing long enough to say to him to get off of Merlin before he smothered him. He looked at me, meowed again, got up without even one backwards glance and jumped on the computer keyboard (his way of saying hi). Merlin got up, walked in a crazy little circle for a sec, then staggered over to the couch, ostensibly to regain both his breath and his dignity. Personally, I think it's a lost cause. No way he is going to live this down. I am pretty sure he will be a headline on the 11 o clock kitty news.

An Experiment

Will you all try something for me? This is going to sound sappy& stupid but that's ok. I can take that reputation just fine :-D

You'd all seen or heard of the movie Pay it Forward right? Now what I'm suggesting isn't go out and change 500 lives by doing some drastic act for the good of mankind. No fiery protests, no giving your life savings to charity.

But try something for me. Today or tomorrow or in the next few days, do something for a stranger. Pay the bill for the person behind you in the drive through of McDonalds or the toll of the few cars behind you in the toll lane. Give that homeless man/woman you pass everyday a few dollars. Smile and hold the door open for a few people coming in at the same time as you somewhere. Find a journal or a profile here (preferably same gender or sexual orientation as yourself so it doesn't backfire) and just say something like "hi, just wanted to say I loved your profile and/or your picture. No response required. Not hitting on you. Just wanted to let you know. Hope you have a great day." Smile at that woman with the noisy kids and say "I've been where you are. It gets better" in the grocery instead of complaining loudly to make sure she hears it.

Just.... do something. Something that spreads the joy, that makes the people you do it for feel good that day. Then come back here and tell us how it made you feel.

We may not change the world, certainly not if it is a one time deal, but as sappy as it sounds (though those who know and like/love me deal with this nasty trait of mine, poor souls), maybe we can change somebodies viewpoint for a moment. Possibly even their life. Maybe even our own.

Will Human Beings Ever Change??

I had to get a little bit of groceries today. Got my stuff, paid etc. remembered I had forgotten cheese so ran to Kroger. The bagger was an elderly black gentleman.

The man in front of me seemed pleasant enough. He was polite to the cashier, a middle aged white woman. The gentleman bagging was moving rather slowly. He had to be about 70 years old and by all rights should have been lounging around his home playing with his grandchildren but we won't get into my feelings about how our elderly are being treated (well maybe we will in another entry now that I think of it).

The man in front of me made a big show of tapping his fingers on the little check writing counter and giving these deep sighs. When it came time for some unbagged fruit he had bought to be bagged up, he stopped the bagger, saying "do NOT touch that" and he grabbed the fruit and put it into a bag. The old man said nothing, didn't even look up.

When all the stuff was bagged, the man asked the lovely customer if he needed help out. The man gave a snide laugh and said "I don't have that kind of time. I'll do it myself." As he passed by the old man, I heard him say under his breath, "Stupid old ni****" I was stunned and the cashier stood there with her mouth open.

I looked up at the old man, feeling like I should apologize for the jackass who had just left. He was standing there, head down, tears dripping down onto the plastic bags. My urge to kill became red hot. I paid for my cheese, said "I'm so darn sorry for that, sir" to the bagger. He laid his hand over mine on the counter and said "it's not your fault honey." I practically ran outside searching for that man. I saw him two lanes over, putting his groceries away. I knew I had to control myself or I was going to end up in jail because what I wanted to do was go over and punch him in the face, which is totally unlike me. But he had committed two sins in my eyes. He was a racist and he picked on an old person, a group of people I have a soft spot for.

I ran over to him and said "sir, I was behind you in the line in there."

He said "yeah, I saw you. Can I help you with something?"

I couldn't control my mouth. I just said "yes you can. You can cease going out in public and embarrassing everybody in the world with white skin with your disgusting shows of bigotry. You and people like you make me sick to my stomach. That old man in there that you said that nasty word to is worth fifty of you. Do the world a favor and crawl back under whatever rock you came out from and just stay there."

I then turned around and walked away, shaking like a leaf. Other than my anger making me shake, I had just openly confronted a large man, something I am still not great at, though in all gratitude to Russell, I can say that without his respectful way of treating me, I never could have done that today. I heard him laugh and say "stupid cu**". I just kept walking back to my car

Did I change anything today? No, I know I didn't. But maybe, just maybe, that is one man, who while he will feel the same, will be less openly hurtful with it. Plus, please God, maybe that old gentleman can know that not everyone is like that.

Right now... i'm ashamed of my skin color.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Bobby Kennedy Said It Well

It is from numberless diverse acts of courage and belief that human history is shaped. Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, those ripples build a current that can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance. - Robert F Kennedy

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Pillow Talk

Ahhh good old pillow talk... one hears that phrase and many things come to mind... well unless you're me then many stranger things come to mind because my brain is wired as differently as a Martians is. But I digress. Most people hear that phrase and they either think of the sensual sexual talk between two lovers or the sleep talking secrets that lead to a divorce court.

For many years, my bedtime companions vacillated between five children of varying ages and three psychotic cats. Or is that three cats of varying ages and five psychotic children? Anyway, with those choices as my sleeping companions the pillow talk lacked something in the way of sensuality and sexuality was a word I eagerly listened for on The Discovery Channel just to get a cheap thrill. I was the only woman alive to get aroused by nature shows depicting the mating habits of red butt monkeys.

Jordan was always the most interesting one of my offspring to sleep with. First because he was a cuddler and I would sleep next to Sasquatch if he could keep me warm, but mainly because I never failed to get a laugh from him. He had/has a habit of giggling hysterically in his sleep; he has been doing that since infancy. I like to think that because he can't live the same normal life we have, God gives him an extraordinary sleep world. He will out of the blue go from silent sleep to outright laughter to the point where he practically about to roll off the bed he is laughing so hard. All this with closed eyes and then like a switch has been flipped he stops.

Then there are the times he talks in his sleep. Once I was privileged to be there when he talked to God in his sleep and from the sound of it was getting replies. The product of an unstable mind some may say but they weren't the one there getting chills while he talked.
Jordan- "But I didded good today in school didn't I? I got a level three and got to have pizza. Do they have pizza there? I don't remember."
Then a pause...
Jordan- "Dink... I'm glad cause if YOU say I can have pizza maybe then mommy won't say it costs too many dollars. Can I have Lemonheads for breakfast"?
another pause...
Jordan- "Yay!!" then he paused... then... "can I really fly when I live with you?"
A pause...
Jordan- "Oh...ok... well... that's ok... but if you change your mind I want purple wings ok? When I am borned next time after I get old and get to be a baby again, will I be smart and will people like me and not call me names?"

Another pause as I leaned in closer to better hear his quiet mumbles... but this time there was no verbal answer from Jordan... then he smiled very big and drifted back into quiet sleep.

Now, to some this may sound unbelievable. Even to those who know me that may be the case. But I was there... I was the one who was practically in tears by the end of his conversation. THAT is pillow talk with Jordan.

Now Zachie man is on the other end of the spectrum. When he sleeps he becomes a very vocal mixture of snoring and snorting and dreams that involve him saving the world from destruction while seemingly making his cruel mother who makes him eat yucky things like beans for dinner beg for his benevolent mercy. He is a snoring blond Captain Planet mixed with a little bit of The Joker and a touch of Jack The Ripper. I am quite sure he is going to grow up to be a serial killer... that or the President.... not a lot of difference. He is the only 11 year old who has been known to chuckle maniacally in his sleep. Mind you there was also the time he was sound asleep and out of the blue started laughing loudly and screeched "Stop tickling me mommmmyyyyyy" I of course was on the other sound of the bed reading quietly and got scared out of ten years by that outburst. He woke himself up with it and we both giggled like loons for a few minutes before he went back to sleep.

Rachel was always a quiet sleeper... no pillow talk with her... she is dainty even in sleep. She is like me; little movement unless she is having a bad night and no vocalization.

Cammy used to be under rule to bring his own pillow because otherwise by morning I would have to change the pillowcase because he drools like a fiend in his sleep... his only pillow talk is the sound of slurping lol (Lord I'm glad my kids don't read this journal.. I would be killed)

Jared was always the "big kid" and stopped the sleeping with mom stuff fairly young in comparison to the others... last time he did he was maybe 11... and when he was there so was Cammy so the pillow talk there was the two of them comparing bodily noises and smells... I usually left the room to be queasy.

The Pillow talk I get now is mild in comparison to what I got used to. Russell snores to wake the dead... I can leave the room and be coming back and hear "ZIUTRWUYOTFDLHAKGDTG...snort snort snort". It's not exactly "come here you sexy woman you and let me do wonderfully obscene things to your body" but I've grown rather fond of it.

His and Hers Housecleaning

As you read this keep three words in mind please. TONGUE IN CHEEK!!!

How to clean the kitchen...her way.

Start at the top because it makes no sense to clean upwards...everyone knows that. Clean the shelves where you store things and dust and windex all the little knick knacks until they are glittering enough to make an ADHD person stop and say "oooo, shiny things!"

Clean the counters and other surfaces with a steaming hot soapy rag making sure to lift up things on the counter to get the nasties trying to hide under and behind them... germs...ugh!!

Get the Clorox wipes and re-wipe everything after thoroughly drying the counter...germs...UGH!

Look into the cabinets and see how the flour has spilled onto the shelves some. Take the flour out to wipe up the spill and then notice that other things look disorganized and think that there is no way you can cook in a kitchen like that. Take everything out of the one cabinet and straighten it out, again using the Clorox wipes. Get thoroughly grossed out when you find a piece of old stale bread that has somehow gotten shoved to the back of the cabinet. Gag a little as you throw it out.

Notice how nice that cabinet now looks in comparison to the others and with a happy OCD sigh start on the other cabinets, whistling as you alphabetize the spices and make sure all the cans are grouped by food category.

Clean out microwave using boiling water/vinegar method also making sure to move microwave to get anything trapped underneath.

Clean kitchen window, inside and out, cleaning any fingerprints and marks in the door also.

That done, get out mop bucket. Fill with water that is about half a degree away from boiling. Put in enough Pine-Sol and disinfectant to scare away any germs within a 45 mile radius. Mop floor...twice. Then get out floor wax and on hands and knees, cover every inch of the floor in a shiny coating making sure to wipe down baseboards as you work.

Open refrigerator with trepidation because you never know what new mess you will find in there. Take everything out, throwing out anything past it's date or that looks as if it could be an experiment for Dr. Frankenstein (or is that franc-en-steen?). Clean off the shelves with diluted bleach water, again steaming hot. Sigh as you wonder why your kids have opened 3 different containers of mayo and 4 of the same type of jam. Put everything back in, making sure to put the oldest near the front in the vain hope that it will get used first.

Finally done, reward yourself with a cup of hot tea and something chocolate. Relax....for five minutes...until the kids enter the kitchen and ruin everything you just finished. Start over.

His way....assuming he doesn't live with a woman.

Go into the kitchen to get a beer. Notice that to get to the refrigerator, you had to navigate past three full trash bags and a sticky floor stain that you are pretty sure is from when your bud Joe got sick last week after too many brews and nachos. Damn, you thought you had cleaned that. Lean down and inspect it a little closer and think to yourself that Joe really needs to chew his food better; that had to have hurt coming up.

Decide maybe you should do something about the kitchen. Women like a clean man so if you can brag about your spotless kitchen, you may have a better chance of getting laid by that chick at the office with the big knockers.

Search for 30 minutes for the cleaning supplies finally finding a dusty bottle of Windex, some rags and some Mr. Clean under the kitchen sink from the last time your mother cleaned up the apartment for you. Wonder where the hell all those pots and pans under your sink came from and what you're supposed to do with them; doesn't everyone order food in every night? Look at the picture of Mr. Clean and think he has nothing on your buff body. Do some poses for a few minutes in comparison then get to work.

Take the trash outside to the dumpster. Come back in breathing heavy and tell yourself you have to start going back to the gym. Get out a beer from the fridge, recoiling at the stench and sit down in front of ESPN Sportscenter for a few minutes... that was hard-ass work and you deserve a break.

Finish the beer and go back into the kitchen after taking a leak and doing some more Mr. Clean poses in front of the bathroom mirror.

Get the rags and the Windex and spray about half a bottle on the counter figuring more is better. Sop it up with the rags not bothering to move any of the crap on the counter; you'll toss that shit in a new trash bag when you're done with the smelly spray stuff. Sneeze a few times cause of the ammonia smell and wipe your hands on your jeans after looking at the snot on your palm.

Take the now dripping smelly goop covered rags over to the microwave cause you figure nows the time to clean it too since the door has to be pulled with brute force just to get it open cause it's sticky as all hell. Wipe the insides out with the rags laughing a little as you remember when you and the guys blew up one of those little plastic cans of beans in there a few months back cause you forgot to take the lid off. Clean up the beans still stuck to the inside top of the microwave and wonder if that's what fell into your TV dinner a couple nights ago. Oh well, who cares? It tasted fine.

Figure that now that the rest of the kitchen looks so damn good, you should do the fridge and the floor. Shit, that girl at work is gonna fall all over you when you tell her what a housekeeping god you are!

Get one of those pots from under the sink...least they're good for something anyway and fill it partway with cold water and then dump the rest of the Windex in there. Go get the mop from your deck where you were using it as a field hockey stick one night about a year ago to try to make beer cans fly over to the dumpster.

Dunk the mop into the pot and slop it all over the floor. Work on the puke stain for a bit. When it doesn't come up, figure at least it looks like clean throw up now and leave it. You're getting tired; you can always buy one of those girly rugs to cover the spot. That'll just add to your housekeeping/decorating god status.

Finish the floor. Use the mop to have an imaginary sword fight with someone, flinging filthy water all over the counters you "cleaned".

Open the fridge and recoil from the stench again. Find some Chinese take out from last week and sit down and have a bite to eat, scooping away the crusty parts. Set the container on the counter when you are done and toss the plastic fork in the sink.

Go back to the still open refrigerator. Take out a...a...a... something green and hard and smell it. Realize it isn't the source of the smell and toss it in the garbage scoring two points for the free throw. Dig around a little, moving the mayo jar with no lid, the 12 take out containers, 4 McDonalds bags, 36 beers and that tofu your last girlfriend left there in '05 to the side.

Finally, near the back, you find a slimy dripping piece of what you think used to be KFC. Smell it, realize you have found the source of the smell and start to throw it out. Change your mind with an evil grin thinking you will hold on to it until this weekend when Joe comes over to watch the game. Figure you'll let him have a few brews then offer him a snack... this should be classic! Wrap it up in foil so at least it won't reek anymore. Wipe your now windexed, beaned and slimed hands on your jeans. Look around the kitchen and feel proud of yourself and mentally leer at the cleavage of "office girl" as you imagine her nude on your kitchen counter. Get another beer, leave the kitchen and go watch TV. Repeat in six months.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Nineteen and Perky Boobs

We all have our ONE "drunk story" that never fails to crack us up, even years later. Here's mine.

It was a dark and stormy night. Wait, wrong story. Sorry, I'll try again.

Once upon a time there were three bears. What do you mean you've heard that before!? Fine fine fine. Pooheads.

When I was 19, I lived in Cleveland for a time with a penny ante drug dealer named Dave (wth is in my life with men names Dave? Ok, moving on.). When I moved in with him, it was with the understanding that we would NOT sleep together unless I decided I was ready. I had my own room, he had his and never the twain did meet. Which I guess pissed him off enough to get his revenge.

One night, we had an evening of heavy drinking at the local watering hole where we and all our friends hung out. At least I assume there was heavy drinking. I don't remember that night, just the next day. They quite possibly were feeding me toilet water and I was slurping it up and giggling.
The night passed as they all seem wont to do. The next morning, I woke up bleary eyed and with a tongue that had been coated in dirty St. Bernard fur as I slept.

In his car.

With no clothes.

Just a half slip.

It was laid out neatly on the back of the seat.

I woke up at mid morning. This was a fairly quiet neighborhood but not dead so there was traffic of the foot and human variety that time of morning.

After sitting in the car for a while trying to figure out just how I GOT there and where the hell my clothes were I knew I had to make a run for it. I grabbed the half slip and pulled it on. Pull too high and my naked crotch and butt were hanging out. Leave it too low and there were my nice perky 19 year old boobs greeting the day. Pull the slip up... grimace and think I really need to start shaving. Pull the slip down and think that my nipples would be getting out of the car before me.

So I compromised. I pulled the slip down, got out of the car, hunched over like Quasimodos sister and ran like hell for the front door. The door that was always unlocked.

RAN!!!! Holding onto the slip for dear life of course. Grabbed the knob!!!! Fell on my ASS when the door didn't open like it was supposed to. Wth!? That door was always unlocked. I lived with a very friendly dealer!

Being a rational human being, I did what any rational hungover practically nude person would do. I started beating on the door and yelling to be let in. Quietly stand there and hope that he would answer? No way. My way got much more unwanted attention, car honks, wolf whistles and outright laughter.

No answer was forthcoming. So I did the Quasimodo Shuffle to the back door, just KNOWING inside my still half drunk heart that somewhere just out of view, somebody was taking pictures of my wiggling arse and bouncing boobs as I was running around the house.

Got to the back door, tried the knob. SHIT! Locked! Banged again, all pretense of civility gone while at the same time I was able to be outside the situation enough that I was laughing my uncovered self silly as I banged and cussed a blue streak.

Suddenly, from the corner of my eye I see the little old lady from next door slowly walking over. She gets to the back door and stands there looking at me. She sniffs a few times, wipes her face and is very obviously trying not to laugh at this mad woman/child with the mussed up hair, lovely slip and various uncovered body parts as I pushed and pulled the slip in embarrassment.

"Honey, you looking for your man?"

"Yes ma'am" I answered as I turned the color of a ripe Autumn Apple.

"He was here earlier. Saw him take some clothes out of the car. Didn't know until I saw ya running from it that you was IN the car."

My clothes!? You saw him take my clothes?! What did he do with them? Did he take them inside? Tell me he didn't take them inside."

"Oh no honey, they aint inside." At that I saw her glance upwards, biting her lip at this point so as to not laugh.

I followed her glance but saw nothing. "Ummm, Mrs so and so, where are my clothes?"

Her mouth quivering under the strain, she pointed to the roof. There, laid out like a little flat Janet, hanging over the edge of the roof and held down by rocks, were my clothes. My blouse, my skirt and yes even my shoes set next to them.

That was all I could take as well as all Mrs. So and So could take. Looking at the roof yet again and watching the hem of my skirt wave gaily at us, we both burst out laughing in loud unrestrained whoops. The demure old lady and the slightly wild mostly naked teenage girl had bonded... over my lack of clothing.

She brought me to her house and we tried to find something I could wear. But I was 5'8" and she was 5' nothing. I ended up with her dead husbands robe.

I knew where Dave was. His best friend Scott lived about a mile and a half from our place. So gathering all my inner aplomb and dignity, I belted up the robe and struck out on this sunny Saturday morning to go find him.

That mile and a half trek was the longest walk I've ever taken. Yet, also in it's way, the most fun. I've always had an overdeveloped sense of the ridiculous as well as being a ham, even as shy as I am.

Got to Scotts house and walked in. There were Dave and Scott, smoking a joint on the living room floor. Dave offered it to me with a grin. I refused as I always did... but with a grin.I then picked up his morning beer, took a long drink and poured the rest in his lap. Then as he started laughing hysterically, I got a glass of pop and sat down and we proceeded to have a pleasant day. That is... AFTER he gave me the clothes he had brought with him for me. He knew i'd find him.

We split up a few weeks later. I refused to ever sleep with him and he wanted more. But you know what? We split up amicably. Nicest guy I've ever lived with for all that he was a loonbunny from Hell.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Who needs fillings? I have glue!

Last night I was, well, rather buzzed. Ok ok I was pretty well blitzed. Well, I have some herbal supplement drops I take every day. At about 9pm, I drunkenly realized I hadn't taken then yet. In a fit of alcohol induced responsibility to my body, I went to go take them.

Just like most people, I can walk through my home in the dark with no problem. I know the path; I do it often. So when I went to get the drops out of my purse, I didn't bother with a light. I grabbed my purse off the bathroom floor and got the drops out by feel. Or so I thought. I shook the bottle feeling like such a good girl that I was remembering to take them, hiccuped a few times, then experimentally shook the bottle. Then shook it again because I was SURE I had had more than that in there.

But, being the drunken fool that I was, I just assumed I had used more than I thought so I opened the bottle and tipped it up over my mouth. Nothing was coming out so I squeezed harder... then harder. Suddenly some spark ignited in a few sober cells in my brain and I turned on the light and looked at the bottle. I had just squirted a half a bottle of Nail Glue (Super Glue) in my mouth.

"OMG... ACKKKKK... I'm gonna glue my tongue to my teeth!!!", I screamed as I turned the water as hot as it would go after flinging the culprit glue behind me. I started gulping hot water trying to dissolve the glue before it glued my wiggly thingy in my throat to my tongue or something. Yes, I know it's called a Uvula but wiggly thingy is more fun. I grabbed my toothbrush and practically killed myself trying to brush my Esophagus. Screw my glue coated teeth. I had visions of my throat sticking to itself and dying on my bathroom floor with my uvula stuck to my tongue. I had no intention of the legacy I left my kids being a headline on the 11 o clock news saying "A local woman died tonight after she drank super glue and her wiggly thingy got attached to her esophagus and she choked to death."

After I calmed down and realized I wasn't going to die of glue poisoning or a glued throat, I started laughing. Only in MY life could this happen. Never again will I look for ANYTHING when I'm buzzed.

My teeth feel funny. How do you get super glue off your teeth???

Chicago In The 70's

Memories are made of This

AKA "Chicago in the 70's
Living in inner city Chicago even in the 70s was not exactly a thrilling or safe experience. After a false accusation from a boy in my 3rd grade class that I had stolen some of the teachers play time costume jewelry (the court case is still pending; I may be going up the river anytime), the other girls in my class decided that I, the token white girl in my very large school must have been the one that stole that danged barbie doll way back in kindergarten. No, that is NOT racism... I WAS the only white girl and they actually said it had to have been me because I was white...racism works in all directions sad to say.

Thus began my history with toilet stalls. Fascinating things, toilet stalls. One can learn a lot of new words from the graffiti written in them; to this day, I STILL don't know if some of the things described in that legendary writing is even physically possible but as an adult I can say now that some sure sounded interesting *grin*. It sure makes me a hit at cocktail parties though when we play word games and I try to describe them. Now I can see you scratching your head and saying "toilet stalls; what IS this woman talking about?"

Well, think back to your own school days; remember that one child in every class that was heckled, spit on, tortured and tended to hide in the toilet stalls every day after school to avoid the daily thrashing that she/he knew was coming for looking at someone wrong? Though mind you, I can speak for all those kids and say they never looked at anyone wrong simply because that's difficult when one is constantly keeping ones eyes downcast out of fear. Well, in my school, I was that child; thus the thing with toilet stalls (I still cautiously peek out of them when leaving to make sure there is no one waiting with a rock).

I remember my first black eye. I didn't wait long enough that day (I guess I had read everything and was bored) and ended up cornered by 2 boys and 3 girls who wanted either the 13 cents I had, my very long blond hair as a trophy or for me to give back the stolen Barbie I had never taken. I am fairly sure that I have since seen them all on repeats of Americas Most Wanted and if memory serves even back then they were all six feet tall and about 250 pounds (remind me to tell you about the fish I caught.)

Have you ever had your face stomped on? Not a pleasant experience as it happening but for an 8 year old it DOES have a good side effect; it leaves a hell of a sweet black eye to brag about! I remember running home and as the eye was so swollen I could see it without benefit of a mirror, running in the house grinning from ear to ear, and screaming "Hey mom look at my eye!" She wasn't thrilled with the blood dripping on the carpet; after all we WERE renting; but she was impressed with the eye. I still have flashbacks of her piercing scream saying "OMG, your EYE!!! EWWWW, watch out; you're dripping on the *&^*#&*%^* carpet!" Even now, I hear someone scream and I hit the floor and start crab crawling towards the nearest bathroom.

There is little more humiliating though than having your mother chasing a bunch of kids around the next day pulling you behind her while she screams threats at them. Well, other than going to school in kindergarten and forgetting to wear underwear under my dress but that entry will have to wait. I don't undress unless I know you better. I still have a cartoon vision of myself flapping in the wind on my mothers hand while she ran after all the laughing kids in the schoolyard with me trying to keep up and breathlessly answer her questions of which kids did it. But that did NOT help my popularity any I'll tell you. For weeks after that, I had to listen to a plethora of "yo mama" jokes as they beat the tar out of me.

Anyone who wants to help save future generations from such torment should send a donation to We are a small but proud group. Union meetings are held every other month in varying members bathrooms. Bring Your Own Tissue.

Curiousity killed the cat

I am never sure how others see my way of thinking though with some exceptions. As I told somebody recently, a good friend of mine has equated my way of thinking with a train track covered in super glue among other things. He will get stuck on one railing and I will already be off and slopping glue onto a totally different railing (translate- subject). Also that the way I think is like getting all comfy in a train ready to enjoy the ride when WHAM up comes the captain to announce that you boarded the wrong train and the one YOU want is that one zooming past on the other track. I've never been quite sure if being described this way is good or bad.

Anyway, getting to my point, the other day a gentlemen posted on one of my entries saying something to the effect that he would look through car windows as he passed people driving and wonder about those people.

I have always done things like that. When I used to walk many miles a day, one thing that kept my mind occupied was looking at peoples houses (AT not IN... i'm not a peeping tom) and wondering about the occupants. Were they happy? Did the husband and wife love each other? Were they all going to sit down to dinner together tonight or would they all go their separate ways because there was no connection between them?

I see people in the grocery store and wonder things like that too. That heavy woman buying the ice cream and chocolate cake from the bakery? Will she be embarrassed when she gets to the check out because people will be thinking (at least in her mind if nothing else) that buying things like that is why she is fat? Or the man buying the TV dinners. Is he lonely... alone... wishing he had someone at home with whom he could share a REAL meal?

It is when I see the elderly and children with the angry parents that my mind really gets whirling sometimes to the point of giving myself a choked up feeling. I will see the elderly... that little old man putting cans of beans in his cart or that stooped lady carefully using a calculator as she slowly walks through the produce aisle checking prices... and wonder about their lives.

I have a soft spot for the elderly brought on by I guess my own personality and by working at Home Health Care and seeing how forgotten many of them become. That little old man with the beans... does anyone come see him or does he eats them alone in front of his TV wondering why his children never call and wishing that once, just ONCE, he didn't have to choose between paying his bills and eating decently because his Social Security doesn't stretch far enough? Or does he deserve his loneliness because he was an ornery bugger in earlier life?

That old lady? Is she a widow who is just sadly waiting for time to pass so she can join her husband or is she just a grouchy old biddy too cheap to NOT use a calculator? Does she still roll over in bed at night and feel the cold on the other side or is she used to it now?

That woman with the ice cream? That man with the TV dinners? I see them and others like them and I can't stop my vivid imagination from seeing them in their homes... alone... wanting company but having none. I want to guide them towards each other and say "hi you don't know me but I've watched you... how 'bout we introduce ourselves and would you like to come over Friday and play some cards"? But that is a quick road to a loony bin.

Those children with the angry parents? You know the ones I mean. Not the child who has actually done something to deserve rebuke but the one who is choking back a sob with fear in his eyes because he has been told that if he makes one more move or one more sound he will "get slapped and slapped hard dammit". I see those children and wonder what their futures hold and wonder if my fiance would kill me if I started bringing home stray kids like kittens.

Sighhh... so may people... so many stories. I want to know them all and write them down so we never forget the connection between us all.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Me Being Fanciful

I read somewhere that there is a moment in every day when one feels the most at peace, is at one with the world. The theory was that that time, that one moment, is the time of day or night when you were born. For me, that one moment will be in about ten minutes...I can gauge that because so often I find myself standing on my porch if the weather is nice or looking out my back door if it's not.

It is somewhat cloudy right now with a soft breeze; hot but not so bad that one can't stand outside. I just enjoyed my "moment". The shadows fall on the trees in the mountains, leaving them with a shimmering golden tint as the branches sway in the wind. I watch and it makes me wish I was standing there in the dappled sunlight of the woods.

At this time of early evening, one can look at the mountains and imagine it filled with laughing dancing Fairies and Sprites filled with all the joy and awe at the beauty of creation that we humans sometimes fail to recognize. They are out enjoying the last moments of sunshine. I can picture them throwing back their heads and turning their faces up to the fading sunlight as if to soak in enough to keep them safe and warm throughout the coming night. Around them the snakes and the coons and the possums must glance at them wondering what these creatures are but knowing they belong there just as much as they themselves do.

These otherworldly lads and lasses will be starting their fires for the evening...doing what they must to inhabit a world that becomes dark and fearful after twilight. They gather 'round and tell stories of majestic dragons, ladies fair and the Knights who fought for their hand, of kings of old and days when the Unicorn was more than a myth. night, if you stand very still and listen with your heart not your ears, you can hear them. They sound like a night breeze and what you will think you are hearing is the whisper of the wind and the rustle of the trees. Really though it is the laughter of the Sprites and the gentle movement of the Fairies wings as their bodies vibrate with joy and laughter at just being alive.

I Want I Want I Want

All my life I have people watched. I've mentioned before that I have a soft spot for the elderly. So many times, especially here in this rural area where marriages tend to last longer, I have watched old couples.

Forty years, fifty years, sometimes more they have been together. They will slowly walk side by side, her hand with its soft paper thin skin tucked neatly into his weathered palm. They come to a door and he will open it as his other hand slides to the small of her back or to her arm and he helps her through the doorway.

Forty years, fifty years, sometimes more they have been together. I see them in restaurants. She will pull his plate over to her as he sits and picks at his napkin or his hat with trembling fingers. She will slowly, carefully, cut his food for him. Then with a smile and a pat on the hands, she will push it back to him and look at him with loving eyes as he eats his meal. She may not have prepared it this time but I wonder how many meals she has made for him... how many times she has helped him as he aged.

Forty years, fifty years, sometimes more they have been together. Bad times and good times, watching family members die, maybe even outliving their own children. Being poor, maybe having times with money. Fighting, making up, loving each other throughout it all.

Forty years, fifty years, sometimes more they have been together. They've spent it sleeping in the same bed, sharing each others warmth, maybe sleeping by hospitals beds crying and praying for the other to get better.

Forty years, fifty years, sometimes more they have been together. They watch as the other goes from young and strong with firm limbs, shining hair and bright eyes to a person who walks stooped over on frail legs. The hands that used to tenderly hold them in the dark hours of the night now shake and have lost their strength. They see dark hair turn to silver, bright eyes lose the luster of youth. Yet, they still seem to see that graceful girl they danced with or that young man who held their first child oh so tenderly.

Forty years, fifty years, sometimes more they have been together. Then one day,one of them has to stay in that hospital bed or just doesn't wake up in the morning. A lifetime of memories...of wants...of needs... hopes and dreams. As hard as it must be to be the one left behind, I want, I want, I want. I want those memories... those wants, those needs, those hopes and dreams. I want the hand on the small of my back as I slowly walk through a doorway. I want my hand held, my hair stroked, my warmth shared. I want the fights, the making up, the silvered hair. I want the magic.

"Where've you been I've looked for you forever and a day
Where've you been I'm just not myself when you're away

They never spent a night apart; for sixty years she heard him snore.
Now they're in the hospital in seperate beds on different floors
Clair soon lost her memory, forgot the names of family
she never spoke a word again, then one day they wheeled him in
he held her hand and stroked her hair, in a fragile voice she said

Where've you been I've looked for you forever and a day
Where've you been I'm just not myself when you're away
no, I'm just not myself when you're away"
"Where've You Been"- Kathy Mattea

Memories Are Made Of This

was talking to a friend a while ago. As usual, I think my brain frightened him as did my inability to express what I meant. It's doubtful I can do better here but maybe it will make for interesting discussion nonetheless.

Memory is a fickle thing. I can remember the smell of Alabama in the morning yet not what my grandparents house there looked like. I can remember getting stung by a weird greenish bee type creature when I was about seven but not where I was when it happened. I remember chowing down on a bottle of Bayer's Children Aspirin and the dress they forcefully took off of me at the hospital before pumping my stomach, but I have handily blocked the rest of the memory.

I remember as a child, thinking of adults only in terms of where they fit into my own life. Now though, I remember them differently; almost as peers and I wonder about those people who were adults when I was but a wee lass. Were they married? Did they argue with their mates? Were any of them gay in a time that didn't accept that and if so, what effect did it have on their lives? Were they happy? Did they sit in front of the TV at night by themselves, feeling isolated and alone? Were any of them party animals who went out clubbing at night?

Why do I remember my fifth grade teacher Miss Kuester sitting at her desk one day eating her lunch and how it made me feel suddenly and inexplicably sad for her because she looked lonely?

Why now, at almost 45, do I remember things such as that yet can't remember where I set my coffee cup?

Will I be 90 years old and still have vivid memories of Miss Kuester eating lunch or the time my sixth grade teacher Mr. Benkhe dumped my desk on the floor and laughed yet not remember how to feed myself?

What makes some things, trivial as they are, stick so hard that we remember them decades later? Why can I remember my father smelling of Irish Spring soap one day in 1983 when he hugged me yet I can't recall the moment he died with such vivid clarity even though it's only been three years?

When I'm an old lady, will Russell still be in my memory... will my kids... will ANY of you? Will these days that have meant so much to me, the good AND the bad, fade and I will be left remembering only childhood nonsense as I idly pick at the blanket covering me?

What makes a memory? What makes it leave? I want to keep them all. Every single one.

Thanksgiving day For 'Coons-Otherwise Known As...

"The Day The Raccoons Turned My Porch Into Kings Island"

I have lived here in the sticks for just about twelve years now. But in some ways, I will always be a city girl. While I have come to be annoyed by wild animals digging in my garbage, I am also still fascinated and can be found watching them and giggling before I shoo them off the porch.

About eight years ago on Thanksgiving night, I was too pooped to worry about the turkey carcass and the foil pan it was in. So I set it on the back porch with the twin hopes that animals would cart the whole thing off leaving me nothing to mess with or that they would at least come onto the porch and I could get in some giggling and animal watching

They exceeded even my expectations and years later, I shake my head in disbelief over what I saw with my own eyes. About an hour after putting the pan out, I heard a mad scramble going on on the back porch. It sounded like and was, more than one animal. I snuck to my vantage point at the edge of the back door window to check it out.

There were three fairly large Raccoons on the porch, chirruping away as they fought over the turkey carcass. One would push its way through to the pan and the others would push back. The pan was coming precariously close to the steps and was in danger of overturning. Suddenly, one of the Raccoons pounced into the pan with the carcass, figuring I guess that if he was on top if it, he had the benefit of possession is nine tenths of the law.

That was the proverbial straw that in this case broke the turkeys back. As the other Raccoons pounced to get in there with him, the tray started a quick slide down the back porch steps, looking like nothing other than a greasy bone filled roller coaster for large rodents.

The Coons squeaked like they were being butchered as the pan went down and hit bottom. When it landed, tilted somewhat but still on the bottom step they jumped off, sniffed around it and then walked over to the poor turkey, which had itself been thrown from the pan and landed in the yard. They took a few seemingly obligatory nibbles off the bones then one at time walked over to the pan, still squeaking and chirruping madly. I was watching through the window, hands to mouth to cover my increasingly loud laughter.

Suddenly, one of the Raccoons shoved his snout into the tray and began pushing it upwards. After a few attempts, he got it moving back UP the stairs. The other two Coons followed behind him, chattering excitedly.

When it got up to the top, it quickly became surreal. The Coon who had pushed it up to the top got into the pan and started squeaking loudly. The two followers, after a bit of sniffing and trying to shove him out of it, seemed to decide it wasn't worth the effort. They then, together, nosed the pan and sent it flying down the stairs with the lucky fellow getting the ride squealing like a young boy taking his first ride on a loop-de-loop roller coaster.

As I stood there in total amazement, they did it again... and again...and again...and again. This was no accidental shove. This was a deliberate act of fun for these animals. They would work together to get the pan up the stairs then take turns (more or less) getting into the pan and being shoved down the stairs with whichever coon was in the pan doing what I am sure was a Raccoon laugh... a squeal of pure delight. About 30 minutes later, the allure of the grease soaked pan seemed to pall under the pull of the real food presented by the carcass lying in the yard and looking lonely in the rising moonlight.

One by one, they sniffed at the pan lying at the bottom of the stairs then went over to the carcass where the biggest of them started to pull it towards the overgrown field by the side of the house.

They were gone but I stood there at least another twenty minutes hoping they would come back and knowing that there was no way that anyone would ever believe my tale of the Thanksgiving night that the coons turned my porch into a thrill ride.

Cloud Watching 101

I was sitting outside making pictures out of clouds until the mosquitos drove me back inside. On a tangent, I think I was found by the only mosquitoes on planet Earth that are immune to and addicted to DEET. The bastards.

What was I saying? Oh yeah...clouds. Yes, I'm drinking. What of it? *Grins*

I saw a cloud that looked like a DNA strand. That was followed by one that looked like a silhouette of Beethoven. As I was preening over finding such intelligent shapes, Bart Simpson eating a Kitty Cat and an erect Penis floated by. Damn my freaky brain for the cheap cloud 'ho that it is.

On another note, I am up to Chapter six in my book. I'm standing at a bit over 10k words now. I finally feel comfortable calling it a book, not a story. Anyone (that I trust and know) that wants to read and critique what I have done so far, let me know. I am all up for honest opinions. Don't suck up just 'cause i'm adorable. :-P

Jordan Tidbits

He has had a case of "the sneezes" recently and every time he sneezes, he gets this surprised look on his face, laughs and says, "oh. Bless me!"

The other day, he came to me and said "mommy, I will always love you. No matter what happens or even if you get old and ugly, I will always think you are a cutie pie and a sweetheart and I will love you.............. even if you're mean."

When I said thank you and that I would always love him too, he started to walk away then came back and said "did I look real cute when I said all that mommy?"

I laughed and said "yes you looked cute but you shouldn't fish for compliments"

He just smiled and said "But I'm practicing mommy. I hafta look real cute so the girls in 8th gradel with think I'm a hottie."

Allllllrighty then. Can't mess with that logic.

There Was A Time...

...when I wanted to be like you and the people you call friends. You were outspoken, you were snarky, you didn't take any crap from anyone. Being as shy as I am, I thought this was cool. I mistakenly thought that that sarcasm, that cockiness, the outward shows of arrogance and even anger translated to a certain level of intelligence and sophistication I didn't have. It's certainly how all of you thought of yourselves at any rate.

Time passed though as it is wont to do. With it I began to gain a small amount of the wisdom that comes from age and experience. I began to look at you and others like you from a different viewpoint.
You're scared all the time aren't you? You're scared of being disliked, you're scared of being liked, you're scared of seeming dumb, you're scared of using your intelligence for anything other than trying to belittle others; certainly not for any real cause. Because then you couldn't blame others for your failures could you?

You're scared of what you are, you're scared of what you aren't, but mostly you're scared and angry over what you'll never be. A decent human being. You truly don't know how to be one, do you? You try to act like it's how you want things to be in your life, but in reality, the words you say and the ones you don't say reveal so much more than you think.

Every nasty word you say to someone else to make yourself look more powerful, every dig at what you perceive to be their flaws, it's really a dig at your own flaws isn't it? The things you hate the most in us are the things you know you can never have; not in the long term anyway.

I'm shy, I'm soft hearted, I've been called too gentle. I do my best to help those around me even if they are strangers. I'm also smart and funny and have morals, values and principles that nobody can take from me. I won't bend them to fit in, I won't change them to make you like me and that annoys the crap out of you doesn't it? With me... with people like me, you just can't win, can you?

So you poke and prod and try to find the little thread of our personalities that you can pull on in the hopes of unraveling the whole thing don't you? But it doesn't work. Every time you pull a thread, we just sew it back up as we smile at you while you glare back and foam at the mouth and it makes us stronger at that spot. In the meantime, you're so busy poking and prodding at everyone else to find their weak spots, you don't even see yourself falling apart at the seams. You don't even notice that you are rotting from the insides out.

But it shows. While we find love and healthy companionship with people who care about us as much as we care about them, you find temporary solace in the company of people like yourself. But like any pack of dogs will do, sooner or later the most hungry of you start to gnaw at the psyches of the weakest of you, like a dog with a bone and eventually you turn on even each other, don't you? You have nothing to lose because there were never any real emotional ties were there?

I don't want to be like you anymore. Not even a little bit. Call me names, look for loose threads; enjoy yourselves. Know what i'll do in the meantime? I'll be happy. With my life,with my personality, with the very deepest parts of my soul. Because I like who I am. Can you say that about yourself or do you only look in the mirror to brush your hair because to do more gets you scared all over again?

How Do You Get That Lonely?

There is a song I know with that title. The chorus goes

"How do you get that lonely

How do you hurt that bad

To make you make the call

That having no life at all

Is better than the life that you have?

How do you feel so empty

You want to let it all go

How do you get that lonely

And nobody know?"

Really? It's not hard. We as grown ups are expected to be completely self sufficient, utterly strong and to never let anything, certainly not a romantic relationship gone south or personal pain, get us down. That just makes us weak right? Means we are fools who should have known better huh? Bullshit I tell you. Bullshit!

The loudest sound our souls make is the keening for love. We bury it with alcohol, with quick fixes in short lived relationships, with our jobs, our kids, our friends and our hobbies. For a while, the whimpering in our hearts go silent. We have quenched the fire in the belly of the beast.... for a little while. It never lasts for long though. The fire burns again. Our hearts feel the need to find a kindred spirit; one who can love us for all our finer qualities and in spite of all our flaws. The keening grows louder, the cycle starts over yet somehow...ultimately... we end up alone again. That's how we get "that lonely."

It's so easy to go from the joys of heaven where every sound, every touch and taste and smell are heightened by our own happiness into an ecstasy heretofore unknown to us.

Then.... the crash. Nothing tastes good anymore. Music, which had echoed our own hopes, now only speaks of our heartbreak. You just don't care anymore. You are ugly, stupid, useless, unlovable and undesirable, at least to anyone who is worth it; only Satan's Spawn could want someone like you right?

Getting past that feeling is the loneliest thing in the world. It doesn't matter how many well wishing friends you have. No amount of "you're better off without him/her" helps. You....don' You just want it all back. If only I had done this... said that... maybe I shouldn't have emailed... maybe it was that last phone call. Did I smell funny... taste funny... is it my nose??? It's easy to get to the point where you just can't take the pain anymore. Then you decide to quit trying. That's how you get that lonely. You get impatient and convince yourself it will never get any better; that this feeling you have now is it for you. It's all you have and worse, all you're worth.

Ok.... NOW... this long entry aside that came from God knows where other than seeing the pain of someone I know, I will start writing the post about what happened to me. maybe on seeing it, this person can realize that what they are going through, hellish as it is, WILL pass. Not soon... I won't lie. But it will pass.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Ma, They Threw Me Outta The Trailer Park!!

With a mother born and raised in Alabama, over 20 years in Kentucky and also a year in Texas, one would assume I would be more country, more southern by now than I would be Yankee wouldn't you? That doesn't seem to be the case though. Other than an obsessive love for the word y'all and way too much of an interest in Southern cooking (mmmm, fried chicken, collards and corn bread... I'm pretty sure they are on the Heavenly menu), I am still a city woman, ok let's be specific, a Chicago woman, at heart.

I have never quite fit in in the rural south (I do fine in Lexington but here?? Uh uh) and you know what... I think I'm glad of it. I have admitted to Elitist tendencies. I've never been one to be Politically Correct; I've always said what I thought, gotten on my soapbox to espouse causes I believe in, but never because it was trendy, simply because it meant something to me and part of that not being politically correct is that I haven't been able to bring myself to believe in the dogma of "everyone is the same; nobody is better". To that I say a simple hogwash. See, this wasn't the general theme of this entry but there I go again... getting on my soapbox and not being politically correct hehehe.

I was out getting some stuff done yesterday and I saw wayyyy too much "country" for my taste. I think I got stuck behind or gleefully saw others stuck behind about 6 tractors. Added to that was the truck full of blissfully ignorant cows being led to their slaughter so that their flesh can grace our dinner tables. Yeah yeah I know, there I go again... and I'm not even a vegetarian. I was a vegetarian once.... it was the longest day of my life.

No seriously, I was one for over a year because it DOES bug me that they are raised just for our food. Then my "lets go off on another path" mind will think "ok what if we DIDN'T eat them? What then? Would Cows soon become the next trendy pet?" I can see it now. "George, the cow got out again and I think it ate the little boy next door. We're gonna have to move again gosh durn it!" Or soon Cow Poaching and Pig Poaching would become federal offenses and people would serve time because that telltale trace of BBQ sauce on their chin gave them away "I give you exhibit one your honor! We have here a photograph of Mr. Joe Bob Inbred eating, yes I said EATING, his neighbors pet Pig Wilbur!!!" Meanwhile, Wilbur's owner sits in the courtroom wailing inconsolably. Mind you they are only wailing because they had been growing Wilbur nice and fat for themselves and now that hush hush family picnic complete with Piggy flesh was ruined but was THEIR pet! Also, say we all decided en masse to never eat another animal (yes I know...humans decide ANYTHING en masse... but this is MY warped entry damn it), how long before we are overrun with cows and pigs and chickens and cute little lambs and they are the new animal enemy? "Breaking news!! Family terrorized by a group (gaggle, herd, whateverrrrrr!) of hungry pigs.... father still missing; stay tuned for details!"
Pet stores would have to totally change their floor plans to fit cages sized for 800 pound Bovines who enjoy munching on dead grass and pooping where they stand. "Our pet of the day is Buffy; she's a 1200 pound pregnant cow who just adores chasing string & being rubbed under her chin; we've had little success getting her litter trained though. Nobody makes a box large enough"
Wow, this changed from my original planned entry. I know how surprised you all are.
Where was I? Trailer park... thrown out because I'm too city... piggies and chickens and cows oh my... well maybe I'll save the original idea behind this topic (assuming I can even remember it) for a new topic. I'm off now to find some animal flesh to heat up and make crispy for dinner. Skin anyone??

Quote Of The Day

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

~Nelson Mandela~

Friday, April 24, 2009

The Tale Of Nakkie-Man

In 1984, I was working at TJ Applebees in Houston. One night during happy hour, a rather large gentleman came in. He ordered a pitcher of our Happy hour Margaritas and a basket of 10 cent wings. He specified extra hot wings. In our restaurant, that was NOT smart because the line chef who made them had an evil sense of humor about his wings.

This man had a very ummm... healthy appetite. Four baskets of wings later (about 80 wings), he was on his third pitcher of margaritas and feeling no pain. Every minute or so, he would let out a huge belch and then giggle like a little girl, complete to covering his mouth with his hands and blushing. This activity coming from a man about 6'5" and maybe 300 pounds was comical as hell.

Fianlly he walked off towards the restroom and I used the chance to try to clean up the mess. There were chicken bones all over the floor, drawings of various obscenities on paper napkins, about 6 glasses on the table (he frequently requested a new glass and also very INfrequently allowed me to bus the table) and dirty napkins everywhere.

I went into the kitchen with my twelve foot high load of junk to get rid of it all. About three minutes later, another server came into the kitchen, laughing so hard she was practically turning blue.
"Janet... table 28... oh my god... get out here... oh SHIT... anyone have a camera... where the f**k did he leave his pants?!"

Somewhat leery but knowing that I had to go out there because our management had an in house policy of "your customer your mess," I walked out and stopped dead in my tracks as I got near table 28. My customer was naked... and eating wings. Well, he wasn't totally naked. He had had the foresight to leave on his tie to tuck his napkin into. But other than that and his shoes and socks, he was butt naked.

From right behind me, I heard the giggles of practically every member of the staff, down to the cooks. Mysteriously enough, the manager was absent. My mess huh? Gee... thanks.
Luckily, we weren't very busy that night, so I did my best to shut up the other staff and convinced them to go do what they were supposed to be doing. The giggles of course, kept going as they walked away as well as the comments of "Hey Jan... maybe he likes you and wanted to get to know you better" to "Damn Josh, what the hell did you put in those drinks!?"

I walked over to "nakkie man" and tried to talk without either sinking through the floor or bursting out laughing, both very distinct possibilities.
"ummm...sir... you're... where are your... I think you might wanna.. Sir... YOU'RE NAKED!"

"I know honey. I was BURPPPPPP oh my... so sorry... that was rude of me giggle from him... I was hot, so I just figured I'd sit here and watch the game on TV and eat my wings. Can I get another pitcher of Margaritas please?"

He was drunk right? He HAD to be drunk. Yet he was talking perfectly logically, no slurring.
"Sir... you can't be in here naked. I mean, the other customers... I mean sir your, at this I looked down and pointed and probably blushed redder than ever before or since ummm it's illegal. You have GOT to get your clothes back on sir or I'll have to ask you to leave."

Ask you to leave??!! WTF Janet? The dude is NAKED not being drunk and hitting on you! I gathered my thoughts together and vowed silently to kill my absent manager.
"Sir? I have to insist you get dressed!"

At that, he stood up. "What's wrong honey? You've never seen a naked man before? What's the problem? I was hot cause of those wings so I got comfortable."
At this, he grabbed himself and started shaking "it" in my direction. "It's just a dick honey. See? Harder shaking to where I was worried he would pull the damn thing off but as I said he was feeling no pain Just a dick. We all have 'em. Well, maybe not you but you got a cute ass and some nice tits. And I've got a DICKKKKKKKK"

Ok, I was done. I was totally and completely embarrassed and also laughing my ass off as Nakkie Man began to prance around his table, eating a wing with one hand and grabbing his penis with the other, chanting "I have a dick. I have a dick. She has nice tits but I have a dick!!" The restaurant was a madhouse of people leaving but mostly of.. I am not lying... people taking pictures and laughing.

I walked away and went to the phone and called the police and between laughs and stutters managed to explain that we needed some help because we had a crazed naked drunken man dancing around in house. After the dispatcher clarified between his own guffaws what I was saying, he sent out a car.

Nakkie man had sat back down. The bartender had brought him a pitcher of margaritas and Nakkie man was again happy, eating wings, mopping his face and drinking. About five minutes later, the police came in, guns drawn, expecting I don't know what.

We pointed out Nakkie Man. They walked over and quietly conversed with him, one of the cops waving his hand and obviously refusing Nakkie Mans offer of a drink. One of them went into the bathroom and retrieved the misplaced clothing, with the other leading Nakkie Man out by the arm as he kept saying "But I wasn't done yet. I still have some margaritas left and some wings. Hey, doesn't she have some great tits and what an ass huh? Can I get my wings?"

Nakkie Man was gone. Every customer in house at the time was offered a free meal voucher and their desserts from that night comped (hush money so to speak). The manager suddenly showed up gee imagine that and told me I had done good. How the hell would YOU know bozo? You hid.

Three days later the manager on duty came out to me as I was getting ready to start my shift and handed me an envelope, already opened but with contents reinserted. the envelope was adressed to "The Waitress on duty when there was trouble on October 23rd" (guessing at the date here; can't remember) It contained a short letter from Nakkie Mans wife, apologizing profusely for the nights incidents, explaining that Nakkie Man had various mental issues and with a hundred dollar bill enclosed "for your trouble"

I don't waitress anymore.

Things Childhood taught Me

Alternately Titled
There IS a Boogey-Man Under The Bed

1)When your mother tries to feed you something she has nicknamed garbage soup, you're not going to like it.

2)Mud pies are not; I repeat are not edible no matter how pretty they look. For that matter, neither do butterflies taste like butter. They taste rather like dusty paper.

3)Never challenge yourself to see how much water you can drink. You can drink a lot and you will regret the knowledge.

4)Mothers of my moms generation learned to make oatmeal at the Acme Glue Factory.

5)No matter how hard you try, you can not catch fish from a rain puddle using a stick with thread tied to it. You can however catch a whipping when your mother realizes you used a whole spool of her thread in the attempt.

6)It is imperative to jump onto the bed quickly if the light is already off. Otherwise the boogeyman under the bed will grab your ankle and pull you under there and eat you. Also never let your foot or hand slide off of the bed. Just.Trust.Me.

7)If you sneak a bag of cookies to run away with, your mother will take the cookies but let you run away. Sneak carrots instead. She'll let you take those in the firm knowledge that she will get them back. Then you can dump them in someones trash can and feel vindicated.

8)If your older brother dares you to drink a 16 oz. bottle of pop in under a minute, don't do it. The after burps are killer.

9)You can suck jello through a straw if you try hard enough, but it hurts like heck if you laugh and make it come out your nose. Though it has its benefits if it was lime jello.

10)You can not hide garbage soup in your pants.

11)Nothing anyone can do can disguise the taste of liver. Not even liberal amounts of Ketchup work.

12)Black eyes look awesome when you're eight. Major status symbol and great way to get candy sympathy.

13)It is a moral imperative of kid-dom to never eat Corn Flakes without first putting so much sugar on it that you can spoon the wet masses out of the bowl after you eat the cereal.

14)Never believe anyone who tells you it ruins Christmas to sneak and know all your presents ahead of time. It was a blast. I preplanned my Christmas Vacation activities in November.

15)Bicycles do not fit through basement windows. The person riding it however can have enough momentum to go flying through said window.

16)The same bicycle also does not win against an oncoming police car. But policemen who feel guilty over ramming into 9 year old girls offer five dollar bills as hush money.

17)When you toss a prop Turkey off the stage in your fifth grade Thanksgiving play in a winning attempt to get a laugh, no one ever believes it was on purpose. I'm 44 and my family still thinks I just dropped that son of a bitch.

18)Last but not least, if you sit quietly on the bottom of the public pool, you can giggle over knowing who exactly it is that pees in the pool. This is especially fun when it's the popular kids.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Parental Rant

Last night we went to my youngest sons school where they were having what is called "Spring Fling". The chorus, of which my boy is a member, did a few selections, then they had an auction and then the kids did a short musical based on Schoolhouse Rock (another post entirely lol).

During this, I couldn't help noticing something. Nine out of ten of the children present there (as well as their parents) were very overweight. I don't mean baby fat that a teen growth spurt (or a few days of being careful in the case of the parents) would take care of. I mean obese. The girl who was the lead in the musical was wonderful. Charismatic, funny, all around great. Also, ten years old, about 4'10" and probably weighed 160 pounds. It pisses me off.
Not at the children though. They are just that; children.

I have six kids. The only one carrying any extra weight is my daughter, who is also the mother of a fairly young child so I am confident hers will come back off. She's been working on it. All of my boys though are fine.

I am somewhat overweight and because of that, I was determined that my kids would not follow my lead. I watched what they ate (still do with my 12 and 14 year olds), was careful about snacks. Pop is a rare treat for them, candy also. They get candy on "kid candy holidays" like Easter, Halloween and Christmas and for "just because" treats every once in a while. I keep canned fruit (in it's own juices not heavy syrup), sugar free jello, a constant supply of Apples and Bananas, stuff like that. Their meals are portioned out to contain more veggies than meat and if they are still hungry when they finish, I ask them to wait for a bit to make sure they really ARE hungry before allowing more. Most of the time they decide they aren't.

I see these children, these precious being entrusted to our care, literally waddling like a woman 8 months pregnant and I want to beat the tar out of their parents. What the hell are they thinking letting that happen?!

Too many people go by the notion of "food is love" and I want my child to know I love them. Hell, I bake for my family. Made cookies yesterday as a matter of fact. My boys had 1 last night and have had 1 today. That's it for them. It's enough. Why isn't enough...well... enough for some parents?

They love their kids as much as I love mine. I know this. So how can they be blind to what they are doing to their kids? The health risks are obvious. The weight, no pun intended here, feeds on itself, making it hard for the child to do the same activities as his or her peers thus making them heavier from lack of exercise as well as segregating them from normal friendships that are so based on action in childhood. If you can't keep up, you're out.

Beyond the health risks, there are the social risks. Sure, there are some, like that girl in the play at my sons school, who get past the weight and you can watch them and know they will be popular no matter their size. Sadly though, that's rarely the case. Those kids will be ostracized, outsiders among the most social of creatures.... children. Then to make them feel better, their parents will give them some cookies.

Dammit... look at that child before you throw edible comfort at him! Give him a hug and go out walking with him. Go bike riding. Go hiking. Something. But teach him to push the plate away when his stomach says he is full. Teach him he can't fill his heart with an extra serving of mashed potatoes.

Gary Fulsom

No matter what she did that night, she couldn't get warm. December in Cleveland was a bad time to be temporarily homeless. Being only nineteen, she knew better than to go over to the crowd of men huddled around a garbage can fire. There was no friendship waiting there;only problems.

So she pulled her knees in closer to her chest and tucked her arms under the thin sleeves of her shirt and looked longingly at the bright flames and the bits of food the men were passing amongst themselves. She had no extra clothing, no coat. Those had been kept in a fit of temper when her ex-roommate kicked her out because she didn't want to go farther than being a roommate.

She saw the aged man coming towards her and tried to make herself invisible behind the dumpster. It didn't work.

"Hey Blondie. Why ya hidin' back there? Scareda us gents over there? Well, you should be. We're a nasty lot of lost souls." He smiled at her showing a mouth full of broken teeth and sat down near her, waving a hand and telling her to sit back down when she arose and looked frantically around for the help she knew wasn't there.

Sitting back down as far away as the limited space behind the dumpster she had been calling home for the last week allowed, she waited quietly thinking if she just let him ramble, he might leave sooner.

"Frightening looking old shit, ain't I?" He spread his arms wide as if to show himself off. He wore a faded Army uniform with tattered old sneakers. His hair was halfway down his back and looked like it hadn't seen a brush or shampoo in weeks. His right arm hung strangely and he favored the left, using the right only to cradle the bottle he periodically swallowed from.

He gave a snorting laugh and smiled at her. Something in his smile eased her fears a little though she still kept silent. "I wasn't always this bum you see now, sweetheart. I'll betcha didn't know I was a vet huh? The uniform ain't just for looks honey. I served three tours in Nam. Had me a good life going until I got hit. Had me a wife and a couple of kids waiting at home." He took a long drink and was quiet for a long while. She thought he was finished and started to doze lightly, comforted by the presence of someone older. She awoke with a start when he began to talk again. "When I got hit, she couldn't take it cause I ain't a whole man no more. She took the kids. Got herself remarried. I lost touch with the kids 'bout 10 years ago. They'd be pretty much grown now."

"VA didn't help me much. The arms never worked too good since then; can't really feel much in it. The rest... well, ain't much they could do to make me a man again ya know?" She didn't answer, knowing it wasn't expected. She just sat with her head on her knees, listening and trying to keep warm.

Suddenly he looked at her as if really seeing her for the first time. "Shit honey, ain't you freezing?" He walked away towards the rest of the men. She heard some low toned words being exchanged and he came back with a dirty woolen blanket. He tossed it at her along with a sack of cold burgers that she knew had probably come from a dumpster behind the local fast food joint.

Grabbing both, she wrapped up and started to eat, hungry enough after three days with no food to not care where it came from. He nodded, looking pleased to see her eat and continued talking.

"I like it out here ya know? Lotsa us out here. Nam... well, it fucked us up pretty good. You don't forget; you can't. No way to forget it when you see a pretty VC woman kill off your buddies like they was so many roaches. Can't forget it when you watch a little boy blow hisself up in the middle of a crowd because someone paid his family ten bucks to let them wire him up." He took another drink and offered her the bottle which she refused with a shake of her head. "That's ok honey. More for me," he said with another snorting laugh.

Suddenly he started digging in his pants pocket. "Honey, you got a family somewhere?" She nodded. "Can't get back to them, can ya? Hmmpphh, know what that's like. You don't need to be in this place honey. It ain't safe for you. Pretty girl like you. You're sure quiet but I can see smart in yer eyes. You need to go home." He pulled out a wad of grimy bills and thrust them at her.

That's when she spoke up."I can't take your money. Thank you... but I can't. I don't have any way of paying you back."

"Yeah you do honey." Seeing the fear light up in her eyes again, he laughed. "Not that; told you... I ain't whole... and anyway, you're 'bout the age my daughter would be. I wouldn't want her out here. Take the money honey. Go home. Get back to yer people before you lose your soul here. You can't live this way and keep it or your mind. Go home. You can do something for me by keeping me in yer head. It'll be nice to know that somewhere out there somebody remembers me. My name is Gary. Gary Fulsom. Remember that ok?"

She thrust the bills down into her pocket and got up. "Thank you. I don't know why you're doing this but thank you...Gary. My name is Janet. Again... thank you." She turned to go, leaving the blanket lying next to him.

When she was a few yards away, she heard him call out to her. She walked back and waited as he fumbled out of his coat. He looked down at it, looked up at her, then back at the coat. "Take this; it's fucking cold out here. I got the fire. You need a jacket. Now get the fuck outta here before I change my mind. Get your ass to the Greyhound station and get the hell outta this place. Go!" He pushed the coat at her and turned away. She held the coat for a second, knowing he had had it since the days when he had had a better life, when he had had love; a family.

"Gary!?", she called out and ran after him. "Thank you... for everything." On a feeling, she reached out and wrapped her arms around his waist for a second. He didn't respond at first, then she felt his hand rest softly on her hair.

He started to speak and cleared his throat when his voice broke. "G'wan. Get outta here. You can prolly get a bus out tonight. Just remember ol' Gary k?".

I still do.