Friday, October 30, 2009

To the Fabric Store

Dear Lucy,
Don't aspirate anything important, but Suzie and I went to the fabric store today. I know; me at a fabric store. I didn't cut myself on any of the material.
Suzie is going to be a grandma. Twins. Boys. She loves to sew. Need I say more?
We bought some material and patterns and she has been happily busy at the dining room table ever since.

I am in awe of her. That anyone could take material and a paper pattern and lay it all out and understand what they are doing amazes me.
I never learned that stuff. Partly because I just wasn't interested and partly because I am left handed. I think being left handed flummoxed my mother. She had taught Suzie and my other sister Nancy to sew but when I came along and everything had to be done backward, she lost it.
She tried for an hour (God bless her she was patient) to try and show me how to knit when I was young. No go. Sewing, even on a machine, was backwards for me.

I did learn how to iron by watching her and then just adjusting to a lefty. The ironing board was set up opposite what Mom did. She would watch me iron and cringe.
I also went through this in PE class in school. Every new sport. Left handed. Drove the teachers crazy. When I go to a restaurant with a group, I have to play musical chairs because I am left handed. Anne was so used to it, she would just naturally have me pick a seat first.

So, I leave the sewing and knitting and crocheting and basket weaving to others.
And to this day when someone says those immortal words to me, "Wow, you're left-handed!", I still manage to avoid looking astounded and saying, I AM???

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Cut Me Finger

Dear Lucy,
Cut my finger this morning looking for a pair of pants. I swear I am such a klutz I could cut myself on a marshmallow.
Now I have my middle finger in a band aide (the tip of the finger of course) and I can't type. I have the weekend to heal up for the Nanwrimo contest (50000 word novel in 30 days).
Note to self: watch those paper cuts in November.
Took me five minutes to type this. {{{sigh}}}.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

A Most Sincere Pumpkin Patch

Dear Lucy,
Suzie and I took a ride to this pumpkin patch Saturday. Not that we needed pumpkins but that we needed an excuse to get out of the house.
People with wheel barrows were walking around the field collecting pumkins with their little kids tagging along looking big-eyed and excited.
We bought a Hubbard squash for eating and some decorative squashettes for laughing at.

Saturday, October 24, 2009


Dear Lucy,
This is an email I received today and I am still scratching my head over it:

• I used to eat a lot of natural foods until I learned that most people die of natural causes.
• There are two kinds of pedestrians: the quick and the dead.
• Life is sexually transmitted.
• Healthy is merely the slowest possible rate at which one can die.
• The only difference between a rut and a grave is the depth.
• Health nuts are going to feel stupid someday, lying in hospitals dying of nothing.
• Have you noticed since everyone has a camcorder these days no one talks about seeing UFOs like they used to?
• Whenever I feel blue, I start breathing again.
• All of us could take a lesson from the weather. It pays no attention to criticism.
• In the 60's, people took acid to make the world weird. Now the world is weird and people take Prozac to make it normal..
• How is it one careless match can start a forest fire, but it takes a whole box to start a campfire?
• Who was the first person to look at a cow and say, 'I think I'll squeeze these dangly things and drink whatever comes out?'
• If Jimmy cracks corn and no one cares, why is there a song about him?
• Why does your OB-GYN leave the room when you get undressed if they are going to look up there anyway?
• If quizzes are quizzical, what are tests?
• If corn oil is made from corn, and vegetable o il is made from vegetables, then what is baby oil made from?
• Do illiterate people get the full effect of Alphabet Soup?
• Does pushing the elevator button more than once make it arrive faster?
• Why doesn't glue stick to the inside of the bottle?


Friday, October 23, 2009

A Short Story

Chapter One

“Follow me.”

“Where are you going?”

“To the drug store to make a purchase.”

The two men walked somberly down 16th street in San Francisco’s Mission District, to the house of a drug dealer named Tony. It was hot, too hot for San Francisco’s crowded old buildings, tiny streets, and throbbing black-top, and the heat made the stench of human urine seep from doorways and alleys. It muffled the car exhaust close to the street where pedestrians inhaled it, hardly noticing it anymore for the lack of mental presence in the city. Heat that sucked whatever oxygen that may enter the lungs out like the sudden gasp of a dying man.

They walked on.

The “Drug Store” was a section of the neighborhood where the dealers seemed to congregate to do business, make deals, squabble and fight over territory and get high. Littered among the parked cars were junkies and winos, undercover cops and patrol cars, and the occasional unwed soon to be mother, pregnant out to here and pushing a squalling infant in a stroller while her boom box pumps out some foul mouthed rapper singing about his old lady. The lyrics never change, just the delivery.

Terry and Greg were brothers, Greg being the older and Terry the dutiful shadow since he was able to walk. Even at the ripe old age of 19, Terry believed the sun rose and set on Greg. Still tall and gangly, Terry’s chest had not yet filled out, nor had his acne subsided and he tried desperately to grow a beard to cover it, the blonde peach-fuzz seeming to taunt him with his youthful appearance. Greg though 3 years older than Terry, was fairing little better in the masculinity department though he had finally conquered the acne.

Always on the corner of 16th and Valencia a man sat in his garage drinking ice-tea and watching passers-by. He was old. Ancient. A fossil of a man whose skeletal body belied the baggy t-shirt he wore with the sleeves rolled over a pack of Camel cigarettes. Smoking, smoking, one cigarette after another, he would light the next one off the butt of the old. Then a fit of coughing that rattled his whole body and brought up bloody spittle would set off until he was just too out of air to go on. The cigarette though, never left his mouth. He blinked hard at the glaring sun as his sallow cheeks continued to suck on his cigarette, the smoke puffing out his nose like some fierce dragon, and watched as Terry and Greg approach him.

The two men walked passed the old man sitting in his garage, ignoring his coughing fit.

“Hey fellas,” the old man finally said after spitting to the side.

“Whas-up?” Terry said slowing his pace a little.

“Want to talk to ya,” the old man replied his cigarette dangling from his mouth.

“We ain’t got time to talk to you old man,” Greg spat angrily, “we got things to do.”

“I know you do,” the old man said smiling, his teeth yellow with age and tobacco, “that’s why I

hailed you”.

“So what do you want?” Greg said walking back to face the man square on.

“Just to tell you not to go,” he replied picking up his glass of ice-tea and taking a swallow.

“Oh right,” Greg said, “what are you some kind of prophet of doom? Let’s get outta here,” he said to Terry and both men began to walk away.

“Ok,” the old guy replied, “see you on your way back.”

“Wait up,” Terry said to Greg, “aren’t you curious about what he wants to tell us?”

“No,” Greg said impatiently, “I’m curious what Tony’s gonna charge us this time. Come on.”

“I’m gonna go talk to the old guy, you go make the deal.” Terry headed back to the garage and the old man.


“So you’re back,” the old man said as he watched Terry heading for him.

“Ya I am. So what did you want to tell me,” Terry asked, shuffling from one foot to the other like a kid caught stealing.

“I wanted to tell you not to go buy the drugs you were after. They will ruin your life.”

“Is that all? Everybody says that. Don’t tell me, are you the guy who came up with that stupid commercial with the fried egg? Man, that sucks.”

“No, I’m not into commercials. And yes everybody does say that. Everybody who has been there and is trying to keep young punks like you from screwing up your life.

I used to be a successful business man her in San Francisco. Had a house in Pacific Heights, had a beautiful wife and kids, couple of grandkids. I did coke now and then, mostly at parties, and then a friend turned me on to crack. Now, I live in this garage. No business, no wife, the kids won’t speak to me. And though I quit the crack a year ago, I still crave it. My life’s over because of a drug.”

“Well, what makes you think me and my brother are doin’ crack?”

“A hunch. You make lots of trips by here every day. So are you?”

“Ya, sometimes. But we’re not hooked, no way. And we won’t be either. So thanks for the talk, but me and my brother will be all right.” Terry started to walk away from the old man, his hands in his pockets as if to hide his feelings, and he headed off to find his brother.

Greg had just finished making his deal. His deal consisted of going to one of the corner markets in the “drug store” neighborhood, and heading for a garage in the back. There he had to get past the guard--a 130 pound Doberman Pincer and his owner--to reach the slot in the garage wall where he slid his cash and got his vials of crack in return. He had never actually seen Tony the dealer, and suspected that Tony wasn’t his real name. He hadn’t gotten three blocks when he ran into Terry.

“Preached some kind of sobriety gospel didn’t he?” Greg asked Terry as they headed home with two vials of crack.

“Ya, how did you know?”

“Ah, I know the type. Says he’s been there,” Greg went on in a martyr type voice, “and he just wants to save you from going down the path he went.”

“Wow, you hit it on the money. He told me he was some big-shot with a big house and all and that he lost it doing crack.”

“What a loser,” Greg said waving the whole thing off.

The old man’s yellow-toothed, phlegmy laugh played through Terry’s mind like instant replay during a baseball game, giving him a blow-by-blow reminder of all the guy said. Terry, who never had trouble sleeping, was now having his first night of insomnia. Not that the six rocks of crack that he did himself was keeping him up, though it often kept Greg up. Terry had never smoked so much before. He had always considered himself an occasional user.

Finally at about 4 am, Terry drifted off to sleep and dreamed. He had never really dreamed in his life. Oh yes he dreamed, everybody does, but he almost never remembered them so he figured he didn’t often have them. When he did, they were drab, colorless images, none of which could be put together into any coherent story. Until tonight. Tonight he dreamed vivid. He dreamed color. The color of blood. And he dreamed a coherent story as unbelievable as the craziest sci-fi movie he had ever seen.

Chapter Two

“You look like crap,” Greg said to Terry as he shuffled into the kitchen.

“I feel like crap too,” Terry replied beginning to cough violently until he spit up blood.

“No, I really mean it Terry,” Greg said looking alarmed, “you should go see a doctor or somthin’.”

“Ain’t seein’ no doctor man, now just leave me alone!” This was one of the rare occasions when Terry ever yelled at Greg. Usually it was the other way around, and Greg was taken aback, and hurt.

“Fine asshole,” Greg spat, “Sorry for caring.” Greg finished his coffee and headed out the door. He was late for class. Terry had classes too, but wasn’t even going to try to make it. He went to bed and didn’t sleep.

He was certain that every car or bus going past the house was coming for him. Knew that every time the phone rang it was someone checking up on him. He even suspected that Greg was keeping tabs on him but couldn’t find a reason why he would.

He needed a hit of crack, and he needed it badly. Needed it like a suffocating man needs a breath of air. Craved it like the suffocating man’s burning lungs craved oxygen.

His throat was dry. Dry like he had swallowed a tumble-weed and all of its stickery spines were jabbing his throat making him cough at the slightest attempt to talk or swallow. He drank glass after glass of water but nothing helped. And the cravings got stronger and stronger.

Oozing out from under the floor-boards like some kind of gray lava, it creapt closer to him. It seemed to make breathing movements--Inhale, exhale. Inhale, exhale--while its tentacles reached. Reached for whatever was in front of it to grab onto and devour. When its entire body had escaped from the walls it looked like a giant Jellyfish.

It was heading straight for Terry.

“What are you?” Terry said in near panic.

I am craving, the thing replied though not audibly. It continued its relentless movement toward Terry until it was literally crawling up his leg.

At first Terry thought it must be some kind of hallucination or something. Something from some crazy movie he must have seen. Maybe as a kid. Terry had always loved monster and sci-fi movies, especially the horrid B movies. He had seen every kind of monster or alien created, and this one just seemed to resemble all the others. But he was scared anyway. Scared because, no matter how many movies he saw, the monsters had never entered his home, or crawled up his leg as this one was at this very moment.

You have invited me to be your constant companion, and here I am, the thing breathed in a voice that sounded like fingernails on a chalk board.

Before Terry could utter a reply, the thing had made its way to his face and was smothering him as absolutely as a pillow over the face would. Terry panicked.

There were his muffled screams. There was the struggle to peal Craving off his face if only to catch one breath of air. Terry’s lungs were ripping inside of him and the room began to blur and fuzz. Then all went black in his eyes except for the vivid colors flashing like neon lights. He was dying.

Just before Terry finally passed out, Craving let him get one large breath of air. This was enough to send Terry running to put his clothes on so he could get to the dealer. By now Craving had moved onto Terry’s back hanging off of him like a wounded war buddy being dragged to safety. This at least, Terry could handle. At least he could breathe.

Terry checked his wallet for funds. He had two bucks. Two of Craving’s tentacles began to tighten around Terry’s neck again cutting off his oxygen supply. Terry ran headlong into the kitchen to the cupboard under the sink where mom kept emergency money in a Band-aid can.

Fifty bucks. He stumbled down the stairs and out the front door, hoping no one would notice Craving on his back, its long tentacles wrapping around his torso, his neck, and even his head.
He itched violently. It was as if Craving’s tentacles had thorns jabbing his skin, leaving a venom that coursed just under the surface like thousands of ticks burrowing. He scratched madly as he walked to the “drug store”.

It was still stifling hot in the City, and the usual fog--the City’s natural air-conditioning--was not due to come back for days. The air felt like a sloppy-wet, hot wool blanket covering Terry’s body causing the “ticks” to burrow furiously. Terry was certain everyone could see Craving on his back, could see the “ticks” crawling around just under his skin. He was sure everyone was calling the cops on their cell phones, reporting the scene walking down 16th street. He ducked into alleyways when he could. Hung out in doorways watching passers-by every now and then to see if they were watching him. He listened for footsteps behind him. At one point a squad car happened by and Terry nearly jumped into a nearby trash-can to hide. The cop didn’t even notice him.

Arriving at the crack house, he made his way to the back garage where he had seen Greg go to get their drugs. The guard’s Doberman barked wildly at Terry sensing what only Terry apparently knew; there was an alien thing clinging to him. Terry kicked at the dog--something totally out of character for him--and sneered at the guard. “Get that damned thing away from me,” he said and went on to the garage.

Shaking from fear and the itching bugs he was feeling under his skin, he pulled out his money and slipped it in the slot. His vials were slipped back without a word. The deal was done just that quickly. Terry took his dope and headed for home trying to get the constant babble of Craving out of his head.

He was incessant, Craving was. He babbled in his “fingernails on a chalk-board” voice without end. Telling Terry how good the drug was. How much he needed it. What a stud he was for taking it. And so on and so forth. Constantly, day and night, Craving babbled unless or until Terry got high.

He burst through the front door of the house and ran upstairs to get his pipe. A few seconds later he was high and Craving was gone along with his itching tentacles and grating voice. What a relief. Not only a relief, but euphoria. Terry had beaten his demon at his own game. He was a stud.

For about fifteen minutes. He smoked some more, and more, and more, until his cache was gone. And he was out of money. And he had already hit mom’s Band-aid can. And Craving returned bigger and more powerful than before.

Chapter Three

He couldn’t sleep. He hadn’t eaten in weeks. And he had started talking back to Craving, even in public. Fortunately for him, it was not uncommon for people to talk to themselves, even argue with themselves while they walked San Francisco’s streets. Most folks didn’t give it a second thought.

The incessant babbling of Craving was only interrupted by the sound of the old man’s phlegmy voice telling him that crack would ruin his life. “Great,” Terry thought to himself, “all I need is another voice competing with Craving. And a preacher’s voice too.”

He headed back to the crack house.

It wasn’t long before Craving became so insistent that Terry couldn’t even wait to get home before he lit up. He started going to a crack house where people got their stuff and got high right there to save time and energy. But he grew terrified that the other smokers were watching him. Talking about him. Maybe even reporting him to the cops. He started hiding in a corner of the crack house, smoking and waiting for Craving to leave him alone.

And Craving did leave him alone. And then he returned, always in a new and improved fashion. Now Terry could hardly carry Craving on his back, and Craving was becoming irritable, nasty, and insatiable. The “ticks” had turned into cockroaches crawling up and down his body, making nests in his hair, laying eggs under his tongue. He was sure of it.

Craving had tried to suffocate him so many times that his lungs had ripped themselves apart. Torn themselves to shreds. And now Terry coughed violently and spit up blood.

He demanded that Terry get some money and buy more crack. So Terry did. He picked pockets. He stole purses. He took Social Security checks out of the mailboxes of the retired and cashed them. He shoplifted. This from a man who had once been a Boy Scout. Who had cried from fear at the Wizard of Oz when he was little. Who had talked to all the old ladies in his neighborhood as a boy and helped them up stairs with their groceries. Now he preyed upon them for money.

Craving was delighted.

“I just can’t tell you how nice it is that you still help an old lady like me,” Mrs. Johnson said.

“Oh it’s no problem,” Terry replied, trying to work up a happy sounding voice. He placed Mrs. Johnson’s groceries on her kitchen table while scanning the room.

He had helped her with groceries and other little chores since he was about 12 and her husband suddenly died. She always tipped him a little from her coin purse, even to this day though the amount never changed and his needs certainly did.

He walked into her living room as she put her groceries away, and searched for anything he could steal. She didn’t have much and what she did have was worthless.
After a few minutes she came into the living room with her coin purse looking for quarters to give to Terry. She was so old now, he thought to himself. She was old when he was a boy, even before her husband died. Now she was positively antique. She handed him a couple of dollars in coins and gave him a warm smile and a heartfelt thank you.

This will get you nowhere! Craving spat venomously in Terry’s ear. Why do you bother with the old woman when you have me to take care of. Cold-cock her and steal her purse you worthless puke-bag!

Terry felt the choking suffocation beginning as he stood staring at the old lady. Without a second thought he hit her and watched as she fell backward onto the hard-wood floor. He then went for her purse. It was the first of the month and he figured she would have just cashed her Social Security check. He was right. And in her purse, (she had not set foot in a bank since the great crash of the 1930’s had wiped out her father), had three-hundred dollars in it. He took it all. And ran.

When Mrs. Johnson regained consciousness, she called the police and reported Terry. She didn’t want to, couldn’t bring herself to think that he had really hurt and robbed her, but she had to have her money back. Waiting for the police to arrive, she put some ice on her bruised and swollen eye and cried. Cried for the sweet little boy she had once known and liked. How he would look up to her as he helped her. How he would spend hours talking to her as she worked in her tiny garden. How he came running over to show her his report card the time he got a passing grade in arithmetic. How proud she was of the man he had become. Until now. The fine man had been replaced by a gaunt, stringy haired, unshaven, unkempt, thief. What had happened?

Chapter Four

He had spent the better part of the afternoon at the crack house getting high and bidding good riddance to Craving. He was so wired on his walk home that his heart was doing somersaults in his chest while his head--feeling as fuzzy as a Q-tip--reeled from the high. It wasn’t long though before he came down again. Way down.

He lay in his bed sobbing. The depression he had fallen into was palpable. Like being captured in a giant maw and swallowed alive. Swallowed down the throat of despair. An abyss that is lined with oily, gooey cotton that sticks to the skin and sucks the soul out of the body. The more he clawed to keep from sinking deeper, the more oily the cotton grew, the more the throat swallowed, until even the light at the end of the tunnel was extinguished.

He sobbed.

Craving belittled.

He begged.

Craving demanded.

He tried to sleep.

Craving chattered.

He got his brother’s gun.

Craving encouraged. And laughed his maligning, cackling laugh. Go ahead, I dare you. You’re nothing but a worm.

He placed the barrel into his mouth.

You don’t have the guts do you? Do you? DO YOU?

And he watched as his brains, bits of skull and clumps of hair shot into his bedroom wall. The blood, as vivid a red as has ever been painted on a pallet pooled on the floor under his lifeless body.

Craving laughed.

Chapter Five

After fifteen years with the same alarm clock, Terry still hadn’t gotten used to the pealing alarm when it went off in the mornings. This morning though, he was more than happy, delighted even, or maybe even ecstatic to wake up to it.

He felt just like Scrooge when he had awakened after the visitation by the three ghosts. He wanted to dance, because he was alive. He wanted to sing, because he wasn’t being suffocated by Craving. He wanted to go talk to the old man in the garage and tell him he was right. He was about to ruin his life, and the man’s words and his terrifying dream had set him straight. He was a new man.

He looked around his room just to make sure. No skull fragments, no blood, no gun lying on the floor next to his dead body. It had been a dream. He hadn’t gotten hooked on crack. Hadn’t stolen purses or hurt Mrs. Johnson. He hadn’t stolen his mother’s emergency money.

He nearly bounced at every step as he headed down 16th street, not to go to a crack house but to go thank the old man. The sweltering heat wave had finally broken and the usual off-shore breeze so ubiquitous in San Francisco, was back sending flags waving and hats flying.

The people had come alive again. No longer staring at him. No longer crossing the street to avoid passing him. He was just another fellow taking a walk in the City and enjoying the day.

The garage door, usually open by this time of the day, was closed, and the old man nowhere to be found. Dismayed, Terry went to the front door to knock. Who knows, maybe the old guy does stay inside once in a while. He waited for what seemed an eternity to his exuberant mind until finally a woman answered the door.

She had never heard of the old man. Had never even seen a man that fit Terry’s description. And no one lived in her garage, least of all a chain smoker. No, he must have had the wrong house she told him.

Somewhere, in a garage on the other side of town, sat an old man. A fossil really. With yellow teeth and sallow cheeks, and a cigarette dangling from his mouth.
“Say fellas,” he said to two young men passing by, “wait up, I want to talk to ya.”

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Dear Lucy,
Never cross a Girl Scout on a mission.
Dear Lucy,
Some people predict the harshness of upcoming winters by checking an almanac or the weather gurus.
I check the size of the local wood piles. This one, the size of a house, is pretty ominous.

Looks like I'd better break out the warm-woollies!

The Borscht was a Success

Dear Lucy,
Yesterday, I finally finished making the borscht I had starter earlier. It was a bit of a crap-shoot as the recipe was of course a pinch of this and a dash of that, so unless I wanted to make a 50 gallon drum of it I had to cut the pinches and dashes.
I nearly cried when we sat down to eat it last night. I haven't had it in about 5 years as Anne hadn't made it after she got sick.
Got me started telling Suzie of all the Russian edibles that Anne or her mother would make. It was a nice trip down memory lane.
Suzie has spent the better part of 27 years cooking Mexican food for her Mexican husband and so is getting a taste of some real different stuff here between my cooking and taking her out places. Still have to get her to a Thai place. She loves spicy food.
She has carved three of the four pumpkins she brought home last week. She is a bigger kid than I, and that is saying something.
Better to let her play with knives though as I am a clutz!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

20th anniversary of Earthquake

Dear Lucy,
Ah, time flies when you're having fun. Today is the 20th anniversary of the Loma Prieta earthquake that struck the San Francisco Bay area. It was a 7.1, the hardest quake I had ever felt and I grew up in California.
I had just gotten home from work and was lying down to take a nap having just started my period that day.
The quake lasted 15 seconds and took out the Nemitz freeway (it was a double decker that pancaked on itself trapping hundreds of commuters) and a section of the Bay Bridge.
It was the quake that made me paranoid of earthquakes to this day and is one of the reasons Anne and I never moved to Alaska. I could deal with working through the cold and high cost of living in Alaska, but not that AND gnarly earthquakes.
I wouldn't wish anyone to experience a quake as hard as Loma Prieta. I was sure that was the day California was going to, "fall into the ocean".

Friday, October 16, 2009

The Novel is DONE!!!

Dear Lucy,

Hurray for me, I finished Gold Fever today!!!

It is a rough draft, but it has a beginning a middle and an end.

Done. Finished. No more to sit at the computer mocked by the "unfinished novel".

I will need to celebrate this one baby!!


Thursday, October 15, 2009

'Tis a Day to Make Soup

Dear Lucy,

"Double, double toil and trouble; Fire burn, and caldron bubble." (That's Shakespeare)

I am finally doing it; making a pot of Borscht using Anne's recipe handed down from her grandmother.
I am not going to such an extent as Anne did for she had a huge cast-iron soup pot big enough to bathe a small child in.
She would fill this monster to the tippy-top by the time she was through.
Not I.
First off, I don't have such pot and secondly, I don't have the room for that much soup.
I have never made Borscht. This recipe is not the one with beets in it, rather, it is Peasant Borscht. Only the rich, according to Anne, could afford the luxury of beets.
There was a meat sale going on at the local grocer which is what got me to make this soup. I am at this very minute boiling the hunk of flesh in water with dill and parsley until the beef waives the white flag of surrender.
Then I shall remove the meat and add the rest of the ingredients which include cabbage and sour kraut. Mmmm, gassy!
When done, one puts a dollop of sour cream in it and eats it with a slice of crusty bread slathered in butter.
Those Russians know how to live!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Confession of a Madman

Dear Lucy,

Walking yesterday this story came to mind. I title it, "Confession of a madman" for lack of a better title.

Allow me a moment to confess my first murder; a trifle you’ll think, as do I.
A lithe youth of maybe 14, all gangly and awkward, with but a fuzz of man-hair about his loins, pregnant with the exuberance of youth and innocence and future.
Racing past me on strong limbs, hardly a breath passing his lips while I rasp, bony and gnarled and gasping out old, withered dreams.

Without a word, without warning, he sped past me with such ferocity as to make me
invisible. A mere pebble to step upon or kick away.

He had to die, that I may live.

What of a young boy? With no wife or children to connect him
inexorably to the earth; all deserving of love’s caress, while I, in my decrepit
body crave on--
It was but a moment out of my day and his to offer himself on the cross of my geriatric redemption!

Oh, the young don’t see death coming. They struggle not with tomorrow, neither pity themselves for today nor detest themselves for yesterday. They are fresh and immediate; all hormones and adrenaline and suppleness and unmarked by time and eternity.
They deserve their fate.
I did him a service really--
Will he have to endure the heartbreak of lost love? Sit helpless as his bones calcify and his mind slips into derangment?
Watch as his loins, once alive and virile, and throbbing with passion, hang limp and
Will he ever have to sup at the table of disillusionment?
I was his savior! Another human, plucked from the arms of desperate, clawing
existence! Hurrah to the murderer! All hail the keeper of egalitarianism!

The mind of a child is soft and open and tender. It is vulnerable and
Yes, yes, they outgrow that you argue! They ripen and mature; full-bloom and ready for great possibilities. Bah. They are arrogant and prideful. Full of themselves. Egocentric and ever whining with nothing to be so upset about. They haven’t lived long enough to be upset!
I see the acrimony in your eyes. You hate me for what I have done and who I am. I am a mirror to your own bitter, hateful soul!
Have you never turned from you television in
disgust? The ads? The programs all focusing on youth? Idolizing it?
Have you never sat in a waiting room full of job prospects to find you are outnumbered by the upstarts? Passed over for promotion because they are all future and excitement and energy and you are spent?
Turn on the radio! It is their music. Go to a movie! All insipid tales of action and future; moving, moving, moving! Never thinking!

It is madness that they, ignorant of the real pleasures of life, are able to enjoy sensory fulfillment while we, who understand and appreciate, are left desolate. The subtle sweetness of fresh lobster; the scintillating scent of a woman deep in the throes of love. The heart-quickening rapture of an aria. They appreciate none of it, while I--I am left only to remember.

It was a bullet to the head. Quick, clean; the slug enters the brain and spins its magic creating chaos where once was order. Stealing from him that which once was mine. Ending utterly, completely--entirely his chances of ever disrespecting an elder again.

He had to die, that I might live.

Makes you wonder what's going on in my head!


Monday, October 12, 2009


Dear Lucy,
November is National Writing month, and I have registered for a class at the local JC to participate locally. Here is the description from the web page:

National Novel Writing Month is a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to novel
writing. Participants begin writing November 1. The goal is to write a 175-page
(50,000-word) novel by midnight, November 30.

Valuing enthusiasm and perseverance over painstaking craft, NaNoWriMo is a novel-writing program for everyone who has thought fleetingly about writing a novel but has been scared away by the time and effort involved.

Because of the limited writing window, the ONLY thing that matters in NaNoWriMo is output. It's all about quantity, not quality. The kamikaze approach forces you to lower your expectations, take risks, and write on the fly.

Make no mistake: You will be writing a lot of crap. And that's a good thing. By forcing yourself to write so intensely, you are giving yourself permission to make mistakes. To forgo the endless tweaking and editing and just create. To build without tearing

As you spend November writing, you can draw comfort from the fact
that, all around the world, other National Novel Writing Month participants are
going through the same joys and sorrows of producing the Great Frantic Novel.
Wrimos meet throughout the month to offer encouragement, commiseration, and—when the thing is done—the kind of raucous celebrations that tend to frighten animals and small children.

I have heard of it for years and never had the guts, determination, or total lack of sense to do it.
So, I am giving out ample warning: I doubt you will see many blog entries in November. I will either be crying or laughing hysterically throughout November. I will not be cooking the Thanksgiving meal in November.
Get out the IV bottle for feedings and the depends for the other end. I am going in deep!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Halloween is a Comin'

Dear Lucy,
Holloween is a comin, there's dancin' tonight!
Well, not yet. But Suzie came home yesterday with all these cool pumpkins to carve. They are quite large and strangely shaped.

In another week or so, I shall take her to a "sincere pumpkin patch" as Linus said in "The Great Pumpkin" and Anne used to say every year.

We would drive south to Mount Vernon which is mostly agricultural, and just off the freeway was and is a huge pumpkin patch complete with a corn maze.

Anne and I would go every year and pick out pumpkins--sure you can get them at the grocery store, but what's the fun in that?--and then, God bless her, she would go to the patch after Halloween when the farmer was just going to mow the left overs {{gasp!}} under, and get them for free.

Bunches of them.

Lots and lots of them.

Like we would ever eat all that pumpkin.

But, it was free and when Anne saw free, she saw abundance.

One year we put them in a closet in a spare room we didn't heat because they say keep them in a cool, dark, place.

They rotted.

Then, we put them in barrels of saw dust in the garage.

They rotted.

Then, we put them on lounge chairs--hey why not be comfortable?--and covered them with sleeping bags in the garage.

They rotted.

One year we offered them to friends. But after forcing Zucchini on them all summer from Anne's abundant garden, they were less than enthused about taking 10 pumpkins each.

People started to avoid us.

I begged her not to take so many every year.

I pleaded.

I threatened.

She died.

Problem solved.


Friday, October 9, 2009

Dear Lucy,
I was thinking about Anne today. I know, it doesn't surprise you.
I have a friend who hides a key to her house and tells me where it is so I can get in when I want/need to.
I don't often go into her house as she lives 20 miles away and there is nothing in it I would want to have or use, really. I just sometimes go let her dogs out at her request when she is away for an extended period of time.
But, it got me to thinking about how Anne and I were with our house in Ferndale. We never locked the doors.
If we locked the front door, the back door was unlocked. If it was locked too it was because we knew Dad was home in his attached apartment and we could get in there.
We did this because Anne always said it was just stuff in there anyway and if someone needed it that badly, let them have it.
That was true. We never had anything so valuable that it couldn't be replaced. If someone wanted to risk getting past the dogs to take our cheap computer or 10 year old TV, more power to them.
But really, we stopped locking doors--of our vehicles too--because Anne couldn't keep track of her keys. After having to break into our own home many times and call AAA to get us into our vehicles, it just made sense to leave them unlocked.
At one point we had a kitchen drawer full of keys and we had no idea what they went to. You know the feeling: don't throw that old key away, it might go to something.
Friends would give us their house key or car key (in case they locked themselves out they could call us), and we never knew where the keys were until we got a call from the owner. Then we had to go through a million keys.
I miss how easy going Anne was about "stuff". How easy going she made me about "stuff". The openness she had about her home and stuff was the same openness she had about herself.
I still walk out of the apartment and leave the door unlocked. Sometimes, I do it just for Anne.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Dear Lucy,
I haven't written on my blog for a while and I can't really say why.
Haven't been sleeping well lately. I usually take 1/2 ambien tablet a night to sleep and it usually works just fine. Not lately.
So, since I can take a whole one if necessary, I have been. That is working.
One of the side effects I have heard about Ambien is that it can cause a bit of amnesia. I don't remember this ever happening. Get it?
Anyway, I think it did last night. I took a whole tablet at around 7pm. Suzie had gone to a bible study group with a friend and this morning I couldn't remember her coming home last night. I knew she had because it was only from 6pm to 8pm. I don't remember going to bed.
So, I casually asked her a few questions this morning, making her sit in a straight-back chair under a bare light bulb and starting each question with, "Where were you on the night of the 7th?". Then "Where was I on the night of the 7th?"
Well, I did get a good night's sleep anyway...I think...

Sunday, October 4, 2009

I need a stronger heart

Dear Lucy,
So Friday evening I am fixing dinner and Lucy walks into the kitchen and pukes on the floor. The puke is all CHOCOLATE. For those who don't know, chocolate is poisonous to dogs.
Seems Dad was eating a chocolate bar on the couch while Suzie and I were away and he fell asleep. Lucy, being an opportunist, ate it and Dad didn't tell me.
So, having had to induce vomiting on a dog before I broke out the hydrogen peroxide and chicken broth and started shoving it down Lucy's throat. She puked some more chocolate.
I ended up taking her to the emergency Vet where they shoved a charcoal solution down her throat twice. She spent the night.
She is fine now, though her tummy is still a bit upset. But no major problems thank God.
I don't have the heart for another loss, which is what I told God or Godess or the Big Joker in the Sky while I was driving Lucy to the emergency Vet.
I got my Lucy back. But it cost me $350.00. Ouch.


Dear Lucy,
You know life is too structured when even in the gutter, you are told which way to go.
The fine print on this grate is: point toward curb.
I quite frankly couldn't take being told what to do by the gutter so I stopped, and yelled, "Stop telling me what to do, you're not the boss of me!"
People stare at you in Bellingham when you do that.
Note to self: I am not in San Francisco anymore.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Happy October!

Dear Lucy,
Happy October! It is cool and raining today and I feel like making soup or curling up in a warm blanket and reading for the day.
But alas, I am not.
I have been working daily on Gold Fever, chipping out small chapters and adding bits to current chapters.
The best part of writing a novel is writing the evil character. They are so much fun. Is it the evil in me? Who knows, but the words to describe my evil character, Samuel Carter just seem to flow like the rain in Washington.
The tough part is giving him some kind of good quality that the reader can relate to that keeps him from just being completely evil and easily hated. Even Lord Voldemort in Harry Potter had a pathetic side: The misunderstood boy of a crazy muggle mother and his absent magical father; his being rescued by Dumbledore. It makes us all identify with how a person could turn so evil when so abused as a child.
So, Carter grew up dirt poor and had to work to keep his family in food. He is determined to never be a poor nobody again. His motive is good but the end does not justify the means. And it is the means that is fun to write.
Novels never really go as planned. Characters become life-like and take on their own agendas. Makes writing a discovery. Makes the writer continue on through the sweat of writing to get the characters through the story.
It is amazing just how much can happen to distract a writer. People, events, chores, pets, the phone ringing, appetite, thirst and just plain old inertia.
I am determined to work past these and at least get the first draft DONE.
Pray for me!