On my way to my golden years.

Yeah, well, let's not go into that, it's way too dull and repetitive and personal.

But, my Woodstock years were not spent in vain. I'm as revolution minded now as I was then, and I was only in high school. This suggests that either I am just as clueless now as I was in high school, or that the world has devolved back to the same circumstances.

I'm inclined to vote for the latter, but then I would, wouldn't I?

Since I do, I have to say, it's really depressing to believe. But, I also have to say that by and large, I find the Occupy activists both comforting and exhilarating. Comforting, because at least what my uncle refers to as MoronNation may not actually be morons...

And in other news....

So anyway, my faithful car, referred to as Little Red, because it was a little red Saturn coupe that was built in 2000, and sold as a 2001, has been retired. It has been through a lot, four long distance moves, several tropical storms--during one of which it ended up raining as hard inside the car as it did outside the car--a replacement engine, but no accidents.

As embarrassing as it is to admit, I was astonished to find I could even get financing at a less than ruinous interest rate, presumably because it's with the bank I've used for the last three years for accounts that I have been obsessive compulsive about keeping track of every single cent and checking the balance every day to be certain I haven't miscalculated. At any rate, I am also embarrassed to admit that I am now the owner of a 2005 Ford Escape, which was a vehicle I was looking at several years ago when they first came out. It is very weird to make the change, not only from a manual transmission to an automatic, but to make the change from sitting way down low, to sitting up fairly high.

My new happy place for TV is Glee. Who can resist a show that is so blatantly silly that people are actually breaking out into song and transitioning to theatrical garb while doing so. Then, of course, there's the soap opera aspect, and the characters. The nifty thing is that the characters are not one note, nor are they perfect, and even the villains have interesting facets. And my God, Sue Sylvester, how can you not adore her even when she's awful! Heh.

So I'm going to visit my daughter and son in law at Christmas which, tra la, means I get to reclaim my copy of the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo as well as the second book. I got the the third as an eBook, but I don't want to reread it without rereading the first two. Yes, I known how neurotic that sounds, but hey.

So all told, the years from 2005 to 2010 were drek of the worst kind, but things might just be looking up.

And I still have the second two movies to watch. Heh. Can anyone who has seen them tell me if they're worth the watching? I thought the first was actually very good, especially considering how movies seldom translate the written story as well.
It makes it far easier not to end up with bizarro typos, doesn't it? Heh.

Maybe after today, as I inch closer to being officially elderly--or maybe that's the fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue talking, heh--I can blame my failure to prevent autocorrections on that.

Or, as we say in my family vis a vis the Apple's autocorrect on iPhone, iPad, and iTouch--Damn you, Autocorrect!

I tried to tell my daughter today that a poem that she had written for me a few years ago made me teary even now. Autocorrect turned it to testy. Fortunately, we are both old hands at cussing Autocorrect out.

The other day, she sent me an hilarious video of one of my grandcats going bananas in the bathtub, to the point that his brother and frequent partner in crime got up on the tub and stared down as if wondering what on earth was wrong with Chuck.

I said in a text words to the effect that it jellified me, only autocorrect changed it to bellicose. She texted back she hadn't thought it was that bad and we both laughed like hell.

Then, again, when I commented that maybe Chuck was a jellicle cat, it turned him to jello.

Gotta love it.

So tomorrow, twistedchick arrives, and only two thirds of my house is clean )

And this evening, instead of putting folded laundry away or folding clean laundry, I am watching--for like the sixth time--the third Pirates of the Caribbean movie and enjoying it immensely. But then, I ended up having to stay at work an hour late, which earned me brownie points, and I knew the cats would not starve to death in an extra hour. Heh.

So today, after yesterday's various elections, I am almost afraid to say that I may actually be feeling the teensiest bit hopeful. When my right wing and hates everyone in politics brother sends me a vid link of someone being shot in the face by a rubber bullet in Oakland, I daresay that the tide might, I say might, just be turning.

It doesn't count as a violation of Godwin's law if there really are fascists, kids. )

Maybe cops in Oakland don't have to worry about collective bargaining or the cost of living. Even in New York, with that dear Bologna fellow pepper spraying people right and left, there are a significant number of officers who do, in fact, give verbal support to some of the OWS folks. Oakland's finest don't look any too fine lately. I hate like hell that Scott Olsen got badly hurt, but I am glad there are people paying attention. Because our veterans are coming home after getting screwed by the Army for ten years with the multiple combat tours and getting screwed again by the banks, by the government, by the Tea Party and every other politician yammering on about Mom, Apple Pie, and the Amurrican Flag.

Am I angry? In the immortal words of Jack O'Neill, 'Ya think?' )

You know, that thing called the Constitution and the Bill of Rights? The whole dang thing, if you recall, started because of mercantilism and the profit margin, but it was so poetically argued that those words took on a real life of their own.

I'd like to see it stop being poetic and become reality.

That's what I dare hope. That maybe, having lived through the last few decades, we all take a fairer and humbler look at one another and say, hell, we ARE the 99% and it's insane to let the 1% run us.

On a side note? It will probably surprise no one to hear that I have discovered that my grandfather, who actually grew up a reasonably rich kid until Black Friday and his mother managed to lose it all after his father's death, was more or less a Communist. I doubt card carrying, since he survived McCarthyism to apparently speak and/or act on behalf of civil rights in the Tennessee of the 1950s--kind of sounds like my dad, even if he grew up with his maternal grandparents, didn't fall far from the tree, and since I blame my dad for my inability to even spell the word conservative, it runs in the blood.

I gotta say, while I think conventional real world Communism has failed as badly as untrammeled capitalism, I feel a sneaky pride in Granddad.

Viva la revolucion, and since I have forgotten how to make the accent marks when using a keyboard configured for US English, you will have to half-close your eyes and pretend it's there anyhow.

Just remember, the Who sang it best: Meet the new boss, same as the new boss, we won't get fooled again!
I fear I'm turning into Vanessa Redgrave, and by that, I don't mean I've discovered that my fifteen year old self's desire to attend RADA has caused me to embark upon an acting career. Back in the day, Vanessa, and no few others, infuriated me because of her binary political thinking, and it horrifies me when I feel myself drifting ever closer to that precipice.

On the other hand, the outrage has been fueling what I'm working on little by little. The Tea Party claims to define the American family--a parent of each gender with 2.5 children, yardage--and, needless to say, I take serious exception to that claim. Hence what I'm working on. The only trouble is that it's intended to provide a counterpoint to the current historical revisionism. Repeat after me--I know you know the answer--by whom is history written? Say it loud!!

You got it, the WINNAHS!

Anyway, the struggle for me is to keep my historiographic principles,because I come from a school of historiography that pretty much believes in the facts, ma'am,so the question is, to fictionalize or not to fictional. The cold facts are interesting to me because I'm a freak, but so much in the bits and pieces is so damned evocative, and some circumstances seem so clear it's impossible not to draw conclusions.

So I'm back in my quandary even though my treacherous brain keeps throwing out fictional suggestions.

In other news, I find myself being drawn into American Horror thing against my will, in spite of the fact that none of the characters, living or dead, are remotely likeable. Dr. Ben is hot, though.

I think I'll fast forward to my favorite bits.
Politics, feh. One thing fascinating to me in a train wreck way is the fact that people whose beliefs put them on the far right of the spectrum believe Obama is a socialist. (Frankly, I'm honestly unsure if they really believe this or find it a socially acceptable way to be racist, but for this moment I'll take it at face value.). Now, I realized that at least some genuinely believe this while having a conversation with my brother, who pretty much hates everyone in politics, but apparently from a different vantage point. He thinks the country is going to the socialist dogs whereas I believe the only dogs are untrammeled Ayn Rand capitalists who are driving the country so far to the right that one day, we're going to make the Third Reich look like liberal land. I did a little exercise taken from a discussion of the Nazi time line and replacing each use of Jewish or Jews with Muslim and Muslims.

In other words, I am afraid this country is lurching toward fascism, and if Obama is a socialist, I'm the pope. Since I lack the dangly bits that would qualify me, you know how unlikely that is.

Dunno which, if either, of us are closest to the truth.

And hey, how about those Oakland police behaving badly? I don't think I've seen so much frivolous brutality and overreaction since the Republican convention in Minnesota. Or maybe some of the anti-war marches the last few years.

I said a few years back that this is not what I expected my life to be by this point. It sure isn't where I expected my country to be.
Sorry for my absence. Blame a number of things, including getting an Xbox to access streaming Netflix, which naturally led to other uses, which was both hilarious and a little whacky.

These days, I need all the laughter I can get.

Fear and Loathing even when not in Las Vegas )

So that's where I am. How about you?
I really love The Naked Archaelogist. If I were only younger, I would want to have his little archaeologist babies. Since I'm not, I just gotta love him....

And in amusing news, Rosita the catlet is attempting to assist Prince Caspian with his battle by batting at the television screen with both paws while nearly standing upright on the television stand.
I have tried, people, I have tried to continue to have faith in the man we elected in 2008. I was so goddamned happy I actually had tears in my eyes.

Now, I'm going around paraphrasing, 'meet the new boss, same as the old boss' and thinking hopeless, hapless and helpless thoughts.

What is wrong with this country? I realize that a lot of it, frankly, is a bunch of middle-aged to late middle-aged white guys--and frankly, Mormons, if what my friend the former Mormon says she's observed is true, and I believe it is--with entitlement problems, control issues, and absolute terror of real freedom, but what is wrong with the rest of us? The kinds of things we've seen the last ten years would have had Thomas Paine foaming at the mouth. And despite the fact that the real Boston Tea Party was about mercantilism and public relations--not, my dear Tea Party friends, about limiting government, you morons--I kind of think old Sam Adams would have been boarding ships and tossing crates of tea into the bay when we discovered that in violation of law, the US government was listing to your telephone conversations, and nobody fucking cared.

If I discovered today that the Obama administration was accepting money from the Koch brothers, I'm sorry to say that I would not be surprised. The sixties and seventies saw a lot of paranoia among people who protested the war and wrote against it. My crazy real mother actually showed up on one of the lists of potential subversives a few years later when the Freedom of Information act led to the release of a lot of that insanity.

The woman may have been dysfunctional as hell, but they knew she was brilliant, and was married to an NBC Associate producer.

Be that as it may, I am at a loss to understand why, in the face of elected representatives who don't represent us, who are anti-worker, anti-working and middle class, who are sliding down that slippery slope toward actual fascism, we're all sitting around with our thumbs up our ass?

Well, except in Wisconsin. Go Wisconsin. Your forefathers and foremothers fought and marched and sometimes died to get the right to a decent working wage, and you have not betrayed the, unlike other people I could name. It used to be said by various political commentators, and hilariously, also by my late former father inlaw, who never once voted Republican in his life, and that was before the real Republicans were apparently run out by neocons who are, whatever they claim, so anti-American that it boggles the mind: Kansas invariably votes against its own best interests. This because Kansas tends to go Red State all the fucking time.

To Kansas we can now add most of the fifty states.

These men with entitlement issues are so terrified of everything and everyone, that they're actually trying to Orwell the language to make rape victims into 'accusers'. If you have a miscarriage, or take a bad fall, you can be arrested under the suspicion that you did so deliberately. I'm not even particularly pro-abortion--I am pro-choice--and I find that so mindboggling that I had to double check to make sure I hadn't been transported through time and space to the Soviet Union back when dissent could get you locked up in mental institutions if, for some reason, they decided they couldn't send you to a gulag.

I am sickened. I am saddened. And I am also mordantly amused because seriously, I figured when Cheney and Bush were no longer running things, my anger levels would decrease. I hadn't reckoned with my sense of betrayal or my sense that Barack Obama had deliberately used Bobby Kennedy's memory as a way to suck people like me in.

None of our elected representatives are representing me. If there were enough people not being represented, I wonder if a second American revolution might be called for. Alas, we can't send all these swine to England, England hasn't done anything to deserve it.

When I used to wonder what my life would be like at this age, I never once thought I'd be trapped in a country that is slowly and surely destroying me. I can't even emigrate, thanks to the fact that I was out of work for more than two years, and lost everything but my bed, my car, and my armchair.

As it stands, I will be working until I drop because not only will I not have enough money saved by the time most people would retire, the government is also doing its level best to remove the one safety net left, Social Security. Mind, I've paid in my entire life, but keeping us involved in Libya and Iraq and Afghanistan is just far more important than a country's government taking care of its own citizenry.

But don't mind me, I'll just be over here in the corner with the rest of the so-called 99's singing The Internationale.

Not that anybody we've elected gives a damn.
The out of sorts thing is explained fever and chills the following day. Feh.
And that's okay. So, I've been in a sort of limbo, spiritually speaking; the last five years pretty much saw my faith in the numinous stretched to breaking, and it's been difficult, but I did careful investigation and last month joined the Episcopal church in my local area that seemed most in tune with my beliefs. However, with one thing and another, like the freaking fibro and exhaustion from the CFS and, gee, ya think maybe the whole moving in and unpacking stuff thing, I've not made it to a service until today.

So today, there I am, waiting for the acid test, aka the Sermon. I am two years away from sixty and even as an adolescent, I can tell you that I have never in my entire life nodded at any point in any sermon, anywhere. I've tuned out, listened politely, simmer slowly and silently, and on one memorable occasion, picked up my toddler and walked out. Today, my head was clearly attached to a string.

I find that somehow unnerving, despite the upside.

In other news, I watched something powerful, moving and sickening today. A Film Unfinished is a film about the a film shot in the Warsaw Ghetto in May of 1942 with the intent of turning it into a propaganda film. I'm sure other people are more familiar with it than I was. Remember the name Yael Hersonski. It's an important name.

The film juxtaposes discussion of the film with dramatic reenactment of the testimony of Willy Wist, one of those involved in the filming, and the camera's eye view on survivors of the Warsaw Ghetto--children at the time--watching the footage.

The horror of the film doesn't lie in the starved faces, the corpses on the sidewalks, the bodies in the cart being hauled to the cemetery for burial in mass graves, although all that is horror enough.

No, the horror lies in the appearance of those doing the filming when cameras accidentally intersect, and the juxtaposition of their lack of reaction to the reactions of the aged survivors. The most horrific is the filming of the bodies going down the slide into the mass grave. At first, we know it's being filmed because we see it on film; then, before the segment ends, we see a man in a German uniform with a camera climbing out of the mass grave, where he has crouched while filming.

There horror of watching people pretend to attend a dance or eat in a restaurant or attending the musical theater, and knowing that the filming took hours and hours and that those who did not laugh or dance or chatter vivaciously enough were beaten--not to mention the beatings that took place off screen when the Germans were rounding up their 'actors' for these staged scenes. There is the horror of watching naked women having to perform as if they were taking the ritual bath; they nevertheless show dignity and courage that diminishes the faceless men behind the camera. There is the dignity of the men, some of whom appear to be rabbis from their dress and demeanor, who are likewise herded naked into the ritual bath for filming.

There are the children sitting on the curb, dressed in rags and starving, the big eyes and pared to the bone faces; there are the adults who are dressed in rags, all big eyes and pared to the bone faces.

And there is Willy Wist, testifying at the trial of Herr Doktor Auerswald, the man who was the Commissar of the Jewish district of Warsaw: in other worse, the ghetto.

Just as an historical note, for those who do not know any of this, the deportations in the Warsaw Ghetto began a few months after the footage made by Wist and his colleagues was shot. At first, the Jewish resistance within the ghetto believed that the deportations were to labor camps, and those, given conditions in the ghetto, could scarcely be worse. As usual, the rumours multiplied fairly rapidly as more and more deportations took place, and by the end of 1942, the resistance leaders in the ghetto understood the Nazi Final Solution was at the end of the railroad line to these 'labor camps'. The uprising in the Warsaw ghetto began in January of 1943, and ended in April of that same year. Some sources insist that Polish resistance fighters entered the ghetto to assist the fighters of the ZOB and the ZZW, acronyms in Polish for the Jewish Combat Organization (if I am remembering correctly) and the other (and forgive me if I am wrong, I should remember this correctly) I believe standing for the Zionist Military Union. I would need to actually see testimony from any survivors of either group before I believe that the Polish Home Guard or any other Polish resistance groups actually did anything substantive to aid the fighters inside the ghetto walls; again, my memory may be mistaking this, but I believe that at the end, when some survivors of the ghetto escaped into the countryside, some were turned in by the good anti-Semitic Poles. And this, my children, is why I have negative feelings about Poland and, to a lesser degree, Czechoslovakia.

The horrible thing is to watch these people who are struggling to survive, some less successfully than others, being filmed by men who laughed among themselves at the starved, expressionless faces they forced into staging their 'scenes', intended to show the stark differences between the ragged poor and the decently fed inhabitants of the ghetto. A picture of Willy Wist in his uniform at the time shows a young man, face still rounded and slightly plump. The horrible thing is that we know that those starved, pared to the bone faces belonged to people who were dead within months, either in the extermination camps or lying on the streets of Warsaw. The horrible thing is hearing Auerswald's reports read, talking about 1/5 of an egg per head per month, or .38 kg of sugar or just slightly more of vegetables.

Get a food scale out of your cupboard and weigh .38 kg of anything. If one fifth of an egg was allowed per head per month, and there were 330000 odd people when they were crammed into the walled in ghetto--well, you do the math. Only the Nazis would be so precise in defining the mathematics of starvation.

This is the thing for me: the Nazis were absurdly precise about most of their actions. They kept records of the hair shaved at the camps and sent back to Germany for use in mattresses, or the gold fillings from the teeth of the dead, of shoes and clothing and suitcases. They kept diligent records of their grand design, which was, I admit, exceptionally useful at trials for war crimes. But I think about Willy Wist and his comrades, and what I wonder goes far beyond nationalism or rebuilding Germany post WWI. What I wonder is what does it take to move human beings past Willy Wist so that it becomes impossible not to feel empathy, so that it becomes impossible to objectify our victims, so that we simply cannot swallow the irrational or illogical rantings of ideologues? What do we have to do to insure that this never happens again?

I wish I knew. What I do know is that Holocaust deniers should be taken to the archives where these films sit in the cans with the symbols of the Third Reich, and the descriptions in German. Will that be enough to clear their rancid thinking?

That's another thing I wish I knew.
The beauty of having been offline for a while is that there are few reading this and those who do are people I can share with.


Keeping it real )
Cats are endlessly fascinating to me. My sister and I were talking not too long ago, and we decided dogs are like three year olds in terms of needing your attention, but generally (although not always) without the tantrums. Cats are like thirteen year olds without nearly as much attitude and without human hormones.

The analogy even carries through to the fact that cats, who can and will ignore you at times, are still highly upset with you if you leave them overnight. Thirteen year olds only want your attention when you're on the phone or busy or at work.

But I think the thing that fascinates me is that part of the time they act utterly opaque and completely uniform in terms of their felinity.

Then they turn around and you get to see individual personalities every bit at evident as any human being.

It's entirely possible that I see it because I watch for it, though. Our Sheltie, Max, eons ago when my son was born, was highly miffed at having an interloper. Once my son got mobile, Max's IQ apparently dropped abougt 40 points. He forgot what fetch meant or how to play it, or how to bring the newspaper. He forgot how to shake hands, which my sister, who had lived with us for a time when Max was just past puppyhood, had painstakingly taught him. He forgot--well, suddenly, he had forgotten a lot. Now, he wasn't very old at the time, so senility seemed highly unlikely. And there was the time when my son was just a little over three, and Max forgot for an instant that he 'didn't know' how to fetch the paper, picked it up and started toward the door before remembering, dropping it, and giving me this innocently stoooopid look. Serious personality, that dog. I'd say he was five, not three.

Anyway, back to the felines. They seem to be doing all right, although they seem to have developed an antipathy to one another. Or it could be that it's just Clare who's developed an antipathy. It's hard to tell because Rosita is such a goofball and very frisky. There were a couple of bad days, then we had a weekend where everyone, especially me, got cuddles and were apparently reassured. So now, we have ups and downs. Claire is seven and I'm starting to doubt that Rosita is even close to being two. She could just be a spaz. She loves her catnip mice to lunacy, and man, she gets those mice, gets them but good. She also tries to kill the arm of the armchair when I'm in it, mostly because she's wanting to play. She crouches like a furry vulture, I skritch ears and stroke her back and she grabs the armchair arm with a paw on either side and bites it. She will bring her mice to me and will, at least a few times, play fetch, but what she really likes to do is toy with it before she kills it, and she's very deft at pretending it's a real mouse.

Which is actually pretty damn hilarious to watch.

Clare, on the other hand, cares nothing for catnip mice, but loves a laser pointer. I find if they each get time with me playing with them, the hostilities seem to be less, well, present.

I think perhaps I'm letting them watch Ancient Aliens too often. Of course, I'm mostly pointing and mocking, except when the guy with the extraordinarily whiny and annoying voice is speaking. Or someone says, 'This is proof that aliens visited the earth in prehistory', at which point I want to shriek, "No, assholes, that's not PROOF! Proof would be finding an actual fucking alien! What you've got is suggestion and an active imagination!"

The irony behind all this is that at least four members of my family/family friends have seen things that they discuss almost never, and refer to as UFOs because they don't know what they saw. As did I, when in my late teens. But that's the point, yes? They're unidentified. As I've gotten older and learned just how tricky our senses can be, and just how often our observations are informed by the brain's desire to create patterns (as witness the Jesus pancakes or the Virgin Mary windows).

And funnily enough, years ago, I began operating on an odd Jung corollary that explained the fact that several hundred years ago (or as recently as a century or less), people reported seeing saints or the fae or monsters or fill in the blank yourself. In the post WWII culture, they saw unexplained flying objects of various shapes. 3000 years ago, perhaps they saw gods and goddesses. There is some sort of archetype there, some energy of some kind--and it may be electromagnetic fields acting on our brains, with us impressing our current archetypes on whatever state of consciousness results. Dunno. All I know is that I am fairly rigorous about some inexplicable events, particularly alien abduction. (Seriously, is there a planet out there sending us their juvenile delinquents with anal probes, drills for trephination, or itsy bitsy metal bits to stick in various anatomical positions?)

Then there's the fact that in spite of the worst qualities of the human race, we are pretty damned ingenious, even in the Stone Age. (How else would we come up with so many ways to torture and kill one another or, she adds with malicious humour, so many reasons to torture and kill one another.) Add to that the fact that many of the so-called proofs originate in cultures that are not European in origin, and there's a touch of racism in the mix.

But damn, I have fun pointing and mocking. And really, I don't have a lot of room for the mocking, because I think that all the alleged proofs are evidence of an advanced seafaring civilization that suffered collapse with a combination of the Ice Age meltdown and an asteroid strike that hit the China Sea, allegedly about 8 thousand years ago. NOT, I hasten to add, Atlantis. I've recently become convinced the 'Minoan' civilization is the root of Plato's Atlantis. Of course, in the Stone Age, it wouldn't take much for a civilization to be advanced. Recall, if you will, the entity who came from the sea to teach the Sumerians all kinds of good things, and it makes me go hmmmmmm. I know, it loses the magic somehow, but do you want magic or interesting facts? Me, I regret the magic, but it's somehow more interesting this way. Of course, I am seriously hoping the latest thing I read about evidence that the Templars fleeing from Philip of France actually reached the new world is true precisely because it's so damned interesting.

After all, truth is frequently stranger and more interesting than fiction. I await new revelations from the world, and more pointing and mocking of Ancient Aliens.
I have a new permanent job that might actually end up being permanent, huzzah. I have a nice apartment that I can actually afford. It's not huge, but it's big enough for me and the kittygirls. And, of course, I have two kitty girls.

Too bad my country is going to hell in a handbasket.

Too bad my country is going to hell in a handbasket )

Still and all, I am feeling happy in my own life. Which is terrifying. I'm waiting for that other shoe to drop, but maybe it won't.
Finally, I have my own bed, my filing cabinet, my arm chair and ottoman, plus boxes of books, dishes, clothing, oddites that will look interesting on the mantel, and heaven alone knows what else. My d-i-law told me several months ago that my vacuum, which I had left there, had broken, but apparently they just wanted it out of the house because they shipped it. I only have one end table, and no coffee table.

I'm thinking about asking for my dining table and chairs back, as I had given it to son and his amateur wrestling then wife; now, son and his wife have it in the basement, so I'm thinking I will.

Kitty girls are doing very well. I find it hard to consider how Clare's ability to be playful was obviously squelched, but little by little, I see it emerging again. And, boy, is she lovey. She has climbed right into my lap a lot lately. She was hiding and freaked out while the household goods were being unloaded and the guys put my bed together; actually, they both were, but Rosita is a bold little thing, now that she's decided this is her 'forever' home, and she emerged as soon as the door closed and the guys were gone. I went into my closet and pulled the clothes aside to make sure Clare was okay, skritched her ears and chin and cheek, and told her she was perfectly welcome to stay there until she was feeling safer, and wouldn't you know, she suddenly got up and led me back out of the walk-in closet. Brave girl.

She actually loves the tower more than Rosita does, although she loves the cubbies and the sisal covered post. She will wrap herself around one and play fight it. Still a little nervous about the playing, but I praise her and cheer her on, and she's getting past that.

Rosita, now, she's the squeaker. A little wild one, but she's only a year and a half or so, so much kittenish behavior is still there. Clare pounced on her and chased her back into the bedroom, which I thought was hilarious.

It's nice, but weird to have wood floors in all rooms but the bedroom and walk in closet. I have a nice area rug in the livingroom area, and a nice entry way mat that looks like a rug, but acts like a mat.

So, job interview today; this would be what I laughingly refer to as a permanent position. If they offer it to me, I will suffer ambivalence. Benefits are nice, as is medical insurance etc.. It's just that I'm feeling oddly superstitious, remembering that I took a perm job over contract in Minnesota and ended up with O and her pain management problem as well as A and her vicious backstabbing, as well as great performance reviews coupled with behaviors that I can now say were really some sort of odd snobbery.

Thanks, been there, done that. Took me two years to break down all the denial associated with it.

But, as one of the D's at work on the contract pointed out, that's just random bad luck. True dat, but still, nervousness.

At least, the people with whom I interviewed today have genuine senses of humour and do not have even the slightest vibe of snobbery.

So, I am not going to worry about it one way or another. I really loved working with my team, and we are scheduled to start another contract with the bank sometime during February, so either way, I should be in good shape. So now it's time for me to pounce on the kitty girls and wrastle their energy out of 'em before I want to go to bed.

Life seems to be going reasonably well. Debts are getting paid, packing is being unpacked, and while it's going to be sorta hideous for at least the first half of this week--boxes and boxes--it will all settle down and we will all be happy. Mostly, anyhow. Can't ask for much more than that.
Not really. It's been a surprisingly good week, considering that I was sick for at least three days of it. I have kitty girls (check), a washer and dryer (check), groceries (check), a contract winding up next week (check), and another one starting in February (double check). I still don't have my household goods, and am still sort of camping out at home, but household goods should be coming any day soon.

I can even do laundry in my own apartment now. Hah. It takes such simple things to please me.

So it looks like much of the rest of my team will be joining me on the new contract, which is pretty cool. This job has been incredible in the sense of providing me with an alternate view of myself--a positive one, one that I used to have once upon a time before I made the damn fool mistake of moving to Minnesota. I work with a good team, our manager is a really good manager with good people skills and no pain medication issues,
a la O from Minnesota. My fellow team members act like adults, but still have whacky senses of humour sympatico with my own, they actually have good manners, unlike the Minnesota niceness, and instead of being gaslighted right and left, I'm getting lots of clear communication.

In short, wow, what a change.

The kitty girls are pretty funny. The one I thought would be timid and scaredy was all: "Whoa, nice couch, nice rug, nice kitty condo, food and water, plushy blanket, I'm home". The one who was Miss Sociable and bold at the shelter immediately said, "I don't like it here, I want to go back, where are the other cats, I am going to hide behind the couch and call for help". She's doing a lot better this week, but the poor little thing was spazzing out. They're still a little shy about running out to say hello when I get home, but as soon as I say their names, they come to the bedroom door and then out to meet me in the livingroom. They are going to be the most spoiled cats in the western hemisphere. Heh.

And hey, it's Friday, how about that. No complaints at all.
It's a matter of some amusement to me that I am in Alabama and tonight it will get down to 17 degrees. Which, of course, is warmer than most winter nights in Minnesota, but apparently a year and a half in Houston spoiled me, and I'm out of practice at finding bedsocks.

I mean to tell you, it is just a bit nippy. Strangely, not as much wind as any of the places I've lived recently, although Alabama has been known to have some spring and summer tornadoes.

Here's another bit of amusement. Had a conversation with my father about the Minnesota experience. I still love Minnesota itself, but frankly, the people are such that I didn't leave anything there I'm in any hurry to go back and collect. In fact, I told my father that I must have been in some serious denial because two years out and several tragically revealed bits of nastiness from certain co-workers, I am only now saying that I worked with terrible people. Only, mind, on my actual team. The developers were great, the support and training people were great--my father insightfully remarked that "That was probably the only way you could make yourself go to work." I had to allow that was at least partly true; the rest was pure goddamned stubborness about allowing morons to drive me out of a job I was good at.

Of course, when I found out what my former manager was telling recruiters about my health--which is very likely to have cost me two jobs that I know of, one of which, in fact, had been offered to me--the last remaining scraps of denial went a-flying out the window. I immediately went and dug through four boxes to find my copies of my yearly performance reviews to see if said former manager and I were actually working together at any point because she honest to god gave me some really great reviews. I'm telling you, I blame her pain management problem....or rather the meds she took at work for her pain management problem.

All of which is water thankfully long gone under that proverbial bridge.

Now, if anyone would have told me I was really going to like Alabama, I would have, a la Pink, stood up and punched them right out. Well, not really, but my jaw would have dropped.

Mouse and I are in agreement; Minnesota was Minnesota nice, kind of like certain parts of Fargo. And neither of us would ever go back. And speaking of Mouse, I did not give her the credit she is due in my first post this week. Mouse, as I told her at Christmas, is my good child. I told her this because she was scolding me for getting too many presents. Considering one thing was hand crocheted, I really was very thrifty, but I told her I well knew I didn't have to, but I wanted to. Because she's the Good Child. What does Mouse say to that? Mouse sez, "Wow, I never thought either of my parents would say thaat. Ever."

I sez, "Well, there you go, another Christmas gift, how's about that?"

Mouse and her husband opened their home--only six months married, mind--to me for about a year and a half--and when my last savings dried up, and I had long since used up unemployment benefits--they paid for prescriptions. Which thankfully was only once, because that's when I got this job that brought me here. Between Mouse and her man and my sister and her partner, I actually feel just a teensy bit safe from complete destruction.

Here's something vaguely ironic; after going through the necessary evaluation and seminar and spending $480 to take the competency tests to get a Texas teaching certificate, I found the Texas market glutted, which means that when this job offer popped up, I prety much rolled my eyes at the heavens and said, "Okay, I'm really not getting it, and besides, I'm still pissed that you killed my kitty girls."

The sky said nothing back, of course.

But having said that about the blessed kitty girls, I have assessed myself and have decided it is finally time, nearly two years later, to adopt some lovely kitty girls in honor of Lily and Sophie and because I miss them both. These two are just very interesting with differing tortoiseshell color blends, and both are just as sweet as they can be. I will be bringing them home on Saturday.

So, from no savings, no place of my own in which to live, no kitties, and a car with a two windows that would no longer open, I have opening windows, a small nest egg beginning, an apartment, and two kitty girls coming. I call that progress. Oh, sorry, forgot to mention job, hah.

It's only taken most of three years, mind, but hey.
Interesting that even the whacko head of Fox News has asked some of his havajackals to tone down. The hilarious thing is aht either they or spokespersons have rather have call this sudden backing down from stone-cold violent rhetoric with which, apparently, the Repuglicans to smother us.

Here's an example for you to compare and/or contrast: you're a middle aged white man in the Deep South in the 1960s--or even 70s--and you are a card carrying member of the KKK and a fire-eating orator at many of the larger gatherings. You rant and roar about the card carrying commies in the ACLU, and the who are getting so damned uppity, want to register to vote, and those damn Jews from up northin are coming down to help them! You curse at the voter registration people, and those Jew college students. You and your audience agree, the interfering Yankees need to be out of town, at gunpoint if necessary. You say a lot of other things, some of which you don't even recall all that clearly. There's nothing like the good adrenlin rush.

Now, in the daytime, you're back behind the counter of your feed store, you're just a good ole boy who loves his guns, hunting, Jesus and your wife and kids, probably petty much in that order. And one day, while you're behind the counter, a bunch more Yankees show up in town. You're plenty mad about that, but maybe just a bit nervous.

See, they're looking for three of those New York Jew college kids who have inexplicably vanished. They're part of that Yankee voter registration thing, and just two days ago you delivered a speech you privately believe to be the best in your career. You were the one who told you audience to rise up and drive these interlopers out, by force, if needed. You don't know who actually did the rising up, and you don't want to know. Your hands are clean.

Fast forward thirty years in a nation pretty bitterly polarized nation nstead of voter registration, it's the health car bill. Political rhetoric is really pretty bad on both sides, but only on the right does this include an apparently problem remembering that Hawaii is American soil, so they just gotta, they really just gotta, see that birth certificate that (and I kid you not) ostensibly proves that Barack bin Laden is not all American. The Tea Party is just a subset of the Repuglican party, while a goddamn wanna-be Huey Long only way more right wing and the former Vice Presidential candidate have made many, many, many 'humourous' with regard to targeting any rat bastard who doesn't believe like they do.

GB and SP have a great old summer, winding up the paranoids and in the fall, SP actually gets her own television show. But she is keeping her hat in the ring, even if just a little, so she and GB keep on preaching about those New York college boy Jews and those commies in the ACLU and gasp, the socialists in the guv'mint.

Back again forty years; Mississippi Burning notwithstanding, I do not believe that every person on the edges of the killing of the three college students and one young man who happened to be both black and local. Similarly, I do not believe that all of the people in the Repuglicans party contributed to the current environment, I do believe that there was depraved indifference, as a certain Law and Order character always says.

So, you decide. Should our fictional KKK member above also be charged with depraved indifference? If so, then perhaps our politicians shoul,d also be charged. (And believe me, I know there are havajackals in both parties.)

Sure, there was mental imbalance in the young man who was arrest. I think of racism as a mental illness, myself (as well as econimic illness), and frankly, I believe that if you give a rousing speech or write a rousing article or even, God forfend, a blog, and someone has a hankering to shoot a politician and reads your blog and say, decides to act like a God-fearing middle aged white man and shoot said politician, then I have to say you are just as guilty as the shooter.

Having said all that, let me say this: I do not believe that it was only the hateful rhetoric being bandied about that led to young Mr Loughner to shoot Gabrielle Giffords. Ah, one caveat: Arizona has created the ideal Tea Party atmosphere, which strikes me as not at all surprising, particularly given that Arizona, skews heavily in the direction of the Mormon church. (I mean, mainstream Mormon church, btw, that the polygamist groups avoid.) I'm quite sure there more to it than that.

Nevertheless, I think it's a good idea to think once, twice and three times before we open our mouths or pick up a pen or sit poised over a computer keyboard.

Here is where I confess that I abhor the Democrats for turning their backs on their own frakking candidate nearly as much as I loathe neocons and the Repuglican party. But that's a story for another time.

Just think about it: does rhetoric have any influence over allegedly disturbed inviduals? And think about Mississippi, too.
I want to apologize to many people for vanishing for, sheesh, nearly three years or so. It's safe to say conservatively that the last five years have been the worst in my life, and that means they were even worse than the year I got divorced. Thanks go to my sister, who forgives me much, and her wonderful partner, and a darling niece who informed her moms that she was sure she got her love of science fiction from her aunt.

In spite of everything, I exist, I live and breathe and may actually begin to enjoy said living and breathing. Ciao, all.
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