Glutton For Punishment

WHY did I do it?! WHY did I click on all those links in Rachel’s homage to Digger? The first time around it made me weep and I didn’t even care about dogs. Now it’s making me all sad again because I do and I cannot even fathom having to deal with that decision in a dozen or so years.

It’s hard to look at Ranger and even imagine a time when he’s not running around like a maniac or standing his ground, leaning like a wolf. Or trotting like the small pony he is. But I know the likelihood is there.

We’ve been so careful – glucosamine treats, feeding him very slowly to allow his bones to mature and grow. We don’t let him get overweight and overstress those muscles. We make sure he has supportive beds. But…I know that the day will come when he, too, is slow to rise in a morning. I was just hugging his huge neck and crying into his deep fur and feeling his concerned kisses. He was anxious for me – giving me the WTF look.

I didn’t want a damned dog, people.

But…there he is, young and healthy and wishing we’d go to some lake or pond so that he could play in the water. Or, short of that, turn on the damned sprinkler. I torment his father with the “he probably has some lab in him, you know” statement. Labs being the “hose draggers” of the dog world, you see. “Fucking life guards…” he says. But he is also quite proud of those swimming skills.

And the PetSmart bill every week? Very impressive. 90% of the expense is for his treats and chew goods. And toys. The cats? Same old crap, the basics. Of course, cats don’t need chew toys. I had no idea…

I had no idea one mangy old furball could snatch hold of a heart…damn it. I am NOT a dog person.

The Kindness of (relative) Strangers

So I had to leave a wee drop of inappropriate commentary here because – well, it was there. I had to do it. But I was surprised by the kind response that followed because, in fact, what we have here is not my best stuff. Not at all.

No, I had a way with words once. But it demanded a great deal of me. Nearly all of me, to be precise. It was an unending torrent of finely honed terror and despair. Quite the muse, really. Particularly when fueled with expensive wine. If one must be a sot, let it be on the finest that one can afford.

Too, it wasn’t fit for public consumption – the language, I mean. The content. It was soul rending and completely…me. Warts and all, as they say. But it was cathartic in its own way. I had to work through it, that loss. That double loss. I had to plunge to the bottom and sit awhile. I needed to stand on that immortal shore and decide. I chose – and then struggled to the surface. With the air came the need to express it all. That journey – like Persephone’s – requires a return trip now and then to pay the toll.

I don’t succumb as often to that siren song. Not in a long time have I fallen. So I do tend to keep one eye open for it. But it seems so…selfish, now. All that navel gazing. All those words wound round to explain a thing that matters, now, to no one living. No one but me, of course. And it is history.

Still, inside us all reside our tales, our myths. They make us who we are. Some tales are horrid and come with a stench that is hard to bear. Others are sweet and brought out often to reinforce our lives when times are tough. But I cannot, as others do, let them go. Ephemera of the mind filed away…

At any rate, what I mean to say is that this place is edited. I am nothing like anonymous here. And I want nothing to reflect badly on Trooper so I am judicious. Which may surprise you if something here has disturbed you in the past.

I strive these days to focus on what Is. What Will Be. Perhaps because I am old – older, at any rate – and haven’t time to wallow in seductive depths. And they are seductive. Never doubt that I turn away from it every day like I do cigarettes. Each day I could pick up the habit again. Each day demands that I do not.

So I suppose this is to say I am sorry. I wish I could regale you with those tales, shower you with those words and phrases that would seduce you as they do me. You shall, instead, have to bear up under the brunt of cryptic music video selections, wierd movie connections, and international intrigues.

Think of it this way – at least you don’t have to clean up the keyboard afterward, no?

I mean…you don’t now, right? Right?!

Well, other than V-man. He’s like the apes in the zoo and must be forgiven his peccadillos.


We’ve been watching that fantastic series about the early years – hell, the best years – of space travel. It has been a trip down a very dim memory lane for me. Trooper? He was wandering around like this, mostly…

(Don’t complain, honey – I could have used the other picture…)

Anyway…while he was livin’ large the country way I was enjoying a complete split from reality having moved from a very crappy part of Chicago to New Smyrna Beach, FL. From there, one had a very intimate relationship with the space race. It – the fervor, I mean – ran up and down that coastline.

So every snippet of footage played reminded me of those days. I can clearly recall taking a sheet of cardboard and drawing an instrument panel on it. I played astronaut like a bunch of other kids did back then. And it was always something I did – I always had an ear cocked to the news and books about space. It brought me, of course, to science fiction and my early influences toward anarchy. Och, well, maybe not so far as that but…critical thinking, perhaps.

I did rather well in school for quite some time – which is saying a lot considering the crap I went through. But then…we had to return to Chicago, leaving behind that halcyon life. And I went from soft ocean breezes and the sound of waves smack dab back into hell. And Von Steuben. Oh, not the school of today. No, it has come up in the world, let me tell you!

It was there that I, relatively streetsmart but still prepared to be patient and learn, wandered into that math class. I know that doesn’t have the sound of a funeral dirge that it has for me. Even then there was no echo of it but…I could sense it. And then I saw that wave crashing.

The teacher was an ancient fellow who probably ought to have retired long ago before he started to hate kids. And he did – I could smell that he despised me. I was trying rather hard to be at least blank – not rude, not smirky but…smooth. And his crooked finger pointed at the blackboard and asked me what was the answer to the sanskrit there. I cocked my head and told him that I’d never seen anything like it before. Because I hadn’t! To this day I’ve no idea what was up there. It was just…a deep black etched with pale scars in forms that I could not decipher. Most likely some sort of geometry. But back then? I had no idea.

It was so hushed in the room. The teacher’s face grew colder still and his lips curled back as he told me to get the hell out of his classroom. I clearly remember blinking. I was in shock. And then a sheet of cool derision fell over me. I rose slowly and took my books in my arms and walked out. I never returned to that class and, instead, would cross the street to the local hangout and order french fries. I’d play pinball for 30 minutes, eating the fries. Then I’d go on to the next class.

That was it for me. The end of my formal education. Oh, I still attended some classes if I thought they were interesting. And I did attend a magnet school for about a month but the commute (2 buses and a train) was impossible to maintain. Interestingly, while there I was able to learn rather a lot of math. It had a sheer beauty to it. Pure logic, nothing could change its truths. But then I found other amusements when I returned to that hellish place. How I hated that school…and to this day I’ve hated that man because he ruined a great deal for me. He took from me something that I have never replaced.

We weren’t goal setters in my family. It was a day-to-day existence and you didn’t look too far ahead. So I had absolutely no expectation of education. I had no expectation that I’d survive high school each week. But there was one thing…one dream…to fly.

Many years passed and I always feared math, always worked to avoid it. I’d avoided rather a lot of school, too. So when I was 18 and utterly lost I called the Air Force one morning. Called an office and asked them – could I? There was a soft response – kind but…clear. No math, no degree, no fly. Oh, I threw myself into the debauchery, then.

Soon, though, computers came around and I was learning again that lovely logic. And the shuttle was new…I could, I thought, maybe do it…NASA, though, indicated otherwise. No, the letter said. No, not without a great deal more education and a very long line to get in back of…

Which brings us round to this time, watching that history and remembering why and how it was all I ever wanted to do. And yet…not enough, I suppose, to change. Even now, I panic at percents…a sale? Um, yeah – where’s a calculator? And work? Oh, how well I manage to hide it. They’ve no idea, of course. And I avoid all spreadsheet work but the most basic. If they only knew…

All I’ve ever wanted to do… So I’m thinking – maybe there is some kid in a poor family that has a similar dream. Maybe I can get them to space camp for a week. I’ve been giving that a lot of thought. That maybe instead of feeling full of self-pity that I should extend it outward and away…give instead of hoard, hoard, hoard. Let it all go in a wonderful arc of hope. Seems like an honorable thing to do…

Asking For It

I was over at Ree’s place where the latest post has everyone from the city aching for that country life. And I know what they mean.

Now, when I can get to, through and home from the post office in 5 minutes at Christmas time I have to wonder at what I ever thought was good about the city. I was a bachelorette in Va/Hi, Atlanta, paying insane rent for a tiny sorta basement apartment. I had to get a cart to bring home the groceries (I didn’t drive) just like my mom used to have. You had all manner of human detritus along your walk and the library contained another kind. The living, breathing kind that liked to sit by the kids book section. Of course, there was The Screaming Man who liked to terrorize the people at the bus stop, too.

All so I could be in the “hip” and “cool” part of town.

Well, there is nothing like waking to peace and quiet, to a vista outside your door, to the knowledge that no one will be coming down the road screaming without an officer being in hot pursuit.

And this is a fairly thriving metropolis compared to, say, Cistern, TX. Ah, yes…just a few miles from Smithville (my favorite town) and a world away from Atlanta. We’ll be going out dancing with friends there as soon as schedules coincide. It’s just a little crossroad town.

How I found anything worthwhile in that city I will not know. I don’t think I could ever go back…

Damned Shorpy

I haven’t gotten a damned thing done in 24 hrs due to this place. Madness is what it is to someone who loves photography. And a sort of addiction if you like to look at the background, the random stuff that was a part of life in the old days.

Go ahead and hit the Civil War set. Or WWII. Prepare to be lost in it for hours if that’s your interest. And the terribly interesting thing is that some photos get follow-up…people see them and find out who the person is, if someone living recalls them. One man noted that it was his mother in the photo. Related that the dress she was wearing was likely self-tailored (and it was lovely!). Just a flat out amazing trip back in time. I did nothing else all night, frankly, to the detriment of house and home.

I wish, sometimes, that everything could revert – that children wouldn’t be so spoiled rotten, employers more loyal, employees more appreciative…but we all know that it was not all simple and sweet. There were horrors daily but they weren’t as immediately disseminated. We, the media vultures, could not get our fix without spending that dime on a newspaper. And a dime was worth something. Worth more than gossip, to be sure.

A dozen or more prints I ache to have…I simply cannot believe the site exists. What a glorious plenty. I have gorged myself and remain unsated…

Back In The Day

A few decades ago I was a D&D player…not bad but…well, I never lived down the time I killed everyone because I just had to use some fireball spell in an enclosed space. Whatever. I was Neutral, anyway. But it was a wee bit interesting to see this little survey. One wonders, of course, if the data wouldn’t be helpful in certain recruiting schemes. As for that whole dwarf thing – I’m not THAT short and stumpy, damn it!

I Am A: Lawful Neutral Dwarf Ranger (6th Level)

Ability Scores:







Lawful Neutral A lawful neutral character acts as law, tradition, or a personal code directs him. Order and organization are paramount to him. He may believe in personal order and live by a code or standard, or he may believe in order for all and favor a strong, organized government. Lawful neutral is the best alignment you can be because it means you are reliable and honorable without being a zealot. However, lawful neutral can be a dangerous alignment because it seeks to eliminate all freedom, choice, and diversity in society.

Dwarves are known for their skill in warfare, their ability to withstand physical and magical punishment, their hard work, and their capacity for drinking ale. Dwarves are slow to jest and suspicious of strangers, but they are generous to those who earn their trust. They stand just 4 to 4.5 feet tall, but are broad and compactly built, almost as wide as they are tall. Dwarven men value their beards highly.

Rangers are skilled stalkers and hunters who make their home in the woods. Their martial skill is nearly the equal of the fighter, but they lack the latter’s dedication to the craft of fighting. Instead, the ranger focuses his skills and training on a specific enemy a type of creature he bears a vengeful grudge against and hunts above all others. Rangers often accept the role of protector, aiding those who live in or travel through the woods. His skills allow him to move quietly and stick to the shadows, especially in natural settings, and he also has special knowledge of certain types of creatures. Finally, an experienced ranger has such a tie to nature that he can actually draw on natural power to cast divine spells, much as a druid does, and like a druid he is often accompanied by animal companions. A ranger’s Wisdom score should be high, as this determines the maximum spell level that he can cast.

Find out What Kind of Dungeons and Dragons Character Would You Be?, courtesy of Easydamus (e-mail)

Random Thoughts

A lot of stuff runs through my mind throughout the week that I think – damn, I should write about that – only to forget as time passes. But there are a few things…

It’s called an improved shoulder, folks. See, in Texas they realize that some of you want to haul ass down that country road so they give us a WIDE shoulder. Those who have been here awhile know you can just slide on over there for a moment and let the speed demon pass – then slide right back. And no, it does not impact the size of your penis if you do! Of course, if you are the ass hauling mo-fo, courtesy demands at least a lift of a hand in gratitude. The more taxing brief press of the flashers is kinder still.

I make a call about whether to let you merge or get over in my lane based on your bumper stickers. That “9-11 Was An Inside Job” sticker is gonna cost ya. Now, speaking of which…what is it about people that they cannot comprehend just how hard it is to pull off something like that? Have they no idea the number of people involved? I personally think it is possible that they had to shoot that jet down into the field before it hit the capitol. Do I consider that an “inside job”? No. I consider that the defense of the nation whilst under attack. Do I think it likely? Not much, no. You have to count the pilot and likely co-pilot, the guys who tanked up the craft, the guys on radar, and anyone on the ground. All witnesses. Any one of which can decide the secret too much to bear and let loose a torrent of information. No, espionage is NOT that simple or easy. But it sure is easy to believe anything you read that meets what you want to believe.

Why do you have children if you don’t intend to stay home and raise them? Because NO, you cannot be a Super Woman and have it all. Someone is going to get the shaft – your employer, your kids, your husband (you DID have one, right? for the kids?) or yourself. Someone is going to be getting a lot less than they should. And I HATE it when you say “Oh, I could never stay home all day with them! I like to work…” My God, you selfish bitch…they aren’t like a damned PURSE – an accessory to don when the timing suits. It’s a child – a small person.

I have to admit I get a glint of mad glee when I see the punks on the crotch rockets hauling ass and cutting through traffic. Because I KNOW that Darwin is at work. Go get `em.

Why do I adore Beatrix Potter’s work when I am a dark, glowering sort of gal? I love dark humor. But those little bunnies and ducks and frogs give me great pleasure. And allow me to seque into this: if your “art” looks like a dropcloth, it ain’t art. It’s crap. And just because someone tells you it’s challenging the norm or some other line of shit it doesn’t make it any better than a dropcloth. This article says it far better than I could. Compare that snot Pollock to Sir Lawrence Alma Tadema (my favorite, admittedly) and tell me which is art.

If I could, I would move back in time just to wear these clothes every day.

October Project should never have given up. What fantastic music, lyrics and voices…

Well, I guess that’s about it. I am supposed to be making a gigantic shopping list having taken the dog to the park. I just cannot face getting out in that heat…not to mention driving all the way back the way I came…unfortunately, you cannot leave a dog in a car in this weather so the trip had to be run twice. Sigh…motivation…I need a damned lot of it.