Monday, December 31, 2007
When I started this blog over a year ago, little did I know the road it would take and the road my life would take. For those of you who do not know, I have suffered for years from depression. What I never knew was the depth and severity of it. I never realized how insidious and deadly it could be. Even as I have read over old postings about the disease I have, I realize just how much I didn't know about it, how little I really understood what was happening to me and just how seriously it would effect me.
I also realized as I re-read the postings, just how important my attitude and sense of humor would be to me me. And it certainly has.
In my case, not only was I in denial about what was going on, I was convincing those around me that everything was "just fine, thank you very much." But I was NOT fine and my world had begun to crumble to leave me with absolutely nothing but the clothes on my back. There was no money, no place to stay and nothing to look forward to.
I've told about when my apartment mate came in and basically said: "I've not paid the rent, I've found a place and am moving tomorrow ... have a good day." I finally found a place to land while I tried to figure out what I was going to do. I moved from there into an apartment where I was completely on my own. I had no support system and basically nothing to look forward to or to plan on doing. That, and a couple of very poor choices I made about friends and a possible lover added to the already bubbling cauldron going on in my life.
When I was offered the job of managing the by-the-week apartments I was spiraling in many different and deadly ways. Of course, the fact that I later found out they were ultimate slumlords that didn't care who was in the apartments as long as they paid the rent and would not release money for real maintenance only made me cling to what was going on with an even tighter grip. Of course, I continued writing the Complex Tales for the blog -- all of which were true -- but tried to hide the hole I was slipping into ~ the cliff I was falling down from everyone I knew ~ including myself (which by the way, is very very very dumb!)
Serious "stuff" follows ... you have been warned...
Also at this point I had been "bending the elbow" with my boss quite regularly. Of course, I certainly didn't have a problem with alcohol ... of course not. Just the fact that once I started with just one ... there were always a number more. And since the boss was paying for it AND paid for the cab to take me home ~ this is a problem ~ how? Also during this time I was sleeping about one hour per night (if that) but convincing myself and anyone who asked that I was just fine and sleeping a lot. I was now getting thrown the last 30 feet down the cliff - and was bouncing at the bottom...and no Dudley Doright to cushion the blow. Could it get worse? You bet.
This part gets a little hazy ~ perhaps all the details will come back someday, but I'm really not looking forward to it if they do. I was being complimented and "honored" for having the best collections of rent in the system. For several weeks my tenants owed nothing and a good number even had credit balances. This, of course, led to even more drinks after work with the boss and the eventual discovery that he was a cocaine-head. He actually was stupid enough to do it one afternoon at the very bar we had been drinking at ON the bar. Yes, he created his lines and did them. (the plural is very deliberate! And no, I did not do drugs at least nothing was illegal or required a prescription!
I also had basically stopped eating much and what I did eat usually came back up at some point (my mind should have been going "Ding! Ding! Danger!") ~ I look back and realize that what was going on had actually been growing for some time, and that I "might" have known, but was in no shape to realize.
I think that on the 28th of August, I literally snapped and quit my job. Called my friend who managed one of the other properties and gave him my keys. I faxed my resignation into the main office. Now, if you think it was one of those big corporate offices (which they wanted everyone to think) it was only the Patriarch of the Family and three ladies who worked there. As I was living on the property, I had signed a contract that I was to be out of the apartment I was occupying (and in 2 1/2 months still hadn't unpacked) within 72 hours. I had no plans, provisions or even a safety net that I could see or think of.
To be honest with everyone and true to myself ... this is going to take more than one posting. Now that I have complete access to a computer I can truthfully say:
--more tomorrow night!
Saturday, December 29, 2007
I normally don't provide a link to another web site, but in this case ~ the stories are worth reading in their home blog and perhaps you might find the site as interesting as I do. These three blood-pressure raising tales are true stories that have been published on the This Is True website. (OK, his copyright had something to do with it as well ~)
One involves police unable to release pictures of escaped murderers because....well, I'll let the spokesman speak for himself at the end of the story. Another involves a blind boy who is not being allowed to take his seeing eye dog to school (the principal wanted him arrested) and last but NOT least - a town deciding to go to plan B . . . at a lot more money.
Hopefully, you are intrigued to visit
Randy Cassingham's "This is True" Blog , and relish the stories ....
about New Year's later ~
Sunday, December 23, 2007
The partridge will be retained, but the pear tree, which never produced the cash crop forecasted, will be replaced by a plastic hanging plant, providing considerable savings in maintenance;
Two turtle doves represent a redundancy that is simply not cost effective. In addition, their romance during working hours could not be condoned. The positions are, therefore, eliminated;
The three French hens will remain intact. After all, everyone loves the French;
The four calling birds will be replaced by an automated voice mail system, with a call waiting option. An analysis is underway to determine who the birds have been calling, how often and how long they talked;
The five golden rings have been put on hold by the Board of Directors. Maintaining a portfolio based on one commodity could have negative implications for institutional investors. Diversification into other precious metals, as well as a mix of T-Bills and high technology stocks, appear to be in order;
The six geese-a-laying constitutes a luxury which can no longer be afforded. It has long been felt that the production rate of one egg per goose per day was an example of the general decline in productivity. Three geese will be let go, and an upgrading in the selection procedure by personnel will assure management that, from now on, every goose it gets will be a good one;
The seven swans-a-swimming is obviously a number chosen in better times. The function is primarily decorative. Mechanical swans are on order. The current swans will be retrained to learn some new strokes, thereby enhancing their outplacement;
As you know, the eight maids-a-milking concept has been under heavy scrutiny by the EEOC. A male/female balance in the workforce is being sought. The more militant maids consider this a dead-end job with no upward mobility. Automation of the process may permit the maids to try a-mending, a-mentoring or a-mulching;
Nine ladies dancing has always been an odd number. This function will be phased out as these individuals grow older and can no longer do the steps;
Ten Lords-a-leaping is overkill. The high cost of Lords, plus the expense of international air travel, prompted the Compensation Committee to suggest replacing this group with ten out-of-work congressmen. While leaping ability may be somewhat sacrificed, the savings are significant as we expect an oversupply of unemployed congressmen this year;
Eleven pipers piping and twelve drummers drumming is a simple case of the band getting too big. A substitution with a string quartet, a cutback on new music, and no uniforms, will produce savings which will drop right to the bottom line;
Overall we can expect a substantial reduction in assorted people, fowl, animals and related expenses. Though incomplete, studies indicate that stretching deliveries over twelve days is inefficient. If we can drop ship in one day, service levels will be improved.
Sunday, December 9, 2007
She was walking the dog on (I believe) the 9th of November and because she had been told not to ~ she took some concrete steps to the house. As near as we can tell she lost her balance and fell down at least 8 of them, landing on her head on the concrete pad. Fortunately, she had an alert bracelet that she managed to press - in spite of a broken arm and a broken shoulder below the rotor cuff.
R & L were on their way down when the alert people called them and also told them they had dispatched an ambulance. Everyone arrived within about 10 minutes of the fall. R had called me and I actually got to talk to Mom on the stretcher. Of course, her reactions were very typical of my Mom. She was telling R to stop crying, and all she would say to me on the cell phone was "I can't talk right now!" All I told her was that I wanted to say I loved her.
While in the ER, she was ready to go home, they were not sure what they were going to do but she was one determined lady. They wrote a prescription for pain pills and she started to get up to leave. She decided that because she was dizzy and everything now had started to hurt, she would stay overnight. That was sadly, her last independent moment. While she was in the hospital that night, she had what they classified as a moderate stroke. So now, she was dealing with the pain and having a terrible time talking. Not a very good combination for those who were taking care of her, trust me on that one!
With a lot of negotiation (OK, some fits were thrown as well) they moved her on the 13th to an intensive rehabilitation center. Mom knew that this was the ONLY way she was going to be allowed to go home. However...again however, she was NOT prepared for 1) the work she was going to have to do or 2) the people that would be there. I had called Mom twice a day for over two years, and I even had to get into the act of getting her to 1) "play" nice and 2) cooperate with everyone. I can and always will understand her frustration, but I eventually began to realize where this was going ~ even if I didn't want to admit it!! (Who wants to admit anything like that?)
Things seemed to be going well at the rehab center, when Mom had another mini-stroke. At that point rehab felt they had done all they could there and that Mom needed to be home with therapy coming to see her. Hospice took over on the 19th. At this point there was no longer any fantasy about her recovery. The hospital bed was in the living room so that she would be able to see her beloved Flathead Lake and perchance see the lights across the lake going up the mountain. On Wednesday the 21st, they awoke her to do one of the every two hour moves every early. They sat her up and cleaned her face with a washcloth and then R said: "look Barb, the lights across the lake!!" She had an enormous grin on her face and laid back down. I did get to talk "at" her that day. . . the last living conversation I was to have with her. She was awake occasionally that day, the mind was there ~ but all ability to talk was gone. On the 23rd she was awake only once. Her breathing was somewhat labored, and twice stopped. The at 7:30pm the 23rd of November, my Mother slipped out of her earthly shell and found herself at her new "home" where she had wanted to be for a long long time.
~ more later in the week
Thursday, November 22, 2007
Now, for the heart of this posting -- I was talking to a couple of friends this week, one is an addict and the other a really hard-core alcoholic. We were discussing being thankful and grateful ~ and the difference between them. Some of what I am posting relates directly to them, but thought about it, I realized the questions related to everyone.
Am I/you/we grateful?
Supposedly we are celebrating being thankful this week ~ but it appears that the Thanksgiving part has been shoved off the shelves for the next event in the calendar. But, has that spirit of being grateful vanished from the shelves of my life as well? Am I truly grateful?
Am I grateful for a place? For the shelter from more than just the elements of weather ~ but grateful for the shelter sometimes from others and sometimes even from myself?
Am I grateful for myself? for the who/what that I am? Am I grateful for the recovery from addiction(s) help me keep my life in balance? Am I grateful for the possible metal diagnosis that will keep me very aware of what is going on around me and within me ~ perhaps for the rest of my life?
Am I grateful for what I can do? Am I grateful for what I may be unable to do? And grateful for those who respect my limitations, but do not baby them either? And am I grateful for those who don't?
Am I grateful for my frustrations? Am I grateful for what I'm not being allowed to do? Am I grateful for the road-blocks in my way? Am I grateful for the mountains that seem insurmountable that I know I must go over as I unable to go around them ~ of under them?
Am I grateful for others? The ones who greet me on the way by? It's easy to be grateful for the ones I like, but what about the ones that I don't? Perhaps those are there to help me learn ~ such as patience, tolerance and long suffering (and they can make me suffer!) Perhaps by being grateful the annoyance will fade over time.
Am I grateful for what I have? While many of us have very little, there are those who have even less. Of course there will always be those who have even more, but am I able to be grateful for those as well?
Perhaps the universe will not trust me with more until I am truly grateful for all I have.
When I become grateful for all these things, then my heart will be at peace...my life can come back to manageability.
Go placidly amid the noise and haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible without surrender
be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
and listen to others,
even the dull and the ignorant;
they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons,
they are vexations to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain and bitter;
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs;
for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
many persons strive for high ideals;
and everywhere life is full of heroism.
Especially, do not feign affection.
Neither be cynical about love;
for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment
it is as perennial as the grass.
Take kindly the counsel of the years,
gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
Beyond a wholesome discipline,
be gentle with yourself.
You are a child of the universe,
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.
Therefore be at peace with God,
whatever you conceive Him to be,
and whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.
With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Strive to be happy.
Max Ehrmann, Desiderata, Copyright 1952.
Sunday, November 18, 2007
The journey I've been on has been incredible, joyful, painful and sorrowful - sometimes all at the same time...but I am grateful!!
For those that have followed this blog, you also know that my Mother (age 94) suffers from TIA ... or mini-strokes. Two weeks ago, she fell down five concrete steps (the steps she knows she is not to use) and landed on her head on a concrete pad. She broke her shoulder below the socket, so there was no surgery they could do to "fix" it. Her arm was literally tied to her waist to keep it from moving. Unfortunately, she actually had a moderate stroke while in the hospital and spent last week in an intensive rehabilitation center - doing more in one day than she had done in probably the last 20 years.
She arrived back at her house on Saturday however, early this morning she had to be taken back to the hospital. I would appreciate thoughts/prayers for her at this time. I will know more about what is going on or not going on possibly as early as tomorrow.
It is good to be back with by blog - I have really missed sharing laughs, joys and even some of the sorrows.
Sunday, November 4, 2007
It's been an interesting journey over the last couple of months. And I also am grateful to everyone for their patience as I literally have put my life back together!!!
Look back in the next couple of days!!!!!
Sunday, September 30, 2007
But let me repeat, I am back, I am on the road to recovery ~ and expect more poetry, blarney AND jottings in the very near future!!!
Just when I
all was lost ~
I found it again.
I am grateful . . .
Monday, August 20, 2007
Friday, August 17, 2007
The Facebooking of America by Suzanne Fields:
Every generation is sure that its social and cultural trends are here to stay. When history moved slowly before the dawn of the electronic media, it might have seemed so. But with instant communication through cell phones, fax machines, e-mail and Internet meeting places, such as Facebook and YouTube, cultural trends accelerate dramatically. The future as imagined by Generations X, Y or Z is easily blown away by the high velocity winds of change.
You can read the entire article --->here<--- ~ I would have reprinted the article, but I couldn't get permission. I think you will enjoy it as much as I did being of ...ahem.... a certain age.
---more complex tales and thoughts tomorrow
Article trackback link: http://rss.townhall.com/trackback/www/f38cf657-27f9-4df0-9263-e5b4d12fb3ae/
Tuesday, August 14, 2007
Recently, there was a problem with someone who was doing certain maintenance who had a habit of walking off with the keys to various storage rooms at the various properties. Normally, this would not be a problem as they usually are quite quickly returned ~ especially after an irate phone call from a manager to the maintenance person. Unfortunately, in this case, the maintenance person appeared to be walking off with more than just the keys. Now, I'm faced with a padlock that can't be cut off with bolt cutters and a boiler in the storage room that needs some attention. I don't know about anyone else, but I don't and never have enjoyed cold showers. I've discovered that my tenants don't care to take them either.
That shouldn't be a problem. I have a drill, the necessary drill bits and my wonderful expertise in drilling a lock. What I was never told ~ padlocks drill differently than ordinary locks. VERY differently. In an ordinary door lock/dead bolt there is a "sweet spot" on the lock that can be drilled and the lock will magically open...for everyone except myself. If someone has a diagram of that spot, I would appreciate a copy of it. I'm convinced that each lock has it's own spot and only maintenance people know where that spot is.
The spot on a padlock is different ~ dead center evidently. I started up the drill ~ thought better of it, and called our handy maintenance man who was working at a different property. I've got drill in hand, lock in sight and cell phone to the ear. "Be careful," I hear him say, "not to drill too far in or you'll never get it open." I found that very hard to believe. I got ready to drill. The involved putting down the phone as I had to hold the padlock in my hand while drilling. The mental image forming is probably very accurate.
I start in and have this sudden vision of having to be taken to the hospital with a drill bit through my hand, arm or other appendage. Maintenance had told me not to drill too far ~ I was really convinced that I really didn't want to drill at all. I will admit it, having to hold the padlock while I drilled made me feel similar to a magician's assistant on a board while he hurled knives at me .
Bracing myself ~ for what I wasn't sure ~ I again took the lock in one hand, and drill in the other. At the moment I started to drill, the phone rang. Using any excuse to put down the lock and drill, I answered it. The maintenance man was about five minutes away and wanted to know how I was doing. I tried to be quite nonchalant about it all ~ but he knows me. "Would you like me to come and drill it for you", was a statement I was not about to turn down. He arrived and actually talked me through the process. Yes, I held the lock and I drilled the lock and the lock did open. OK, I have to admit something: I found out (about half way through the lock) that there is a way to not have to hold the lock while drilling.
The boiler problem was quickly solved ~ and hot water was forthcoming. Maintenance went on his way (minus the key) and a new shiny lock laughed at me from the storeroom door.
---more lock tales to follow
Sunday, August 12, 2007
We were able to get a new manager, and things are headed back on-track and as they should be.
Today was an official day off for me...and I took it! I disappeared from the complex for several hours and had a delightful time. Some friends took me to the large home improvement box store ~ even after they read what happened the last time I was there. I did the aisles and found many things I would actually like to own. But, alas, no scenes from a major motion picture were filmed today. But, I did get some people watching in, as I enjoy doing.
Then, we went to the cell-phone store so I could do what we all with cell-phones have to do to keep it turned on ~ make a payment. The store opened at 1:00pm and we arrived shortly after that thinking that we would be able to waltz right in and get our business accomplished.
We waltzed through the door, and straight into a long line. It would appear that everyone else had the same idea we had. It's just that more people had it earlier. Directly in front of us was a Joe Pesci "wanna-be" ~ complete with the hair-do and voice, but the wrong hair color, nationality and size. Other than that, it would have been easy to mistake him.
He seemed to know a number of the people that were also standing in line, and we were treated to an almost unending stream of greetings, information about those people we would rather have not known ... and at one point he was loaning someone some money for their cell phone bill. That prompted about six of us to also hold out our hands to be part of the gravy train! Alas, no such luck.
While I don't mind lines, my knees do. I moved to a chair located toward the front of the line and sat while my friend held my place in the line. This gave me a very good opportunity to watch the person at the head of the line ~ I'll refer to him as Mr. Bling-Bling. He was upset that 1) he had to pay on his bill and 2) that he had to stand in line as the rest of us were. I call him Mr. Bling-Bling because of all the jewelry he was covered with. There were two LARGE either diamond or very good fake earrings embedded in his ears, the teeth were glittering with jewels (I really didn't think people were doing that anymore), there were chains with jewel encrusted objects from diamond (or very good fakes) studded dog tag, cross and other objects. He also was sporting a couple of quite large flashy rings.
What fascinated me the most was his attempt to get some kind of a discount because he had to stand in line. This was an on-going conversation with the person behind the counter. And I do mean, on-going. He tried every method he could think of for a discount: good customer, mis-handled customer, standing in line customer, long-term customer, always paid his bill on time customer ~ the list was quite long and quite impressive. The person behind the counter was not in the least impressed.
Finally, Mr. Bling-Bling took his case to a higher authority and called Customer Service. They were equally as unimpressed as the person behind the counter had been. At last, he was forced to realize that 1) he needed to pay the bill and 2) there was going to be no discount whatsoever...good customer or not. I thought at the time, the rest of us deserved a discount for his having tied up the line for as long as he did, but decided that the person behind the counter's sense of humor probably wouldn't extend quite that far to appreciate the joke. I restrained myself admirably.
The rest of the afternoon was spent at a very large, very impressive aquarium shop in what had been formerly a Japanese restaurant. Very lovely, very well laid out and many incredible fish. I did find exactly the fish tank I have been looking for, and for ONLY $23,000 completely set up and running. If anyone wishes to donate, I will be glad to provide a receipt.
Saturday, August 11, 2007
Monday morning I and another manager had to take over the office. This involved drilling out the locks as she had taken the keys to everything with her. As you have learned from previous posts drilling and changing locks is not exactly my specialty. I discovered that it was even less of a specialty for the other manager. When we were finished the front of the office looked like a tool shop with metal shavings everywhere.
When going into a situation such as this, the first concern is ~ of course ~ the money. We are a business that does not accept cash or checks ~ only money orders. This eliminates some very serious potential headaches. However, there are places that will cash money orders without even looking to see who they are made out to or what kind of endorsement they carry. This, at first glance, did not appear to be an issue. There are also several programs in place that prevent something such as that happening. It doesn't completely stop it, but it makes finding out if that happens almost immediate.
Now, of course, we have two managers that are not at their properties ~ trying to make sense of someone else's.
--more to come
Thursday, August 9, 2007
This required some thought and planning. What does one wear on a date...not having been on one for quite sometime. What is planned for the evening, or not planned?
Finally, common sense took hold and I decided that I would continue to be myself and allow the evening to unfold as it wanted to unfold.
We met and started talking ~ and we shared, laughed, talked until finally we realized what time it was. We had been sharing and talking for almost five hours! It certainly didn't seem like that at all. Fortunately, I didn't have to get up in the morning to work. We parted ways ~ however ~ only for a bit. We are getting together for another date next week ~ and I will certainly have more to share on that one.
However ~ it's wonderful to find someone who is willing to share themselves and be open about life and living. It's delightful to find someone who has been at some of the crossroads I've been at and who knows what deep decision making is all about.
What the evening gave me was a deep appreciation of this person, a better understanding of them ~ and belief that no matter what, we will have a friendship that survives.
And yes ~ the evening ended with a very warm embrace...very warm.
Wednesday, August 8, 2007
Monday, August 6, 2007
"It was a dark and stormy night; the rain fell in torrents--except at occasional intervals, when it was checked by a violent gust of wind which swept up the streets (for it is in London that our scene lies), rattling along the housetops, and fiercely agitating the scanty flame of the lamps that struggled against the darkness."
--Edward George Bulwer-Lytton, Paul Clifford (1830)It's not that Bulwer-Lytton wasn't a thinker, as he was very good at observations about life and people: "The true spirit of conversation consists in building on another man's observation, not overturning it."for example.
It's just that as a novelist he, as many of the writers of the time, wasn't very good. And to compound matters, Bulwer-Lytton kept inflicting his novels on the public: The Last Days of Pompeii, Eugene Aram, Rienzi, The Caxtons, The Coming Race, and--not least--Paul Clifford.
He also entered some great quotes into our daily use: "the pen is mightier than the sword," "the great unwashed,(my personal favorite)" and "the almighty dollar."
In 1982 The English Department at San Jose State University started sponsoring the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest, a whimsical literary competition that challenges entrants to compose the opening sentence to the worst of all possible novels.
Over the years the contest has grown and the entries more fun. I understand that some people spend up to a year working on their sentences. I know that the year I entered I spent quite a bit of time on my entry ~ which obviously wasn't quite enough.
Here are some of this year's winners:
(this grand prize winner takes a little more concentration than most!)
Gerald began--but was interrupted by a piercing whistle which cost him ten percent of his hearing permanently, as it did everyone else in a ten-mile radius of the eruption, not that it mattered much because for them "permanently" meant the next ten minutes or so until buried by searing lava or suffocated by choking ash--to pee.Runner-Up
---Jim Gleeson Madison, WI ~ the 25th
The Barents sea heaved and churned like a tortured animal in pain, the howling wind tearing packets of icy green water from the shuddering crests of the waves, atomizing it into mist that was again laid flat by the growing fury of the storm as Kevin Tucker switched off the bedside light in his Tuba City, Arizona, single-wide trailer and by the time the phone woke him at 7:38, had pretty much blown itself out with no damage.
---Scott Palmer, Klamath Falls, OR
This one would have made Bulwer-Lytton exceptionally proud:
Grand Panjandrum's Award
LaVerne was undeniably underdressed for this frigid weather; her black, rain-soaked tank top offered no protection and seemed to cling to her torso out of sheer rage, while her tie-dyed boa scarf hung lifeless around her neck like a giant, exhausted, pipe cleaner recently discarded after near-criminal overuse by an obviously sadistic (and rather flamboyant) plumber.
---Andrew Cavallari, Northfield, IL
Winner: Children's Literature
Danny, the little Grizzly cub, frolicked in the tall grass on this sunny Spring morning, his mother keeping a watchful eye as she chewed on a piece of a hiker they had encountered the day before.
---Dave McKenzie, Federal Way, WA
Mary had a little lamb; its fleece was Polartec 200 (thanks to gene splicing, a diet of force-fed petrochemical supplements, and regular dips in an advanced surface fusion polymer), which had the fortunate side effect of rendering it inedible, unlike that other Mary's organic lamb which misbehaved at school and wound up in a lovely Moroccan stew with dried apricots and couscous.
---Julie Jensen, Lodi, CA
Out of a hole in the ground popped a bunny rabbit which had a long thick orange carrot between its teeth and a big splotch of mud on its back that had dried into a dirt clump the size of a tumor.
---Veronica Perez. Palm Springs, FL
Hopefully, you will enjoy one more ~ my personal favorite of ALL time. This is the 1983 Grand Prize Winner:
Winner: Detective Stories
I'd been tailing this guy for over an hour while he tried every trick in the book to lose me: going down side streets, doubling back, suddenly veering into shop doorways, jumping out again, crossing the street, looking for somewhere to make the drop, and I was going to be there when he did it because his disguise as a postman didn't have me fooled for a minute.
---Bob Millar, Hässelby, Sweden
She'd been strangled with a rosary-not a run-of-the-mill rosary like you might get at a Catholic bookstore where Hail Marys are two for a quarter and indulgences are included on the back flap of the May issue of "Nuns and Roses" magazine, but a fancy heirloom rosary with pearls, rubies, and a solid gold cross, a rosary with attitude, the kind of rosary that said, "Get your Jehovah's Witness butt off my front porch."
---Mark Schweizer, Hopkinsville, KY
What shocked Juliette as she entered the room was not that there was
an escaped convict under her coverlet snuggling with her best teddy bear, but that there was a knife through his back, "And who," she wondered out loud, steadying herself against the faux-taffeta wallpaper, "would stab a teddy bear?"
---Katie Alender, Studio City, CA
The camel died quite suddenly on the second day, and Selena fretted sulkily and, buffing her already impeccable nails--not for the first time since the journey began--pondered snidely if this would dissolve into a vignette of minor inconveniences like all the other holidays spent with Basil.
--Gail Cain, San Francisco, California
All entries from http://www.bulwer-lytton.com/ --
Complete rules for entering are at the site as well.
---more on the date tomorrow
Saturday, August 4, 2007
Was it out of the blue? Yes. Was it a delightful surprise? Yes. Am I prepared? No. Will I have a good time? Who knows ~ but knowing me, there will be some stories to go with it.
In the mean time, I am prepared for a delightful evening ~ with someone I know, and have known as an acquaintance for some time now.
What will we do? It's not my evening to plan. Will I let you know all the details? That depends.
Friday, August 3, 2007
The other day I went on a new adventure ~ a home improvement box store. I decided upfront that I would use the electric cart and enjoy the ride. The person I was shopping with decided that my cart would be an excellent repository for various items being purchased for our two complexes.
The screwdrivers, drill bits and such I didn't mind. However, the sections of wood began to present a bit of a problem ...and then there was the boiler pipe. A nice, round L O N G piece of pipe. I had that balanced on one shoulder, and had some ability to steer with the other hand. I'm sure it was quite a sight.
Then, I saw him ~ the "kid." You know the ones in the store - totally bored, trying to stay out of trouble, but looking for something/anything to liven up the day.
Then, he saw me. The one with the large metal pipe leaning on his shoulder, in a cart that could only move at a certain speed.
The following account is absolutely true. (thank heavens there were no video cameras!)
Our eyes met and there was an instantaneous silent agreement. There was a slight nod from him, and a narrowing of the eyes from me. I moved my cart into position.
He ducked behind a handy display ~ but I was ready.
I raised the boiler vent pipe to shoulder level and waited. There were two sales people that stopped, turned and looked. I waited . . . A pair of eyes took a quick glance from behind the display and then he made a run for it.
I didn't do anything, the timing wasn't just right. Again, he took a quick glance and made a mad dash for the hand tools section. I fired (loudly, I might add) ...once then once again ... each time taking careful aim with my rocket launcher. He took a direct hit from the second shot...and fell gloriously, noisily and with great dramatic effect in the middle of the floor.
At this point (to quote someone) the parental unit attached entered the picture. I think he would have liked to be upset, but with several sales people and customers laughing and his child unit dusting himself off ...it would have been very hard to be upset.
Understand that during this entire time not one word had been exchanged. I took a last look at him, smiled ...blew on my fingernails and dusted them on my shirt. He gave me an enormous grin and a thumbs up sign.
I went on my electrified way to find the friend I was shopping with, he went with the parental unit to check out and everyone went back to doing what they had been doing before all this happened. I certainly felt better - I hoped that he felt better about the day. My friend, totally oblivious that a major motion picture scene had just been filmed, apologized for taking so long to find something.
Thursday, August 2, 2007
They really worked very hard to get a lot of things accomplished. There was much noise of maintenance happening ~ a lovely sound I haven't been able to hear for awhile! I also went with them (at their invitation since I was the one with petty cash!) to purchase some of the needed materials.
While on the way back from the trip/expedition I got a phone call from a restricted number. When I answered it, a woman simply started the conversation with: "This IS the ________ apartments, right?" I answered in the affirmative. "And you DO have an apartment XXX, right?" Again, I answered in the affirmative. "And you ARE at __________________, right?" Once more (with little feeling) I answered in the affirmative. "We'll be out," was her response as she hung up.
I have to admit there was a sinking feeling of my heart heading for my shoes, and my stomach heading out my back. In all honesty, I inherited a complex (as I've indicated) that has suffered from severe managerial neglect (for lack of a better or more politically correct term) ~ and by taking on this inheritance, I also have inherited the possibility of some consequences from the city. I now made the assumption that the call was from one of the city departments (correct assumption) about to do an inspection (wrong assumption).
By the time we arrived back at the complex, I had developed a somewhat plausible plan of action. However, when I sat down at my desk, the phone rang again. This time it was a person who nicely identified themselves as someone from CPS (child protective services) who wanted to know if I had received a call from a parole officer about one of my apartments. Now, I know the person who lives in the apartment in question ~ which is directly above mine. The thought that they might be on parole was indeed laughable. Then ~ as Paul Harvey would say: "The rest of the story..."
It seems this "lady" with six (yes, six!!!) children had given her parole officer my complex and one of my apartment numbers as her address. This "lady" was on the "run" and they were trying to find her. At the end of what I would call a good bridge building conversation, the person made the statement: "Aren't you glad we called rather than just showing up with police and all?" To which I had to agree. What I didn't tell them was the image that ran through my mind at that moment, was a montage from several silent movies ... that was best left unsaid.
The day carried on from there ~ and made me think my mind was beginning to turn to mush by about 4pm. And it was around that time I heard someone else's mind beginning to turn to mush ~ or close to it. My vice-grip handshake friend was having real difficulty with something that should have been simple...even for me. (No snickering or sniggering behind your hands, please!!) The light fixture in the laundry room needed to be changed out. A new, improved one had just been purchased and was being installed.
I was watching the miracle of electricity being installed when I was interrupted by a tenant who took literally five minutes to tell me someone needed to clean up in parking slot 5. (Clean up in aisle four!) I kid you not -- FIVE minutes. I had to interrupt watching to go on poop detail in front of the complex. All I will say, that was one healthy dog!
I thought when I got back, I would see the wonder of light in the laundry room ~ which had been absent for awhile. Unfortunately, there was no power to the light or the light switch. Everything else in the room was working as it should. My vice-grip handshake friend was reduced to vague mutters about ~ well, I'm not sure what they were about, but I have a feeling various people's (possibly mine) ancestries were being called into question.
The two of us went through various scenarios, ideas and thoughts. We both prodded, poked and twisted various things to see if they would work. At one point, vice-grip handshake went and purchased a new circle fluorescent bulb to see if that was the problem.
Finally, about the third time we were tearing apart the light switch, it hit me. The breakers. Off to the electrical box ~ some choice words on my part now and definitely an ancestry called into question. I had posted about the maintenance man who is no longer here due to getting in between two people who were arguing - and both people turned on him. He had the key to the locks on those boxes.
Fortunately, vice-grip handshake and those accompanying him have great experience in drilling locks - and in moments we were into the box and checking the breakers. There it was, the one switch on the top. A slight flick of the switch, and there was now power in the laundry room, joy in my heart and vice-grip handshake realized that I might be mature - but I'm NOT dead!!
All in all, a satisfying day.
As I was posting this tonight, I was reminded of a Lewis Carroll poem I once earned three dollars from my parents for memorizing at a very young age...
I'll leave you with that poem tonight:
You Are Old, Father William
"You are old, father William," the young man said,
"And your hair has become very white;
And yet you incessantly stand on your head--
Do you think, at your age, it is right?"
"In my youth," father William replied to his son,
"I feared it might injure the brain;
But, now that I'm perfectly sure I have none,
Why, I do it again and again."
"You are old," said the youth, "as I mentioned before,
And you have grown most uncommonly fat;
Yet you turned a back-somersault in at the door--
Pray what is the reason for that?"
"In my youth," said the sage, as he shook his grey locks,
"I kept all my limbs very supple
By the use of this ointment - one shilling a box--
Allow me to sell you a couple?"
"You are old," said the youth, "and your jaws are too weak
For anything tougher than suet;
Yet you finished the goose, with the bones and the beak--
Pray, how did you manage to do it?"
"In my youth," said his father, "I took to the law,
And argued each case with my wife;
And the muscular strength, which it gave to my jaw,
Has lasted the rest of my life."
"You are old," said the youth, "one would hardly suppose
That your eye was as steady as ever;
Yet you balanced an eel on the end of your nose--
What made you so awfully clever?"
"I have answered three questions, and that is enough,"
Said his father. "Don't give yourself airs!
Do you think I can listen all day to such stuff?
Be off, or I'll kick you down stairs.
should be able to post pictures this weekend!!!
Tuesday, July 31, 2007
Each year, in Austin TX. there is an O.Henry "pun-off" where contestants compete to win the best of that years puns. While this years winners have yet to be
I posted some winners of the actual contest before, but these were voted on by the Save The Pun Foundation members as best stressed puns.
from Best Stressed Puns of 2004.
Brisket..To speed something up.
Castrate..To evaluate all the actors in a movie or play.
Dollop..To dress up attractively.
Exposed..A retired model.
Forthcoming..Three visits weren't enough.
Germination..The birthplace of Beethoven.
Hi-fidelity..A devoted couple.
Institute..A spontaneous session of wind and brass instruments.
Logarithm..Tapping out the beat of a tune on a tree trunk.
From 2003: Love Letters by Gary Roma - see updated version --->HERE<---
Words are just lucky letters. How do letters get lucky? They go to bars. Let's listen:
A consonant goes into a bar and sits down next to a vowel.
"Hi!" he says, "Have you ever been here before?"
"Of cursive," she replies, "I come here, like, all the time"
He can tell from her accent (which is kind acute) that she is a Vowelly Girl. He looks her over. She's short and has a nice assonance.
She sure is a cipher sore I's, thinks this consonantal dude. He remains stationery, enveloped by her charm. "And what an uppercase!" His initial reaction is so pronounced, he doesn't know what to say. He is, at present, tense. Admiring her figure of speech, he falls into a fantasy.
He pictures a perfect wedding: They exchange wedding vowels.
The minister says, "I now pronouns you man and wife."
They kiss each other on the ellipsis. "I love you, noun forever," he whispers. The conjugation is in tiers. In a word, they are wed.
He awakens from his daydream and proposes a dance, but she declines.
Ferment there, she looks like she's going to bee [sic].
"Gee, are you okay?" he asks her.
"I'm, like, under a lot of stress ... I've got a yeast inflection."
"I knew something was brewing."
He calls the bartender. "Listen, bud, my beer is warm."
The bartender takes the bottle and empties it in the sink.
The dude watches as his hops go down the drain.
"Let's go outside," he says to her. "I'd like to have a word with you."
"Are you prepositioning me?"
"I won't be indirect. You are the object of my preposition."
"Oh my God, you're, like, such a boldfaced character!"
"I see your point. But I'm font of you. C'mon let's go."
"Do I have to spell it out? You're not my type, so get off my case.
Reluctantly, he decides to letter B. "Now my evening lies in runes," he laments. He leaves, hoping to have letter luck next time.
And last (but not least) from 2001:
The Peter Pan club? Never. Never.
The quarterback club? I'll pass.
The compulsive rhymers club? Okey‑dokey.
The Spanish optometrists club? Si.
The pregnancy club? That's conceivable.
The Self‑Esteem Builders club? They probably won't accept me.
The Agoraphobics Society? Only if they meet at my house.
Monday, July 30, 2007
I had been waiting for some not-so-minor things to be accomplished. Waiting, waiting, waiting. It was much as the furniture story I posted the other day. This time, however, there were no fingernails to chew...they were gone. There was no one to yell at ~ well, no one who was part of the solution to the problem anyway.
Finally, I pulled in the "big gun" and made a phone call. To who will remain behind a discretionary curtain - but needless to say, help was promised within the hour. Now, we all know how that can go ~ one hour stretches into three or four and then into a day. I was prepared. Within the hour, as I was standing outside getting some air...a truck pulled up and it was reminiscent of a cop movie. Four burly guys flew out of the truck, one charged up to me ~ put out his hand. He shook mine in a vice-like grip, asked what needed to be done now and as I was stammering my response (yes, my hand hurt!) they were off on their missions.
I have since dubbed these folks my personal SWAT team. They accomplished in two hours (!!) what had not been accomplished in two days. I would have done a victory dance, but was afraid I'd fall in the bushes or the street ~ so I admirably restrained myself.
Today they were put to the test. I had three drains in three apartments that were backing up and overflowing...not a good sign. The SWAT team were dealing with issues at three complexes, but assured me they would be here today to get more magic done.
I should have simply trusted them - but ... so, when they weren't here in the morning, I started trying to find out what was going on. It's not as if there weren't other things that needed attention, but I was getting some/most/a little of those done as the day went on its merry pace.
It was now afternoon. And one of my more delightful (sort-of) tenants was coming into the office at increasingly shorter intervals to let me know that 1) no one had arrived yet and 2) the water was still backing up and 3) to give me a running tally of how many "buckets" he had taken from the sink and dumped in the toilet.
Of course, there were the usual phone calls, tenants and prospective tenants sandwiched in around getting paper work done (remember, in a weekly rental apartment I do everything I had a month to do before in 5 days...and then get the privilege of doing it all over again the next week!).
Finally, I was making phone calls at increasingly shorter intervals to find out what ~ if anything ~ was going to happen.
4:14pm came around and my SWAT team arrived...this time with only three members. There was the same exit from the truck as before, the same bone crunching handshake ... and they piled into the work. And by the time I left for awhile at the end of my day, they had accomplished all they set out to do, and all that I needed them to do. A good feeling.
Now, I'm not sure what the tenant is going to do tomorrow without a reason to come in and give me reports ~ but perhaps (given his ...ahem...advanced age...more than mine) he'll spend the day recovering.
As for me? Tomorrow brings new challenges, ideas and keeping up with what needs to be done.
I don't get the SWAT team back until Wednesday ~ but that is alright, as I can rest comfortably in the knowledge they will be here and will get things accomplished!!
Maybe I better watch out - they might start doing my job as well ... Now that's a thought ~
--I'm still unable to publish pictures ... hopefully in the next few days ...
Saturday, July 28, 2007
Once again, I was awake much earlier than I wanted to be. It fascinates me how in the early morning hours things that should not be a problem become magnified many times more than they are worth.
This is not to say that problems don't need solving, but in the moments between night and dawn ~ what should not be that big a problem looms larger and more oppressive then a couple of hours later when the sun illuminates the day ~ what seemed so large is revealed at its correct size. A size that is something that can be handled, dealt with or simply dismissed as not important.
I found this morning that my breathing changed (not for the better) and my mind became completely over-active with concerns that hadn't even made themselves evident in reality.
Being honest, it was nothing more than unsubstantiated fear. The kind of fear that creeps in on soft feet, and tries to take over the mind...which then translates into reactions of the body...the heart, breathing and even the skin temperature.
I would like to say that it's easy to say: "Begone!" But we know such is not the case. Sometimes, I literally have to get up and deal with each phantom individually~ individually, and firmly.
Perhaps you don't have these night-time holograms ~ if so, be very thankful. To those, such as myself, who do ~ I offer these quotes:I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.
--Frank Herbert, Dune - (Bene Gesserit Litany Against Fear)
Fear makes the wolf bigger than he is.
-- German Proverb
Fear is a tyrant and a despot, more terrible than the rack, more potent than the snake.
--Edgar Wallace - The Clue of the Twisted Candle (1916)
Fear is only as deep as the mind allows.
Never be afraid to try something new. Remember, amateurs built the ark, professionals built the Titanic.
You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, 'I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.' You must do the thing you think you cannot do.
To fear is one thing. To let fear grab you by the tail and swing you around is another.
No matter how hard you work for success if your thought is saturated with the fear of failure, it will kill your efforts, neutralize your endeavors and make success impossible.
Fear defeats more people than any other one thing in the world.
--Ralph Waldo Emerson
If I can endure for this minute whatever is happening to me No matter how heavy my heart is or how dark the moment might be... If I can but keep on believing what I know in my heart to be true, That darkness will fade with morning and that this will pass away, too... Then nothing can ever disturb me or fill me with uncertain fear, For as sure as night brings dawning, my morning is bound to appear...
Don’t be afraid of fear
Because fear is afraid of itself
You give into fear when you doubt yourself
Fear makes you a complete opposite of yourself
Draining every bit of confidence your body has left
Fear tricks you of your potential
Wiping away your credentials
A life ruled by fear is life without hope
Of course people are going to have raining days
But with fear, everyday you will have your droughts
Be confident and put your head up high
How can fear overtake you when you’re looking at the
Beautiful clouds high in the sky
Friday, July 27, 2007
Thursday, July 26, 2007
Of course, things at that time of night/day for me become even more magnified...When I finally did get up ~ I was still tired. And my mind was still "yapping" about what had to get done, what hadn't gotten done and what wasn't GOING to get done. I couldn't even begin to enjoy the light of day with all I had accepted (key word: accepted) as being on my plate. In all honesty, I was discouraged.
This post is not a "poor me" post ~ but is part of the continuing journey that I share here. It colored my entire morning and much of the afternoon. It was difficult not to become irritated at things that were completely out of my control, and to lose control over what WAS in my control.
Often in situations such as this, I like to turn sometimes to what others have to say on a subject ... hopefully, you will find these helpful ~ as I did.
Take These Thoughts With You
On Your Journey To Your Dreams
Don't ever forget that you are unique. Be your best self and not an imitation of someone else.
Find your strength and use them in a positive way. Don't listen to those who ridicule the choices you make.
Travel the road that you have chosen and don't look back with regret. You have to take chances to make your dreams happen.
Remember that there is plenty of time to travel another road - and still another - in your journey through life.
Take the time to find the route that is right for you. You will learn something valuable from every trip you take, so don't be afraid to make mistakes.
Tell yourself that you're okay just the way you are. Make friends who respect your true self.
Take the time to be alone, too, so you can know just how terrific your own company can be.
Remember that being alone doesn't always mean being lonely; it can be a beautiful experience of finding your creativity, your heartfelt feelings, and the calm and quiet peace deep inside you.
Don't ever forget that you are special and you have within you the ability to make your dreams come true.
Today's Dreams Are
Don't be afraid of high hopes or plans that seem to be out of reach.
Life is meant to be experienced, and every situation allows for learning and growth.
Motivation is a positive starting point, and action places you on a forward path.
A dream is a blueprint of a goal not yet achieved; the only difference between the two is the effort involved in attaining what you hope to accomplish.
Let your mind and heart urge you on; allow the power of your will to lead you to your destination.
Don't count the steps ahead; just add up the total of steps already covered, and multiply it by faith, confidence, and endurance.
Always remember that for those who persist, today's dreams are transformed into tomorrow's successes.
---Kelly D. Caron
This is my all time favorite quote (I'm sorry I don't know where it's from): Any problem worthy of attack will prove it's worth by hitting back.
Wednesday, July 25, 2007
Yesterday, another apartment became available ~ however ~ it needed cleaning, making ready and getting the furniture into it. The couple I know were ready to move today, and with numerous phone calls, it appeared it was going to happen.
Now, I'm totally relying on other people to get it ready and someone bringing the truck with furniture for their apartment and one other - so I don't have to go through this again.
The couple (I'll tell more of their story in another post) arrive at 1:30pm and start moving into the apartment. No sign of furniture. 2:30pm, couple has almost completely moved their things into the apartment. Still no sign of furniture. I have no nails left from biting them.
3:15pm, truck arrives. The Mrs. of the couple is happy because she can go and pick her furniture "off the truck." I resisted ANY comments about buying fruit/vegetables or shrimp the same way.
3:30pm, somewhat burly help arrives to move the furniture and get it somewhat set up.
4:30pm, the move is now complete. In the process I've handled 15 phone calls and 3 people dropping by inquiring about apartments. (The saga of shifting locks around will remain for yet another story...just suffice to say, I'm not a locksmith I've decided.) I still have paperwork to complete and more phone calls to make.
It was at this point, a wonderful poem came to mind. With a little searching I found a copy of it, and I'm giving it as my evening meditation and thought for the day.
ERE sleep comes down to soothe the weary
Which all the day with ceaseless care have
The magic gold which from the seeker flies;
Ere dreams put on the gown and cap of
And make the waking world a world of lies,--
Of lies most palpable, uncouth, forlorn,
That say life's full of aches and tears and sighs,--
Oh, how with more than dreams the soul is
Ere sleep comes down to soothe the weary eyes.
Ere sleep comes down to soothe the weary eyes,
How all the griefs and heartaches we have
Come up like pois'nous vapors that arise
From some base witch's caldron, when the
To work some potent spell, her magic plies.
The past which held its share of bitter pain,
Whose ghost we prayed that Time might
Comes up, is lived and suffered o'er again,
Ere sleep comes down to soothe the weary eyes.
Ere sleep comes down to soothe the weary eyes,
What phantoms fill the dimly lighted room;
What ghostly shades in awe-creating guise
Are bodied forth within the teeming gloom.
What echoes faint of sad and soul-sick cries,
And pangs of vague inexplicable pain
That pay the spirit's ceaseless enterprise,
Come thronging through the chambers of the
Ere sleep comes down to soothe the weary eyes.
Ere sleep comes down to soothe the weary eyes,
Where ranges forth the spirit far and free?
Through what strange realms and unfamiliar
Tends her far course to lands of mystery?
To lands unspeakable--beyond surmise,
Where shapes unknowable to being spring
Till, faint of wing, the Fancy fails and dies
Much wearied with the spirit's journeying,
Ere sleep comes down to soothe the weary eyes.
Ere sleep comes down to soothe the weary eyes,
How questioneth the soul that other soul,--
The inner sense which neither cheats nor lies,
But self exposes unto self, a scroll
Full writ with all life's acts unwise or wise,
In characters indelible and known;
So, trembling with the shock of sad surprise,
The soul doth view its awful self alone,
Ere sleep comes down to soothe the weary eyes.
When sleep comes down to seal the weary eyes,
The last dear sleep whose soft embrace is balm,
And whom sad sorrow teaches us to prize
For kissing all our passions into calm,
Ah, then, no more we heed the sad world's cries,
Or seek to probe th' eternal mystery,
Or fret our souls at long-withheld replies,
At glooms through which our visions cannot see,
When sleep comes down to seal the weary eyes.
---Paul Laurence Dunbar ~ 1872-1906
-->digital collection here<---
Sunday, July 22, 2007
Aside from naming this fiction, there is disagreement about the length of the story. Some believe it should be no longer than 500, 700 or 1000 words and some even stretch the limit to 1500 words.
Other names for it include short-short stories, sudden, postcard,
minute, furious, fast, quick, skinny, and micro fiction. In France such works are called nouvelles. In China this type of writing has several interesting names: little short story, pocket-size story, minute-long story, palm-sized story, and my personal favorite, the smoke-long story (just long enough to read while smoking a cigarette). What's in a name? That which we call flash fiction, by any other name would read as bright.
I'm going to present a couple more flash stories for your enjoyment ~ don't hesitate to bring other stories to my attention. I might use them in another post about the power of the flash fiction short!
The Silver Shadow
I see you. You're right there in front of me. But the closer I look the harder it is to recognize you, my silver shadow.
When I think of me, you're not it. My mouth doesn't frown like that. There aren't dark circles under my eyes. When I think of me I see that picture from 1970. Me watching my friends playing the guitar, smiling, laughing, eyes crinkled against the sun.
How did that girl become you? I don't remember seeing it happen. It must have been slow, the transformation insidious. Maybe during all those years I gave myself over to parties and adventures. I wouldn't have seen them then.
I only recall looking at you once during those years, when a two-week drunk was winding down. My bones ached; even my skin hurt. In the ladies room, leaning on a sink and trying to decide whether or not to become sick, I looked up and there you were. For a brief moment I didn't recognize you at all. That was the moment I thought I'd be better off without either of us.
I didn't notice you during the career years. I was too busy proving myself worthy of promotion above the level everyone wanted to relegate me to. Even in the bathroom, I didn't have time to do more than glance at you on my way out the door.
Now, you're the one that everyone else sees, what they use to judge me. But you're not me. You're just that silver shadow.
---Debbie Orton 2001
At first Dan Chandler thought there was a thunderstorm crashing overhead, but a moment later he realized the sound came from inside his throbbing head. He pushed himself out of bed and tried to stand up. The spinning universe didn't cooperate, so he sat back down. His surroundings were a blur, so he rubbed his eyes until everything came back into focus.
Where the aitch-eee-double-hockey sticks was he, he wondered. He certainly wasn't home in his clean and comfortable bedroom. The dingy room was small and sparsely furnished. Most of the interior was taken up by the king-sized bed.
It suddenly dawned on Dan just where he was. Memories from his bachelor days came rushing back. He was in a cheap no-tell motel.
He had to concentrate. Last night. He was out with the boys on another harmless excursion with his wife's full knowledge and consent. He remembered going to the bar, and he remembered drinking, and . . .
Nothing. The rest of the evening was a total blank. Anything could have happened after that. He took a deep breath and exhaled. Panic wouldn't help. How bad could it be? It just wasn't in his nature to do anything stupid.
It didn't take Einstein to figure out he had done something really stupid.
It had to be his wife. It was all a dream, thank God. He bounced out of bed and rushed to the bathroom.
---by Charles Richard Laing ©2007
Thursday, July 19, 2007
One of the blogs I read each day is --->Our View On Superior<--. I've enjoyed it from the first read. Here are two people that are deeply in love, work at their relationship and totally enjoy each other.
As I said it's something that transcends orientation...it is that kind of love that is deep, powerful and something to be honored and cherished. Today was Warren's ...ahem...uh...birthday and a milestone birthday it is as well. I wondered what he would have to say about it. I was sure it would be moving and profound, and he didn't let me down. Let me
-It's my birthday and the love of my man is the best present I could
-Yes it was on this date...a number of years ago that my mom and dad gave birth to me - right here in Minnesota. My dad had just returned from World War II after having served over seas.
My mom and dad actually met just prior to the war starting and had gotten married before he left for the military service.
I suppose being gone for five and one-half years - he was ready to come home and see my mom. Many children were born that same year - we eventually became known as "baby boomers".
Probably should have been called "baby exploders" because kids were coming out at a rapid pace that year. It was 1946.
Life these years has been very good to me ... I've gotten a
good education, had only two jobs in my entire life, and lived very happily. I'm not a rich man, I'm not a poor man - but I've always been fairly comfortable - having what I needed in life and never to the excess.
I think that is perhaps the best life you can have. I find poor people however are happy in many ways, while those who are rich never truly seem happy and always want more - sad to say.
My parents died at a relatively early age and I was an only child. My mom passed away when I was 18 and my dad died when I was 31 years of age. So - I've basically lived alone my entire life. I realized I was "unique" and finally knew I liked guys when I was 13 or 14 years of age...but I didn't know why.
However; living in Minnesota I never came out - never told my family or anyone I associated with. I would have been shoved back into the closet so fast, it would have made you head spin. Back in the 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s, before I met Steve -people hated gay men.
Why would I want to bring hatred upon myself by announcing to the world "I'm gay"? There was no sense in doing that - so I just kept my mouth closed and enjoyed life as much as I could. I spent a lot of time looking at those guys in the Wards and Sears catalogs - who wore underwear! LOL! I thought they were cute.
To me they were the next best thing to having a guy. Well, after all - who knew who was gay back then?
I really never met many guys in my life - for fear of being found out and then be put up on a chopping block for society to cut away at me - because I lived in a small town area people would talk and I feared that. I sure as heck didn't want that - so I was very careful not to be actively seeking anyone.
I finished high school, went onto college and got my degree and
then found the two and only two jobs that I ever had. Both jobs have been good to me, both employers wonderful - providing me with a good salary, vacation, sick leave and health care benefits - what more could a guy need in life?
When I was about 23 or so, I accepted Jesus Christ into my life as my
Lord - and I've served Him ever since - knowing full well that God allowed me to be who I was - a gay man. I didn't really realize I was 100% gay until - I just figured it out one day. Seems dumb I know, but hey back in those days - if you liked guys it was not a good thing. Today, things are getting better and society is more accepting.
What did I need in life? Answer: A man!
Why was I gay? Why was I unique? In 1999, being a Christian - I set out for several months on an educational trip to explore the subject of being gay and what I was and why I was who I was. I read books and internet article and my Bible and anything I could get my hands on.
Conclusions from my 6 month study:
I was gay because the feelings I had came with me, right from my
I was gay, because God created me as He wanted me to be.
I was gay and I was a born again Christian worshiping in an
Assemblies of God denomination. I was ok.
It was not wrong to be who God created me to be.
I could live just like anyone else, and still be gay.
Homosexuality is not a learned behavior. I learned that my sexual
orientation was inherited; and I was just plain wired that way.
Certainly some people will experiment with a gay lifestyle, and a gay person might experiment with a heterosexual one. If I was really gay, I'd find a place in life and in my community to be who I was.
The important thing is that people just love me through my life. What difference does it make if I am gay? I realized that people (everyone) needed to accept me, support me and not be judgmental toward me.
In the last week May of 1999, I put an ad on Yahoo Personals for the Duluth, Minnesota region - looking for a younger man and looking for love.
Well almost two weeks went by, and a couple people answered the ad - but they were only looking for sex - and I wanted a love relationship that lasted. My Yahoo User Name was "niceguyduluth". Why? Simply because I was a nice guy.
On June 12th, 1999 about 6:30 p.m. I was checking my Yahoo email - and low and behold - there was an email from a young guy in central Minnesota. He described himself as being blond, he was about 6 feet tall, 190 pounds, goatee, blue eyes and he was 26 years old. I thought to myself (1) can this be true and (2) could this work out, after all he was 150 + miles away from me - and long distance relationships don't work at all or not very well.
He was a gift from God to me!
Wow ... I was excited! We conversed back and forth via email and later that evening I told him to install Yahoo Messenger so we could chat - and believe me, we did chat for a whole week - solid. Morning, noon and night!
We set up a date for the following Friday, June 18th - I would drive to his home town and meet him and together we would go for the weekend to St. Cloud, Minnesota.
I arrived at his home that following Friday at 10:00 a.m. right on the dot. He was inside, wearing a pair of crutches - because he had dislocated a bone in his foot the previous Sunday while playing softball.
There he was...blue jean shorts, navy blue pull over shirt, blond hair
and big blue eyes - oh my gosh he was cute!!!
Well ... the rest is history ... we dated that weekend, and we fell in love immediately - then we dated for five more weekends - and on or about the six weekend - his vehicle arrived in front of my place with a big trailer loaded with all his furniture and belongings - and it's been the best 8 1/2 years of my life!
Steve was God's gift to me on that 1999 birthday, and he is still God's gift to me on this 2007 birthday.
So today, I'm 61 - but I feel like I'm 49 and I'll never change that. Jack Benny was 39 his whole life so 49 - hey that works for me.
Age is just a number, so I am told. If you don't mind, it doesn't
matter - and I don't mind my age at all. Birthdays come and go far to quickly - life is beautiful but it passes far faster than we can all imagine.
My final thought for the day is simply this:
Live life and enjoy every single moment you have. The possibilities for joy and fulfillment are all around you. Jump in right now and explore them fully - because that's what life is all about. I'm so glad today that I jumped into life in June of 1999 and became the man God wanted me to be with my partner Steve.
Steve was then and is now my birthday gift from God.
He's cute, he's hot and he's mine.
Happy birthday to me!
--more complex tales tomorrow
Wednesday, July 18, 2007
We had hired a maintenance man for the complex ~ he worked for a week then mysteriously (OK ~ not so mysteriously) disappeared. I was awakened Sunday morning at 4:30am by someone telling me that my maintenance man was bleeding all over the road, and that I needed to come out and see what was going on - or what had happened at the least.
Not being at my best at 4:30am, unless it's by choice (OK ~ I'll draw a curtain of discretion about early morning awakenings!), I was less than thrilled about being drawn out of the confines of my apartment to something that was going to involve blood, flood or fire.
He, evidently, decided to intervene in an argument that was occurring on the street. The two people (one male and one female) thought that his intervention was 1) annoying and 2) not necessary ~ did what amounted to a smack down. This, according to initial reports, involved a cut on the head and being slightly shaken up. One thing I have learned over the years ~ make sure that you really are needed to get in the middle of an argument, or BOTH parties of the argument are very apt to turn on you, and you will come out the worse for wear.
My maintenance man had ~ as far as I knew ~ a head cut (which always looks worse than it is) and was slightly banged up.
The last I saw of him was as he was being spirited away in an ambulance. I really had no idea that the next couple of days were going to be as a James Bond movie (remember which one involved taking someone away in an ambulance?) without the car and gadgets to go with it. It seemed as if he had dropped off the face of the earth ~ or at least off the face of my complex.
I found out today, it was far more serious and injurious. He had a broken (not sprained) ankle, and the surgeons last night had to move tendons from the leg to repair tendon damage ~ to say nothing of the plate and screws that were now in his ankle.
Finally, today we got the "rest of the story" and realized that he was not damaged beyond recognition, nor was he incarcerated for the long term.
By now, I was convinced that the "Twilight Zone" had overcome me, and nothing was as it seemed. Because he had disappeared with the keys, I had spent $95 petty cash to get the locks re-done (which he had had the keys attached to his belt) and tried to make sense of what had happened. However, not knowing where he was and/or what had happened to him I was basically at a loss.
As I found out today, his cell phone had also disappeared during the altercation, and all his phone numbers were in the phone. Having faced a similar situation recently when my phone battery literally "died" and I couldn't get any numbers from it ~ I could understand completely.
So now, I have a maintenance man in the hospital facing rehabilitation and wanting to work. This should prove an interesting combination.
And yet, life and the complex goes on ~ So, if you know of a maintenance man needing work ... just let me know...
Sunday, July 15, 2007
At 8:00am I received a phone call from the OTHER 1/2 of the couple saying it wasn't going to happen until 10:00am. Not a problem, back to bed I went. THEN I received a phone call from the first 1/2 of the couple saying it was now going to be around 11:00am before it happened. I didn't bother to get out of bed.
I finally emerged from what some people call a beauty sleep (didn't work in my case!) and started my day. Finally at 3:00pm the first load arrived of the move. That was when disaster seemed to strike. The electricity was off ~ OK, not a problem. I would just go back and flip the switches. OK~ now a problem.
Last night my maintenance man decided to get in the middle of an argument that a man and woman were having out on the street. Unfortunately, it appears that neither of them appreciated his becoming involved and he ended up being smacked down onto the pavement. Of course, there was the requisite head gash and being slightly banged up. The head gash made him look as if he had been run over and being banged up made him slightly irritable and not feel very well.
While the police were not too terribly interested in going after the arguing couple, the ambulance folk were very interested in taking my maintenance man on a ride to the hospital. I didn't argue ~ too much.
Unfortunately, the maintenance man had the electrical box keys attached to his belt. OK ~ no problem, the man and the keys will be back today. OK ~ now a problem, he evidently was kept overnight for observation and testing. I still have not heard from him nor from anyone that knows him.
Now, I have two halves of this couple (who may or may NOT communicate with each other) moving into an apartment that has no electricity. Thank heavens for petty cash. I'm going to offer them either dinner and breakfast in the morning or a Motel 6 room for the night. They can take their choice ~ but they are NOT allowed to call me with the decision. I can only imagine how many phone calls that would take!!!
I'm also hopeful that I can get down to the Comcast office this week, and get my Internet hooked back up. The problem isn't Comcast or me. The person who lived in this apartment before me left without paying his bill (and it is a him as I know who it is!). I have to go down and prove that I am not this nefarious bill skipping ...uh... person. At that point, I will no longer be using the office computer and will be able to post pictures on the blog once more!!
And now, for the silly part of my Sunday:
One of the most incredible marketing campaigns involved Marlboro cigarettes. On the side of each pack were "miles" and people collected those miles for prizes from the prize catalogue. This helped Marlboro stay ahead of the "pack" which advertising that cigarettes could do became quite limited.
Here are some little known items from the various years catalogues:
1. 1,000,000 miles: John Wayne's bronzed lungs
2. 80,000 miles: The "Cougher": "cough"-- Lights on... "cough"-"cough"-- lights off!
3. 80,000 miles: Marlboro Man ballet shoes and tutu
4. 100 miles: Bumper sticker saying, "You can have my cigarette when you pry it from my feeble, trembling hands.
5. 500,000 miles and a $10,000 contribution: The Senator of your choice
6. 25,000 miles: (collectors item) Jackie Gleason's "Wheezin' to the Oldies" workout video
7. 45,000 miles: Complete framed collection of Surgeon General's warning labels
I drove past a Hollywood Video Store this week, and they were eliminating all the VHS tapes from the store at $1.99 each...at least that's what the sign outside said. As the world moves more to CD's and DVD's ... I got to thinking about that wonderful (now becoming a collectors item) invention the floppie disk that seemed so revolutionary at the time. I was sure I hadn't lost it ~ and today I dug around in a couple of the "don't throw this away, I might need it someday" boxes I have in the closet, and there it was.
Proper Care of Floppies
1. Never leave diskettes in the disk drive, as data can leak out of the disk and corrode the inner mechanics of the drive. Diskettes should be rolled up and stored in pencil holders.
2. Diskettes should be cleaned and waxed once a week. Microscopic metal particles can be removed by waving a powerful magnet over the surface of the disk. Any stubborn metallic shavings can be removed with scouring powder and soap. When waxing diskettes, make sure application is even. This will allow the diskettes to spin faster, resulting in better access time.
3. Do not fold diskettes unless they do not fit in the drive. "Big" diskettes may be folded and used in "little" disk drives.
4. Never insert a disk into the drive upside down. The data can fall off the surface of the disk and jam the intricate mechanics of the drive.
5. Diskettes cannot be backed up by running them through the Xerox machine. If your data is going to need to be backed up, simply insert two diskettes together into the drive. Whenever you update a document, the data will be recorded on both diskettes.
6. Diskettes should not be inserted into or removed from the drive while the red light is flashing. Doing so could result in smeared or possibly unreadable text. Occasionally the red light continues to flash in what is known as a "hung" or "hooked" state. If your system is "hooking" you, you will probably need to insert a few coins before being allowed to access the disk drive.
7. If your diskette is full and you need more storage space, remove the disk from the drive and shake vigorously for two minutes. This will pack the data enough (Data Compression) to allow for more storage. Be sure to cover all the openings with scotch tape to prevent loss of data.
8. Data access time can be greatly improved by cutting more holes in the diskette jacket. This will provide more simultaneous access points to the disk.
9. Diskettes can be used as coasters for beverage glasses, provided they have been properly waxed beforehand. Be sure to wipe the diskettes dry before inserting into drive (see item #2 above.)
10. Never use scissors and glue to manually edit documents. The data stored is much too small to be seen with the naked eye, and you may end up with data from some other document stuck in the middle of your document. Razor blades and scotch tape may be used, provided the user is equipped with an electron microscope.
11. Periodically spray diskettes with insecticide to prevent system bugs from spreading.
He who dies with the most toys, is, nonetheless, still dead.
The cost of living hasn't affected its popularity.
I am returning this otherwise good typing paper to you because someone has printed gibberish all over it and put your name at the top.
--English Professor, Ohio University
Q: How many surrealists does it take to screw in a light bulb? A: Two. One to hold the giraffe and the other to fill the bathtub with brightly colored machine tools.
Q: How many minimalists does it take to change a light bulb? A: 1
This is not a novel to be tossed aside lightly. It should be thrown with great force.
Diplomacy is the art of saying "nice doggy" until you can find a rock.
When the only tool you own is a hammer, every problem begins to resemble a nail. --Abraham Maslow