Wednesday, June 27, 2007


Scattergories, snitched from

[Answer if you wish.]

Rules: Use the 1st letter of your name to answer each of the following...They MUST be real places, names, things...NOTHING made up! If you can't think of Anything, skip it. Try to use different answers if the person before you had the same 1st initial. You CAN'T use your name for the boy/girl name question!!

Your Name: spike

1. Famous singer/band: Pete Singer, Bob Seeger, Bruce Springsteen, Slade

2. 4 letter word: shit, shat, shut, shot, seep, sing, slut, slat, slit...

3. Street name: Saddle River Avenue

4. Color: Sepia

5. Gifts/Presents: stationary, another damned scarf

6. Vehicle: Saturn

7. Items on a menu: shrimp cocktail, spaghetti, spumoni, soda

8. Boy's name: Steven

9. Girl's name: Sally

10. Movie title: Save the Last Dance

11. Drink: strawberry smoothie

12. Occupation: State Trooper

13. Flower: straw flower

14. Celebrity: Scooby Doo, William Shatner

15. Magazine: Scientific American

16. U.S. City: San Diego

17. Pro-sports team: San Francisco 49ers, San Diego Padres

18. Reason for being late for work: slept in, sniffles

19. Something you throw away: snot rags

20. Something you shout: Stop thief!!!

21. Cartoon character: Scooby Doo

spike q

Monday, June 25, 2007

Another Medscape Golf Joke

A nun walks into Mother Superior's office and plunks down into a chair. She lets out a sigh heavy with frustration.

"What troubles you, Sister?" asks the Mother Superior. "I thought this was the day you spent with your family."

"It was," sighed the Sister. "And I went to play golf with my brother.

We try to play golf as often as we can. You know I was quite a talented golfer before I devoted my life to Christ."

"I seem to recall that," the Mother Superior agreed. "So I take it your day of recreation was not relaxing?"

"Far from it," snorted the Sister. "In fact, I even took the Lord's name in vain today!"

"Goodness, Sister!" gasped the Mother Superior, astonished. "You must tell me all about it!"

"Well, we were on the fifth tee... and this hole is a monster, Mother - 540 yard Par 5, with a nasty dogleg left and a hidden green... and I hit the drive of my life. I creamed it. The sweetest swing I ever made. And it's flying straight and true, right along the line I wanted... and it hits a bird in mid-flight not 100 yards off the tee!"

"Oh my!" commiserated the Mother. "How unfortunate! But surely that didn't make you blaspheme, Sister!"

"No, that wasn't it," admitted Sister. "While I was still trying to fathom what had happened, this squirrel runs out of the woods, grabs my ball and runs off down the fairway!"

"Oh, that would have made me blaspheme!" sympathized Mother.

"But I didn't, Mother Superior!" sobbed the Sister. "And I was so proud of myself! And while I was pondering whether this was a sign from God, this hawk swoops out of the sky and grabs the squirrel and flies off, with my ball still clutched in his paws!"

"So that's when you cursed," said the Mother with a knowing smile.

"Nope, that wasn't it either," cried the Sister, anguished, "because as the hawk started to fly out of sight, the squirrel started struggling, and the hawk dropped him right there on the green, and the ball popped out of his paws and rolled to about 18 inches from the cup!"

Mother Superior sat back in her chair, folded her arms across her chest, fixed the Sister with a baleful stare and said..."You missed the fucking putt, didn't you?"

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Chebeague Island Days 1 through 8

Saturday morning the dog and I left about 6a.m. for Chebeague. I felt sorry for husband. He had to bring his
mother in her car with her two cats, assorted houseplants, and suitcases. Plus she had committed him to stop
along the way for some paint. Nick can be irritable under the best of circumstances and these particular
circumstances were far from the best.

Blondie and I arrived in downtown Bennington, an area she recognized because she has doggie friends who live there.
The two of us have spent many pleasant hours there at Ellie and Al's. The dog was wanting to see her doggie friends
so we did indeed stop. She frolicked with her three beagle buddies while Al and I commiserated over coffee. The
coffee there is the best ever.

Refreshed, one hour later I was back on the road cutting over the mountains to get to Brattleboro. At Brattleboro
or thereabouts I got a bit mixed up and so began the detour of several hours through parts of New Hampshire
heretofore unknown. The scenery was very pretty. We passed through many a small town and vistas and even some
Flying Green railroad cars. New Hampshire is full of lakes and there was much about Central New Hampshire to be
loved, if only we weren't on a grand detour! The dog is apparently better at remembering how to get to places
than I am. She began to panic, pawing my right shoulder frantically as we got deeper into the Lakes region. A
short jaunt through some woods by a rest area and some water from a McDonalds made her more comfortable but not
any less prone to panic. I tried to reassure her but alas, she was not to be fooled.

We picked up the correct route again in Sanford Maine and Blondie calmed down. I was pretty damn tired and a bit
pissed off that I had allowed myself to be put into this position in the first place. Mother-in-law thought there
was not enough room in her car for me. ["Well fine, I don't like you much either," I had told Alice when relating
the story of how I came to have to drive myself to Maine oh woe is me.] Otherwise the dog would have stayed home
with our two cats and I wouldn't have had to drive alone.

We did arrive in the parking lot and loaded ourselves onto the bus with the help of the bus driver. MY four bags
were rather heavy and I couldn't manage myself safely. On the bus, the dog was excited and on the boat as well. We
arrived at the dock to discover that the taxi cab now quit at 3 p.m. and it was 4:30ish or so. A woman from the
boat and her husband agreed to drop off the luggage. Nick had walked up to meet us and I chewed him out all the way
back to the cottage. I was that angry.

Dinner was chicken. Time spent after dinner walking the dog and doing ani on the puter before bed.

Sunday found us under sunny skies. Husband and I took the dog over to Hamilton beach. She met a scottie named Gypsy.
They were ideally suited as playmates, having similar styles. Both made play growls and ran after each other with
abandon. Gypsy's owner, Ellen, was astonished at that but I wasn't. The two dogs ran up and down the beach with
occasional forays into the ocean. I found a waterlogged piece of driftwood. It looks like the Y of a tree and
husband carried it back up the cottage, grumbling. A second find-- a slender long twig-- came back with me.

Scallops for dinner with spaghetti, very tasty. The rest of the day, doggie got a couple of walks and again time
spent doing ani and some reading. After dinner, an old friend-- after a fashion-- of husband's family stopped by to
chat. "So you are done feeling sorry for yourself," she said to me after I revealed some hard-won plans, "and you
are going back to work." I looked at her, a bit taken back by the words she had uttered. She stopped herself,
backtracked. It was too late. She is going home tomorrow. That is just as well. I understand what it is I
struggle against on a daily basis. Others do not have to. Still I do get fed up with those who cannot or will not
acknowledge what I have been stuck with.

Husband had a headache that afternoon and one again in the middle of the night. That was frightening to me as he had
run out of his blood pressure medication and I remember that commercial on the teevee. The one that went something
like: You are at the ball game. A homerun....but wait. You're not there. You're dead. You didn't take your
blood pressure medicine. I resolved that Monday we would do something about that lack.

Another sunny day. With some nagging from me, husband called the doctor's office back home and arranged for a script
for a seven day supply of his blood pressure medication to be faxed to a drugstore on the mainland. While waiting,
I took Blondie out to the wharf. She was determined to sniff the lobster traps, the lobster boats, and the three
lobstermen. They were young muscular fellows with a penchant for drinking and true down east accents. Tanned and
wearing faded teeshirts and sea-kissed work pants, they moved from dock to boat with a familiarity that few possess.
"Not everyone wants to meet you," I explained in vain to the dog. Blondie knows that I am wrong. The world is her
oyster and she is the pearl.

We went for the medication on the 11:30 boat. [Doggie watched us leave from the window and then went upstairs to
sulk, we were informed later on]. Nick was delighted to discover that a seven day supply of his pills had cost
twenty three dollars for the whole lot rather than the thirty dollars a dose that he had feared. A stop at the local
independent bookstore, lunch at a pizza joint, the Goodwill, Shaw's [supermarket], and Henderson's Lumber for
shelving rounded out our trip. Back on the 3:30. More walking of dog and reading ensued. Chicken for dinner.
I swear I'm going to grow pin feathers.

Mornings start out cool here on the island. Casco Bay-- which we all loosely refer to as the ocean-- can be seen
from the porch in all of its' deep blueness. Little islands dot the seascape and there are boats. Hamilton Beach
along the westward gets rockier while further north gets sandier each year. A recent storm resulted in much erosion
and uprooted trees.

I know that by noon, the air will have warmed up. I am sitting in the living room awaiting the freighting of the
car-- mother-in-law's. I can walk to the library where there is internet access. I have no Kismet, no G.P.S. unit.
Just a laptop with Snood, The GIMP, and several browsers rendered temporarily useless by a lack of connection. The
car does make it easier to get around though. A trip to the Hook is in the offing sometime this week.

The house next door is empty. The missus of the house had jumped out of a window down south where the family lives
the other three seasons. It has been rumoured that Nick's oldest sister is negotiating for the house. Remains to
be seen if her offer is accepted. Suicide is painful. For those who do it and for those left behind. I wonder
how that family is making out. Are they also selling their home down south? What must it be like to walk upstairs
and see that window and think, "My wife/my mother jumped out of that window onto her death." Who could stand that?
In the nursing home where I used to work [until we weren't allowed to with the advent of the Furniture Moving
Committee] we always rearranged the rooms when a patient died. And opened the window "to let the spirit out." But
how does one rearrange a window in a home? Does one barricade it and hang a picture over the opening? I don't
really know. Death comes to us all, even to those of us who wish to deny its' essence by claiming reincarnations
or absurd spiritual presences.

Husband is painting the boards that he bought yesterday at Henderson's. He and his sisters are engaged in the fine
art of collections. Husband collects books. One sister collects art and the other shells. Their mother is engaged
in the art of throwing out anything she herself doesn't see a use for. She had been planning to throw out some of
the paperbacks in the bedroom husband and I use-- thus his sudden interest in building shelves. "Paperbacks take
up about 5 inches from the wall," he tells me. I nod. This building of shelves is serious stuff. Their mother had
thrown out old brittle Boy's Life magazines, almost new bicycles, a paint set. I thought she had thrown out my
dog's orange fluff toy til I found it wrapped up in a homemade pink quilt.

The dog is content to be lazy today and I have to encourage her to come for a walk. She rolls in the grass and then
falls into a muddy ditch along side the dirt road with the encrusted stones. I sigh. We meander up to the now
deserted hotel [the last owner tried to modernize it and went bankrupt] and turn right down another rugged dirt lane
toward the ocean. The mud up the left side of the doggie does not seem to bother her in the least. It is only me
and my insistence upon order and my obsessive fascination with patterns that drive us both towards the ocean.

Down some steps and we reach a rocky part of Hamilton Beach, further on than where husband's cousins have their
summer cottage. I stumble on rocks and Blondie races along the open sand. I walk into the ocean, hoping to
encourage her to be clensed by the saltiness of the Other Mother. But Blondie is having none of that. She is very
much her own dog. She continues her exploration of the sand, advancing to the water's edge once in a great moment
in order to ensure that her human will not be swept away by the menancing ripply waves of high tide.

The waves are scarcely that, nothing anyone can even body surf on. I sit then in the ocean in quiet solitude,
letting the water embrace me. Bay, ocean-- artificial divisions. Mother ocean does not know them. The dotted
islands in my vision lure me to parts unknown. I can feel the pull, the wanderlust never satisfied even after
twenty days of traveling to places I had never been before. I hear Jimmy Buffett singing, "Mother Mother Ocean..."
The water swirls wooly gray with flecks of olive. Golden specks dance around me along with bits of brown seaweed
and red algae. White shells are drawn up to the beach in the action of a thousand waves. Blondie decides to run
at the waves in front of me, still not daring to leave the sandy bottom. She can swim. She cares not to. She
desires to run, to splash, frolic; not to let go of the firmness of the earth supporting her. She is a child of the
earth and I am a child of the northern seas.

Years have past and there was another ocean, or more of the same. That ocean was warmer-- but only a bit. Had more
seaweed, greener. Waves crashed on the rocks. There were jetties to explore and fishermen and huge jellyfish and
trucks that came to clean the sand in the mornings. There were more people, more noise, more sun. No dogs on that
beach except for the lucky few whose owners were perverse enough to sneak them on at night. We walked the beaches
from Lavallette into Seaside Heights, panhandled on the boardwalk, got stoned in the marshes, smoked cherry cigars
in our newly found adolescent vulgarity, almost got arrested once walking along the water's edge in Asbury Park. We
didn't think of ourselves as rebelling against authority figures and wouldn't have used the word "iconoclast" if we
had known it. We were hippies born too late, too young to attend Woodstock but old enough to understand the body
counts published daily on the radio from Nam. My mother gave me "The Pentagon Papers" to read one summer on the
beach but confiscated my beloved copy of "Go Ask Alice." But "Go Ask Alice" could not save me from my addiction.
Some of us grew up to sell out and some of us became the revolution. Addiction robs people of hopes, dreams, and
radical action. It was my addiction and natural state of inertia that kept me from being.

After a time, the drugs had left my body and a bloody dose of reality was my daily sup. I gagged and choked on it,
not knowing how to come out of apathy into embracing the unknowing and the shadow, not yet understanding how to be
my own human. In that, all of my dogs have been light-years ahead of me. I think about the ocean I had loved in
another place but not about the jagged pain of broken things. Later on, I will think on these things-- not now when
I am in a place that is not a place and a time that is not a time. I am being. I am filled with healing. The dog
runs beyond me in astral space, laughing in purest joy.

But all things must end or at least lurch back into uneasy consciousness. The water is cold, even for me who often
does not feel the cold. Reluctantly, I put on my sandy socks and wet sneakers. We set off back to the cottage, up
the steps of the cousins, through the access path, back to the cottage where mother-in-law's daemon dog is barking
her fool head off at the lawn-mowing crew.

Blondie settles on the rug in the living room and I stripe down for a bath. I wash my clothes by hand, enjoying
the swishing and the bubbles, then hang them to dry with the other hand-washed items. The lawn-mowing crew leaves.
Mother-in-law informs Nick that it is raining. He arranges my clothes on a drying rack upstairs and we depart then
for the library under the cloudy sky.

The sunlight plays on the glass windows of the library, darting in and back out again. Nick is bored. I checked a
bit of e-mail and on Live Journal for "news" of exactly how Barak plans to fix this one. The "news" leaves too
many things unspoken. I shake my head. Back at the cottage, I create more animated icons with The GIMP expressing
my displeasure at the bullshit.

We drive to the clamshack for takeout of cholesterolia. Onion rings and a chicken parm sub for me. Turkey italian
for husband and fried clams for his mum. They help me eat the onion rings. I cannot finish my sandwich. I wrap it
up in shiny foil and stow it carefully in the fridge for tomorrow's breakfast.

After dinner, I finish up one True Crime book I got yesterday at the Goodwill in Falmouth. I ponder the defense,
the girl-woman accused of murder, a tense stand-off and suicided boyfriend. He was a jerk, I decide. And abusive.
It is not enough for the jury to excuse her actions nor enough for me. The seductress-temptress is in prison. The
author says she is thriving in the environment. Safety caught up to her behind bars. Me, I'd rather risk having to
decide, to leave when I must, to stay if I choose. Not have my daily schedule dictated to me and enforced by threat
of write-up tickets. That is no life for me. In my life there are risks. I will take the risks but not the
gambles. I know that gamblers lose before they even sit down at the table. I go where I go and be who I be, with
no apologies to anyone. I am fluid in my solidity. I sigh. The night has settled in and it is almost time for
sleep. Blondie, my beloved child of the earth, awaits her last walk before bedtime and I will not disappoint her.

Husband woke me up early this morning-- a cloudy damp day which would remain so-- and we left on the 8 o'clock boat,
Blondie once again gazing mournfully out the window at our retreating figures. We got to Portland and parked by
about 9:30 a.m. to discover that the comic books store husband wanted to go to would not be open until 10. We
installed ourselves at a local Starpukes with orange-flavored expresso [his] and my usual hot chocolate with a shot
of coffee plus two pastries which we ate in relative silence. I admired the architecture of the older buildings
surrounding us. We both read the New York Times and a Portland daily left on the lounge chairs.

After the required time spent in the comic store-- himself browsing and me trying hard to figure out what this manga
fuss is all about, we strolled around the old port. We spent some time in an independent toy shop where I paraded
various stuffed puppetry around, assigning them voices and such. Husband asked one clerk if she had seen his inner

I got a cool hanging frog with wings and a mini-Ganesha statuary from a hippie shop. We also browsed a store for
pets. Rather chic it was. Nothing in there that pleased me enough to buy. We walked along the Old Port and at
the noon hour abruptly discovered that Boone's had gone out of business two years ago. After husband declared that
he would not eat at any restaurant that spelled it "chowda," we settled on Gilbert's Chowder House. Gilbert's
Chowder House looks very much like a locals' place. I noted the presence of styrofoam dishes and the reasonable
prices as we sat down to an older style metal and formica table on metal and formica chairs. The coffee [at almost
2 bucks a cup] was well worth it and the crabmeat roll was fully stuffed. Husband attempted not to eat all of his
fries that came with his fried shrimp. He ate them. He liked the chowder, although he had to resign himself to
the presence of bacon in it.

After lunch we stopped at the fancy gourmet cook shop which used to be "The Whippin' Spoon." Same merchandise near
as I can tell, although the prior establishment used to give out free potholders with their name on it. No more.
We stopped at a tourist trap as well where I breezed through the too expensive tee shirts that said "Maine" or stuff
like "Lobstercrombie and Pinch" but were mostly made in China. We headed back for the bus and boat. We had been
rained upon most of the morning. Portland in June on a damp rainy day is about as blah as any other place under
those very circumstances. I am hoping that Saturday will be sunny as that is the day of the Gay Pride Parade and
festivities in Deer Oaks Park, a scene which I may participate in should I feel like doing so.

Back at the cottage, a happy and relieved dog and I went for a walk to the golf course pond and back. Blondie had
indicated a desire to go to the wharf. She likes it there. This evening, I fustrated that wish with one of my own.
Dinner was to be mac and cheese. Proceedings were interrupted by the barking of a small daemon dog [who interrupted
husband's nap], the fire alarm going off because of the smoke pouring from the wood stove [oh I miss the fireplace],
and the arrival of a guest.

This was another old woman who had dropped in unannounced to see mother-in-law. They talked and talked and talked
while the daemon dog continued in fits of barking and husband stewed in the living room because he wanted to get
cooking. It was to be salmon for dinner with the mac and cheese. I eat mac and cheese. I have become increasingly
wary of swimming fish since I came up as allergic to them on allergy testing [but not to shellfish] and they do give
me an instant headache after eating them. Nix the salmon! Mother-in-law was indicating to the old woman guest that
I do not eat fish and she characterized my diet as strange. Husband interjected then, pointing out that I am in
fact allergic to swimming fish and that it gives me headaches. I was a bit peeved at mother-in-law. And happily
surprised that husband actually stood up for me in the face of his mother. I went up for a quick lay down and was
still miffed by her comment after it.

The salmon-- which I wouldn't have eaten-- turned out to not have been let out of the freezer. Thus it was a block
of frozen pinkish ice and it had escaped its' certain fate for one more enchanted evening. Mac and cheese for all
three of us it became. [Old lady friend had departed before dinner was started, as culturally correct].

After dinner, I read a true crime book and settled down to computer and bedtime.

It was cloudy most of the day until suppertime. Mother-in-law left on the 10 o'clock boat and was back about 3 from
her jaunt to town with a friend down the road. Blondie and the daemon dawg from hell had a walk up the road and
then a left at the gold course. Blondie favors the dock but we did not go there. Daemon dawg favors nipping people
who pay attention to her upon meeting but that begs the question I suppose. Husband mortified me by saying he would
want the daemon dawg after mother-in-law's demise. I don't.

At the library, I updated a few of my own blogs with my "Mother, Mother" post and visited a few other blogs, checked
e-mails of several addys, and sent out a short note or two myself. All of this was on my laptop after a nice
young man staying with Henry for the summer showed me how to get onto the open connection. Damnit, Kismet.

Husband made several signs of severe ennui so I reluctantly agreed to leave. After a stop for junk food, we drove
back to the cottage where two delighted dogs awaited our return. I worked on some ani-- I experimented and got some
letters of icons to colorize with the fractal explorer-- and then mother-in-law arrived back in residence.

In spite of a chill in the afternoon air and overcast skies, husband and I took Blondie to Fisherman's Beach. The
access path was clogged with downed trees in one part from a severe storm so we cut through the tall grass of the
widow who had visited with mother-in-law briefly yesterday. The grass was so tall it had gone to seed and also
bent upon our passing through. No smell of meadowsweet today-- must only come when first mowed down I reckon.

Fisherman's Beach has a cove dotted with lobster traps, some small boats ashore, and a field of sea heather not
grown this season yet. There are also rocky ledges to the north and south which one can climp upon if so desired.
Husband was looking for beach glass- specifically green beach glass. I am not as fussy. I will even take an
interesting larger piece for the fish tank. Small rocks too. I like those very much. The sand was damp with the
marking of a tide going out and Blondie ran through the water once just because.

Back at the cottage, I took a before dinner nap and then woke up to meatloaf and potatoes cooked by husband; and
unadorned salad-from-a-bag which I will not eat on general principle. After dinner, more computer time with The
GIMP and perhaps a gander at one of the paperbacks I had bought up at the library for a buck apiece. Or maybe I will
finish the last remaining true crime book I got at the Goodwill yesterday.

I woke up this morning after another night of heavy dreaming. The sun was up and promised a warmer day than the last
several. A load of wood had been delivered earlier and husband had already stacked it on the back deck. I was
reluctant to leave the cozy bed to the cooler temperature of the house.

Outside family friend's niece had stopped by. She was from State College, Pennsylvania it turned out. I went there
last year for a convention-- this year I will be missing the convention in Valley Forge [but I got to travel cross-
country!]. A friendly sort of woman who allowed Blondie to show off her tricks.

Husband and I walked to the Main Road and then up the left over and out to near high tide on Hamilton Beach. Along
the way, Blondie met Mattie; and then Trekker and Trekker's companion. Mattison is an irish setter, Trekker a husky-
golden lab mix, and companion a lab.

Back at the cottage, mother-in-law asked husband to chop up some crap for the dump. After sweating obnotiously for
a bit, husband dragged it all and tossed it into the "memorial landfill" of a neighbor just down the road for whom
he holds a resentment dating back to his boyhood. Seems the neighbor made the mistake of welcoming him to the island
once although his family had been there for a decade or so at the time. Resentments-- such stuff composed of rational

The resentment branched out to the rest of the family when said neighbor build a fancy house in front of a cousin's
undeveloped land. It is hard to explain but it has something to do with blocking some part of an ocean view of a
cottage that the cousin has yet to even begin developing the blueprints for building at this date. In truth, the
neighbor is not one that I have come to know outside of the lens of said resentment, so I cannot comment on the state
of neighbor's true personality.

Husband sat on the porch for a bit before resuming the command to fill the car with garbage and take it to the dump.
After lunch, a trip to the dump, to a home-shop called "Island Riches," and to the library [for my internet access
requirements] was planned. Mother-in-law and the woman at "Island Riches" chatted a long while. I said hello to
the black poodle in residence who had a long tie-out. Husband stood around and looked bored. Mother-in-law settled
on an old-fashioned doll dressed in a navy blue dress that poofs out. There was one bag of garbage for the dump.
I got dropped off to the library, mother-in-law went back to the cottage, and husband returned to the library where
he got bored after reading his yahell comics. I answered a bit of e-mail. Off to the store-- no sandwich there I
wanted for dinner, then to the Clamshack where I got a Greek salad for dinner and onion rings for pre-dinner.

We were back at the cottage by 3:30. Husband did not wish to go to the sandbar at "The Hook" where one can walk
across to Little Chebeague Island. I took Blondie and the daemon dawg for a walk to Hamilton Beach. The daemon
dawg had never been to the beach but that did not stop her from enjoying herself. I quickly decided to let her
run free. She and Blondie chased each other around the rocks and boulders that dotted the sand, charged into the
low tide water and back out again, chased each other again and again in wide circles. They were having quite the
time. I stood on the sand by the shoreline and watched. The daemon dawg tried various things for taste-- salt
water [yuck], seaweed [nibbles], sand [yuck], mussles [yummy], stick [okay]. Blondie seized a branch turning
driftwood and that started a new game. Blondie would furiously dig a hole in the sand for her fallen limb, the
daemon dawg would approach the stick to gnaw on it, Blondie would drag it away a few feet and dig another hole.
Finally the human [that would be me] decided it was time to go back to the cottage so off we three went up the cousins'
stairs and through their right-o-way back across the dirt road to the cottage.

Dinner was Greek salad for me and salmon for them. After dinner was a bit more time for computer until the meeting.
Husband and I went to a meeting tonight on the island for folks in recovery. It was a nice break and I enjoyed it.
The decaffeinated coffee though; I thought about pouring a shot of whiskey into it. Now I'd never drank whiskey in
coffee before. A stupid passing thought is all. Fantasy is indeed better than the reality many a time.

After the meeting was more computer time and a book before bed. Jer called and we are going to try to meet up
tomorrow in Portland at the Denny's. Husband will not be going-- it's nine bucks roundtrip on the boat [that is
what our tickets work out to now]-- so I will be hoofing it alone if things work out.

A cool but sunny morning on Chebeague started off with pancakes. The blueberries in them were nice and juicy. After
that, husband and I took Blondie and the daemon dawg to The Hook. The tide was halfway in and the sandbar to walk
over to Little Chebeague was partially submerged. Blondie was curious about the constructing going on-- pilings
were in the process of being replaced as witnessed by the presence of two heavy equipment trucks [but the absence
of workers since it is Saturday]. The daemon dawg continued to explore what was edible on the beach [glass-- no,
a tuft of grass surrounded by water-- yes, various shells-- no]. She seemed to recall yesterday's lessons about
sand and salty water. Both dogs ran together and splashed in the shallow tide waters coming in.

The Hook is surrounded by water in three directions so to speak. On one side of the sandbar is water where sand
dollars can be found, the other side is where gulls frequently hang out with their young. At the end of the Hook is
a small house and private property devoted to some club or other and a larger area where boats are moored. One can
see that area from the parking along side the sandy driveway leading down to the Hook but not go there since it is

I took pictures in all three directions and the digital camera was able to capture the water lapping the sandbar away
as well as Little Chebeague in the distance. This trip we did not walk over to Little Chebeague though we have in
trips in past years. I had walked around all of Little Chebeague once-- a rather tame walk along the easternmost
beach, wild along the south-western third where I saw a group of puffins and one comorant hanging out together, and
ending with beach/rocks along the last third before the sandbar. It was a strenuous walk but well worth the effort.

The interior of Little Chebeague is full of woods, poison ivy, and signs pointing to heaps of lumber which used to
be a hotel, bowling alley, church, and some houses. I've been through the maze of interior trails several times.
Truth be told, besides the poison ivy, it is rather buggy in there. On the main trail leading inward, the Chebeague
Island Historical Society had set up a trailhead with little hand-drawn maps. Someone might should have identified
the poison ivy patches but I suppose that detracts from tourist appeal.

After our jaunt on the Hook, we went to a small yard sale next door to the clam shack. Blondie indicated that she
liked the "Sam I Am" stuffed toy and back at the cottage she laid it next to her "orange baby." The doggie toys we
brought up with her-- the orange baby, three balls, and a large chewy sort of bone all live in the car rather than
the house. Tomorrow when we arrive home, I hope to convince her of the same for the "Sam I Am." She has a laundry
basket full of stuffed animals and things on the back porch: a headless duck, a green bird "baby," a Max stuffed
dolly, a snake, various squeakys. I don't think she needs any more indoor toys. The ones who live in the car do
get used when we go riding-- including a frog that sings when she squeezes its' belly.

Back at the cottage there was some computer time for me. Jer called at 11:30 to say he can meet me at the Denny's at
three. I left on the 12 noon. While waiting for the boat to leave, I notices bunches of fish swimming around the
boat. They were larger than minnows and swam differently. They seemed to be able to bend their bodies up and down
and didn't have the silvery cast that I associate with minnows. A fisherman from the Saco River told me they are
herring. "That's good," he told me. "Means the mackerals will be running soon behind them." He told me how to
cook macs so they aren't oily [cut their heads off immediately after catching them and soak them in water], how to
fish for macs [use a jig lure and move it up and down], and that the macs hadn't arrived at all last year. We traded
stories of moose [we both like moose stew], moose hunters, deer hunters, and perch. He'd never eaten perch so I
described how I'd eaten them sauteed in butter in a fry pan over a campfire.

I had decided to the festivities in the park in Portland after the gay pride march. Finding a place to leave the
car was the worst of it. I found a spot just across from the park and only had to walk past the fountain and the
duck pond to get there.

We are a colorful creative people. I am proud to be part of the g.l.b.t.i.q. tribe. I was glad to see my brothers
and sisters today. On stage a male cross-dresser was doing an earthy rendition of "I am what I am" when I got there.
There were tables from P-FLAG, G.L.S.E.N., the Human Rights Campaign, tee shirt hawkers, artists, churches, the A.C.L.U.,
a lawyer group, a professionals group, a youth group, an anti-violence group, Barack Obama, the Greens, a couple
of women who had made teeshirts using anime characters, and a buddhist group.

I am now a member of the Human Rights Campaign-- it is still illegal in 33 states to fire someone who is not straight
and that is currently the big thing in the works. For my 50 bucks I got a membership, a cool army green bag, blue
baseball cap. I also bought some patches to safety pin onto clothing. Five in all. They read: bi, dyke, powerful,
something, and something else. On stage was a senator [from Massachusetts?], and a bunch of local talent singing and
playing their hearts out. The grass was dotted with couples, knots of friends, and dogs in rainbow collars. And
yes, there were drag queens! There was a guy raffling off one of his paintings. He gave me two glossies with pictures
of his paintings in them-- and one large eight foot by eight foot sculpture which he captioned, "god." He also
speaks to school groups and I was glad of that.

I found my car and headed off to the Denny's, first getting lost by the Maine Mall. I wasn't entirely lost; I just
didn't know how to get to the Denny's from there. The woman at the gas station told me to take 295 North, get off
at Congress Street [exit 5] and it would be right there. It was. Jeremy wasn't. He had gotten lost, talked with
my mother-in-law on Chebeague, went home without even finding the Denny's. I left for the boat figuring something
had happened at home to him between his mother-in-law's errands and he watching his three kids.

On the bus to the boat, someone said the stripers are running [striped bass or trout, not sure which] and that is
what people are fishing for off the bridge right now. The boat was fairly empty. A dog named Sirius and his human
were on it. His human is a builder and gets to take Sirius [a chocolate lab] to work with him. Once off the boat,
husband and Blondie met me. Blondie and Sirius got to meet each other. Husband had taken Blondie round the point
from Hamilton Beach towards Fisherman's Beach but Blondie indicated a bit of non-enthusiasm so both had returned
to the cottage to await my return.

I called Jer when I got back; turns out he never found the Denny's as I had said. We have plans to meet when husband
and I travel up to his eldest's sister's in mid-July. A bit of a disappointment which could not be helped. A second
disappointment was there was no lobster. The lobster guy had boat trouble and that was that. We had chicken
seasoned in hot sauce instead with rice. Mother in law had bacon and eggs. She had made a delicious strawberry
and rhubarb pie. Husband had gotten "fair trade vanilla bean" Ben and Jerry's ice cream from the store on the island.

After dinner, we got most everything else packed [I had taken dirty clothes and books over with me on the 12 noon].
Then it would be computer time to work on animations and play Snood and time with a book until bed.

Sunday was cloudy-sunny-cloudy and then settled on rain in New Hampshire. Husband forgot sensible driving rules
and was veritably ready to throw all caution to the wind. He usually follows too close for my taste and I drive
too slow for his. He was following the bikers too close in the rain. They'd been to Laconia for a biker gathering
and were on their way home. Along the side of the road was a tent set up with free food for them. Actually, the
sign did not say "For Bikers Only." I was willing to stop for some. Husband wasn't.

We stopped several times. Between the dog and our thirst and desires to look at used books, we stopped at the Epson
Mickey Dees, a used book store, a convenience store in Maine and one in Vermont for gas.I drove at the start and at
the end. I was tired as hell on Monday but I made it through. It's good to be home.

sapphoq n friends

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Mother, Mother

I woke up this morning ruminating about my mother. My own not-being was deeply intertwined with her not-being for
a number of years and I had struggled mightily to be freed of her curse. Freed and yet perhaps there is a whisper
of bondage that remains. I had paid a steep price for the things she had done. It is my fervent hope that I am now
done with that. I cannot declare a total victory there. Broken things have an odd way of creeping up on me when
I least expect them to.

I had taken a human services management joke of a course at a community college during my tenure at Running Sores.
"What are the things that your mother taught you that will serve you well in management today?" Or some phrasing
like that. The question was one of the questions at the end of a chapter of a book for which I had paid far too
much money. Oh hell. I had to engage in the lie that is reframing. Uh, she taught me how to entertain myself.
Yeah, that's it. How to find my own answers, do research, engage in natural supports. In truth, she had taught me
none of those things. My precocious independence was a reaction to emotional neglect.

My mother worked. So did I. I did the laundry at the laundromat every week. Did the grocery shopping. All of it.
I used to ask the lady shoppers or the fruit man himself to please help me pick out the ripe pears, the veggies that
were not rotting. I learned to do that. I could not tell for myself. She set me to do the shopping but had not
provided the guidance for success at the store. Being screamed at because the damned fruit or the vegetables were
blemished was the other option.

My mother had called me "a screaming Mimi" when I was a toddler. I remember this. In truth, she was the screaming
Mimi. She screamed a lot. And when she got tired of screaming, she yelled. She cursed too-- although not as well
as I can now-- stringing together words that would instill fear in any child. "The world doesn't revolve around
you." "You make me sick." "You're a frig." Her anger was always directed outward at me. I was the unwanted child.
The daily reminder that she had loved my father once.

She never referred to my father as my dad or by his first name or anything humanizing. She called him "Frankenstein"
when she was in a sarcastic mood; He or Him when her anger was threatening to erupt. "It's Him," she would announce
when my dad was outside on a Sunday waiting to take me for the eight hours a week he had been granted. "The phone
rang this morning. He was on the phone yelling, 'What did you do to my daughter?'" She and my step-father had gone
to the penecostal church where I had sought solace, dragged me down the aisle and threw me down the steps, drove
in a drunken rage home, beat the shit out of me. She was pissed off the next morning because He had called. She
also had tried to manipulate me into apologizing to my step-father. Step-dad had been in an alcoholic blackout and
didn't remember the night before. "I will not apologize. I didn't do anything wrong," I told her in a singular
act of defiance as I rolled over in the bed away from her. She left for work then and I went downstairs to sit by
the phone. My dad called and asked me if I was alright. He begged me to come live with him. I said yes. I began
to move my stuff out over the next three days when my mother was at work. That first night [it was a Monday] my
mother had demanded my coin collection so she could "put it in the safe deposit box." I would not see them again
for almost thirty years. She did not return the proof sets my uncle had given me. Just a bag of loose foreign
coins having no value other than sentimental value to me.

Years later, at a Professional Misconduct is Okay hearing, I would be blamed for the sins of my mother. My true voice
would not, could not, be heard in that room by the three member panel of the shrink's peers who professed to care
about the misdoings of medical doctors. They dared not hear my voice. They heard only the remnants of my mother.
My mother, my albatross. No mother would possibly do the things that I was forced to describe in that room. The
shrink who had been one of my rapists got off with a warning for poor paperwork. When he died a few years later, I
was glad of it. In my fury at the non-decision of the three good volunteers for New Yak State, I went on to write
very nasty poetry and began to get published.

But my mother continues living. My step-father died in October of 2003, just before the accident that caused my
traumatic brain injury, and she didn't tell me until ten days after he was buried. I was to be denied any public
acknowledgement of mourning. The obituary denied my existence. I wasn't mentioned. I had learned. I would not
deny my voice. I found the on-line memorial and wrote in it. "I was sorry that I was not able to attend the funeral,"
I typed in brazenly, and then went on to reframe some memories of my step-dad. It is hard to attend a funeral that
I had no knowledge of. I left that part out and I write it here for the masses.

Not all things about my mother were evil or twisted. No one is completely one-sided. I would be amiss if I failed
to include this disclaimer. These things I have written are the thoughts that I had woken up with this morning.
There is much more to my mother besides her chemical addictions and her rage. Those things I will save for another
time and place, perhaps for her on-line memorial. I do not know if I will be invited to her funeral.