Tomorrow evening, I will be ending this campaign. I'm keeping it up long enough to make sure anyone who is interested in my last update, gets a chance to read it. In a jaw-dropping rally to help Smidgen, members of my Tribe and their friends pushed me past my goal to rehome, *and* sent gravy outside the realms of GoFundMe, which went to pay for Smidgen's healthcare and her new prescription diet. All of you have no idea how humbled I am to have you in my life, and I hope to do the same for you when you need it, or even want it! You have been kinder to me in my time of emergency than some of my closest family, which merely confirms my belief that you make your family. You're mine.
I have an apartment. It will be ready to move in to on the 6th of June. Here's my latest GoFundMe update with the particulars.
First of all, THANK YOU to everyone who has so far helped with this campaign. Your generosity is truly humblings, and I hope I can someday do the same for you, or anyone who may need whatever help I can provide! Now, down to the nitty gritty. I was approved for an apartment at Stonesthrow in Greenville, South Carolina. True, it's not Asheville, but it's closer to my family and friends, both of whom I need more than trying to capture the happiness I felt in my childhood in Asheville. Sometimes, necessity and simple contentment outweigh dreams that may have run their course. The move-in date is June 6th. It is unfurnished, and I have no furniture of which to speak. I have the old dining room table that was made by Grandaddy, at least I think it's still down at the old house. That's it. Needless to say, if I have any money left after paying deposits, rent, and getting utilities and Internet, my funds will be reserved for things like a bed. I still have a long, hard row to sow, so please keep up what little momentum this campaign still has, 'cos I'm still $495 away from my goal, and I'm more than a little scared right now.
If you wish to help by contributing or sharing my campaign, please click:
Something alarming occurred the other day, with which I am only now coming to grips. I’m still uncertain of how I feel about it, so of course, I have come to the Cliffs to process.
Here’s the thing: When Cameron and I went up to Asheville on Thursday, I felt at home, but I also experienced some unease. It did not feel like when I arrived in Duncan. Asheville felt like my heart, my origins, but Duncan felt like family. And family is what I desperately need right now. Also, most of my non-Internet Tribe reside in the Greenville-Spartanburg area, which encircles Duncan.
If I went to Asheville, I would be on my own. Completely. And I’m not sure I want to do that anymore. In San Diego, I discovered that I was on my own pretty quickly and, even though I was technically with family, I maintained an undercurrent of discomfiture and disconnection for almost the entire four years I was out there.
Given my seizures and other health problems, do I really want to risk total seclusion? In all honesty, I’m not sure.
Janice is letting me stay with her for a trial month. It will be a financial boon as I look for a place, but I’m not currently comfortable landing in a place where I no longer know anyone, have no family, and no way to get to a doctor if I had an emergency. It may not be the wisest move for me to make, and I’m doing my best to make wiser choices, considering the disaster that was the move West.
The grass is not necessarily always greener and, even though the Upstate is the Armpit of Hell, it’s not the Taint, which would be Linda Vista, the neighbourhood in SD in which I lived. That said, the reasons for each infernal designation are radically different. The Upstate is the Armpit because of the political and spiritual climate out here. Even though a good chunk of the population is fraught with narrow-mindedness and ignorance, they’re decent folk, and they understand so much more clearly the importance of family and friendship. People in San Diego do, too, but the ones I had the most contact with were not among them, so my living environment out there is what makes Linda Vista the Taint of Hell. It’s no shade on the city of San Diego itself.
The rent here is cheaper, too, which would be a serious blessing for the duration I get settled back in, and discover the things I need to purchase to properly do so. Asheville still isn’t out of the question. I still dream of living in the place I was at my happiest, but perhaps it’s time for me to simply be content. Besides, my work in activism would be better served in an area that needs it. I don’t want to preach to the choir, I want to reach people who have no idea they are living in bondage, a bondage of the mind and spirit. San Diego is woke as fuck, and Asheville is deeply aware, but the Upstate is caught up in the machinations of Aggressive Stupidity, and many people being carried along in that wave don’t know they have options.
So, yeah, I’ve got a lot to think, pray, and write about these next few days. In the meantime, I’m keeping all options open, and I’m waiting for the place I need to be, to be revealed. I’ll know it when it happens.
As I was growing up in Asheville, I'd spend a great deal of time with my great-grandmother, Little Granny (she was 4'10"). Here's a picture of her mother, Granny Mehaffey, who was born on September 9, 1867, and fought a bobcat to the death in her 30s. If I remember correctly, she was in her 90s when she died, and she had one tooth her head that she would use to eat apples! It's true that the Scots-Irish folk of the mountains are tough as goddamned nails. Nowadays, I'm thinking she would have to go a bit further into the Blue Ridge Mountains in order to be fully understood, since a lot of the language has faded over the decades. Granny Mehaffey probably sounded more like she was speaking a bastard version of Gaelic and German than the modern Appalachian dialect of today. Here are some words I used to hear her use, and some I even have used myself throughout my life. Those I've put in bold.
- Afeared - afraid
- Ary - any
- Bald - a treeless mountain summit
- Blinds - window shades
- Blinked or Blinky - gone sour, usually in reference to milk
- Brickle - brittle (Little Granny always called peanut brittle "brickle".
- Cat-head - a giant ass biscuit
- Clean - used as an adverb meaning "all the way." "I'll knock your damn head clean off your shoulders!"
- Coke - any cola, be it Coca-Cola, Pepsi, or RC.
- Cornpone - cornbread (I had a dog named Cornpone!)
- Directly - soon, later, after a while, when it's convenient. "I'll call you back die-RECK-lee."
- Fit - fought, as in (and I'm not lying here) "I'm so tired, I feel like I fit fire (pronounced far) all day."
- Haint - ghost, spirit, hideous woman
- Holler - for hollow, the valley in between mountains
- Hull - shell, as in a nut hull.
- Ill - bad-tempered
- Jarfly - cicada
- Kyarn - carrion. Anything that smells rotten.
- Lay out - to skip school or work
- Meeting - religious service, as in "Sunday-go-to-meetin'"
- Nary - none
- Peckerwood - someone you think is an asshole.
- Piece - distance, as in, "You'll find the gas station up the road a piece."
- Plum - completely. "I'm plum wore out!"
- Poke - satchel (see its origins for real and true. ----->)
- Poke sallet - a salad made from the boiled leaves of the poke bush.
- Quare - queer, as in the original meaning of the word, which was strange.
- Reckon - suppose
- Sigogglin - wonky, crooked, out-of-whack
- Sop - gravy
- Swan (or Swannee) - swear, as in "I swannee!" usually said as you shake your head in dismay.
- Toboggan - a toque, knit cap
- Tote - to carry. Also can mean a sack. So you can tote a poke or tote a tote.
- Tow sack - a big burlap bag
- Yonder (Little Granny said "yander") - there, as in "over yonder."
In late December, I requested an Uber ride up to the store. A handsome, middle-aged gentleman named Moises picked me up. I began a conversation with him, because I loved his accent, but couldn't quite pinpoint the origin. He told me that he was from Iran and that he was a movie director who made a film that that government did not like. For his trouble, he spent a year in jail and, afterward, it was hard to make a living doing anything.
So he legally immigrated to America and is now essentially a taxi driver, after being a creator and visionary. He told me he missed his family and that most of his money goes to them and to save enough to bring them over to him, hopefully next year.
I advised him to go to Mexico or Canada before it was too late. His optimism and faith in the way the United States is supposed to work was heartbreaking.
Ever since I heard the news on the Muslim ban, I can't stop thinking of Moises. It's much more personal when you see the soul-rending results of the decision of an extremist mad man sitting pretty in the White House, ruining lives with the flick of a pen.
And so we have arrived at the threshold of yet another year, four cycles after the long hoped for Alpaca Lips. In some ways, it has been an eventful year and, in others, things have barely changed. I figured I'd touch on the highlights of 2015, then throw some hopes (gasp, hope? Tin? NOOOOOO!) out for 2016. So, let's begin.
The first major thing that happened in 2015 came in February, when I was allowed unprecedented liberties to continue and expand my campaign to disseminate All Things Shriekback. I was elated, for I had watched for too long their greatness be swallowed up by the ever-expanding Internet, without the proper tools in my box of toys to make enough digital noise to be noticed. That changed prior to the release of one of their best albums to date, Without Real String or Fish. To my immense joy, this was only one of many releases by the band that I got to relentlessly plug throughout the year. It's been an honour to do what I could for the guys, and I will continue to do what I do until they tell me to stop!
In April, another wonderful thing occurred: I got to go up to Los Angeles to attend Jeff Lynne's Hollywood Walk of Fame star ceremony. Even though I didn't get to meet him - again! - I was still thrilled to be in the general vicinity of my spiritual and musical godfather, and listen to him talk a little about his career and how honoured he felt to be getting the praise and attention that has long been due the man. He's a genius, and I am overjoyed that people are finally catching on to this fact. It also heartens me that so many Millennials, particularly in the music world, are embracing Mr. Lynne and his music. That means that his legacy will live on through the generations, as long as humanity plagues this world. It almost makes me glad we're all still around. Anyway, also in attendance to the star ceremony, making speeches of their own about how groovy Jeff Lynne is, were Tom Petty and Joe Walsh. I caught this epic photo before the brouhaha began.
And it got even better later in the year, in November, when Jeff Lynne released Alone in the Universe, the first official ELO album since the release of Zoom in 2001. I'm currently listening to it for the first time but, hey! better late than never, right? 2015 was the year both Shriekback and the Electric Light Orchestra gave the world new music. If for no other reason, this year should be marked as a complete success because of this.
Shortly before I moved out to San Diego, my TV died. For a while, I was pretty miserable, until I got used to watching streaming formats online, like Netflix. It cut down on my viewing habits considerably, and I found myself focusing on just the movies and shows I personally found important and worthy enough to spend my time watching. Beginning in late 2014, though, my number one go-to place for instant entertainment gratification became You Tube. I discovered Alonzo Lerone, Garret John, and a host of other talents, visionaries, and creatives. In June of 2015, though, I stumbled upon a short film that completely blew my mind. It's what made me realise how grateful I am to no longer have a television. I probably would have never discovered such brilliance had I still been enslaved to the mediocrity that spews out of the boob tube.
When I first saw The Horribly Slow Murderer with the Extremely Inefficient Weapon, I had a reaction eerily similar to what I had upon seeing The Joker Blogs' Therapy Begins. I couldn't get enough! Impressed didn't even begin to cover it. The more I watched it and the related films on Richard Gale's You Tube channel, the more I laughed. As anyone who has known me since losing Aunt Tudi in 2011 knows, laughter is something I treasure above all other things. I credit anything that could cut through the grief and trigger laughter as holding a seed of the miraculous within its heart. The Impractical Jokers were the first to make what I thought was impossible happen. The Horrible Slow Murderer carried on that life-saving tradition.
I was so impressed with the undeniable talent in this short film and others on the channel, like the wholly unfunny and horrifying Criticized, I was compelled to learn more about the film maker and his posse. Employing the web search skills I learned in the Pit oh so very long ago, it didn't take me long to learn a good bit about the director and actors Paul Clemens and Brian Rohan.
Well, one thing led to another, and I ended up helping them with their Kickstarter campaign, after having the pleasure of discussing a few promo ideas with Richard one Sunday a few months ago. During this time, I've come to see that not only are these guys uber-talented, but they are also genuine, groovy, insightful, kind individuals. How could anyone not want to help people like this in any way they can?
While all this was happening, I was going to the doctor about my back pain, which seemed to be getting worse despite all attempts to reverse the issues causing it. The doc finally suggested that I look into getting an panniculectomy. Now, in South Carolina, no insurance, private or public, would cover anything considered cosmetic. When I got the gastric bypass surgery, I went into it with no pipe dreams of getting any excess skin removed. It was never an option, so I never entertained the idea.
When the doctor brought up the panniculectomy, I silently scoffed, but decided "what the hell? It doesn't hurt to ask." So, a couple of days later, I called Aetna and asked them if such a surgery were covered. They informed me that, if it were considered medically necessary, they would cover it, and all I would have to pay would be $264.00. I called the doctor, who referred me to Dr. Jason Hess. He took pictures, informed me that he'd gotten approval for surgeries with less severe pannus issues, and said he'd be asking approval for not just a panniculectomy, but also an abdominoplasty which, combined, are basically the human equivalent to being cleaned like a fish.
In two weeks time, Aetna gave the go ahead, and I had a tummy tuck and panniculectomy in September. I'm still recovering from it, but my back does feel better after no longer having to deal with 17 pounds of dead weight constantly pulling on my lower lumbar region. Also, for the first time in my life, I actually have a figure. I'm still not used to the new body. It's like living in an alien biological construct.
So, 2015 saw me become a bit of a California stereotype in that I got plastic surgery and began "hobnobbing" with Hollywood directors and actors. Folks, don't expect that, if you're thinking of planning on moving to California. Bear in mind that I live in the Twilight Zone and have no idea how shit like this happens to me.
One more cool thing that happened this year actually happened this month. After over a year of struggling with it, I finally had a breakthrough in my arduous Wacom education. I still have a very long way to go before I consider anything I do with the tablet worthy of pride, but at least I'm finally seeing results from what I have so far learned. This is the result - the best representation of how I see Cadmus Pariah in my mind's eye. I plan on making this a full body picture, not just a floating head of death, but I thought I should make note that my obvious learning disability when it comes to digital art has at long last had a wee chink taken out of its seemingly impenetrable wall.
There have been some unhappy things to happen this year - conflicts with Matt, friends falling prey to illness, seriously fucked up news on the family front, among other things - but I am choosing not to focus on that in this year-end post. There is nothing I could write here that would change any of these things, and I frankly don't want to give the bad areas of 2015 any more power than they already have. I would prefer to give energy to more positive outcomes in those categories in the coming year.
That being said, here are some things I'm hoping to see happen and/or make happen in 2016.
- Friends and family beat the odds and kick all manner of ass with some insane Health Fu.
- The Presidential election does not turn out to be a disaster of mega-Fascist proportions.
- People collectively reject the status quo and embrace a higher vibrational state of being.
- There is full disclosure on extraterrestrial life and activities, as well as extra-dimensional life and activities.
- Jeff Lynne plays a concert in San Diego and I get to attend.
- I can eventually feel as comfortable riding the buses in San Diego as I was riding the ones in Los Angeles. LA makes a lot more sense as far as layout is concerned. Or maybe that's just me.
- Yoga becomes a part of my everyday life.
- Barry Andrews has more delightful written and musical works of art in store for the world.
- I complete my latest book and maybe even publish it.
- The filming of Ginosaji goes smoothly and is a low-stress joy for all involved.
- I get to go to the desert to gaze at the Milky Way at least once in 2016.
- I and those I love are surrounded by non-toxic individuals and that we can continue to expand the influence of beauty, creativity, common sense, and divine madness.
- The Alpaca Lips finally happens.
Here's hoping everyone has a fantastic new year. May it be visionary in every way.
The other day, I came across this article - and soon found myself in awe of the information the piece provided. It’s an image-heavy article, which means this post will also be image-heavy. I’m not copy-pasting the text, so I strongly suggest clicking this telling image to be taken to the full write-up, especially if you’ve had a breakdown, know someone who has had a breakdown, or you ever fell victim to one of my unexpected, late-night, inexplicable and incoherent ramblings via email, blog commentary, or any other method by which you and I maintain contact.
With each image that applies or have applied to my experience, I will share how it felt for me, if I suffered from the description in the picture. The first one here will show what will be behind the cut, should you decide to read further.
For me, this was not a sudden mindset, but a gradual one. In crises, I was always the one that held things together. I could switch off parts of my brain, and do what I needed to do at that moment in time. At the age of 12, I was the one who gave directions to the paramedics, when my great-grandmother had her massive stroke. Granny was a non-functioning, human-shaped manifestation of panic, and Aunt Tudi was frantically trying to get things ready for when the ambulance arrived to the point where, honestly, she was being a detriment to any progress we might could have had. It was only two days later that the upheaval found me, at which time I became non-functional for a period of time, just a few days. In times of turmoil, I realised I could take care of whatever situation I found myself, then release it all later in private. The only times I ever lost that ability was the night before Granny died in 1993. The doctors told us there was no hope, and she could die at any moment. Since Granny also helped to raise me, having lived with me all my life, I fell to pieces. But the next morning, when she died, I was cool as a cucumber. This was Aunt Tudi's mother, to whom she had been excessively close. This blow to her emotional well-being is something she never quite got over. I was the one who had to make Granny's arrangements, and I did so in a disconnected manner, devoid of bothersome emotions. Things needed to be done, and there was no one but me stepping up. I remember a cousin remarking that I had to be some sort of Vulcan, or just callous as hell.( Click this if you care to continue. )
We would go up to Craggy Dome at least once year to pay our respects to Granny.
The last two times I visited, it was to add Aunt Tudi's ashes to Grannys. I went back up a couple of weeks later, broke my camera, got lost, and finally got back to Janice and Uncle Michael's.
I want to go again. One more time. I need it. The only other place I could imagine being happy to die there is Craggy Gardens in Asheville, NC, and magick that is Avesbury.
Visiting the area from which we scattered Granny's ashes in 1993 seemed to bring a kind of peace to Aunt Tudi. She might have started the journey a little down in the mouth, but crazy music and dangerous coffee took care of all that. And it allowed us to have the fun, I'd like to think Granny would have wanted us to have. The one solemn moment was when Aunt Tudi would retouch the black cross on the stone from which we launched Granny. I could always tell when she needed some alone time. I never thought I'd be making that drive by myself, intent on tracing a Pentagram beside the cross. Aunt Tudi was not a Wiccan or a Pagan, but she grokked it in a way a lot of self-proclaimed Witches are at loss to understand.
I want that sensation of flight and try to spin onto my back like a bag in the wind, so I can face Nature's painting masterpiece and maybe even glimpse the spirits of Aunt Tudi and Granny, as they stand to welcome me after gravity has had its dark way.
I need to go home.
English is the only language I can fluently speak, and even that is debateable. I know bits and bobs of other languages, including Mandarin, Welsh, German, Yiddish, Russian, Polish, and Xhosa. But there is this one language whose intricacies I began learning at a very early age. That would be Sarcasm. When it comes to Sarcasm, it really doesn’t matter what your native tongue is; rather, it’s more to do with body posture, inflection of the words, even the tone of voice that makes for a successfully delivered dollop of linguistic malice.
I began learning Sarcasm at the tender age of nine. It had been going on three years since my parental units’ divorce and, even though I was well taken care of and had no doubt that I was loved by Granny and Aunt Tudi, I still missed that connection kids apparently enjoy, regardless of culture or location. I would write them letters, and be thrilled when they wrote me back.
If they wrote me back.
One day, Aunt Tudi and Granny took me to Woolworth’s so I could spend some of my allowance money. Instead of getting a little toy, or candy, or whatever a kid with a couple of bucks could buy back in 1976, I bought two identical greeting cards. After not hearing from either Unit for quite some time when I saw these cards, it was my first crash course in the wonderful world of Snark.
Even though I was hellbent on mailing them to the Mother and Father Units, Aunt Tudi convinced me not to do it. I kept the cards, though, up until I finally disposed of them in the late 90s, because they were yellow and tattered with age. The message was ingenious, though, and I kind of wish I’d held on to them, just for shits and giggles. I’ve recreated the card here, for the enjoyment of any and all.
Very simple, to the point, and unmerciful – like all good sarcasm should be.
Tracy Angelina Evans was born on 10 September, 1967, in Asheville, North Carolina, into a small family that had more in common with the Addams Family than the Waltons. Her father was a slightly off-center Jack of all artistic trades (radio DJ, photographer, writer, journalist, singer/songwriter, comic, and Japanese commercial actor - go figure), so it was convenient that his nickname was Jack. Her mother is a first generation Hippie, who adores artistic/crafty endeavours, reading, watching horror movies, and anything to having to do with nature and the animal kingdom. Her grandparents were Big Band Jazz musicians and singers (maternal grandparental units), painters and storytellers (paternal grandmother unit), and CIA operatives (paternal grandfather unit) in what was then West Germany. She was raised by her eccentric aunt, Tudi, and paternal grandmother unit in Asheville and, later, in Duncan, SC. She began artistic pursuits at the age of 4, when her grandmother told her to go draw flies. Too young to get the joke, her first pictures were of flies. The spiders came later to eat the overpopulation of flies. Webs were really fun to draw. She began writing animals stories around the age of 7, but switched to human-centered sci-fi stories at 13, when she heard the Electric Light Orchestra's album, Time.
Language and mythology became an important part of Tracy's education at an early age, and she was fascinated with religion. Early on, she wanted to be a preacher, but was told only men could do that. Then she wanted to be a nun, going around with a towel held to her head with a plastic mixing bowl to signify her cornette, but was told only Catholics could do that. Her mother was Jewish and her father was a non-practicing Southern Baptist, so the natural progression from these lofty origins, along with the dashing of original spiritual aspirations because of denomination and gender, is for the offspring to embrace Pagan and Pantheist philosophies, which became intertwined with her sci-fi sensibilities, the music prevalent in her life, and what little she could grasp of actual science, particularly physics and psychology.
In her junior year of high school, she chose to do a research paper on anti-Utopian societies, or Dystopian worlds, using A Brave New World and 1984 as the frame work for her paper. This turned her into a conspiracy theorist and affected the general tone of her writing from then on. During this time, too, she began building a personal myth around an ancient alien race that came to Earth before the rise of humanity. Part of the process of this creation was the invention of a new language, based loosely on the Indo-European family of languages with a hint of Finno-Ugric. (How, really, did two countries so far apart from one another end up sharing a root language, anyway? Finland? Hungary? What say you?)
At the age of 19, Tracy's genuine love of music, combined with her knowledge of a wide variety of musical genres, gave her the opportunity to work in the music industry starting in 1987. She left Wofford College to pursue this career. For almost a decade, she literally (using the correct definition of the word) got paid to sit and listen to music, during which she was allowed to read, write, draw, or anything else that did not deter from her job in the quality assurance department of what was then BMG/RCA Music Service. Another nine years with the company saw her going into music promotions, which drove her clinically mad.
Her Tarmian mythology got a metaphysical shot in the arm when Tracy began studying ancient Pagan religions and dabbling in the then still fresh New Age philosophies in 1990 and going forward.
Also in 1990, she discovered what would become her favourite music band, Shriekback. They would end up having a profound effect on every aspect of her own artistic endeavours. Thanks to her entering the virtual world of the Internet in 1998, she got to eventually meet some members of the band, and help to promote them and their music since 2000. They were kind enough to allow her to use lyrics from their songs as chapter lead-ins for her books.
After the death of her aunt in 2011, Tracy moved to San Diego to be closer to her mother, taking with her, her non-human friends Smidgen (a giant cat with a partially erect furry penis for a tail) and Toby (an obnoxious deer Chihuahua who had been abandoned at the veterinary hospital for which she briefly worked as a Vet Assistant), her music, book, and DVD collections, a few clothes, and her computer.
She is quite active online, maintaining a 12-year-old blog on Live Journal, called The Cliffs of Insanity, and sharing amusing and/or infuriating bits of info and images on her Facebook page. Besides writing and devouring copious amounts of music, she enjoys drawing badly, and is trying to learn how to use an art tablet. She also loves to read, watch movies (any genre but romance), make videos for You Tube (some vids for Shriekback, some vids to share songs that might not otherwise be available, like the more obscure Celtic folk tunes of Dougie MacLean and Talitha MacKenzie, and some funny bits and bobs, like The Tim Roth Tutorials), going to drum circles on the weekend to work out her djembe and get a contact high, and enthusiastically waiting for the End of the World. Over the past few years, comedy has also become of great import to her mental health. There's a reason why we have the cliché "laughter is the best medicine."
Tracy has a strong affinity for non-human Earthlings (camelids, reptiles, birds, and mantids, in particular) and was involved in cat rescue for some time in Duncan, SC. At one point, she was seeking homes for about thirty cats she had tamed and nursed back to health, earning her the title of Crazy Cat Lady in her neighbourhood. (All the cats were re-homed.) She has worked to rehabilitate many species, including a hypoglycaemic hummingbird, a family of opossums to whom she gave epic Nordic names for no reason whatsoever, and a variety of lizards. She is in love with a planet she sees aching under the yoke of human oppression, and would do anything to see that change. She claims to be a professional misanthrope, which is most often channelled into Cadmus Pariah, but she likes you. To the best of her knowledge, her lineage includes Welsh, Scottish, English, Jewish, Dutch, Hungarian, African, and Cherokee genes, making her a class A mongrel.
After years of change and countless reassessments of her belief system, Tracy is now more comfortable with the concept of Jungian archetypes and how they are recurring themes throughout human history. As it stands at the time of this writing, she's working on a fourth Vampire book, she's still a diehard Star Wars/Star Trek sci-fi/fantasy nerd, an apostle of JRR Tolkien's and Robert Anton Wilson's, an opinionated grouch, and a constant victim of synchronicity, which tends to spread the wealth of weirdness with anyone in close proximity. She has a short list of heroes that include Jeff Lynne, Carl Jung, Barry Andrews, Neil deGrasse Tyson, and Starhawk. She is also one of the 14 remaining people on Earth who dislikes Joss Whedon and that for which he stands, and has actually lost friends because of her opinion. If she had her druthers, Tracy would move to Avebury, Wiltshire, and groove on the ley lines' vibrations for the rest of her life.
She's absolutely certain that she is uncertain about everything, and that is most certainly a statement loaded with uncertainty.
At Buckingham Palace in 2006.
When I was as young as three years old, I believed without question the existence of god. At four, I began wearing a towel on my head (don't go there with the jokes...), held down by a plastic mixing bowl, to pretend I was a nun. I also attended temple a couple of times with the Mother Unit. I got my first taste of wine there. Mogen David FTW!
At the age of five, in my first grade class, we were all required to recite psalm 23. Since my family was of mixed faith, and not excessively religious (I was probably the most "devout" at that time), I knew no bible verses by heart. I was the only one in my class not to get a silver star by her name. Looking back, this was my first experience with indoctrination in a setting that should have been more in line with the law of separation of church and state. It was mortifying, to say the least. I remember crying all the way home and staying up well past my bedtime to memorise the psalm, but was never called on in school to clear my name as a godless fiend. During this time, I also got it into my head that I wanted to be a preacher.
Aunt Tudi explained to me that I couldn't be nun, because I wasn't Catholic, and female preachers are few and far between, and usually weren't respected or listened to. So that was that.
A few months before my sixth birthday, my family exploded, when the Mother Unit requested a divorce. During this time, a pastor started frequenting the house. He'd take me for rides in the car on occasion, and we'd sing the BINGO song. While he was showing the face of a concerned man of god during this difficult time in the family's life, the family comprising of the Units, Granny, and Aunt Tudi, he was discreetly fleecing anything of worth from an already desperately poor family. I didn't find out that last part until years later, but I had always wondered why he suddenly stopped visiting, especially when I felt I needed him most, after the break-up was finalised and my Father Unit had a nervous breakdown. It turns out he got what he wanted, which was pretty much everything we had had as a family unit.
While I was being verbally terrorised by the Father Unit, as he instructed me to despise the Mother Unit for all she had done, and telling me she had never loved me, otherwise she wouldn't have left, I prayed fervently to a god that never seemed to hear me. I felt adrift. I never felt safe. When I got to see her, Granny would tell me the story of Job, and that all I needed was to hold on to my faith, and eventually everything would be okay.
But it wasn't. I had my home, my neighbourhood, my parents, and my favourite grandmother and aunt taken away from me, until the authorities decided on what to do with me. By the time I was seven, I was living with Aunt Tudi and Granny, in an A-frame chalet in Black Mountain, North Carolina. I still wanted to believe in the existence of a higher power, so I began reading the bible frequently. Aunt Tudi bought me a Rainbow Bible. I still have it...I think.
I remember reading about Gideon in Judges, how he wanted proof of the existence of god, and put the deity to a test. This verse, Judges 6:39, impacted me:
And Gideon said unto God, Let not thine anger be hot against me, and I will speak but this once: let me prove, I pray thee, but this once with the fleece; let it now be dry only upon the fleece, and upon all the ground let there be dew.
I figured if Gideon could do this, and be answered by god, surely I could too. It was in the bible, so it must be something that was true and could be repeated. I got a dry washcloth and, placing it in the very back of my closet, asked god to let me know he was with me, that he did listen to me, by making the cloth wet by morning.
Morning came, and I rushed to the closet with hope and expectation. The cloth was dry.
I could not bring myself to say there was no god. Atheism is still unthinkable in the Southeast United States, but back in the 70s, the very word itself was an abomination. I could not not believe in god. But I learned a new word - agnostic. From 1975 until 1988, I was an agnostic. That doesn't mean I didn't have spiritual experiences. I had a few throughout my life, like the revelation of Durga at the age of five, and the irrefutable holy feeling upon seeing the beginning of the movie Xanadu, featuring Jeff Lynne's music. Even Star Wars triggered a spiritual reaction in me, which I found out later was a very natural one, considering the use of archetypes and stories older than even our most ancient ancestors.
In 1988, I began studying Wicca. I felt like I'd come home. Here was a spiritual place that you carried within you, a way of life that held everyone (male, female, human, non-human - all life) in a kind of reverence. It renewed my belief in magick and the possibility of a life of wonderment. By 1990, I had become a New Age Fluffy Bunny. By 1992, I was a High Priestess in the Caledonii Tradition. Even though I eventually turned to solitary practice and dropped the Wiccan label, preferring the cognomen of Witch, my faith never faltered.
Until 2011. On August 25th, 2011, I was catapulted into the gravest spiritual crises I'd ever known. It was different this time. I didn't feel as though god/dess was not listening to my prayers; rather, I found I had nothing to say to any deity. If people would ask, I'd nonchalantly say that I was going through a spiritual crisis or that I was a Pagan-leaning agnostic.
Monday will mark the third anniversary of Aunt Tudi's death. When it happened, people wanted to pray for me, or pray with me. They tried to comfort me with praise of god/dess. I felt myself being offended and angry, not just with deity, but also with the people who seemed to crawl out of the woodwork to use my tragedy to turn me to god. On Christmas Eve, I called my Aunt Josephine to wish her a merry Christmas. I was only four months out from losing Aunt Tudi, so the wound was still raw (honestly, it still is). Instead of giving me any sort of comfort in her own way, instead of even wishing me a merry Christmas back, Josephine proceeded to tell me that I needed to get right with god; otherwise, I wouldn't see Aunt Tudi in the afterlife, as she was in heaven, and I was definitely headed for hell. That was the last time I ever talked to her.
Three years on, and where am I as far as my quest for a higher power or my need to commune with deity? In all honesty, I would have to say that I've crossed that line between agnosticism and atheism. With all the horror I see in the world now, I prefer the idea that there is no god as opposed to one that seems to revel in the continuous abject suffering of its creations. I have no patience for any of it, in whatever incarnation people claim it exists. I want no part of it.
Now some may say that this is simply my own version of the descent of the goddess, and they can believe that all they want to. If I've been descending, then this post is the end of my journey, because I don't plan on ascending. There is nothing up there for me.
So yeah, I think it is pretty safe to say that I am an atheist. Looking back on my experiences with the spiritual world, I can see now that it was an inevitability.
It is cloudy today. I don’t know how long it will last, so I’m looking out the window occasionally to enjoy the lack of sun. Smidgen and Toby are here with me on the bed. I am rifling through a couple of old Shriekback articles I need to transcribe, whilst following various news sources concerning the chaos on several continents, mainly the Gaza tragedy and the Ebola outbreak. But I’m also taking mini-breaks from all that to aggressively seek out stuff that will make me laugh. Laughter is sometimes the only thing that will convince me I’m going to make it through the day without killing myself or someone else, or both.
Some new health issues have come up, but I’m not going to delve into that until I see my doctor on the 7th of August.
As is evidenced in my post last night, I am still writing. I don’t know when The Augury of Gideon is going to be released, but I promise it is complete and ready, for anyone who might be interested. Also, I started a Facebook page for The Vampire Relics. Please click the title to go see and join up. I’d love to have you.
For the past few days, I’ve been missing Todd a great deal. I don’t think I’ll ever get over losing him, and I do worry about him a lot, given what I assume to be some serious emotional upheaval in his life this past year. One of the things I liked about coming out to California was to have a better chance of seeing him again, since he’s also on the West Coast. It’s safe to say that won’t be happening.
Also, I’m deeply frustrated in regard to helping people effectively use the power of the Internet that is right at their finger-tips. I am by, by no means, a computer or network expert, but I’ve dabbled, explored, and worked damned hard to learn what I have over the past 15 years, and I would like to think that my efforts will not be vain, but I’m beginning to think I’ll always be the one to “set the time on the VCR”, so to speak.
Janice is finally getting her knee replacement, I think next week. She was wonderful at taking care of me after mine, so I feel a bit guilty not being there for her. She said she’d be okay, and she does have Johnna, Michael, and the kids. Blake is going to be staying with Uncle Michael during her recovery. I hope everything goes as smoothly for her as it did for me. I know her doctor. He was Aunt Tudi’s orthopedic doctor, so I have no doubt she is in very good hands.
I am thinking about committing to “paper” some accounts from my childhood that haunt me to this day. There are four, three of which have to do the paranormal or alien engagement, and one that I think was the Mother and Father Units fucking with me when I was in my crib. When I sufficiently gathered my thoughts about that, I’ll begin posting about them. I need to see if anyone else has ever experienced anything similar.
The Mother Unit is going to Costco later on, and I need to go with her. It’s time to restock cat litter and the fur-kids’ vittles. I don’t know what she and Matt have planned for tomorrow. Maybe we’ll go drumming, if the timing is right and we all feel like it. It would probably do me a little bit of good to get out of the house, at least as long as the sun isn’t trying to incinerate me. It’s not that it is hot, but that is almost always present. I feel like an ant under a magnifying glass.
There may be people out there who have the impression that I’m a misanthropic asshole with no sense of gratitude.
It’s true, I am a misanthropic asshole, but I am grateful for a lot of things and beings, including people. I thought it might behove me to step out of “character” for a few minutes and make a list. So here we go.( cut for courtesy )
1. The Mother Unit - for rescuing me from myself last year, and having more patience with me than I ever would with anyone, including myself.
2. My friends. Even though I’ve lost a few since 2011, I’ve retained many very important souls in my life, many of which I met here on LJ. Despite my general dislike for our species, I harbour much fondness for my Tribe. Many of you stuck with me through the darkest period of my life, often saving my skin and literally saving my life and sanity when I did nothing to deserve such kindness, and there’s really no way I can ever sufficiently repay you for that. I just hope that I can do something for each of you someday, that might properly express how much you mean to me.
3. Smidgen and Toby. They cradle my soul like no one else would be willing to, or could. The unconditional love cats and dogs give us may well be the primary way god/dess is trying to tell us that we aren’t alone, that we count in some way. Despite my agnosticism, Toby and Smidgen are the ones who keep me from full-on atheism.
4. Music. Music is the closest thing to the concept of Force that we can get. I’ve long believed that the multiverse in which we dwell is a song that is still being composed. It is the purest form of communication, and it is something that every living being expresses in one form or another. We are all songs, we are the music of creation, we are the mathematics and art of dreams and concepts.
5. Fey Publishing - for taking a chance on me and my strange tales. My third book will be available soon, thanks to Fey’s original owner, Sophie Childs, and its current sovereign, Kristen Duvall. Click on their names to learn more about these brilliant women. I owe them both a great deal, for their initial and continued faith in me, and for their patience as I struggled through my own personal bullfunky to finally get the third Vampire Relics book to Dark Fey’s door.
6. Shriekback, in particular Barry Andrews, for letting me have a ringside seat to their ongoing awesomeness. Since 1990, they’ve been an almost constant source of inspiration and comfort, soundtracking my life’s highs and lows, and everything in between. If we lived on Arrakis, I would owe Barry a huge water-debt.
7. The Impractical Jokers and The Epic Rap Battles of History. My entire life, I’ve been a huge supporter of all brands of humour, but my quest for things that would make me laugh became a desperate effort following Aunt Tudi’s death. Of all the things I explored in my quest for laughter, The Tenderloins (Impractical Jokers) and the guys behind The Epic Rap Battles were the only ones who never failed to bring me a joy that was otherwise almost impossible to find.
8. You Tube and Netflix. When you don’t have a TV, these two wonderful services are a wonderful, and often preferable, alternative.
9. Dr. Harrington. Of all the therapists I’ve had over the years, this is the only one I’ve ever felt actually listens to me. His wry wit, proclivity to play devil’s advocate, and his willingness to swear are just three of many things that impress me about the man. And he’s a good person, a genuinely good person.
10. The Internet. When someone asked me how I felt about the Internet back in 1998, I told them that the Internet was the universe’s largest library. You could find out anything by exploring the endless halls of virtual books. You need only be aware of the pervert at the end of each aisle and act accordingly to avoid them.
11. Sleep. When you’re a chronic insomniac, the value of sleep increases a thousandfold. I was never one of those kids who balked at bedtime; I was always a fan of slumber, mainly because of my vast dreamscape. Being able to achieve lucidity at times only added to the wonder of it all. After I began suffering from insomnia, those rare occasions where I’d achieve a few hours of really good sleep with a possible bonus of now rare dreams, reached a level of miraculous for me. I am never not profoundly grateful for sleep.
12. Drum circles. I’ve always been fond of them, but rediscovering drumming and, in particular, trance drumming, has reconnected me to deity on a level I thought was no longer possible. There’s something about surrendering to a group rhythm that is both spiritual and therapeutic. Thankfully, drum circles in San Diego are never on short supply, unlike the Upstate of South Carolina.
13. Earth. I try to never take my home planet for granted, especially now that my species seems hellbent on destroying the only home we’ve ever known. In vast expansiveness of the multiverse, this magickal sphere upon which we all live makes it seem more likely than not, that life is more prevalent than we can imagine. And Earth is teeming with it, in mind-boggling varieties throughout an inconceivable history. This “pale, blue dot” may be tiny in the scheme of everything, but the planet is unique and precious, a work of divine art, from the towering trees of the Amazon to the majesty of the Smoky Mountains, all resonating with the subtle song of water, that which gives life as we know it. We have no right to visit so much suffering upon the body and spirit of our galactic mother. Throughout every day, I am stunned by the miracle of our home, and I grieve for everything that has lost in the wake of our destruction. I walk through life, grateful to Earth for her presence, and therefore ours, and I hope that my fellow humans and I can find some semblance of forgiveness for our transgressions.
So there it is. Thirteen things for which I am very grateful. I’m sure there’s more, but these are the Big Ones in my life, at this moment. What do you treasure? For what are you grateful?
I didn't get much done.
I came home with the intention to rest just a little. I passed flat out and slept for around three hours. Jumping back up in a panic, I ate a quick breakfast, shuffled Smidgen outside and set to gathering all the trash in the house, including cleaning out the refrigerator and freezer for the first time in four months. I figured everything would be severely sparse after I was done. The minute I started working on the fridge, I lost my freaking mind. It's never a good thing when you find yourself sitting on your kitchen floor, clinging to a bottle of Kraft salad dressing, and crying uncontrollably. It was just downhill from there. I got the vacuuming done and the garbage collected, including everything in the fridge, but I couldn't do the freezer before time to clean up and go get the dogs. So the day was pretty much another of a string of busts for me. Not good on Solstice, especially what is hopefully my last Winter Solstice, as Solstice 2012 is the 22nd and I, along with everyone else, will be dead dead dead.
So I got ready, hauled the four big bags of trash out to the car and drove in a misting rain to the dump to drop it off. The minute I got out of the car to dump the garbage, it came a hard rain and my hair "collapsed like flan in a cupboard." (quote by Eddie Izzard) I went to pick up the dogs with a hideously wet, stringy head. I'm sure I looked like Meg Mucklebones when I got to Michelle's. Great. We yapped and caught up while my hair dried a little.
On the way back home, I got a call from Janice asking if she could use my freezer to store some food. I told her of course, go ahead, and take anything in there she might want or need. She was kind enough to take all the stuff that belonged to Aunt Tudi, 'cos I told her about losing my mind earlier.
When I got off the phone with her, I noticed a street sign by the name of Frohawk. Now...I've heard of Mohawks and Fauxhawks (that's just plain stupid, by the by), but Frohawk? My mind began racing with what that would look like, being a child of the 70s, who well remembers and venerates the Fro. So, I'm gonna try to make me a Frohawk and have a picture taken underneath the street sign. It'll take me a while to figure this out, but that's okay, 'cos I don't even have a bleeding camera right now. But stay tuned for that. I have the Hoozer Daddy street sign pic, so I think that the Frohawk Project should be fantastico. I just need a lot of hair, glue, and a bald person, or a one of those bald rubber caps sold around Samhain.
I was supposed to go to Davis and Kathleen's place for a modest Solstice gathering, perhaps cast a Circle and herald the light back in, because I really need to do that. It looks like I'll be doing that alone, though, 'cos I'm night blind which is worse if it's raining. To top it off, I've lost my glasses, which means everything far off is a bit iffy. I'm not sure I want to risk bumming fellow brouhaha-gatherers by dying or sommat. Myself, I don't give a shite, but whatever.
In somewhat happier news, a very talented man who goes by the "band" name Radical Face, is now easily found on The Intarwebs. When I first heard the portion of "Welcome Home," it was in a local commercial put out by the Greenville Library System. I had to find the right person in Greenville to talk to about the music used for the advert and he gave me the name "Radical Face." This was in early 2007 and I went on a Holy Mission to find the elusive Radical Face online. I finally found a remote website and wrote to the email address found there. I was contacted by Radical Face shortly thereafter and given the song. Deja Vu anyone? Today, the song played on the iPod and I decided to see how Radical Face was doing after all these years. He is everywhere online, including having a video for "Welcome Home" on YouTube. I plan on exploring more of his music now and offer up the video as a testament to the beauty of this song and the brilliance of Ben "Radical Face."
The rest of September was spent in solitude, lying on the love seat with the animals on me, watching 'Law & Order,' and weeping. The house went to hell and I vomited everything I tried to eat or drink. From July to now, I have lost 69 pounds. I've declared it the Stress and Grief diet and am thinking about marketing it.
October was spent pretty much the same way. I do remember being in the hospital from a break down at some time. Then another from weakness. I'm low on potassium and am seriously anaemic. Still, I'm feeling unsure of my legs, as I've fallen so many times. At one time, I fell when using a walker, on my way to the bedroom, thinking I heard Aunt Tudi. I ended up giving myself a terrible black eye from that fall. Tuesday, I fell five times, skinning my shin on the rocks of Craggy Garden when I went to speak to the spirits of Aunt Tudi and Granny, saying things I wasn't comfortable saying in front of others. I got there and back, though, so I'm more confident about driving home.
Yesterday, I attended a fire party thrown by Davis and Kathleen. The harpist did not come as I had hoped, so that I could give that closure as well. Ten years of resentment and loss is enough. But it is my first step in crawling out of my grievous Hobbit hole.
I'm still considering finding homes for all the animals. Riley is already gone to a very loving home whose people had just lost a wire-haired dachshund. I miss him, but it's already easier with just two dogs. All the animals are missing Aunt Tudi still and they miss me, because I've spent so much time at Uncle Michael's and Aunt Janice's.
But I'm working on moving back in my house and, since the family now has no doubt about my spiritual path, I'm going to Witch my home up. I couldn't take any more Christian postulations as I went through my grieving process. I told them that Aunt Tudi had come to understand the Witch's path, had been Croned, and was not thoroughly Christian, especially an xtian. Once I get finances sorted, I'm purchasing one thing a month from Azure Green. I'm also taking my gear and supplies out of the closet and drawers. Now that I am alone, I'm considering easing back into the Witches' community, if not here, in Asheville. Everyone will know my ways and, if they don't like it, they can remove themselves from my life, or pray for me, or do whatever they can do.
There are crosses etched into the red rock where we scattered both Granny's and Aunt Tudi's ashes. I took the metal tool and drew a humble pentagram and triskele there as well. More will be done. The etchings will be stronger and candles will be lit.
I am alone now, but I am hoping I can reestablish myself with what friends and family I have, and to learn what life without Aunt Tudi will be like. For now I'm off to do laundry and vacuum the floor. I have a new appreciation of a domestic life.
Upon my return, I found crosses etched all over the stone that marked where we scattered Aunt Tudi's ashes. I hid my hurt and rage at this, since Aunt Tudi was most definitely not an xtian, so I asked for the scissors Janice used to etch the crossed into the stone, and I carved a Pentagram and a Triskele into the stone in amongst the crosses. This would balance out the variety of faiths to which Aunt Tudi had been exposed and the bits of each religious tenet she took with her and found relevant to her own path. If I could have remembered it, I would have etched the symbol for the Unitarian Universalist Church on the stone because, if she were anything, it was that to which she was closest. I'm going to get that symbol and return to the stone to etch it into the rock for her, because that church was very important to her.
I thank Lady Neith for that and I always will.
After the scattering and before the Faery walk, we all said something in Aunt Tudi's honour. Little Michael and I were the last to speak. He offered up prayer to the xtian God, then I spoke of mine and Aunt Tudi's relationship, her system of belief, and then I recited "Do Not Stand at My Grave and Weep" by Mary E. Frye. I handled it all pretty well and hugged tightly those who lost it, especially Blake, who had always been very close to Aunt Tudi.
I'm spending the night at home tonight, by myself. The spirit of Aunt Tudi is with me and I don't feel so terribly haunted and wounded. A strange peace has settled over me for right now, like I'm blanketed by the Goddess and she is coming to me in the form of Aunt Tudi. I'm going to stay here on the love seat and watch TV until I fall asleep and then, tomorrow, I'm going to a cookout with the family after I try to get the house in order. It's been almost two weeks now since anything has been done, and the house looks like a pipe bomb has gone off in it.
It's time to get myself together and get ready to leave for a while to help in the healing and to reunite with loved ones I have not seen in much too long a time.
I'm sure I'll get lost, but I'll eventually find my way. I'm counting on Aunt Tudi's spirit to guide me back to South Carolina, away from my home that I wish I knew better. I have decided to go there more often and learn the secret paths of the mountain town. I want know it the way Aunt Tudi knew it. I want to be a part of it the way I used to be. It's the only way I feel I can be truly close to Aunt Tudi.
She never wanted to die in South Carolina. She did not get her wish. For that, I will always be regretful. At least her cremains will rest in the beloved Smoky Mountains and her spirit will drift wherever it wishes. I hope she'll spend some time with me.
But I had a Grand Idea. Today is Janice's birthday and I wanted to take her and Aunt Tudi out for a birthday dinner. Janice won't ride with me in the car since I was diagnosed with epilepsy, so she always drives when she goes anywhere with us. I sit in the back seat and enjoy the music 'cos that's how I roll yo...when I don't have to drive. We were going to Outback, so I decided to get drunk. Not tipsy, not looped, but Crazy Damned Drunk so I could forget the freakiness of the Root Canal and not worry about any residual pain for a while. I ordered a pitcher of their new Strawberry Peach Sangria. It's described thusly (that's a good word.):
The sweet goodness of fresh pureed strawberries and peaches is mixed with Malibu Pineapple Rum, Sutter Home White Zinfandel, pineapple juice and garnished with fresh sliced strawberries.
Well, since I couldn't eat all that well, with half my head still numb (I could only flare one nostril, it was funnier than hell), I drank my supper. By the time we left, I was Crazy Drunk and loving the world, which is saying a lot for a misanthrope.
When I got home after mailing acook's commission dough and getting Uncle Michael a meal from Arby's (he preferred that to Outback, 'cos he's crazy), I sat down at the beloved computer and began to check mail, LJ, and Facebook. Something told me...Okay, the alcohol told me to write Barry about the new package I'm sending him. I came through as Crazy Drunk, even suggesting that I wanted a Scotsman. I'm sure he's gonna think to himself "Oh dear, my Stalker has gone off the deep end." I did tell him I was drunk though, so it should be okay. But OMIGAWD. HAHAHAHAHAHA!
My feeling is coming back and my buzz is wearing off, and I'm not in pain, so I think it's gonna be good. After this storm passes, I'm gonna get the dogs ready for bed and head that way myself. It's been a helluva day.
- I'll be giving Chester his Summertime shaving, and I'll be clipping all the dogs' toenails. At the very least, this will take me a couple of hours. Right now the dogs are all chillaxing like they haven't a care in the world. Once the toenails start flying, they'll know that the day isn't going to be a business-as-usual day of relaxation. I can hear the angry growls of protest now.
- Blake is supposed to swing by for a visit so he can pick up his birthday card and gift. Aunt Tudi and I scrimped and saved like crazy in order to give him $20. I'm certain he'll be thrilled with the dough. In this day and age, people are thrilled to get monetary gifts, and they know how fortunate they are to be receiving such a gift. Ten years ago, $20 wasn't that big of a deal. Funny how just a handful of years can make all the difference in the world.
- Sometime after the dogs' grooming and family visitation, I'd like to squeeze in some quality time for writing. I haven't sat down to seriously commit some wordage to virtual paper in about a week, and I'm beginning to suffer from the writing withdrawals. Ideally, I'd like to finish "The Last Acolyte" today and begin on the third story in the Cadmus anthology.
- Before I begin my work, I'm having a late breakfast and watching 2012. That movie is like porn for me as I see global mass destruction on an unprecedented scale, and hope that this actually happens next year. The more I watch this movie, the more I get the warm fuzzlies. The only thing I hope does not happen is that anyone survives the cataclysm. Only the animals should survive the 2012 disaster. After all the horror our species has imposed upon planet Earth and our fellow inhabitants, Humanity deserves extinction.
- After my work, I need to do some online research on Ramtha for Todd. I've known about this grifter for decades, and Todd and I have discussed her in the past. He was invited to a dinner party last weekend where the folks discussed a variety of spiritual matters. A few days later, he asked his friend to what group they all belonged because I had asked Todd and Todd didn't know. His friend told him that they belonged to Ramtha's School of Enlightenment. My knee jerk reaction was "Ohhh nooo..." I've already sent some information about JZ Knight/Ramtha to Todd, but I need to send him more. The aim is to ensure Todd does not associate with these people at any depth because RSE is a cult and a dangerous one at that.
So this will take up the majority of my Bealtainne. One more Bealtainne to be had before the Alpaca Lips. I may have to find me a gawgeous man with whom to celebrate my last Bealtainne... If only Vin Diesel would volunteer for God to my Goddess duties, I could leave this mortal coil a happy happy woman. Heh.
In other news, my male cousin announced yesterday that his wife is pregnant. It's hard to believe that Little Michael is finally gonna have a kid. This time, I hope it's a boy, 'cos Michael is the only one in our family who can carry on the name. I don't want the Evans name to die out. I'm proud of being an Evans and I want the name to continue on through history, or at least until 2012. Next Christmas should be interesting with a new bebbeh with which to celebrate. Whatever the gender, it'd be nice if they'd let me name the kid. If it were a boy, I'd name it Gabriel Sebastian and, if it were a girl, Licit Anastasia. The kid will probably get something pedestrian like Luke. Not that I don't like that name.
I'm due ten, maybe twenty, more discs from Uncle Michael. He used to have an extensive collection of about 800 CDs, but the economy dictated that he sell his collection. He's down to about 200 discs now, which is a real shame because he had the most extensive music collection I've ever seen. At least the last of his collection will be committed to memory on iTunes and Froderick.
I'm hoping today will be easier than I expect it to be. Guess we'll see.
That's not what this post is about. It's just sort of random something.
Oh oh BIG NEWS. I'm writing a Joker fanfic. I need a vacation from everything else and I did promise acook a Femme Joker story. Not sure how it's gonna turn out, but I'm hellbent on writing it. It's my Joker. Same Joker I've always written except for that Mister J is Miss J instead. And she's out to date the Bat. So I'm working on that.
I've 16 copies of The Chalice coming to me, all of them spoken for. I'll be taking a copy up to Malaprops for certain so that they can see they get props in the book. Hopefully, they'll order a bunch wholesale and want me to do a book signing. That'd be groovy. I'd write my 'Writers' Cabal/Vampire Division' shirt up there for the big even. Man, am I such a dreamer.
Aunt Tudi made some buttery biscuits. There's nothing like a Southern buttermilk biscuit. Nothing at all. No, my English friends, it is not a cookie. It's a wad of cooked dough that will pitch a party in your mouth, especially if you add butter and jam to it. One big biscuit is like a meal to me, so Aunt Tudi makes sure to make what she calls "The Big Mama." That was my supper.
I sure hope this Pristiq works for Aunt Tudi pretty soon. She's gonna lose it and kill me if something drastic doesn't take place. Then again, my Cymbalta really isn't working all that well, so someone killing me isn't necessarily an unpleasant thought.
Now I'm listening to a song by Dave Brubek & Louis Armstrong. The bassline in this is very important to me because it's my grandfather Irving Manheim playing the upright. He played with so many people and I wish I knew who all were graced with his funky bassline. I often wonder what happened to his bass after he died. I want to someday create a website honouring both Irving Manheim and Helen Aprea (my grandmother, who sang in the Jazz Age up until lung cancer took her voice). I mentioned doing this with the Mother Unit, but my work with the book got to be the center of my attention. Perhaps after the sales begin to slow, I can collaborate with the unit on writing the website and her putting it together.
Ah, now Danny Elfman. The theme song from 'Wanted,' which makes me think of James McAvoy. Now I can't think at all.
Things for which I am thankful:
- Food and Shelter
- The menagerie, even though they drive me crazy sometimes
- My computer and the Internet
- My vast collection of notes and art
- The books on my bookshelves
- The ION, which is still running without problems (knock on wood)
- My health, now that it's back!
- Live Journal and all my physical journals
- My movie collection and Netflix, without which I would go mad
People for which I am thankful:
- Aunt Tudi
- The Mother Unit
- My Friend Todd
- Little Michael
- Barry Andrews
- Barack Obama
- The Joker Blogs crew
- The Writers' Cabal
- Everyone in my Tribe, and you know who you are
- All my online friends, especially here on LJ ~ you're my cyber-family and I love you.
So there you go. Thank you, Mighty Ones, for everything and everyone. I hope I someday live up to the bounty you've bestowed up on me.
Some people never ever learn.
Our telephone number is unlisted and unpublished so that only those people we wish to have our number will be given access to it. If you do not have our number then that fact should indicate to you our feelings on the matter.
Please do not go away angry.
Just go away.
I don't care what anybody says, Hexed was a good movie. No, it was a great movie. It's basically "The Boy Who Cried Wolf" retold with the Arye Gross (I love him) as the boy and Claudia Christian (yes, Commander Ivanova!) as the wolf. There are so many comic scenes the drip pure genius, my chakras just vibrate on a higher level thinking about them. With lines like this, how can a movie go wrong? "She even attacked a mime. Just found out about it. Seems the mime had been reluctant to talk." In fact, I may abandon my serial killer extravaganza and pop in Hexed, which is really just an extension of the whole Sunday Serial Killer motif. Hexina is one of my heroes.
When I was a kid, my favourite superhero was Spiderman. green_goblin7t and I share this common bond. Even though my greatest childhood love was Darth Vader and all my other heroes were villains, Spidey was the exception to my unspoken rule of "no nice guys!" I didn't just idolise Spiderman, I wanted to be Spiderman. I would have given my left kidney to be able to shoot web out of my wrists and swing through town. My main thing was the animated series from the 70s. I've never in my life read a Spiderman comic. The only comics I was ever into were Archie comics. Nothing thrilled me more than to get a grape Slurpee and an Archie comic from the local 7-11. I was a simple girl, grateful for the little things. But the bigger the Slurpee, the better. Anyway, I still have a piece of my Spidey-drenched childhood: it's a Spiderman head water gun. When you pull the trigger, Spidey literally spits on you. It still works, too.
Aunt Tudi and I have a pool. I got it on clearance at the dollar store last year. It was normally like $70 or sommat. I got it for just under $20. It inflates as you fill it up and it's 3 feet deep, I think. Or 4 feet. Can't remember. Once I rid the back yard of fire ants, we're gonna set it up back there, so we can float about in privacy. It's big enough to need a filter and pump, so it'll be large enough for Aunt Tudi and me to enjoy some cool, watery goodness on the 3000 katrillion hot days of Summer enjoyed by us inmates here in South Carolina. I may have to chop down some bamboo and fashion myself a makeshift snorkel. I remember snorkeling in Mills River up near Asheville. The river was very deep in areas and quite peaceful. There's nothing quite like the sound of water flowing past your ears mingling with the sound of your own breath as you float like a dead body down the river, nothing showing but the snorkel. I get concerned now that a bird will land on my snorkel and poop in my mouth.
I just realised that I have a previously unremembered source of income. Lula'a'kei'a'Lani, the Hawaiian Goddess of Loose Change! It's the old coconut figurine bank I kept in the Pit. The scheme was to get people to put their loose change in the bank and make a wish. It wouldn't surprise me if I had $10 in that coconut bank! That's a half tank of gas. I could go somewhere and do something, if I so chose. But I don't so choose. I like being a hermit. If I never left the house again, that'd be fine with me. Screw the world, I have an iPod.
Oh, speaking of iPods, newbies here on the Cliffs may have noticed my referencing Son of iGor. That's my iPod and my second one at that. My first iPod, simply iGor, crapped out on me, but I had an extended warranty on it, so Apple sent me a brand new iPod. This is Son of iGor. If Son of iGor ever trashes out on me, I'll have to jump off a bridge because I can't replace him. If I could, though, my next iPod would be called Bride of iGor maybe, or Random Acquaintance of iGor. Or maybe even Distant Cousin of iGor, or iGor's Unfriendly Neighbour. Hell if I know.
What's wrong with Tim Burton? His movies used to be so wonderful but, here of late, it's been a hit-and-miss situation for him. His Planet of the Apes was an affront to all ape-lovers everywhere. It was just....wrong. And, even though I adore the imagery of the film, Sweeney Todd pretty much left me cold. I'm not big on musicals, though. No matter how lovely Johnny Depp was in that movie, I'm not keen on ever seeing the flick again. Speak your lines, Johnny, don't sing them. Tim Burton is the Goth culture's champion. He needs to stick with what he knows and not try to go beyond that. Just be yourself, Tim. Toxic Boy is who you are, not big-time hoity-toity director man. The next time you take a seat in your director's chair, remember Beetlejuice and Batman, and all else will naturally fall into place. Just sayin'. Oh, and don't go with any film composer but Danny Elfman. You make a magickal team. Don't try to fix something that ain't broke. Again, just sayin'.
I'm half-writing a new Joker-fic. No, I haven't revived the Date Series. This one isn't gonna be an erotic fanfic either. It's...I don't know what it's gonna be. All I know is that it's drawn from a discussion paisleydaze and I have been having over the past couple of days. The occult and psychology play heavily in this one. I know it's gonna be short and, so far, it's totally unlike anything J-related I've written. One thing for certain: it has nothing to do with The Joker Blogs. So far, this one isn't fun, and something tells me that Cadmus' influence has a lot to do with this more archetypal Joker. I'm being pulled back to the Vampire world, despite my best efforts to avoid it for a while and have a few laughs. Oh, and to answer a question posed of me by delenn99: I'll submit my original work to publishers just as soon as I have an agent who is willing to take me on. Still looking for that. Any pointers on how I can lure a hapless agent into my Kung Fu grip? I'm all ears.
I want to go up to Cherokee and sit on a rock in the middle of the river up near the hospital. Maybe listen to some tunes on Son of iGor and contemplate Life, the Universe, and Everything.
The Cliffs of Insanity has a birthday coming up soon. The Blog will turn 7 years old. That's usually about the time a child starts becoming increasingly obnoxious. Since my journal started out that way, we can bypass that whole awkward phase and move on to greater pestiferousness and tomfoolery. Speaking of birthdays, Aunt Tudi turned 65 today. She has celebrated by sleeping. She does that a lot now. I'm by myself a good bit because she's asleep. I'm not complaining. I know it's because of her illnesses, but it bothers me a little because that's how Granny was a couple of years before she died. She had to wake up from a nap to go take a nap. I'm jealous of Aunt Tudi in that she can so easily sleep any hour of the day and I'm awake even when I am asleep, unless I drug myself into a stupour. Insomnia is the biggest bitch in existence, outshining even myself and stacye13, and that's no small feat. Aunt Tudi is like a cat now. I sit around this house looking at her and the cats doze all day long and I want to kill them in their sleep, and I chalk all that up to my coveting their slumber. I covet. I'm a commandment breaker. Look at me. I'm out of control. I'm a coveting senior citizen murderer with red-rimmed eyes that quiver from lack of sleep. Yeah, fear me, bitches. Who knows what I'll do next? Rest assured, it won't be sleeping.
I need make-up. I'm almost out of lipstick, I am out of powder, and my mascara is so old that it's dried up. I've still got plenty of faux kohl, so I'm good there. I'm just out of everything else. Don't know why I'd even need the make-up since I now spend the majority of my days at home, but you never know when I may want to do another webcam thingie. I still haven't figured out why my sound is off after I upload a video. It's fine until it hits You Tube. The mystery is maddening. I need to get a different kind of lipstick than the one I've been wearing. What I've been wearing almost instantly chaps my lips. Chapped lips drive me crazy because I can't leave them along. I'm constantly picking at my lower lip and peeling away the top layer of skin. It gets to the point of my bleeding. I used to have horrible lips as a young teen and I still have a diary where I'd leave bloody lip prints from the chapped horror through which I was going, usually from the big split right in the middle of my lower lip. It's no wonder teens are so difficult to get along with. Their lives are usually hell for one reason or another, so they may as well visit their suffering upon their friends and loved ones, right? Right. As for my make-up application, I learned how to apply make-up from observing Boy George and Robert Smith. Oh, and from art class. Undershadowing makes things look larger. That said, I apply very little faux kohl to my upper eyelids. Most of my eye colour and mascara are applied to the lower eyelids and lashes. It makes my eyes look much larger, and that's the intention. Case in point, this icon: . This is from a picture taken in 1997. You can't go wrong with lots of colour under the eyes. Theda Bara knew this. She was a smart lady.
Things I miss:
- Attending Circle. Sometimes even the most anti-social of us craves the group dynamics of a cast Circle. Not saying I'd want to do it on a regular basis, but it'd be nice to be with fellow Witches in sacred space for a little while.
- Bardic circles. These were almost as magickal as Sabbat and Esbat celebrations. But music is a magickal thing in and of itself. Tolkien himself contented in The Silmarillion that existence began with a song.
- Singing. Anywhere. Circle, Bardic, the UU Church. I miss singing.
- The Celtic music community of Greenville. I'll never be a part of it again, but that doesn't stop me from missing it. It's been 11 years now since I walked away.
- Quality Assurance and the people with whom I worked in that department: Doc, green_goblin7t, Richard, and Timothy. Sometimes even Raleigh and Terri.
- The Darth Maul Estrogen Brigade. It was 100% a positive experience and I made lifelong friendships because of that corner of smut on Teh Intarwebs, the most important being falkenna and Meche. It was a sad day when Darth Cleo shut the site down, archiving the majority for posterity's sake. I envisioned her turning out the lights in much the same way John Sheridan did at the end of B5. I often wonder about how Maulsmate, MaryCheetah, the Smut Brigade, MOTS, and Indigobunting are doing.
- My Friend Todd, every day, without fail.
My "nephew" Blake added me as a friend on MySpace. It's hard to believe that he's 17 now and has a beard and mustache. I remember when he was born. He makes me feel very old. I put the word "nephew" in quotations because he's not really my nephew, although I feel like he is. His mother and I were always like sisters, even though we're cousins, so Blake is my nephew in every way but the official way. So yeah. 17. I remember teaching him Talitha MacKenzie songs when he was 6, him rocking back and forth in the car to the beat of "Saor an t-sàbhaidh," singing the Gaelic like he'd done it all his life. But children are more open to language than adults, so I guess I can understand. Just recently, I asked him if he remembered any of that and he said he didn't. I bet if I played "Saor an t-sábhaidh" for him, it'd trigger the memory. He's always been a cool kid, and I don't like kids as a rule, so that's saying a lot. He's gonna be a groovy adult too. I have no doubt.
Mtzlplk or Mr. Mytzlplk was a villain featured on Superfriends back in the 70s. A lot of you fools weren't even born when he wrought his vowel-removing havoc on poor Superman. I think Casey Kasem voiced him. Could be wrong about that, though.
Clicking on the picture links to a larger version that's more easily viewed. Let's begin with the elephant, and go deosil.
In 1988, with the opening of the music distribution warehouse, BMG celebrated by hosting an open house/family fun day. The warehouses were open to employees and our families, and there were many festive activities like hot air balloon rides, the dunk tank, and furry interaction. One such furry took a liking to My Friend Todd and me. This picture of us, taken with the mystery elephant, clearly shows our discomfort at being targeted by the cutesy pachyderm. The elephant addressed both Todd and myself by our names but, to this day, neither of us know who was inside the costume.
Three years later, BMG hosted another family fun day. The photos directly above the one of Todd and me are of us in our respective booths. Todd is bent over fetching balls for his target practice booth and I am later sighted in the same target practice booth. Us "veterans" were pegged to volunteer for service throughout the day and, as usual, Todd and I were pretty much a tag team. I believe Todd was a bit more enthusiastic by all this company loyalty than I was, but he was always more dedicated to the company than I. Check the sunglasses I have on here. I'd had this particular pair since '88, two years before becoming enslaved to the Shrieks, just so's you know, falkenna.
The little girl in the red and white striped shirt, to the left of us BMG revelers, is my cousin Johnna, aged four if memory serves me. When she was a tot, Johnna's nickname was Caspar because she was so very pale and ghostly. Her head was even shaped like Caspar the Ghost's at the age of one or so. Bless her heart. Now, she's darker than I am, having lot of freckles and a healthy relationship with Sol.
Shifting to the right is a photo taken on my high school graduation night of two of my three best friends in high school, Benjamin and Sandra. That night was the last night I saw Benjamin. I believe he's a farmer in Kentucky now, which is what he wanted to be (a farmer, that is, in any state, not necessarily Kentucky). It'd be good to see both him and Sandra again, although I doubt that will ever happen. Other graduation pictures include me and Andy there. And that picture in the middle of this JPEG features Sandra, Andy, and me on New Wave/Punk day. Sandra did her own makeup for this most auspicious day, but Andy was my personal creation. He looked so much like Boy George it was ridiculous, so I had tons to work with that fine morning. New Wave/Punk day was probably my favourite day in all of high school.
Beneath the New Wave picture is a picture of Todd and me taken the night I accompanied him to a black and white dress AIDS fund raiser. I drank my very first Screaming Orgasm that night and just one got me dog drunk and acting stupid. My inebriated gushing over seeing the Gay couples kissing mortified Todd so much, he threatened to never take me out again. As he would say, "Good times, good times." And, finishing off this portion of the collage are more photies of Todd and me, and a final picture of my best friend in high school, Sandra circa 1984.
Over a decade ago, I created a collage of some of my favourite photos of my favourite people and animals. Fastidiously gluing the scissor-sculpted photies together, I placed them on a poster board covered with tie-dye tissue paper, and I decorated my office wall in Quality Assurance and, later, my cube wall in Special Orders Services with my memories made manifest. It may be a bit redundant to take pictures of pictures, but I don't care. It's my journal and I can be redundant if I want to.
What I've done is take pictures of the collage in sections so I can write about the images featured in each picture. Over time, I plan on documenting the entire collage, starting with today's post.
I like him. A lot. He's very thorough and is keen on running tests to figure out what's going on with my noodle. And he asked me something that made a light go *ding* over my head: he asked if I had any sleeping problems. Well, gee, Doc.... Lemme think. Yeah. I do. I have for years. In fact, I have some of it documented here, although I'm sure that's not all the times I've written about my spontaneous napping. These are just the entries I have tagged for now. When I told him about my episodes over the years, it was like a light went *ding* over his head, and he made some notes. I think he wrote "nocturnal" in my chart, but I was reading a doctor's handwriting upside down, so I wouldn't swear to it. I never made any connection to my napping fits when I had the seizure on 3 July. I never took them very seriously when Dr. Yost didn't seem too awfully concerned with them, even though I do get alarmed when I can't keep my eyes open and I'm not at home.
Dr. Pilch has scheduled me for an MRI on Saturday, an EEG on 24 July, and he had half my blood supply drawn today. I go back to find out the verdict on 6 August.
At least now I have my foot in the door and can make teentsy payments on these tests. If it hadn't been for The Mother Unit, I couldn't have gone to the neurologist today. I know I bitch a lot here on the Cliffs, but I'm thankful for a lot too, like She Who Spawned Me. And for good doctors like this dashing Pilch fellow. And for my friends who have to listen to me and read me as I babble incessantly about hooha, yet remain steadfastly my friends despite all that. And for Aunt Tudi who took care of me the night all this crapola happened, and is continuing to take care of me.
So yeah, I'm not all negative, just 99% so.
Before I begin, I just wanted to thank everyone who sent Llew cards. They finally arrived on Tuesday morning and he was a smiling goofball. So....thanks. Also, thanks for the virtual gifts. I've never had a punching bag before. I needed one. Badly.
Oh and..Happy Birthday
My apologies if I've missed anyone. Now, for the fun to begin olé!**
( Enter if you dare....there will be photography the likes of which you've never seen, nor ever want to see again. )
And, in closing, speaking of the weakest link, here's a photo of one of my left knee x-rays. According to Dr. Keith, whom I'm went to see on Thursday, there's no waiting for my 50-year-birthday to get that knee replacement. According to him, I'll need to get the replacement as soon as my insurance kicks in next year, if I can wait that long. He said all this in doctor-speak instead of wanting to say it it the way he really wanted to: AAAAAAAAAAAAAAIIIIEEEEEEE!!!!!!!
**As brujah pokes at me from beyond the virtual grave for me to just get on with it for Chrissakes!
( ai yai yai )
I'll do more tomorrow, if'n I get my way. For now, though, I must take my exhausted behonkie to bed.
So...we came down here in June of 1981. In July, the heat really started oppressing all us inmates of South Carolina. It was horrible. The only way to get cool was to go outside and fan yourself, hoping that the mosquitoes wouldn't take every last drop of blood in your pathetic, clammy, fish-coloured body. In those days, Uncle Michael would do tons of woodwork and crafts in his little shop. His shop was about the size of two port-a-potties glued together and it was packed to the ceiling with wood, electric tools, and sundry gadgets. It was a Man's Building. It even had the obligatory Lynda Carter (as Wonder Woman, of course) poster adorning the door. Every day, it was tradition: we kids helped Aunt Tudi, Janice, and Granny with the garden and then play until we collapsed from the heat while Uncle Michael went into his shop and sawed wood like mad.
One particular day in July, we were all out in the yard after garden work and play when, suddenly, the sound of Uncle Michael's skill saw stopped. ....And it didn't start back. The kids and women all looked at each other, wondering what was the deal. Then, with a loud crash, Uncle Michael burst out of his shop, stripping off his tee shirt and pulling his hair, which remained sticking out at the sides of his head like sweaty antennae. His eyes looked much like Smidgen's in the icon here, all glow-y and otherworldly, and he was beet red all over. The string of expletives that came out of his mouth made many a dead sailor spin in his watery grave, I can guarantee you that. But, what he said at the end of his tirade has forever defined South Carolina Summers for me, especially now that we're in the throes of Global Warming:
Ah yes. The good ole days. ::ambles off to pour herself some sweet tea::
Aunt Tudi and I are about to go up to Janice's and Uncle Michael's for the Independence Day brouhaha. If they want me to do anything remotely "American" there's gonna be some hard feelings. Whoever thinks we're independent, especially after the "election" debacle of 2000, is living in a fantasy world. We're a freakin' dictatorship just going through the motions of being free. The only reason I'm participating in this holiday get-together is to try to get Aunt Tudi out of the house and get her mind off losing her brother and best friend. 'Nuff said.
When we get home, I'm going to try to get the ladies indoors tonight and keep them in for the night. They'll be terrified of the fireworks and I want to make certain they're safe. I wish I could bring all the cats in, but most of them wouldn't have it. They have shelter in my two out buildings, though, so I'm sure they'll be fine.
But I can't stop griping about the heat just because I've been outdone by moad_terran_hq. It's too hot not to gripe about it.
The current temperature is 83 with over 50% humidity. The temperature really isn't that bad right now, but the humidity is what makes it worse than it actually is. It's bad enough that the ladies (Smidgen, Shmoop, and Motley) are indoors, stretched out like noodles on the floor. It's supposed to get up to 92 today and, honestly, I'll be surprised if we make it there since it's already after 4 in the afternoon. But tomorrow.....tomorrow is supposed to be 98 or even hotter.
The family is gathering for a cook-out late tomorrow afternoon. In order to avoid the heat (like that's gonna happen) and be together at sunset in order to set off fireworks for the kids, we're gathering up at Uncle Michael's and Janice's around 6 PM. The way I see it, I will be chewed on by flies as I broil in the hot, wet heat until the sun goes down. Then, I will be chewed on by mosquitoes and have my nerves rankled by asplodey things and screaming kids. Oh yeah, I'm looking forward to it. I'd rather just sit in the dark and the cool of the bedroom and ponder the destruction of all Humanity. Heat makes me want to move the Alpaca Lips along a little faster than it's currently developing.
I need a large pool in which to dive nekkid. And I'd pee in it, or say I did, so no one else would encroach on my personal space.
There used to be these Peanuts books called Happiness Is.... and each page was dedicated to something that defined happiness. The one I remember out of all those pages is "Happiness is.....waking up only to find you have two more hours to sleep." I think I remember that one because it's the epitome of where my happiness lies. So this morning was one of those "Happiness is" mornings. Nothing thrills me more than to get up early just to let myself know that I can lie back down and sleep like a wee babe.
Once I drug my lazy arse out of bed, I got online and booked the flight to England. Instead of flying out of Charleston, we're flying out of GSP because the prices weren't that different. I'd be paying that much out on gasoline for the car to drive down to Charleston, and I'd be putting more wear and tear on the car that I can really ill afford since I can't get a new car until I'm back in the Land of Employment. Since I'm choosing school instead, that's gonna be a while. To cut the price a little more, I changed the return date from the 19th to the 18th. That works for me price-wise and it also works out for falkenna 'cos she has a concert to attend on the 19th. I sent the itinerary to falkenna, then squee'd to myself in a very quiet, Sithly way.
Later in the afternoon, clumsycake came over for a visit. We made tentative plans for a smoothie and movie party for next week or the week after. Oh, and I converted her to Sweet'n'Salty Almond Granola Bars. After letting her try a bar and seeing her have a religious experience, I gave her a box of them and she went home a happy camper.
After clumsycake left, I got cleaned up and went to visit Diane. I dried my hair upside down too long, so I ended up looking like an anime character no matter how much I curled my hair under. Lesson learned. Anyway, I had a nice visit with Diane, about an hour. We caught up with each other and she returned my LOST and Dune DVDs. After making tentative plans to go to Asheville one day next week, we hugged and I bid her adieu. I need to see if clumsycake wants to go with us to Asheville. ::makes note to call her tomorrow::
I left Diane's and went over to Llew's. He was completely enamoured with my hair, which is cool, 'cos he was a little fearful about my losing the long hair. Mens..... He was so thrilled with the new 'do and I was so thrilled at his being thrilled that we ended up kindling the flames and bumping mighty mighty uglies with much enthusiasm. We then tried to go fly, but Llew's plane was dead and it'd take too long to charge and still have daylight. So we went to Subway instead. He got a teriyaki chicken sammich, I got Aunt Tudi a club combo, and myself a cheese steak (which I couldn't eat, so there's Aunt Tudi's lunch tomorrow).
Whilst in the kitchen putting up my glasses in my purse, I beheld Smidgen, Shmoop, and Motley gathered around the food bowl like the loving sisters they are. So I snagged a picture, which once again exposed Motley for the demon she is. Mind, she's pretty much fully grown, so Motley should have been named Smidgen, who is a big honkin' hunka hunka cat muscle.
( the ladies )
Now I'm home, sorely disappointed that LOST didn't come on tonight. Instead, I'm watching Law & Order: SVU. Elliott Stabler is so screwed up. I love him with all my heart.
I dunno. My mood is beyond sour. I want to go find an unruly child and kick it in the ribs. If we rushed home, I'm sure I could find Colby for my child-bootin' festivities. He deserves a few swift kicks anyway.
Here are some quizzes, courtesy of msmoon and popfiend. Maybe I should go take a nap or something now.
( quiz x3 )
So yeah, I broke my New Years Resolution of never darkening the door of another Wal-Mart, but this doesn't mean I'm planning on going back any time soon...preferably never
The Stepmother Unit ordered pizza from Pizza Hut and we all noshed until we could nosh no more. While The Father Unit and Aunt Tudi discussed their myriad health issues, The Stepmother Unit and I watched "Close to Home" and I loaded some music from their collection onto iGor. I now have 4551 songs on iGor, including "Dead Skunk in the Middle of the Road." That's damned special.
Not sure what we'll be doing tomorrow, but I'm hoping it involves relaxation as that's one of my favourite hobbies these days. Sad, but true.
My love, him flew
Him did me dirt
Me did not know
Him were a flirt
Me hate he O me hate he
Me wish him were die
Him tell I him love I
But damn he! Him lie
The Father Unit taught me this poem, which he wrote as an ode to fishing, when I was still a preteen:
I love the little fishies
I hook they on they lip
I drag they through the water
They wiggle they little hips
There's another poem written and recorded by the Father Unit years ago, but I can't remember all of it. Somewhere in this Sanford and Son domicile the poem and recording lurk unseen. Here's the bit I can remember, though:
Beat the buggy, smack the buggy, batter buggy flat
Stomp the buggy, smash the buggy, slap it with your hat
Mash the buggy, whack the buggy, stomp he on he head
Squish the buggy, bat the buggy, kill the buggy dead
I remember the Mother Unit doing the Cossack dance to Brahms' Hungarian Dance #5. All you could see were knees, kicking legs, and elbows. And the entire family would make up "foreign language" lyrics to already-established songs. The only one I can remember is the one they did to "Red River Valley," and I can't remember all of it.
Naranja por favor ro del monstro
Valecita manana oy vey!
Oh, and Granny used to sing this to me. One of many loopy lullabies:
The meeting, it was sudden
The parting, it was sad
She gave her poor life gently
'Twas all she ever had.
She sleeps beneath the willow
She's resting peacefully now
And that's what usually happens
When a freight train hits a cow
Then there was the variation of "Barbara Ann" by the Beach Boys that Uncle Michael used to serenade all us kids with on our way to the flea market every Saturday Morning:
Took her to the dance
Threw her on the floor
Kicked in the head and
Tossed her out the door
Barbara Ann, Ba Ba BaBarbara Ann!
And then there were the plays on words and the molestation of other words.
"I shall return, said the spider to the fly, MacArthur to the Philistines
Peanut butter became peanuckle butty putty putty
The Father Unit and Aunt Tudi constantly call each other 'Ott.'
Hors D'Oevres were always Horse's Doovers
Chicken breasts were chicken boobs on our grocery lists
Vienna sausages became Vy-eenie Weenies
There's more.....so much more. But I can't think of anything else right now.
Speaking of Diane, I was going to drop by her house on the way to the post office to lend her Dune, which she's never seen. She called while I was en route saying that she was going to have to leave soon because an aunt to whom she's very close is at the hospital in ICU. I got there a couple of minutes later to find Diane and her daughter Amanda trying to figure out how to get to the hospital and still be able to pick up Amanda's son Robert. So I piped up and offered to take Diane to the hospital. Off we went to Spartanburg! When I dropped her off, I told her to please call me when she was ready to come home if other arrangements weren't made.
After that, I swung by Taco Bell and got my first quesadilla in a very long time, went by the post office, got a fish sammich at Burger King for Aunt Tudi, and now I'm home. As soon as Aunt Tudi is ready, we're heading out to get her a new autoclix for her diabetic testing, and a calendar for the Father Unit.
I'm in a strangely good mood today, and I feel good. My neck seems to be healed and my Moon has relented somewhat. It's one of those days where I feel so good, I have the suspicion that I might die. I've heard of people who feel great and then suddenly just keel over, dead as a doornail. I've already told Aunt Tudi that it's been nice knowing her.
Before that, I took Aunt Tudi to see the doc. She has an inner ear and throat infection. The doc gave her a gigantic shot and some antihistamines from hell. If she's not significantly better in the next few days, she'll have to go back to be given her last rites, 'cos it's pretty much a certainty that she is going to die.
Her prescription Medicaid seems to be knackered. She's being told that she's now covered by Medicare and has to pick a plan, then Medicaid will cover the rest. She's not old enough to be switched to Medicare yet, or so I thought. She'll turn 62 in May. The thing is, she wasn't informed about any of this and is now scrambling to get things in order before next month; otherwise, she won't be able to get her meds unless she pays full price. I've added it all up and it's over $600. So....... :/ Thank you, George Dubya (I don't even have to pay for my own fucking COCAINE and BOOZE) Bush. ::seethe:: Whatever needs doing, I'll do it for her, even if it means forgetting travel, school, and whatever else. She took care of me when no one else would. I'll do the same for her or die trying!
Tomorrow, I get to pay bills and call Capital One to find out where my car title is. I paid off the car when it was still under Onyx, but Onyx was bought out by Capital One. When asked what's in my wallet, I can answer, "Well, it sure as fuck ain't my car title, you damned crooks!" It's been almost four months since I paid off the car. I called them before Xmas and was informed that I'd have the title within five business days. Guess what? NO TITLE.
There was a sign in front of one of the bezillion churches in our area that read: God gave you two hands: one for receiving and one for giving. Sorry, but please you have it all wrong, especially when it comes to you crazy Dominionists. It should read: God gave you two hands: one for taking and one for slapping! The good ole 1950s Caveman rule, man! Law of the Jungle, that's right!
I'm writing all this offline while Aunt Tudi yaps with Aunt Josephine, who will turn 2046 later on this month. Happy Birthday, you mad old iguana you! May Brother Branham take a likin' to you and blow you up real good! Then he can lay his hands on you, heal you right up, and blow you up all over again! Wheeeee! Nah, I love my Aunt Josephine. She's batshit crazy and is a fullblown hedge Witch without even realising it, and she told me I was busting Hell wide open for grooving to "I Just Wanna Be Your Everything" by Andy Gibb, but I'm rather fond of the ancient old loon. She's got a touch of the Fae in her, her features being blatantly Pictish or something thereabouts. We're all such mongrels now, how can I say for sure? All I know for certain is that she's mad as a hatter, smarter than most "smart" people, and older than the god to whom she's pledged her eternal fealty (well, him and Brother Branham, praise be!).
I got a call from green_goblin70 earlier. He left a message on my phone mail about him, Dwain, Craig (Dwain's brother and my eyeball doctor!), and me hooking up later on this evening. I thought all that was happening tomorrow! Now I'm all confused and shit, 'cos I have to stay home with Aunt Tudi tonight and make sure she's okay from the shot. Guess I'm gonna miss rubbing elbows with Dwain again. He's my betrothed, don'tcha know. We're both so incredibly misanthropic and express our feelings in much the same way, that it was decreed by green_goblin70 and trial_lobotomy that we were meant for each other and should someday marry. Dwain said that was fine, but I would still have to be slaughtered when The Revolution that Will not Be Televised (tm) commenced because, regardless of our obvious compatibility, I am still a white cracker who needs killin' when the time comes. It's a reassuring thought. At least I know how our relationship will end. I'm comfortable with such certainty.
Aunt Tudi stayed with Johnna, Little Michael, and me at our house. We played games, ate chocolate-covered cherries, and generally enjoyed ourselves. I'd never had a real sense of family before this because the fam in Asheville was so huge and was split in two camps: the adults and the young children. I was neither during those pre-SC years because I was pre-teening. I couldn't handle being around the kids and the adults wouldn't allow me in their fold, so I usually just stayed to myself and listened to the radio, hoping to catch Wings' "Simply Having a Wonderful Christmastime." So this togetherness thing was quite good for me.
Now Aunt Tudi has always been a soft touch when it came to kids and Christmas. It didn't take us any time to persuade her to let us open just one gift a piece. Little Michael opened his and it was, if memory serves, a big bundle of matchbox cars. Johnna, who has never had enough chocolate-covered cherries, opted to open her box of cherries and continue her confection orgy. I opened the gift that looked like records.
Within the wrapping I found Seven and the Ragged Tiger by Duran Duran, Upstairs at Eric's by Yazoo, and two or three other albums I can't remember now. On went my headphones and I was instantly in heaven. While Johnna and Michael enjoyed their early presents, I gazed at them and Aunt Tudi and realised that, for the first time since moving to South Carolina, I was genuinely happy. "Only You" by Yazoo became the soundtrack for that night and, to this day, I always think of Yazoo at Christmas and, when I hear "Only You," I'm carried back to Christmas 1983.
If every Christmas felt like that one, I probably wouldn't be the Grinch I am today.
( angel )
I can't remember how old Angel is. Maybe five? I'm horrible with birthdays, especially if they're kids' birthdays, because I'm a mean old woman. Anyway, before she was born, her mother Johnna had already decided on the child's name and she was preparing for difficult times ahead. Before Angel was born, the doctors discovered that she has a rare kidney disease. It's not cancer, but there are large cysts all over her kidneys and one kidney has ceased working as a result. Eventually Angel will have to go on dialysis and hope to receive a kidney transplant later on in her young life. The docs seem to think she'll do okay up until her teenage years.
So yeah. She's not the healthiest little critter in the world.
Johnna had always wanted a little girl and she wanted one even more after giving birth to two boys (Blake and Colby), one of which is a spawn from hell. Someday, I'll have my chance to check his scalp for the 666 hiding under all that hair of his. There was joy and heartbreak all at the same time when she was informed that she carried a girl child with a severe kidney disorder.
Now, Johnna and I have always been the sisters to each other that we wouldn't have otherwise. She has a brother (Little Michael) and I am an only child. So we were drawn to each other and often forgot we were nothing but first cousins. We had fun, pondered profound matters, crushed on rockstars, made bad taffy, and fought viciously, just like sisters. She and Little Michael are my only cousins and I'm their only cousin on their father's side, so we were all quite close. But it was totally Johnna and me. Whatever we could do, we did together. Hell, my cat got her cat pregnant once, and we helped each other take care of the kittens!
So, when Johnna decided on a name, she announced that she was going to name the child after me. Angel's full name is Courtney Angelina, but everyone calls her Angel. And she lives up to her name. She is a little angel. When she was first born, I called her Alf, short for Alfred Hitchcock. With her bald head, that upturned nose and those chubby cheeks, Angel's profile looked just like Alfred Hitchcock's.
I was totally honoured that Johnna took my middle name for Angel's middle name. It's probably the sweetest thing Johnna has ever done for me. And the older Angel gets, the sweeter and smarter she is. So I'm proud to share a name with her.
Little Michael has a beautiful home, which he built himself with the help of some of his cousins. The floors are glistening hardwood and the décor is very tasteful and ranch-like. We all piled into the house and spread out the goodies while Little Michael positioned all the pressies under the humendo-tree.
Mandy and her boyfriend had to leave within 30 minutes so we did the gift exchange with them and, after they left, we dug into the goodies. We retired to the living room, all bloated like blood-sucking ticks, and began the gigantic gift exchange. All in all, it was an incredibly pleasant experience except for Colby behaving like a chimp on crack. If he were my kid, he wouldn't behave like that or, if he did, I'd make sure Santa passed him over for Christmas. Little shithead..... He gave me a freakin' headache and made me want to squeeze his scrawny little neck til his head popped off. I mentioned several times that he was going to grow up and become incarcerated shortly thereafter. Janice argued that he was a good boy whereupon Colby would act up again and prove her wrong.
After the gift exchange, I went out with Little Michael to meet the horses. They're magnificent creatures, utterly magnificent! He invited me to come back after the first of the year to ride. I may take him up on it. I'd love to learn more about horses and establish an affinity with them.
Oh, and I talked to Jenni, who is a veterinarian. I told her what my plans were and she was quite enthusiastic about it. So...who knows? Maybe in the next few years we'll have two vets in the family! I'm thinking that we might could start up our own practice then, or maybe I could inherit Dr. Patch's practice after he retires and bring Jenni into the WSCAH fold. So many possibilities....
We left later than we'd planned and followed Johnna back to the main roads where she and the kids went their way and Aunt Tudi and I went ours. We drove through downtown Spartanburg to get a glimpse of their decorations. We'd seen them during the day and surmised they were probably beautiful all lit up. We were right. We then came home, pampered the beasties, and went to bed.
All in all, a dandy day.....except for the rancid little creep Colby.
I've created a sub-album for our Christmas pics for anyone keen on seeing all of them. Here's a sampling of what an Evans brouhaha is all about. It's all good, peoples. All good!
( Evans Krimmus Shindig )
I feel so good, I wouldn't even punch clauderainsrm in the face if he were close! I'm afraid that Palpy will barge in any minute and take away my Sith membership card, slowly ripping it up in front of me and tossing the pieces in the air like so much confetti.
Tonight is the Evans family brouhaha. It used to be held at my house when Granny was still alive. After she died, though, we started having it at Uncle Michael and Janice's abode. This year will be different. Little Michael finished his and Jenni's new home and, as a result, they wanted to host the shindig there. So we're off to Campobello around 6 PM. I thought they lived in Boiling Springs, but I was mistaken.
Aunt Tudi has asked me not to be too critical of Colby tonight. I'll do my level best to honour her wishes even though he deserves to be beaten with a large spiked club. He sure as hell doesn't deserve to be visited by Santa Claus because he's an unruly little bat-faced reprobate. I'm the only one who lets him know that too. I make him and everyone around him aware that I know he's a criminal in the making.
BUT!! I feel too good to let that speck of bad behaviour ruin my day. I'm gonna have at the good times and enjoy myself to the max. And then I'm gonna come home and stay up 'til shortly after Midnight, like I always do on Krimmus Eve, hoping that one or all of the animals will speak. If nothing happens, I'll retire for the evening. If one of them does start speaking, you'll hear my YAAAAHOOOOOOOOOOOO!! echoing around the globe. Yea and verily.
clumsycake is due over around 12:30 for one of our infamous movie parties. She's bringing Christmas with the Kranks and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. I'm providing snack and Pepsi, which is always necessary because clumsycake depends on Pepsi for her very survival.
We've had two thunderstorms in the past 12 hours. Thunderstorms...in late November... It's a sign of the Alpaca Lips, I just know it.