just when you thought it was safe to live

Picture a carousel.

The ride starts smooth, slow, in ease.

The rotation speed ramps up a little. Horses lift and fall faster. Stagecoach seats stay put but shake some.

Like a pilot in  a plane hitting turbulence, a carousel pilot announces over the PA system: “Sorry everyone. Just mechanical abnormalities. We’re working on balancing them out.”

He says so through his tobacco-stained teeth. Canine (cuspid) on the right’s missing. Upper lip in a whisper of a curl suggesting a tic, a sneer, a malformation from birth.

He shifts a black handle from 2 o’clock to 4 o’clock. Horses bob like yellow floats on a restless sea. Kiddies clutch silvery shiny poles. Parents watch nervously from the perimeter.

“Mommy! Mommy! Horsey’s going too fast!”

“It’s OK, honey,” mommy shouts when horsey swoooooshes past.

“The man’s trying to fix it!!” she shouts through cupped hands. Reassuring words that won’t reach her child’s ear in the whoooooooooooosh.

“I’m so sorry folks!” the pilot announces loudly over the din of wind and spin. “Seems to be an issue with the braking system. Our mechanics are working feverishly beneath the carousel to fix this right now. The kids are strapped onto the horses and carriages so they’re safe.”

There are no mechanics beneath the carousel. No mechanics period.

He glides the crank from 4 o’clock to 6 o’clock.

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Random musings on (craft) beers

Writers like their drink. Ain’t that integral to the craft?

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There’s shame in being 60 and living with roommates — because you have to. Because finances, rent, local wages, job opportunities or lack thereof so dictate.

I am so ashamed, so deeply ashamed, of my life and what it has become, I can hardly breathe.

This isn’t how I envisioned my life at 60. Not that I envisioned it any particular way. I didn’t.

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Along the way of some truly terrible years (mostly starting in 2008-09 with Evildoer Obama’s takeover), I lost.

Just. Lost.

Can you ever get back the light, get back to Light, after Darkness, despair, desperation, destruction?

Don’t know.

Want to say yes. But I’d be lying. “Don’t know” is the honest answer.

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In a down mood all of a sudden. Is it the cloudy gray skies so reminiscent of the Pacific Northwest that nearly cost me my life?

Likely. Very likely.

I can’t breathe in the Gray.

I ought not post when I’m this down.

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Few if anyone reads this blog anyways. Enhances isolation. Feeds the Gray.

On the flip side, few if anyone reads this blog anyway. So I can write whatever the fuck I want and no one cares.

And isn’t that the backhanded gift of Isolation?

You’re not seen. Not heard. No one cares.

So doesn’t matter what you do, say, write. No one cares.

This I learned: in my family of origin.  Okay, mainly from she who gave me life.

Why the FUCK must we have mothers?!?!

 

He’s Little. He’s Loud. He’s a Liar.

I’ve encountered all variety of people.

From human angels to murderers and much between, I’ve engaged with a wide array of remarkable and memorable characters in my 60 years (and growing).

But a pathological liar was not on the list — not that I’m aware of — until recently.

Joe’s a regular Costco customer and a daily visitor at the food samplings, according to the food-demo gals.

He’s a short, middle-aged New York Jew. He has dark bushy thinning unkept hair, thick-framed spectacles and the self-centered, aggressive, know-it-all brashness characteristic of New Yorkers.

Joe enjoys a sport.

The sport of telling lies.

Fantastical lies that have no footing in reality. Lies that are easily disproved — if one takes the time to play detective and do the legwork.

Stationed at their stainless-steel rolling carts, Costco demo gals are a captive audience. A confined audience.

The type of audience perhaps that would satisfy a pathological liar.

I was made aware of Joe’s Policy of Lying last year when he told food-demo gal Maria that there’d been a big accident that morning. Some 7 cars on a major 2-lane thoroughfare, the sole road through the area.

When asked for details, Maria could provide none, saying only that she’d heard the news from Joe.

Inquisitive intelligent minds need to know — ‘specially when the news is that big, that impactful. So with Maria nearby, I investigated.

I googled it. I’m a superb, thorough researcher.

I checked the local paper online for late-breaking news and updates.

I called the police.

I checked the state’s Department of Transportation, which posts incidences, closures, etc.

Same result each effort. Zip. Zero. Nada. Not a shred of evidence about an accident.

My suspicions about Joe’s credibility soared.

As they did about Maria’s intelligence — for despite all evidence to the contrary — FROM AUTHORITIES WHO’D KNOW ABOUT ANY MULTIVEHICLE ACCIDENT — Maria persisted in believing Joe.

I can’t do stupid. That’s when I ended friendly ties with her.

And saw Joe for who he is. A fibber.

A man who makes sport of telling lies, some outrageous — like the massive accident — others simple — like an inch of snow has just fallen or it’s raining — when it’s bone dry and clear.

It’s no skin off my teeth, his lying.

Plus I’m not easily scammed — not by a long shot! I’m proud to write that in my 60 years, I’ve never had the wool pulled over my eyes, though once someone came close.

I’ve disproved Joe’s lies numerous times. He doesn’t care. Clearly he’s about grandiosity, not skillfully covering his tracks, which makes him a pathetic liar, or a lazy one, or both.

Whatever.

It’s not for me I’m concerned when he circulates his lies.  It’s the others, the food-demo gals, the Costco customers.

They believe him. Why shouldn’t they? On the outside, he appears normal.

They see a frequent Costco customer and daily visitor at the food demos.

They a man named Joe. They see a middle-aged, short, loud New York Jew with dark-rimmed spectacles and a proclivity for proclaiming.

They don’t see the pathological liar. The man with an incessant and probably compulsive need to devise and circulate fibs.

This is frightening.

More frightening, however, is how he tells them. Completely straight-faced. Dead serious. Not a quiver in the voice or twitch in the eye.

He proclaims his falsehoods as matter-of-factly as you reciting your address for a tax form at the workplace.

Joe’s dangerous — not as much for the content of his lies but his believability.

But he doesn’t fool me. He can’t.

He’s been found out. Spirit and karma will take care of it.

Now that he’s found out, if I’m chatting with a food-demo gal and Joe appears, he’ll vomit some lie about how it’s raining or snowing or whatever.

He’s a waste of my time and I waste no time leaving immediately.

However, like a cat with a mouse, I may play it differently next time he proclaims a lie for us all.

Saaaaay, he announces it’s raining.

“Rain?!” I exclaim.

“Why, that’s hardly rain! That’s a monsoon! Watch out for the cats ‘n’ poodles!”

Just to see what a liar does when given a spoonful of his own medicine. His own psychotic pathetic poison.

His response, one can’t predict.

But this much is certain: You can play in humor. Make light of a darkness — a darkness that is not yours and is not yours to fix.

That, my personal lifelong lesson, continues …

 

 

 

May Day. When it was real.

I remember May Day when it was real. Before technology. Before smartphones. Before emails, texts and all cyberspace deliveries without warmth, heart or time invested by the sender.

It wasn’t happy.

In fact, it was rife with abuse, rejection, abandonment, the toxic war zone that is my childhood.

Perhaps this is why I cling to fond memories, holding fast and dearly to remind myself it wasn’t all bad all of the time.

One memory pokes its head through the hard dry soil May 1 of every year.

We lived on a hill, my original family of four, with some 15 neighbors. The half acre demanded heavy toil and slave labor; rather, to be fair, was my father’s demand.

But that’s another post.

The acreage included large sloping hillsides of weeds, snails, ivy and geraniums  in red, pink and yellow (if memory serves).

Flowers-wise, my mother tended to a small rectangle of rosebushes at the side of the house. Roses were few; don’t even recall any plucked from the scraggly bushes ever in the house!

Geraniums, however, we had in spades.

Every May Day, my mother clipped geraniums from the yard. That is, I presume they were geraniums given a dearth of roses and other flowers.

From white paper and tape, she fashioned cones. Into each she placed a small bouquet of flowers.

Simple. Nothing fancy, elaborate or over the top.

Then my younger sister (by two years) and I delivered the May Day bouquets to the neighbors on the hill.

I don’t recall how we delivered bouquets to those who weren’t at home. Did the cones have strings or paper handles for knobs? Or did we simply lay them aside the door? Or bring them back?

Those who were home expressed surprise and delight at their deliveries.

May Day is a day when my mother shined.

In the Darkness, harshness, squelching and violence that was the home, it was on May 1 that her thoughtfulness, sentimentality, eye for color, love of flowers and whimsy shined.

Truly.

I’m glad she expressed those. For me.

Above all, I’m glad for her.

May Day is a day she was able to express herself, to be free and childlike, creating beauties, simply.

And isn’t it the simplest that touch us the most, that we remember the most?

For these traits, I remember well and thank you, mom (there on the other side).

Happy May Day.

These are for you.

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Happy May Day

for a horse {i knew but in passing}

T’was the local headline, certainly, that caught my attention.

“Bee swarm attacks people, horses, dogs”

And the lead:

“Two women, four horses and two dogs were attacked by swarming bees Thursday, April 27, at a home in {this) block of {X-road}.

It’s a grisly story.

A 70-year-old resident and her neighbor were covered by hundreds of aggressive bees on their faces and heads.

Ten firefighters, three in protective gear, were able to pull the women away from the swarm.

They were rushed to a hospital, which fortunately was very nearby, and are reported in stable condition.

Miraculously.

I’m glad for them.

Not all the animals were as lucky.

The two dogs, one of whom ran away and was later captured, survived.

I’m glad for them.

The two horses were in critical condition and taken to a large-animal vet.

One horse, sadly, did not make it.

As I said, the story is grisly.

But what compels me to share is the location: about a minute’s drive from a recent former residence.

I remember the fenced land alongside the country-ish road where the horses spent their time.

I know exactly where this happened, can picture it as if it were yesterday.

In my love for animals, sometimes I’d say hello to the horses as I passed by, which was daily. Or give a small wave. Or simply quietly appreciate and respect them.

The horses always brought a smile, if not to my face then inside.

Their presence brought joy.

I never met their owners but if I had, I’d have told them what beautiful creatures they are, the horses, and how much I enjoyed them from the seat of my Subaru.

Now one of the horses is gone. I feel quite sad. Though I knew not the horse by name  (and, to be honest, I’m now relieved I didn’t), I remember his/her presence.

It cannot be forgotten.

Beautiful horse, I’m sorry you went in such a terrible manner.

Rest in peace. Be in freedom.

Pedals — and Petals — Power

I’m in a blue mood.

Would rather feel in the pink. Haha, no wordplay intended. You’ll get the humor in a moment.

Was searching for today’s perfect moment and couldn’t find one. Not that one isn’t there. The inability to spot one speaks more to my blue mood than its absence.

Then I flashed back to this finding in front of a Safeway supermarket.

Some brave soul rides around on this! Congrats to her! I presume it’s a female for reasons that’ll come clear.

“This’ll make a today’s perfect moment,” I thought when I pulled out the cell phone camera. Three days ago.

I didn’t use it then so “today’s perfect moment” isn’t, technically.

That’s OK, I suppose. Anything that lifts you from a blue mood to put you into the pink has gotta be good.

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5 Guesses What This Rider’s Favorite Color Is

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Rear Tire — All Dressed Up and Many Places to Go

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Sitting Pretty

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There’s the Harley Handlebars …. and Then There Are These

From our seats see feet in flight

So I love the Wind.

Lord knows I love it!

Thus it’s with reluctance that I take my Morning Pages and coffee into the cafe rather than onto the grass of Courthouse Square as originally planned.

The midday gusts carry just enough chill — winter’s thready vestiges perhaps? — to reroute me to a prime seat at a large window — perfect for people-watching!

Not that that’s my intention.

I do try to write my Morning Pages — journaling first thing each day, before the day and mind fully unfold.

But distractions happen. Procrastination in particular happens. Truth be told, I’ve done Morning Pages in afternoons and evenings. Not ideal but better than a (too-common) big fat 0.

But today (dammit!), I’m letting nothing get in the way of the Pages. Not the many tourists and townsfolk strolling the streets of charming downtown.

Not the variety of vehicles, the cars, trucks, motorcycles or bicycles.

Not dogs on their leashes — abundant in this dog-loving town — leading their humans/owners (or vice versa if the owner’s good) around the grassy square.

Not even the state and American flags billowing furiously courtesy of the Wind.

Neither restless branches nor jittery leaves of giant trees on the square set against a crystal-blue sky can stop pen upon paper this fine day.

With iPhone set to Pandora’s Van Morrison station and earbuds securely stuffed in — chiefly to drown out the Most Annoying Dronish Voice of a female patron nearby — I begin journaling. The words flow, flow, flow.

So imagine my surprise when eventually I break concentration to raise my head, glance outside and discover the presence of a man directly on the other side of the pane!

Where’d he come from?! When did he arrive?!

No matter.

He sits by himself at the small round outdoor table.

An older fellow that honestly I couldn’t describe in detail save for his gray ponytail – perhaps – and gray cotton shoes – definitely.

It’s what he’s doing that captures my attention.

He’s sculpting.

Precisely, he’s applying very dark gray (almost black) clay onto an armature of a human in motion. The wire armature is perhaps a foot tall.

I’m riveted as he fleshes out the torso, a little bit of clay at a time. He presses here, rounds there, smooths here, creating curves of a rib cage.

He’s as focused on his art as I am on mine. Or was — ’til I glanced up and spotted him and his clay male figure just on the other side of the window!

I observe passersby responding to the unusual sight of an artist crafting, oblivious to the world An experience and feeling I know very very well!

Some slow, look over their shoulders, keep walking.

Some glance, barely, and keep walking.

Scant numbers stop altogether for either a closer look and/or to chat with the artist. Who, judging from the brevity of exchanges, is more interested in continuing with his creating than conversing.

Can’t say I blame him! Not a bit!

Like him, I’m more interested in continuing my writing than closing my journal to continue watching the fascinating scene unfold.

So I put pen back to paper and look up only now and then to observe the sculptor’s progress. He’s molding and shaping his way up from the armature’s feet to legs to torso. Still to be fleshed out: the arms and head.

Due to a commitment, I haven’t time to stay until its completion — if indeed completion loomed soon.

I pack up my backpack, exit the cafe and pass the artist, who’s now standing, evidently for a better angle while working.

While Inquiring Minds — Such is Mine — Need to Know, I forego query or conversation with the artist so for him to have his space and solitude.

As someone who FREQUENTLY writes in the noisiest, most ruckus-y of places! — from pubs and bars to street corners, cafes and courthouse squares — I appreciate being left alone while engaged in creating. Or reading. Or any solo activity.

In that regard, I sense a kindred spirit and let him and his man-in-the-making be.

But I leave you with this: a quick sequence of snapshots, my side of the window. Look closely and you can make out the wire arms, extended, and the head still to be fleshed out.

What these snaps capture are the creator’s hands flowing down a limb, giving it shape, giving it form, giving, ultimately, Wind beneath the feet.

Ahhh, Wind.

Poetry in clay, poetry in motion, today’s perfect moment …

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