Jet engines got nuthin’ on Noise Polluters

Peace and quiet in nature.

Remember the days when you’d go on a hike or stroll in a park, in the hills, around a lake and contemplate? Destress? Simply: Breathe and Be.

Or simply enjoy the song of Mother Nature: her winds, her birdsong, her rustling of leaves and twigs by the scampering of unseen creatures?

Remember the days when Nature was our source of solace? Of Space? Of Solitude?

Those days are o-v-e-r.

To illustrate from only the most recent of experiences.

I park in the dirt lot near the trailhead.

Next to me a woman exits her car. Steps to the rear, lifts the hatch then barks: “WAIT!” {pause}

Two dogs come bounding out. One large one small. All super-excited and ramped-up about their impending walk.

Each dog’s leashed. The lady struggles to control their stir-crazy enthusiasm. Especially the dog’s who’s bouncing my direction. Fortunately she pulls him/her before I’m assaulted by an unfamiliar canine.

What’s remarkable in this otherwise un-newsworthy scene is:

She’s got her cell phone glued to her ear! Talking!

The entire time!

From when she exits the car to leashing and letting out and “controlling” rambunctious canines, she never sets the phone down. Never misses a beat of conversation.

Which, from what I overhear, without consent or desire, is typical drama-ridden world-revolving-around-me-nobody-else-exists-selfish BS.

She keeps on talking with phone propped by left shoulder against her ear through it all.

I stand waiting between the cars while she reins in her dogs so I can safely pass. I look directly at her. “Looks like the most important thing is to take care of the dogs” — or something to that effect.

Meaning: In the mayhem, your top responsibility is getting the dogs organized and under control in the presence of another human being (stranger).

Rude Lady with Unruly Dogs nods. Yet her actions speak differently. Being on her phone is priority.

Despite the fodder for an endless regurgitation of Shit Behavior by People on Phones, I give you this, the crux of the reason this bothers me so very much:

The lady didn’t shut the fuck up. Even in nature.

Every-fucking-where you go, there they are. Talking on phones. Despite signs that instruct otherwise. On their phones in the most inappropriate of places (i.e., bathroom stalls). In the most sacred of spaces and places.

But you know all this.

I go hiking to get away from people on phones.


Respite. Rest. Relaxation.

How foolish am I?!?

Yet there I am — hardly for the first time, I’m sickened to say — seeking solitude and quietude that only Mother Nature can provide. Only to have it ruined, in this instance, by the Rude Lady with Unruly Dogs.

The face may change but the song stays the same.

There’s a very significant reason I need that walk in nature on this particular day. Won’t share why, only that it has to do with death.

That Rude Lady with Unruly Dogs and I are heading to the same trail.

I’m not about to endure her obnoxious Me-Me-Me when I need the space and silence — so. very. strongly.

So short of yanking her phone and stomping on it — better yet, smashing it with any of the innumerable large rocks yearning to be put to good use! — I do the only thing I can do legally:

I run.

(p.s. I’m not a runner, rather a swimmer.)

Over the rocks and through the woods to Mother Nature’s house I go.

I run as fast as my old little legs and worn New Balances and right ankle, still hurting from a recent severe sprain, would take me.

I run ’til my breathing labors as do ears for any sound of Rude Lady.

That’s one more thing that people on phones DON’T SEEM TO KNOW — or care about; they certainly don’t respect it:

Sounds are amplified in open space in nature … and amid hills and canyons and valleys, they bounce about. The echo effect.

I run run deep into the hills, stopping only when intuition tells me I’ve put significant distance between us.

Finally: peace.

I never see — rather hear from — Rude Lady with Unruly Dogs again. When I eventually return to my car, she’s gone.

Too bad, really. I was gonna write a note for her windshield. Off the cuff, something like:

“There are many people who come to Mother Nature for many reasons. They are troubled. They are hurting. They are happy. They are exercising. They enjoy beauty. Whatever the reason, they all have one thing in common: They seek the peace and solitude that only nature can provide.

“You — and people like you — destroy it with your yammering on your phones.

“Despite our objections, you  won’t be deterred from polluting public spaces with your incessant self-involved talking. So can you draw from any decency that may be left in you and leave us in peace in the great outdoors. Respect us. Respect Mother Nature.”

The roar of jet planes got nuthin’ on these Noise Polluters. Seriously.

To them, I’d love to shout SHUT UP! from the mountaintops.

But they won’t hear it over their own damn voices.

Even Mother Nature herself must be sobbing. Such reckless disrespect by so/too many who revere their cells more than her spacious skies.

So if even the hills and trails, mountains and valleys aren’t safe from the Noise Polluters, where’s left to go for nature’s serenity?

It’s come to this:


my future home?


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.

Random musings on (craft) beers

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

+ + +

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.

+ + +

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.

+ + +

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.

+ + +

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.


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.


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.


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.


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.

There’s a hearth (sort of) but no home

It could be the solidly springtime weather.

The fine day for a drive and daytrip on roads less crowded than usual, thank you Easter

Could be the stroll around the old Western mining town.

Or surprising discovery of a tiny new art gallery that sells coffee.

Or it could be the two pints of excellent craft beer savored at the out-of-town brewery — unusually quiet, again thank you Easter.

Or it could even be that the evening’s hourlong windy drive home through the mountain was free of incident — notably collisions with deer.

That happened once in Colorado. Deer, obscured by dark dusk, sprang out of nowhere. Put my car in the shop for 5 weeks **while I was on a road trip a thousand miles from my residence!**

Short of that tale is: Those creatures are terrible unpredictable dangerous menaces. When I see deer, I see dinner.

Or it could be the opportunity to leisurely hang out at a cool brewery with two beers and create in my art therapy journal.

Any of these — and no doubt more if I stopped to think about it — easily qualify for today’s perfect moment.

Yet I didn’t choose them.

Instead, I choose a comparatively mundane moment:
The warmth on the left side of my neck — heat emitted from a gas fire in a cafe’s small fireplace built into a large brick wall.

I choose this because I haven’t a home (except for my Subaru).

Yes, I sleep in a small bedroom that I rent in someone else’s home. I bathe there, very rarely eat there, sometimes brew my morning coffee there.  I clean the entire rather large house for no reduction in rent.

And I have one roommate, a dude whom I predict I’ll like better when we’re no longer roommates.

Due to issues, I avoid home except to sleep. That’s A LOTTA hours spent every day in avoidance, in escapism, in despair, in continuous wishes to live alone. (Which requires foremost a good job and far better income than the 10-hours-a-week pizza job delivers.)

In short:

Home is not nourishing.
Is not warm.
Is not comforting.
Is not happy.
Is not even especially safe.

The touch of warmth on my neck from a fireplace is magnificent. It is warmth I do not have in my life or home.

It is comfort that I yearn for, desire, need. A brush of heat can mean so much to a girl starved for kindness, caring, respect and goodness in a home.

For all things wonderful today, it is “unremarkable” cafe low fire that provides today’s perfect moment, a hearth (sort of) but no hone.