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.

maydaylowers2

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.

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.

Frock You! Frock Me!

Reports of my death are premature.

Unless referring to my blogging life. There are causes for my total absence.

End of preface.


Have long been a fan of the blog “Today’s Perfect Moment.” Anthony’s a competent and descriptive writer. And though admittedly it takes disciplined biting of the tongue to not kindly mention errors (nothing mars otherwise skillful writing like errors in grammar, punctuation, spelling; in the writing craft, the devil’s in the details), I enjoy the stories immensely.

So much so the enjoyment that many a time have I been inspired to follow suit in a “Today’s Perfect Moment” theme. Which has led nowhere, as evidenced by this blog.

Still, I think about it — as a moment this evening bespeaks.

Setting: Starbucks.

Me: On the laptop. Not blogging (sadly).

At a nearby table: Two men, one middle-aged, the other somewhat younger. The third man has taken leave to a spot nearby to talk quietly on his phone.

All three were wearing black frocks.

The two sharing a small round table were deep in conversation. From barest snippets I catch, the older seems to be mentoring or addressing concerns of the younger.

None of the rabbis — so they appeared to these extraordinarily religious-illiterate eyes — wore head covering; each, however, wore long beaded necklaces over their frocks.

It was the long brown beard of the young gentleman that suggested Judaism.

It was the pair’s manner of conversing that struck me. Quiet. Earnest. Solemn.

It contrasted sharply against the usual public loud chatter, streaming diarrhea of the bombastic mouths and, most offensive, cell-phone dialogues broadcast for all the world to hear: whether or not we want it.

Wouldn’t you know it. Just as I pulled out my phone to discreetly snap a photo for this post, the two (presumed) rabbis gathered up themselves, their devotions and prayers and exited with their sidelined fellow, who of the three had the “eldest” air.

The sighting reads like “Today’s Perfect Moment.”

The garb: an uncommon sight in this smallish conservative white town in Arizona.

Their interaction: private, serious, as if matters of import and sincerity — dare I say godliness — were under discussion.

It harkened back to glory days (of my youth) of public decorum, manners and consideration of others. The era before cell phones (themselves not a bad invention) and, more precisely, their gross and ubiquitous misuse by loud assholes, jerks, uncouth brats and narcissists. Pick your people poison.

The three were probably Jewish. Yet their religious alliance is moot.

What I acknowledge and give thanks for is their gentlemanliness and their dignity.

A refreshing change from the usual public cacophony/crapola. An appreciated change. A perfect moment, today.

So frock you. Frock me.

Most of all, frock every rude self-involved blabbermouth polluting our public spheres.

Let today’s frocked men be a model.

Contemplation: is good.

Consideration of others in public: is possibly better.

Privacy: is next to godliness.

Thus in the best of ways: frock you!

The Jerk. No relation to the film.

As if moving’s not stressful enough.

In the Top 5 List of Life’s Stressors, they say.

Not so much for this Moving Queen, she says poised for the next move in two days. Move #56? Dunno, lost count. But if practice makes perfect, then the perfect mover am I! Got it down to a science and an art.

 

Even so, moving’s still a major stressor.

Made all the more so by people. Certain individuals.

Meet Jodi.

Some months back she posted a craigslist ad seeking a roommate. Unbeknownst to me, it’s present-time Jodi.

I replied, emphasizing that I’m a neat freak as the ad highlighted it as a desired trait.

No response.

I emailed again. Nothing. Again. Zero.

Persistence paying off? Not so much.

Then interest in the room morphed into annoyance at the lack of response, the lack of courtesy and manner.

Call me old-fashioned but I believe that every respondent to any ad deserves an acknowledgement as a courtesy. Even dreadful auto-replies are better than stone-cold silence.

I communicated this distress. Never heard back. Of course not. Only choice was to let go and move on — and find another place to live.

Fast-forward 3 months.

Same ad appears. Coincidentally, at a time when I’m ah-gain looking to move. I live in a perpetual state of looking to move but that’s another issue.

I respond again – again featuring my neat-freak qualities (and other things) since in this Round Two that’s again a stated preference in the ad.

Lo and behold, I hear back!

I pick my jaw up from the floor and go meet her. Jodi.

We hit it off more or less. I mean, how well can you know someone in an hour’s chat?

A green light to proceed far as I’m concerned. Jodi too.

Only one thing left to do: Meet the other roommate. A dude from India. No problem-o. So it seems.

Then a text from Jodi.

“I changed my mind. The roommate asked that since he is Indian and his family visits {ed. note: briefly like once a year}  that the new roommate be male to reduce cultural conflict.”

Wow! That’s a new one to this seasoned mover / roommate!

“I am sorry I got your hopes up.”

Jodi and I text fond farewells and I keep looking for new digs. Two months looking, one week before I’m to be out, Jodi drops the ball and I’m empty-handed trying not to freak out!

No other choice but to keep looking.

A new possibility emerges in the 11th hour. I pursue.

Then I hear from Jodi.

“I changed my mind. Can you come over to meet the Indian roommate?”

“Sure. When?”

“5 or 6 after work.”

“Can’t. I work evenings. How about I go meet him at his job like during a break?”

“You can’t. Have to meet him here at the house.”

“OK. How about Friday (yesterday). I have that day off.”

“I’ll ask him and get back to you.”

“OK.”

I wait. Wait. Wait. While the Moving Clock ticks ticks ticks.

Never hear back.

I text. “What’s the skinny on meeting the Indian roommate tonight?”

“Sorry. He’s already gone to Phoenix for the weekend. Maybe next week.”

No More Maybes.

“I wouldn’t count on this,” Jodi adds.

You don’t say!

Both rounds Jodi’s dropped the ball: (1) first time when she never responded to my shows of interest in the room then (2) when we met and talked — rather, she yammered, I listened — and advanced toward Go only to have her throw the curveball of cultural distress. Then rescind it.

When she texted: “I wouldn’t count on this,” I could only say:

“I’m out”

“OK. Good luck” she says.

“Goodbye” is all I could say — and needed to say.

Here’s a woman who not once but twice ignored me, jerked me around by offering her home, then taking it away, then essentially offering it again after meeting the roommate.

Every step of the way I accommodated Jodi.

At every turn she dropped the ball.

Either she didn’t respond … or did respond but sporadically and unreliably … or did respond all-in.

Like the three faces of Eve. Which Jodi would appear this day?

Her actions / inactions would’ve left me homeless had another door not opened at the very last minute. Whew!

In the end, I dodged a bullet.

Hence I write:

As if moving’s not stressful enough … it’s people, certain individuals, who make it 1,000 times more stressful.

People like Jodi. Who jerked me ’round not once but twice and for the last time. Jodi the Jerker. Jodi the Jerk.