Saturday, August 12, 2006

Hot cha cha

I have seen it all now.

While researching markets for my writing I read an essay about a 50-something mother of two children. Her bio at the end stated she had a lucrative business writing love letters. Aha! I said, I must google. I came up with The French Rabbit love letter generator. Because I am an extremely perverse person, I decided to follow the steps, tick the boxes, choose a stationery and came up with my own love letter. The names have been changed to protect the guilty, the guilty being me at this point.

Percolating in the back of my mind is an idea, a very perverse and mischievous idea. I have three websites on hold and I get paid in a few days. I could activate one of those websites and create my own love letter writing business. I have written a few love letters in my time, not all of them residing in the dusty and cobwebbed recesses of a box being stored back in Ohio along with all my paintings, cookware, favorite and rare books and clothes that would now look like potato sacks in slimming earth tones (the TV is probably still in my brother's possession, who didn't even have the decency to carry it to the car for me when I last wrenched it from his greedy and acquisitive paws). After all, freelancing is about finding a niche and filling it with flair and words -- lots of words -- and I can finally stop writing all those fake letters to Penthouse and Oui.

Come on. You guys didn't really think a pair of hot co-eds wearing nothing but bottle caps and Band-Aids on their taut, tanned, toned and Brazilian waxed bodies would really need you to warm up their lonely nights, did you?

See? I am a lot better than you thought. Love is just the romantic flip side of those Penthouse fantasies without the sex -- yet.

On the fly

I have VE sessions this morning and I just finished my usual breakfast (can't believe I didn't think of freezing the bananas before they went all brown and icky before this) and I have news. For three years my book reviews for Author Link have been reprinted at The Celebrity Cafe so I have a track record with them. Yesterday I got the bright idea to contact the editor-in-chief and see if they would be interested in me writing original book reviews for them. I also thought, since I was on the topic of hiring me, they might be interested in a weekly column. Long story short, I am now the newest staff book reviewer for the site, which averages 4.9 million hits a day and is frequently picked up by MSNBC, CNN and other news services (it is a news magazine), and I will be working on a new column. It isn't the one I pitched but a consumer targeted security column tied into current events and concerns. The editor-in-chief called me last night to discuss it and I now have another publication to add to my credentials and a much wider reader base. This should be interesting and a lot of fun. I haven't had a new column in over a year and I'm looking forward to the challenge. I might even be able to work in my ham radio credentials and interests to capture a little interest and do one for Marconi.

Anyway, I'm off to get dressed and get out of here to watch a bunch of guys wolf down donuts while we wait for amateur radio operator wannabes pore over their exams until it's my turn to grade and give them the good/bad news. Have a great Saturday.

That is all. Disperse.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Down and dirty

I don't know why I had a dream of waking up and finding my sofa, tables, lamps and television gone. I do know that what woke me up in the dream was someone knocking on the door and it turned out to be the thief. My panties and bras and clothes were hanging over the banister and onto the stairs, dripping silk, lace and polyester. He stood there with gloves on his hands and a sweet smile and when I asked him why he was taking my things and if he would bring them back he smiled and walked down the stairs and outside, leaving me devastated and crying, not over the loss of the things but the invasion of my privacy and my peace. I followed him outside and he got into some kind of huge SUV. I stood there waiting for him to drive away so I could get the license number. The front plate was gone and the back plate was crumpled and folded so that all I saw were the middle three letters/numbers: 3MB. Then I ran after them yelling, calling for the landlady and the neighbors to help me stop that thief. Jump forward to me back in my apartment surveying the wreck. I wondered why they didn't take the chaise or go into the bedroom where I lay sleeping while they took my things or why I didn't hear them. Then it suddenly occurred to me that I could help the police since each of the things they took was marked with my social security number and name in indelible ink that shows up under black light. I even had papers to prove I owned them. Finding them was just a matter of time.

At that moment of triumph nature screamed in my ear to wake up and take care of business.

I did.

It could be my worries that every time I settle down and settle into some kind of stability I end up having to move, thus keeping me mindful of never being too comfortable, but I don't think that's the case now. Maybe the dream's message will come clear in time and I will understand what I'm being told. All I know is that this is one time I don't want the dream to be prophetic -- as many of my real life dreams tend to be. I don't want to wake up and find my living room gone -- at least not until I finish painting and hanging art work.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Doctor Who predicts the future

On an alternate world in an alternate universe Doctor Who and Rose Tyler landed in a world where her father was alive and wildly successful, almost a household name/face, and in the sky above them were blimps. According to the latest news, you can own your own blimp and sail quietly over your neighbors' homes on your way to work. You can always dock in someone's garage.

It's cold this morning, but not winter cold, merely rain and breezy cold. Ever since my thermostat went wonky I have felt like the light switch some smart aleck kid keeps turning off and on to bug his parents, one minute hot and the next cold with very little time in between. I can go from needing two sweaters to keep warm to wanting to dive into an ice bath in the space between heartbeat and breath. Makes working interesting. One minute my fingers are blue from cold and the next they are sticking to keys because my hands are sweaty. Should be interesting this winter. I have, however, decided to stay inside despite the call snow banks exert on hot, sweaty, naked flesh and thus avoid tickets for indecent exposure, although I doubt the police would be able to find me amidst the clouds of steam caused by jumping naked into snow banks.

My mother told me about her passage through the Mother Nature versus Father Time battlefield. One winter during the siege she was driving down the street swathed in winter clothing (stockings, woolen pants, sweater vest over long sleeved blouse, heavy fur trimmed coat, etc.) when she stopped for a light, jumped out of the car and began ripping off her coat and sweater sweating as though her car were a steam bath. Throwing her clothes back into the car, she demurely got inside after rolling down the windows on the driver's side and drove away when the light changed to green. She said people looked at her as though she were insane. Having lived with her during this period of time I can tell you with the merest hesitation she was indeed insane. She was also evil incarnate during this period of time, evidenced by the fact she spoke in screams one moment and whispers the next and we, her long suffering children, never knew which one it would be. Of course, we didn't know which personality would emerge from one moment to the next or when we would be assaulted with belts and switches or drowned in a torrent of tears. It was a lot like living in the midst of an active mine field and no one has the map to guide us safely through and out of danger.

Considering how it was for my mother, I am very glad I only have to deal with that rotten kid playing with the switch.

And now it is time for me to get up and get a shower, get dressed and get to work. I have a maid to support now and he comes this morning. The only thing not La Cage Aux Folles about this situation is that I'm not a gay man living with another gay man over a nightclub that features drag queen acts, but nobody's perfect.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Wasted time

The other night I got a phone call from Mark, he of last year's November weekend visit. I haven't heard from him in six months but he has been busy with his new girlfriend. He told me the news that she wants a long term relationship and doesn't believe in sex before marriage even though she flew him to Dallas to be with her and jumped him five minutes after he got there. I'm not surprised. I told him she might say that it's all right to keep things light and easy and that she won't pressure him but deep down (and not so very deep in most cases) she wanted him to fall for her and want to marry her. To believe anything else is just plain naive. He didn't believe me. Six months later he tells me I was right. I didn't gloat. No need. I didn't win anything or do anything special, other than understanding women and passing that knowledge on. He didn't listen. Now he wants to come visit again and spend another weekend, or maybe a week, and help me build bookcases and a desk for my office. Good thing I have the sofa and chaise, huh? He can sleep out here this time.

I know men, too. Well, I know some men, the uncomplicated ones like Mark. He wants the same accommodations he had last year. Too bad I'm not interested. I like Mark and I enjoy his company and it's nice to know he's available if I want to avail myself of his time and energy, but I'm still not interested. At least I'd have someone to drive crazy during one of my hot flashes but even that's not good enough incentive.

I said I understand some men, and I do. There are, however, men I do not understand. I'm seeing one of them this weekend and it has taken me a very long time to figure him out. He's very much into denial. He denies his emotions and his needs and desires, and he denies anything that makes him feel good. I'm sure he is a little nervous about seeing me after two months, especially since our last major contact was less than genial, but he needn't worry. What's past is past. Neither of us could change what happened even if we wanted to, or had a time machine to take back what has been said. It doesn't really matter. I understand why he acted the way he did and I'm not about to waste precious time dredging it all up and making him explain when I already know what happened and why. Life is too short to sweat the small stuff. I want to enjoy our time together and see him smile again. I wonder if he will feel the same way or if he will be so apprehensive he will be unable to put the past and his fears about my reactions behind him. He should. I have.

I don't get angry very often and I never really learned how to stay so angry at someone I would ruin the good times by being vindictive and mean. Don't get me wrong. I could do it, but it would take an enormous amount of energy and time that could better be used enjoying each other's company. I don't need or want that kind of negativity in my life. If talking about what happened and why would make things better, it might be worth the effort, but it still wouldn't change anything. I don't get to see him often enough to want to ruin what little time I will get to spend with him by demanding answers.

People make mistakes and say or do things that might possibly be misconstrued and can lead to arguments or misunderstandings. When a lot of time has passed and friends are finally seeing each other for a few precious minutes or hours, is it really worth wasting the time to go over past events when you could be enjoying the time together? I don't think so. It's all part of living in the moment. Bottom line? I enjoy spending time with friends and I don't get to see some friends often enough, so I'd rather leave the past in the past and simply move forward. Some people will be left in the past, along with the drama and problems, and some people will always be a part of the present, and hopefully the future. He needn't worry about how I will act or what I'll say. He should know by now what that will be.

"Hi. How have you been?" and "I am glad to see you."

We can move on from there. Time and good friends are too precious to waste over things and words you cannot change or take back.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Sunshine companion

In the winter I wake when the sun rises, shining through the naked branches right through my bedroom and bathroom windows and into my eyes like a soft caress. If I burrow deeper into the covers, the winter sun comes and finds me, rooting me out of bed as effectively as a blaring alarm clock or a drill sergeant banging the metal rails of my bed. If I dropped the blinds and closed the slats I could sleep a little longer, but I'd rather watch the sun rise from its bloody overnight grave and flare to molten gold as it journeys up and overhead changing the quality of light and the colors of everything I see.

The mountains get the same treatment. They are a dark craggy mass against the night sky that flushes with returning blood as the sun crests the horizon, deep purple and then violet, shading lighter and lighter through blues and reds until the bare ocher face above the tree line and the pine needle green of the forests can clearly be seen. Even on misty gray days when the clouds hide the Colorado blue behind dirty, bunched cotton batting and the mountains are a shadow in the mist, I can still see the furry lines of the pine forests and the chiseled face of the mountain top. Each day is different but edged with the familiar, the sun my constant companion urging me up and out and into the daily stream without tentatively testing the water with a reluctant toe.

Today is another such day but the light cannot reach me through the leafy branches and so I wake later, sometimes sleeping peacefully until eight when the trees in their full green skirts can no longer shut out the sun's strong gaze. "I'm up. I'm up," I murmur as I move slowly about my morning rounds, joints popping and cracking until they find well oiled grooves and give up protesting. Sunlight glancing off the rain wet edges of the leaves sparkles and shimmers like joyful laughter. I'd rather be up and about and yet something inside me reminds me that sometimes its nice to lie in bed and enjoy the show in comfort, completely aware of the bright day chariot's passing touch instead of oblivious with my nose to the grindstone. "Some day. Some day," I say and jump into the stream.

Monday, August 07, 2006

I'm almost there

I received the memory card for my digital camera today. All I need now is batteries that last longer than 30 minutes and I'm going to take lots and lots of pictures. Think the store gave me used batteries? Hmmm.

Incorrect grammar could cost you millions

Browsing through my friends list when I should be working just paid off and proved what I've said all along, grammar matters.

That is all. Disperse.

Green bananas

Mom says she likes her bananas green; I cannot imagine why. I usually buy a bunch of green bananas every few days and they ripen quickly to brown on the outside and sweet and creamy on the inside. The bananas I bought last week are still green and they are not sweet at all. In fact, they don't taste very good but I have soldiered on and used them in my morning soy protein smoothie all the same. I don't dare leave it for any length of time because it becomes a thick, gelatinous glob and I end up adding more water just to thin it out so I can drink it before it solidifies again. Might be great for Lynn since she hates the smell and taste of bananas since both smell and taste are completely absent.

As promised, I took some more pictures this morning since Beanie said she likes seeing what I'm talking about. I quickly vacuumed the sage that fell on the floor from my smudge stick first, so the floor would look clean. Anyway, we'll start with the sofa where you can see my laptop open on the pillow I borrowed from the love seat that used to be here in the living room as the only piece of furniture, and the camera case that protects my new digital camera. The door in the background is supposed to be bare because the landlady didn't want the beautiful solid oak door covered in paint. Yes, in the background through the doorway you can see the clothes I haven't hung up lying all over the love seat in the bedroom. The chaise is my favorite piece of furniture in the living room because it makes me feel like a courtesan or demi-mondaine waiting for her lover reading a book and looking seductive. I usually lounge there with a book and cover my legs with a lap robe when I'm cold or feeling chilly and I'm usually dressed in less than seductive clothes, but it's the thought that counts.

The south wall is where you'll find the windows that look onto the mountains that look so misty this morning, the TV (yes, it is a little tilted because the floor is a little uneven there) and the relationship corner. On the west wall I hung the three framed drawings the landlady loaned me a month after I moved in so it looked a little more like I was planning to stay instead of leave in the middle of the night. This place was very bare until this year because money was scarce. The other picture is one of my mother standing next to a Lucky Dog hot dog cart like I used to push when I lived in New Orleans about 23 years ago. And that ends our pictorial tour for today.

I was talking with a friend this weekend who was complaining his wife had just spent a huge amount of money just before going on a rather expensive vacation next week. His predicament made me think of what I spend, which is more than I spent when I lived up at the cabin, but still less than most people spend. Part of the reason why I buy green bananas and waited so long to buy any furniture is because I didn't have the money and because I decided that I wanted nice things this time around. The living room painting would be done and I would have my built in book shelves with a sturdier place for my television, new carpeting and a console table behind the sofa instead of the hutch that goes to my desk in the office if I had more money or were willing to go further into debt. I'm not. The only things I owe on right now are the sofa and chaise, laptop and digital camera, but like everything else here they will be paid off before the end of the year, and will have to be paid off before I get the built in bookcase in the living room and bedroom and the modular L-shaped desk I want to put in the sunroom/office. They will have to wait because I need to fix the wonky wiper blade on the car and have the brakes checked out soon.

I live on a budget and I don't have credit cards or accounts all over town. In fact, I just bought my first set of dishes and silverware a couple weeks ago. Bill and Bear gave me a partial set of dishes, saucers and bowls for Yule and I bought four cheap place settings at the dollar store that looked cute but fell apart, leaving me with one fork, two spoons and four knives. The two tablespoons I bought for a dollar lasted longer because they didn't have those cute plastic handles or the fake silver that washed and rusted off of the handles just before the cute plastic handles fell off. I guess the glue couldn't take being washed. I bought four glasses at Goodwill and the boys gave me a bunch of mismatched cups and glasses that I put into the cabinet next to the beautiful Pikes Peak mug Chuck and Lynn bought me when we drove up to the top of Pikes peak last year.

I want nice things but I don't need them right now. I can wait. I have lived out of a suitcase and in furnished places for the past seven years, owning nothing I couldn't pack into the trunk of my car within 15 minutes before getting back onto the road. I have acquired a thing or two but I left them behind me for people who needed them more, selling off or donating to the library books I couldn't fit into the car and didn't really need, always traveling light. I have beautiful glass and metal tables now but until a few months ago my tables were empty boxes and the only places to sit were my office chair, the love seat, the bed or the floor. There is lots of floor space to sit on. I'm not faulting my friend or his wife for spending money. If I had more money I would spend more. I'd buy some land and have a cabin built in a secluded grove of trees with rich land for an herb and kitchen garden where I would be lulled to sleep by the wind whispering through the trees and a nearby lake, river or stream tripping and gurgling over the rocks. I might even buy a jeep or a kayak or canoe to travel paddle in the water for fun or to fish. I don't have the money and I have learned not to spend more than I make or go too far into debt because climbing out is a lot harder than getting in and I have seen the strain debt places on relationships.

So I'll keep buying green bananas and soldiering on despite the lack of taste and sweetness and my apartment will stay largely unfurnished until I can pay off what I have and afford to buy more a little at a time. I'm not going anywhere. This is home and I want my home to be comfortable and furnished with a few nice pieces that will last. I don't need much because I'd like to leave a little room for visitors and one other person to share the space and help put their mark on our home.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Is this what you call freedom?

Snagged from Doc Brite's journal is mention of an article that led to this link. Since when are American citizens no longer allowed to speak to the press?

Do you know?

During my daily email reading and deleting I came across a post on the herbal tribes community about Abraham Cherrix , a young boy being forced to abandon an alternative treatment for his cancer and take the chemotherapy he doesn't want to take. The article is about their fight and about what is happening in our country to people determined to eschew "approved" medical treatment in favor of alternative methods. It's not the first time the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), American Medical Association (AMA) and National Cancer Institute (NCI) have separately or together set out to demonize and/or hound alternative methods of treatment to extinction or emigration. Reading the article reminded me of Dr. Death, Dr. Jack Kevorkian, who has gone to jail many times because he supports a person's right to die with dignity, and Sister Kenny, the Australian nurse who found a way to minimize the effects of and even cure polio and was censured time and time again by the medical establishment.

Like the Kenny method of treating polio and Dr. Kevorkian's dignified deaths for the terminally ill, I'm certain the Hoxsey method of treating and curing cancer will not die out as long as there are thinking people who aren't afraid to find the back door.

What surprises me is that this mentality exists and is being sold to the American people by the establishment. What really surprises me is even now in my fifties I am as anti-establishment as I was when I was a teenager, choosing to think for myself and not take the party line as gospel because it is not the "good news" it is purported to be. Many Americans are lazy, choosing to let others do their thinking and choosing for themselves instead of exercising their brains and their right to choose, and that, constant reader, is how freedom is lost without a shot being fired or anyone being aware it was even in danger. The more constraints and controls we accept in our lives and on our freedoms, especially in the name of security, the fewer freedoms we will have and enjoy.

Are you free to think and express yourself as you see fit if you are hounded and jailed and punished because you spoke out? Are you free just because you can get in your car or on a public bus and go where you choose when you choose? Are you free just because you can cross state lines without having to prove your identity and your purpose to a border guard? Are you free because you can choose the car, life or health insurance you wish to avoid being fined and/or being imprisoned? The government is slowing eating away out our freedoms and few seem to notice or to care. Just because you don't see it doesn't mean it isn't happening.

For instance, the organic food industry is taking more and more hits from the FDA and the AMA when they demand that items previously considered food or health related but not medicinal come under governmental control. What you may once have been able to purchase without a prescription will soon become a controlled substance because it circumvents traditional methods of medical treatment. You will no longer be able to handle your own medical and health issues by going to the health food market or co-op grocers and these businesses are vanishing slowly but inexorably because of the high cost of doing business and more and closer government scrutiny. Those shelves of tinctures and herbs and supplements might not be there for long if things continue as they do and people patronize Wal-Mart and grocery stores because their prices are cheaper.

The same people who refuse to buy their produce and food from health food markets and co-op grocers who support local organic farmers and ranchers think nothing of spending hundreds of dollars on eating out at places like McDonald's and Arby's and KFC and the rest of the fast food chains who have jumped wholeheartedly on the health food bandwagon by offering salads and low fat food. The chains still buy their produce from corporate farms that use pesticides and toxic chemicals that leach into the healthy food that is processed and sold and inject their livestock with hormones and antibiotics and pen them in filthy stalls and cages, feeding them with processed food tainted with feces and animal viscera not used at the processing plants. Still think the food is healthy? It is cheap food and it's easy to get while taking the time to buy organic produce and free range, hormone-free, antibiotic-free, naturally grazed or wild caught meat, eggs and fish means going to the store, buying the raw produce and meats and slaving for a whole 30-45 minutes over a hot stove or microwave to produce a meal that you can order, buy and eat in less than 15 minutes. Is it any wonder America has become the land of the obese and the home of the lazy?

Don't think I'm immune. I'm not. I give in every once in a while to a craving for a subway sandwich and a bag of Sun Chips and when I'm short of cash I go to King Sooper's and buy my produce from the organic food aisle there. I'm not rich and I don't have a lot of disposable income, and I do have a tendency to rate books and digital cameras and laptop computers so I can write above food. I don't get enough exercise and I do skip meals, but on the whole I eat healthier than 80% of the population and I drive my car maybe once a week. But this isn't about me. It's about our eroding freedoms and control of our bodies.

As I have written many times, here and in nationally syndicated articles, the current pandemic of immune diseases stems from profligate use of anti-bacterial and anti-viral cleaners that keep bacteria, germs and viruses out of our way and allow our immune systems to get weak and flabby. Our immune systems are like muscles that need something to work against, an attack of germs, bacteria and viruses to learn to recognize and fight, so, too, our freedoms. If we no longer exercise our freedoms, we will no longer have them and our ability to recognize when they have been taken away will have atrophied to the point we will no longer notice or care. Like our health, we must guard our freedoms, especially and most importantly our right to choose our destiny, the protection and maintenance of our health and our right to die with dignity. Doctors no longer understand that just because they can do something doesn't mean they should. Every surgery, every new treatment for cancer or warts or even an ingrown toenail puts us at greater and greater risk from super viruses like Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA), the super bug, retained instruments and sponges, the spread of cancer throughout the body via the blood stream, and a host of other seemingly minor complications and "reasonable risks". Nature holds the answers we need, but a nature not controlled by corporate farming and ranching methods and governmental agencies bent on retaining power and control of our lives and our choices. Every time we give in and take what the medical establishment offers without looking further and searching a little more, we hand over control of our lives and our bodies to the government and their agencies, and alternative choices diminish or are driven out of the country.

Who's going to control your life and your rights, big brother or you?

Remember one thing, you have as much right to choose established medical and corporate farming and ranching methods as you do to choose organic and free range, and you choose every time you hand over your hard earned money.