I finally got my woes with LJ straightened out, but now I can't comment on any Typepad blogs. It made playing Michele's Meet 'N Greet this weekend a PITA...I was able to connect and comment when I had my laptop at the library, but at home, nada. Tried three different browsers, nada. But if I go back to the library, I'll probably be able to comment on those blogs.
Technothingies just don't like me very much.
So in lieu of anything worthwhile to say, I give you Seriously Annoyed Kitty:
There are several open tables in the library, yet Little Miss Mary Sunshine chose to occupy a table with me. I don't know why, but she asked nicely before she sat down and since I don't need a table for four to my lonesome, I said Sure.
Just like that. "Sure."
I kept on redlining my manuscript, crossing out the stupid words and adding in words that (I hope) are marginally less stupid. Even though I haven't finished the story, I'm slogging through the first draft to create draft 1.0.5; hopefully after I get that far I can figure out how to get from where I stopped to the ending.
I know how it ends...I just haven't figured out what happens between the climax of the story and "The End." (Oh stop it...we're not talking sex here, we're talking climax as in a literary sense. You learned that in High School English, so stop snickering and thinking "Hehehe she said 'climax.'" You dirty thing you.) So I'm doing a bit of editing, hoping that something insanely brilliant comes to me whilst I substitute stupidity for Slightly Less Stupid.
Little Miss Mary Sunshine was taking copious notes from a rather thick book, which appeared to be All About Robber Barons, when she leaned back and sighed, then peered across the table to take note of what I was doing. I was taking a break from wreaking havoc with my red pen, and was typing some of the changes into the actual manuscript on my nifty laptop. This is when her Light Bulb moment occurred, and she observed as a matter of fact, without the squeal that annoys me, "You're a writer."
"Can I read some of it?" she asked hopefully.
I don't know, can you? No, I did not say that...but I certainly thought it, my snotty little self peeking out for just a moment. The first four chapters were right there, bloody red from all the corrections, so with a nod I warned, "It's a first draft...it's not very good and needs to be polished a few hundred more times."
She did not mind. She had never seen a story in progress, and since she someday hopes to be a writer...
"You write, you're a writer," I said simply. Because it's true; you don't have to be paid for the endeavor. You don't have to be any good at it. If you write, you're a writer. It's as simple as that. It's one of the few things you can be on desire alone. You can't decide you want to cut people up and call yourself a surgeon, but you can damn well vomit words onto paper and declare yourself a writer.
She read quietly, and I went back to stumbling through my typing, although without the manuscript pages it was a moot effort. When she was done I expected the pages to be handed back, but instead she shuffled through again, settling on the third chapter. "You totally changed how it starts," she murmured. "How did you think of the way you changed it?"
Honestly, I haven't a clue. It sounded awkward, so I rewrote it. I often don't have a clue when I'm making changes.
She wanted to know how it ends; I gave her the rough idea that I'm working with, although that could change as the story evolves.
She put the pages back into order and handed them back. "How," she asked "did you get the idea for the story? I never know what I want to write about."
It started with a conversation with my son, I told her. And my own warped little mind added a bit to it, wondered what it would become if I made the core characters a little more dysfunctional than the average family. If I added in a dead guy.
"Dead guy?" She waved it off; that was part of the story she hadn't gotten to yet. "Writers write about the things they know, don't they? Won't your family think this is about them?"
I shrugged. Hopefully my family will realize that they are no where as screwed up as the family in the story.
Little Miss Mary Sunshine pondered the rest of the manuscript on the table. Did I come here often? Could she read more if I was here another day?
Sure, why not.
"It's the process..." she started to say, as if she was trying to wrap her brain around an idea. "I want to be able to write, but I'm just not any good at getting past wanting to do it."
I totally get that. I want to be thin and buff, but I can't get much past the wanting of that, either.
She closed her notebook and shoved her pens into her purse. "I have to know about the dead guy, too," she said as she got up.
"He talks," I told her.
She left, and now I'm sitting here, my brain in neutral, trying to regroup enough to start editing again.
Yes, the dead guy talks. But he won't tell me how to get to that ending.
The One Where Thumper Gets Up On the Soapbox...Part 538
Because it's so expensive here (at least I think that's a large part of the reason) we have a large, visible, and growing population of homeless people. I drive around and see the same people sitting on corners, holding cardboard signs that say "HOMELESS, HUNGRY, PLEASE HELP" and a dozen other variations on the theme. There's one guy who frequents a corner near Walmart who has a sign that says simply, "NOT HOMELESS, JUST JOBLESS & HUNGRY." He's in is 60s (or looks it), gets around in a scooter, and is obviously known to workers at the Walmart McD's; I've been behind him in line while I wait impatiently for my 89 cent endless quantity of Diet Coke, and more often than not he orders a hamburger, small fries, and a Coke, and they only charge him a dollar. I've given him a buck or to here and there, mostly because I think I have a feel for his condition. He's a disabled senior citizen trying to scratch by; he's not claiming to be sleeping in the streets, he's just trying to put food in his stomach and he's not too proud to accept the discount.
Then there's the guy who's out about once a week, holding a sign proclaiming him to be out of gas and far from home; he's been out of gas for about a year now, and probably should find someplace else to play on peoples' sympathies, because I'm sure I'm not the only one buying it.
There's the guy who sometimes stakes claim to the same corner; I gave him a few bucks once, but never again. I'm sorry, but the $1300 Trek Bike he keeps half stashed in the bushes bothers me. He may be legitimately homeless, he may need every penny he can get, but something doesn't feel right about it, and I go with my gut.
Same thing with the very well groomed mother/daughter couple who panhandle across the street. I don't know their story and they may be legit, but the well-placed makeup, the hair cut just so, the manicures...it doesn't feel right.
And there's this couple; they sometimes haunt the same corner as the older guy with the scooter and the the guy with the expensive Trek bike. They have a dog with them, he's a least part pit bull, and he seems to be a well trained and well behaved pet. I've given them a dollar or two here and there, and they've always been gracious about it. I've seen the car they drive, and wonder how it's even held together, if they had to use duct tape and twine, and if there's any real metal in it that hasn't rusted out. They both look tired and beaten down, and while they both appear to be in their late 50s, they could easily be my age, just clobbered by the harsh realities of life on the street.
When it's seriously cold out, I think about them, and hope they scratched enough together for a warm place to sleep. My gut tells me they really are homeless, and really do need a hand.
My gut tells me a lot, sometimes it's right, sometimes not, but I tend to listen to it.
A few weeks ago--I've chewed on it this long--I was in Walmart getting cat food; they were in the next aisle, and I could hear them talking. They were counting out change, trying to figure out how big a can of dog food they could get, and still have enough left to split a box of chcken nuggets. They wanted to get the big can of the cheap dog food; the dog came first, but they were happy to realize they could get that, get chicken nuggets and a drink.
Folks, I buy a burger, fries, and a drink there more often than I should, and I don't have to think about it. I'm grateful that I don't have to think about it. I may bitch and moan because taxes seem overwhelming, and I'm damned tired of getting a little bit ahead and then something coming up to wipe that out, but I don't have to stand there and count out change to see if I'll be eating on any given day.
I hoped they had seen me around enough to not be offended, and I did what my gut said to; I went into the next aisle and I gave them cash. Because, dammit, I could not have lived with myself, thinking of these people wanting to share a freaking box of six chicken nuggets. I can't support them and feed them every day, but it wouldn't hurt me one bit to buy them food for the day. I didn't do it for a pat on the back or anything else. I did it because deep down I am afraid of being in that position. There but for the Grace of God and the Spouse Thingy's education. *I* do not want to lie there at night thinking about what I could have done but didn't. I didn't want to feel the guilt, and when it comes right down to it, it's all about me.
Me. Me. Me.
They thanked me, grabbed 2 or 3 cans of dog food, and left to pay for it.
And then another lady who was also in the aisle seethed, "They're just going to buy drugs or alcohol."
Apparently, because some people who panhandle do indeed use their take for the day to buy drugs or booze or hookers and weed, no one should ever give anyone else a little cash. Because God forbid we feed someone else's addiction.
Ya know what? So what? So freaking what? Maybe the old guy with the scooter has a million bucks in the bank. Maybe the couple with the dog have a nice house and a steady paycheck, but they know how to play the part. Maybe I'll win the lottery.
So the woman in the dog food aisle doubted they'd buy food. She's what I've been chewing on, off and on, for the past few weeks. Her doubt, and my anger at her doubt. Because it really is all about me...I felt judged. I felt painted in her doubt, as if I had done something wrong.
The flipside of doubt is faith; I prefer to err on the side of good faith when I can.
No, I don't know that they bought a big lunch that day. All I do know is that when I left they were standing outside their car, feeding their dog. I do know I'll see them again, probably at the same corner, holding that same sign. And I do know there are hundreds of others just like them in this little city, and hundreds more who are just a paycheck away from the realities of not having a place to live. And all the others who pay rent but need help putting cheap boxes of generic macaroni and cheese on the table.
And I do know that my gut is wrong sometimes, and I may give a few bucks to someone who will snort it up their nose later on.
I can live with that.
I can't do much else, I can't feed the world, I can't give money to every person with a sign, I can't know every detail about every person I encounter, but I can live with knowing that once in a while I might give a buck or two to the wrong person. Or that I might not give a buck or two to someone who probably needs it but doesn't look like they do. I can live with knowing I might get played for a few dollars once in a while.
I dunno...it sucks that in a country where there is plenty of food to go around, so many people can't afford it. It really bites that in this state, everything costs so much that a single person needs to earn more than $20/hr just to get by with the basics. And it's disheartening to think that doing what should be the right thing is tainted by "they'll just buy drugs or alcohol."
I see the hypocrisy in my own assumptions about those to whom I do not give money. I get that, I really do.
But Jesus, when you hear someone contemplating splitting a 6 piece McNugget and you're pretty sure it's because they can't afford anything more...
I think I've given up on Live Journal. I originally started an LJ in order to keep in touch with a few friends from the old Soapbox at Wil Wheaton's blog; some of them migrated to the new 'Box when it was moved from Wil's and placed in Roughy's capable care, but some did not. I like these people, I want to keep in touch, but I borked my template and now I can't do a freaking thing with it. Cannot post, cannot comment, and in my attempt to fix what I borked, I can't even read under the cuts anymore (um, yeah, that probably only makes sense if you're familiar with LJ. And I'm not holding out on this blog by posting there; I rarely made an actual post of my own, I mainly just kept up with other people...) So...if you friended me there, I'm not ignoring you. I just can't get into it, and I've given up trying. Then again, I don't think more than one or two people from LJ read this blog...if you're one of them, could ya wave bye-bye to everyone for me? I'm gonna miss everyone on my Flist there, even if they don't miss me back. If anyone does miss me, I'm here and on My Space.
Taxes are Evil. Just like snow.
The other day, while the Spouse Thingy was at work (and thusly had the car) I rode my bike to the post office. Any excuse to get out on it, yep. But as I came out of the building, helmet in hand, I heard a little boy say to his dad, "That wasn't a boy with the motorcycle. That's an old lady!" Ouch.
My laptop hates me. I need to do a system restore, but I'm a weenie. I'll give someone :::checks desk drawer::: $3 and a packet of Kellogg's Fruit Snacks to do it for me. Oh, and I have two little Dove chocolates, too, but they might be 6 months old.
It'll be a quiet one here; the Spouse Thingy is working a day shift tomorrow, and since I'm not into the fighting crowds in restaurants, and I don't really want a box of chocolate (I weigh enough thankeweveddymuch) and flower just up and croak too soon (especially with kitty help) we're not planing anything. I might cook. Might not.
If you're going out, have fun! But not too much fun ;)
I was in line at the WalMart McD's this afternoon, with 6 people between me and the Diet Coke I needed to quench a sudden and disturbingly painful thirst (not because I'd forgotten my DDAVP; I remembered it before I left the house. Which is why this was odd...and I did think of just drinking from the water fountain by the restroom, but someone hocked a loogie into it, and I could not, just could not... =ack=) I wanted a drink and it wanted it NOW and that line just wasn't moving fast enough. Impatience simmered from a "oh crap, this is a long line" to a "if these people don't get out of my way in 5 seconds I am going to go just a little bit apeshit," but I did not dissolve in a fit GET OUT OF MY WAY I'M GONNA DIE!
While I contemplated my thirst, mentally throwing daggers into the heads of all the people over age 18 in front of me, I noticed a little girl in front of me; she was holding her Dad's hand (I know this, because she kept squealing "Daddddddddy...I want a tooooyyyyyy!") and she was dancing a squirming, pulling his arm this way and that, until she practically had it wrapped around his legs three times.
She was annoying the crap out of him, and that amused me.
He finally sighed hard and crouched beside her, and asked "Do you remember what I said would happen if you didn't behave?"
"What did I say?" he prompted.
"That you'd get so mad your head would 'splode."
"And what happens if that happens?"
"I get so scared that I'll turn all white like Casper the ghost."
"Even your hair," he said, touching her straight jet black hair. "Do you want that to happen? Do you want me to get so mad my head explodes and that scares you so much you turn as white as a ghost?"
She tilted her head a touch, as if considering, and then said simply, "Yes."
I stifled a bubble of laughter, and Dad stood up, knowing he lost the battle. Still, she stopped squirming, too busy laughing to bother with turning Daddy into a human pretzel; she got her Happy Meal, and they sat down at a table, where she chattered nonstop the rest of the time I was there.
I was disappointed, though, because I would have liked to see Dad's head explode, too.
The cats like crunchy food. They get fat on it, but I'm not an ogre; just before I go to bed I give them each about a tablespoon of Crunchy Wonder, and I listen to their collar tags ping off the metal bowls as I change clothes.
Last night I put the food that had been requested every 3 minutes for the previous 2 hours as they sat there impatiently waiting...but they didn't eat. They both sat there and stared into the bowls, as if hoping the amount would quadruple and they would have enough to munch on all night long.
I peeked over their little heads, thinking perhaps there was a bug; Max won't eat bugs and becomes seriously distressed if ants are on his food, but everything looked fine from where I stood. No bugs, the amounts looked pretty much equal, and it wasn't end-of-the-container crunchy food dust. They should have been shoving their faces into the bowls, making disgusting, greedy, gluttonous sounds.
Then I realized Max was staring at the dish in front of Buddah, and Buddah was staring at the dish in front of Max, and it clicked.
Every night, Buddah eats from the dish on the left, Max gets the one on the right. When I poured out their crunchy snack, Max had been sitting on the left, and Buddah walked up to the empty space on the right.
But it was all wrong and no one was eating until they figured out what felt weird.
With a sigh, I picked Buddah up, nudged Max over with my foot, and set Buddah down...whereupon the pinging of tags against metal bowls and much smacking of the lips began.
Now I wonder if I hadn't done anything, would they have still been sitting there this morning, waiting for the weirdness to pass?
Even with some clouds, its supposed to be a verrah nice day...a day when one might wish to put on a helmet and sturdy leather jacket, hop on the bike, and go for a long ride. One might wish to feel the vibrations of the bike and the road through the foot pegs, wind blowing up through the bottom of the helmet, bugs pinging off the visor.
One might also wish that she had not pulled a muscle in her back while watching the Superbowl yesterday, so that she could do just that. One might wish that she had been doing more than just sitting there when this happened....
Because I Am Lazy And Am Avoiding Cleaning The Kitchen...
...I moved the very cobweb-laden and dust covered HGH & FMS Experiment blog over to Wordpress. Even though I wasn't actually updating it, I left it on Blogger for anyone surfing for information on using Human Growth Hormone while having Fibromyalgia to find. Who knows, that little slice of info might be helpful.
But then Blogger became New Blogger and the archives disappeared. They're still there, buried in the bowels of Blogger, but I figured this was a way to check out Wordpress.
Going through the old posts as I moved them was a bit of an eye opener...Geez, for a while there, when we were in Ohio, I was really working out. I'd forgotten that at one point I was doing 120 lengths of the pool at the YMCA. I doubt I can do 20 now.
That's got to change...we got ourselves a spiffy Bowflex last week (we're canceling the gym membership; it;s a nice place but when your stomach turns at the thought of having to go there, it's a sign that it's not the right place...) and it's easy enough to use that I see it actually being used.
In fact, I can use that to avoid cleaning the kitchen.
I think I'll go work out. And then I'll avoid the kitchen. 'Cause, the other blog is totally moved now...
All right. I left the house today without taking my DDAVP, (which eventually necessitates an increasing number of trips to the closest public restroom I can find, followed by the massive consumption of cold beverages. Lather, rinse, repeat until your hair falls out.) and found myself in the not-terribly-pristine restroom of the local Sam's Club.
As I came out of the stall, there on the diaper changing table is a little boy in full diaperless glory; he babbled happily to his Mom, who assured him he's the Cutest Baby in the Galaxy, and I go past them to wash my hands. At the sink next to me is another woman, probably 15 years younger than I. She's washing and glancing in the mirror at the woman and her Uber-Cute infant.
As soon as the happily diapered little boy and Mom leave, the woman shook her head and said "That poor boy."
She was looking sideways at me; the comment was meant for me, though I couldn't figure out why. He was adorable. He was smiling and happy. So I said the most intelligent thing I could think of. "Huh?"
"That baby...he's going to feel so bad when he's older."
I didn't understand, and grunted something to that effect.
She held up her index finger and made a peculiar up an down motion with it. "His thingy..."
Now I normally don't stare at little boys' genitals, but I did get a fleeting glance as I came out of the stall; couldn't help it as he was just THERE. So I said the second most intelligent thing I could think of. "Eh?
The lightbulb went off. I did not laugh, though it was my first impulse. I simply reached for the paper towels and sighed with as little sarcasm as I could, "Um, he's ok. He's just not circumsized."
Then I punched her for staring at little boys' nads.
Ok, no I didn't, but I didn't let the exchange go any further. I tossed out my paper towel and exited as quickly as I could, in search of the Spouse Thingy who was in line to purchase a couple cases of Fruity Liquid Wonder, know to the rest of the world as Fuze Slenderize.