Friday, October 31, 2008

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Early Voting/AdvanceVoting

I never considered this option until this year. But several things came into play for me in my decision to wait until Tuesday.

1. The last time I cast a vote in a Presidential election was 2004. I told Miss Jessie I would drive her up to the library and we got there at 6:45 at which time there was already a line around the building. Because she was 92 at the time everyone in line passed her up to the front and since I was her driver we were voting by 7:10 am and out of there. I do not anticipate this kind of kindness. In fact in 2004 I did not anticipate it but it was a nice thing and if you don't want to stand in line for hours I strongly suggest you drive an extremely old person to your polling place.

2. There was a problem with the earlyvoting in another county. The little ovals you were supposed to fill in for your candidate were too small and the lines around them were too thick for the electronic reader to read them and so 19,000 absentee ballots had to be recreated by hand by government workers. I want my fucking ballot to be fucking read the way I fill it out.

3. Every night on the evening news it has been reported that the lines for the early/advance Voting locations are experiencing lines from 2 - 6 hours in length. If I am going to wait I will wait on election day.

3. There is just something about election day. There is an excitement and if part of that day means I have to stand in line for 5 or 6 or 9 hours so be it. I want to cast my vote and come home and turn on the TV and rejoice in the fact that this country has finally seen the light. I will wake up extremely early, I will drive up with only the minimum of face washing and tooth-brushing, and I will stand in line as long as it takes.

My worry for Tuesday - that many people will decide not to stand in line. PLEASE DO NOT BE ONE OF THESE PEOPLE. Most employers allow 2 - 3 hours on Election Day for employees to vote. You can go early before work and wake up just a couple of hours early to be there when the polls open of you can go late and get there after work and be in line in which case your vote MUST be cast. Neither will be pleasant but I suppose it was not pleasant for the women who fought for the right to vote and were jailed back at the turn of the last century. I suppose it was not pleasant for the African-Americans who fought for the right to be heard in the middle of the last century. Once every 4 years we can certainly give up far less to be heard.

Fewer than 550 votes determined the outcome of the last election. In 2008 do you actually want to be one of the people who could not be bothered?

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

John McCain is scary old, scary stupid and scary out of touch

Not that I have anything against old people - or even stupid people. There is a place on this green earth for everyone. I just do not want to elect them President.

I have an acquaintance who has confessed that she is so non-racist that she thinks although she is totally behind Obama she will vote for McCain because she is certain Obama will be assisinated and she does not want that on her karmic plate. Because she is not racist (which comes up so fucking often I could vomit because methinks the lady doth protest too fucking much). I told her she was an idiot and an asshole. Which she is.

I can not wait until this election is over. I am so tired of it all.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Phoebe Had A Hard Day

So every year there is the dance of the vet visits. Most of the family birthdays are on the first side of the year and so the annual vet visit dance usually takes place on the second side of the year. Needless to say I have been steppin.

In June, as soon as I returned from Santiago, I took 18 year old Sonny in. He is the oldest and despite a clean bill of health last fall (his bloodwork was like that of a 2 year old kitten according to my vet). He passed with flying colors.

Then in August it was Camille. Camille is 6 (I just can not believe how time flies) and she also checked out in perfect health although she is slightly pudgy in my vet's opinion.

A side effect of taking Camille in was Mac. When Cmaille went in they had kitten available for adoption and Mac just needed to become a part of my family. So then September became all about Mac getting his final shots and his neuter.

Today Phoebe had her annual exam. I love and cherish my cats but Phoebe is hands down the beauty of the family. She is a long hair grey cat with white bib and socks and her tail is an absolute flag. She is sweet and quiet and I rarely have heard her vocalize. She keeps herself groomed and she never gets into "situations" with her brothers and sisters. When Mac came into the house she adopted him and they spend their time running around the house playing. She is a diva but she is the sweetest dearest diva ever.

And then we went to the vet today. I put her up on the exam table and the tech came in and took her temperature and my little darling turned into a WITCH! I have never seen such a display of drama queen. There was hissing and fang-showing and snarling and at one time the vet (who was the one who found her at a dumpster when Phoebe was only a couple of weeks old) tried to give her a benign exam and I had to hold my little girl down because she was such a terror. Dr. A at one point mentioned that maybe we needed to get a towel to put over her head but I knew that would only piss her off more and I promised I would restrain her.

We've been home now for about 5 hours and I think I am forgiven but this was not a good day for my girl. I think it was the flight almost 4 years ago to Tokyo with the 3 (at that time) that finally put me in their shoes in a very real way. I sat in my seat and pictured them down below in their carriers and imagined how they must feel with this totally new sensation of flying and the new noises. At that point if there had been a choice I likely would have gotten off the plane, demanded that they be unloaded, and taken us all home. It must be very scary to experience things outside of one's own world. Poor baby.

Friday, October 17, 2008

My favorite news sentence of the day

Reference is Andy Dick's recent arrest on a misdemeanor charge of drunken assault on a girl:

(Courtesy of E! Online)

When officers arrived, an unidentified teen claimed a drunken Dick accosted her, grabbed her tank top and pulled it down to ogle her breasts.

Seriously. I hate drunken dicks.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The Story of Sonny - No - He's OK I just want to tell his story tonight!

Sonny is my old boy and often when I tell people he is 18 I get "No way!" or "Not possible!" Cats don't live that long! And in fact I have cremated more cats than I would like before age 18. Back in March Dylan was only 10 but he wanted to go and as bad as I hated to do it I let him.

Sonny has remained a mystery to me even as he has been a blessing. Tonight while waiting for the pasta to be al dente I decided to pull out his file. Because I do indeed keep complete files on all my pets.

Sonny's file begins on January 12, 1993. The day I walked through the Dekalb Animal Shelter wondering how on earth I could ever decide on one cat who needed me and a loving home. The cages went to the ceiling and all I could do was walk down the line. I walked by Sonny's cage and he stuck a paw out and his claws caught my sweatshirt and wouldn't let go and I was sure that was my sign. So I took him home.

For the first few years he was a mean SOB. Actually not mean per se but he was not afraid to use his claws when something did not please him. Eventually we came to an understanding. He knew he would get unconditional love but claws were not permitted.

Sonny lived in Tokyo in 2005. There are not a lot of humans who can claim a year in Tokyo! With me, over the years he has learned to live with the various psychic punches - bad roomates, the various boyfriends, one really crap husband who thought he could run a dog kennel out of our house (as long as I did all the clean up) , many moves, many siblings. And he has taken it all in stride. Mostly.

Sonny is now I suspect completely deaf and we have worked this out and we are fine with it. In the day he goes out in the backyard and sleeps in the weeds and at dusk I bring him in and he hisses at me for doing so and when I go to bed he gets up and sleeps on my chest while I read and talk to him so he can feel the vibrations in my chest and then gets off the bed when I turn out the light.

All in all the past almost 18 years has been just the best and he shows no signs of slowing down. I look at my original adoption papers from January 1993 and I see that at that time he was guessed to be 2. I see that he was found and brought to the shelter by a lady by the name of Jean W. House of Nashville TN. I remember when I first adopted Sonny I wrote her a letter to tell her how much I thanked her for taking Sonny to the shelter where I could find him. She is likely not still at the same address but I think I want to write her again to let her know how much her act of kindness and humanity has improved my life.

I think I will do that.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Cutting Expenses

Today I cut $35 out of my monthly expenses.

I have had my landline forever and before it was mine it was my ex's forever. Two years ago I got a cellphone (yeah I am a late bloomer). 9 months ago I got a company Blackberry. I have no earthly need for my landline and in fact the ringer has been off since I returned from South America June 1. I have kept it only because it is the only number Miss Jessie knew and would call. I gave her my cell number several times but she refused to use it.

Today I called to cancel my landline. Because I also have my DSL through AT&T the guy (very nice - very unusual for AT&T) told me that since I would not have a phone line an additional $5 would be added to my monthly DSL bill. Because they can. No biggie - $5 still would save me a good amount. Then he looked at my history (PERFECT PAYMENTS) and offered me a deal for the next six months. For only $3.00 more than it would cost to carry the DSL with no landline he would cut my costs for both and I could have 6 months to make my final decision. So my monthly AT&T bill has dropped from $72 to $41. All it took was a phone call.

Then I got rid of usenet at $5.00/month. When I was in SCL and totally bored and looking for distraction I bought into it to download movies and TV shows in English to amuse me on the weekends. Not terribly user friendly and I managed to download one thing and then never was able to download anything else and yet I never cancelled. Now it's gone.

$35 a month might not seem like a lot but it would buy a week's worth of groceries if I was very careful. Or $420 in savings in a year.

I'm on a roll. I've made a firm decision to begin using coupons as much as possible (the stuff I buy rarely has coupons). I am going to make calls and cut my expenses as much as possible. I do this about once a year and missed it last spring when I was away. High time I get back to it.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Change of Seasons

It's a wonderful thing. I used to be a summer person. I think that ended when I moved to Atlanta although I held onto it for many years and in fact this is the first time I have admitted I am a spring/autumn person.

I have so much energy and am totally involved in nesting for the cold weather.For most of the summer on the weekends I could do no more than the basics - clean when I absolutely had to, go to the grocery store, put a load of laundry in the washer. For the past two weekends I have worked in the yard and house and I even baked BREAD!

This morning I woke up early but it was cold and windy and I snuggled down and read for a while before I got up and got to work. It was so nice.

I have been in dentla hell for the past 4 months. 2 root canals and 1 very bad dentist and several consultations and last week I had a tooth pulled because it could not be saved. My gums are tender and sore and I have some painkillers but they make my itch and so I am avoiding them as much as possible. I hit the max on my annual dental coverage and so this pulling and brige work is all coming out of my pocket and that really hurts but hey - whatever. I'll get it paid off as fast as I can.

Hope you are all having a great weekend!

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Pondering Life and Death

When it came to Miss Jessie I was a pitbull in the ring. I had several bad exchanges with her niece over the past 2 years when I contacted her about my concerns and our last exchange about 6 weeks ago was not at all nice. Usually I am a really nice person but when it came to Miss Jessie's welfare I was willing always to kick ass and take names and I will be the first to admit that I was not at all nice after 3 years of calling and emailing and begging. Not at all nice. As Miss Jessie would say I got her told and told good. For the record I was not out of line but also for the record I was not at all nice in the end.

I was shocked when Mary called me Friday to tell me about Miss Jessie and even more shocked that she was so nice to me. Today she stopped by. I heard someone calling my name from outside and I went to the door and there she stood. I about fell out. She just wanted to tell me that she had taken a nice dress to the funeral home and Miss Jessie looks "beautiful." She also wanted to let me know about the visitation tomorrow. She hugged me. Twice. She told me Miss Jessie talked about me all the time and I was a good neighbor and friend to her aunt. I was truly floored. I gave her plenty of reason to despise me and yet she doesn't.

There is no doubt now. I have to go. I have to go tomorrow to the funeral home and I have to go to the funeral. I'm going to have to firm up my memories of Miss Jessie out in her yard so I can look at her in her casket and tell Mary how beautiful she looks. I have to do this for her family.

The funeral is at 11 am. I am supposed to have a tooth pulled at 2 pm. I think tomorrow I will try to change my tooth appointment so I can go to the cemetary and see her all the way through. I think this is the very least I can do for the 10 years of friendship - see her all the way. Also I want to make sure I know where she is. I always promised her I would do a tango on her grave. Now I just need to learn how to do a tango.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Miss Jessie 3/17/1912 - 10/3/2008

My dear friend and neighbor Miss Jessie went to sleep Thursday night and did not wake up. I am sure this must be the best way to go.

A week ago today a church lady came by her house to help her with a little cleaning and while the lady was there Miss Jessie fell in the house. Not a big deal and Miss Jessie got up and laughed it off but finally, FINALLY someone with cred was freaked out enough to call the niece and tell her out and Tuesday Miss Jessie called me to tell me niece Mary was coming to take her to her house about 2 hours drive from here. The plan was to have her stay a few days and bring her home over the weekend. I don't know but suspect this was a "trial" to see how Miss Jessie did in her house. I promised her I would pick up her mail and newspapers and as of today I am still doing this.

Friday morning I got a call from Mary telling me that Miss Jessie had died peacefully in her sleep. I am so grateful that she was at Mary's house and not alone next door where it might have been hours and hours before anyone found her. I am grateful that she went peacefully in her sleep. Miss Jessie had gone way downhill in the past three years. Only 2 years ago she was still mowing her own yard wearing her signature umbrella hat to protect her from the sun. She always wore dresses, even doing yard work because it isn't proper for a woman to wear slacks. Over the past year but especially the past 6 months the deterioration was obvious. I spoke with her every day - sometimes more than that since she couldn't remember if she had called me. In a 30 minute conversation she would ask me 5 or more times what day it was. She became very frustrated that she couldn't "rememberize" things and I always told her she remembered what was truly important. She could talk to me at length about things that happened in 1926 but could not for her life remember what day it was.

I will never forget this woman - truly one of my best friends ever. She grew up in my house (her aunt's house) after her mother died when Miss Jessie was 7. That would have been 1919. Stone Mountain is the birthplace of the KKK and as a black woman growing up here I can only imagine the challenges. She told me stories about the outhouse behind my house and the pigs in the yard and how the town drunk used to come to the fence and talk to the pigs for hours. She remembers sitting in the front yard and watching a horse-drawn cart pull the first refrigerator down then-unpaved Fourth Street. She was history itself and I mined her without mercy for information to better appreciate my home, my town, and the people who live and lived here. And she loved to tell me about it.

I talked with her so much about her history here and even took notes at times. I am so sad to lose this very wonderful friend and teacher. She lived a huge full life of 96 years and she went so peacefully and I am happy for that and for all the good she gave while on this earth. My sadness is selfish. I would like another 10 years of her stories about Stone Mountain when she was young.

My house was Aunt Elsie's house. So many older people in this town have told me they grew up eating collards and cornbread in my kitchen. This is a house of love and not a day goes by that I do not think about Miss Jessie as a small child in this house, living in a family that took everyone in and welcomed them and fed them. Honestly you can't get much more love than collards and cornbread. Also you could not possibly get more love than Miss Jessie. As she always said - "Everybody is somebody. God did not have to put us here on this good green earth. White or black they are all my children and we all have to love each other."

The other thing she always said when I would call and ask her how she was doing - "I'm still a-kickin' and I ain't dead yet!" Miss Jessie as long as I live on this earth you never will be!

Her funeral is Thursday at 11 am. I do not want to go. It will be an open casket funeral and I have been to a few of those and my only memory of those people is of them in the casket. They do NOT look "peaceful." They look DEAD. They look FAKE and MADE UP. And I want to remember Miss Jessie alive in her umbrella hat. I have no choice. I have to go. I have to go find something appropriate to wear and then show up and live through it.

I CAN do this.