Friday, January 29, 2010

Chapter 2 of My Elegy on Touch Typing

While away in the kitchen dishing up Friskies Pate and mincing raw liver it occurred to me that I had better explain a few things  before continuing my tale of gratitude for being forced by my Dad to take a course in Typing and how it affected my entire life.

I want to make it perfectly clear that NO one, upon reading my descriptions of Life with Father should ever feel the teeniest bit sorry for me. It may appear at times that he was brutal, unkind even sadistic, and all of that may have some aspects of truth, but I do not condemn him for any of that nor do I wish that things had been substantially different .......the fact is that without having had to cope with, endure, survive, forgive and ultimately understand him I would not be the person that I am today (whoever that may be)and possibly not even be here today. And, for better or for worse, I am relatively content with who I am and how I got here, so whatever feelings you may feel upon reading my tales......take my word for it......feeling sorry for me should not be one of them.

There is a theory I read about in some philosophy book that one actually picks one's parents depending upon what lessons one must learn this time around that were not learned or dealt with in the last lifetime. (and, I do believe you have to keep going around until you learn 'em all..........what a terrible waste if we only got one shot at it)  I have come to subscribe to that theory certainly fits perfectly with what I have observed about the way life works and I will keep it until I find something that fits  better. It is my belief that I picked my parents precisely because of the vast opportunities they would offer me to learn a number of my unlearned lessons, and, heaven knows, my family provided me with a goldmine of possiblilities for my "education". (too many options, so little time, but I hope I will get to deal next time around with some of the lessons missed or failed at in this trip. I mean, for crissakes, a person can only do so much ........)

Anyway, my servitude as typing slave continued through  high  school and college and while I remained a rather inept typist and never really got to be a great one  my skills were adequate enough to get by, .......except for the time I was writing a letter to some Government Agency about selling them a stock of surplus zinc chromate tape that Pappy had acquired and I sent it off without properly proofing it, resulting in a proposal to sell them the entire stock in my father's vast Whorehouse instead of Warehouse.  (of  course, I never heard  the end of that one, but I'll bet some bored Govt. paper pusher blessed me for brightening his day  and, as I recall, my Dad  got the contract.  (I wonder if they were disappointed when all they received was zinc chromate tape?.....)  But my insipid typing got me through a hundred college term papers and further, got me a job as a Girl Friday for a family of Builders when I graduated and could not find any work at all in anything remotely related to art or design.  Further, it kept me from starving totally as a starving artist when I opened my own studio and found one could not live on art alone.
Now, my studio was one of 3 which had been built onto the front of an old house, the house in turn having  been subdivided and parcelled out piecemeal among the shops with  leftover rooms being bundled into so-called  apartments in the back of the building.  My studio was the middle of the 3 and if fell to my lucky lot to win the living room of the house  -  a fair sized room with a real FIREPLACE and a tiny bathroom with no sink but a toilet and shower.......(the sink was in the work areas)......I ultimately moved in and lived there but that is another  blog.  My neighbor to my right of me was a friend who had a design studio and what was called in those days a Studio Greeting Card Co......that meant one of the first outfits to dispense with flowers and sloppy sentiment and to approach things with humor and disrespect.  This was my outlet for a line of my own greeting cards......very disrespectful and some even humorous.  But to the left of me was most fascinating business on the block.......a shady establishment we jokingly called the Dirty Record by a dreadful man we called Dirty Bill who thought that the funniest thing he had ever heard was that there was a real town called Intercourse, Pa.  The records were not really that dirty.....most were  simply bawdy or vulgar songs but his prize piece was one called "Erotica" which consisted of nothing but creaking bedsprings whose cadence increased, culminating in silence and a loudly whispered, "Oh Baby".  All of these were sold via mail order and, to put it simply, the dirty dog was making an effing fortune.  The only catch was that periodically the police found it necessary to make some token effort to stamp out this foul blight on our city and performed a sort of raid on  the place.  The first time they actually caught Bill there  and took him off to the pokey for an hour or two.  Subsequent raids were somehow tipped off so Bill could run out the back if he were there, leaving his office manager and chief record packer, a nice, middle aged  Jewish lady named Roz,  to be hauled off to the jailhouse in his stead.  This was all a source of much merriment to us until the fateful moment when Roz needed help in handling the orders and I, as usual,  needed  money to pay my bills.   So before you can wink and twirl the ends of your moustache, there I was for 4 hours a day typing labels for the Dirty Record business and eating again. 

I could go on forever with this story but I will save some of the good stuff for yet another blog.  Suffice it to say that Dirty Bill may have been a pig but typing for him saved my bacon.

My next bout of gratitude came at age 40 when I decided there had to be a better way of trying to make a living and I went to computer programming school........I never would have had a chance had I not  been able to type my programs into the computer so we can chalk up my entire second career to my ability to type.  And the latest set of "thank yous" have been prompted by this whole 3rd career as a blogging fool which would be impossible were it not for my ability to be staring into space thinking of what I wanted to say while my fingers obediently put my thoughts onto the screen.

So, actually, all of you lucky beneficiaries of my blogging should really execute a few low bows and say, "Thank you, Freddie" only seems fair, doesn't it?

Thursday, January 28, 2010

No, The Cats Have Not Eaten Me....Yet

As far as I can tell, I am still alive and have not been dined on by my feline companions......I surely would have noticed if they had begin to nibble a morsel here and there, wouldn't I??.........though if they started on my toes I might not notice since it is not as easy for me to see them nowadays......

I told my friend Anne, in Devon, that I suspect the fever fried part of my brain, but I think I have enough left to blog.  That is if I can manage to adjust to blogging on my laptop whose keyboard is quite different from my PC's and seems to be equipped with an invisible key that automatically puts spaces in the middle of my words and even switches to italics at the most inopportune times.  My desktop has gone south again and I am waiting eagerly to hear from my guru hoping he can fix it or me or  both.    @#$%&** and other obscenities.

However, I will persevere  in spite of aberrant keyboards and  dyslexic fingers.  Funny......I have many reasons to be grateful to my Father, aside from having inherited his prodigious love of words and (please excuse my pride) his amazing intellect (neither thing requiring him to acknowledge my existence in order to give them to me) but the ability to touch type may be very close to the top of the list of things for which I am infinitely grateful to him.  There I was in high school at about age 16, infinitely miserable like any normal teenager, taking all sorts of artistic and intellectual subjects, working at an artistic job handpainting decorative bottles after school and weekends and never giving a thought to the  business world when one day he looked up over his newspaper, found me within his line of  vision and said something like, "you are in high school now, aren't you?".  Cautiously I admitterd that I was, not quite sure whether to confess to the crime or deny it.   He pondered a millisecond before raising the paper and uttering the significant command,  "Take typing !".......which, of course, I did at once if not sooner.

First, I will never forget the amazing moment during that course, while blindly and hopelessly following the teacher's instructions in an exercise, I noticed that my fingers had begun to type words without was almost as mind-boggling a moment as the one when I first learned to read!!  To this day I still do not understand how this skill works and why, at certain times the effect works perfectly and at other times exasperating imperfectly.  It is something like the thing about Not thinking about Elephants, I think, but I still consider it something of a miracle and no one can talk me out of that notion.  But to get back to the point, at the time I never dreamed the effect that acquiring that skill would have on my life..........the first clue came the day my Father lowered his paper again, found me in the room with him and asked, "Can you type yet?"  My timorous nod sealed my fate for the next I don't know how many years and influenced my life forever after.

Now, my Father was, at this time, an architect, engineer and building contractor with his own small construction firm.  I knew a little about the intricacies of the business but I was soon to learn more than was really necessary for any 16 year old (or almost anyone) to know.  Without going into any more detail I will simply report that in the twinkling of an eye I was drafted into typing business letters, proposals, and building specifications and was a full fledged (unrewarded and unacknowledged)  secretary to Fairway Construction my spare time of  course which involved nights and weekends. often happpens, this blog seems to have gotten out of hand......amazing how I lose control of these things once black letters begin appearing on the screen .........and the time has come when, in order to preserve my toes, I had better go and feed the cats their dinner so I am going to have to finish these wanderings down memory lane in a 2nd chapter.  Stay tuned or, as I am famous for declaring in my emails, "more later."

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Don't Get TooClose.......I am Infectious

Ugh, ugh.........truly not fit for  blogging today......seem to have the flu and aside from rendering me incapable of everything requiring that I move any muscle the malady seems to have shortcircuited my brain.

No, it is NOT the Swine doctor tested for that though I certainly feel like uttering oink-like noises.  Anyway, I am on antibiotics and that has at least killed the fever but I am still on the cusp  between living and dying........just crawled out of bed to feed  cats and birds and am heading right back.  If I live I will surely continue to blog so keep checking.........if there is no sign of  a blog in 4 or 5 days, send the coroner.  No, never mind......the cats will have eaten me by then.......

Monday, January 25, 2010

It's No Use....I Think I Am Unfit For Bloggng

I know, I  know......I have not kept up the great pace at which I started this project and I guess I should apologize, but, frankly, I am puzzled and a bit bewildered and don't feel like apologizing.  I think I am playing in the wrong ball game or something.  It has come to my attention that perhaps I am doing this whole thing wrong by trying to write while I am awake and conscious.

The truth is that I have not been feeling so tippy top for the past few days so I have neglected my Blog spending all my available strength and energy on feeling sorry for myself.   Arrrrghhh.....I do hate self-pity, but sometimes I fall into the pit just like the rest of the world and, once down there at the bottom, it is so much easier to just wallow than to try to climb out.  There I was wallowing away and thinking about starting a feeble ascent when I read a news item on AOL news about a newlywed who found that her new husband talked in his sleep and uttered such odd and funny things that she began to tape record him and publish his profundities (?) on a blog.  In something like 2 or 3 days the visits to the blog were up to a million or so......or at least that is how I remember it.  I wish I had made a note of the site or at least saved the story, but I was so disspirited that I didn't bother. 

For one thing, I wish I knew how they are able to tell that a million people have checked out that there a hidden counter somewhere that I don't know about, or do all of them leave comments? (a million comments would be a little much).  I have been an abject failure at getting some of my known readers to even sign on as followers (they sneak in during the dark of night and disappear without leaving a trace), and only a few loyal and brave souls are willing to admit they have visited. I had made peace with that, I thought, and was content to continue to blather away talking to myself until yesterday when the above news item upset my canoe.

Now I can hardly remember what some of those pithy maunderings were, but it seems to me that one of them was something like,  "Don't hit him with the lobster."  There were a number of others, many of which also dealt with food, all equally nonsensical.  I didn't laugh much, I'm afraid.....they really weren't that funny to me, but obviously the rest of the world finds them hysterical.  I guess that is why I have a hard time laughing at the newest crop of nightime comedians who seem to be able to get people rolling on the floor laughing by simply uttering their universal one word punchline, "fart".  Oh where are the current talented and intelligent  likes of Johnny Carson, Bob Newhart, Steve Allen, George Carlin, Bill Cosby and Woody Allen etc????.......sob.

  Another horrendous quote I come across recently was in re the mess that has erupted on late nite TV with Jay, Dave and Conan etc.........Sadly since Johnny Carson left  I do not find any of those so-called comedy hosts (either the older ones or the younger ones) funny or even proficient at filling up a time slot but some hotshot comment writer had the infernal gall to say something like, "When are they going to get rid of those middle aged white guys who are way past their prime and let the young guys have their way?".......with what???.....127 ways to say "Fart"?   When I was younger the funniest comedians were always middle aged  white guys ......i.e. Jack Benny,  Bob Hope, Sid Caesar, Milton Berle and since they were not allowed to utter a dirty word to get a laugh they simply had to make up for it by writing really funny material and performing hysterical skits that made you cry with laughing.  Ah, but, I digress.........

To get back to the Sleeptalking Husband seems that the wife has learned to use a voice activated recorder so that her sleep is not even interrupted trying to record her husband's utterances and so it appears that material without a single conscious thought or creative quality  is being preserved without any real effort on anyone's part other than her transcribing the tapes onto the Blog.   That it is being gobbled up by a million so people is what has me puzzled, bewildered and disspirited..........what am I missing here, folks?????  I need some help, NOW.

By the way....if it sounds like I am simply a bad sport or just a jealous, out-of-date shrew well.....that IS possible but I AM dealing with it.  And I promise that once I recover from this unexpected blow I will, indeed, continue blogging away in my usual unrestrained fashion whether anyone likes it or not.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

The Strip Tease Continues

I have no idea whether anyone cares, but I have finally been inspired to create a Bloggers Biography.  For those who know me there may or may not be some nugget therein which you didn't know about me and, for those who are just getting to know me,  there may be a fact or two there that would explain some of my is not precisely what I mean but I will leave it because it looks like a wonderful word that should exist even though it doesn't........what I meant to say, of course, was "idiosynchrasies".

I noticed that the Bio page had been referenced 60 some times.......hmmmm.....who were all those folks who wanted to check me out and went away mad?????  Or, was it you loyal faithful few who kept checking to see if the day would come when I would finally be brave enough to describe myself in my own words?  Well, perhaps another 60 will wander by and stay now that I have added some meat to the bare bones.  And, then again, perhaps the next 60 will run screaming from the site, fearful of being contaminated with my insidious madness.  Only time will tell.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The Price of Living in Eden

I considered calling this entry, "Bloggin' in the Rain".............We are in the 3rd or 4th day of one of a series of winter rain storms and it is forecast that we will have 2 more days of downpours, then a weekend respite followed by a new storm next week.  I think we had some rain a week ago and possibly the week before that.  In Southern California terms this is a wonderful winter/rainy season but I have to tell the truth......already I am sick, sick, sick of it.  There.....I have just broken the #1 So Cal complain about rain is not only  a sin but a crime punishable by death (or waterboarding at least.)   Now, it is difficult for outsiders to comprehend, but in southern Cal we definitely have a thing like a tropical rainy season AND a dry season.......Rains CAN start around the end of October and usually end around March.  That doesn't mean that it will rain for sure....only that it is possible a rain cloud will appear during that time and, if any do happen to gather, they are allowed to dump their load.  For the other six months of the year .........nuthin', not a single wee drop.  We are so far into a cyle of droughts that our normal water levels will never catch up but every 10 years or so we have a really wet winter that helps a bit and I guess this is one of them. There is no way to depict a Brave Smile using a keyboard so you will have to imagine me baring my teeth in one right about here.  That is because I just had to go out into the garden to fill one of my 9 or 10 hummingbird feeders and had to wade through huge puddles about 5 inches deep to get there.  Soggy bedroom slippers for the rest of the day.

Incidentally, I have read that after the first few dampenings all of the precious rainwater simply runs off the soggy land and gushes down the storm drains to the ocean.  What a revolting waste!  (don't get me started on what they shoulda done......but it does seem like there might be some way to save all that good stuff...)The main thing that keeps us all from drying up into raisins is the snow pack that builds up in the mountains when the rain is falling on the flatlands. 

So we have occasional floods and mudslides in the winters and disastrous forest fires in the late summer and fall and, of course, there IS the San Andreas Fault which shakes us up every now and then with an earthquake, and I have to consider those to be the Cost of living in a Weather Paradise.  After all, the folks in Kansas have to put up with tornados and I do not see that they get many perks in Kansas for having to do so, whereas we have a gazillion days of sunshine and flowers and even when it is burning hot, it is, as they say, a DRY heat and I do not know a single soul in this vicinity who owns a snow shovel or a windshield ice scraper...( a lack to be devoutly grateful about).

So, I may be a bit grumpy and soggy and a bit exhausted from runnning back and forth from door to door at the behest of hysterical cats who want to go out and get some air and, who, when I let them out onto the porch to see for themselves, slouch back in glaring at me balefully, convinced that it is my fault everything is so wet, but I am still not really complaining.  I consider it all the price of living in a kind of garden of Eden.

Now you must excuse me.....a loud, merciless, complaining  cat is nudging me to open the door and prove to her that it is no drier than it was 5 minutes ago........." Wassamattawithyou........I promise you it is still raining...........why can't you take my word for it????? ..........Stubborn like a mule as my sainted Mama used to say"......sigh.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Apology for Not Blogging

Damn, damn, damn.........I suspected that this wonderful vehicle called The Blog would have a shortcoming or two.  It takes me back in time just like Wild Willie did when he tickled me into being 14 years old again.  Now I am about 15 and can hear my Mama's sweet voice nagging me, "Don't forget to write a letter to Grandma and are their life......they count on hearing what you are doing.."  And of course I did write, every week at least.....not with the quality I have since developed but with much sincerity and dedication.

Now I think about my faithful fans out in cyberspace panting for my next utterance and wring my hands over the fact that another day has gone by without my sating their hunger.  Did I need this guilt???  Sigh.  Certainly not, but it seems to be hovering overhead in spite of the fact that I already have enough.  (Actually, I am happy to be able to report that the truth is, I have cast off almost all of my guilt which had been accumulated under what I discovered were false circumstances.)  However, not only do I feel some responsibility to my followers, but I really do enjoy blogging to them so I, too, have been deprived the past few days. is not going to be much better........sorry about that.  I have just spent all of my spare time today learning how my new printer works and coaxing it into printing out my entire Blog so that I can have a hard copy in case the entire cyber world crashes.  ( No, no....don't laugh....I know it can happen because I recently spent days trying to email my friend in Devon who has a provider with the unlikely name of "" and received my words flung back in my face with the admonition that "Blueyonder does not exist".  Today, tenks Gott, Blueyonder was somehow restored to life and my emails went through.....they must have a crash cart for restoring dead internet providers somewhere out there....) 

As I was saying, not only did printing my Blog use up all my spare time, it decimated most of a ream of paper.  Holy appears that, unbeknownst to me, I have already written a book !  However, that is not what is keeping me from blogging away.  I have been invited to a neighborhood party to ease all of us into the New Year and I must stop at once and go don my gay apparel.......oh dear.....I probably shouldn't have referred to it that way.........what I meant was I have to go shed my comfy nightie and robe (yes, yes, I KNOW it is after 5 pm and I am still in my nightie.....wanna make something of it?) and put on a bra and a velour jogging suit or some such respectable garment.  I am looking forward to this party because the host and hostess are clever folk who have requested that we all bring a mystery "white elephant" gift and I have been waiting for about 15 years for this chance.......

I just decided to publish this as a teaser and to issue installment #2 when I return from the party.  You will have to wait several hours to find out what my white elephant gift was and how it fared.  Bye for now.

Chapter 2:

Ah, here I am, back from the party, and a lovely one it was.  The hosts were my next door neighbors and the guests were a group of neighbors who live either on our block or in the nearby environs.....all within walking distance which is something of a rarity these days and is a situation devoutly to be wished.........really knowing one's neighbors and having a real relationship with them is a wonderful thing which, sadly,  went out of fashion somewhere in the 60's I think, and left us much the poorer for its loss.  I consider it a blessing and a fantastic bounty to be lucky enough to be surrounded by such wonderful folk........not sure if they feel the same about me, but I hope so. 

Anyway, the company was interesting and fun, the food was marvelous thanks to Jen and Nowell, our hosts, and the entertainment of the evening consisted of a White Elephant Game in which everyone was supposed to bring an amusing gift from their "what am I supposed to do with this" closet and we all drew numbers to have the chance to select one of the anonymous unknown-gift parcels.  Actually, the rules are very is allowed to steal someone else's goody when it is revealed rather than selecting one of your own.......  then you get to pick one for the person you just stole from.  I was inordinately lucky.  I drew number 2 and the person with number 1 got the most wonderful poster showing an incredible portrait of a cat from a Chinese Art Exhibit.   Since I have absolutely no wall space left due to my having knocked out most of my walls and installed windows therein and covered every remaining inch of actual wall with art of one kind or another, I needed another thing to hang on my walls like another hole in the head.......oh, shit, it WOULD be a CAT.......naturally, Lois, the Cat Lady of Califa Street and  The Acquirer of Random Objects d' Art never lets that stop her so I seized the poster as my own and hid it secretively hoping no one else would covet it.  I am not sure if it is a good or a bad thing that no one did and I got to take it home and stack it on the floor of my art hallway which is already 3 deep in things waiting to be hung, but I will worry about that tomorrow.

Meanwhile I watched anxiously as people selected all around MY offering but no one actually chose it till nearly the end.  Finally one of the men picked it up and rent the wrappings asunder and, instead of the giggle I was hoping for, I heard a muttered obscenity and a kind of groan.  Oh, dear....just what a silly gift needed.......someone with a faulty sense of humor.  "What the hell is this?" he exclaimed holding it at arms length as if it were either infectious, poisonous, explosive or evil smelling.  Thank heaven my friend, Julie, saved the day by seizing it and plopping it on her head in the most fetching manner and thereby carried the whole incident off without anyone being maimed.  The truth is, it WAS an odd item, but I thought that was the whole idea.....anyway, the story is that on a visit to Turkey about 15 years ago I was in the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul and came upon a red velvet Fez with a gold tassel about a foot long and, for some reason I have never been able to figure out,  felt that I HAD to have it. (dun't esk)   When I unpacked my suitcase upon arriving home I uttered the same kind of obscenity as the gift recipient and asked myself, "What in the hell were you thinking???"  In 15 years I have not been able to come up with an answer to that question nor any good reason to foist it off on anyone I liked  (or even someone I didn't like) so the Fez has lived quietly in my goody closet not knowing that its days were numbered, sort of.  (On Death Row for 15 years but out of the rain...not too shabby really)  I was even too ashamed to give it to a Thrift Shop but here, it seemed to me was the perfect opportunity...........well, I never said my judgment was impeccable, but this was indeed a goof of magnificent proportions.  However, Julie took it home happily and claimed she loved it so I guess the story had a happy ending after all........Fez welcomed into a new home and Goody Closet with a vacancy and the most embarrassing item removed from my sight.  I guess you might call it a win win situation and something of a miracle besides.

Well, that takes care of my social life for the next week so perhaps I will be able to blog away to everyone's delight and guarantees, but, then, life doesn't offer many of those, does it?

Thursday, January 14, 2010

It's Alive !!!!

Believe it or not, I have spent the past week bringing my dead computer back from the grave. With the help of a computer guru whom I jokingly call Dr, Frankenstein  (who happens to be in Portugal right now) I learned how to open up the case and vaccuum out the 23 tons of cat hair and cracker crumbs from the innards which solved the crashes caused by a "thermal event" instantly. Then we proceeded to wipe the thing clean of programs, files, cookies and everything else and reinstall the XP op system and the programs I really need and use. I spent the week with my phone glued to my ear while he operated in a program that hooked his computer to mine and let him have his way with her while I clicked, when prompted,  on stuff here and there ........ and ran back and forth between the desktop and my laptop while we created a network. Oy, am I tired ! He did all the work, but I suffered the anxiety. However, I now have a sweet well functioning computer again and no longer have to wait 12 minutes for it to paint a screen, not to mention make its way through 15 other programs before getting to the one I asked for to begin with. At my age, I don't have the time for that sort of nonsense.

My mind is totally boggled at what David and I were able to do using rather ordinary current technology.  Just watching him maneuver his pointer around my screen and tell my machine what he wanted it to do made me dizzy with wonder.  And the fact that his telephone voice in my ear arrived strong and clear from the Algarve in Portugal as though it were a block away on Laurel Canyon Blvd is equally amazing.  I am not totally convinced that the progress the human race has made in the area of technology is really such a good thing, but it sure as hell is mighty convenient.  What a pity we have been unable to improve ourselves equally in the areas of character, compassion and civilized behavior.....

Incidentally, I am so impressed with what David, my guru, has done for me that I want to give him a plug.   Here are the details on how you might contact him should you need help.....I consider him a magician and not only talented but more than fair and even generous with his abilities and services.  You can consult him via phone or email and discuss your problem without charge.  He will quote a price for his services to solve your problems and then you can decide whether you want to continue or not.

                                       DAVID GOES
                                  Patient  Computer Tutor
                               Phone:  1 (818) 627-1787 (US)
                                            Europe (+351) 961 099 685

He is a sweet, super-bright, darling man and, by God is he ever PATIENT !!!!


Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Never Too Old to Feel Like 14 Again

I have to admit I am all aflutter.  After having had to desert the blog for many days due to a bizarre death in the family.....( my beloved computer expired leaving me with the choice of getting a new one and having to cope with a new Windows Op System or hiring a Dr. Frankenstein to bring the old one back to life by extreme measures......I opted for the 2nd option and have just spent about a week with the phone glued to my ear while my guru, who happens to be in Portugal, of all places, talks me through various procedures and black magic spells....but more about that in another blog) I was saying, I have not visited the blog for days and tonite, upon checking in before falling into bed,  I noticed with amazement and much shy, discombobulated pleasure  that I had acquired a new secret admirer in the person of someone called Wild Willie O' Orkney !  (pleasure shyly expressed by blushing, jumping up and down and shrieking things like, "Oh, goody !") Furthermore, after reading his bio and gobbling up his pithy comments re several of my blogs I found myself dangerously close to falling madly in love with him....a love affair that might just work being that we are separated by about 9000 miles or so (and an indecent number of years incidentally.....but that is the beauty of it......none of that has to matter as long as we are connected by a love of words and access to the internet).

Anyway, after several abortive attempts to go to his site and leave him a message of thanks and appreciation I decided that my only recourse would be to address this blog to him to let him know how welcome his presence and his comments are and to say I look forward eagerly to enlarging our cyber friendship.

So, welcome, Willie darling,  and thank you for stumbling somehow into my parlor.  (Don't be afraid........ I am quite harmless) I am rushing around  preparing to offer you a virtual cup of tea and a biscuit and hope you will make a habit of stopping by often.  Incidentally, I checked out the Toyboy blogsite and am enthralled with Wendy's writing, have signed on as a faithful follower and am enormously grateful to you for introducing me to this new delight. I am a bit puzzled by the absence of material on your own blogsite but I am sure you must have a good reason.  If you would care to elucidate I would love to hear it.....if not, that's OK too.  By the way, you are doubly welcome by being from the UK......I am a shameless anglophile and my best friend is an incredible woman in Devon who also has a wonderful way with words.   All in all, I look forward to hearing more from you in the future and hope I can continue to entertain you with my dithering and blathering.

Love, Lo

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Don't Make Promises You Can't Keep

No, I haven't made any New Year's resolutions..........I gave up that nonsense years ago when I realized that I had probably never kept a single NY resolution made during my lifetime.  I have a huge respect for promises I make to others but I realized that all my promises to myself to lose 30 pounds, clean out my closets, get things organized and do more good deeds, when uttered at the beginning of a new year, were self delusions, simply idle wishes for a series of miracles and not anything I was apt to put any real muscle into.   I am properly ashamed of all the resolutions made and not kept and I have no intention to adding to the list much less repeating the same old chestnuts.  Lying to others may be some sort of character flaw, perhaps even a crime, but lying to yourself is a sin of the worst kind as far as I am concerned.

Not that it isn't tempting, given the clean expanse of an unsullied year stretching outward, to try to transform yourself into Wonderwoman, but how realistic can that be given the sad history of the endlessly  laughable saga of yourself as Rifka Shlumper up till now?  Perhaps I will be Wonderwoman in my next incarnation, but for this one I must be content to simply be Rifka the Shlumper who falls down a lot, bumps into furniture and says, "excuse me",  and cannot cook anything without dribbling half of it on the kitchen floor and down the front of her ample bosom. 

Now, bring on that unsullied New Year and let's see how far it will get without being festooned with tomato sauce.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Addictions - or My Madness Made Me Do It

For any Obsessive/Compulsive among my audience I think I ought to toss out a few words about my unfortunately addiction-prone personality.  I think I have been addicted, at one time or another, to everything a person could fall under the spell of, except for drugs.....a thing for which I am profoundly grateful.  I can't really take much credit for having avoided that just happened that Pot did absolutely nothing for me and I was simply too impoverished (and I guess too cowardly) to get involved in the really bad (or, depending how you look at it, the really good) stuff.

Not only have I been a Guinness Book-\of-Records Cigarette addict, but during my long lifetime I also tried out being a borderline Alcoholic, a Food Addict and also, possibly, a teensy bit of a sex addict.........referred to in the nicer circles as Harmless, Youthful, Hippie Flower Girl Promiscuity.....well, I mean, after all, when one finally discovers the delights of sex and has carte blanche to misbehave,(one of the really good  things about  being an "Artist"), how can one NOT become something of an addict?.  And then of course, there is my often mentioned more shameful and more incurable addiction to.....being a Pack Rat.......I think it is now referred to by the more genteel term of Hoarding.

First, you must remember that I was a child of the Depression and while we never went hungry the motto in the family was definitely, "Waste not, want not".  Every penny counted and in those days a single penny was a valuable commodity...........five pennies would buy a loaf of bread!   Whenever I think of pennies I think of the "beggars" who came to the door daily.........sad out of work men who had to resort to begging for pennies door to door  to feed their families.  When the doorbell rang my Mother would make me go to answer it hoping I would spare her the heartache and innocently send the caller away.  She should have known better....I had inherited every morsel of the Blumenthal push-over-ness and added some color, depth and curlycues  of my own.  One look at their drawn faces and shabby garments would send me rushing damp-eyed back to the kitchen (where Mamma and Grandma were hiding) begging for a penny which they would hand over with a sigh and I would deliver with a tremulous smile wishing it could be more.

Some people may have been able to put that behind them but I am not one of them so I still look upon waste as a horror, a crime  and a cardinal sin.  This by itself might not have been so damning, but as an adult, having huge wants and  no money forced me to chose between a life of crime or one of becoming ingenious to the nth degree.   I had absolutely no idea how to go about developing a life of crime and making it pay but I noticed I had oodles of ingenuity just lying there waiting to be tapped.  Consequently, any discard that could be salvaged and made into something useful absolutely compelled me to rescue it and convert it to something beautiful or usable.  It became not a choice but an irresistible need.  I was driven to use any tool at hand to achieve my ends........Even if I didn't quite know how it worked I made it a point to learn.  Before long no discarded object, languishing at the curb waiting for the trashmen, was safe from being rescued and transformed  by me.  Of course, being a starving artist made this sort of compulsion all the more relevant since, if there was anything I wanted I certainly couldn't afford to BUY it and my only chance at having stuff of any kind was to create it out of junk, which I did, with amazing diligence and, if I say so myself, great success.   The only trouble with having the ability to make something out of nothing was, I found, that it quickly became not a choice but an obligation......I simply HAD to do it.  Simply driving down a street where there might be some discard at the curb became fraught with sinister ramifications.  Would I be able to get to the end of the block and turn the corner, or would I find my car pulling to the curb of its own volition in spite of me.  Every cast off chest of drawers or discarded chandelier acted like a magnet drawing me helplessly close presenting me with challenges I could not ignore. If I did not rescue this piece of worthwhile flotsam....(or is it jetsam?) who would?  (rhetorical question...........sob.)

In those days almost everything I dragged home with the vow of making it into "something wonderful" eventually became.....well,  something wonderful.  Consequently there was no build up of salvage.  That came later and therein lies the rub.  A couple of things happened........First, I eventually had rescued enough cast-offs to have a fully furnished abode and enough "beautiful stuff" to satisfy the most avid and gluttonous collector.  Secondly, when I morphed into my second life in the computer world  and abandoned being a starving artist I finally had a bit of spare change with which to actually BUY a few things  if I still needed anything.  So you would have thought that I could simply cease and desist from rescuing discards and go on my merry way junk-less..........NOT.  For years after the need disappeared the compulsion remained and flourished and the shelves in the garage and in every closet filled to the overflow state.  Pretty soon, the creeping menace progressed to occupying floorspace in the corners and finally I had to stop letting people into the house out of pure shame and self loathing.  

The very threat of someone coming to visit created waves of hysteria involving days of running around like a crazy person forcing piles of stuff into the floor-to-ceiling intricately balanced mess in the garage and cramming anything left over into the already bulging closets, under beds etc.  Once I even found myself tossing stuff into a bath tub and covering it with a board, a lovely woven tapestry and a few throw pillows.....(it was so successful I kept it for years.) Ah, ingenuity it can get you into a lot of trouble, but once in a while it can get you out of it.  Anyway, what had once been a means to an end became a character flaw so monstrous that I felt like Dorian Grey and worse yet,  the attic was too full of junk to hide the hideous portrait there.

I wish I could say that I have totally conquered this addiction, but I haven't.  Thank heaven I no longer allow my car to back up to some unloved but promising chiffarobe reclining alluringly in a driveway.....not that I don't notice it, but I firmly avert my gaze, grit my teeth and drive past.  (takes huge exertions of will)  The major remaining problem is that I have not developed any skills in getting rid of stuff already collected and stored..........once in a while I have been able to mercilessly go through the garage and get rid of tons of stuff that I know I cannot use in this lifetime......but in the overall scheme of things I have barely made a dent.  Perhaps I will  be able to develop  the missing skills before it is too late.  In the meantime,  as they say.....oh, well...........nobody's perfect.......