Poverty Is Not an Accident

Poverty Is Not an Accident
Nelson Mandela

Wednesday, June 30, 2004

wild women

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Cotton tails and jacks lope away from the headlights as we chatter our way up the mesa.

Standing at the volcanoes, under an outrageous moon, twirling under stars, breathing deep the sweet scent of desert grass still wet from rain, stories on stories tumble from both of us, we try to teach each other our whole lives in one night.

We're wild mares, gamboling in moonlight. We're craggy boulders, firm on the earth. We're giggling girls, running with wind in our fists. We're ancient witches, keeping the Wild Things free.

She shimmers silver of moon and my eyes are moist with joy. She glows with silliness and hope and strength and anger. Her hair wafts up from her face in a halo of light.

I hold her, to satisfy this ache in my breast bone, where I want her to be.

A small yawn escapes her mouth and I know she needs to sleep. So I'm the one who says we must leave.

We chatter back down the mesa, into the twinkle of city, wind blowing our hair.

I gather her soft hair in my tingling fingers and tug gently. I tell her again how beautiful she is, what a Gift she is for me.

She's already making plans for us to have other adventures.

My heart opens like mouthes of a hundred-voice chorus.

I'm falling in love.


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I have no idea why, but I freaked.

It happened while I was looking for the outfit I'd planned to wear tonight.

Part of it's missing; can't find it anywhere.

I finally found a decent substitute.

But, for some reason, when I couldn't find my clothes, I just freaked out about reading tonight.

I started ragging myself for my body, my people skills, my writing, my health...blah blah blah.

Now, I'm pretending to watch soap operas, to calm down.

Then, I plan a long, warm shower with lots of preening and grooming.

I ate some icky pizza for late lunch. I hoped to eat late enough to not be hungry at Blue Dragon, but not smell of garlic. But the pizza was really icky: just didn't taste good.

So, I'll cut off a small piece of sirloin to pan fry in a few minutes. That's neutral, and digests slowly.

I smell fear in my sweat.

I'm glad I prepared. I don't want any unnecessary surprises tonight.

After I'm bathed and fed, I'll practice reading it aloud a few times--not obsessively, but just to get the cadance, and the emphasis, down. I'll remember how it sounded.

I'm not sure WHY this is so hard for me. I think it's because it's the Blue Dragon, and artsy people go there.

I read once before in this town, but it was a familiar venue, and a very small group. I brought my poetry, in CASE I wanted to read. I would have been happy, just listening, had circumstances been uncomfortable.

I'll be ok. I can always back out, if I really need to...

I know: It's the future, and the future doesn't exist. So why worry?

Got a lot of "street" in me: always on the look out for danger....


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Well, I had planned to work very hard today, to make myself sweat and release nervous energy, before bathing and reading tonight.

But my body's protesting simple chores, like washing dishes and taking out compost & trash.

I think I'll nap some this morning.

I have that radio show to transcribe, if I'm hell bent on being productive today.

I listened to some old Beatles this morning, and the "Grand Canyon Suite."

It's fun, having music again.

I have all my speakes arranged well; I can hear radio, all over my home again.

Yes, my shoulders, neck, back and arms are begging for a nap.

So, I'll turn on the air and cuddle with this snoring dog.

I shouldn't have had so much coffee on an empty stomach this morning; made me jittery. That's not good for a woman who's about to read a very self revelatory piece at Open Mic at the Blue Dragon tonight, huh?

Except for the actual getting bathed & dressed, though, I am ready.

I listened to Paul McCartney's "Yesterday" this morning. That song no longer applies. When I was YOUNGER all my troubles were here to stay. And I was half the person I am now.

Whatever's happening to me, whatever this process is, it's a RADICAL change in my perception of reality!

I have no energy for self pity about how damaged I've been and how that limited my options.

Suddenly, I'm above the trauma, learning my strenths that resulted from it, appreciating my courage and resilliance.

The trauma still causes pain; scars will.

But this new direction/focus/energy I'm working in has me seeing I don't need to stay burdened with it.

It's only pain.

Gawd knows, I can live, work, love and create while in pain.

Have done, for decades.


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Up at five fifteen, I poked my radio button...and heard nothing. What? It's an old "boom box" I found in the trash.

Moved the pillow away from the LED read out, blinked at fuzz. It said, blearily, it was set for FM and 89.9.


Then, I remembered: I swiped its speakers, for the turntable in the living room! OOOOH!

So, I turned on the turntable's radio. AH!

I'm thinking: the boom box in here is way too big for my crowded bedroom. And the speakers were too big, too.

So, I'll replace everything with the smaller boom box, outside in my garden. It was so quiet, I could barely hear it, anyway. And there's more room out there for a large unit.

I only need a little thing in here; I keep the volume low.

Today's The Day: Open Mic.

That poem I'm going to read: it isn't true anymore.

I've had a Shawshank Redemption. Slowly, carefully and consistantly, I've managed to dig my way out of solitary confinement.

...And I seem to be on my way to a beach in Mexico! LOL

Actually, living on a beach in Mexico is one of my fantasies.

Something goes unsaid. This woman I'm courting: there's Something she isn't telling me. I'm left guessing. I'm left to cautiously consider every thing I do.

Soon, I'll ask her. I'll just flat-out ask.

But I'm waiting. I know it's not time yet.

But there is a big, dark object between us. I can't even make out its shape or dimensions, it's so mysterious. It comes from her, but she isn't talking.

It makes it hard to see her; it's obstructing my view.

It doesn't reflect light, so I'm not looking into my own reflection, thinking it's her.

No, whatever this is, it's absorbing light so well, I can't even define its form.

I don't know if she'll ever mention it. It may be so intrinsically part of her life, she isn't aware of it.

But that seems doubtful; she isn't an unconscious person, in my experience.

So, I'm waiting.

If I get to know, I will know. If I don't get to know....

Well, I'll need to evaluate what I need to do.

Because this Something precludes true intimacy. It won't allow for love.

And those are the connections I seek -- with her, and elsewhere.

It takes a lot of space, this Something. One must watch one's step around it. It restricts mobility.

I reach around it, to connect to her. And that worries me: trying to reach someone around an obstacle increases the odds of accidentally poking her in the eye!

And I DON't want to hurt her!

So, I limit my contact, to reduce the chances of causing injury.

And wait.

I will bring it up. But it's too soon.

I'm just as stubborn as she is. And I'm truly committed, for now, to reaching her.

But if she's as stubborn, or more so, about keeping this Something between us, I'll need to let her go.

I have Somethings, too. But mine are multiple; they move around. And I'm seeking them out, as I become aware of them, and working to control, if not disolve, them. I want no artificial obstacles.

I don't know if she is working on her Something, or if she's using it for protection. She might cherish it, for all I know.

So, I'm waiting.

Well, I just heard NPR broadcast part of "Grand Canyon Suite:" the part about the sun rising over the canyon.

So, I guess it's time to dig THAT out of my record collection, and listen to it again. It was one of my mother's favorite pieces of music.

Talk about someone with a SOMETHING! But hers was completely toxic. She was fiercely defensive of it, and would try to kill anybody...me...for even mentioning it.

Mom, I can't function with you, because of this Something in the room.

There's no Something! What are you talking about? You're crazy! Leave me alone before I beat you to death!

I approach people's Somethings with caution, if at all.

It's testiment to how much this woman already means to me, that I'm even willing to try.

Tuesday, June 29, 2004


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Music is like scent: one remembers.

One of my blog readers, Beth, brought me a turntable today.

At first, I listened to Simon & Garfunkle's "sounds of silence." But it wasn't enough. I put on an old Joni Mitchel album, but it was too whispy to engage me.

So I got into my old milk crates and found Cris Williamson. Particularly, I listened to "Native Dancer," the song I recorded myself accompanying on my flute for my daughter's memorial service.

There's a line on that album, "Funny how those moments come; it hits you: your life has changed."

Ah, Cris, my companion through these thirty years!

I listened to "Strange Pardise" and "Prarie Fire." I laughed, I cried, I danced, I played my flute.

Then, I pulled out a REAL Joni Mitchell album: "Miles of Aisles." With L.A. Express.

Oh, yesssss. I needed an older Joni, singing the old songs.

My flute got a work out tonight.

I can still sing! Thirty years of stupid smoking and too much silence, but I CAN still sing!

I'm home.

All that was missing in this process was music.

I have my music now.

I can continue this journey; I have my compass.

"Carrie" came on and I remembered something.

I was working at the Rennaisance Pleasure Faire in the Santa Monica Mountains near Malibu.

I was a bar maid, selling ale. Low cut peasant blouses, leaning over the bar, guaranteed very good tips. I slept in my Volkswagen.

Someone bought an ale from me. He said he was Carrie, from the Joni Mitchell song. I didn't believe him and brushed him off.

I finished my shift. I was exhausted. It's dirty at the Faire: lots of dust.

I was trudging back to my campsite, watching the ground, so I wouldn't fall.

I saw delicate, perfectly-manicured feet coming toward me. They were clad in preposterously-tall, stilletto sandals.

My first thought: how naive and silly, to wear shoes like that, here!

I looked up, past skin-tight, black pedal pusher capris.

I looked at the face.

It was Joni Mitchell! With Carrie!

I didn't say a word. I didn't react.

I just continued walking down to my camp.

I had completely forgotten that experience until I heard Joni singing "Carrie" on that turntable tonight!

Many other memories flooded me. Too many to share right now.

But: I am home. Music is the record of my memory.

I can find myself now. Because I will remember.

I'm Home.

Thank you, Beth.

the ol' man is snorin'

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Ah! Rain! Old Mugwart, my 20 year old cat, spent the night at my feet, head pressed against Porkchop's butt, snoring like a food processor. which he is, of course.

Cats' affection levels ebb and rise with the weather. They cuddle when it's cold or wet. They sleep in the yard when it's warm and dry.

I woke covered in cats, with Porky's nose in my arm pit.

What ever works, boy.

It's nice, being part of a pack, a pride, a litter...a murder? No, that's crows. I never had brothers or sisters. I was eighteen months old when my first cat brother shared my crib with me; he lived 'til he was thirteen. I still miss Woo.

I was confused when I woke: is it still dark? It says five thirty, so is it winter again?

Turned on the radio, stumbled for the coffee and toilet. Flopped my butt down with a hot cuppa.

Tom Trowbridge fell all over himself, trying to deliver his morning salutations, started over and said, "yes, it's early."

For years now, my radio has greeted me with Tom's and Bob Edward's voices. To me, radio sounds like them.

I suppose I should be more upset that the gatekeepers of my main source for info and culture are white guys. But I'm not. I like both of them.

When I hear Renee and...um, is it Steve?...on Morning Edition, part of my mind patiently waits for Bob Edwards to come back from vacation. Upstarts!

These new hosts are eminently forgettable.

I remind myself of Bob Edwards' fate, to keep me sane, to keep me from getting my hopes up, to keep me wary and conscious of who I'm excited to produce for. They're wealthy, complacent, spoiled, impressed by fads & ratings, self-protective and not-too-bright.

Oh, they sell pretty radio, for sure. And a lot of it is very moving, informative and creative.

But a piece on Asian seahorses is not a piece on the children of crack whores in the War Zone.

Actually, most of their stories about poor folk are of the uplifting sort. They convey a problematic message to their yuppy listeners: see? This person made it out. So, the vast number of the poor are just too lazy and apathetic to do the same!

They really don't know how incredibly difficult it is to buck the odds and scramble up. They REALLY don't know!

So, much of what I have to say probably won't be "up to their standards," when it comes to the economically exploited.

I haven't even begun to research HOW to produce for NPR, let alone begun persuing a story; but I already know this.

When was the last time YOU heard a poor person, broadcasting on NPR?

Thought so.

So, while I'm very flattered someone is even considering that I could produce for NPR--because I appreciate rich sound--I'm very wary. What appendage will I be expected to amputate, so I can fit my round peg in THEIR square hole? y'know?

I should repost this in my radio blog, huh? LOL

Monday, June 28, 2004

I told her

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I told her I think she's beautiful and strong. I told her she's a gift and that I'm grateful.

That's the most important thing I need to say.

I'm very tired. It's been a most productive and satisfying day.

I can't BELIEVE what I'm going to read Wed. night! Jees!

But I've learned she hasn't read "Daughters of Copper Woman" by Anne Cameron. So, I dug it out tonight.

I've decided to reread it tomorrow, after I get some groceries. It'll help me ground myself before I have to read on Wed.

Then, I'm lending it to her. I can't wait for her to read it!

Heck, I can't wait to read it!

An old friend.

The day is complete; I used all of it.

Now, to rest. So I can do it again, tomorrow.

The unlived life is not worth examining!

Good night!

Guts and paper

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Well, it's decided, then. I'll read one of my most uncomfortable pieces at Open Mic night on Wednesday.

Why not? I might as well get up there and get it over with.

This is going to be a struggle, on so many levels.



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ooo, it's really bad!

I found one duck egg...sniff!

I found ALMOST all my news stories. I think only one is still missing.

I printed out stuff for Open Mic.

The extra computer's getting worked on, even as I write. But he doesn't think it has enough RAM to power Audacity audio editing, but he'll try to add some RAM.

I talked with Programming about doing youth radio, as an assistant.

I got help, converting the .wav files of my stories to .rm, and had help putting them on the server. They have links now; I'll put them on my website tonight, after I rest awhile.

The pain is hideous! Shoulders, neck, legs...back.

Laura at the Science Fair watched me throughout the day, as I slowly devolved into a weak, confused, slow mass.

I can't work in an office setting; it's too painful.

Oh! I also helped a woman produce a news story.

I stayed focused. I stayed calm, even though the pain was a wild thing on my back, digging into me, screaming at me, demanding attention.

And my belly, where the baby was, it's really tender today.

I have to make an appointment at that aweful clinic again. Shoot!

By the time I got help with the sound files, I was really having trouble. I couldn't see. It hurt to sit upright. My mind was fuzzy and I couldn't absorb information or answer questions quickly. I was pretty disoriented.

I don't know HOW I managed to go in, all day, every day, when I depended on rides.

It was a nightmare. I was in just too dang much pain!

I've had these weeks of gentleness with myself. I was doing much better.

One half day at that office, and I'm as sick as ever.

Here, I can lay down to work the 'net or edit audio. Here, my clothes don't restrict me, my shoes don't bother my feet. Here, I can work without distractions or interruptions, get up to do physical work for awhile so I don't get stiff, and come back to find my work exactly as I left it.

That place isn't natural. I don't even think it's healthy...not for me, anyway.

I suppose other people become accustomed to office place situations. But they sure have a lot of adaptive equipment, to endure the physical stress.

I can't do it. I just can't.

More power to those who can, truly.

Tina, at National Native News, has some ideas for me. She is so generous, so fun, so sweet, so positive, so respectful! She's a joy to work with.

I'm resting for awhile, and then it's back to earning money on the puter.

I took Porkchop today. He slept in his dog carrier, on my trailer, while I was inside. I'd come down to let him out regularly. He got lots of attention and a few bites of taquitos.

He's very glad to be home, too: on the bed, spread out under the air conditioner, resting.

Three cats came to greet me as I drove up; they missed me.

It's threatening to rain, and I sure wish it would. I need to refresh this hurting, grieving body. And the garden could use it, too.

I'm just one, little sick, old lady, y'know?

I'm really amazed, sometimes, that I do as well as I do, given the circumstances.

I think a nap is in order.

Thank goodness I bought a thousand asprin! WhOO!

And it's Monday!

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Oh, how nice: I wake to sound-rich reporting; I fall over the cat as I stumble in the semidark to go pee.

I never found my 2-cup size Winnie The Pooh mug, for my coffee. Drained half a regular cup from the thermos, and am impatiently waiting for the new pot I'm brewing.

I hear a promotion for a radio special, produced by my advisor.

I wonder if the piece I'm editing is for a National Geographic expidition on NPR, and realize I'm too scared of that to pretend to remix the piece. Shake myself out of intimidation and tell myself, "Rogi, you're only doing it for the practice."

I fall over the dog in the semidarkness and climb back in bed to check email.

Now, I'm listening to a report about two physicists. They found a way, using light, cameras and digital audio to play fragile recordings which would be destroyed by conventional play. Nothing touches the old, wax cylindars but light. They got the idea from listening to NPR.

A simple news report can change technology! WHOA!

The two sips in the bottom of my cup are tepid now, and I listen to the coffee pot, to hear if it's still gurgling.

I'll leave in about fifteen minutes.

I'll FINALLY collect any duck eggs laid in this heat.

I'm headed to the station, to find my missing audio files, so I can post them on my domain.

I'm planning to photocopy stuff to read at Open Mic night, Wednesday.


Best not to think about that; best to just do the work.

Well, it's time to dress and run a brush through this mane.

Wish me luck!

Sunday, June 27, 2004

patient impatience

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So, is it narcicism?

I see a woman who's strong. I imagine she's been strong, self-contained, most of her life. She had to grow up real quick.

Sounds a lot like me.

But I see a woman who deserves to be cared for, cherished, supported, comforted, nurtured.

Sounds a lot like me.

So, I don't know.

I know I have strong impulses to give to her. I want to soothe her. I want to be a safe place for her.

If it's all projection, I'm very confused.

Because I'm doing those things for myself.

I can see it: in my body, in my home, in my work, in my dealings with other people.

I'm nurturing that damaged child psyche in me, protecting her, loving her, restoring her.

I've never been this gentle, this kind and this committed to myself before in my life.

So, maybe it's not narcicism.

Maybe I honestly recognize a fellow traveler.

Maybe my impulses to give are just healthy, human compassion.

It's been a long time, since I've been drawn to another woman the way I am now.

And the process I'm in is still very fresh and very profound.

I think I shouldn't make any decisions about what I'm feeling yet.

I also know this: she has been damaged enough. I don't want my open heart to be a source of more damage to her.

Right now, if I followed my heart, I would be inclined to say I want to love this woman. I honestly mean it.

But I don't know what this process I'm in means. I don't know where it's going to take me, where I'm going to take myself.

I only know I'm wide open, willing.

I won't exploit her to soothe my yearnings.

I'm giving myself a year to get myself in shape.

So, I'm giving myself a year to see how I'm feeling about myself and the people around me.

In the mean time, I'm digging for strength to not give in to impulses.

The only way I can truly love--myself or anybody else--is to guard my heart, and theirs, with whatever reason I can muster.

She is beautiful. She surprises and amazes me on a regular basis. I look forward to her companionship.

And I scare myself around her. What I feel is very strong in her presence. I wasn't expecting that.

I'd given up on that.

So, I plan to enjoy her company carefully. I plan to pay attention. I plan to remain as conscious as I can.

I can say this: she is a real gift.

I'm not imagining that!

It brought tears to my eyes, just writing that.

I don't believe in magic, in love at first sight, in fate.

I believe that, if one commits to a project, one might actually get it done.

My project isn't a goal; it's a process. I've committed myself to living as authentic a life as I can manage.

I believe I can form a precious and strong connection with this woman. I believe we've already begun.

I don't know what it means, where it's going, how it will look later.

I know that, based on what I've learned and experienced about her, I could love her.

Maybe I already do; it rather feels that way.

But I would walk away in a heart beat, if I thought this could harm either of us.

So, I don't know if this is narcicism. I don't know if it's the "honeymoon" phase of this process I'm in. I suppose that's all possible.

But she really is a gift.

And I really am grateful.

I have an idea

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I'm too hesitant to touch her. Since I met her, I've had impulses to take her arm in mine as we walk, to hug her, to brush a stray strand of hair from her face....

She's self protective. The more I understand that, the more I control my wish to touch her.

I was more demonstrative early on, before I knew her as well as I do.

But I don't know her well enough to judge whether my affections are unwelcomed. She has never said she minds. In fact, I apologized once for walking up behind where she sat and putting my arms around her, gentle as I was. She said it was fine with her.

It's not fear of rejection; that, I can handle. It's imposing myself on her without invitation.

It's quite possible my affections are just unexpected. She's so self contained, she might be unaccustomed to affection. She responds to things slowly, deliberately. Maybe I'm so hit-and-run in my demonstrations, she doesn't have time to respond.

I can't second guess her. So I'll ask.

I want to ask, "mind a hug?" That's a reasonable question.

I want to know if she'll hug back. One can't easily respond when seated and embraced from the back.

I have the suspicion a little assertiveness, on my part, is in order. At least I'll know, one way or the other, if my affections are appreciated or welcomed.

It just makes sense. Our minds are beginning to comingle. And, to a safe degree, so are our psyches. A little touching seems totally natural.

I feel like I'm polishing a stone. It's a slow process. It takes patience and persistance. Anything too forceful, too urgent, would be harmful. Steady, gentle work is the best way.

If she refuses my affections, I won't leave. I'll just find other ways, for awhile.

I feel she's waiting for something. I have to earn her trust. She's taking care of herself.

And she knows I'm going through this radical shift. She may be waiting to see what shakes out of that.

I still want to touch her. It's a primate thing, it's a girl thing: grooming, soothing...

There are many days when I wake up, wishing I were a Bonobo chimp and not a human!

When humans decided touch was no longer appropriate between us, we invented war.

Bet you a hundred dollars!!

I'll just ask, next time I feel like showing her affection.

She'll tell me.

back to normal

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AH! Up at five thirty: MUCH better! I went to bed rather early, for me, just to make SURE I got a good rest for today's chopping/cooking festival! I feel like a new potato! Get it? never mind...

Looks like this muscle pain may need medical attention. Darn. I was HOPING it would start working itself out, but it's not. I'll give it a couple weeks' more. It'll take that long to get an appointment at that midaeval clinic, anyway. shudder...

Except for putting away dishes, everything's ready for Food Not Bombs.

We're getting a little camp stove, soon. THAT will really HELP! I'd be perfect for stir frying! I have a wok the size of Gallup, NM: takes too much room on the stove for OTHER pots/pans, but man, can it cook up a case of vegies!

I'll take a shower & stretch before the kids get here. I'm pretty sore. And I'm embarrassed at how grouchy I was last week. Pain: it sucks!

I reedited that sound file, to bring it back up to 4:30. I'm happy. That's still a minute off the story.

I want to start my art project, but it'll have to wait 'til later in the week. I just have too much to do, right now. You can't rush art. Well, you can, but who wants to?

BESIDES! I have to run to the station this week to print out some stuff to read Wed. night! My PRINTER ran outta ink!

I wish you could see my garden. It's outrageous!

I'm a little worried about the place where they took my baby: it's very tender. It has been since I started exercising. It's one of those sickening hurts, not natural. It doesn't get worse, but it's threatening. I'm very conscious of it, all day long. Those savages butchered me!

But I see definition to my belly now. I can see the muscle ridges, on both sides of my tummy, running down my torso. No six pack, for sure, but definition. And my abdomen is smaller, less portruding.

The self evaluation of looking at myself, nude, in the mirror has taught me a few things: I'm not ugly, like I thought I was; my posture was getting bad.

I was curling forward, onto myself. My shoulders were slumped, my breasts sagged, my belly portruded more than its actual size.

I make a conscious effort now to: straighten my back, keep my shoulders back & level, hold in my tummy while walking and standing.

The minute I found out my breasts really do stand out farther than my belly, I decided to keep it that way. I look better, and I feel a LOT better! I was so twisted up, no WONDER I was fatigued! Bodies aren't meant to stand like that!

I don't try to hold my belly in all the time yet. These are badly-neglected muscles, over an abdomen that has been severly traumatized. I relax while seated or lying down.

But, when walking, riding the scooter, standing on lines, etc., I'm pretty much a giant isometric exercise.

I hold tense: belly, arms, legs, butt muscles, to strengthen them and to support my skeleton better. It BURNS, baby!

The effects in my mirror are obvious: I have a full, veluptuous body; I'm not ugly. I'm Reubenesque! I'm womanly, plump, cuddly looking.

For an old broad who's sneakin' up on fifty, I look mighty dang good, actually.

I'm getting more brave about clothing, too. I'm starting to reveal more of my body, in ways that are comfortable.

I'll never be a hoochie; it's inappropriate. But I'm learning to be proud of my womanliness again.

So, all-in-all, this work I'm doing: loving myself--it's paying off. It's HARD! It's the hardest thing I've ever done! It's embarrassing and painful and I never know what to do next. And it does hurt, on so many levels, I won't begin to explain.

But I'm glad I had the sense to really try! And I'm glad I'm sticking with it, hard as it is.

I really want dance lessons! I want to feel my body moving, stretching, reaching, supporting me, transporting me.

Guess I'll start keeping my eyes open in the calendar sections of local press.

I want to DANCE!

Saturday, June 26, 2004

pinchy headed

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Is the head ache cuz of weird sleep, puter squinting, stormy weather, bad teeth or not enough liquids? ho knows....asprins away.

I forgot: I got 2 lil game hens on sale the other day; I cooked them in blackening rub with mandarin oranges today...I need to put them in the 'fridge.

We have good stuff for Food Not Bombs tomorrow!

I'll have to take it easy tomorrow: I'm a little fuzzy.

I'm thinking of actually planning to celebrate my birthday this year, instead of enduring it. Guess I could invite folks from FNB and KUNM for an evening barbeque.

My daughter began dying on my 40th birthday, so it's always hard. She would have been eight this year: a really fun age. sigh.

Ok, time to put the chickens to bed, and then me.....

Sweet dreams!


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She's worth it. I feel so clumsy around her. And I so want this probationary period to be over, so we can relax and become friends!

I'm flattered she trusts me as much as she does, really. She has reason to distrust unpredictability.

I'm not so much unpredictable as I am spontanious and, I'm afraid, a bit impetuous.

I tend to wear my heart on my sleeve. That's not easy for people who protect themselves in other ways.

I don't expect her to be like me. I don't expect me to be like her. I don't think she does, either.

She's the first person in this town, and I've lived here twelve years, with whom I feel a real identification.

I was right about her; I do know her. Oh, not perfectly or completely. But I know enough to realize I want to orbit her.

Not circle her; I don't need a person as the center of my journey.

More obliquely, like a far-ranging comet: venturing out in my own path, circling 'round, bringing in what I've learned out there to show her.

She's very beautiful. She's an intricate construct of will, strenght and intellect. She has a good heart.

Nothing about her is lazy, sloppy, self indulgent...

She's clean, or she's tidying and dusting.

Like me.

She's very playful, on her own terms. I find this disarming, charming.

I would be proud to earn her friendship.

No hoop jumping, here. I couldn't fool her, or myself. Besides, who needs the stress?

I wouldn't bother to persue this, if that were a demand.

She puts me in mind of women of the late 19th century. Formal, polite, proper: a form constructed over swelling hearts and true romanticism. Passion sublimated.

Intricate. Everything is expressed, yes. But within carefully constructed form.

She's really beautiful!

So, I'm courting her, as I court myself. She must be won, as must I.

I've been asking myself: am I being honest? I've been checking myself to make sure I'm no using her, in my exhuberance to connect.

No, I genuinely like her. She amuses me. She challenges me. She inspires me.

And, yes, she intimidates me. But I find myself relishing my need to control myself, so I won't unduely alarm her.

I know I'll make mistakes. I've already made a doozie, and she witnessed it.

Yet, she comes back: like a cat, on her own terms, when she feels like it.

She is never to be mistaken for domesticated. A current of wildness powers her. It's vivid and strong.

I struggle with my masks, borders, training and reorientation. Sometimes, I don't speak when I wish I would. Sometimes, I babble.

She'll flick a gaze at me from the corner of her eye and I'm exposed. All I can do is smile and retract my latest foolishness.

She's really beautiful.

I wish I could jump a year in time to see us then.

Ah, but this circling: it's so delightful!

I make no promises; I wouldn't presume expectations. This is too much fun, too large, too interesting to confine to a formula. I respect her too much. I respect myself too much.

I really am on an adventure. Everything has changed, is changing.

She is my witness. She quietly observes, seldom comments. But when she does, it's lovely. She sees me when she speaks.

It scares me, sure, but it affirms me, too. It warms and comforts me. I'm small and delicate, big and powerful, all at the same time.

Sometimes, the turn of the corner of her mouth suggests she's amused by all this.

As long as she agrees, until she tells me not to, I'll court her. I'll want to comfort, amuse and appreciate her. She asks for none of that; she takes care of herself.

She's really beautiful.

She can't be spoiled. She can't be bought. She can't be fooled.

A friendship with her is worth the wait, the work.

However it has come to this, I'm grateful.

Sleep? We don't need no stinkin' sleep!

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My Plans For World Domination have suffered a slight setback: Day After Xmas Syndrome.

I'm firmly convinced that, if kids didn't have bedtime supervisors, they'd play with their new holiday toys until they were bumping into walls.

I went to bed at nearly four this morning, and was back up at six! Lordy!

I've discovered the puter makes it a little, not a lot, easier to find the URLs of RAM files of my reports on KUNM.

I also discovered that about 4 of my stories are missing from the KUNM archives! MERCY!

So, slowly but surely, I'm building my "Rogi Riverstone on KUNMfm" site.

I fixed 2 pages, already.

But I'm pretty pie eyed. And HUNGRY! I think I'll make quesadillas.

I want my site ready for when my advisor gets back, so he can access as many of my stories as I can rescue from Archives Hell. He wants to show them to Somebody. gulp.

The good news is: I'm so sleepy, I feel no pain, anxiety...blah blah.

I'm starting a new project. It's an art project. I'm sculpting a bust of my advisor from paper mache. He'll be wearing a ball cap, talking into a mic. I got him to send me a head shot last night.

Shhh, don't tell him, ok? LOL

It'll be a cartoon, characture type thing. Hope he's not living in a cardboard box; it'll need a little room...

I'm too stupid to remember anything else I wanted to write in here....

I have a lot of straightening up to do today, to prepare for Food Not Bombs.

But it's starting to look like I'm about to nap, at nine thirty in the morning. Hate to miss Folk Roots on the radio, but whatcha goin' do?

Should be awake again in time for Women's program.

I have some stuff to say about a pgm. I heard yesterday, but not NOW! zzzzzz hope I remember....

Friday, June 25, 2004


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The news story is edited. see rriverstone radio for gorey details.

Well, it's as done as I can get it, anyway.

I've been squinting at that computer all night. Nice to be in here, with my big-type WebTV again!

Listening to that story, and the hour-long...was it half hour?..broadcast, I know, for a fact, that I can do radio. I just know it.

And I know I can write decent copy, too.

Panic attacks are normal. And I did exactly the right stuff to get over that last one: work to reduce the validity of the insecurities.

Everybody feels like a fake, like they don't know what they're doing. I'm normal. LOL

I have Dad's pic on top of the computer monitor: holding his Oscar for sound.

I was in the kitchen, putting dishes away, and suddenly wondered: "WOULD Dad be proud of me, working with audio?" He didn't want me to BE a sound engineer; he wanted me to MARRY one!

I have NO idea what he would think of me!

And that's because I really don't know what he thought of much of anything...especially about me....

It was nice, though, when my advisor came over. He asked, "who's this?"

"That's my dad, with his Oscar: the first ever given for sound in motion pictures. It's a Special Achievement Oscar for the invention of multitrack, stereo recording."

So, he sits up there, one tooth missing, holding his Oscar, while I squint at the computer.

My dad: who recorded Bob Hope and Bing Crosby, singing dirty lyrics to one of the songs from one of the Road to... movies. My dad, who started petting a real tiger, thinking it was a stunt guy, sneaking up behind him, trying to freak him out. My dad, who got a big bottle of Cutty Sark, shaped like a boat, with a plaque on it that read, "To Russ, Love Dot (aka Dorothy Lamore), drank the Scotch, and THREW OUT THE BOTTLE!

My dad: the Forest Gump of Hollywood in the 30s and 40s....always near greatness; never great.

We have a LOT in common! LOL

Well, at least I'm smiling. I come from a long line of doofuses....

aggrevating news for us po' folk

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Untested drug given to millions of
older Americans found to cause dementia
# with comments by Madeline Zane
Patients can't sue HMOs, says Supreme Court
# with comments by The Coyote
Play it again, Sam Walton
by Tess Ellis, Unknown News
here Excerpt: Once again, I maintain that Wal-Mart is a symptom, not the real problem.


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oo, I stayed up way, too late last night! I had passwords to fix, settings to find...blah blah...

I want to make sure that puter doesn't get any cooties. I've got it set to reject most cookies, for instance, and plug ins, too. I'm trying to resist spyware, worms, etc.

I guess I'll have to stop using yahoomail; I can't access it easily on WebTV anymore; it's been "improved." heh. I'm worried the HTML ads might have transparent gifs, will attach evil cookies, etc.

Can't read my sitemeters from the computer, either, for the same reason.

I made rriverstone.com my home page; I KNOW it doesn't have nasty cooties on IT!

So, I adjusted privacy and security settings last night. It's not much fun to surf with the puter that way; I get alerts all the time. But I'm happy, knowing I'm not putting the poor thing in danger.

I listened to the piece my advisor wants me to edit. Ain't gonna be easy, McGee; it's very sound-rich and funny. I want to keep it all.

Editing is the art of killing people's children. It's cruel sometimes....LOL

I called Laura, from Net4TV Games, last night. I haven't called her in a long time. I use her 1-888 number, which costs her, and I didn't want to add distraction, expense to her efforts to build her business.

So, I got to get excited, tell details I can't tell people here, brag a LITTLE (I fear swelled head syndrome) and plot with her my Plans For World Domination. :)

I woke, several hours ago, with a HUGE Charlie horse in my right calf! DANG it was a bad 'un!

I worked as an attendant to a woman who'd had a massive stroke. The left side of her body was paralysed. I remember the agony she went through, with muscle cramps, as I put her through her range-of-motion exercises. Nobody'd DONE that with her in a LONG time! She would just wimper.

Unused, unchallenged muscles really struggle to get back in shape.

My poor, neglected and abused body!

All I can do is drink lots of water, reduce the smoking, keep working the muscles, take asprin when it gets REALLY bad, and be patient.

I just keep telling myself, "I have to be ready. I've only got one year to be ready."

I don't know what or where my career will be in a year. I only know I want my body back, so I can face whatever's coming with strength, grace, endurance, balance and felxibility.

I walked past a "help wanted" sign the other day. It was near my house. The job was part time. It would have been hard and stressful, even at part time. But I fought the urge to walk in and apply.

I always apply for jobs within walking distance of wherever I live, no matter how difficult the job would be on my body.

So, this is a radical shift in my behavior. I walked past the opportunity to earn minimum wage.

I'm still going back and forth about it. I should have; I can't right now....

I feel a pang of guilt: I'm getting too big for my britches, who do I think I am, lazy welfare bum...blah blah....

But I have a pile of work to do right now, anyway: two projects for my advisor and one for Laura.

She paid me for the 1st 200 word game clues. I didn't get an email notice from PayPal; I may have accidentally deleted it with spam. She asked me to go to PP and check. Sure enough, there it was.

I transferred it to my bank acc't.

With the other batch of words I'll do today, and th 2 radio projects, I'll have a comfortable amount to buy a MiniDisc recorder.

Next month, I should have enough work to kiss my bank good bye.

And, next month, I'll start making appointments to get these rotten teeth out of my head.

I'll have to wear dentures for the forseeable future. But, if I ever get affluent, I'll get molars that screw into my jaws, and get a bridge for the upper front teeth. The lower front seem to be ok. I've only got 2 molars, top and bottom, that match up for chewing right now. And they only barely match.

I look younger. I was looking washed out, colorless, puffy and bland. My body is resuming a womanly shape. My face was always round and full, but it has some angles and definition to it now.

I just look better. I certainly feel better! Never mind the Charlie horses.

I'm working myself up to taking dance lessons. Something ethnic and cardiovascular. Maybe clogging, or other hillbilly dancing, but probably just folk dancing. Belly dancing? THAT would be FUN! Not flamenco: too much stomping; ain't good for joints.

I need to dance again! I LOVE to dance!

And I've got a secret for you: a dancing body has more fun in bed!

Well, there's a show about media/violence/peace on my radio. I want to listen, so I'm outtie!

Thursday, June 24, 2004


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The computer's on line. I have work PILED UP! LOL

I bought someone a cup of ginger tea, to celebrate. Circling, circling...who are you? Can I trust you? Do you see me? Do I see you? Celebrate with me!

I need to write a script for Radio Theater. I need to write a script about Marianna Dengler. With music by Copeland, Dylan, Simon & Garfunkel...and a little South Pacific, thrown in for schmaltz.

I'll need to email her husband. I need to email her girls. I need to do this RIGHT!

I'll need to get some voices, to act it out. One woman I know has a voice very similar to Mariana's.

Nobody has a voice like Marianna's. I can hear it as I write. Oh, I miss her!

My advisor is getting in to playing Secret Santa now. He showed up to tinker with the computer today.

He laughed at what I've changed: dayglow window headers, cursor shaped like a mouse, picture of my scooter for wallpaper, psychodelic maze for screensaver, large fonts, large icons arranged around the scooter, cheerful sound effects....

Soon, CDs appeared from nowhere: work for me to do.

He explained the tasks....and offered to pay me a nice chunk o' change. Good lord!

I have plenty of time; I'll start tomorrow.

I walked him out. He leaned on his car and pursed his lips, trying not to smile.

He asked of which of my produced pieces I was the proudest.

I said I didn't know, but that my Memorial Day apology to Viet Nam Vets seemed to have gotten the most response. Why?

Because, he said, by the second week of July, he'd like to send it to some mentors he knows, who would work with me.

Pursed lips, casual shrug, wicked glint in eye: one of them is National Public Radio.

Well, I was too stunned to squeek. I was busy trying not to lose control of my legs at the time, and was too distracted by that to explode.

I wobbled a little, regained my balance, swayed at the hips to make sure my legs were still under me, made a slow piroette in the yard, latched the gate and sighed.

He got in his car and unrolled the window, watching me too closely.

I scrunched up my shoulders, hugged myself and said, "I'm trying not to freak out."

Large, toothy grin, "I'll see you later," and he drove off.

It took about fifteen minutes for the delayed reaction to set in.

I flew to the WebTV and emailed my tea companion.

She replied, "there's no place like home..."

This is an adventure.

Nothing is as it was.

If someone dropped me in the middle of Paris, France with fifty million dollars, I couldn't be more stunned, excited, amazed, thrilled, disoriented, lost, energized or giggly.

So THIS is Home!

My heros, as a young woman, were: Nina Totenberg, Cokie Roberts, Margot Adler, Linda Worthheimer and Linda Elerby. Back when NPR was young and not an institution; back when it was still experimental and naive.

I am at a threshhold. I have no idea what's inside that dark room in front of me. But it smells delicious and sounds captivating. A cool, refreshing breeze wafts over me and I teeter on the balls of my feet, waiting to go in.

Hard work. Useful work. Good work. My work.

Marianna, I'm coming home!

my body's mad at me.

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2 loads of laundry, gardening, chores. Got my cats & witches set up in my yard. That big shelf in the living room is empty and ready to hold sound stuff.

I finally fixed the fountain on my gold fish tub. Looks cute as hell.

Porkchop escaped this morning, out the front gate, while I was watering!

He was all scared I'd punish him, so he KINDA took off. He'd trot ahead of me a few steps, turn, look at me so sadly.

I finally walked the other way.

Then he walked into the neighbor's yard to smell their dog through their fence.

He let me take his collar and lead him home.

In the old days, he'd have taken off for blocks, running at full tilt.

He's civilized! I did it! He's my dog now! WHEW!

I'm hungry, but too tired to cook. Guess I'll nibble and graze. I should cook some chicken, but to heck with it!

My advisor's coming over in about an hour to help with the computer again. I'll need to concentrate on that, so I don't burn my chicken, anyway.

I hurt. I hurt badly.

Last night was very stressful on my body: tiny, auditorium chairs, nerves...

I'm totally enjoying lying here with Osa at my elbow and Porkchop at my feets.

I feel like crying. Part of it's pain and fatigue. But part of it's joy and relief.

I AM going to be ok.

I'm up late

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I got up at 6.

I was just too jazzed from last night's meeting. I wanted to spin my ideas and remember what people said.

I think this notion of Youth Radio may be something in which I can be useful.

My concept would be that kids generate the content. My job would be as a facilitator. They'll need help with editing scripts, for example. They'll need help building on a basic idea to get their "angle," to narrow focus into a containable piece for broadcast. Basically, I could assist as an editor.

But I can also empathise with their direction, perspectives, interests, etc.

They're going to need adult role modelling of a very different nature. They'll need adults who RESPECT them, accept them, take them seriously and have enthusiasm for what they're trying to accomplish. They'll need adults who actually encourage them to think for themselves, question authority, test limits.

My years in the War Zone have taught me this. I had up to twenty kids a day, running in and out of my house. I know what their prejudices are, what their frustrations are, what's dangerous to them....

I like kids, even the big, sweaty, clumsy ones.

Steve has been doing some stuff with Youth In Transition ...YIT.... the only shelter space in town that deals with teen runaways and homeless.

I need to check in with him, hear what he's been doing, where the kids would like to go, etc.

I also need to read the Youth Radio website, to see what they're about. http://www.nfcb.org/projects/communityradioyouth.jsp

Steve's got a meeting with Programming on Monday. He invited me to attend.

I want to go in, ready to offer assistance with content generation.

I also want to work with Radio Theater at KUNM. They have prepared pieces that need editing. That'll get me past my fear of editing. I'm just rusty. I can also work on scrupt writing.

I wonder what work my advisor has for me?

His were the first eyes I saw, as I left the public comment mic, at the meeting last night. I was shaky. I saw his eyes twinkle and crinkle as he nodded and mouthed, "good job." It really helped me get back to my seat without stumbling. I just kept walking toward those eyes.

I felt very supported by radio folk and community activists last night. I got hugs from people I very much respect. Oh, there were a couple who avoided eye contact, who didn't acknowledge I was there. But that's ok; they've got their own issues.

But my conversations with producers, politicians, journalists, activists, etc. were, for the most part, warm and encouraging.

I'm meeting and connecting with some of the smartest, most committed people in Albuquerque. I'm proud to be in their company. It's a real honor.

It's good for me. It keeps me humble. These are people who influence make policies. They like having me around. If I'm careful to check my ego and commit myself to the work, I could really support the healing and growth of the community.

I couldn't stop complimenting Diane Denish for quoting Bill Moyers in her comments last night.

Poor, Mr. Moyers: his show's in danger from current cabal in power. And he's one of the last gasps of progressive journalism in a large market.

So, to hear the Lt. Gov. of New Mexico quote Moyers was balm on a wound!

I told her it was refreshing to hear a politician with passion; one begins to think one's politicians are all crusty, jaded and cynical.

I need to walk gently in the presence of these people. I need to acknowledge their humanity whenever I can.

I also need not be ashamed of my enthusiasm. I simply need to channel it, direct it, make it part of the healing process.

It's ok that I'm loud and colorful. As long as I use that for constructive purposes, for the benefit of the community.

My little hoots and ejaculations encouraged the assembled to get beyond polite applause and really voice their support for people's comments.

It's a Southern thing; it's a Black thing; it's even a Christian thing.

I do NOT come from the churches where people sit passively, sing hymns demurely.

I come from racous, expressive congregations who show the assembled, and their God, their appreciation.

I come from a spirituality that is a group effort. Everybody contributes to the worship, building up the energy, releasing their joy into the gathering.

Witches do it, too.

It's an indigenous form of participation. It hasn't been eviscerated. It doesn't abdicate power to the heirarchy.

In fact, in REAL, southern churches, there really isn't a heirarchy. The preacher, choir director, deacons....all are neighbors: farmers, shop keepers, sheriffs...people one sees every day in a secular context.

When your neighbor, the preacher, stands to deliver the sermon, you support it with your mouth, your body, your hands.

I've been told, in Western European-modeled situations, that I'm loud. Obviously, the critics haven't been to a Baptist church on a hot, July Sunday.

And church is the place town meetings are held. It's the only building in town that's large enough. So, the same methods apply there, too.

And, yes, we talk to the actors in the movie theaters. LOL

It was a lively group. The energy level was high. People were just thrilled to know their fellow citizens had been concerned about the same issues they were.

The listeners, the viewers, got to come out of their isolated homes to meet and hear each other.

The effect was so healing, so magical, so spiritual, so empowering.

A little hooting was required.

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

I forgot!

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"The Bell Lady" was the woman responsible for ringing a chime when people's time to speak was up.

Well, she came out with leftover tater chips, dip and vegies. She gave them all to me!

Another guy came out with sandwiches, but he didn't give me nuthin'! Figures. LOL

I haven't eaten a tater chip I didn't make in...oh, maybe a year?

Oh, what a WONDERFUL evening!

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The media forum, with the FCC guy (go to KUNMfm for details; I'm terrible with names!) was FANTASTIC!

Susan Braine, from Native America Calling, was a highlight. She gently pointed out that only thirty five stations in the country are Native owned, operated. Then, she just as gently pointed out that the air belongs to the Natives, and they COULD make a federal case out of it! LOL I was SO PROUD of her for saying that!

I'd been thinking along those same lines: the Chief Seattle speech, revisited.

Lt. Governor Diane Denish emphasized programming for children. REAL programming for children. I met her outside later, shook her hand, congratulated her and told her about my work with kids in the War Zone & about volunteering at KUNM. She turned me on to a kids' media activist!

The panelists were all just great.

But the BEST was the community comments!

It was SO GRATIFYING to hear my community shares my concerns about corporate take over of OUR air waves!

It was AWESOME! I mean, it was an old fashioned tent revival, without all the Jesus stuff! I was PROUD to be part of Albuquerque!

The whole thing was broadcast live on KUNM, but there's also an audio archive, which FCC man is taking back to Wash., DC.

I'm very proud of my fellow citizens tonight!

Yes, I got up and spoke. Don't ask me what I said; it's all a blank. But I got thank yous, congratulations, smiles, etc., so I must not have done too badly.

Something about underrepresentation of low income women.

It was such a nurturing, energizing, powerful experience!

Way to go, Albuquerque! Way to go, KUNM! Way to GO!

Throw the bums out and let's take our media back!

I know EXACTLY what I need to do!

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I can learn this new way of being! I CAN! And it won't be hard to do, really.

IF I can be conscious, IF I can be observant, IF I can get out of myself, and listen to people.

I've got to shut up and be present. I don't mean just "shut up" as in not communicating, ever. That's self destructive.

I need to silence my head, when I'm around others, and pay attention to THEM!

I need to observe what they do: what works, what doesn't. I need to observe how others, including myself, respond or react to people.

My buddy, the one whose name makes people smile, he's doing things that cause that. Superficially, he's respectful, helpful, calm, strong, emotionally neutral, nonjudgmental, HOPEful.

Well, not superficially, but I mean: at a glance, this is what I know about him.

I don't know how he got there.

But it doesn't matter. His methods work for him.

I need to forge my own methods.

I'm not talking about imitating people. I'm talking about observing them, noticing what works, evaluating if that's important to me, applying what is useful and letting go what isn't.

My buddy is generous. He isn't self sacrificing. Because he knows his limits, he's strong enough to have resources he can share.

No bloody martyrdom, there!

That woman I told you about: the well-groomed, elegant one, is another example.

There's another, too, right off the top of my head. And she's more interesting, because I know more about her. I can see in her a force of will that's just beautiful. I also see some damage. Again, this is because I know her better; everybody has damage. I'm more comfortable with her, because she's more accessable, more familiar.

Anyway, the point is that I can teach myself, by listening and observing.

I know what works: who attracts me, who is effective, who is kind, who is strong....

By observing more closely, maybe I can hear how they got there and what they're doing to maintain themselves.

I've just got to shut up and pay attention.

That damn, spikey armor is in the way. By keeping them out, I've kept them OUT! Y'know what I mean?

I'm already thinking about people I've loved and respected, and why. I can rattle off dozens of examples, stories, of why I hold them so dear.

And what they did/do isn't really difficult. It doesn't require special training, talents or skills.

Bottom line: the people I've loved and respected most have one thing in common: they made conscious efforts to be genuine in their lives.

They've made conscious efforts to do what I'm doing now: expose themselves to themselves and heal, rather than run.

Oh, I've done a LOT of that same work, over the years. Don't get me wrong.

But this work goes on in layers, deeper and deeper. Old places need revisiting.

And I did absent myself from the process for nearly ten years, on the run.

That's been a source of embarrassment for me: feeling I'd let them down, abdicated my responsibility, resigned from "the club."

That's why I've been feeling them, surrounding me, supporting me, recently.

I'm trying to come Home. I feel them waiting for me. I feel ME, waiting for me!

I want to come Home!

I need to follow the tracks on the trail...

Public Forum on Media Independence

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KUNM cosponsors a public forum on media tonight, at Smith-Brasher Hall on the TVI campus.

Please attend, if you can.

If you can't, the entire proceding will be aired on KUNMfm live, beginning at 5:30pm, Mountain Time (I think that's -7:00, GMT). There's a live stream at their website. It is not MSNTV compatible, sorry to say.

It's a chance for New Mexicans to send their messages to the FCC and beyond.

Save our democracy!

well, it's morning

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I should clarify something. Whatever's physically amiss with me is not, originally, muscular. My muscle mass has deteriorated, in my efforts to prevent additional pain. I've lost strength and flexibility, as a result. That's why the ballet exercises hurt so badly.

What's wrong SEEMS to involve: nerves, joints and connective tissues. It's not arthritic; there's no swelling. But the pain is located where bones meet, and radiates out from there (which is why I suspect connective tissues).

The muscles are just a biproduct of fearing movement.

I need to clear space in my apartment for sound. A blog reader thinks she has a turntable I can use. WHEW! I need music!

So, I'll have to move a large, wooden shelf on which I've placed my witch and cat collection. There's just not enough room in here. I'll put it out in the yard, somehow. Meantime, I'll just pack everything in weatherproof containers.

If I'm going to have a studio in here, I've got to rearrange things better.

I think I should take my WebTV back into the living room, too. That way, I can surf the 'net and answer emails, while using the puter off line for work.

So, I have work to do....again. No biggie.

I listen to NPR and KNOW I can do this!

I'm listening to a piece on Emmit Till right now. Where else could a person hear something like this?

Oh, yeah: NPR is elitist. And their coverage of poor people is more like we're museum pieces, from a primitive past, than a present, current, growing phenomenon in this country.

Still, it seems to me that, even if motivated only by white guilt, NPR has potential to allow for some of our voices.

I need to pay more attention to PRI, too. I listen to KUNM too much; they don't broadcast as much PRI as KANW does here.

Remember: Prairie Home Companion was refused by NPR as "offensive to the middle class," and finally found a home on PRI. Garrison Kieler? OFFENSIVE? oh, please....

So, if NPR can turn THAT down, just imagine the barricades they've got in place for poor folk!

Well, I'm listening to Mrs. Till, describing what those crackers did to the face of her son.

When these stories are buried, it makes it easier for the bastards to do crap like that again.

Bless Mrs. Till's heart, for insisting on an open casket, and publication of photos!~

Bless her poor, abused, heart!

Radical Therapy

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When I ran away from home and joined the Lesbians, I was exposed to Radical Therapy.

I don't remember ever participating in a group, for any length of time. But the theories, philosophies and techniques permiated most of the community work in which I was involved. So, I learned a lot.

The main thing I learned was from a very funny saying,

"If you're paranoid, it's valid. And, if it's valid, it isn't paranoia."

That little expression has helped me in many situations.

I barely remember the concepts of Radical Therapy, on a conscious level, at least.

But it suddenly occurred to me: I bet there's info. on the 'net!

I seriously believe that, in these Orwelian times, Radical Therapy deserves a serious revival!

Let me see what I find, and post some of it here.

The page I posted is not adequate, but it's a fair-to-middlin' definition, anyway.

Radical Therapy Resource Guide: has a nice description of a group, under the "how to run a group" section. But, again, this is too brief.

I found this list of books, with links to each on Amazon.com, but you'll have to scroll pretty far down on the page, to find them.

Radical Therapy, Critical Theory, and Antipsychiatry

And here's a POSSIBLE resource. I'm skeptical, as these are people from within the system, but I haven' looked too closely yet.


Tuesday, June 22, 2004

"hope gave me a chance"

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it didn't give me a guarantee, but it gave me a chance.

Hope and expectation releases endorphines in the brain, which act like opium, relieving pain.

Hope is completely clear-eyed. It's not blind optimism.

What true hope does is: you make a choice for yourself, based on knowledge.

Optimism, false hope, take away power.

Sometimes, the tumor doesn't read the text book.

Shift the focus of hope as things evolve, if there isn't a good clinical outcome, from the body to the spirit...people look to the future to reconcile themselves...

The human will is extraordinarily powerful.

"How people prevail in the face of illness: the anatomy of hope"

Good ol' Charlie Rose had him on tonight.

I know for a FACT this guy's right about brain chemistry; it's been happening to me since I began this journey into self love.

The ballet exercises make my legs hurt like hell, as I stretch out atrophy and tension. I mean this HURTS! And I walked far, at a RAPID pace, today.

But this pain is far different than the pain I was in before: this is the pain of healing and it feels HOPEFUL!

He was in bad shape, too, from a spinal injury, I think. He was scared to move, too.

He had that bottom line moment, too: it's going to hurt, but so what? It's what is.

I don't want to be an accomplice to my own disability.

Like him, I've given the pain all my power, made it central to what I do in my life.

There is no "working through the pain;" I'll always be in pain. I finally figured that out.

So, since I'm going to be in pain, I may as well be in pain because I'm strengthening myself, instead of weakening myself, huh?

Now, how not to let the pain ruin things. I get so DAMNED cranky, when my body is stressed! And I get abusive. If others' slowness, ineptitude or whatever causes me more pain, I get vengeful.

THEY don't know they've caused me pain!

When I'm in too much pain, I get so desperate. Everything gets urgent. Because I want to get it over with, so I can rest.

See, that's another thing: at the station, I couldn't express any frustration at the pain I was in. Not directly, anyway. I wish I knew the answer to this question: Was I louder and more distracting when my pain was louder and more distracting?

THAT's interesting!

Not that I was all that loud, or distracting, relative to others.

But I wonder...how does the pain I feel affect my relationships with people???

Man, I have a LOT of paying attention to do!


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Someone asked me, recently, if I'd have had this personal growth spurt, if things hadn't errupted at the station.

I replied, too quickly, "if it hadn't been this, it would have been something else."

I got off lucky, I'm thinking.

There is definately an atmosphere that was totally discomboobelating for me.

I tried and tried and tried to fit my square peg in that round hole. I sincerely tried. It was hurting me. I didn't know how much for a very long time.

I'm accustomed to adapting to miserable situations. It's how I've supported myself and kept a roof over my head my whole life. Comes as second nature to me.

If I'd stayed, I'd have had to become so confined, so small, so artificial, I couldn' have done truly good work.

I'm not blaming anybody but myself. I didn't know better. I thought I had to "suck it up," deny my own needs and assimilate.

Making myself small is why I'm so full of rage, panic, resignment....

It's what makes me sick: trying to be what others I've given power over me want me to be.

It's not noble; it's cowardly.

But this shift that's occurring in me is profound: it's fundamental, essential.

I couldn't have done that in an office.

I couldn't have done it in a factory, either.

I wish I could have gotten here without inflicting pain on those around me.

It's my regret.

Ah, this falling in love with myself stuff is hard work.

Digging in to those dark, toxic relics to heal the spaces they've occupied.

I sure wish I had a friend with whom I was on hugging terms right now.

But, I can do that for myself, too.

Maybe it's my old Baptist upbringing. We were trained that, if we were to be good life partners to others, we must submit to the will of god.

Now, I question the notion that the Baptists have any idea what the will of an infinite being would be. And I certainly have no respect for their limited and self serving interpretations of it, especially in regards to women.

But there's something in it I recognize.

I need to submit. I need to humble myself, bow to the Universe and admit I'm clueless, lost and scared. I need to get honest with reality.

I need to devote myself to what places me in reality, not in illusion and distraction.

How can life find me, if I'm hiding all the time? How can I love or be loved, if I'm pretending?

Nothing profound here.

It is a bit of a middle class privilege, this finding one's self business.

Most of us are too busy, keeping the landlord at bay, hauling water, picking pockets, picking vegetables, hustling. Most of us don't have the luxury of naval contemplation. We're too busy, trying to survive.

Oh, my gawd: I'm watching the AFI 100 best songs in film.....

"White Christmas:" "Holiday Inn" version. Dad worked on both movies.


Hey, look, I just started working on MOM!

Can't he wait a LITTLE while?

Gawd, Dad loved music! What an EAR!

Well, the song's gone, thank gawd.

I shouldn't blog when these old songs are playing.

Maybe I should...Iso miss my music! I'd kill for a turntable. sigh.

So, I don't know if I'd have gotten real, if the whole world hadn't gone "pfft!" around me.

But here you go.

If I make it, it'll be beautiful.

If I don't, the journey's beautiful, too. Painful, for sure, but beautiful...

when the going gets tough, the tough fry 'taters

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I decided I wouldn't let the Monster Voice own me ...yet. Will see how I do later, but for now, I'm ok.

I did some brave stuff. First, I sent a copy of the "ok, ok" post to appropriate department heads at the station.

Now, given my experience with Mom, this was a risk. Mom used any tenderness, intimacy, admission of humanity...as ammunition against me.

I suspect this could happen in this other context, as well. Esp. with the issue of certain people trying to encourage me into going into therapy.

I finally put my foot down. I said to a "boss" at the station, "have YOU ever gone for councilling at UNM Hospital???"

Drug 'em and plug 'em: get the cliants manageable on medication, send 'em out the door.

I mean no disrespect, but no 12 step, Therapy du Jour is going to get it for me.

I'm not a low-functioning schizophrenic who just needs to be shuffled off to a rehab, a half way house and a minimum wage gig.

That easy lay school of "psychology" is DANGEROUS to me!

I don't want burned out beurocrats, rummaging around in my psyche, promoting their hidden agendas, threatening sanctions if I don't comply.

Nope: I really believe the ONLY way for me to heal is to heal myself.

Can you say, "A Beautiful Mind?" Remember what the medical "profession" did to HIM???! Savages!

I'm NOT, by way of clarification, scizophrenic., bipolar or any of those brain chemical disabilities.

Post Traumatic Stress here. Diagnosed, however, as depression. PTSD doesn't qualify for Disability benefits--go figure. Garden variety depression does.

Look, for those of you who've been reading these posts: do I SEEM depressed to you???

Whatever; it bought me some time and a little income, 'til I could pull myself up and out again...which is what's up right now.

The second brave thing I did was write to my advisor. He's coming over to fiddle with the computer tomorrow, anyway, and bring me a telephone tapping thingy.

The subject of my email was: "Give me work!"

I'm just worried I'm getting rusty. There's already stuff I can't remember.

So, I said that, if he had any stuff laying around, I'd like a turn at it, if it's not date sensitive.

He's got work. Whew! And may even pay me "a little." Hell, I'll work for free; I ain't proud! I need to get my head out my butt so I can see something besided my own um byproducts.

Then, I pulled out my Fry Daddy and fried me up a mess o' taters.

The panic is gone. I feel bruised, from the intensity of the experience; it's a strong after effect.

I even had chest pains!

I'm tender and sore and raw and shakey, but the worst, more acute, sharp pain of panic is GONE!

THat fast!

Not weeks, months, years...I did it in about an hour.

Whatever or whoever is helping me do this scary work, thank you! I'm finding resources of strenght and wisdom I didn't know I had available!

And, if it's just me doing this, thank me! LOL

I'm a tough, old broad. That's one of the GOOD things I inherited from that bitch mother of mine.

So, when all else fails, face the bitch square in the eye, tell somebody you're being abused, find hard work, and fry potatoes!

ok, ok

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See, THIS is why I need to be more thoughtful of people: their demons. As much pain as I'm in right now, I KNOW others are suffering, too.

And when I'm thoughtless, self absorbed, clumsy...not to mention angry, hostile, short tempered...I can cause people more pain.

I need to learn to be more gentle: with myself and with others.

My gentleness is quite disabled around adult people. Animas and kids, no problem.

But adult humans scare the CRAP out of me. I tend to walk in spiked armor. And I hurt people, as a result.

I don't mean to, but the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

I've got to be more deliberate in the world. I've got to be more conscious of the fear and insecurity that I bury with bells, whistles, smoke and mirrors.

My M.O. is to distract Them from me with lots of noise, color and gizmos. It works, too, by the way. They think I'm a wind chime or carnival ride, and they never see the kernel of fear in the center.

Usually, they don't, anyway....

And I've been very efficient at barring any who DO see beyond the illusion from further contact with me.

If they won't go away voluntarily, I'll hurt them until they give up.

The people I really respect, really honor: I always feel I have to protect them from me, before I can hurt them. I've felt guilty for this my whole life.

I mean, I can REALLY hurt them! Usually, it's so conniving, so cunning, I don't even know I'm doing it!

And the damage can be severe. I can regret it the rest of my life.

So, somehow, I've got to be brave enough to protect myself without being so spikey.

I've driven off any and everybody who has ever loved me or respected me.

This business of changing in which I'm finding myself is very disorienting. None of my old rules for survival apply.

I don't know the language here. I don't know what I should do!

I DO know that, whatever my automatic reaction is, I need to pay attention and try to think about it, before I go there.

This is harder than learning a new language, a new skill, a new subject.

Here I am, nearly fifty years old, trying to learn how to be human.

I want it, I really do. I'm embarrassed at my clumsiness. I'm embarrassed I'm starting with fundamentals I should have learned in childhood.

I think of how badly I'm hurting, right now. And I'm thinking of the hurt I've caused others. And so MUCH of it wasn't necessary!

I made the mistake of saying I wanted people to genuinely smile, when they hear my name, like they do with my buddy.

Now, the whole subject is opened up to me, and I'm terrified!

I'm also, finally, hopeful.

I sincerely don't know if I can do this thing. I really don't. It may be too little, too late.

But I know this: if I don't TRY to grow, to heal, I'll never get where I need to be.

I have nothing to lose and everything to gain.

A very smart woman reminded me of that recently.

This business of rebirthing? It really hurts.

I refuse to run.

panic attack!

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What if certain people are right: I'm just trash & will never amount to anything (last phrase: voice of my mother)?

What if I'm too clueless to understand how to operate in "the real world?"

What if my productions are not broadcast-worthy?

What if I can't get comfortable with mixing?

What if I can't sell a damn thing?

What if the people who've shown faith in me are disappointed?

What if my advisor wakes up and realizes I'm a loser, and withdraws support and equipment?

What if I really AM too weird to socialize?

What if I screw up, big time, again?

What if I'm too damaged to swim in the deep end?

What if some external factor, which I can't see coming (like sickness, eviction, legal problems, etc) suddenly disrupts everything and I have to let people down or miss deadlines?

That cold, dark place whispers to me: you're not going to make it; you're kidding yourself; you're too stupid; you're too ugly; you're too crazy.....

It's trying to seduce me back into my damn ghettoized, crippled isolation.

It's right here, with me. I can smell it. Literally: my body smells different since this started.

It hates me. It wants me to fail. It rejoices in my setbacks. It encourages me to give up and, if I won't, tempts me to screw up.

It's Mom. I know it is! It's sick and sadistic, cruel and jealous. It doesn't want to share me with the Light, with Love, with Community.

I have to fight. I don't know how, but I've got to get through this!

It'll kill me, if I let it.

That computer and mic, sitting in my living room, that means Life.

I'm afraid to go near it tonight; I'm afraid of damaging it. Honest to goodness, I am.

I feel dirty and ugly, with this self loathing.

I'm taking baby steps: catching up on chores & emails. I'm moving very slowly and deliberately, so I won't bump into anything--especialy around the table with The Computer on it.

It's sickening, this presence in me.

I have to be kind to myself. Not self endulgent, trying to cover up with some addictive type behavior.

I have to be gentle with myself. I have to forgive myself for being human and traumatized and vulnerable and insecure.

I'm not sure I really know how to do this.

I need to rescue myself from that Monster Voice my mother taught me.

I'm really scared!

I think I'll take a shower and have a good cry.

Yeah, crying seems to be helping. There's grief in it: old grief of a small girl, terrified, alone and facing a shrieking, punching demon who is her mother.

That poor kid! I need to go to her, comfort her, protect her from that sick bitch.

I need to "kill" my mother.

I don't know how, but I have to do this!

I must put that sickness behind me!

That child I was, this woman I am, we deserve better.

everything is interesting

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I used to rattle around in the War Zone, hearing people's stories. They're really profound. Many of the people around me had few words for what was happening to them, so listening closely was very important. One word, one phrase, has to suffice for large concepts.

I tried, at the time, to interest the Alibi (local, free paper) in publishing some of these stories. The middle class knows nothing about life, east of Louisiana Blvd.

I always wondered how in the dickens middle class people could ever care, or help. Even those who provide services to the War Zone presume things, based on their own experience, which have nothing to do with War Zone life.

It's like they're speaking two different languages.

My background helped me bridge the chasm between both worlds. I could see the value in people's stories. Things could radically transform, if those with the decision-making power could just know what it's like.

So much of the damage in the War Zone is merely a failure to communicate.

So, I wanted to tell their stories.

I wrote a few, but not as many, or as deeply, as I'd have liked.

Today, on the bus, looking at people, I had that urge to record their stories again.

I don't know what it will mean.

I don't know if I can "sell" programming of first-person poverty.

But I KNOW these stories could change our world! I KNOW they could!

When I could get people in the War Zone outside of that victim/perpetrator paradigm, truly amazing perspectives, philosophies and spiritualities appeared.

I'm going to think about it very carefully.

But the main reason I was smiling so much was that I saw the people around me as pure wealth: stories.

Every where and every one is a potential story.

I don't know how I'll do it, or even what I'll do.

But I'm going to collect these stories, edit them and do something useful with them.

Some how...

they're checking me out!

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Good grief! What ever it is I'm doing, I'm going to keep doing it!

While waiting at bus stops today, I noticed quite a few people in passing cars were checking me out. Men, mostly, of course. But whatever....

I smiled the whole way to my errand and back.

I'm so HAPPY! I can earn a living now!

I'd be thinking about stuff that was going on at the moment, when, suddenly, I'd remember: I'm an indepedent radio producer!

Just hearing Tom, Tristan, Spencer...on the radio this morning cheered me up. They're such nice people! And they --ususally-- smile when they see me coming.

I was thinking about that, too. There's one guy who seems to just have IT, whatever that is. All I have to do is mention the guy's name, and people light up. I thought: I need to be more like that. Genuinely, of course; I can't pull off fake, lying crap to save my life!

But I want people's eyes to light up when they hear my name. I'm tired of knowing they often furrow their brows, either in confusion, frustration or aggrevation. LOL.

So today, I consciously meditated on how to appreciate the people around me better. Especially the problematic people who put me on guard.

Being on the bus in Albuquerque, one gets to experience some people who appear frightening, sad, messed up, etc. frequently.

I looked at people who did that to me, and thought about who they might be, what they might value, how they might suffer.

And I got past a lot of my prejudice about most of them.

They're just people, after all. Approaching them as potential threats keeps me small.

So, I'm working on accepting all sorts of people, without putting myself in danger.

It'll take lots of work, of course. I have good reason to be suspicious.

Still, it was an interesting morning, paying attention to those around me.

My gosh, I'm a radio producer!

the planet's breathing

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As a native Californian, I will always bear a secret resentment against any geographical location that's not near an ocean. I was overtly resentful when I lived in Kentucky. Here, I've pretended I've resigned myself to an oceanless life, and repressed my longing for waves and tides.

But I noticed the wind here. It obeys the same, basic principles as the ocean. It has tides. Oh, they're not regulated so much by the moon and aren't as predictable. But the motion of air here crecendos at times and then relaxes into gentle movement.

The wind sounds like the ocean. Right now, the wind is lapping at my window curtains with the same ebb and flow of foaming water in a high tide pool.

I can stand in my garden and feel myself emmersed in an ocean of air. I can see currents move tree tops and blown trash in directions overhead that differ from my experience on the ground.

I still miss the ocean. I miss salt in my nose. I miss feeling my skin rejoice at ions and molecules.

But I'm learning to let go the resentment.

And I hope to be near the ocean again, some day.

Someone just gave me some sea shells from Martha's Vinyard. They're nice, but it's not the same. For one thing, it's Martha's Vinyard, y'know? A place where I couldn't afford a sandwich. ANd I don't know the Atlantic. I was on intimate terms with the Pacific; it's Home to me.

Still, in the ribs of scallops and the swoops of oysters, I see something familiar, if distant, if dead. I touched them to my tongue, looking for a hint of salt. But they're neutral as bones or stones. They're too far away and long ago from their origins to whisper much to me.

I put them in a paint bucket of tomato plants, for now. Someday, they'll be wind chimes.

The air here moves, leaps and swirls. It pushes and shoves. It's as alive as any ocean.

It offers no moisture, no mist.

But it refreshes me to feel the planet breathing.

Monday, June 21, 2004

lucky underwear

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About a month ago, on my walk to the radio station, I dumpster dove.

Baby, I hit a gold mine! I think, by some of the stuff I found, a stripper moved out and all her stuff was in a dumpster.

I got elbow length gloves, black and white pairs. I got beautiful scarves. Satin curtains and sheets. Nice "street" wear.

And the BEST, sexy underwear! I washed it all with a little amonia, to kill germs.

Every TIME I wear some of it...and it was about 2 grocery sacks full...something wonderful happens.

Today, I wore the leopard spotted bra and panti set.

I went to the station today, to get help finding my stuff on all the computers. Someone helped me, and burned a disc for me, of all my interviews, scripts, notes, etc. I also have software to put the borrowed computer on the University's ISP. I need a long phone cord, first.

The Gurrlz on da 1st floor will take care of the hummingbird feeder until I return the 1st week of July.

National Native News knows I'll be back in July.

I know what kind of interface I need to buy, to record telephone interviews.

I apologized to the station manager, for being a "pain in the ass, but I mean well." He smiled.

I got hugs from my two, favorite reporters.

I took care of my business, hunny!

I flirted a little.

I came home hot and tired, with a headache from the glare. I'm enjoying my underwear, under the air conditioner, with Osa's hot cat paw on my knee.

I don't know. I feel beautiful. I'm full of energy, even though I'm tired.

I'm not scared or worried or any of that.

Someone emailed, worrying about the equipment.

First, nobody's welcomed in my home who isn't trustworthy. The Food Not Bombs people are good hearted and hard working. Anybody else is radio people. So, they're not going to mess with anything.

As for my pin head neighbors, the crack whores and drunks in the alley, etc.: they're all terrified of Porkchop, my pit bull. I mean, they're SCARED of him. All last year, he charged and snarled at anybody who passed by.

He's more mellow now, but THEY don't know that, and that's FINE with me!

I need to fry me some chicken, warm up some of the FABULOUS cheese garlic bread we made yesterday, and eat some salad with honey mustard dressing.

I feel ten years younger!

Day After Christmas

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Ah, what a Summer Solstice! The highest ration of light to dark during the year.

I woke up excited. I couldn't remember why.

Fuzzy and bumbling, I went toward the livingroom, to retrieve my coffee mug to fill.

And there sat The Computer: silent, white, loaded with potential.

I had a hard time, finding my coffee mug. I used to keep my water glass, coffee mug and ashtray on that table.

But The Computer goes there now. I won't let anything near it that could damage it. Beverages and ashes are forbidden.

Looks like I'll have to start smoking outside now.

I squeeked, when I saw The Computer. It's a symbol, heavy with meaning. It's the Monolith from "2001: a Space Odyssey." It appears and consciousness evolves. I'm in the throes of a paradigm shift, and I know it.

What happens next is anybody's guess.

But the basic symbolism is: self sufficiency, creative expression, useful work, education, communication, income.

It'll be hard, frustrating work. There will be times when I feel I'm over my head, under looming deadlines, totally frustrated by editors, aching for final approval and payment....

But that's nothing compared to my experiences of insecurity.

I finally found the coffee mug. That should be obvious; I can't blog without caffeine.

I have to find a method to do telephone interviews from here. I'm already researching equipment and software.

Dog's barking.