Poverty Is Not an Accident

Poverty Is Not an Accident
Nelson Mandela

Friday, August 27, 2004

moving and moving and...

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I have tons to say, but I just cracked my head on the bike rack on the trunk of my girl's car while loading. ouch.

and I'm hot and tired and hungry and must go unload all the junk I just packed.

We're getting the last of her stuff tonight, so I must rest my achin' head, take a bath and eat.

The new place is awesome.

We're settling in gracefully and having a ball.

I have mushy stuff for the Viri Diana blog, too, but it'll just have to wait until I get back to this slum to write.

We're renting a U Haul on Monday for my big furniture. I've still got a month to pack my little crap, but I'd like the big stuff to put the little stuff on, if you understand what I mean.

That girl's the BEST thing ever happened to me and I really am the luckiest girl in the world

I'm all gushy and mushy and giggly and stuff. awe...

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

up, if not at 'em

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Freshly-laundered curtains and table cloths hang outside on the line. I'll pack them to take over this morning.

I even remembered to pack a rug for the back porch, so I won't track in dirt as I'm unpacking. Still need a radio, though.

She's sleeping as though unconscious. She didn't move all night.

It's five in the morning now. I'll leave within the hour.

Somehow, my bedroom clock reset itself; I thought it was five when I awoke; it was four. Something to do with setting the alarm makes the time hour jump. It has happened before.

I don't care. I'm so tired and in so much pain, an hour more or less isn't going to make much difference. I can nap this afternoon, anyway.

She has no set time to go to work today. Let her sleep. Maybe she won't be so rigid this evening, if she's rested.

I'd like to talk to her about that person who invaded my home last night. I want to tell her how it hurts to be perceived as a threat to homeland security.

I'm going to borrow on that predatory loan again this month. She said not to, that I can pay back rent, deposits, later. But I want to build a cat kennel. I want to pay her back. I don't want money becoming a problem between us.

And I certainly don't want things thrown up in my face. I couldn't stand that.

So, I'd rather pay ten percent interest for the priviledge of borrowing my own money from myself than be a second class citizen in my own home.

Hopefully, once we're settled from this move, I can sell more radio, and more often, too.

I feel tainted, coated with a film of inadequacy. No doubt, it's my own, internalized stuff. I can't blame her for asking questions. In fact, I prefer that she do. I hate unspoken and hidden agendas; they'll always sneak up and bite me in the butt later. It's best I encourage her to say what she means, let her know she has permission to be honest and blunt.

Not taking it personally: that's the challenge.

And my ego's frail right now. I'm dirty; I'm tired; I'm in pain. I'm looking over the relics of my life as I pack and feeling old losses and memories. It's easy for me to interpret things as evidence of my failure.

We're on thin ice right now. This could blow into a major storm. I need to monitor myself, even though I'm tired. I need to be conscious of my own crap, so as not to lay it on her or this relationship.

Damage threatens.

I'm sneaking my 3rd cigarette before daylight, hoping the fans and air conditioner will push the smoke outdoors and not to the bedroom where she sleeps.

Miss Thing, my Siamese, is playing mouse with some litter on the floor in the hallway. I hope she doesn't wake my girl.

It'll help to have seperate rooms: I can keep the cats and dog away from her. She likes animals, but she likes order, too. And she's a farm girl who feels animals should be outside.

Porkchop will have a bed in the kitchen, for nights my girl visits my room. And I'll build some cat trees: platforms on two-by-four pedistals, covered in carpetting.

There's an attic. I'm going to check it out as potential cat space, too. And storage, of course.

I'm trying very hard not to wring my girl's neck right now. Not literally, of course.

But I am capable of violence. I'm capable of cruelty and have flirted with that with her, to my regret.

I don't want my fragile ego to cause unnecessary damage.

I want this move to be a healing and nurturing thing.

I see the first whisps of sunlight filtering through the tarps outside. It'll be time to leave soon.

I'll have to fumble in the dark bedroom for my clothes. That was bad planning. I should bring them, and anything else I need to take, out into the living room, so I won't disturb her.

My kitchen looks sparse and tossed. Alien. Sad. Lonely. Returning to a state of slum hovel. Entropy.

I won't miss this building.

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

too tired

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Well, I've been moving stuff for three days. I've moved two car loads per day.

My legs are going numb and tingling. That's why I'm out here, typing, instead of sleeping like I should be. I'm in too much pain, and I'm afraid I'll wake her up. She doesn't know.

I mean, I told her I'm in pain, but she doesn't understand what that really means. And, given how much she's already worrying about details, I'm not going to tell her, either.

She's got a lot at work right now. She came home trashed tonight. She didn't even take time for lunch.

She didn't even say hi to me. She asked how long the trunk of her car had been open. Seems there's a light in it. I could have run down the battery. sigh

Then, we walked to Yasmine's to get some salads to go with the meat I'd cooked. The whole way, she kept worrying about my smoking. I'm down from twenty to forty cigarettes/day to between six and thirteen. That's because of the patches.

But she's worried I could have a heart attack, smoking with patches on.

We got to the restaurant and I said, "I can't do this; I can't be in public." I almost ran home. She couldn't keep up. I didn't want to be in there, a place where we've had such good times, feeling so lousy. I felt picked on.

She was still in "work" mode. I was in pain and wanting some comfort, but she wasn't able to do that.

She finally became herself just before she fell asleep. I only got a couple of seconds with her tonight. Even then, she was trouble shooting and problem solving details of this move. All I could say was, "you sweet talker, you." I petted her as she fell asleep.

I'm in SO much pain! And I've got to be at the new house at seven thirty in the morning, in case the gas company shows up. The car's already loaded with almost the last of the kitchen stuff, including my table.

I'm planning to spend the day washing up kitchen stuff and putting it all in the cabinets while I wait for the gas co. I brought my electric hot plate, so I can boil some water for cleaning.

She circumvented telling her sister she's moving in with me. Besides me, her sister is her greatest confidante. I don't feel good about this. I'm internalizing it as a sign she's ashamed or embarrassed to admit we're going to be living together. I don't want to be a source of seperation and distancing between them, either.

She's really scared. I'm trying to be patient. Last night, she asked me if I was using her to save me. My heart fell through my gut.

I managed to say that, if I were really a gold digger, I could certainly do better picking a "mark" with money. I tried to make light of it, but it did hurt. I know that's what she thinks her sister would say. And her coworkers, too.

I've kept myself alive all these years alone. Oh, once in awhile, some nice person will toss a little money my way, in an emergency. But, for the most part, I'd rather pick trash than take a hand out. I'd rather walk than get a "free" ride from someone who'll want their butt kissed for it.

I don't need her in order to survive. I'm doing that, thank you.

Fact is, us living together will save us both a good chunk of change. It's also a better living environment for me than this den. Having me to care for her is good for her, too; she neglects some things.

It just makes sense for us to be room mates. We'll collectively save about three hundred a month this way.

I'm not going to list all the practical reasons why this is a good idea. Not right now. I'm starting to feel sleepy, thank heavens.

Yeah, us living together could take some of the stress off of me: I can pay off that predatory loan; I have room to write and produce and garden and do art.

But I don't need "saving." What exactly do I need "saving" from, does she think? The concept confuses me.

I'm saving myself.

If she feels used this early, do I stand a chance? Will I have to justify every cigarette, action, event of my life to prove myself? Is she really just looking for an "out?" Buyer's regret? Cold feet?

Or, maybe she's just stressed out by all of it, as am I, plus she's had a really crappy day at work.

Well, the car's loaded, anyway. I certainly have enough to do tomorrow to keep me out of trouble. I hope I remember to pack a radio; all day in an empty house without human sound can be long.

I'm blinking a lot and my eyelids feel dry: signs I should sleep soon.

Can't think much more, anyway; I'm just too damned tired.

This pain and numbness is scary.

Wish I had someone to help me move...

Sunday, August 15, 2004

a house

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We got a house today. I start moving in tomorrow.

It's 2 bedrooms, with large kitchen and livingroom. I have space for a recording studio/writing study. The yards are huge. It's thick adobe, with an attic for storage.

It's on a very quiet street with very nice neighbors. The couple next door has chickens.

We have room for my 2nd refrigerator and washer. We have room for my greenhouse and lawn furniture.

The kitchen is so large, I can open my dining table, add a leaf, plop it in the middle of the room and still have space for shelving all the way around it. It'll be my "island."

The living room's quite large and comfortable.

I get the kitchen and my bedroom. My girl gets the livingroom and her bedroom. We share the bathroom, with a door through each of our bedrooms.

My bedroom's got a door to the kitchen, too. Hers has a door to the livingroom.

Porkchop won't be allowed in the livingroom or her room

I'm going to fence off a "kennel" for my cats, so they can't bother my neighbors' chickens. They'll be able to come and go through my bedroom window.

The kitchen has much more cabinet space, and the oven is much larger. It has a medium sized refrigerator; with mine, we'll have plenty of food storage.

It's within walking distance of a good grocer's. It's within walking distance of Old Towne, too, and Downtown.

It's a very quiet neighborhood. I didn't hear one voice or any music, on a Sunday afternoon, the whole time we were there.

I begin moving in tomorrow.

I won't pay anymore rent for this dump. He can use my deposit for next month's rent. I'll give notice when my stuff is safely out of here.

I should be out by the beginning of Sept. I'm borrowing my girl's car to move my stuff and we'll rent a small truck for the appliances and large furniture.

So, she'll have a new space when she returns from her trip and resumes school. She'd have been rather too busy for a move then, anyway.

And I'll spend my first Solstice alone in a new house, with my little tree in the window.

I can plant a fabulous garden there. The animals will be happy.

Since our bedrooms are seperated by the bathroom, we won't wake each other up much.

Next year, I'd like to have a barbeque in the back yard for my birthday.

This year, a new home is enough birthday for me.

She's doing laundry right now. She'll probably be back tonight. She has stayed here every night, since we became lovers. She was supposed to spend tonight at her place, but is bringing me her car and her bicycle, so she can go to work on it tomorrow.

And she can easily bicycle to work from our new place.

Ironically, the whole house costs only twenty-five dollars per month more than I've been paying for this dump.

We've made extra keys. We've planned the utilities, phone and post office.

I'm ready.

And so, the adventure continues.


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I guess my habit of collapsing onto the commode has finally caught up
with me. One of the floor bolts has rusted through and the commode tilts
when seated and leaks when flushed.

I can't fix it; it needs a new bolt in the floor.

I've called the property "management" (sic) company and they notified
the plumber. I have no idea when/if I'll hear from said plumber before
the weekend. Lovely.

We may have to improvise.

Of course, as soon as I got everything done and settled for a little
nap, the plumber called. He says he'll be here in about an hour.
I suggested he make some noise outside my gate, so I'd know he was
there. He suggested he holler, "hey, Momma!"

I suggested that I'm not, like TA Russell's other female tenants,
trailer trash nor a prostitute, and that he might choose instead to
address me as "Ms. R." I also pointed out I ignore most
disruptions at my front gate, as my neighbors are all addicts and mental
patients, and I'm afraid of them.

TA Russell: hires only the best to enter a single woman's home with
tools that can crush skulls.

At any rate, barring any unforeseen circumstances (which, with this
place, there are, always), we may be capable of crapping in the commode
over the weekend, after all. I'll shoot an email if this seems not to be
the case.

What's your ETA? or are you hiding in your room tonight?
Now I know why my bathroom always stank and why I couldn't clean the
linoleum: it was saturated with sewage.

Oh, I'll need to buy bleach soon, too. Stadium grocery has it on sale
for a dollar a gallon this week.
I'm slummed out.

At any rate, I've told the secratary I'm thinking of moving by the first
of the year. I've also stipulated that, if they insist on charging me a
late fee for this month's rent and taking me to court if I won't pay it,
I may have to adjust my plans to move sooner. She'll pass on the

I believe that, should I stand my ground, especially since they know I'm
planning to move relatively soon, anyway, they won't bother with the
expense of filing eviction papers with the court. It's pretty much just
a scare tactic.

I'm washing my nasty cleaning rags, pet blankets, etc. I have dishes in
hot water to wash. I'm now prepared to fiddle with computers while
everything else gets clean.

Heavy cleaning of nastiness makes me understandably grouchy, as I hate
filth, dust and sweat.

I will try to be civilized this evening, but I ain't makin' no promises.
I'd say another walk is in order.


The toilet was never repaired on Friday. It's still disassembled and just hovering over the sewage pipe. The flange is broken and a REAL plumber is to come sometime on Monday to sledge hammer a larger hole in the floor, reset new concrete, install a new flange, replace the seal and reassemble the toilet.

The Two Stooges never returned and didn't leave word, either with Russell or with me, as to their whereabouts.

The first thing they did was threaten to kill my dog, sight unseen, when Raoul "warned" them I have a pit bull. When I questioned them about it, the "spokesperson" said he was only kidding. uh, huh.

They tore apart the toilet. Then, they announced they were going to their truck for supplies and would have to call Russell for instructions. Russell has told them this building makes no money and that he doesn't want much money for repairs put into it. So, they were going to recommend a simple, silicone seal around the base of the commode. Raw sewage would seep into the ground, onto the floor, that way and the seal wouldn't be able to withstand the repeated weight of people sitting on it.

They disappeared.

So, I called Russell, who yelled at ME, because my toilet was broken. He said the "plumbers" were on their way to a big box store for parts. They never returned.

On their way to their truck, Raoul offered them a "soft drink" aka a beer. I said, "Mr. Nieto, I have waited all day for these men to repair my commode so that I might deficate. Would you mind allowing them to finish their task without disruption before you offer to get them drunk?"

Later, Raoul was telling the new schizophrenic, the one who bangs on walls and pipes, screaming about how he's going to kill someone, that all "clit-sucking Lesbians" are satanic and must die.

Well, my girl came over at the tail of all this and stood, wide-eyed, in my livingroom. She said she thought nobody should have to live like this.

So, we're hunting apartments, mobile homes and houses.

Just like that.

So, my plans have changed again. I'm now packing, sorting, planning, calling prospective landlords, eating up canned foods, etc.

I'm still a bit stunned by it all. I'll have more to say, once I really wake up. But these are the basics.

Monday, August 09, 2004


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Oof! Wow, I finally got an eight-hour night of sleep! First time in, what? Four days? moan.

The good news is that the project was a complete sucess! In fact, it was better than any of us could have imagined!

I invited a friend of mine to watch it happen. He sat in a corner, watching my girl do her thang, mesmerized. She was ON, hunny!

I watched people leaving: guests, crew, etc. Everybody was grinning and chattering. Everybody was excited and full of energy. They looked like five-year-olds at an amusement park. Even the really old guys. It was so gratifying!

We went to a party after the event. I was so happy. Nobody even noticed me; they were all about my girl. They offered her champagne. They toasted her. They hung around her, chatting and bubbling. I got her a plate of the buffet, brought it to her and stood in a corner in the kitchen. I just watched everyone from there. It was a group project and everybody worked SO hard. It was so professional. It was so healing. It was so positive. And everybody knew it and everybody was so charged up about it.

People would look over at me from time to time. I could see them thinking, "I really should go over and talk to her, but I really don't know what to say." Well, I wasn't part of the big project, really. I just brought food, did some minor technical stuff, etc. Mostly, I kept my girl fed, clothed, rested (as much as possible). I just took care of the petty details that get forgotten in crisis mode, so she didn't have to sweat it.

So, when I saw people were beginning to pay attention to me, trying to figure out what they should say to me, I went outside. I just walked around the garden and chatted with folks as they were coming and going. I didn't want to make anybody uncomfortable.

We got there late, as my girl had details to finish in the office. We stayed just long enough for everybody to tell her what a fabulous job she'd done pulling the project together. We left before all the guests had gone.

I said, "ok, NOW you can get excited. NOW, you can take in what a marvelous thing you did, providing the space for this thing to happen. NOW, you can hear what a healing thing this was."

When we got home, I put her to bed. She was asleep when her head hit the pillow.

I'm still pretty wobbly today. I did a lot of walking, stair climbing, errand running, fussing and pacing. I hurt pretty badly.

When my girl finishes work tonight, I'll have supper ready. Sardine quesadillas, salmon quesadillas, candied fruit and crema for dessert. We'll throw the dog in the car and go to the mountains for a long walk in the cool of the evening.

Then, we'll sleep.

I'm smoking less every day, in spite of the crisis of the Final Push of this project. I was all nerves and emotions. I hadn't planned to get so emmersed in the project. But, when I saw all the last minute stuff that was becoming problematic, I put aside my other stuff and just helped as much as I could. Wouldn't matter if we were lovers; I'd have done it, anyway. 'course, the fact we've become so close made it easier for her to LET me help.

It was a good experience. It was a tense situation. She could have been very crabby and short tempered. I could have been bumbling or whiney. But we worked as a team and everything came out better than expected.

It reassurred me, nowing we could work so closely and so well together for extended periods. There was lots of laughing, moaining in exhaustion, plotting, trouble shooting, hugging and wishing it was over, already.

Now, I'm ready to dig in to my own stuff again. Life returns to "normal" for the rest of the summer and early fall.

In November, she'll leave town for more than a month. I have no idea what that will be like. I'm just enjoying the time we have now, while I can, before her schedule fills up again.

I'm keeping our creative project for next year in the back of my mind. We plan to start working on it after the first of the year.

I'm SO tired! I'm going to watch these silly soap operas 'til three. Then, I'll nap until she gets back, let her nap while I make supper. Then, we'll be off for our next adventure. I'm too stupid to talk right now.

She bragged about me last night. She said I held her together so she could get everything done. I was flattered, but I know damned well she'd have made it through everything without me. It's nice to know, though, that I made things a little easier on her.

She'd do the same for me, y'know. She's already working on a project I'm doing.

She's very cute. She talks in her sleep. She says funny things: not different than what she'd say if conscious, but that breathy, baby voice in my ear, still solving problems and telling jokes, well, it's cute.

I wonder if her mind ever stops.

She's a miracle. Plain and simple. And I'm the luckiest girl in the world.

By the way: the party was held in a house I'd normally never enter except to clean. It was obvious our hostess had paid attention to every detail. There wasn't even any dust on the windowsills, and this is Albuquerque, which is always dusty. It was a fabulous environment fot the party. It was hosted by a relative of one of the participants; none of us had met her before. I made sure she knew how much I appreciated what she'd done, how comfortable was her home, how much I envied her kitchen (which is the size of my whole apartment). I really liked her. It was a pleasure to meet her. She's just regular folk, who was lucky enough to come into enough money to have a very nice home I got her, she got me. I felt completely relaxed and comfortable, even though I was surrounded by artists, authors, academics, business people....educated, affluent folk. She did a great job, making sure everybody was comfortable.

As a matter of fact, I surprised some people with my social skills yesterday. She was very happy to see them look at me more the way she sees me. I was poised, helpful, friendly, comforting, encouraging...I mothered everybody, all day long. Especially my girl.

What a PARTY!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Friday, August 06, 2004

how to help

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For now, my ways of helping are, necessarily, remedial. But they do help.

My scooter tire's flat. Oh, I could patch one of the tubes that doesn't really fit right. But the odds are I'd get stuck somewhere. I've got new tires & tubes ordered at eBay and they should be here within a week.

But I had an appointment at UNMH for "financial aid" this morning. My girl volunteered to drive me and sleep in her car while I was in there.

I emailed in the middle of the night, saying not to come get me. I'd walk.

I woke at 7 to my alarm. I'm fuzzy headed and not thinking right. It's dangerous for me to walk.

But I called my girl, to make sure she got my message. She had, and she'd replied, but my email is empty. There's a compatibility problem between MSNTV and, apparantly, ANY other email client. Emails get lost sometimes.

I reassured her I'd go alone. She thanked me. She may be over later for a nap.

Well, UNMH's office is less than 2 miles from my house. I called to schedule the appointment over a week ago. They were supposed to send me a "check list" of necessary documentation I'd need to bring with me.

I didn't get the list until four o'clock, yesterday.

I'll have some serious digging around to do, to unearth the paperwork documentation they require. Frankly, I'm not thinking clearly enough, nor do I have enough time this morning, to get everything they want and still show up on time.

So, as soon as I finish this post, I'll call to reschedule for late next week. Hopefully, I'll have my scooter running again by then.

And I'll certainly have all the paperwork collected together which they require.

I have no idea why it took over seven days for a letter from them, two miles away, to arrive at my house the evening before my appointment.

I have to trust this beurocracy with my health. That's pretty scary.

My girl should be in her meeting by now, with most of the extra work dumped on her completed. She'll still have more to do today, of course. And she'll have to deal with someone who lost it recently and must be "handled." THAT's an unnecessary distraction and aggrevation.

People think I'll be irresponsible or cause damage, because I'm poor. It's a stereotype, of course, but there it is.

Yet, it would seem it's always the spoiled, self-impressed, priviledged people who do the most damage.

Anything troublesome associated with me is generally a case of the priviledged resenting me for being straight forward, anyway.

The priviledged thrive on lies, misdirections and smoke and mirrors. I hate that crap.

Well, it's time to call the beurocoracy and reschedule.

'course, every week without dental care is another week I can't kiss my girl. dang.

I need to help

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I don't want to be another chore, another task, my girl feels she needs to take care of. She's in the final stages of a big project that gets presented on Sunday. People promised to do things, didn't, and she's stuck finishing their work at the last minute. She didn't get a full night's sleep Weds. night, because someone lost their mind and she got paged too early in the morning. today, she has to stop in the middle of her project work to deal with THAT person's self destruction.

She came over this evening trouble shooting all she has left to do yet. I suggested we cancel our movie plans, have some supper, and I could go to the office to help. She agreed.

We had a fine supper and laughed a lot. But she couldn't work with me there; I distract her and she couldn't concentrate.

She said she'd just get up at 4am, head back, do what needed doing before an early meeting.

She spent her time here with me completely unfragmented, completely here, completely generous, attentive and at peace.

We fell asleep at midnight.

At two, she woke and said she needed to go to work.

I made her breakfast, juice and tea. I told her some stories, to help her focus on being awake. I sent her out the door by three.

I can't help, beyond that. I don't have enough skill to help with the work. I don't have a car to run errands for her. I don't have money to buy us nice foods she can pack for meals at work.

I feel helpless to help.

Mean time, I'm fighting the temptation to believe she's ashamed to be connected to me. I don't know how to weigh her concerns without ragging on myself.

But, the fact is, several influential people think I'm weird or irresponsible or possibly dangerous or something. It's nothing I really did, of course. I'm one of the most responsible and ethical people you'll ever meet. It's mostly their prejudices.

But, like I said, I can be pretty abrasive and loud, when I'm feeling defensive. I'm just trying to protect myself, of course. I don't care what the new age types say. I'm low income. I know for a fact that what other people think can kill me. So, I keep them at a distance.

I already made the mistake of confiding in one. I won't make that mistake again.

See, upper middle class types play silly mind games with each other. And, for those of us outside the loop, these games are invisible. We don't know their secret messages. It's hard to translate what sounds like a friendly greeting into a threat.

That's what's been going on recently with me.

There's a meeting I should attend. I won't go. I already told the person hosting it I don't feel safe. The meeting was MY idea. The person whom I shouldn't have trusted took the ball and ran with it. I was told the person is saying that, despite our "differences" I shouldn't feel unwelcomed. Well, I do. It's not safe for me to be around vengeful people. I have no protections against that junk.

I'm not worried for myself. I can take whatever gets dished. But someone else, who's completely blameless, could be messed up really badly. I'm pretty much an open book; almost every part of my life is in these silly blogs, already. Whatever isn't will get there, eventually, as soon as I remember whatever it is. But not all people can afford to be as blunt as I.

See, if I were more financially stable, other people's crap wouldn't be such an issue. I could protect myself a bit better. Money is insulation.

For instance, I wore a very elegant, sexy, see-through, lace dress last night with my girl. I wore impractical shoes, twinkly jewelery...the works. I can't dare dress like that on foot, or on the scooter Only in a car is it safe to look nice, if you're a woman, especially at night.

I rarely dress in anything at all revealing, even in broad daylight for the same reason. And it's easy to look frazzled, exposed to the elements, without a car. I look rumpled, dissheveled.

I do the best I can, lugging grooming stuff--including antiperspirant--around in my backpack. But it's embarrassing.

If I were more affluent, I'd have driven to my girl's job this afternoon with a nice supper. I'd have helped her with the b.s. work, so she could concentrate on the big project and the extra stuff that got dumped in her lap at the last minute.

I'd have a bathroom large enough to contain her grooming supplies, so she could clean up here when she needed to.

I'd have enough closet space so she could hang a few things.

I could provide more to her in the way of comforts and conveniences.

I have to improve my income. I have to. This isn't right.

So, I'll finish out this week, cleaning up my little slum, in case people do come over for my birthday.

And, next week, I dig back into my independent radio projects, so I can get out of poverty.

I love my girl. I want to do right by her, and myself.

I want to keep both of us safe from as much petty b.s. as possible. I do a pretty good job, even on my six hundred a month, keeping a shelter, a refuge, for us.

But I'm to vulnerable to the whims and inconsistancies of other people, institutions and circumstances.

I need to take better care of myself.

Thursday, August 05, 2004

a cloudy day

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The tarps outside bob and sway in the breeze. Looks like rain today, thank heavens.

I'm digging at my tiny apartment, inch by inch, making space and reason for another person.

My girl should be able to glide through here without obstructions. So should I.

The refrigerator's cleaned out I still have to clean the one outdoors, too.

But I'm ready for my foodstamps on the 8th.

She's taking me to my favorite: Stadium Grocery on Broadway & Cesear Chavez. It's a family owned "ghetto" grocery, with generics. The staff are kind and friendly. The prices are good and the quality's reasonable. Hope I find a brisket on sale.

We're also going into the War Zone to shop. The best Mexican grocery is on Zuni, near Charleston. There's a new Asian market on Louisiana and Central. And I REALLY want to hit the Flea Market for chicharones, picante sauce, and candies.

It's nice, having another person to cook for again. It's been a long time.

She's on a very strict diet, and I've accomodated my cooking and food purchases. Her diet is good for me, anyway. Last night, I opened a bag of marshmallows and ate a hand full. It's the first time in a week that I've eaten sugar. Didn't taste very good, frankly. My sugarless desserts are much better.

She bought me vitamins and some nicotine patches. I still "cheat" and smoke occasionally, but I'm going to be fine. Soon, I won't be an addict anymore. I couldn't have afforded the stuff she bought, even though most of it was generic stuff. She calls it an "investment." I told her, in the pharmacy, "this is why poor people stay addicted." It's easier to scrape together the money for a pack of smokes than to save up for eight weeks' worth of nicotine patches.

Today is a week since we became lovers. Strange concept, time: it feels like we just met; it feels like we've been dancing together forever.

I think my poverty rather unnerves her, but I'm not sure. I need to work up the spine to really discuss it with her. I'm pretty defensive about it. I know that's not necessary with her, but old habits die hard.

We were discussing plans for me to hold a potluck birthday party/barbeque in the empty lot outside my place. We were discussing guests we'd like to invite. We're not "out" as a "couple." So, we're sneaking up on anounciing our connection to other people. We want to start with a few Queer folk we both like and trust.

As we went over names of people, she mentioned that so-and-so and such-and-such are pretty upper middle class. She didn't know if they'd be comfortable at a party in an alley. She suggested we might hold the barbeque at a local park.

I've been thinking about it. It's just easier to hold the potluck here, where I can dash into the house for pepper or Worchestershire sauce, as needed.

It's not an alley; it's a garden, to me. I wonder if she sees it that way, too. Maybe she's just being very sensitive to the differences in experience between myself and some of the potential guests. I don't think she's being snooty.

But I need to discuss it with her.

I'm pretty angry about how I've been treated for being street. I tend to cram it down people's throats, as a result. I make myself harsh, abrasive, aggressive in public.

She has seen me when I'm myself. I'm quiet, calm, happy....

She hopes I can find a way to interface in public in a safe way, that will allow me to express who I really am, and let go the defenses.

I don't know how to do it, but she's certainly motivation to try.

She's right. Her feedback is accurate. I'm neither offended nor embarrassed by her observations.

I just go onto "autopilot" in public. I'm not even aware I'm doing it, most of the time.

it shocks her.


Well, it's seven in the morning. I've got a kitchen to finish cleaning, clothing to mend, projects to do.

Tonight, we go out to a political movie and lecture, to celebrate our first week. If seeing a movie about Bush and this fake-ass war is a celebration...

I plan to have the house nice, a good meal prepared, a good environment ready, so we can come back here, exhausted, and collapse.

She sure is good for me....

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

PR Watch

You are reading http://livinginthehood.blogspot.com

"A grassroots PR effort that included giving away American flags
for the Fourth of July has helped Donald Trump win the right to
build a new casino in Orange County, an economically depressed area
in Indiana," reports PR Week. Competition for the casino license
was fierce; Indianapolis PR firm MZD promoted Trump as experienced
and caring. Trump "pledged to give $5 million each to refurbish two
local resort hotels." MZD offered "to replace [businesses' and
families'] worn-out American flags with new ones. One citizen at a
public meeting mentioned [the free flags] as a sign that Trump
truly cared."
SOURCE: PR Week (sub. req'd), August 2, 2004
More web links related to this story are available at:

"Gaining access to the Republican National Convention has become a
tortuous struggle for a slew of local ethnic publications," reports
a New York City weekly. In Arizona, a Bush-Cheney organizer
"insisted on knowing the race of a ... journalist assigned to
photograph Vice President Dick Cheney," saying the information was
needed "to distinguish her from someone else who might have the
same name" - which seems unlikely, since her name is Mamta Popat.
In New Mexico, "Democrats who signed up to hear [Cheney] speak ...
were refused tickets unless they signed a pledge to endorse
President Bush." One media analysis company estimates that, with
Iraq coverage dominating the news, "67 percent of stories on Bush
were negative, while only 36 percent were negative for Kerry."
SOURCE: City Limits, August 2, 2004
More web links related to this story are available at:

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

I'm a good camper

You are reading http://livinginthehood.blogspot.com

One day, I had to look in my bag for some tiny thing. I don't remember what. I pulled out my tiny bag of "oral fixes." Basically, it contains makeup, asprin, waterless handcleaner, a sewing kit, cigarette stuff, gum, hard candy....grooming stuff and stuff that goes in my mouth. I pulled out the tiny thing, rezipped the bag, put it back in my pack.

She watched me and said, "you're a good camper."

I blinked, surprised, and replied, "why, yes I am!"

I've been homeless enough, been without a car enough, and lived in too-small, cramped housing enough to know how to store and pack things well. I minimize space, weight, clutter...I know at all times what I'm carrying, and it's almost always everything I need.

I marveled at her fanny pack the other day. I told her I want a complete tour someday. She pulled out her cell phone and checked the battery. It was low. She unzipped a tiny pocket and pulled out a fully-charged battery in a protective case. She switched batteries. She'll recharge the old battery at home.

She has a bicycle that fits in a carrying case/trailer. She had it custom made. It cost a lot. But, if her car ever breaks down, she can pack everything in it in bags, assemble the bicycle and drive away. She has a bike trailer folded under her bed.

I love it! It's my ideal: never depending on a form of transportation she can't operate herself.

My life has become disorganized, after too many emergency moves, when things were tossed in baskets and boxes hurridly, just to make sure they went with me.

I'd already begun organizing, before we became lovers.

But now, I see I'm sharing physical space with another human being. I must accomodate my space to her frequent and hours' long visits. This space isn't conducive to her passage through it. She's taller than I and has knocked her head on the bookshelf in the hall a few times. She must walk sideways through the hall, so as not to knock pictures from the wall with her pack.

Yesterday, I redesigned the bedroom. We can walk in the dark without fear of stubbed toes now. The lint's off the floor. A bedside table holds just about everything we need. I'm clearing a drawer for her stuff.

She likes my place. It looks like a camp, with its tarps and outdoor stoves.

We're negotiating cohabitation. We're looking at our July 3rd date as a target. We're talking about physical arrangements, privacy for each of us, study space, studio space, kitchen space, costs, budgets, meal planning, internet appliances. We know we want a bathtub.

Between the two of us, we're paying more in rent now than we would for a communal house. We're certainly paying more for food than we would by combining incomes. She buys meals from health restaurants and shops frequently. My cooking skills would save her a fortune.

I know I can cohabitate with her. She's easy to adjust to. She makes sense to me. I'm not adapting myself to her needs. I hope she's not, either. We work very well together. We think logically. We trouble shoot and problem solve even small things, to make them operate efficiently.

I've seldom lived with a lover. I've seldom wanted to. But she's more than a lover to me. We're very conscious of the fact that we're building a foundation on which we can base the rest of our individual and collective lives.

We want an efficient practical structure for our collaborative work. Living in the same household facilitates that. It makes things easier: financially, spacially, etc.

I have suggested we seek councilling. Each of us has her History, her Damage. We're fine, so far. We weathered a small storm two nights ago that could have inflated into a full blown battle of neuroses. We talked it through and came out stronger for it. I mean, we touched deep wounds in each other, but didn't finish hateful, resentful or wounded. It strengthened us.

But our personal histories have such specifically-unique damage in them, we do need to take care how we procede. The problem is finding some professional who's knowledgeable about our SPECIFIC histories to handle us WELL. I won't tell you anything about her stuff, but, for example: can we find a coach, a councillor, who is familiar with female genital mutilation? And would this councillor treat my damage with respect, or attribute every character flaw of my life to my not being "normal down there?"

She marvels at how well I've done with so little. I live better than a collegue of ours whose income is much more than mine. She's very enthusiastic about what I can do with little money and without a car.

But I'm cleaning. I'm nesting. My space is not fully functional right now. It's not as efficient and low maintainance as I'd like it to be.

She came back here from work yesterday, delighted at how much easier it is to navigate the bedroom now. I'd worked all day on it. It's pretty, comfortable, delicious and restful now.

I'd like my whole space to reflect that soon.

I mean, a gal shouldn't risk a concussion, just trying to make love to me!

She's good for me. I'm good for her. Together, we're pretty damn awesome.