Poverty Is Not an Accident

Poverty Is Not an Accident
Nelson Mandela

Thursday, September 30, 2004

I'm becoming a wife

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I don't want to; please, understand. It's her job: she's on call, 24/7. We'll be eating a pleasant, Thai supper when the pager goes off. We'll be napping or working or even driving TO her job.

Things there are chaos right now, due to a big remodelling job. Nobody can find anything. Lots of equipment doesn't work properly. People can't get where they're trying to go, or do what they're trying to do.

So they page her.

When she's at work, other departments haven't finished their tasks, so the unfinished stuff falls on her to handle. Department heads come to her at the last, possible minute to ask her to fill in or take over stuff others should have been assigned.

Last night, she came home exhausted, after only four hours of work there. She was angry, frustrated, burned out and bitter.

I had tested our broken washing machine. It hadn't been spinning. So, in order to do laundry, I've been agitating clothes and then lowering the discharge hose, so they'd drain and letting them drip until they were dry enough to agitate in rinse. It was exhausting.

Laundry's been piling up. She'd talked of going to the laundromat down the street, but there's never time. When she gets home, she has her computer to set up, a printer to clean and adjust, stuff she still hasn't had time to unpack, email to answer...and that damned pager to attend.

The other day, she couldn't ride her bike to work, because she's run out of clean bicycle pants.

We'd agreed to go scratch-&-dent washer shopping yesterday evening, when she got off work.

We'd spent the morning shopping used furniture stores so she has some shelves and cabinets to unpack her things and store them. We got everything set up in her room and she unpacked a lot of stuff.

It's been hard on her, having most of what she owns in boxes for over a month.

We stopped at her old apartment. The landlord wanted to refund her deposit. He's selling some furniture and appliances. I'd said, if he sells that old dresser on legs, the one with the mirror, offer him twenty-five for it, but don't pay more than fifty. She offered him thirty; he took fifty. He also had a small, upright freezer. I'd have offered fifty, but he said eighty. We didn't argue; she gave him ninety on both, the rest to be paid on delivery. later this week or early next.

I took her to work. When I picked her up, she was insane. She goes in to her "work mode," and I have hell to pay to get her to relax and just enjoy being home. She worries over details, calendars, deadlines, schedules... and she transfers that worry to our home. Suddenly, every detail of the operation of our home and our lives is under scrutiny, criticized, found wanting.

She hates chaos and unpredictability. She needs order. She wants solutions and predictable outcomes.

I can understand, but life isn't like that.

So, anyway, I decided to wash 2 loads of her work clothes in that funky washer.

Lo and behold, the washer went through two loads of laundry perfectly. It spun. It didn't overheat and shut off.

I know I must elevate the washer onto a pallet. I've been collecting them for the chicken coop. The washer has no feet. It can't bounce on springed feet when it spins, so the "tilt" switch shuts it off. ANd the spindle to the drum extends down and rubs on the concrete pad on which the washer stands.

I think I just did so many loads when we first moved in, I overheated its pump and spin motors.

If I'm nice to it, it'll be nice to me.

So, she has clean work clothes; we didn't need to buy a washer; we didn't go to the laundromat.

I sat and listened to her analyse the problems at work. I offered her ideas and suggestions. I sympathised; I know those people and how that system disfunctions.

I fed her "rubbed" porkchops and my special baked beans. I fried an old banana in bean flour, sesame & flax seeds and millit.

She ate a slice of my sugarless, flourless cheese cake.

She fell into her bed, lifeless.

In October, there's a big project that will demand all her attention.

And she must tie up loose ends and prepare them for the fact that, mid November, she disappears for two or three months.

When she returns, she'll work full time and also take classes at the university.

I'll never see her again. She'll be tired and occupied all the time.

So, I'm diligently preparing our space.

I'm building the chicken coop. I'm unpacking, not only my stuff but hers. I'm doing most of the cleaning and maintanance of the house. I'm preparing the gardens and planning for the animals.

I haven't even unpacked the computer I use to do radio. My studio languishes, while I kill myself with heavy construction, hauling materials, doing heavy housework.

I fall. I drop things on my feet. Stuff falls off ladders onto my head: heavy staple guns, hammers, etc.

My legs hurt fiercely. My shoes are bad for ladders and heavy lifting.

But, every day, I work and work and work.

I'll be alone in here for three months. I'll have her car, but don't plan to use it much, without a license.

I'll have all that time to produce radio.

In the mean time, I'm keeping her bandaged, fed and clothed.

And working my butt off to make a home and work place for us.

I'm afraid my typing here just woke her; she just got up to use the restroom at 5:30am. She'll probably stay up. That'll make today a long one for her.

I've got to put up the new, folding door we bought at Home Depot. It covers the arch between her room and this living room, where I'm typing. I already painted her side pink: her favorite color. The side that'll face the living room will have Chinese murals on it; I'll paint them myself.` She already fixed the printer we bought at a yard sale, so I can print the murals from the internet to copy onto the door.

She needs a door. I need her to have a door, too. Light and sound from in here wake her. That ain't cool.

But, her clothes are clean; I've gotten in plenty of groceries; she has enough furniture now, for which she paid less than $200, incl. the new freezer.

I'm taking today to edit a Radio Theatre piece and to declutter this place and clean the floors.

I didn't mean to turn into a wife, honest. But someone's got to do it.

She's going back to bed now, thank gawd.

Nope. here she i

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

email to muh gurrl

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Well, that thing I saw in the trash, as I drove you to work, turned out to be a lucite "house." It's big enough to hold about ten gallons.

It was a pennies-for-the-homeless bank. Apparantly, a homeless person broke in and stole the pennies!

I lined it with gravel, filled it with dirt, planted all my herbs in it, ran a light fixture through the "chimney" with a 25w bulb for cold weather.

It's about 1x1x1'.

If I'd bought it, it would have cost me over a hundred bux, I know it!

Best damn herb greenhouse I ever had!

It's got: chives, rosemary, basil, catnip and sage in it. I'll plant some parsley and some cilantro, too. I may even put in some garlic!

Wait'll you see! I worked on it all morning!

Sorry about your yogurt/banana crisis.

I'll bring it, and a piece of that tiny cheese, when I pick you up.

Monday, September 27, 2004


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I'm tearin' myself up, building the other half of my chicken coop. It's dang near ten feet tall, on the side by my bedroom.

It's going to look great.

Except for the plastic dropcloths to waterproof it and the chicken wire, the rest of the construction materials is all garbage I've found. Particularly, old wire from the KUNM remodelling, demolition on a house remodel, salvaged seconds from a lumber yard and old pallets.

I've even salvaged door-sized screens and hardware.

It'll be a big, comfortable space for multiple animals of various species.

I'll make nesting boxes of old, wooden fruit crates.

Soon, people will be raking leaves and bagging them for the garbage. I'll collect as many as I can to insulate the floors and boxes of the coop, to compost and to mulch my soon-to-be garden.

Now, I'm resting.

I'll either finish tonight or tomorrow...

Friday, September 24, 2004


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I'm watching my chickens grow up. I remember those New Yorkers, dazzled and thrilled by the progress of falcons, nesting on an apartment building near Central Park. They'd ooh and ahh at every step in both the parents' and the chicks' lives. I'm feeling the same way.

I was happy to see the first flight feathers emerge from the down. I laughed when they discovered bugging. I note who's the best scratcher, who is flapping flight muscles the most, who stands IN the water to drink...

I came out the other night and found them, cold and miserable, on top of the bird cage I'd set up for them. They're learning to roost. Instead of going IN the cage, they'd flown on top of it. There they stood, cold and miserable, trying to sleep.

I cut a hole in a cardboard apple box, threaded tree limbs through the vent holes and covered it with a towel. Their "hot rock," an electric, heating rock used for reptiles, sat in the bottom on newspaper. I went out to see them, under the table on which it stood, crammed in the corner of the porch, all trying to roost on the coaxel cable, stapled to the house. So, for two nights now, I've had to gather them up and put them inside the box.

They'll figure it out. I'll probably have to add some branches to climb on the outside of the box, though.

I've put them in the front yard. The cats and dogs prefer the back, so it reduces the potential for chicken killing. The red died last week, of suspicious causes.

They run that front yard like security guards. They cover every inch. And they leak through the neighbor's rabbit fencing and our chain link gates to gossip and explore the sidewalk in front of our houses.

They rather prefer the neighbor's driveway. It's lined with privit hedges and vines. It's great for scratching and bugging, and it's shady and damp.

Our yards were just hot gravel and weeds when we moved in. I've planted a few things already. And there are some things set out for shade in the back. But nothing beats scratching under bushes, if you're a chicken.

Eventually, of course, the back yard will be garden. They'll have plenty of hunting and adventuring places next year. But winter's coming, so I'm not planting there yet.

I have my iris and roses to plant before the roots freeze in pots, but that's not much.

They're already out of their box this morning, hunched up against the cold, chattering and circling on the front porch for food and water. Soon as the sun lights the sky, their circles will expand into the yard, and they'll be off for the day.

They work all day: eating, scratching, bugging, pulling grass blades, chasing insects... They talk to each other constantly. They don't like not being able to see each other and will scream when lost from the other two.

The cats just watch now. The chicks are large enough now to look potentially dangerous, and not worth attacking. They still, barely, fit through chain linking, but that won't be true much longer.

By the time I finish my chicken coop, which ought to be by the first of next week, I'd think, the chicks won't fit through the chicken wire.

I had a slight detour in my construction yesterday. I took my girl to work and stopped at the store. On my way out, I noticed some cabinets, discarded in the ally, across Lomas from the parking lot I was leaving.

They were under bed cabinets, made of pine. The finish was bleached off and they had lots of dirt, leaves, weed seeds, spiders and junk all over them. THey had no drawer pulls or other hardware. THere were 2 of them, six feet long, three drawers each. ONe had a drawer missing.

But the wood wasn't warped and they were solid.

So, I threw them onto my girl's bicycle rack that I'd found in a dumpster near the University. I tied them down and slowly drove them home.

I brushed off the dirt and painted them with pink, latex housepaint. My girl likes pink.

I drilled 1" holes in the hardware screw holes. I threaded satin tassled curtain ties through the holes for drawer pulls.

I cut chip board to fit as a base.

I dragged it all into her room, moved her bedding off the floor, placed the bed frame and made her bed.

She sleeps on her Judo exercise mat, which is an odd 3x8 feet. But I got the sheets, blankets and mattress cover beaten into submission.

Now, she as 5 more drawers to unpack into. Her room's already less cluttered. And her standing lamp, with the gooseneck reading light, works better with an elevated bed.

I think she was quite impressed.

I'm quite impressed with how much my arms hurt from doing all that in a single day.

She'll be leaving for a couple of months this November. I want things ship shape and organized before she leaves.

I also want this house unpacked and decluttered so we can have a house warming party at the end of October.

So, today I'll resume my construction of the chicken/cat/dog coop. It's very nice: tall enough to walk through, water proof, cozy and decorated in cowboys, Indians and Mexican touristy tacky stuff. Cute as a bug.

It's almost seven in the morning now. It's time for me to brew tea, warm coffee, and start breakfast.

I'm the domestic side of our alliance. She's more the geeky breadwinner...for now. Once my studio's operational, I may end up outstripping her in the bacon department. Who knows?

I'll tell you what, though: this is the best partnership I've ever had.

And, the other night, she said it again: "As long as I have a job, you'll never be homeless again."

And I believe her.

Monday, September 20, 2004

"God Help The Outcast"

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I don't know if you can hear me, or if you're even there.
I don't know if you will listen to a humble prayer.
They tell me I am just an outcast, I shouldn't speak to you...
Still I see your face, and wonder, were you once an outcast too?

God help the outcasts, hungry from birth.
Show them the mercy they don't find on Earth.
The lost and forgotten, they look to you still.
God help the outcasts, or nobody will.

I ask for nothing, I can get by.
But I know so many less lucky than I.
God help the outcasts, the poor and downtrod.
I thought we all were the children of God.

I don't know if there's a reason;
why some are blessed, some not.
Why the few you seem to favor --
they fear us, flee us, try not to see us.

God help the outcasts, the tattered, the torn.
Seeking an answer to why they were born.
Winds of misfortune have blown them about.
You made the outcasts, don't cast them out.
The poor and unlucky, the weak and the odd.
I thought we all were the children of God.

Friday, September 17, 2004

I'm in

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Well, everything I own is here now. I've returned the keys to the slum apartment to the "management" company.

Lots of stuff is stacked under plastic tarps on the side of the house now. The piles in the driveway, which were driving me mad, are gone. All that's in the driveway are pretty containers of plants.

I moved all the residual in one day. I couldn't sleep on the morning of the 15th, the day the rent's due. I got up at three in the morning and began moving things from the driveway to the back yard.

When the sun came up, I stored and stacked everything under the plastic on the other side of the house, out of the way, barely visible from the street.

It took me about seven hours.

I was completely and utterly exhausted when I was done. It's two days later, and I'm still in a LOT of pain.

I've been doing light repairs and chores here, since. Mostly, I'm resting and healing boo boos.

I was having nightmares of being evicted: not yet unpacked, but with police watching me to see if they could arrest me for trespassing if I didn't pack quickly enough.

It's all based on the trauma of losing my boarding house in the War Zone. I've never fully recovered from what happened to me there.

I freak out at the merest possiblity of homelessness.

I scared my girl to death with all this, of course. She can't know. If we DID lose this place, she'd land on her feet; she'd be ok.

But I'd lose everything.

She's hurt and grumpy and so am I.

But I told her last night, as we ran, yet again, to Home Depot for more stuff to fix other stuff:

I know married couples, been together for years, who would have divorced or killed each other, under the stresses of this move we just completed.

We've only been together two months. Except for about 3 days of relatively-minor bickering, we've been very supportive of and helpful to each other.

Even when we're mad as hell at each other, we can still talk and work stuff out without major acts of hostility.

It scares her more than it does me, of course: she likes her life neat and tidy, easy to manage.

I've never had the luxury, really. I pay attention to details, like she does, to protect against any eventualities I can foresee.

But with limited resources/income, there's only so much I can do. So, I've learned to tolerate a certain level of confusion, crisis and chaos without totally freaking out.

Some of what's tolerable to me is on the boarder of major crisis, to her, and it makes her uneasy.

Add to that the fact this is the first time in many years either of us has lived with anybody, let alone had a lover.

Add to that this is her first love affair with a female.

Add to that my stuff.

Etc, etc....

We're doing very well.

So, I'm on the black, iron futon frame we drug here from the neighbors' trash. I covered it with old couch cushions and quilts. It's soft, pretty and comfy.

I'm in my purple African caftain.

I just finished cleaning and installing the shower massager. I still have to pick up the tools in the bath and her room, and reinstall the access panel to the shower on her bedroom wall.

I may put the new spring on the front storm door. I may not.

I have more lumber to cut to frame the chicken coop, but that'll wait 'til the cool of the evening.

I have a piece of cheap brisket to slow cook in Carne Adovado sauce, potatoes and veggies.

Animals are fed and watered and I watered the garden last night.

She'll be working all day tomorrow, too. So I can putter more then.

But I don't want to get too tired. Sunday, we have tickets to see "Embedded" up in Santa Fe.

She gassed up the car last night.

We're going to make a day of it, wandering the town, eating, watching the movie, etc.

Oh, tomorrow's the yard sale at the Peace and Justice center. I'm looking for a larger, Asian-style pot to put her bamboo in. I will do that, after I drop her off to work.

May swing by the Pueblo Cultural Center; I'm running out of cigarettes. It's right up the street.

May buy a few more chickens; the red died the other day. I don't know why.

Mostly, I'm recovering from the physical trauma of moving, though.

It's not supposed to rain for about another week yet. I have time to get my delicate stuff in from under the tarp.

Today, I'm just recovering.

So's she.

It's nice here. I really like our home. She does, too.

My arms are so sore, it hurts to type.

So, I'm signing off to watch soap operas and nap 'til she gets home and we eat.

Then, I'll work on the chicken coop, in the cool of the evening.

Monday, September 13, 2004

outta da slum

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Lordamercy! My girl & I went back over to my old place. We got everything except a few tools, cleaning supplies, dishes, step ladder and coffee maker.

While we were there, the Satanist scizophrenic out front threw the Tirade From Hell. I'm gonna miss that place like a toothache. jees.

And, one, more time, someone had broken in. This time, they opened the window and came in the apartment. freaks.

So, knowing the entire contents of my apartment are pretty much moved to our new house is a tremendous relief for me.

I just cleaned out the fridge here to make room for pickles, sauces and some frozen meats from over there.

I've hurt myself, working so hard and fast to get the hell out of that nut house.

So, I'm trying to take my girl's advice and take it easy today.

But the driveway's piled up with things that need to be unpacked, and I feel icky, like a white trash hillbilly, with all that stuff sitting out there in this tidy, neat neighborhood, where people bring their trash containers back in the minute the sanitation trucks leave.

I bought four, chicks: 2 aracona, 1 Rhode Island red and one black rock.

Porkchop, it turns out, is a chickenherd. He guards them from cats all day, as they scratch in the yard. He loves those chickens to death.

I bring them in, inside a bird cage, at night.

We bought some chicken wire and I've located lots of free lumber. So, my next big project is building a large enclosure for them, and for the cats and dog, when we're not here.

I want a nice shelter, waterproofed with plastic, before winter sets in. The walls will be lined with clear plastic, the rooves with black.

We're also talking about getting a goat. My girl's sister raises pygmy goats. She's going out there for a couple of months this winter. Maybe she can bring one home on the plane? I could give her my dog carrier, just in case it's possible...

Our front yard is quickly becoming a Zen garden. I bought 2 tiny boxwood trees, some petunias (for color, 'til winter), some herbs and 3 sale rosebushes. The neighbors really like it. I have the circular rounds from a cable spindle. I'll cut them in half and make Chinese style "moon" bridges out of them, painted white.

Our living room is rather Asian, too. My girl's into martial arts. She's a black belt in Karate. She has a full set of Kendo armor and all her belts. She also has several practice swords. I'll be displaying them all in the livingroom. I'd like some potted bromiliads and orchids, too. We have a small bamboo in here already.

I'd like to plant some tall bamboo outside the living room window, for privacy and shade, as it's on the south side.

Our kitchen's huge: two refrigerators, three tables, including the dining table which comfortably seats six.

My bedroom's off the kitchen and is decorated in rather a juvenile, cartoonish style.

Each of our bedrooms opens into the bath. It's decorated in heart-shaped baskets and decorations, wigs with hair ornaments in them, feather boas...just really girly, like a Hollywood dressingroom. It's big, too.

My studio's sort of a mess right now, but is shaping up slowly. Soon, I'll be able to produce radio in it.

We got broadband internet. So, I can FTP stories anywhere in the world from my girl's computer. I'm saving my borrowed computer for mostly sound editing and dial up.

And, of course, I have my trusty WebTV, from which I'm writing this. Bless the WebTV!

We'll have a huge garden in the big back yard. We're talking about ducks and a pond, too.

All in all, even though the move has been exhausting, frustrating, confusing and just nasty, everything's coming along very well.

And I'm away from those nasty, filthy, drunken, drugged, raging freaks in that hellhole I called "home" for over a year!

This place? This is home. I have my girl, my dog, my cats, my chickens, my fish, my garden, my studio....it's awesome.

I am the LUCKIEST girl in the WORLD!

Saturday, September 11, 2004

well, I guess I CAN blog from WebTV!

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It was very incompatible, after Blogger "Upgraded," and my old browser just wouldn't work.

I haven't blogged since the end of August, because I didn't have the borrowed PC to use.

well, hell.

SO, you've missed the gory details of my move.

And you've missed the grisley details of my girl, being knocked down by my Evil Dog, Porkchop, and landing on a rock, on her back. gawd.

But, I'll get you all up to date soon, now that I know I CAN blog!

My girl's ok; she could be better, of course, and is walking like either John Wayne or a very femme Frankenstein monster. But she's back to work and she's whining, so I think she's feeling better, if stiff.

She's saying she's always stiff.

ONly at work, usually.

She's actually pretty soft and fluffy, most of the time.

I made her wear a house dress the other day, cuz they're easy to put on and take off when one is miserable.

SHe got caught, outside, in her housedress, fanny pack and Sensible Shoes, by our neighbor across the street.

She knows him professionally.

I just stood there, quiet as a mouse, scratching a cat's ass, while she and he both pretended she wasn't dressed in that ridiculous get up.

It was quite amusing.

But she's been seen in sleeveless, flower print, seersucker housedresses on several occasions in public now.

I think I've lowered her standards.

We're turning into hillbillies.

Next, it'll be Kool Aids and Velveeta grilled cheese sandwiches on the front porch.

She's correcting me: she thinks it should be "Kool Aid," not "Kool Aids;" She says it's not plural.

See if I EVER blog again while she's watching me. Persnickity bitch.

Don't call me a slut, you whore!

I'll show you a skank; bend over.

This is how we spend our evenings now: insulting each other and complaining about our war injuries.

I love her very much.

Now watch: this one won't post.

not a very accurate title

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I keep telling people I can't blog from WebTV, but people keep asking me to blog, even tho I don't have the puter set up.