Poverty Is Not an Accident

Poverty Is Not an Accident
Nelson Mandela

Monday, December 20, 2004

Winter Solstice

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

Her plane should be departing for Oakland, right this minute. It's about a 2 hour flight. Then, she'll board a plane for home.

Two of the boxes of her things she shipped here arrived today. I've already put everything away.

The meatloaf she requested is already baked and cooling in the refrigerator.

My new curtains and quilt arrived today.

So did the flute: over a month late, dirty, damaged, with parts missing, stinking of mildew. Jees. I've wanted a new flute for twenty years, and got this?

I'm still waiting for today's mail. There may be other packages in it, too.

She has an entire new wardrobe, from socks on up. I'm waiting for earrings and some other jewelry, a few items of clothing and odds and ends.

The floors are clean. We're stocked up on everything. I took the trash out this morning. The dishes are washed. The animals are fed and watered.

Her bedroom is wonderful. I painted pink, Mexican-looking flowers on the corners of walls, up by the ceiling. They match the 4 flowers on the 4 panels of her lavendar, folding door, which is hung. 4 Chinese silk, embroidered panels are on the side facing the living room.

I made pink, tissue paper flowers to hide the hardware on the bracket I made to hang the door. The door way is festooned with pink flamingo party lights.

I got her lots of toys and models, too. She has a book, a movie I already sent to her sister's. She has jewelry boxes, new razors, hair gel, a huge lot of lipsticks.

She has pretty camisoles, to wear under the more sheer blouses I bought. She has three new dresses. She has about a dozen blouses and sweaters. She has three new vests and four new pairs of trousers.

She already got her Cashmere scarf, which I hand embroidered with her name in purple silk and real seed pearls.

Her room is cheery and bright, well-organized.

I bought her a radio-controlled, rollerscating doll.

She has a dozen pair of socks, with pretty designs woven into them.

She'll be here in seven hours.

I'm wearing my poodle skirt to the air port. I'll wear my pink sweater with silver sequins. I'll wear my white cotton bloomers and slip, plus my black tulle petticoat. And my pink high heeled sneaker/boots, of course.

I'll be wearing a Santa hat and carrying mistletoe.

The cab will be waiting outside baggage claim.

I'm planning to blind fold her and guide her into her room. I'll close the door, so she'll get the full effect before I remove the blind fold.

The Christmas tree in the front room is gorgeous.

This will be the first time in about ten years when I won't have to spend the Solstice, Christmas and New Year alone.

I have no plans. I'm just grateful to have this wonderful home, and her for my family.

I'm hungry and tired. I got busy, attending to last-minute details (plus the unexpectd and very large boxes to unpack). I forgot to eat breakfast, which I'll do when I finish here.

After the mail comes, I'll shower and attend to my hair (which I trimmed yesterday).

I have plenty of money left in the banks. I'm thinking of stopping for some little token to take to the airport with me.

I'm spending the majority of this day stretched out on the sofa, resting up for her return.

I'm very happy.

Saturday, December 18, 2004

Two, more nights...

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I finally stumbled out of bed, for real, at about ten 'til five this morning.

I got up once, around midnight. I was hungry, so I went in the living room to finish the cheese and chicken I'd left in there. Also had a handful of cashews.

I had no problem getting back to sleep. The covers were so warm. And I had 3 cats and Porkchop with me.

I just lay there and meditated awhile and finally drifted back off.

So, I slept about thirteen hours.

This happens; it's nothing unusual.

Periodically, I need to "hibernate."

Usually, it happens after several days of pretty serious, physical activity, such as digging gardens or building things.

And it rarely happens two times in a week.

Since living with you, I've napped for an hour or two on occasion, but haven't had to hibernate for half a day.

I guess I just haven't let myself. I'd have dinner to prepare, etc., and didn't want you coming home to a dark, foodless house with me in bed.

While I have been physically active, I haven't really been pushing myself. So, I guess I just need the extra sleep for healing.

But the house is warm, well-stocked and cheerful.

The kitchen got a good cleaning, two weeks ago, and won't be that difficult to straighten up now, since I haven't been cooking all that much.

There's just not much left to do, before you get back.

I know what movies I want to watch on TV today. Tomorrow, I want to video tape the last time Bill Moyers appeared on "NOW." I slept through it last night.

There will only be 2 more opportunities for packages to arrive before you do.
Several things are still pending, and I'm curious to see what will get here before you return. Something I very much wanted to be here when you came home is waiting for you. I'm pretty excited.

I've sent some presents to Sonia, too.

I got 2 sets of African American dolls for preschoolers, for her daughter. And there's a poet, named Sonia Sanchez. She ran with Malcolm, back in the day. And she's both Black and Latina, like my Sonia. One poetry book is already being shipped to Sonia; I need to bid on the other tomorrow.

I'm going to thaw some turkey for us.

May start thawing some hamburger, too, which would be ready about Tues. or Wed, if I take it out on Mon.

Sure wish hams would go on sale!

There's also vegetable soup with pork in the fridge.

We'll need to get you some more juice soon. And I'll need eggs and butter.
Sounds like we need to go to that discount grocery up on Central.

It's almost 6 now: still too cold and dark for the chickens, but two cats and a dog have already gone out front with me for a cigarette and coffee.

Two, more nights. Two, more nights...

Friday, December 17, 2004

dead of winter

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This is the hardest time of year for me, biologically.

Morning comes so slowly. It's almost 6:30am, and there's only the faintest blush of sunrise in the sky. It'll be more than an hour, before the sun's really up.

And the cold! Even in a heated house, my feet and hands are stiff with cold. It hurts to walk; it hurts to grasp things. I have to wait for warmth, so I can work.

Evening comes too quickly now. I have to plan to come in early enough, so I won't be stuck outside in cold and dark.

And it starts getting too cold by 3pm, which is normally the warmest time of any day.

This house is large enough that I don't, at least, get my normal cabin fever. Most places I've lived are so small, I have every inch memorized and feel so shut in, so trapped, so confined.

I feel myself waiting for Solstice. I feel myself waiting for The Longest Night to pass. I feel myself enduring the dark and the cold, waiting for it to be over, waiting to be on the other side, climbing slowly back to light and warmth.

I stand outside at night, bundled but still shivering. I look at the sharp stars, blink the cold from my eyes. I feel how thin is the membrane between us and Deep Space, eternal night, eternal cold.

It's in the dead of winter that I feel most that we're on a planet, dependent on a mote of cosmic dust.

Winter makes me realize how fragile we all are.

Fragrant soups, creamy mugs of cocoa, fuzzy slippers, thick socks... these all give some comfort, some cheer to the existential nightmare of floating on a ball of dirt in nothingness.

But, just outside the sparkling windows and amber lights, the Universe looms over us. It is Kali: mother destroyer, killer and bringer of life.

I feel like a mouse, burrowed in fur and grass straw, huddled in my tiny hole as wolves howl outside, shivering and silent.

I know it will pass.

Yet, every year, it surprises me: so brutal, yet indifferent, yet beautiful. I admire and fear deep winter.

I'll shuffle out to take little peeks at it, acutely knowing how easily it can kill me. I'll shiver my way back inside, glad for heat and light and very aware how tenuous it all is.

I count off the approxemately ninety days I'll have to wait until it would be safe to live outdoors again.

I throw a blanket over my chilled, aching legs and sigh.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Oatmeal Carrot Cookies

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In my continuing effort to cook without either sugar nor wheat products, I've decided to try the following recipe.

The local grocer is giving me all the culled produce, to feed my chickens. He includes "people food," too. today, I got a pound of broccoli, several pounds each of carrots, zuccini and squash, bell peppers, a bunch of parsley, 2 cucumbers and 2 red cabbages.

I'm making a "lasagna" from the squash and peppers.

I'm making pickled cabbage and cucumber salad.

I'm making cream of broccoli soup.

And I'm making these cookies:

Oatmeal Carrot Cookies

1 c. mixed, bean flour & spelt flour
1 c. quick-cooking rolled oats
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 c. margarine or butter, softened
1/2 c. honey
orange, grapefruit, lemon and/or lime juice, to taste
1 tsp. vanilla
1 egg
1/2 c. chopped nuts and/or dried fruit
1/2 c. shredded carrots

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Grease cookie sheets.

Lightly spoon flour into measuring cup; level off.

In a large bowl, combine first 8 ingredients at low speed until well blended.

Stir in nuts and carrots.

Drop by rounded teaspoonsful a couple of inches apart on cookie sheet.

Bake at 350 degrees for 8-12 minutes or until edges are light golden brown.

Immediately remove from cookie sheets.

Makes 2 1/2 to 3 dozen cookies.�

Saturday, December 04, 2004

warmer, please!

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Oh, I wish it would warm up already!

We've had a week of below-freezing nights and very cold days.

I'm getting cabin fever.

There's a lot I'd like to do outside: paint the door for Ma's room, build a chicken roost from the scrap wood my neighbors gave me, wash laundry, finish putting the also-scrap plywood roof on the coop.

The car's not working. I'm using Ma's cart to push for errands. The other day, I found a neighbor is throwing out 6 huge bags of leaves and pine needles. I've managed to drag home 4 of them. I want to put them in my compost pile. I can only haul home 2 at a time, but I'll get the last two on Monday.

Washer hose and discharge tubes freeze over night, so laundry's fun. I do have a waterbed heater element I submurge in the full tub over night, to prevent freezing. And the chickens roost over it, so that helps keep them a little warmer.

But the chicken shelter isn't warm enough, so I need to nail together that scrap wood and insulate the "box" with old blankets. They need to sleep warmer.

It's sunny out, and not too miserable: hovering around freezing, with sun and no wind. But I can't change freezing, and must wait 'til the hoses thaw to finish laundry.

I've been buying Ma a whole, new wardrobe on EBay. It's really fine stuff. New things are delivered every day.

She bought me prescription glasses before she left, and several nice new pairs of shoes. She needs new clothes, and this is payback. I THINK everything I've gotten so far is stuff she'll really like to wear.

She's been wearing bleached-out, thread-bare, stained old crap. She didn't want to buy clothes 'til she lost weight. Well, she's already lost a ton. And we've committed to eating healthy and exercising. We think it's realistic to plan to drop 20lbs. each by April.

The clothes I got her are loose fitting, anyway. She rides her bike to work; she needs comfortable stuff.

But this stuff is also very pretty, tailored, neat and feminine. And it's all in her favorite colors.

It's nice, being able to afford to do this for her. Oh, I still need a minidisc, a mic stand and a bunch of other stuff, but I have confidence now that I can afford those things. I can now earn some money. And my living expenses have dropped to nearly nothing.

And, if anybody deserves some pampering, spoiling and dressing up, it's Ma.

We email now, just about daily. We talk on the phone almost every day. Doesn't mean I don't miss her, of course. She MAY come back a little early, so we can just hang out together. But she's not sure.

So, I'm working very hard to be a good sport about probably spending yet another Christmas alone.

My neighbors gave me an artificial tree. I put it up immediately. It's decorated in red and gold metalic bead garlands, red velveteen bows, blue glass balls. I also put some small ornaments, shaped like toys and teddy bears.

So, in a quiet way, it's nice and snuggly and christmassy in here.

I have lots of projects to keep me busy.

But I sure wish it'd warm up about ten, twenty degrees, so I can work outside!

The animals are keeping me company. There's no end to the entertainment they provide.

But it's too cold to go out much. And, because it's the holidays, I'm not calling anybody to come visit.

So I'm feeling the aloneness a lot. I got spoiled, living with Ma. We talk about everything together. And we do a lot together, too.

So, I'm rattling around in this house, feeling a little lost.

Yesterday, as I was putting the plywood up on the chicken roof, I had an oops. There was a big chunk of ice on the plastic sheeting up there. I tried to push it up, over the edge, onto the ground. I didn't realize how BIG it was, though! It slipped back down and smacked me, hard, in the nose! My nose bled, inside and out. I couldn't see for a few minutes, 'cause my eyes were watering so bad. So, I couldn't get down off the ladder. Just had to stand there and hurt for a bit.

My nose turned bright red and swelled up. But it went back down in a few hours. It's very tender. I may have disconnected part of the cartiledge, from the way it feels. ANd my upturned nose now has a temporary hump on the bridge.

Won't be able to pick my nose for awhile; hurts too bad.

other than that, I'm doing ok. It was pretty rough for a little while; there's a personal crisis that's just ending, about which I can't write. It was pretty devistating, for awhile. I haven't been that scared and frantic since my baby died.

But it seems to be passing ok. Nobody died; nobody is permanently injured, I hope.

But I got left out of what was happening, and was just FRANTIC for information, which responsible parties not only wouldn't give me, but used to torture and abuse me.

It was a nightmare.

It's all going to be ok, it seems. But my old heart took a bruising in the process and I'm recovering from the shock.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Jees, it's COLD!

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

Dear Ma,

It's down in the mid 'teens at night and doesn't get near fifty during the days.

I was just out, feeding the chickens. I'm wearing thermal, long underpants and my heavy, denim skirt, but my legs still got cold!.

Porky and I are going to the Pueblo Center in about an hour for cigarettes. I always swing by the Walgreen's up there, too, to see if anything is marked down.

I think I'll have to wear my new, cotton petticoat, too. Otherwise, I'll freeze out there!

Sun's up now, soon to be over the mountains.

There is jackfrost inside my little green house, even with the lamp on inside and a blanket thrown over it at night.

I'll have to bring in my rose bushes.

There's jack frost all over your car, too, and it looks just beautiful!

Porky still wants to go out front with me when I smoke, but he sure wants to come IN quick!

I cooked the brisket yesterday. I'm making myself some burritos and enchiladas. Aren't you jealous?

I should be back from the Pueblo Center by about ten, my time.

It's too cold to work outside, really, so I'll be working on my Big Project today.

The homeless shelters are over filled and turning people away! It's unseasonably cold, and no sign of relief.

The sun's bright, though, which helps midday. But the cloudless nights expose us to Outer Space, and we lose whatever heat we got during the day.

By about two in the afternoon, if it's not windy, I can walk around outside without a coat, but only for an hour or so.

I'm very grateful to have this snug, cheerful house.

I miss you.