Wednesday, February 22, 2017


This is a rant.  And, spliced in with that is news. I got a new car. I like it a lot except the color. Red. I like black or white. But it was a bargain. She paid 34K and I'm paying 20. That 20K is a bargain in any language is unthinkable. It has 11,000 miles on it and she's done five oil changes. "They're free," she said. I'd be lucky to get two into my busy schedule.  I am trying a new antidepressant for anxiety. Sometimes I can't breathe. It seems important. I have stressors in my life. One is a puppy, and tonight, the other is a step-daughter who hates me.

I have written little about Nicole, knowing she reads this blog, but tonight it seems more important to express myself than protect her feelings. She is, among many things, bipolar (or borderline pd), so she requires more therapeutic ignoring than the ordinary person. I let things go. I have for thirteen years now. But last night, she actually reached out for help, acknowledging a recent suicide attempt and sincere plans to kill a step-person. Not me. Her mother's husband. I think they're married. When she reaches out to her father, via text, this manipulates my beloved into a froth, as it would any adoring parent. She dumps the text in his lap, and he into mine, and then she fails to respond for hours -- hours in which I'm sure he pictures her hanging from the rafters somewhere in SE Portland. I can't stand to see him suffer and I texted her my concern, and said that I was glad she'd reached out. What I got in return was so mean. She is so mean. She basically laid the entire failure of her life at my feet because I won't let her live with us, lay in the house, be fed, and like a lovely but moody African Violet, face due east and bloom once a year.

In her text, she said, "Maybe we could talk about how often I've been raped for a place to sleep," then, "Seriously Judy, take your worry and choke on it." I didn't have the heart to tell her I was worried about Kurt. And we could speak about the rapes, I guess, but I'd win. Hands down. If that was meant to shock me into guilt over her troubles, she's barking up the wrong tree. I know the stock in trade. In my case, like hers, I opted not to work, and I lived in a tree instead of paying my way, so the boys took it out in trade. It wasn't usually very fun for me and I'm sure it isn't fun for her, but she isn't the first girl to have a shitty life. Not my monkey not my circus.

I met the girls when they were 13 and 11. There is hardly a year separating them, but they couldn't be more different. Nicole has bipolar disease, more depressive than manic by far. She lays down for years at a time. I've tried to support her or her parents to apply for SSD, but no one will take the time. She hasn't held a job for more than a month in several years. She takes a job, any job, becomes employee of the month, realizes how stupid everyone else is, and walks away. She is the poster child for the saying, "You can't fix a broken mind with a broken mind." I've hooked her up with many counselors, many nice women, all of whom she blew off after an appointment, or sometimes two, before she discovered their idiocy. In her text to her dad she claimed to be living by "manipulating idiots for a place to stay." I think these are probably nice people. Nicole is a charming and lovely girl when she needs to be, and a smelly hermit that bites like a snake once she gets her foot in the door.

Kurt asked me not to hold her wrath against him... not to take her meanness out on him. I am grateful he finally understands how cruel she has been, and for how long. At Christmas, as I said in a previous post, Haley talked about how everyone is poor in this family. And I think I understood her to say how sad it is that Nicole "has to stay with strangers who just accept her the way she is and take care of her." But that is nonsense. Most of these relationships are with those "morons"and they last weeks at most. She's a nasty tempered couch surfer who is currently paying the bill the hard way. One family's only stipulation was that she shower and she wouldn't do that. I remember setting that limit.... didn't work for me either.

Ah, I'm ranted out. I'm too tired and too fucking old for this shit.

Thursday, February 09, 2017

puttin' packy down

"All the animals in the zoo are jumping up and down for you." This was the earworm of my ninth year, just after my father died and little Packy was born. We didn't have PETA then, or know about cattle prods or elephant's symptoms of depression. It was just a sweet happy thing in a sweet happy world.

I'm sure it wasn't. But Trump wasn't president.

I guess he had TB. I wonder if they kept him in a cold room with damp sheets. That's my favorite Van Morrison song: TB Sheets. After Brown Eyed Girl. Anyway, this is just a little vignette for the only elephant I ever knew.

Sunday, February 05, 2017

ground hog's day

I test drove my new car today. I'm buying it from a little old lady who decided to move to Canada. Not a bad idea. She has a red Mazda CX5 that may stand for cross country. Its like my little white one, only bigger. I'm not crazy about the red, but it has all the electronic stuff, like the bluetooth hookup so it feel like you're in the phone if you're driving.

I marched in the January 21st Women's March. We made history. I didn't have a pussy hat, just a big sign that said no.just plain no. It was cold and miserable and didn't result in impeachment, I am sad to say. I will continue to resist in my small way against this very bad person and his henchmen.

Mac is wild. Never try to housebreak a puppy in a blizzard. On the other hand, I saw my oncologist eating a hotdog at Costco. That gave me hope. Things may not be as bad as advertised. 

Saturday, January 07, 2017


While Mac chews contentedly beside me and snow falls outside, ice to follow, I am allowed a single moment of peace. I got a pair of noise-cancelling headphones for Christmas but it turns out they only cancel the noise outside my head, not inside, where the real problems are. And now I have Enya playing into both ears because it is the only thing I could find without thinking. It is respite from puppy from house from headspeak.

But I still know how to knead bread, like the motion of wave or rocking a child. My hands remember each turn of the dough as cinnamon, sugar and walnuts slip between long unpracticed fingers, slick with butter, twirling the giant roll into perfection. At other times I find it hard to think.

These days I see things through the shifting kaleidoscope of political surreality, the post-fact post-truth post-honor post-democracy we live in, awaiting the million woman march portland edition and in the meantime, try to remember that my life is what it is due to the resistance of other women who went before. Who fought monsters less fictional than the bad man. I cannot swallow this whole, this idiocy of pretending, and so I bake and my blood sugar skyrockets.

Sue me. I favor resistance. Sedition. Read this and come talk to me. Arrest me.

Work is a happy place to go many days of each week, but it does not pry my mind away from this trauma. Not for long. Life and death and life and death. It is new for each family and still the same to me. I talk of heaven because that is easier. I like heaven. It is a way to end a sad conversation on a happy note. Streets of gold. Okay. Sure thing. We have the noro-type virus making its way through the building just now, like a dark and shit-spewing specter, pointing its bony finger and culling the weak from the herd. And I think, and sometimes say when they pass, oh good. oh, good. Heaven.

Home is happy. But with all the happiness of new home and open sky and stars and birdsong, Kurt suffers from arthritis and this is hard for him, which makes me sad. He is such a man. He pushes through when he should rest. He eats badly to make it not true. He pretends not to care. I love him so much and cannot stand to see him suffer. He will suffer more before this is over. I know arthritis, not personally, but I have watched it inhabit and twist the bones of elders into shapes they don't recognize.

Over Christmas, I had a moment with Marky that was hard. It made me so aware of how easy our relationship has been all these adult years... but he was drunk and now that he is sober, he seems to have an opinion. While I have been happily inviting him to various holiday events, he has experienced each one with mounting anxiety, a gift I gave him, no doubt. Anxiety that we expect him to house us, to feed us -- which we have never suggested -- these thoughts live in his head alone. I have pretended that he was unaffected by my past his past my life his life. He hates the holidays he hates having random conversations with people he doesn't know or want to know. He can't stand being around drinking. Neither can I, I wanted to tell him, but couldn't get a word in. He raged at me in his rational way in my rational way, until he'd said all he had to say. If you want to do something, he said, call me. If you want to go crabbing or camping, call me. I said Okay.

Then it was Haley's turn, sweet, strong Haley not so strong. So hard for those girls. Nicole discovered her mother wrapped in a blanket on a street corner in portland, and I can imagine that. I remember coming home to my mother wrapped in a piece of carpet on my front porch. But it wasn't a city street. And maybe it was my sister. They've both been there. But Haley mourned the poverty of both of our famlies in a voice I hadn't heard from her -- that millenial voice full of entitlement and expectation -- other kids get everything paid for. Yes. But not in our families. "Everybody in this family is poor." Yes. And in saying that, the unspoken is: but not you. You guys have it so good. And I wanted to tell her my life, of living with a small child in a house floating on a slough with electric wires so bad that you couldn't touch the floor and the counter at the same time and had to step bed to sofa to get around. And step log round to log round to make it out to the little sinking house for sixty dollars a month. A rising tide floats all things. And we do have a nice life, like most, a fingersnap from poverty. White trash-ish. A generation from the Ozarks in my family and San Jose slums in his. I refuse to feel bad about being warm in the winter. I think kids need to work. Hard. I don't know anything else. If education comes, reach out. I'm still paying for mine. Will die paying.

So, the children are unhappy. We do what we can not to break them further.

Happy New Year. jblsky

Saturday, December 03, 2016


To deal with my depression over the american tragedy, I bought a Scottie pup. His name is Mac. Mackie. He is very very cute, in an ugly sort of way. Scotties are odd looking dogs and they start out looking like grown dogs -- long nose, pointy ears. I couldn't resist. He is a doll, and like Duffy, I'm bringing him to work with me. So far so good.

So here's the thing: Like most of my peeps, I am reeling politically. As far as I'm concerned, it isn't over yet. The electoral college hasn't voted and he has not been inaugurated. As far as I know, there are recounts in process and trump is scheduled to appear in court on a child rape charge prior to the electoral college vote. The girl had dropped the case due to intimidation, but the judge decided it was worth a look-see. I'm just hoping something can happen to re-align the planets before December 19th, or at the very latest, January 19th. Pence is nearly as frightening.

My only hope, Obewan, is that someone will step forward and admit that the emperor has no clothes.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

weather, again

Well, it is autumn and the weather media is hard at it. If I was them, anything but trump would be a welcome topic. Rain comes with the season and the weathernazis are all over it. They're filling sandbags. Maybe it will be a repeat of the 1962 Columbus Day storm. I was young then. I had a brand new umbrella -- one with a golden flowered shade in the Victorian shape, a sharp spire in the center with a swooping skirt. It was perfect, and lasted about five minutes in the wind. It lifted me off of my fourth-graded feet and turned inside out. I was devastated. I remember black and white TV newsreels of buckling bridges. It may have been my imagination. You know how I am.

everything you know is wrong

In a Dickensonian dystopian disaster, trump won the election. I don't know what else to say. I came home tuesday night, made a lovely dinner, (Kurt had asked for something a little stuffy, rich and progressive., like Hillary) I bought a bottle of sparkling cider and sat down to watch Hillary take out the trash. I don't really remember eating. The sparkly is still in the fridge. Still.

I have many feelings, so far best articulated by Bill Moyers in an article titled, "The Death of America." I allowed myself to be lulled to sleep by talking heads who said he couldn't win. She had it in the bag. "How much crow can one pundit eat?" Good question. Now the nation is on fire.

I used to feel good about listening to NPR. I trusted their news sources. Now, days after this travesty, I have lost trust completely. The report today was that a trump presidency would be good and bad for the gun industry. Good, because he is a fan of the NRA, bad because gun sales are down because Hillary and Obama are no longer coming for our guns. What a shit show. All of the talking heads, and I mean from fox news to NPR, are picking at the scab that may never form, playing the same campaign promises over and over as though a record is skipping. Playing them like dire warnings that someone should have heard. Anyone. But they all, to a person, would not speak truth. They played a comedy show of their own making. And for what? Ratings. The spineless wordspinners just cranked out their silken horseshit, perfectly balanced, perfectly serious, as though they were both valid and competent candidates. And I sucked it up like mother's milk. I couldn't get enough. Trainwreck that it was, I couldn't look away, because I was certain how it ended. They said so. And now, as though they had warned us, they replay the entire campaign, byte by byte, as though they had taken it seriously from the beginning. As though his rambling threats had merit.

Truth is, or seems to be, that trump is the parrot of whichever person he last listened to. When he last listened to Obama, he thought parts of Obamacare were great and should remain in place. Now his transition team, the KKK, are keeping him isolated in trump tower so nobody else can confuse him before the takes office in January. Nobody but him can decide about the cabinet posts, and there will be a "big reveal" like I guess he had on his show, when he's good and ready. He's not allowed on Twitter. I wonder if he has any idea what he has signed up for.

Mexicans and all people of color are terrified, queer folk are flipping out, women are outraged or should be. I've gone through so many layers of grief I can't remember where I am. I am not aiming for acceptance. It is not my goal. In the beginning I felt bad for all of the regular folks who feel/felt no home in the democratic party -- and I still do. I am no elitist, but fear democrats have become the champion of "other" until there is no room for whatever is the opposite of other. In this I was thinking we needed the numbers and that inclusion would be a part of the fix. I guess white is the opposite of other. At any rate, I did not take into consideration that voter turnout had been crappy. That only about 50% turned out and that means that only 25% of the US is insane. Having redone the math, my argument now is that the democratic party needs to educate the youth vote. Maybe a Bernie-type candidate.

Enter: Jon Stewart 2020. I am not kidding. Not one bit.

Friday, September 09, 2016


I am on vacation. Poor me. I just got a manicure and pedicure. Poor me. I think there should be more, and funner. I think I shouldn't have to do housework or cook or breathe in and out when on vacation. I should camp. In a perfect spot for many days in a row and write perfect prose. It would be dirty and hard. Not the prose, the camping. Or maybe the prose. And I'd complain about that. And I wouldn't write anyway. We know that.

I am going to try to stop complaining. I am truly a chronic malcontent. So, I'm going to shut down the voices in my head who are not satisfied with my life. I've done the best I can. I do the work I want for money, I married the man I wanted, moved to the town I wanted in the house I wanted and have everything I want and am still not happy. Contentment eludes me. I'd never make a Buddhist. I could never meditate, my knees would hurt and I'd complain, and the bitter monkeys who live in my head and give me constant shit would chatter all at once and I'd never get the job done. Relaxation.

The Job.

You should see the view out my back window. It is different every day, every moment. But  what do I see? Tomatoes I need to pick. Until the sun sets and it is nearly impossible to see anything else. Ahh.

I'm glad I took enough time off to see myself. It takes time and distance. I feel like I have that view of Half Dome from Glacier Point. A certain perspective that comes when I take the time to make the walk uphill. That's the vacation view. Spend enough time alone to get sick of yourself. That.