Category: you gotta love life

My Hands

I received a really hurtful email this morning. It was from a fellow flutist who said, and I quote:

“You have really ugly hands. Maybe you shouldn’t video yourself playing flute. Or doing anything. Its [sic] no fun to watch. Ever think about getting your nails done? Try some lotion, too.”

Well, to that, here’s my response …though I neglected to mention in the video, an expert equestrian’s hands:

For those who can’t hear, here’s a transcript of what I say:

“People comment about my hands. The brave ask about them, the concerned and well-intentioned offering me bottles of flowery-smelling lotion, presenting me gift certificates for a manicure and nail job, bringing me ointments and salves. It’s true, I don’t have elegant hands. I’ve got working hands. These hands play flute and piano, type 120 words per minute, move heavy objects, in short, do a lot of hard, physical labor. They’ve moved tons of hay and grain, dug post holes, strung barbed wire, carried wood and water. These are a martial artist’s hands, a musician’s hands, a swordwoman’s hands. They ain’t pretty, but I love them.”

A Forced Abandon

The Internet went down. Soggy cables of a crumbling infrastructure will do that when a melt happens. Of course, it happens other times, too, but that’s usually either rodents chewing through the lines…or somebody’s highway construction project severing the main trunk. Gleefully, I took advantage of the hiatus granted me from the Net–from having to deal with servers, email, and everything cyber. It let me concentrate…or should have, on working on my projects.

First day down and, yes, me without any withdrawal symptoms (I never suffer withdrawal from losing connection. The opposite, in fact.), I worked on my audio project…until the cyberzombies who were suffering withdrawal descended, wondering if I had Internet access some way. (They know me too well, I think…and, uh-huh, I did have a way to connect, but I didn’t tell them that, because, for me, it’s only for emergencies. Using it is hyper-expensive.) Second day down, and it’s Mom’s birthday, which means everybody and their puppy either calls or shows up–no appreciable work done.

And, then, the DSL came back up…earlier than predicted. (Grumble.) There is something to be said for having no connection to the world at large, except for what’s outside your door. Life is cleaner, less cluttered, less stressful, less concerned. I prefer it that way, but the reality is that, without connectivity, I become insulated from the reality in which most people live, experiencing only the reality of localized here and now. I would have no idea if nuclear war broke out…until I became a shadow burned into the ground–no terror possible.

I remember when I lived as a recluse for long years, only coming out maybe once a month if I needed some fencing material or food staples. And to get the mail. Back then, I had an early form of Internet, too–all black screen or telnet white screen, delivered via braided copper cable that I paid a substantial amount to have run to the property from miles away. Communication was limited to text, used by few, and completely devoid of trolls, advertising, and, mostly, malevolence from black box intruders. It also was devoid of inanity, breakfast bagels, and surf-by spammers. I was reminded of that time today when, coming back online, Nathan Lowell poked his head out long enough to type of few conversant lines with Anita Lewis and me. It was refreshing to commune with people you know are intelligent and of sound character.

The point? I don’t know if there is one. Yet, I know that the Net as it stands today is completely unfulfilling as a communication and connection medium. At least, for me.


Can Walk Like a Human

Two weeks back, I was sprinting. On concrete. Didn’t see a rock, as eyes were looking ahead, not down. Shod foot landed off-square on stray rock. Something gave. Bad.

I didn’t go down, but I definitely dropped instantly to ‘walk’. Walk was hobble, though. Knew there was trouble. It was the same leg that got injured two years back by being banged into sideways by a very large, happily exuberant boar.  Same leg my Aussie shepherd banged into an re-injured it, mid-way healed, the same year.

“Yup.” Mumbled jargon. Typing. “It’s gonna take a good six weeks to heal. Ice, elevate, rest. No work for two weeks. None. Then gentle walking. Only.  Wear a support when upright. You have crutches, I see.  Okay. See you in two weeks.”

Sigh.  For me, that meant begging and hiring in help.

And I hate sitting on my ass, except to write or create artwork.

And, now, two and a half weeks later, I’m walking like a human, again. Oh, it’s not all the way healed, but it’s healed enough that I impressed everyone when I walked in for a recheck.

“Mild work, no heavy chores.”

Of course, I nod.  Then grin.

He grins back. He knows me. Shakes his head. Types on the keyboard. “See you next time.”

At least I can get rid of the temporary help and stop sitting around in front of the computer for most of the day.  There’s work to do and winter’s coming.


EVENING UPDATE: Well, bum knee and all, I made my walk tonight, me and Laddie. I managed 3 mph. Usually, I do a mile in 12 minutes walking, but, for a first time out since I tweaked that knee, I figure doing a mile in 20 minutes is pretty good, since it’s over 4 inch rocks that are tricky to navigate with both legs sound. But, yeah, I did wear a leg brace and, yeah, I did feel it grumble a few times.


New System Engaged, But There’s a Miffed Wet Hornet


So, after a lot of hard work and even more patience, the new phone system is working, now, throughout the house as well as in the office, with wireless, LAN, and DSL all working seamlessly together along with FAX and landline phone WITH the plus that, if and when the DSL goes down (something that happens about once a week here in North Idaho), I can still get on the Net via another wireless option.

This has taken almost an act of Congress to get functioning, but, finally, as of yesterday, all systems are stable and working within optimum parameters.  The entire project took remodeling the whole system from a patched together one. It also required a great deal of coordination between disparate companies, plus some remodeling in the office and other parts of the house structurally connected to that office.


Of course, just when you think that you’ve got everything back under control, all hell breaks loose somewhere else, in this case, at the two shops where my husband’s trucks are sitting. The first truck is his relatively new KW heavy haul…which needs a new wiring harness…which isn’t in stock (of course) and the second one is a loaner that, upon start-up, is throwing engine errors and is rife with air leaks.  Lucky for me, I’m sitting safely home, nowhere near a husband who is about as happy as a wet hornet.


Forrest’s Night Out


Someone screaming in anguish, their guts being ripped from their body. Someone laughing, the sound maniacal. The audience members munch popcorn and sip their favored beverages, unmoved, almost bored. I leave my seat, climbing the spilled-pop-sticky carpet to the entrance/exit. I don’t want to see those kinds of “Coming Attractions,” thanks.  We’re here for a newly released blockbuster Forrest wants to see on the ‘big screen’, not to see unmitigated gore and celebrated cruelty.

My husband catches up with me out in the lobby. “Are you going out to the car?”

I turn. Smile. “No. I’m going to the bathroom. I’ll be right back. No worries,” I assure him.

His eyes plead.

I smile, again.  “Be right back.”

He nods and, relaxing, turns to head back down the dark entry to Theater #3. He knows why I left. I don’t like graphic violence. I see no need for it, except in the rarest of circumstances, and, even then, it can be done in a way that has astonishing impact without resorting to real-to-life depictions. I know. Because I write it, have written it, have made voice actors audio recording my stories choke up, unable to get a clean take time after time–professional voice artists.

In the bathroom, a little girl is waving her hands underneath the faucet, but she’s too short to get it to come on. I wonder where her mother is. I wonder at the architects and engineers who didn’t think about the needs of children and others of small stature. I wave my hand over her faucet, and it turns on. She smiles, mumbles ‘thanks’, and puts her hands under the running water, then manages the electronic eye on the paper towel dispenser by herself, though it’s a stretch.

I check my make-up–rarely wear it. My clothes–black–lay impeccably. My five-inch heels give me an illusion of elegance and grace, despite my petite frame and calloused hands.  My hair, freshly styled, is suitably mussed and tousled. I look like I just stepped out of a magazine instead of rural North Idaho. On purpose. I’ve dressed up especially for my husband. I want his evening to be the best, because these chances happen so rarely for us with his job.

I wash my hands. Think. Head back out to stand near the dark opening that leads down to where Forrest is saving my seat. The “Coming Attractions” are still playing. Sound says that they’re still cruel, mean, and gory. Oddly, the movie we’ve come all the way to the big city to see isn’t that kind of movie, so why are they showing horror and violence trailers is my wonder.

Some tall, teen girls walk by, heading for Theater #4. They sneer, make some comment I don’t understand in some alien-sounding jargon, then spit in my direction. Their efforts fall short. I don’t ‘see’ them, don’t react. The cop standing near the concession stand starts walking over, and the girls vanish down the dark hole that’s Theater #4. He asks if I’m okay. I assure him, “Yes.”

Finally, I hear the opening theme for the movie we came to see. I head back to my seat, Forrest grasping my hand as I settle in…offering me his popcorn.

It’s a rare treat–a night out in the big city a hundred-plus miles from home. The special effects alone will make worthwhile suffering the soles of my shoes sticking to the carpet, the crude “Coming Attractions”, the teens with their hatred. But that’s not why I’m here. I’m here to be with my best friend and soulmate. It’s Forrest’s night out.


Joy Enters My World Thanks to Dustin and Zach

2011-12-29 15.28.26I just got word a few minutes ago.  My beloved husband is coming home, and he’ll be home through New Year’s and Friday, too!  Why?  Dustin (leader of the pack) and Zach, Forrest’s driver manager, have arranged it so that he’s taking a load up to Alberta that delivers Monday.  Joy, joy, joy. He’ll be home for dinner tonight, and I’ll get to wrap my arms around him for a whole couple of days!!!  Life has given me something to smile about.  Thank you, Dustin and Zach of the Northwest Regional Fleet of System Transport!

Awesomely Interesting

Comes from here: , The literal meanings of places in the U.S., mapped.

A Wonderful Quote

Nothing limits achievement like small thinking; nothing expands possibilities like an unleashed imagination. ~William Arthur Ward

The Winter Solstice Lunar Eclipse

Winter Solstice Lunar Eclipse from William Castleman on Vimeo.

Time lapse video of Winter Solstice Lunar Eclipse on December 21, 2010 from 1:10 AM EST (6:10 GMT) to 5:03 AM EST (10:03 GMT) from Gainesville Florida. Music is Claude Debussy Nocturnes: Sirènes.

Patience & Compassion

I have some new neighbors, and, for the most part, I instantly don’t like them much. …Because they’re loud, sloppy, dirty, aggressive, and disruptive. Typically, they own a Pitbull. (Now, I have nothing against Pitbulls, but I’m not real happy with the ugly folks who purposely make them mean and dangerous.)

Anyway, so, last night, Hubs got home very late, way after dark, so dinner was postponed till way after my normal bedtime. We were just sitting down to this late supper when, outside, the roar of one of the “regulars” who visit the above-defined neighbors breaks the silence of the night. And then there’s yelling.

“What’s going on?” Hubs asked.

I shake my head, but get up and head out the door to find the answer. And then I start to watch.

The son of the family, an amazingly nice boy — he must be thirteen or thereabouts — is sitting in the hopped-up Jeep that belongs to the young Mexican-American man (a brother of the wife, I think). The lights are on, the engine running. The owner of said vehicle stands outside listening as the boy — scared — yells that “he doesn’t know how.”

The young man maintains a steady, even tone, his accented words gentle. “I know. You’ll get it.”

I can’t hear the rest of what he says, but it seems as if he’s giving the boy instructions on “how.”

Now, teaching someone to drive is very stressful. It falls under the heading “absolutely NOT fun.”

The engine revs. The Jeep lurches forward, then stalls, its lights dimming.

Again, the boy hollers. The man speaks calmly, compassionately…patiently, his voice still gentle. This is, I find, very unusual, because the young man is quite normally a strutting peacock, full of vim and piss.

The Jeep turns over, revs, gears grind (I’m cringing as I’m sure is the owner.), then it lurches forward, and hesitantly makes progress.

I worry that the boy is going to hit one of the trucks parked on the side of the road. …He doesn’t, but steers the hopped-up beast he’s driving pretty well. It’s the clutch that’s his problem, it seems. (Isn’t it for any of us when we learn to drive a stick shift?)

The boy gets to the end of the street, tries to make a u-turn, fails, almost hitting one of the parked trucks. He slams on the brakes, the rig sitting sideways in the road. The rig dies, lights dimming again. He gets it started again, but he can’t get it into reverse. He’s practically sobbing as he again hollers out the open driver’s window down toward the waiting man.

The man walks past, heading toward the vehicle. When he gets there, I hear, once again, the gentle voice giving instructions. The boy, whose shrill whine sounds so very stressed, finally quiets and, as the man gets into the passenger side, he manages to grind the gears and, after another couple of stall-outs, manages to get the rig turned around.

They take off down the street, the vehicle alternately slowing and lurching forward. Whew, I think.

Several times up and down the road, and, by the time a half an hour is up, the boy is getting it. He’s able to clutch smoothly. (I’m thankful all this time that the boy already has steering down.)

They stop at the house, both man and boy get out, the boy’s voice still a bit tentative, the young man’s voice still soft and encouraging as they say good-night. The boy heads for his house, and the Jeep starts. The young man puts his foot in it — not too much, though — and takes off down the road into the darkness.

I stand there thinking, what patience and compassion the young man has exhibited, despite the fact that his Jeep, his pride and joy, has taken a bit of abusive punishment to its transmission, engine, and clutch. Usually one only sees that degree of gentility and calmness within the elderly. Here, I witnessed it from a youth just entering his twenties. I’m impressed and just a little bit proud, despite the family he’s kin to.

I’m so glad he’s there for that boy, a boy whose father is notoriously loud, brazen, and exhibits every trait of a defensive-aggressive white trash male. Thank heavens for the “other side” of the family — the Mexican-American side. Despite their macho strutting, they own patience and compassion with their own.

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