Key Lime Pie

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It’s like it was made especially for me. Ah!

Well, after two rather personal, scathing, longish entries in the blogosphere, I’ll content myself with a brief birthday blurb.

Rain drips down in a steady drone. The morning seems calm, peaceful. My Grumpy Odin novel starts to take some shape and I managed to find a Key Lime pie, on sale, at the small town grocery store. Birthday pie!

I’ve been dithering over should I just buy one or attempt to make one. Actual dithering.

I’d stop, feel up the canned milk, go over what I needed to make a Key Lime pie. Actual Key Limes? Could I just use juice or…? Crust choices??

And lo and behold, there, in the freezer section. On sale! From almost nine dollars marked down to five something.

Holy birthday wishes come true! Marie Callender. MARIE CALLENDER, YA’LL. The Cadillac of frozen pies.

All you have to do is LET IT THAW.

I also found four seasons of Glee at the local thrift store. Overly polished musical numbers, teen angst, overly polished musical numbers! My– when I want the world to just fucking go away– series.

Rainy day, Glee, birthday pie.

DVD’s in perfect condition, at that. It’s like a miracle. Finding a DVD at a thrift store that isn’t a scratched up horror is almost a miracle on the order of Key Lime pies and fishes.

No, I don’t have Netflix or Hulu. I have a DVD player and spare change I find under the bed, m’kay?

I have no plans today.

I don’t wish to hang with whatever friends I have left. See my post Safe. Mm.

If the rain clears up, or even if it doesn’t, I might head out to the Owyhees for a bit. And empty out the detritus from this past year. So I have lots of room for future detritus. Yay!

I might stay home and write. I might get my life in order and…

BIRTHDAY PIE!

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Wow, you can’t see the dust or cracks in the earth! Rain rain rain! 
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This is my country

 

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Yeah, ‘murica right now.

This is not my country, I hear. I hear that. A lot.

From very young, naive folks. From the elderly who should know better. From myself at times when I have brain freezes and forget the tidbits and scraps I’ve picked up over the years about the history of my country.

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from the history of Indian Boarding Schools. 

Separating children from the parents seeking help, asylum and surcease from whatever political bullshit they were fleeing from.

This is a POLICY put into place by Putinscunt, whispered into that corpulent ear by Stephen Miller…an avowed and known white supremacist. It’s not law. It’s not something the Democrats invented or put into practice.

And all three branches of the American government are ruled by the Trumpicans, er, GOP. So. As scapegoats go, blaming the Democrats for this POLICY is, uh, working.

Because people don’t fact check in America. Fact checking is for losers. And liberals. And SJW’s. And commie socialists who want to take your hard-earned money and give it to illegals and drug addicts and MS-13 gang members…Right, Nancy Pelosi?

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Those children, and they are children, are being held hostage, so I’ve heard/read, so that Putinscunt can get that wall financed and built.

And the Foxchristians [a term I saw and it just FELT SO RIGHT] are a thousand percent behind taking kids, already traumatized by leaving everything they know behind, and traumatizing them, possibly, for life.

That’s fine. That’s what Jesus would do and approve of. Mm.

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I’m not some hardcore, shouty Christian type, don’t worry. But I was brought up in the Missouri Synod Lutheran Church.

I’ve been confirmed as a member. I’ve done Sunday School.

I’ve attended church camp. I’ve worked at that same church camp. I was almost raped at that same camp and never went back, so.

I do have some background in churches and the Bible. [And I know firsthand why women don’t speak up about what happens to them. Oh yes, I do.]

I’m puzzled, to say the least, by people who cheer for what’s going on at the border. At building giant, for-profit concentration camps–

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in Brownsville, Texas, where it’s already a hundred degrees. Tents/facilities with no air conditioning.

I think I saw something about the Catholic Relief Aid trying to get fans or something sent there…

There are plans to build more CONCENTRATION CAMPS in Wyoming. Housing for 5000 at a pop.

Tax money being used for this. And people turning a profit off these concentration camps. Capitalism and crimes against humanity, score!

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People seem dazed. Scattered to the wind. The resistance seems incredulous. This is not happening, seems to be the major takeaway.

There are marches planned. 

The urge to roll my eyes at marches planned at future dates is just…not possible to control at all.

More out of why are we not just ripping those places apart with our bare fucking hands? Why am I not hitchhiking to Texas to do just that? 

There are senators, including the one from my home state, trying to drum up public awareness and fan some god damn enough of this shit already outrage, which will lead to actual action.

Anger gets shit done, as Mr. Nancy says in American Gods over on Starz.

Anger is very dangerous to this POLICY designed to get a wall built and zero tolerance immigration crap passed.

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Actual mural on wall of Texas camp. 

Strangely, America has a history of this. Going way way back, babies.

We did it with slavery, where babies were sold on the auction block. There are illustrations of this oh so human practice. We tend to call such things ‘inhumane’, literally washing our hands of admitting that humans treat other humans like garbage a lot of the time.

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We did this with indigenous people. Took Native American kids from their families, cut their hair, took their clothes, forced them to speak English only, stripped them of their culture and heritage, forced them to be Christians…it wasn’t until almost 1980 that the religious practices of Native Americans were even allowed to be practiced legally. [As at times ‘illegal’ substances were used, like peyote.]

And of course, the Japanese internment camps. See George Takei for a history of that. See lots of others for a history of that. These were American citizens. Stripped of everything, lost their livelihood, their homes, their possessions, everything.

A stark reminder that it did happen here, it did fucking happen here. 

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America has a gigantic streak of treating children like livestock, social experiments, POWs, and demonic criminals intent on destroying the Home of the Free and the Brave.

It seems we’re actually the Home of the Cowardly and Cruel.

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We spout Bible verses without reading any of the verses around them.

Romans 13:1 does say to obey the laws of whatever land you reside in. Yet further, in Romans 13:10–Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.

That Romans 13:1, by the way, was spouted by Nazis and slave owners to justify their practices.

Jeff Sessions and Sarah Huckabee Sanders both spouted it as well…in a country that celebrates separation of church and state. Scary fucking times, indeed. By the same people who scream against Sharia Law coming to ‘murica. And upset that football players are kneeling quietly and…Not even Beckett could adequately capture the absurdity of America right now. Well, he probably could. He was Irish.

See history of how America treated Irish immigrants, dearies. Whee? Or watch Gangs of New York or The Departed or pretty much any movie about the Irish in America, really. It’s a popular topic and hey, white people front and center being treated badly…wet dream time for Stevie Miller. And Stevie Bannon. And Gorka. And Sessions. And David Duke. And…yeppity yep. Yes, the Irish got labeled and scorned for a bit, but…mm. Okay!

The Keebler Elf and Aunt Lydia both tell us to calm down, it’s not so bad, it’s in the Bible. It’s a law they can’t do anything about, they are just HELPLESS BEFORE THE DEMOCRAT’S EVIL WAYS. Uh huh. They bravely report that if only the Democrats would relent and…uh huh. And the Bible, of course, says treating kids like something out of Schindler’s List is fine and dandy. That treating brown kids in a repeat of the Trail of Tears is AWESOME WITH GOD. God loves immigrant criminal kiddie tears! 

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The same Bible that says to treat foreigners like family, as you were once a stranger in a strange land. To drown yourself if you hurt children–see that whole millstone thingie Jesus said.

The rabid pro-life crowds seems really confused and lost when it comes to actual children being tormented, tortured and lost. As in missing. As in no one’s quite sure where a big bunch of kids are. As in might be in the hands of human traffickers.

Which only seems to matter if a certain Madam Clinton is running a pedo ring out of a pizza parlor in New Jersey. Yeah.

Ripping children away from their exhausted, frightened, stressed parents and housing them in a sweltering place where no affection or treatment that borders anywhere near compassion or actual concern for those kids is, um, the definition of evil.

There. I said it.

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A truck packed with American citizens, San Pedro, CA, 1942, heading for a concentration camp. 

It’s about as far from what Jesus taught in the treatment of others as it’s possible to get.

I don’t ever remember at church camp, which had pastors and people studying to be pastors, working there and occasionally delivering actual sermons on kindness and love…about where it’s okay to hold kids hostage in nasty conditions until one gets what one wants.

A vanity wall that won’t keep anything out at all.

As most people come here on planes or boats and just don’t go back when their visas expire. That’s, um, known. That’s an actual fact. So.

Again, this isn’t law.

It’s policy.

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I know we’re not supposed to upset anyone in case they don’t vote anyway but…

Calling a halt to separating kids from their parents is something that can be quickly shelved, stopped, ended today.

This POLICY of cruelty and deliberate malice is something Putinscunt decided to do all on his own.

And then blamed, predictably and with great success, on the Democrats. I didn’t do this, the Democrats did! OBAMA DID IT, TOO is the battle cry here. 

It works. It always works. 

That loud hectoring wasp whine drowns out the soft, polite, take the high road idiots on the other side.

And they are idiots! Big quivering ones!

american-dreamers_internment-camp-comparison_no-mexicans.jpgSoft, melty idiots who scold over the use of ‘fuck’ and ‘cunt’ and ‘crude language’ rather than take on the real actual issues, as that might turn away voters who are tired of hearing about racism and other inconvenient social issues. Voters that stay home, at that.

We must be nice, we must be the grown ups in the room. Eventually we’ll, uh, win. The Blue Wave is coming. It’s Mueller Time! People won’t stand for this very long. 

Bwha ha ha. I can’t breathe! My sides!

Oh yes, I’m a cynical little kitty cat right now.

You see liberals and others calling for ‘civility’ against the crude, very successful, attacks of the right. We can’t be like them, is the not-battle cry.

It’s a Ned Flanders kinda strategy.

We can’t get mad, facts will win them in the end, the truth is on our side

And then my head just pops like a balloon shot by an AK-47.

The time for civility and niceness went bye-bye years ago.

We can get back to murmuring politely at each other when America isn’t being rapidly turned into a fascist shithole. The UN frowns at the US right now. America no longer supports humans rights.  Canada is possibly considering an invasion to liberate us. They might team up with Mexico.

I can flash my Lutheran card when they come for me. I’ll be mostly okay if I keep my mouth shut and my eyes down. I have the right skin color. Yeah, I went there.

Only racists talk about racism…yeah, heard that one yet? Yeah, it’s bullshit and meant to silence conversations and observations. The BLM people are the REAL RACISTS HERE. We don’t notice skin color, why do you? Democrats are the real racists. Etc. Etc. Etc.

It can also vend into Free Speech fuckery– why is the tolerant left so intolerant of my right to express myself about just why blacks are [insert stereotype penned by the KKK here] It’s my opinion! Why are they trying to silence me?

Yep. It’s why the left is reduced to softly scolding about bad language most of the time. People can safely rally behind not using bad language and being adult-ish. That’s my hot take, anyway. Oh yes, back to explaining how I can blend in with the American Flag Lovers of Trumplandia. 

I can scrub my feeble liberal-esque bloggings right damn quick if I have to. I can trace my ancestors coming here ‘legally’.

I have the right papers. I have my official birth certificate– it’s needed to get a driver’s license and a passport. I have a passport, which is valid for years yet.

My ancestors! From places like Norway. And Germany. And the UK. When it comes down to that.

I have Viking blood! My grandpa spoke German! Some uncle fought for the South, as a general. I glow in the dark I’m so right-skinned! 

As any liberals left will still be calling for nice language and take the high road, dang it. You can spot them by the patches on their chest. Yep, went there!

I can spout the right phrases with a straight face.

I have actor training, after all. I’m a writer, I remember phrases and slogans quite well. How math works, not so much. Democrats hate America, yep, that I can scream with the best of em, all while enjoying the rodeo and the country fair and rallies…

It’s rather scary how well I could blend with the ‘other side.’ I live among the ‘other side’. I’m in very red territory in a very red part of Oregon and can cross over into super-red Idaho by driving about twenty minutes, if that. 

Anyone who actually knows me would not buy my metamorphosis.  But those who don’t…mmm.

I’ll have to work on my sarcastic eye-rolling and muttered cursing and loud WTF sighs. That’s where the compressed lips and eyes down at all times training comes in handy. I can combine my girl training with my go along with fascism necessities. Whee?

I have the freedom to express myself as long as I express what they want to hear. I know how it works, I know the damn score. Oh sorry. Dang score. Mustn’t descend to their level. Then they win or something. Or something. 

Back to the actual subject of this sort through the wheat and the chaff effort.

You can contact and donate to the ACLU. You can take part in a march. You can post articles and videos and history lessons about this very subject on social media. You can write/text/call your representatives.

You can help fund grassroots hire lawyers or even volunteer if you have legal training of any kind. You can go help translate if you speak Spanish. You can oppose ICE at every turn. You can get to know what rights you still have left in America. Make a list. Cross them off as or when they go buh-bye. 

There’s a tale of a lady on a bus, going from California to Arizona, I think. She refused to let ICE intimidate people into flashing their papers, she went ‘full donkey’, as she put it. ICE backed down because they are not used to people knowing their actual rights and demanding to be treated like citizens, instead of peasants at the mercy of a mercurial king.

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There are small tales of actual hope coming out of all this. There are! 

There are glimmers of people blinking, waking up from some dream of ‘it can’t happen here’. That’s, I guess, what you have to hold onto.

And try to be a loud, obnoxious, swearing voice yourself against this bullshit cuntery.

It’s scary, it’s hard, and you might have the luxury of being able to ignore it thoroughly because it, allegedly, is not something that affects you. [Kind of like the Black Lives Matter or the MeToo movement or…uh huh.]

Oh I turned the news off and took up breeding Dalmations! I’m so much happier now! My stress levels are way down! Puppies are cute! The news is so gloomy, anyway. Who needs it? They can’t report on nice things? That raccoon! I saw that! Why can’t we have more of that?

I wonder what the next batch of kids being jailed for their skin color and perceived wrongness will be. I wonder that a lot.

Or will we recycle and go retro and American classic? And wait for heroes to rise to save us from ourselves…we’re always waiting for heroes to rise in America.

It’s kinda our thing. And caging people we find wrong, bad, the wrong color, the wrong religion and just generally offensive to some white purity nationalists.

Oh say does that star-spangled banner yet wave

o’er the land of the free and the home of the brave

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Yep, sums up my thoughts as well most days. 

 

 

 

 

Safe

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from istock. I just liked the colors and how cute it was. 

I’m going to depart my usual madcap whirl of promoting some obscure project or informing people that my pet eggplant has recovered from the ground squirrel attack it had to endure in brave, stoic silence.

There’s this person. Z. I’ve known this person since high school. So a thousand years at least. Ha ha. Okay.

This person had fallen on hard times, as John Steinbeck wrote so eloquently about. The current economic clime is not nice to lots of people, you make mistakes you can’t recover from, it’s a dog eat dog world and…yup. I, myself, and I am in a place. Where I don’t wish human company, I don’t miss the cities, I don’t wish to visit or chitchat or spend time with PEOPLE. See posts about my own family for evidence. I wish to be left alone, as Greta Garbo sneered.

I won’t go into details about the Day I had with Z. I can only and should only address my reactions and why I’m having said reactions.

I got home, after the Day, and agitation colored my entire being. I could not relax. My teeth seemed permanently pressed together. Rage rage rage throughout me. I wanted to smash all the dishes. I had shaking hands. I could not concentrate. I had shortness of breath. I didn’t feel…safe. I felt like I had been attacked all day.

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Maybe if I erased my entire self and had someone else re-design me…I’d be a real person at last. Mm.

Z, though someone from my dim past, is not someone I trust.

They have claimed to respect my fierce need to be left alone yet intrude and poke and pry and assume and…yup. I don’t enjoy Z’s company. I have to watch whatever I say, it will be used against me. I mentioned I wrote a zombie novel, for instance. Everything from holding up zombie novels to asking if they had been included in my writing…which made me defensive and curt and awful and terrible and barely in control at times. I don’t mind being questioned on my writing…I mind someone inserting themselves into my writing like a footnote I forgot to include. I mind “hurting” people because I forgot to base a character on them.

Fuck! FUCK OFF. Okay, breathe, breathe.

Now, I have kept my distance, in case you’re wondering why moonbat me spends every day suffering like this.

I don’t. Our last outing was, I think, last year. I wrote a blog post that went from hysterical to hyper-hysterical then deleted it because it was mean, awful and unfair. I do have rare moments of actual thought and care for others.

This person learned to keep their distance but I…I agree to outings because I feel guilty. I feel like the bad guy, the villain, all the time with Z. I feel an obligation to be nice because Z is so ‘nice’ all the time.

I remember my mother telling me to be nice. How awful I was all the time that my mother had to tell me to be nice over and over…that I should be grateful anyone wants anything to do with me. Which is tied into other things in my spotty childhood and…I won’t ever go into that here.

Tears. Tears now.

You think you’ve dealt with something. You think, hey, that’s the past. It’s over. You read the sayings that say just that.

The scary too-positive quotes that make you feel even worse about not being able to forget or forgive or magically turn into not-you and conquer the world, the universe and heaven and hell.

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from Pinterest. See??? Who can survive that relentless positive attack up there? Or is that just me who starts laughing hysterically while stabbing myself in the eye at that advice rant?

That you’re supposed to be grateful for whatever trauma put permanent scars on you instead of wishing it had never happened in the first place. That being angry is somehow bad or evil and you should just be peaceful and smiling and…

Yeah, the list of how to conquer your demons and past blah blah. Entire wings at Barnes and Noble devoted to this subject.

Where was I. Obligation.

I know Z knows I agree to go anywhere under real duress and reluctance. I know Z is stuck in a rather awful situation and feels alone, cut off and powerless. I can back off and look at all this very coolly. Somewhat coolly.

But I don’t feel safe.

That might seem silly to some of you, who have never had to question the people around you all the time or some of the time.

There’s this new show called Dietland, where Plum, the main character, has to assess each and every person that talks to her and ask herself what that person wants or why they’re talking to her at all. She’s fat. Not a size four fat when everyone around her is a double zero, she’s FAT. That rang the bells and then some with me. What does this person want? You have to question everyone’s motives all the time. Because they will hurt you. Because people go out of their way to find new ways to make you cry. Because people butter you up to…yep.

If you haven’t seen Dietland yet or were scared off by the MILITANT FEMINISTS theme implied…honey, overcome that and go watch an episode. 

I can’t do slavish, best friends devotion with this person. I am also financially worth pennies. I can’t go on shopping sprees and spend the day eating lunch and impulse buying. I also get so uncomfortable when Z offers to pay for stuff. I can’t repay it, I can’t reciprocate the way Z wishes…sighs here. Lots of sighs. 

I’d rather look at costume jewelry, makeup and shoes, as I am FAT and clothes shopping is a horror to me when I go with skinny people.

I just have to stand there and look at stuff or go find a section I can actually buy stuff in, which I can’t, because I have no money to spare for even the stuff marked down.

Okay, I promised not to kvetch about the actual excursion. Sorry!

I’d also rather shop for clothes alone or with people I trust…having to admit the tent-like polyester brown and gray tunic, that’s too short and sleeveless, you found stuffed at the very end of the Savers plus size rack isn’t quite tent-like enough, no thanks.

I jest a bit. A bit. 

Ah.

I cannot do the BFF thing. I can’t. Not with Z. It creeps me out.

I get a creepy sensation. That not-safe crawl across my skin. My instincts tell me to get away, get away. Not that I think Z will physically hurt me or anything like that. It’s more like a parasite burrowing into your inner organs…oh that sounds so unkind and horrible and NOT NICE. I sense the clingy. There are some I don’t mind being clingy with me, this one I do mind. I mind it a lot. 

Also, yours truly is terrible with confrontation and admitting to having real feelings or being hurt or…yeah. I whisper that it’s fine, it’s fine. I tend to say that a lot. You don’t give them any ammo…is my actual life motto. And then all that repressed everything explodes and splatters people who have nothing to do with any of that repressed emotional magma. I should suck it up and confront the person I’m so and so with.

MAGMA! Whee!!!! Fun!

Safe.

I have to deal with whatever had actually started this notion that I am not safe around Z and that I need to avoid her or even just end the friendship, such as it is. Then Z doesn’t have to try to recruit me to her stable of bolsterers and I don’t have to grit my teeth and pretend very badly what a good time I’m having.

I meant this to be very short. I tried to keep it all about me and my magma emotional fuckwaddery. I don’t experience this with my other few remaining friends…and oh, what if they are just tolerating me? Do you see where the vicious circle kicks in? Yep!

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Molly, hoping I’m about to take her somewhere fun. 

Grumpy yet Sexy Kalurching

 

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Actual screenshot of my Grumpy Odin and Sexy Jesus project

Someone has a project plugging away and lo and behold, it’s me.

I’ve been rewriting my Odin and Jesus thingamabob. I’m skimming through it, just trying to get the LATEST FREAKING VERSION out on the page.

What am I kalurching about? [That’s a vomit sound combined with another vomit sound, BTW.]

The Adventures of Grumpy Odin and Sexy Jesus

With possible name change– Mr. Grumpy and Sir Sexy. Which is…eh.

But I am always thinking of MARKETING these days. How to market X. How to get MORE PEOPLE TO BUY MY X.

I usually end up sobbing, and taking lots of things and stuff to calm my innards. Marketing has become my bete noire.

Where did I leave off before I drifted into MARKETING waters.

Oh yes.

Doggedly discuss latest writing project because that’s why I started this blog in the first kalurchy place. And to spare my friends my burbling too-long emails. Poor friends!

SHUT UP, I DO SO HAVE FRIENDS.

That was for the roflmao voices in my head. Sorry.

Odin, Jesus, God, Maggie, batboys, Minions, Stella Lou, Click and Clack, Minette and Suzi and…

I am trying, this time around, to STREAMLINE the tale. It turned into a messy, sprawling mess last time around, which I liked but might, well, probably, would test the patience of dear readers who bothered to read it.

Poor Ms. Wuehler, she’s a bit all over the place here and if there’s a story here, I might need a compass, some rope, and a miracle on the order of loaves and fishes to find it.

Chapter five or so is where I am.

I’m having fun and want to get back to it, so that’s good. Of course I’ve written this one several times over now. It started off as a play, as a short story, and is now a PROJECT that will need MARKETING.

Can you sense a theme developing here?

I’d go off on a magnificent political rant but hey, I can funnel that rage and WTF is happening? into my sentences and word choices and subtext. When I have subtext. I am more Ibsen than Chekhov most of the time. If you get that, high five. Or– Ibsen wasn’t that subtle and Chekhov was really subtle. Okay.

Ah. So!

I’m just letting it unfold, more or less, as it wants. TAOGOASJ seems to want to get back to the far more light-hearted, rather goofy road into the wilds of the Alvord than I had written it in earlier attempts.

As the Big Showdown will take place, still, in the Alvord Desert of Oregon.

Why is everything I write set in Oregon, mostly? Ah.

Because I’m from Oregon and setting all my tales, in, say, Alabama, just doesn’t work for me.

I have nothing against ‘bama, Roll Tide!, but…not from there or from the mystical, gothic-smeared South. I’m from the interior West, home of mythical cowboys and gothic Aryan Nations smeared bullshit.

Whee?…eee…uh. That’s a sound effect spelled out. Imagine the first part is ‘should I be happy about that? Then the second set is ‘no’, with the sound descending from a high squeal to a lower, softer noise and then a gulp.

I’m keeping a lot of the things I really liked from earlier versions. Names for things, characters, Swiss Charlie’s, Po. Po is Horus’s horse. Jesus has to be more charming, more slick. Odin needs some actual grumpiness! MORE COWBELL FOR ALL.

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From the SNL more cowbell sketch. Will Ferrell, Jimmy Fallon, Horatio Sanz, Chris Kattan. Missing, ironically, is Christopher Walken. Ironic is my middle name.

I still laugh at that skit from SNL. Christopher Walken is my spirit animal, as the kiddies opine. He’s not, but for that skit, he is.

Back to Grumpy Odin/Sexy Jesus.

I’m also working a lot on Maggie, the Head Receptionist. On her will and drive, on not making her such a Mary Sue, oh ghastly gasp of horror inserted here. [Uhhh!] I’ve kept the tentacles and the mask.

Oooh, who’s wearing a mask!

Look at you! HOOKED. Hooked, I tell ya!

Did I mention the cute ground squirrel prolly ate most of my pet eggplant? And that the cucumber I doctored for teensy black bugs has give up the ghost?

Yeah. I transplanted the eggie into a big pot and put it up high. It’s fine so far, just the leaves got nibbled off. It still looks rather splendid, except it’s just a stem with leaves at the top and one purple blossom left.

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Eggie in the halcyon days before the leaf massacre…poor Eggie. It’s in the downstage corner by the plastic chicken, btw.

I also trimmed the forsythia and rose bush next to my mini garden, put up some redneck fencing– that’s whatever crap you have laying around used as a fence– and check my mini garden obsessively.

The yard bunnies prolly also had a tooth in this.

Oh! I turned over a board on the other side of the fence and there was a mama quail and her eggs. I hope she didn’t abandon them. I’m afraid to check. I do love quail. They are perhaps my favorite bird, with hummingbirds of course ranking right up there. I saw a hummer the other day. Poking that long beak into the wild roses. I thrilled. I was thrilled.

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Quail nest found beneath ratty old board.

A little news– I somehow have nine novels to get written.

I have two done and nine to go. Someone, [it was me] mentioned titles to her publisher. Who remembered them, jumbled them a bit and then sent a contract…yep. [This is good. In case it doesn’t come across that way. This is good!!!!] 

It’s a zany slapstick sort of life, yes, it is.

So! Blog-wise, I will be attempting to MARKET my oncoming flux of writing onto the indifferent universe. Even a mild splash would be nice.

Let’s see. I’ve mentioned my latest writing project, the Alvord Desert, MARKETING, my mini garden, and Alabama. I think that’s enough for now.

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Me working hard. Go me!

It’s June already??

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Just having some fun. It’s June now!

I should probably start off June with something about writing projects. The committee of puppets in my head nod and agree, yes, I should do just that.

Ah so, gentle readers and assorted indifferent passerbys– I wrote this short novella on zombies…Stop right there.

I fleshed it out, ha ha. It’s now novel-length. It deals more with menstruation than zombies. Just kidding, of course. I’m not that far gone into Womanlandia. Menstruation, eh, gross. We’ve come such a long way, right??

Where was I?

I call it, for now, Aftermath.

I know. Generic as all get out. But it works. I will probably keep that title. A good title is ninety percent of the battle or something. I learned that in grad school! Go Running Rebels! [Google is your friend if you don’t know what school that is.]

I found a scrap of paper with– woman wakes up after killing herself during a zombie apocalypse.

That was it. That ‘sparked’ something. I started writing. As one does.

That actual first draft was shit. Just crap on toast. I cringed reading it over. Cringed! I started over. Better, not great, but better.

I got to where Our Heroine Hannah faces a giant crater in a road. With some ideas of she should be taken to the camps of the resisters or be taken to the military base to be dealt with or…yeah.

I grew all wishy-washy and unsure. And put the project away.

So. Time passes. I delve back into Aftermath.

Ideas flow like cheap supermarket markdown boxed wine into a Styrofoam cup. 

So, I write the ending…which just ‘works’ for me. I have to now write the penultimate part before that ending.

Four or five options present themselves here. I write them out, I discard them, go back to them, ponder over them, call myself a cunt a lot, and then happen on a sort of happy-ish pre-conclusion that rings a bit more true than the others.

Wait, what’s the plot, you might even be asking yourself at this point, if you’ve bothered to read this far. Here we go!

Hannah kills herself rather than be eaten by the zombies who’ve cornered her in the very ruined wreck of Boise, Idaho. The world has been overrun and destroyed, she’s had enough of trying to survive. However, instead of going off to hell or heaven or just dying, Hannah wakes up in an office. Run by zombies. She is a fish out of water here, trying to navigate her new existence among people who seem to know her. She finds herself at the center of plots and counter-plots, caught in some office three-way with her zombie boss and some guy named Kevin, who is one of the leaders of the resistance against the zombie overlords. Zombies, by the way, run everything. The word zombie has been outlawed, and any fighting back against the absolute zombie control gets dealt with quickly. The zombies control the banks, the police force, government, everything. Hannah, thrown into this, muddles through as best she can and ends up making a series of decisions that lead her into the Idaho mountains, in pretty much the same world she found herself before she cut her wrists.

 
Now, that sounds grim, but it’s not. I found myself laughing at pragmatic, practical Hannah quite a bit. I enjoyed making up slang that might get used for those in charge who smelled like three day old fish left out on a hot summer day. I enjoyed writing this! I used bad words and am probably an indecent blah blah blah.

Let June ring her bells and let me get Aftermath polished up enough so that if it comes out to the public, I won’t have to pretend that some other Ann Wuehler wrote that. Or that I was doing lots of crack. Or Ambien. Ha ha. Had to. 

Oh, on a last note. My poor cucumber plant! It became dotted with tiny black bugs that laid tiny white eggs. I looked up how to ‘naturally’ take care of that problem. As I didn’t want to spend bucks on some chemical composition or powdery devil powder. Maybe I had something in the fridge or the cupboards that would make those damnable little bugs march off for greener pastures. Get it? Greener pastures?

Yeah. Beer, salt, flour.

Now, I did pour beer on the poor thing. I should have waited several days and been patient. I applied some salt. Again. I should have waited to see if the beer would work. It’s…on life support at this point. I’ll pinch off the bad leaves and let it recover if it wishes. I just went out to check on it and the yard bunnies fled in all directions.

It’s chilly this morn, but that baking dry heat will arrive and the dust will coat everything and we’ll watch the skies for any sign of rain, dreading the lightning that will ignite wildfires…but that’s a week or so away.

Maybe we’ll get lots of rain all summer! If you live around farmers for any amount of time, by the way, you’ll find eighty percent of your thoughts center on what the weather is doing at any given moment and the other twenty percent centered on writing zombie novels.

Aftermath slithered from brain to page fairly easily. It poured like cheap ketchup onto scrambled eggs. Not that I even like ketchup. I’m trying to describe how readily this tale leaped from brain to my typing fingers.

Is that good or bad? Should writing on a project involve long periods of agony and doubt and dark reflections on the nature of life itself?? Or just be a fun romp used to remain almost totally isolated from humanity?

I hope that poor cuke plant recovers. I hope the weather warms up a bit but doesn’t go into those damn Mojave level temps. I hope June turns out to be not my usual June, where I…nope. Just write, honey. Just write!

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Thunderstorm about to hit.  Wheat field. Appropriate scenery for a zombie tale, tee hee. 

Mini Garden, Rabbits, Memories

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Clyde, under the old lilac, from years ago. He’s out of the blue and into the black these days…

After the blistering success of my Handmaid’s Tale two-parter, I thought I’d chime in about my mini garden and the wild bunnies. Both garden and bunnies seem fine.

The punkins now peek over the old tire. The herbs– oregano, lavender, dill and lemon balm– have not died a withering, bitter death. Yet. They appear to enjoy me moving them about from here to there. There are little newbies coming up where I planted seeds. Cucumbers and possibly a second eggplant plant. And I noticed squash babies have formed. Little teeny squash.

I’m so glad I collected cow shit from the field across the way and mixed it, by hand, in the soil before I planted my pet squashes. So glad.

Now I note there are ground squirrels sharing the far corner of the lawn with the rabbits.

I whistle at them through the window. They sit up, trying to find what bad-voiced bird calls at them so. There is also a giant mouse that lives in the wall by the fuse box…and it does not seem afraid of humans. I’ve seen it several times now, even tried to trap it and get it out of the wall because…yeah. A mouse munching through important electrical wires. Yeah.

I’ve read the smell of mint keeps them at bay. I do have catnip sprouting everywhere. Years ago, I got a single plant to delight our cats, when there were cats here. I do mean over ten years or so. Longer. Catnip grows from the corner of the fence closest to the road all the way to the ditch that runs below the small cliff face stuffed full of rodents and snakes that hide beneath rotting boards and rectangles of metal.

Catnip. It’s everywhere. And it smells good. It puts out tiny purple flowers!

The biggest privet hedge hosts several families of small brown birds. Sparrows? Wrens? It’s like an apartment building, except it’s a messy clump of nests smushed together, sometimes with the odd collection of loud-mouthed baby birds demanding snacks.

The blackbirds seem to like the actual trees or the old lilac bush. I keep finding blackbird eggs here and there, with a hole punched through the fragile shell. Some savage bird warfare going on about my oblivious head. Are the blackbirds attacking each other or is it a magpie or some other bird? The magpies have not been around that I’ve heard and oh, they are noisy, raucous presences.

My mother once had one, long ago when she was but a girl, as a pet. It attacked someone, some old family story I cannot quite remember now.

And my grandmother, who had a man come to the house one morning, looking for Mr. Bird. I don’t know where he lives, my grandmother allegedly said, but I do know where Mr. Fox and Mr. Squirrel live. Both were actual names but she was having a little fun with a stranger. I think that stranger probably stormed off, cussing.

I also remember my grandmother watching the rabbits at night when she couldn’t sleep. She even told of watching them play during a brightly lit moon-filled evening.

And watching birds through the window, sitting in her wheelchair, drinking coffee. A big picture window that provided her endless viewing options. The road, the birds, possible stray wildlife strayed in from the sagebrush-cursed hills.

A stump, that had once been a black walnut tree, that stump covered with a board, where bird seed got scattered. This was where her eyes would go, observing whatever showed up for a hasty meal. She had severe arthritis, as did my other grandmother.

I realize I am among the few left who remembers the ‘old stories’. The little moments. The sorrows. The tiny joys.

Farming in a place that has almost no water. The eternal sameness of Christmas traditions that now seem tiresome and stale to me. Because it wasn’t the tree or the presents, it was the people I got to enjoy. How maudlin, but how so horribly true.

I meant to pen a quick little smear about growing pumpkins and the yard rodents. I veered off into Remember When land. I guess that happens on unsettled late spring evenings. 

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One of many rabbits. 
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This is from days ago. Everything has grown. It’s like magic! Magic, I tell ya! 

Handmaid, Pt. II

It’s long, it’s messy, it’s long. My concluding remarks on America Now. Just sort of kidding. 

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from Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale. Elizabeth Moss as Offred/June

But what I wanted to talk about was Offred or June.

As I expected to hate her. I’m not a big Liz Moss fan. I had almost no liking at all for Peggy on Mad Men, found her annoyingly whiny and too much of a Mary Sue. Which was probably the writer’s doing that but still. And then episodes I did like her and then…it seesawed. But here. I find myself holding my breath on Offred’s fate from scene to scene and I read the damn book. Years ago!

Moss’s character provides the voiceovers. This is June’s tale. This is Offred’s tale.

Of-Fred. I had an actual OMG moment…I realized how those names were arrived at in episode one of this series.

I had either forgotten or not figured it out when I’d read the book and yes, seen the movie made of this, with Natasha Richardson as Offred and Robert Duvall as the commander. The real names of the handmaids are not used! They lose their identity! They get erased! OMG.

Yeah, then you realize…that’s what getting married does, or did. Still does. The wedding industry, after all, wields gigantic power as well as churning out gigantic profits. You, the girl in the marriage equation, erased your name and took on a new one. You have a maiden name.

Tee hee, how cute!

Handmaid’s tale doesn’t include any radically new way we’ve treated females in the course of history, does it?

Tangent. Back now. Offred. Oh.

Her voice is the voice we need. It is our rock, our anchor, in this batshit crazy Gilead, where everything is so stark and harsh and demarcated.

Commanders, the wives, the Marthas, the Eyes, the Aunts, the handmaids…it’s like a rancid layer cake. With the frosting tasting like blood, tears and shit. 

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from Nerd HQ. Making Gilead look nice for the Mexican visiting diplomat. 

June speaks of her days, the dread of that Ceremony, what her life was like before and what her life is like now. We see her oh so careful shuffling through her existence and hear her rebellious, fierce reaction to it all; her thoughts wrap around us like blankets of thorns. We grow uncomfortable. We become witnesses.

Witness to her daily degradations. Witness to the routines her life has become. Witness to Serena’s understandably abusive treatment of Offred/June. Witness to Fred’s pattern of flirting with handmaids too scared and broken at times not to play along with his obvious games.

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Joseph Fiennes as Commander Fred Waterford

Witness to her letting this fragile man win, witness to that ego stroking that most women on the planet have had to do…

Witness to her growing relationship with Nick, the driver, even though we know her husband is still yet alive.

Witness to her friendships with the other handmaids, which is fraught with suspicion and paranoia, as anyone could be a spy in this new reality and that spy could very well get you hanging from the wall down by the river, your body rotting away, some sign nearby stating your crime. We witness how nothing about Offred is important except her uterus.

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from Ms. Magazine. Note the gun-wielding guards…

Nothing else matters. She’s a womb on legs, as the show had one of the wives say. A womb on legs.

I don’t know if it was ever stated why the fertility rates had gone down. [America’s own birth rate has been down the last two years running, by the way…] Oh yes, it was attributed to pollution, for one. Ah. Mm. Do I even need to go there with the current administration? Do I?

The sequence involving Mexico.

Where the diplomat, a woman, refused to help Offred. Because Mexico wanted the breeding potential of the handmaids and was prepared to trade with Gilead to get fertile women…after Offred stood there and told this diplomat, a woman, the truth about her existence after having been forced to lie.

To a room full of people who clearly knew she lied and yet…it was all a show. A show with Offred forced to give a bravura performance or face dire consequences, more than she already endured.

I also wondered why this brand new spanking theocracy didn’t just use in vitro fertilization. Instead of that ghastly monthly rape ritual. No monthly rape ritual, the wives can have their husbands back and handmaids can still be bred like human cattle. And you can feed babies formula from the get go, so, really, no need at all of the vessels after they’d pushed out their sole purpose for being allowed to live at all. Sure, it’s not Biblical. Or whatever that reasoning would be. But why not use modern science and ancient patriarchal oppressive regime stuff in one horrid, lumpy lump?

Offred!

Offred and Nick, the Eye spy.

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from Owl TV. Max Minghella as Nick

Both are victims of this new, awful regime. Nick might seem freer, being, oh, a guy and everything but he’s really not. He’s walking a big tightrope here that could very well end up with him going splat. And by splat I mean being hung by the neck until dead in a very public way. Or shot. We find out he’s there to spy on Fred Waterford, and he admits to Offred that he’s an Eye. Yet, we also see that Nick has more than a professional interest in the oh so carefully controlled handmaid, who can’t quite yet hide how repulsive she finds this entire new system.

I find the characters of Nick and June to be those of survivors cast deep into a prison that can crush them at will at any time. Both driver and handmaid are, after all, interchangeable. Any fertile woman will do, any guy who can drive can sit in that front seat behind the wheel. They are not valuable or unique in Gilead, at all. They are bricks in the wall. Thank me later for that song going endlessly through your head.

Nick and Offred find ways to rebel. Their forbidden affair. It allows them a measure of illusion. A measure of control over their very much regulated and regimented lives. Nick doesn’t betray Waterford, as it would also get Offred taken away. It might also get him into deep doo doo as– why didn’t he report the commander’s behaviors IMMEDIATELY?

There’s no actual mercy for anyone in this world. You could be next in the public execution spectacle, no matter your rank. We see this, over and over and over.

And as the series moves relentlessly onward, we catch glimpses of Nick’s growing feelings for the newest handmaid in the Waterford’s lovely but prisonous abode. And Offred admits she goes to Nick’s room because it feels good.

This is sex she chooses to have. This is sex that’s not about filling her womb with some sort of sacred child. Even though their first time…was under Serena’s hard, watching eyes. As she arranged a far more likely fertile stud for the vessel of God living in her home. Nick’s body is also at the mercy and exploitation of this new order; what would be the consequences if he refused? And he can turn Serena in for this one, but then what? Mm.

Potency.

That manly ideal of rampaging, all-powerful stallion who can run everything all day and fuck everything that moves all night. That toxic notion seems to be rampant in this world.

The manly leaders, praised for their potency, are seldom actually fertile or even able to achieve an erection at times. But these men in charge must be praised incessantly for how potent and hard-dicked they are…while the handmaids are probably fertilized via doctors, drivers and whatever lower down stud the wives can arrange. Or perhaps a handmaid let a doctor or some other male other than their commander use them to get that much-lauded pregnancy up and running.

Again, it’s all about the Big Show here in Gilead.

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Ann Dowd’s Aunt Lydia amidst the rather theatrically clad Handmaids.

Where was I? Oh yes, Offred. I wanted to end this rather long take on a positive note, because America right now is a grim-seeming dystopia in the making.

SPOILER!!

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I find that last episode, where Offred says no to Aunt Lydia ordering Janine stoned by the other handmaids incredibly satisfying. Here is what I want the Resistance, that so-named movement against the Far Right Fuckery, to be like.

And of course win the day and turn everything back to what it once was. I am just as delusional as the next person, thanks.

I want that HEROINE TO RISE trope. I want it. I want it!

You shouldn’t have dressed us like an army…Offred thinks at us. And I go, FUCK YEAH, BABY!

We get to see the actions of a swelling opposition to Gilead’s draconian strangle-hold over its citizens. We see a small act of defiance. We see decency and humanity take forefront over conditioning and fear. We see that in June’s face, her wide blue eyes as clear as open skies full of freedom, hope and strength. Those stones dropping from hands is the act of revolutionaries being born.

Do You Hear the People Sing, from Les Miserables, should be playing in the background!

We get an actual HELL YEAH GIRLFRIEND moment in Moira’s hand wiping the snow from a license plate. We rejoice in June telling off Serena after Serena’s savage tactic in trying to make sure Offred knows her place and her only value. When Serena offers proof positive Offred’s child is yet alive and then threatening that child in bald terms if Offred doesn’t deliver the baby Serena so desperately needs to keep her high status. 

And yet…!!

I haven’t seen the second series yet. I hear it’s…grim. I hear it doesn’t go the way I want it to go…where Gilead gets overturned and it’s all happy ever after, of course.

I find I want my television to not reflect reality. At all. Because. It’s unbearable. It hurts. Because I am being made to feel just as helpless and corralled as Offred, Ofwarren and Ofglen.

Which is probably just me identifying too much with fictional characters created by a writer writing during the big bad Eighties.

Until I look at how others react to Handmaid’s Tale.

And it seems everyone else, oh tee hee, feels much as I do. That it’s a timely series that has arrived just when it needed to.

As All in the Family allowed American audiences to become a bit uncomfortable over accepted norms that were racist, sexist and usually pretty awful…so does  the Handmaid’s Tale allow the audience to see what happens when you allow a religion to take over so completely and impose their set of rules and regulations. We can all agree such a society is bad.

And yet…in real life, people vote for the very thing they find off-putting, bad or evil in a television series.

Restricting or outlawing abortion access.

Going after the poor, the elderly and the disabled.

Going after the LGTBQ community– see Kansas and Oklahoma.

Religious freedom laws.

Oh there are now a plethora of shitlaws that attempt to turn back time. To some time that never really existed, at that. That’s not new or prophetic or original at all.

We here in America have seen this attempt for, well, years now. When the Far Right embraced the Evangelicals way back during Jimmy Carter facing off against the juggernaut that was Ronald Reagan. The Family Values party, one of the more cynical names ever invented by smirking Jesus-shouters ever. In my humble opinion, at least.

The religious righties coldly stepped back, assessed both candidates and put their support with the divorced Hollywood jelly-brained bean, rather than the actual Christian who, to this day, practices his Christianity in open, gentle ways.

It’s about power, as it always was, and not any sort of love for a god or need to see people treated well, fairly and as equals under the law.

It’s about power and that’s what the Handmaid’s Tale gets so frighteningly right. I have to go watch puppies doing cute things now while I’m still allowed access to the internet. Small joke. Tiny one.

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Hunter S. Thompson
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from PetMd. Puppies!