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30 December 2002

Had my jin shin this morning, worked on Ann's webpages, cooked, moved Susan's tv over to the side of my bed -- it's hooked up for vcr/camera monitor only as I can't take tv. I rent movies a couple of times a year. I rented Monsters, Ins., Antonia'a Line, MIIB, Minority Report for Christmas. I liked the way the fur was rendered in the scene where Sulley falls in the snow. That was the highlight of the movie. It was good -- Antonia's Line was good. MIIB was ok, and Minority Report was ok -- I'm a P.K.Dick fan, so that both helps and hurts. How come, though, if people had their eyes scanned when they were closed, did Tom Cruise have to open his eyes to get scanned by the spiders? And why would his old eyes work to pass the security system? Tomorrow is my mother's onc appt to hear if she has cancer again. We're all upset, but she's had to wait for a week and must be going through hell. I can't write any more.

29 December 2002

I'm trying to avoid talking about some bad stuff, so I will just talk about my day. It was sunny -- screamingly so through the window at me when I woke up. I called my sis/bro-in-law in Pennsylvania and asked Richard if he thought it might be a UFO, and should I call NASA. He said, "Yes, of course." They were snowed in -- or actually they leave their car at the bottom of their driveway when the snow's bad, since it's a hill. I worked on Ann's webpages for a while, and read some more in "Fanshen" and "Killing Mister Watson." I went out at -- well, I thought it was 2:30 but my clocks would have to be reset every few days due to power outages so I never quite know the time until I get in my car. It was twenty minutes to 3 -- so I zoomed over to Annie's house to attend Bark's Fifth Avenue's memorial service. I used to dogsit for her, and Billie, whose dog Andy I dogsat for, came, as did the VanJens whose dog Bob was the subject of a small linocut I made before I got all messed up. Andy and Bob are dead. Barks's best friend Chico was there -- on his last legs and with cancers, but he was pretty good. I felt bad because I bumped him on the nose accidentally with my camera, which hurt. He thought I'd done it on purpose when he was just trying to be friendly. I reckon I'm not alone in my feeling of unreality when it comes to dearly loved dead ones. People or dogs. They just seem...out of town. What a bummer. Billie said she wasn't even going to ask me if I still dogsit -- I said, "They have to dogsit for ME now." Billie has a new dog, the JenVans are going to get another dog, Chico has another dog in his family. I had said to Anne that I wondered if we got to see our animals when we die -- that I'd like to see (in my case hundreds of dogs, cats, horses, ponies, goats, chickens, etc.) them, but did they want to see ME? I'll be surprised if we retain any "self" once we die, though. I feel it's like a raindrop falling into the ocean -- an immediate end to separation.

25 December 2002

My mother had a litre and a half of fluid drained off her lungs yesterday, but she and my sister came here for Christmas anyway. I made her lie on my bed, and we watched movies, I cooked, and we opened presents. Elizabeth gave me a groovy optical mouse in black and silver to match my monitor and keyboard. Mum goes in to the onc tomorrow, and she couldn't remember what they had said, but I know they will throw her in hospital. So I'm doing a little preparing. David had sent me a card saying "2003 will be better" -- holy shit, I hope so. I told him this morning on the phone that 2002 was (even though lousy) better than 2001. Lucia rang this afternoon, and I'd better go ring the Monsters as they are sick, Loosh said. My power didn't go out last night despite high winds. Oh, miracle! The wind was down all day, but now it's back. I have to remember to call my mother at 8 and remind her to take more acetaminaphen. However one would spell it. I gave E a digital camera, and made her take a few pix, but I'll go over tomorrow and set up her computer and teach her how to upload, delete off the camera, etc. I went to see my pater yesterday -- had lunch with him and Shelley, then went off to the Alzheimer's daycare that he goes to several times a week. Shelley is having a rough time, but the, my mum's having a rough time, I'm having a rough time, EVERYBODY (well, a lot of people, anyway) is having a rough time. I think she'll park him soon, and who could blame her? I've already started thinking about how in the world I can manage to visit him -- gee, that's going to be very hard. It reminds me of visiting Mildred in the lock-down ward -- she was a runaway, but everyone else had Alzheimer's. This place is much nicer -- bigger, but with good facilities, nice staff. I didn't hear anyone screaming or crying, but maybe that just means the sound-proofing is better. Where M was, there was an old priest who lurked by the door and wanted to slip out, a woman who rocked a babydoll all the time, a man who crawled and hit walls, a woman who constantly cried "Help me, help me." I can't help but think it might be their desire to die -- how awful is it if someone escapes and dies of exposure? Compared to 5 or 10 years of maintenance? At that particular place things were stolen, too, which is probably a common cruelty when it comes to the aged. How people can live with themselves I don't know. Mildred was robbed many times -- way before she ever went there. Wow, the wind has picked up and is in rather a fury. Hope the power stays on -- I'll have to consult "Mystery Eyes Jesus" (from Jim and Lucia). Also, Jim made a diorama of a lanscape at sunset, with a path. A wind-up brain (with lesions) advances towards the sunset (at a smart clip at first, although it poops out too soon). Nice!

15 December 2002

I guess it might behoove me to explain that I live in the top floor of a hillside-built house (the drive-in level), and there's no bedroom so I sleep in what would've been built as the diningroom. Deck, skylight -- suits me. The open plan means I'm kind of in the kitchen, but I don't care as the fridge noise blocks my downstairs neighbors' noise (somewhat). The whole privacy issue is moot whern one lives alone. There's a nice big room, then a bathroom (no tub), kitchen (gas), also a pantry I use as a dressing/messing room. My crapola room. The water comes from the lake -- directly -- eeee-yew --- good for flushing but I don't really have any particular desire to drink it -- especially with the jetskis (they only use, what, one fourth or fifth of their fuel: the rest goes into my drinking supply).

AGAIN My power was out -- for 5 and a half heat-, light-, and water-free hours! On the Banks of Plum Creek has nothing on me. The wind was the worst it's ever been out here -- pieces of tree were battering the house, things were smashing into the windows, the guttering sounded as though it would detach and fly. I clicked my heels 3 times and said, "I want to go to Oz." I went to bed when I got cold, then leapt up as the fridge came on. It's been out 5 times so far this winter.

13 December 2002

I didn't know what time it was when I awoke as MY POWER HAD BEEN OUT and I had no accurate clocks. I slept a long time, though. I just bound up a framed drawing to donate to the Artist Trust auction. Maybe they'll put my correct address in this year -- well, one may always hope. I remember when they started up -- specifically to address the health insurance issue in the artistic community. Like, we didn't have any, man. They never did anything, though, and I've always resented that. I am crazed over the whole health insurance issue -- my ex-husband, currently deceased, used to say there was healthcare for the poor, there really WAS -- he never had to receive any of that very bad healthcare through the agencies for the poor, however. First, it's bad, second, they treat you like you're a bad person which means you have to be very strong not to get beaten down further, and third, did I mention that it's not good treatment? It's not. "They" think you don't deserve it. Go ahead and argue with me -- but only if you've been treated under that evil system of punishment and humiliation. Hey! Let's all punish the weak, the sick, and the poor! Fun! That way we can show that WE AREN'T LIKE THEM! And, of course, they choose to be like that. So it's their fault. Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr. I always growl at my students when they start doing something like, say, using their pastels to make strokes that don't go in the direction of the wood grain. I don't bite, though. I don't bite THEM, I mean. I might bite others, however.

11 December 2002

It's Wednesday evening and I'm being mindless. Becky has been making something happen for me -- she has organised a party, at my behest, for Thanh and Trang, at my house but with no further work on my part. She got Christine to make invitations, and we are having people give money if they want to so we can get a gift certificate for the happy couple. Thanh spent years in a concentration camp and escaped by floating down a river. He went back to Viet Nam a year and a half ago and married Trang, who is a seamstress. Trang just arrived recently after many tribulations. I loaned them my sewing machine, and have one to give them (which is another reason to have the party) when they can get someone to pick it up (it has a cabinet and won't go in their car). They are making a life for themselves by working hard. Thanh is a lot of fun, even though he has many worries, and is also a good writer and artist. I had Ty, today, and he worked on his website -- it has fire-breathing dragons (he made the animated GIF) facing inward, and he made a grafitti-looking heading, then we found some of his artwork from 2000, 2001, and 2002, and he sized them for the web. I delivered my pantyhose speech -- "The web is exactly like a pair of pantyhose." Which it is -- I'm trying to get kids to understand resolution and why things are different sizes. Even to NOTICE the size of things is good. I have somehow managed to pick up another girl, Ruby, for my 1:45 class that should be just Lee and Deshawn. She has begun a landscape pastel. Christina is working on the lynx kitten or whatever it is -- but without truly observing. She goes into mindless-pattern mode -- instead of looking at the shadow under the chin gradually lightening she did it all one dark color, then, after I pointed out the light areas, she put evenly-spaced light hairs all through it, like polka dots. I spend my whole time yelling at them, but they, although they heed me, appear to like the attention. Deshawn gave an impression of me that made me laugh, and I said I might do one of him. He laughed, "Oh-oh!" His pastel is quite good, and over half done. Lee was in Cali at a pow-wow. He said last week he wouldn't take D. with him "because I don't know you." They are cousins. The kids were discussing who they are related to -- many, and complex, relationships. D.'s auntie is my 7th grade art student. It's funny to me since I grew up with no relatives (outside my household) in the same country. And some in different hemispheres.

08 December 2002


Theoretically, anyway.

Lucia somehow lost her blog code entirely. I said, "If it's still blank (the template window) tomorrow I'll fix it -- maybe it's just a traffic problem." I couldn't wait -- I just fixed it. I knew there was only a slender chance it would be all right tomorrow. Did I say slender? I, in fact, had NO faith it might be ok manana. Granted, I have a faith problem -- do you have "faith" in anything? What do you believe in? I believe I can fly... no wait: that's an R Kelly song. I don't believe in child molestation. I believe that for every drop of rain that falls a flower grows... or not. In this week's N.Yorker there's a nice article about ballet slippers. Of course, I spent my childhood wrapped up in ballet -- my sister and I went to some ballet school before we left England (where my favorite friend's name was Belinda), then we were scathing about the ballet school in Canada, so dropped it, but my sister (always the teacher) grilled me every day -- first position, second position, etc. We were wild over Margot Fonteyn, and filled our romantic imaginations with The Firebird and Swan Lake, and things like that. Our annuals (English children get annuals for Xmas, like Girl, Eagle, Robin, etc.) had pictures and stories. So any article about toe shoes is going to interest me very much -- excites the artistic as well as the engineering part of me. Garments that require engineering -- now that fascinates me. Brassieres. Trusses. What else? I'm sorry to not be around late enough to have a robot placed under my skin to allow me to function physically despite the ms. Still, I'm here in time for the web, which I do love.

Yesterday driving home we were near Gateway, and they have a mini blimp suspended above the store. The blimp was end-on to us, though, as we came down the hill from the automall, and it looked like the moon, only with crosshairs (the tail assembly end-on). My mum said, "I keep thinking that's the moon," and I had, too, but I saw the crosshairs and it made the world seem weird and unknowable. I thought, "Why would the moon have crosshairs??" But then the wind shifted and the blimp swiveled -- and the world went back to being knowable once more.

Picture taken 5 minutes ago of the lake.

07 December 2002

We went to Morning Sun, the embroidered sweatshirt outlet -- I've never seen so many 60-85 year old women in one spot before. All buying Xmas presents el bulko. Same as my mum. The range is from very tasteful, faithfully-rendered natural small embroidered things like chickadees, to huge, splashy, ug-ug-ugly silkscreened horrors. The whole huge store was 30% off -- so the deals were great. There were very nice fleece things that wound up at seven bucks. My mum got one with an embroidered chickadee for my sister's friend Helen (who is from the Ukraine). Then we had lunch at a teriyaki place by TJ Maxx ($3.99 for soup and big bowl of chicken/veg/rice). We spent so much time in TJ Maxx that I was pooped. My mum is always worrying about what other (perfectly able-bodied) people are thinking -- as I came in TJ Maxx people were whizzing in front, etc., so close they touched me, so I stopped -- better than falling down My mum said, "You're holding up traffic!" (it was about 3 seconds later, "So I got pissed and said, "I'm doing the best I can, and if it's not good enough F*CK THEM!" As we were leaving I was slow crossing the street and she said a man in a car stopped to wait for me "probably hates us." I said, "He's in his warm car and if he can't wait 30 seconds for me to cross the road...!!!" It's an evil curse for her that she thinks everyone is so a) harshly judgmental and b) much more important than us. I had to deal with that as a child -- my parents would laugh and say that all their swans are geese, the opposite, of course, of the person who is proud of their least little thing and believes "all their geese are swans." I don't know if Americans have that saying. Trust my family to do it backwards. The upshot was that when someone gave approval freely it seemed insincere and lacking in worth to me as a child. REAL approval was highly sought but never attainable -- a kind of unholy grail. It's like "I don't want to belong to any club that would have me as a member." I don't want any approval actually offered to me, because the only real approval is unattainable. Eeek. Well, I believe I'm over that -- what a crazy way to treat your children! My poor mother isn't over it, though, and that's pretty rough.

05 December 2002

How can it be possible that Henry Kissinger is back??????? How can that be?????????????? Maybe it's time to flee the country.

Loosh is recovering, thank heavens. We were talking about health insurance paperwork screw-ups -- got myself inflamed as usual by the horrid and inhumane -- and uncivilised -- way the society in which I live puts a thousand times more pressure on sick people. You have to untangle paperwork messes, worry about making money, worry about coverage or lack of it, deal with insurance companies who are adversaries (and they aren't sick, either). They are trying to not have to pay, and they don't care about you. Gee, I can't be the only person who thinks this is horrible horrible horrible. Who in the world decided sick people would be great to make a profit from? Why is medication something you may need, but may not be able to afford? That's one reason why I can't get into the ms drug thing -- well, you can't tell if it's working (and it probably doesn't), and it's rewarding drug companies for being immoral. I'm just a crank about that stuff. I'd as soon believe in fairies as in the ms drugs they have now. Actually, I much rather believe in fairies -- too bad you can't decide on belief. That's one thing I've always wondered about religion. Maybe it is comforting to some people, maybe it helps society hang together -- who knows? -- but how in the world do people BELIEVE that stuff? Maybe you have to be raised on it. I think one might be better off believing in something, but, woops, too late for me, I reckon. What do I believe in... I believe art has the power to heal... not physically, but emotionally. It's probably not just art -- concentrating on something creative that is outside the narrow limits of your problems is good for you. Ummm... synthetic fabrics aren't as beautiful as natural fabrics. Errr... cars are nice. Uh... ... ...

04 December 2002

My pal Loosh became unable to move and friends had to break into her house. She went to the doc and apparently she has staff, which must've sapped the little energy she has. Eeks, very traumatic. My friend Annie had to put her dog (my erstwhile dog-stting companion, Barks) down. I remember when she got Barks from the pound a million years ago -- a fluffy little double-handful. She grew into an elegant, loose-limbed, terrier-cross, and used to lie on the floor all day at Annie's store. She rode in Jon's Datsun convertible. I had to train her to the invisible fence while Annie was in China. That was an ordeal, although not very difficult. It was good-cop-bad-cop -- and I was the bad cop. The good cop went to China. We had to dog-walk as part of our employee duties, and I'd be all strict with Barks -- she was perfection itself. I was trying to get her to behave because she dragged Annie in front of cars and nearly killed her -- going after dogs. It didn't work -- Barks was good with me and bad with Anne. I'll miss her -- she was a perfect dog. Today I had Deshawn and Lee Michael and Christina working on pastels. I always make them laugh a lot by saying things like, "Your little head is good -- now do your big head. I want you to put your eyeballs on the paper," etc. -- because I want them to work, but having a laugh whenever possible is absolutely necessary. Deshawn said, "Miss Kendall should be our teacher." I said, "No way -- you wouldn't learn anything." Lee said, "Yes we would," and Deshawn said, "We'd learn how to have FUN." I said I figured they already have that covered. Later Lee left the room for a moment and Christina said he'd gone back to his classroom. I said no, she said, "How do you think you know that?". I said, "I've known him since he was a little kid." Deshawn said, "I've known him since he was a BABY." I said, "Yeah, well, you were a baby, too, so that doesn't count." "Unh-uh," he said. Lee comes back in. No wonder he's slow to get his pastels done. I have to beat on him every minute. A magazine for teachers may put his last year's drawing on the cover -- so his work is good, just slow to materialise. I do enjoy the time we spend together -- although I'm yelling at them most of it. They don't take it the wrong way -- they get to work, laugh, know I love them. Their drawings will be all right. Christina wants me to help her too much -- I said, "What, am I supposed to follow you around your whole life saying 'go in the direction of the hair, delineate your drawing, observe the subtle color changes'?" I said, "I want you learn how to do it, not depend on me." Sometimes kids are so funny. But, too, sometimes what kids want is me, not the knowledge. Who even knows.

02 December 2002

I'm pissed -- I wanted to have a website for GooGooGoggles and the rest of Caitlin's fish, and the domain name was free when I checked it... AND NOW SOME SWINE HAS CO-OPTED THE NAME GOOGOOGOGGLES. How freakin' low can they go???????????????????????????????????? They stole the name. Uhg, I just cannot believe it. I think they can monitor in some way what you try out -- and then they STEAL THE ONES YOU WANT. Be advised -- if you try a name out they may just swipe it.

01 December 2002

Well, my blog updated, so can my phone, water, and power problems be long for this world?

I've just written my progress reports -- except for Ben, whose teacher won't allow him to come. What am I supposed to write? "We missed Ben when we were taping the movie, and we miss him when we're editing, and we also miss him when we are making mail art, and then we miss him..." Lucia claims my phone isn't working. My water has been a dribble for a week, but the Man has been working on it today. The pressure has been up and down -- well, up is about 50%. I think the stream from the showerhead will never get married -- it doesn't seem to get erect enough. My lowest was T'giving, when twisting the tap yielded nothing at all. My landlord was in Hong Kong until Saturday. My blog hasn't worked right for the past two days -- could it be the sheer weight in bloggatons of those on-holiday bloggers all adding their deathless posts at the same time? Or it might be my ISP, which did a weird thing a few days ago, and so is suspected of major crimes now. Doesn't matter -- eh.



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I want to ask for thoughts about improving the world -- what do people need? How can things be organised?