From my childhood:
With fingers weary and worn, with eye-lids heavy and red,
A woman sat in unwomanly rags, plying her needle and thread.
Stitch, stitch, stitch, in poverty, hunger and dirt,
And still with a voice of dolorous pitch, she sang the song of the shirt.
Made a huge impression on me.
Oh, I should say it is part of "The Song of the Shirt" written by Thomas Hood. He died in the mid 19th century. I read the poem first in "Santa Claus in Summer," by Compton MacKenzie. My mother was given a copy in the Twenties, and then kept it always. I have it now. It's well-worn, and as familiar to me -- no, more familiar to me than my own face, since I read it first as a small child, but again at least twice. I always liked "Water Babies," too. Well-done, black-and-white illustrations were fascinating to me -- I wonder -- back and forth -- about the use of color, and if it is limiting in ways. I love color -- but I don't love any seductively colored illustrations near as much as I love the line drawings from, say, "Wind in the Willows," or the Pooh books. The school I began First Grade in was a one-room schoolhouse, with no electricity and the simplest plumbing (we must've had an outside pump or something). Miss Larson taught many grades -- each row of old desks-and-seats bolted to the floor was a grade. That was in the remoteness of 1950's Ontario. I might've been a child of a half-century before and seen no difference. We didn't have ink -- just the stained holes in the desks. In the winter the ploughs threw the snow up higher and higher until the roads were silvery tunnels. We'd slide down into the road, and a child was hit by a truck and killed, and there was an inquest. We walked 3 miles to school; my older brother and sister had to drag me along. We carried potatoes to bake on the school's pot-bellied stove, and Fizzies for our drink. My brother would beat on lead with a hammer to cause it to be hot -- we'd carry the lead in our hands to keep warm. Actually, although I remember that, it was likely an occasional or one-time happening. I remember much, much more than anyone wants to know. So I'll shut up. All sounds made-up, but it's not.
Today I went to jin-shin at noon, then picked up E and drove her to the Big Tree -- the meeting place for the Special Olympics soccer and handball teams. She wrote me a note so I won't forget to pick her up on Sunday, and brought some check pads. Then I crossed Sleater-Kinney and met Margie, the Chuck-substitute, at Starbuck's. She had me sign papers as a man has made an offer on my mum's trailer. I asked her about the economy from her perspective. She said she'd been to a talk where a man said there would be a double dip. I said I'd thought we'd had two dips already. She said it felt like one big dip. I said yes, and we know where that big dip is -- in the White House. Then drove home, feeling drained.
--------------Emailing with E
IH THERE I NEED MONEY FOR DINNER AND WE ARE GOING FOR MCDONALDS OR GO TO BURGER KING
AND I ALSO NEED MONEY FOR SOUVENIRS? VIVIAN K DO NOT FORGET YOUR STAFF YOUR 2 ICE
CREAM AND YOUR BABY CARROTS? IS IN YOUR BIG AND YOUR EGG ROLLS SHIMP TOO? OK
SINGED YOUR SISTER
Hi -- I will come to your house at 2 tomorrow. Did you try the mango sorbet? It is good. Maybe you should keep that stuff as I won't be able to get it until next week. I cannot take it tomorrow because it would all melt at the big tree. Come down tomorrow at 2 and bring the checks. I will give you money. How much do you need? v
WHY YOU WENT THAT I NEED $20.00 THAT ALL I NEED V K
You are writing checks. I don't want you to lose you apartment.
I AM NOT LOSE MY APARTMENT I FINE
Got the Wa He Lut yearbook all finished yesterday. Samantha collated it (and Erika, Karen, and other students, too). I had a chance to speak with Samantha about the outstanding loan -- she'd been avoiding me. It'll work out, though, I hope. She's an honest person, but gets in financial binds due to various things including lending money to family. Tiff was back from Mexico City yesterday, so she kindly drove the collated books to Office Max where I met her to finish arranging the binding details. That was a huge job -- larger than has been the case as classes are no longer combined. Each class (but pre-school) has two pages. Tiff brought me a bookmark from the Frida Kahlo Museum. She saw a great deal, but was happy to return as the noise level was extreme. She has decided Siquieros is her fave artist, which is ok -- not mine, but that's the thing about art. I like that painting with the huge hands very much, however.
25 May 2003
Email to Lucia: What birds? Ortolan? Or something else? Maybe Spotted Owls, for all I __________ (fill in the blank: i.e. "know," "care"). In England (according to my pater) it's traditional to eat snipe on toast triangles. They are little birds like ortolan -- too small to do much with. Anchovies of the bird world. Not that I've eaten either bird, or seen them being eaten. I've been trying to sort out my feelings about animals as food. I've settled on this: I don't want to eat an animal that didn't have a reasonably natural existence. So, no veal calves, battery chickens, eggs from battery chickens, etc., etc. I'm just grossed out. And, by the way, you can do as you like. I am one hundred times guilty in any bad thing, and can only try to reduce my own scuzziness. If I had a true Zen attitude, I would "ho ho" at the way the world is slipping into the toilet, etc., etc. -- I must practise. Ho. It's gone far beyond anything I think is likely to get put right. But it (probably) doesn't matter -- especially not to me.
After getting the heave-ho from the Evil Microsoft Empire regarding picture storage and display, I swiveled over to fotopic.net -- they give you 250mgs of space, and seem all right. I put pictures on the web so family around the world can access them. The Evil E. was private -- this is public (which is better in a way), so at peak times the site is overloaded.
Connie's b'day bash was all right -- I just parked myself on the nearest cushioned chair and moved only to go to the toilet. I left my purse there. Have to get it when I take E-Z E out grocerizating. I didn't get C a gift. Never saw anything. Keats was nice, and we played fight games with his plastic toys (I was Leonardo the T.M.Ninja Turtle, and Master Splinter). We made up a story about a red pig walking to town, and made many people join in. The red pig meets a green duck, then they meet a blue cow, then they all meet a purple dog. Then comes a yellow human boy, a pink Auntie Vivian, a brown Aunt Connie, an orange mama, a chartreuse sea urchin, a rainbow Elizabeth, a golden retriever, and a cream (colored) cheese-cake. Keats has a good memory, and enjoys performing. Everyone was nice. Jaimie is a shadow of her former self. Amanda shouted at the chihuahuas to make them be quiet. She is scary. Sam was playing in "Gypsy." Joe (of Joe and Nancy) says the economy has been fine in his real estate business. Their son Patrick is getting hitched in July in the Japanese garden at Pt Defiance. The bride is Korean. Mrs Monster heard me playing with Keats and told me "that's my life" -- from early morning til night. Keats put a pussywillow bud up his nose a while ago, and it didn't reappear for one week. His nose hurt, he said. He described it to strangers as a problem caused by putting "a pussy" up his nose.
19 May 2003
I hired the "Merry Maids" to clean my mum's trailer. Jeez -- they aren't merry at all, they are gruesome. Sometimes I feel there are two species living side-by-side but having no satisfactory interactions. I bet they are Republicans. "The Lugubrious Maids." Hmmm... "The Stare-Til-I-See-Imaginary-Drool Maids." No... "The End to Class Warfare Cleaning and Execution Squad." Closer... I had jin-shin this morning -- Frank just returned from Canada. Why come back? Time to flee, I say. All able-bodied, right-minded people should run away NOW. Maybe I'll flee to another light-plane.
18 May 2003
I wrote to Tiff about the presidential primaries, and she wrote back:
"I am convinced the conspiracy is well under way. The
states will be giving back all federal money rather
than face "No Child Left Behind". Then the feds will
design a national propoganda curiculum and test--only
those well indoctrinated will be able to have
The states are being destroyed. Every country who
didn't agree with us is being punished.
The democrats have let us down--there is no hope
there. We have to do something but no third party has
17 May 2003
This is where my family was living when I was born in 1953. The painting is by my grandmother's husband, Frank White. He was the youngest officer on Mongomery's staff. It was painted in oils on brown paper, and is rather crumbly. I was born somewhere around there -- Botley, or Bursledon. The photo is from the Botley website (www.botley.com). In Frank's painting, there is a jeep, and on the right a smithy. I never called her "grandmother," of course -- she was Mummy Barbara, and he was Daddy Frank. He was her third husband, and was ten years younger than her, although he died first. My mother didn't know her father, then she thought Malcolm John McKay was her father (she thought she was Scottish), until one day she was disabused of that notion, and Frank was installed. Mummy Barbara was 19 when Mummy was born, so Daddy Frank was between them in age. Mummy was married twice, and Daddy was married three times. Our lot (children) have but three marriages between the four of us. Must be something wrong with us.
Samantha got married at school on Tuesday. I only found out by accident as I was leaving, so wound up staying for hours. I got to talk a little with Geraldine, her mother, and I spoke briefly with Gerald on Sam's cell phone. Geraldine had the world's longest cell phone conversation -- she had it on and held it out so the boys could hear. In Utah. It made the ceremony slightly comical. Gerald and Leon were my art students. I had to take them out (years apart) and feed them dinner and try to get their assignments done, when they were in Ms Ogemahgeshig's class. Otherwise I couldn't get them. I saw them at the pow-wow last June. Then I heard they'd run away, etc., etc. They are back, now, one would reckon. Very good artists/filmakers. I bought Gerald a digital video camera so he could do more work. Cynthony and Levi's grandpa Alex was the officiating person for the ceremony. Sam is due in ... September, I think, and looks quite pregnant. She and her husband seemed quite happy. I don't remember his first name. He's from the Crow nation -- that's all I remember.
I've been depressed -- well, who wouldn't be? I can't think about my mum's car loan without flipping out, and although I probably should've done things differently I did what I could do. I am hoping the trailer sells for enough to cover the loan. I fail to see how anything is better because my mum had a will. If she hadn't had a will perhaps I could just have walked away. Instead this is going to kill me, too, and all because of evil salemen preying on my elderly mother. Why didn't anyone say to me, "Don't be an executrix!!!"? How could it have been worse if I hadn't been an executrix? I don't see it. I had to meet, on Wednesday after work and a jin shin appointment, the estate sale couple, the real estate guy, and my mum's friend's who'd said they would take some of the remainder for their garage sale (books, mahogany chairs, and a chest of drawers). The estate couple kindly took what was left -- probably 10 boxes of books -- to the 'Will. Chuck has decided to put the place on the market at $14,750. The loan is $12,700. -- so it won't cover, but will be close. If it sells. I have hired a cleaning service to clean the trailer. My little sister, who is Down's Syndrome, has the checks from her bank account and won't give them up. And I received 5 MSN notices last week, addressed to her, to the effect that "your credit card can't be authorised." Ha. Unfortunately I'm tired and just have no degree of caring for any of this, including my life. I'm trying to get the yearbook finished -- that's my main deal right now. Students are working on their portfolios. If I felt better I would work more hours because I need to. I guess I should try not to be so obsessed with my own problems. Yeah, MS and HepC are NOTHING, man -- just don't ever become an executrix. It's a good reason to walk off and become a holy man (As far as I know there aren't any holy women. Are we too practical? Not quite selfish enough? Or maybe our DEFINITIONS are different, so a holy woman can't quit the world, but has to carry on).
11 May 2003
It's a beautiful day today. I drove around the lake with the top down, and it was sublime. Since my car blew up it's been running better. It's getting a lot better gas mileage. I don't know what they did, but I'll take it. This was the second day of my mum's estate sale. I went over to determine what the disposition of the remainder should be. It's lots of books, a little chest of drawers, a few mahogany chairs -- but there's a chance some more things will've gone by now as they weren't finished. They are very nice people. They reckoned they would box things and I'd decide, then if I thought it best, they'll take them to the Goodwill. Nice of them to give me a little time. Then I took my little sister to get her heart pills and groceries. She has all the checks for her bank account. I'd asked Deb to get them off her, but Deb didn't. Thanks a lot. When she loses her apartment I'll send her over to live with Deb. She has so far refused to give them to me. Mother's Day. I took E and Joe for pizza Friday and Joe said he was going to have dinner with his mother because she is alive and so he could. I said, "Gee, thanks, Joe" -- he cracks me up. Ann King came over yesterday and we spent time photographing a Pakistani lacquered window, then putting the pictures onto a cd. As well as goofing around gabbing and laughing. I'd been waiting for the dryer repairman, and he showed up at about 5:25. Actually, he, his wife, and a misc. dude ALL came in to fix the dryer. Then they had to borrow a flashlight. I got a distinctive oddball feeling from them. Not like they'd break in and steal stuff, but just like I didn't have a thing in common with them and had no faith in their knowledge and abilities. Dryers are about the simplest machines around, so they could do that, but that's about all I'd let them touch. I was glad when they left.
06 May 2003
At school today I made Andrew look up cars pix on Google for fun, then we scanned a caddy drawing he'd done. I showed him the quick and dirty way to color (layer, duplicate layer, Mac's remove white, switch layers, select outside the drawing, select inverse, then color with paintbrush). He said, "Why didn't you show me this before?" I said, "Because you wouldn't have appreciated it." "Yes, I would've!" The caddy turned out to be Elvis's car. We added things to his webpage, too. Halisa is getting her graphics prepared for a store. She has a one-winged man and a "cute but psycho" girl (angel wings but wrapped in chains) so far. She overstayed and I'm so used to her being picked up by her dad that I didn't realise she was to've ridden home on the bus. Maybe last period art isn't the best for her, who knows. My car seems to be working better than before he blew up. "Sha" means "red" in Dakota -- he was named by a friend when I was driving the family to a pow-wow at Sandpoint two years ago. She called him "Little Sha."
03 May 2003
Sha on the beach at Grayland, Washington.
My older sister leaves today, to fly back to Philadelphia, which is GOOD. I had the top on my car down yesterday, as it was hot and sunny -- today rain is predicted. We had dinner last night with the usual suspects -- Con, Dave, Marilee, Pete, Susan, John, Keats, Deb, E, me. Lucia bagged through illness and Ann and Larry declined. A week ago yesterday my car battery exploded, and fortunately Deb was there to get a hose (we were at Crowne Pointe). I had the car towed to my garage, and they drove me home. They had it mended by the next morning. Fortunately there wasn't anything big wrong with it (electrical system). It was good to go with a thorough clean and check, and a new battery.