Sunday, January 31, 2010


I finally figured how to use gadgets to add pictures to my sidebar although I haven't been able to figure out how to rearrange them in the order I'd like. I also changed my about me but had to shorten it because they kept on saying it was too long. But in the long run it doesn't really matter. Some days it seems that nothing matters but making it through one more day without doing anymore harm. I seem to realize more and more that the dichotomy in the world strengthens with every day. And the other side keeps (the one I'm not on) gets stronger as the voices on our side die out. RIP Howard Zinn. I wanted to print here what Zinn wanted to be remembered for but for whatever reason I can't paste in my blog. Does anybody know why?

Friday, January 29, 2010

Losing it

I got a notice from the library that two of the books I put on hold were in. So Eliot agreed we could go to the library combining it with a meal at Souper Salad and a movie at the second run theatre which we hadn't seen. I said the movie was one that we had seen. He couldn't remember it. But I said there's another movie there we haven't seen.
We get to the library. I find two items on the hold shelf with my name. One is a CD instead of the book I ordered and the other one is a completely wrong book. I head over to the reference desk and get on line. The librarian (or is she a clerk) says they were overwhelmed with books being shipped to the branch yesterday and since they're overworked due to cutbacks in staff because of the economic downturn all kinds of mistakes happened. So we go over to the held book shelves and she says look for other books that have the same date. I found it first because I knew it was a big book. A sigh of relief. The CD was my mistake apparently because when I put the book on hold I must have checked the "CD" instead of "book." You have to be so careful these days because so many books these days are put on CDs. (I know my brother always listens to a book when he does his early morning walk.) The clerk/librarian corrects the CD business and puts me #1 for on hold for the "book" and checks out the other book for me so I don't even have to go to the automated check out desk (Where have I been when all this technology took over the library and the rest of the world - oops I'm blogging on the internet!?!) So now I don't have time for the other stuff I wanted to look up in the library because we have to go to Souper Salad so we can go to this movie. When we get to the movie we actually see a preview of the movie Eliot says he doesn't remember seeing which I know we've seen. I laugh at how he can't remember movies he just saw. "Oh, you must have slept through it" say smarty pants. We get home and I open the book I just checked out from the library and know from the first sentence that I've already read this book, probably last summer at Pole Creek Lake, although I can't remember the rest of the book but with each sentence I read I remember I've read it before although I don't know what the next sentence will say. No smarty pants remark from Eliot.
I emailed the Carnegie Foundation saying libraries around the country need help and since Carnegie originally founded the free libraries, isn't there something they can do? I don't know whom I can email about my memory and should I read the book again? I think I'll do hoping at some point it will come back to me so I don't have to read all 500 pages.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Sunshine for Women

I want to share a wonderful website I found: which I found when searching for "Advice to My Daughter" by the Marquis de Condorcet because she has it referenced on her site. Now I have to get back to "Cat's Cradle" to find out if I want to become a Bokononist. I found out on page 63 that if I were a Bokononist I would agree gaily to go with Eliot to Alaska because Bokonon says "Peculiar travel suggestions are dancing lessons from God."
I also should mention another Jungian moment of synchronicity. I just finished Nevada Barr's Winter Study. The last two lines are:
"So we play God?" Jonah asked.
"People always play God," Anna said. "There's nobody else to do it."
Then I started "Cat's Cradle" The first line is "Call me Jonah"
Somehow I'll have to find out if Nevada Barr is a Bokononist or at least a fan of Vonnegut.
I think there's a third part to this synchronicity in the fortune cookie I got but I'll have to read further in "Cat's Cradle"

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Marquis de Condorcet

The Marquis de Condorcet whom I quoted in my last post also wrote a pamphlet on the equality of women in about 1787. He is a key figure in the Enlightenment and seems to be almost completely forgotten. Here I am 72 years old, a freethinker, formerly active in women's rights and I never heard of him. But now every time Eliot says "it's human nature" when I get upset about another shortcoming of the human race I come back with the Condorcet quote "social evils are the result of ignorance and error rather than the inevitable consequence of human nature."
Does ignorance and error cover greed and pride and the thirst for power and whatever other "deadly sins" are hanging around. Why do enlightened sentient beings end up in prison or assasinated? Why is progress associated with growth and when did acquiring "wealth" become the end all?
If I think about Haiti or politics my grip on sanity starts to weaken .
So I think I'll become a one woman campaign to get Condorcet recognized and taught in woman studies classes and read all of Kurt Vonnegut. I have no idea how to to the first thing but I do know how to rserve books at the Phoenix library. However, I had a fortune cookie in a Chinese buffet yesterday that said I would have a pleasant trip to a faraway place. Does that mean I'm going to Alaska or the Thanisphere (refer to short story by Vonnegut in Bagombo Nuff Box).
And so it goes.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Rice Cakes, books, and so it goes

Quaker makes "Chocolate Crunch" rice cakes. They have 60 calories in each piece and 14 cakes in two packages of 7 each. They are coated with some kind of chocolate liquor and have tiny chocolate chips and should be in 7 packages of 2 each so I wouldn't eat 7 at a time.
Alexander McCall Smith's books about the female Scottish philosopher are in the Isabel Dalhousie series. The first one is called "The Sunday Philosophy Club" The book I just read about a woman in WWII is called "La's Orchestra Saves the World" I would give a star to that one WWW. I noticed on your list that Brooklyn by Colm Toibin didn't have a star. His book "The Blackwater Lightship" you might like more. In fact I think I quoted from it in a earlier blog entry. It is about 3 generations of women: grandmother, mother and daughter, who don't get along but who are forced through circumstances to have to deal with a problem.
I came across a quote today by a an 18th century Frenchman whom I'd never heard of: "social evils are the result of ignorance and error rather than an inevitable consequence of human nature" He also said something about continually progressing toward a perfect utopian society would require unifying regardless of race, religion or culture. I think he died in prison and so it goes.
My two favorite humanists are Kurt Vonnegut and Edward O. Wilson which reminds me that I have to see if the Phoenix Library has Wilson's latest book.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Eliot's decision

Well, it seems that Eliot has made a decision. We will try to go to Alaska. He says that what he is scared stiff of is settling down. It seemed for a while like that might be a choice. We had driven over to Laughlin and Eliot did fine on the drive, only had trouble sleeping in the hotel probably because he didn't have the soft pillow he uses here in the 5th wheel. Eliot likes to go to Laughlin now and then to play the slot machines and see a cheap comedy show and eat at the terrible buffets. I usually go up to the room early and read or watch TV if there's anything on to watch (Laughlin is the poor man's Las Vegas so they don't have many TV stations on whatever cable they have) after I have lost the money Eliot gave me to play the slots.
There have been many chapters in my life. When I lived with Brian we would eat reasonably and go to symphonies at the Eastman Theatre and bicycle a lot. I remember in the summer when Brian was still working sometimes I would make sandwiches and as soon as he came home we would get on our bicycles and ride to the Barge Canal bicycle path and have our supper. When I was married in Arkansas I would make a picnic supper and pick up Mark, my husband, in the VW mini van with the three kids and we would go to one of the lakes. I couldn't take Mark home first because being an alcoholic as soon as he got home he would have a beer and we would never make it out to a lake so that's why I picked him up. Of course, I brought the beer along for him. He never had a driver's license. Somewhere along the line I knew he should never be able to drive and being a good co-dependent it also kept him dependent. I didn't know any of this at the time. Only years later did I find out about it in therapy.
Back to now and Eliot. It's rather wierd being almost completely powerless in a relationship. Anyhow when we were in Laughlin we looked at a condo. I don't think the one we saw was foreclosed but there were a lot of bargains around and we also looked at houses across the river in Bullhead City that had been foreclosed. Although I have no power in this relationship I made it clear that there was no way I was going to end up in one of these houses in Bullhead City and was not crazy about a condo in Laughlin but would go along with that (unenthusiastically). Back to Phoenix. Eliot knew that I thought the RV park we stayed at in Prescott Valley would be my preference if we had to settle down but he was not in favor of that but found a manufactured home community in Prescott just outside of the National Forest in the foothills with great bargains and we looked at the homes there. Although some of the homes were quite cheap and one even had a great view and there were trees all around but the monthly lease was extremely high. He said if he were to die first I couldn't afford it. I said no problem, I'd rent out the second bedroom or get a job in Walmart. I said if he had to settle down it would seem like a place he could deal with. You could walk right into the forest trails from the community.
As I said Eliot is scared of settling down. His desire is to drop dead of a heart attack while hiking.
I used to be scared of that and thought that he was kind of selfish. Like what do I do with your dead body out in the wilderness. I lived through this past summer at Pole Creek Lake and we made it out and got back to Phoenix and Eliot has had his neck surgery. He has to go back to the cardiologist in February after blood tests after using these new medications he started and I guess unless there's something wrong we'll plan on traveling again probably sometime in March. My son Patrick should be coming out to Arizona in February. I did tell Eliot that I didn't want to leave before Patrick came out.
And on the way up to British Columbia I want to stop at my brother's on the Long Beach Peninsula in Washington. Perhaps we'll make it to Alaska. At least if we travel we'll eat better. Eliot loves to go to buffets so here we end up at the Golden Corral or Souper Salad and have one big meal besides breakfast which seems to agree with Eliot's constitution but not at all with mine.
Now I'm reading Slaughter House-Five.
And so it goes.
I just finished a book by Alexander McCall Smith unlike any of the books I've read by him. I've read all the No. 1 Ladies Dectective Agency books he's written which take place in Botswana and most of his novels about the Scottish woman philosopher but this one "La's Orchestra Saves the World" takes place mainly in England during WWII.
And so it goes.
I guess I will have to find my pluck.
One more thought: I so admire Bobbie and would have liked to have been a good person and mother like she is. I agreed with her other followers that it sounds like her daughter is like an apple that didn't fall far from the tree. To console myself I've decided that my wonderful son, Patrick, is my apple and that my daughter, Mary Ellen, must be her father's apple! As for Jake, my older son, he is unique. I'll have to write about him someday.

Thursday, January 7, 2010


Resolutions? I actually knew someone who would not just make New Year's resolutions but actually make a five-year plan and revise it each year as necessary. How about a five week plan? Or maybe just five day? And I could revise it each day as necessary! Which of course it would be necessary since I'd probably forget by day 2 what I had resolved to do or not do the day before. Hmm? Is it better to be positive and say what I would do rather than not do? I used to actually believe in positive thinking and can remember practicing it.
1. I will think positively
2. I've already broken, I was going to limit myself to 2 or at most 3 chocolate rice cakes but while watching Chocolat on DVD I ate all 7 that were left!
3. I'll think about that tomorrow (not rice cakes, # 3).
Now I will have a cup of Sleepy Time tea and hope Eliot will feel as good tomorrow as he did today. He says his shoulder feels better than it has the past two weeks. He is more cheerful when he feels better.
I just thought of a # 3 - I will forgive myself for bad thoughts especially the ones I have when Eliot is not cheerful. Also the bad thoughts I have about myself especially after I eat too much.
But at least it was only rice cakes!
I just finished reading Kati Marton's "The Great Escape" subtitled Nine Jews who Fled Hitler and Changed the World. They were all Hungarian Jews who were born in the brief "Golden Age of Budapest" I understand that in Hungary it was subtitled Nine Hungarians... since no one would buy it with the other subtitle. What troubles me the most is the quote from "The Third Man": "In Italy for thirty years under the Borgias, they had warfare, terror, murder, bloodshed. They produced Michelangelo, Leonardo and the Renaissance. In Switzerland, they had brotherly love, five hundred years of democracy, and they produced the cuckoo clock." I have heard this in various forms many times over my lifetime. Ah, #4 Stop dwelling on what a mess homo sapiens have made of the natural order of this planet as well as forgiving myself for being part of the problem.
What happened to #1: positive thinking. Boy is that going to go down the tubes because the next 5 books I'm going to read are all by Kurt Vonnegut,
And so it goes.