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Gift from Hil Part 2 - 2014-12-30
A Gift from Hil - 2014-12-28
There was A LOT of turkey. - 2014-12-04
Can we just jump to January please? - 2014-11-14
A (don't kick the) Bucket List - 2014-10-28

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3:07 p.m. - 2014-02-27
Long. Longer. Longest.

Boy howdy, this winter is taking for-freaking-ever! Not news, obviously, but I'm blaming winter for my grim and somewhat hopeless mindset these days.

Wolf follows some Twitter thing called "Thanks, Obama!" It's a goof where people post crazy grumbly things and tag line it with a snarky "Thanks, Obama!" Like..."My shoelace broke this morning and I missed the bus trying to find other shoes. Thanks, Obama!" "We ran out of k-cups in the break room. Thanks, Obama!" Wolf has adopted this and gets the snorting giggles every time he uses it. "I have two pages of vocab words to learn tonight. Thanks, Obama!"

I've made my own version but instead of blaming the president I blame winter. "My new bras don't fit. Thanks, winter!" "I have cracked heels and they're bleeding. Thanks, winter!" "The tomatoes for Mick's sandwiches have gone mushy. Thanks, winter!"

No, no one will nominate me for 'Best Comedy Performance by a Snowbound Housewife' but it's helping me stay sane.

I would, however, like to say that I'm in no big rush for hot weather either. If it's grey and dreary and the ice-choked weather keeps dicking with my plans it's still better than summer. Snow can be shoveled. 99 degrees with 100% humidity cannot. My hair is too long and looks like shit, but I can put a hat over it and no one's the wiser. My poor dermis is nearly desiccated from the baked indoor air, but that's what baby lotion is for. No such easy fix for heat rash. No amount of corn starch talc can fix the chafed oozing messes under my boobs from my horrible bras or the fat thigh friction which plague me in the hot months. My poorly insulated office is damn chilly but proper clothing and snuggling under my lovely faux-shearling/velvet blankie works just fine. In the terrible summer swelter there's a limit to how naked I can get and just how much the ancient battered window unit a/c can cool my ratty little cubby of an office. Too cold can be remedied. Too hot cannot.

So I cheer myself and counter my snowbound stir-craziness with the alternative. I truly loathe summer. I detest the stickiness and the bugs and how the filthy air makes me gag. Most of all I hate the clothes. All well and good for the thin and the youthful to prance around half-naked. This saggy baggy elephant needs coverage. At least in the cold months my clothing is stylish. Jeans and boots and well-tailored jackets. Accessorized with pashminas and scarves and bright red Italian leather gloves. In the summer my tent-like sundresses billow around me with a whole circus of room inside. Or I'm faced with the horror of having my blubber on display in shorts and a t-shirt. No matter what I dress myself in I end up looking like exactly what I am- a fat, sweaty, old, sexless, shapeless lump of yuck.

In my perfect universe the outdoor temperature is a brisk and breezy 50 degrees. I get to go about my biz in my preferred habiliments and am neither awkwardly bundled and bulky nor wretchedly stripped-down and woozy from the oppressive heat and ozone build-up.

Wow. Over 500 hundred words just bitching about the weather. Whoo! Go me.

Maeve Binchy. I stumbled on her first novel 'Light a Penny Candle' at Half Price Books in College Station, Texas in 1983. Enchanted from the get-go I've read everything she's published in the States.

Sidebar: Half Price Books. Haven. Refuge. Delight. God, in those dim days before the internet books were my only escape and having this place of wonder and financial accessibility was such a blessing! We were so broke. 'Home' was the bottom level of a 2-storey 11x10 garden shed converted into two apartments. Henry upstairs was a grad student and overnight attendant in a nearby nursing home. (It was on the next block over, actually.) Henry was also the first black man I was close enough with to ask my dopey White Person questions of. He patiently answered my queries as to whether he got sunburned, what the deal was with cornrows, and whether black men truly had bigger dicks. (Yes- if the sun was strong enough, cornrows and pomade kept his hair from going gigantic and wild, and no- if he was any example black men had regular sized penises.) The ex and I paid the utility bill for the whole building and Henry had the phone. We shared responsibility for the electricity and gas and contact with the outside world as fellow travelers do. It worked.

What also worked was our book swapping. Henry was more into the classics and it was from Henry's collection that I finally read Joyce and Melville, Hemingway and Anne Sexton. Henry and I shared a love of Stephen King and Langston Hughes. He introduced me to Zora Neale Hurston and I handed him the sly humor of John R Powers. Oftentimes Henry and I sat on his vine-shaded porch up in the pecan trees and while trains howled by on the nearby tracks Henry and I would pass an afternoon in near silence just reading and sipping on the sun tea I'd made that morning. Sun tea I'd made but Henry sweetened because he could afford sugar.

I used to marvel (and still do) that Henry was from some scrub-woods, sharecropper place in the toolies of Alabama and I came from the northern burbs of NYC- half country/half city and wholly Yankee, yet a black man and a white girl from such diverse backgrounds could be such fast friends. We were though. Bound by our love of books and words and those who put them down on paper. And Half Price Books was our source. The dealer of our favorite drug.

It was in that magical shop that I discovered Maeve Binchy.

In reading her latest paperback- 'A Week in Winter' that I discovered something astonishing...she loves Americans!

For real.

I am so used to Americans being the world's bad guys. Pushy imperialist assholes. The US with its megalomaniacal pop culture and addicting junk food and woefully ignorant world view. We're the ugly tide of stupid that the rest of the world pushes back against. To find out that one of my favorite authors doesn't see us as dimwitted bullying jerks was something of a wonder.

Like this endless ugly deadening winter I've come to believe my country is a plague on the rest of the world. A horrible burden that makes life a slog of stupid. But Maeve Binchy doesn't think so. If we are to interpret her recent works Maeve Binchy thinks we're good. Hopeful. Fun. Her characters go off to the New World and learn to be whole and brave and smart in ways far outside the stultifying societal rules imposed by small Irish towns. Villages hemmed in and governed by reputation, history and gossip. In her books Americans are catalyst for change. Good change. Healthy change. When we come on the scene we blow things apart in the best of ways.

For a little while Maeve Binchy makes me stop being ashamed to be American. For a very little while..

Then there's another school shooting. And some dickhead murders some kids because he doesn't like their music. We invade yet another country. And pass a disgusting law restricting access to birth control or giving bigots the right to refuse service. And fund private religious instruction on the public dime. And allow fracking and the Keystone pipeline. And give billionaires tax breaks and gut environmental regulations. And suspend or override the Constitution again. And strip the unions of power. And stymie the federal government and nothing gets done.

I try to hold onto my perspective, but mostly I feel like this...

It's been a really long winter, ~LA

2 Wanna talk about it!

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