Tuesday, March 30, 2010


I wish the title were something inspiring like carpe diem! which we all know from Dead Poets Society. Or even Carpy Derby, a fish festival my Uncle Bob used to run near Binghamton [NY]. I'd be satisfied with Joe Carp, for that matter (as is Steven), but alas, the title is simply Carp! because I want to complain.

I was at the cat food store, since I'm not allowed around dog food for the nonce, and I was in line behind a young mother with a son. The kid wanted her attention, and kept pulling on her clothes. Her jeans were really tight, but he found a belt loop he could yank, to no avail. She was on a cell phone, which is why she didn't have enough extra attention to give to her son.

Keep in mind that I'm not a mother, so my comments should carry twice the weight of someone who actually knows what s/he's talking about.

But really, before cell phones, at least the mother could snap at the kid to shut. up. right. now. Or she could have threatened him with some privilege being withdrawn. Or, heck, she might even have listened to him and they could've spent five minutes looking at the rescue kitties. With her cell phone, though, she barely had enough energy or brain cells or whatever it takes to deal with whoever she was talking to and the clerk, who needed the Magic Cat Food Store Card and who wanted her to sign the receipt.

Yes. She could have been a pediatrician saving some child's life over the phone, but, again, today's title is Carp! so maybe you should just shut. up. right. now.

I was at Sears purchasing an emergency tire. I had just noticed that my right rear tire was bald as a pancake, so I ran out and got the tire. There's not much to do around a tire shop, even one near Tyrone Mall, so I took my book to the waiting room. A woman who'd removed her red cowboy boots was talking loudly (of course) on a cell phone (of course). The television was squealing and yammering from a high corner. I tried to turn off the TV, but I couldn't find the switch. I would have settled for a mute button, but that was lost to me, too. All I could do was find a channel with snow, which actually worked pretty well. When I turned around to find a seat, the woman glared at me and said, "I was watching that!"

"But you're on the phone!" I exclaimed, as you can see from my exclamation point.

"I can listen to the phone with my ears and watch the TV with my eyes," she said.

I held up my book and said, "You mean I have to listen to you and the TV?"

Apparently so.

The only way I could walk peacefully out the door -- after restoring the barefoot cowgirl's channel, of course -- was by recognizing that I was the freak in that scene. Most people really can watch TV and chat on the phone. I can't.

But I'll bet I could watch TV and carp on the phone ...

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The Black Eye Quiz

You know we all put our best face forward on these social networking sites, so when you start getting dizzy from looking at my black eye (and my frizzing gray hair and my sagging right eye and the snarl lines around my mouth), just glance over at the good photo that lives on this page before continuing to read this blog. Think of the good photo as the sherbet served at restaurants to cleanse your ocular palate, as it were ... not that either one of us has ever been to a restaurant that did that.

Are you still with me? Good. So how did I get that black eye?

Mike gave it to me because I want to paint the original tongue-in-groove real wood paneling at Dinky Manor, my new house. Michele did it because ditto. Gower did it because ditto, but he added, "It's your heritage!" It's not my heritage. It's not even his heritage. He's just a second-generation Floridian.

Let's move on to other options.

Mittens gave it to me because I continue to feed Nero, and to aid and abet and otherwise nurture his existence, which I also do for her, which obviously doesn't hold any weight.

Time Insulation gave me the ol' shiner because I couldn't schedule the crawl-space or attic insulation without first conferring with Dave. I'm pretty sure that my friend Steven schedules this sort of thing for a living. Now I know why he always wants to quit his job. First the AC guys have to go in, then the solar tube needs insertion, then the insulation can go in, but that's just for the attic. There are other reasons the crawl-space can't be insulated now, including, but not limited to, electrical work, plumbing work, and spiders with opposable thumbs.

Rhett because, although I have gathered new paint (Mediterranean Blue, Pool Blue, Passion, Kelly Green, and Apple Tart) and have procured another new mailbox, I still haven't started painting. The first two attempts were so disastrous, I had to scrape the paint off and start again.

As long as we're in that vein, perhaps James held me down while his young daughter Jamie kicked me in the eye because I said I'd rewrite their story -- and I will! I will! -- but I just haven't gotten into it yet.

Val and David smacked me because of my political views.

Dave did it because I haven't found the black-and-white floor tile I want in the kitchen.

Do you think Small Adventures Bookshop did it because I was too fast in my turnaround for new business cards? No. Of course not, but I had to add something positive here.

Okay. How about this? How about a can of dog food fell on my face?

Monday, March 8, 2010

Spring Ain't Sprung

I'm dressed in what is by now my normal winter at-home ensemble: black leggings, black socks, black sandals (I'm sorry); a long-sleeved, ankle-length lavender nightgown, an item I go many years without wearing at all; and a black-cream-and-brown below-the-knee caftan. Today I added a yellow-and-orange sarong wound around my head and throat, believing that most of my heat leaves through the top of my head if not out my nostrils like a dragon. I feel like a pioneer woman -- from the Middle East.

My point is, it's still freepin' cold here on the west coast of Florida -- at least in my apartment. I have to say, though, that I'm getting used to it. I'm not comfortable with the cold itself, but I am starting to pull on all these clothes without complaining about it.

Okay. So Spring ain't sprung, the grass ain't riz, but guess just where my hy'cinth iz! Yes! Last year, I planted the hyacinth I'd bought at Publix. I stuck my face in the purple blooms and inhaled the scent of home. Oh my. I think our cold winter made it all possible. I am thrilled on a daily basis. I wonder if I'll dig them up -- there are three -- and bring them with me when I move (eleven blocks east and fifteen blocks north) or if I'll leave them for future renters. I suspect the former, selfish wench that I am.

My friend Fernando (from Colombia) says his mother tosses out tulips all the time because they're overrunning her St. Pete lawn. Really? I hadn't known that bulb plants could flourish without a hard freeze. Well, here I am with my concrete thumb, thinking I should know all about plants.

Fragrant flowers aren't the only new thing I've discovered this season. Look what a routine trip to Walgreens yielded:

Yikes, huh? I can't quite put my finger on what's so amazing about a chocolate cross or praying hands, but I am dumbfounded. It seems sacrilegious, and yet it is a nice melding of the secular and the Christian, and it's doing it with chocolate, so how bad can that be?

On the other hand, someone told me they'd bought chocolate
Jesuses at a church once. Man, I'd love one of those! Talk about "This is the body"! Talk about becoming One!

And the last of the newness is MotoBling -- mobile bling. Michele still prefers Mo'bling because it suggests mobile bling
and more bling, but since I'm a missionary for artcars, I must insist upon MotoBling. I want people to buy a handful of these painted magnetic-sheeting squares and put them on their cars in patterns. If they won't paint their cars, they can at least decorate them.

I scanned these Oms instead of taking actual photos. The colors aren't true, so you'll have to see them in the flesh this Saturday, March 13, at The Longhouse (www.longhouse.info) from 11 to 4, during the Pink Flamingo Home Tour. The Longhouse is not only celebrating five years of delivering great massages (among other things) but also the grand opening of Longhouse Yoga right next door. I'll pitch my canopy and sell tee shirts, mailboxes, and MotoBling. Much of the latter is geared toward yogites, but Om is good for everyone. There will be free organic and vegan food by King Natural Catering Company (727 631-1314). You can tour the facilities of both buildings, meet the teachers and practitioners of various disciplines, participate in yoga demonstrations, and enter free drawings for great gifts including but not limited to a full set of chakra-colored lotus MotoBling by the verbose local artist, moi.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Positively Republican

That's a bumper sticker on a car that's often in the parking lot of my Walgreens. Someday, if I'm lucky, I'll bump into the driver.

I remember thinking kindly of Eisenhower, perhaps only because he was the first president I was aware of, and I believed, as a child, that presidents were right and good. Or heck, maybe Ike was right and good.

I assume I started viewing Republicans as absolute other around Nixon's time, but I wasn't always like that. I remember hanging Kennedy-Johnson posters with my best friend Linda Seth. She was Catholic: of course she was going to vote for Kennedy. Or would have if we weren't ten. The point is, I wasn't against Nixon. I was for Kennedy.

By the time W came to steal the election, my stomach hurt every time I heard his voice. I had breakfast the other day with a friend who couldn't stand his face. She covered her own eyes as she said it, just as I cover my ears when I say my bit. The repulsion is real. Perhaps it's just -- "just" -- that we've made him stand for everything that's stupid and violent, dangerous and arrogant in this country.

In this country? I almost changed that to "in the government," but these days, I see all Republicans as Bushites: stupid, violent, dangerous, arrogant. I can't stand that they're pro-life and pro-war. Just how does that work? I can't stand that they're big fat Christians, but killing is somehow okay. The bumper sticker WHO WOULD JESUS BOMB? doesn't even strike them as sarcasm. They stroke their beards and think about it. Hm ... who would Jesus bomb? Let's see, we got them A-rabs, of course, and maybe a buncha Jews ...

I got a mass email today with a really funny joke about a Muslim (of course) terrorist (of course). Our American forefathers, in this hilarious scenario, greet him at the Pearly Gates, although how such an evil person made it to heaven is not explained. These righteous Americans take turns committing violence upon him (yes! in heaven!), while quoting the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and their own historical speeches (although not the bit about religious freedom, of course). When the poor man is finally left alone, weeping, an angel appears. The Muslim cries bitterly that this was not what he was promised. "I told you there would be seventy-two Virginians waiting for you in heaven," quoth the angel. "What did you think I said?"


I burst into flames when I read that, of course. Well, the email was from a woman in a group of friends from a conservative rural area. Does that also mean Christian? Probably. The kind that hate? Yeah. This whole God Is Love thing that Christians like to promote, based on their own holy text, is nonsense to most of them. Or maybe it's more like a selective love. God loves Christians and whites, for sure. I suppose He loves men more than women, brunettes over blondes, swords over ploughshares. I'm pretty sure He just doesn't have quite enough love for gays, though. Or liberals.


I know I have at least one (1) Christian reader here who actually embodies that God Is Love thing. And I know there's at least one (1) Republican, based on that hopeful bumper sticker, who is probably merely conservative, not stupid, violent, dangerous, or arrogant. She (I'm so sure she's a she!) wouldn't refer to her president using a racial slur, even though she may have preferred McCain. So there's hope, right?

Mostly what I want is for me to quit being so sure that all Republicans are idiots. I can't stand it that I'm right there in the black-or-white, either-or world, but I am. I can subscribe to the theory that we're all multi-faceted and that we shouldn't be judged (if at all) by just one facet. What if you judged me only by my near-total inability to find my car in a parking lot? But if you believe in torture, then how we are in the world -- our orientation -- is so very different that I don't know if we could find things to talk about at lunch. If I know that you automatically think black people are less than white people, how can we even chat about books? Don't our politics reflect our core values? I don't know how I can enjoy your (non-religious, non-political) humor while also knowing that you think Palin is a fine example of American womanhood.

Deleting without reading emails from certain "friends" doesn't seem to be the answer. I'm already an ostrich in so many ways. Right now, I'm incapable of calm, political discussion, and I may always be so. I had to take a psychological test when I worked at The Widget Factory. It turned out that in all my reactions, I was never "neutral" or "moderate." I was either "passionate" or "extreme." That doesn't sound like a good dinner companion, does it?