I had the worst night's sleep I've had in yonks, which really sucked because I was very tired and not feeling too well. Anyway I will try to sleep some during the day today. It's probably my own fault cos I use sleeping pills sometimes, and then when I run out, it's hard to sleep without them.
Reading some really interesting books at the moment, one that is a comparative study of fathers (WWII vets) and their sons (Vietnam vets) - oral histories etc transcribed. Quite different to other studies I've read on it. I'm also reading a book on Robert Mugabe and the Zimbabwe catastophe.
So Iraq is handed back to the Iraqi people. I really feel for them. I mean, the vast majority of the country just want electricity, running water, no bombs and grenades and gun fights in the streets... and yet the majority is so easily overlooked by the loud and the violent. Just like Afghanistan, and the Israel/Palestine mess... This world makes me very sad at times.
Has anyone seen anything in the news recently about Bangladesh? I read an article on the corruption and violence there about 3 months ago, but I haven't seen anything more in the media.
dark red lettering
further poverty is needed
since i have it
thrust upon me
I am sitting here watching Henry play with a mouse. An actual, live, quite small baby mouse that has got a big gash in its side and is squeaking. My dilemma is that I want Henry to grow up to be a good mouser, and this is his first (to my knowledge) and also he caught it in the kitchen cupboard, so Deb will be very happy. I just wish Henry didn't look like he was enjoying it so much.
... oh good, it's dead now.... oh no, not quite. It's twitching. gross.
Um right, on to the Friday theme. A Mission in Life.
I don't have a mission in life yet but I am actively trying to find one. I want to live the idealistic life I believed in as a teenager. I'm thinking (don't laugh, and it's only been thought over the last week or so) about maybe becoming a teacher. Primary school, 7 - 10 maybe. And then going and getting a job in a low decile school in the back of beyond somewhere that has a hard time retaining teachers, and settle down in a small rural community for 10 years and give the kids everything I've got. Literacy feels vital to solving most social ills. And heaven knows I complain enough. It would be good to actually do something to help solve the problem at the roots, even in a small way.
On a broader scale, I want a meaning to my life. Something I am passionate about and can make a real, even if modest, difference to. A missionary, without the god bit but with the good works, sacrifice and passion. At the moment it feels like literacy, because reading means freedom and new ideas.
lol I said not to laugh!
Henry is flinging the mouse corpse around the room. Yummy.
The dogs are crying to be let outside.
Here is yesterday's writing effort:
once I was a girl who
I thought I was
next to me
now I have learnt
as eventually we do
I was hiding in
right behind you
I'm reading a bunch of different books at the moment, more non-fiction than ever before in my life, I think. Currently I'm reading:
'Couples: Scene From The Inside', Sally Cline
'Taking New Zealand Seriously: The Economics of Decency', Tim Hazledine
'Nothing to Lose: A Sane Guide to Living in a Larger Body', Cheri K. Erdman
'The Way Things Ought To Be', Rush Limbaugh
'Women and Bisexuality', Sue George
'Out of the Past: Gay and Lesbian History 1869 to Present', Neil Miller
'Stupid White Men and Other Sorry Excuses for the State of the Nation', Michael Moore
'The Future of Money: Creating New Wealth, Work and a Wiser World', Bernard Lietaer
'He, She and It', Marge Piercy
'The King of Torts', John Grisham
Stupid White Men was really good. An inspiring book, in a strange way. It was nice to see that you can be a leftie, a greenie, an idealist, a liberal, and still be smart, cynical, well-informed and educated. And I like that this book doesn't just moan about things, it calls directly for action on a local scale. Involvement is the test of conviction.
The chapter 'Kill Whitey' is the best debunking of racism I've ever come across. After reading it I've become convinced that I'm only scared of my own kind. Already I purposely choose doctors and dentists who are either asian, middle eastern, indian or african, and female if possible.... as far from 'white male' as possible. Unfortunately that means I'm a racist, but based on the evidence presented in that book, you'll find it hard to dispute with me on evidence. :)
Can you remember the first story that you heard? I think mine was 'Noah's Ark'. The first book I remember being read to from was Richard Scary's ABC... Mum would always yawn when she got to the letter 'Y'. I think it was Hilda the Hippo yawning in the illustration or something and Mum was so exhausted by our bedtime that she just couldn't see the word 'yawn' without going out in sympathy.
That book the future of money made me think about how different things can become representations of debt, credit, barter etc. For example around here, it's lighters, because Deb smokes and is absent-minded. By controlling the supply in the lighter market, I can manipulate her bahaviour to owe me favours... Sure, I can lend you a lighter... or a cigarette... in fact, just keep them. Oh, and by the way, can you go grab that vodka and juice from the sleepout? Thanks, mate.
Today I wrote a poem
The Next Step
an alligator shoe
rain ruffled gutter
the next step
Ok, first of all - thank you guys so much for your comments and support. You make my life easier to deal with and make me feel like I'm less alone. So a big thank you to you all. It always helps to get other people's perspectives on things, too, because I have been known to have a bit of a one track mind!
Not much has happened really, just kicking along, fighting with the public health system, which is very frustrating. Went to have an assessment at the Pain Management Clinic, which was quite depressing, since they told me it is likely that the pain is not going to go away in a hurry. They are very long-term thinkers so medication is not at the top of their lists. Which is fine, I do need to learn to manage it without drugs. However with so many things going on in my life at the moment, on so many different fronts, that it seems almost cruel of the doctors not to prescribe some short-term relief.
Oh, that's the other thing - you know Bea, the cavalier king charles that Deb and Keith have? Well, she's just had pups - 5 of them, very cute (although at the moment they kind of look more like rats than dogs, to be honest). Two of the pups were so big that Bea had to have an emergency caeser (sp?) - $700 later... lucky they are purebred pups! They should be able to recoup the money from selling them. Each pup is worth around $500, so the math works out.
More random writings below...
I guess, in balance, that novels are dreams of a perfect world where things make sense and have significance and purpose. Literature shows us remarkably few examples of deep, abiding romantic love. What's the Tolstoy quote? "All happy families resemble each other, but each family is unhappy in its own way" - or something like that. Which is very bleak, and leads me to see why people write romance novels. A sad broken wish, cried out on paper. A utopia, glimpsed, longed for, but unrealisable.
Why did they give me these stories to read? Why was I brought up on "Little Women" and "The Hard Winter" and the Bible, the classical stories and myths of noble people acting in a noble way, sacrificing for ideals and beliefs and a larger purpose? I don't think I've ever come across an example of a real human person who acted in this way. And those I thought were these noble, high-minded individuals turned out to be the worst bastards of the lot.
Scoutmasters raping their scout troops. Camp counsellors raping kids in their dorms at summer camp. Churches led by paedophiles and paedophiles protected by churches. The UN oil-for-food scandal. Parents who neglect, abuse and warp their kids in the name of religion and the Lord. The police, out for a conviction regardless of evidence. Journalists writing exposes, and then being exposed themselves as compromised, fraudulent, or corrupt. On and on and on... ultimately you can't trust anyone, but I'd rather be screwed by an average Joe than a psuedo-saint. From an average Joe, you kind of expect it.
Man, what a week. And it's only Monday... Losing Ruby has really thrown me, I can't get over how depressed I am. I mean, it's a cat! I should have stopped crying by now... but it just sneaks up on me, I am fine one minute and trying to explain my red eyes the next.
She was one of my closest friends. Thank you so much, everyone, for you comments and thoughts. It really means a lot. I think that's something that is really getting to me, actually, and I'm trying not to let it because it makes me sound like such a petty bitch, but... Keith and Leon haven't even said to me "we're sorry your cat died". I know they are both busy. I know Leon is really sick. I know I'm just a screwy friend of Deb's who lives in their garage. But if Leon's dog Savannah had died, or if any of the other dogs had died, I would have at least said to them how sorry I was. It really, really hurts to have them ignore it like this. But then I try not to let it, because it seems both selfish and silly.
So. Um, what have I done in the last few days? Practically nothing, really, read a hell of a lot, cried a hell of a lot, slept as much as I can. Rego'd the car today, going for a 3-hour assessment at the pain management clinic tomorrow (hah hah hah, the last one I went to, in Wellington about 5 years ago, I got told by the senior anethetist to smoke pot. Wonder what the advice will be this time?!)
I am feeling really directionless and miserable, partly over Ruby and partly over the fact that every time I try to get my life together something seems to happen to trip me up. I don't think I'll try working for a while again, I lost a lot of money and stress on the effort last time and it worked out to about $30/week better than the dole for working 40 hours and getting up at 3.30am, so maybe I'll lick my wounds on that one for a while.
I decided that I gotta feel like I'm achieving something so I will try to do some writing each day. I will post it in here, most likely, so if you see random unrelated bits of text, that's my excuse :)
---- random unrelated bit of text follows ----
It's funny how depression can ultimately kill you or allow you to live with a real sense of purpose, and yet neither result lasts very long. On the one hand, life is pointless, it is futile, it does hurt, and yeah, you're going to end up dead in 50 years so who really cares how soon you get there? It's just a shortcut, to kill yourself; a cheating of pain and sadness and lonliness and all those things that consume the depressed. Yet also, once you've come to the point of deciding that you don't care about living anymore, you're strangely free.
I mean, I don't know what it's like for other people. Maybe others out there genuinely want death, itself, as an end. I personally don't see how I can want something I've never experienced. In fact, I can't even really conceptualise death. What it must be like, just nothing. And I suppose that's the thing, really, isn't it; death isn't experienced, it's not like anything, it just is. I can't get my tiny mind to imagine its own non-existence. When I think about death, about killing myself, I just think away from, not to. It's more that I don't want to feel like this, be like this, look like this, live like this, anymore. The problems seem so insurmountable because they all require different answers and resolutions. I need money, I need self-confidence, I need a makeover, I need a lobotomy. Give me drugs, let me out of the prison of my mind because the pain and the screaming are just too much to bear...
But once you have come to the place of working out how to hang yourself from the rafters in your room, then maybe you have a degree of freedom. Once you've decided that you'd rather be dead, you can decide to pretend you are. No expectations from a dead woman. Everything I do becomes amazing, because a dead person couldn't do it. For a while, after I decide I'd rather be dead, I find almost a sense of peace with life.
Nothing lasts, however. Depression is an ugly disease that stalks over a period of years. It makes me so uncomfortable to think, write, talk about suicide that I retreat to third person: you, they. Writing it from an I statement feels dangerous, too revealing, too painful. Too close to home. Too seductive an idea, as if the closer I bring it to myself and my own experience the more likely that I will repeat the pattern of so many years and try again.
They probably don't count as suicide attempts, really. I kind of wanted to die, and kind of not. More I wanted someone to see my distress and swoop down and carry me off, somewhere safe, where people would love me and care about me and I wouldn't be an ugly little misfit anymore. But unfortunately, once you're in the system and labelled as a suicidal type, unless you really do have that loving, perfect-yet-inexplicably-missed-this-bit family in the wings waiting to have that emotional reunion with you, you're screwed. Doctors won't listen and won't give you decent medications in case you overdose. Every physcial ailment has some mysterious "psychosomatic" component. Once you're mentally ill, you'll never have another cold. A psychiatrist once told me that a heart attack is psychosomatic. The sad thing is he was completely serious. It's a Catch-22. You're insane, and therefore totally marginalised. You will be judged (and found wanting) by a jury of the sane.
I have copied the text below directly from the New York Times. Read it and tell me whether the government is dumb, or unethical. (duh):
Bomb Would Have Been Dud, Scientists Say
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Published: June 10, 2004
The "dirty bomb'' that the terror suspect Jose Padilla has been accused of planning would have been a dud, not the radiological threat federal authorities described last week, scientists say.
At a June 1 news conference, the Justice Department said Mr. Padilla, who it contends is an associate of Al Qaeda, hoped to attack Americans by detonating "uranium wrapped with explosives'' to spread radioactivity.
But uranium's extremely low radioactivity is harmless compared with high-radiation materials, like cesium and cobalt isotopes used in medicine and industry that experts see as potential dirty bomb fuels.
"I used a 20-pound brick of uranium as a doorstop in my office,'' Peter D. Zimmerman, an American nuclear physicist at King's College in London, said to illustrate the point.
Mr. Zimmerman, who co-wrote an expert analysis of dirty bombs for the United States National Defense University, called the government announcement "extremely disturbing because you cannot make a radiological dispersal device with uranium.'' He added, "There is just no significant radiation hazard.''
Other specialists agreed. "It's the equivalent of blowing up lead,'' said Ivan Oelrich, a physicist with the Federation of American Scientists.
The Justice Department did not respond directly when asked this week whether it had consulted with experts and knew that uranium would not make a dirty bomb.
Instead, a spokesman, Mark Corallo, said Mr. Padilla's statements, in view of his Qaeda links, made clear that he was "willing to cause devastating harm to innocent Americans.''
Sigh. I thought that when I first read "uranium" in the initial articles, but I figured I was wrong. Nup. Just too trusting...
I spent most of yesterday (and the day before) crying but this morning I just feel drained... leaking more than crying really. So sad. I keep thinking I see her out of the corner of my eye or hear her calling to me from somewhere.
Ruby lies wrapped in a blanket under a tree, in a sunny secluded spot. She's got her collar and bag of cat treats to take with her. I built a cairn of bricks over the grave to protect her from other animals and in the spring I will scatter catnip and catmint seeds over her to make a garden. Seems strange after so many years that the last things I can do for her are so simplistic and small.
Ruby Tuesday died this morning. Unfortunately she didn't get the death I really wanted for her, one of those old-age-go-to-sleep-never-wake-up deals, but at least it was at home, in my bed, and fairly quick.
She'd been sliding physically and emotionally for a couple of weeks, kind of withdrawn and lethargic, and then Tuesday she started having seizures and losing control of her bowels and stuff. I took her to the vet yesterday evening and he said to try her on some epilepsy meds, but he didn't know quite what was going on.
Well I woke up this morning at 5.00 and she was having a seizure. I could see blood in her mouth so I knew it was dangerous and I tried to grab her to do something but she seizes with her claws out and my hands just got cut to shreds. So I just had to stand there and watch, she choked on the blood and she must have aspirated it because clearing her airway didn't do any good. And when she stopped seizing, she wasn't breathing, and a few minutes later I felt her die.
I considered mouth-to-nose resuscitation but given her health over the last few days I decided to just let nature take its course. She was at least 14, so she had had a good run of it. I'd only had her for 4 1/2 years, but I tried to make those the best I could for her. She was an amazing friend and an amazing cat. I'll never forget the bond we had.
It seems weird to be sitting here, writing this, with Ruby wrapped in a duvet at my feet, as we've done so many times before, yet knowing that I'll never hear her voice or feel her purrs vibrating up my legs again. She was such an individual, and we knew each other so intimately, I honestly believe I could understand her as well as I do my english-speaking friends. I was closer to her than most of my family members.
:( :( :(
a dozen roses for my baby girl
Good hunting, Ruby. You made me want to believe in reincarnation. I hope our spirits meet again somewhere. I tried my best, and I always loved you.
Well, we all know it's election year in the USA, and the Republicans are doing all they can to distance themselves from all things 'gay'. But spare a thought for VP Cheney's wife and daughter. His wife has written a book with a lesbian scene in it - so she halted its publication. But what must hurt more, is that he's reversed the position he took in 2000 and embraced a constitutional marriage amendment, thereby disowning his gay daughter's civil rights more definitively than his wife has disowned her novel.
Man, how much would that hurt? I mean, my parents are gay-bashers but at least they don't legislate against me!
I am so sore, I can't wait until tomorrow so I can go to the dr and beg. They gave me tramadol, which is a synthetic opiate, but it's not doing anything. I suspect it may be like codiene, where I just can't process it into component chemicals. But it's so bad I woke up crying at 2.30am and it's just not fun. :(
Deb and Keith got back last night, haven't seen them yet because I went to bed too early! Might see if I can get online again later and post a couple of kitten pics.
I spent last night sandwiched between a heavily-pregnant dog and a kitten with a stomach upset. Nights like this are good for me. They remind me why I could never have kids.
Wow deb and keith are back tomorrow. Weird. Leon has been really sick with chemo - he just about died on Wednesday, I came back at lunchtime and he'd just called an ambulance. They said he was 90% dead and if he'd waited another couple of hours he wouldn't have made it.
I talked to him about it on Thursday and he said to me that if it had been up to him, he would have just died then, in his bed with his dog at his side. But he decided that he couldn't do that to his parents or his son, so he called the hospital. I didn't know what to say, except that I respected his courage and that I could understand the temptation to just lie down and give in. But man, it was a hard conversation.
I have made great progress in the garden while they were gone.
It's a good ten day's work when I write it all down like that :) Now today and tomorrow will be spent doing housework because I haven't done any since they left! lol :) I hope they'll be pleased. It's always a bit nerve-wracking because I worry that they'll take it as a criticism of them... it's really not though, it's just stuff that needed to be done that they never get time to do.
I came across this article in the New York Times that seems to have a flicker of hope in it, as regards to what I said yesterday... at least it seems like a more sensible approach.
Wow, only a couple more days before deb and keith get home. I'll have to make sure I keep my internet access when they do... might have to get up a little earlier! lol
hmmm. Spent ages commenting on Jenni's blog so no time to finish this entry! Maybe later... gotta get into the garden before it rains this arvo.
I've just been reading the politics section of the paper and it's all quite depressing. You know what system of government would be good? A benevolent absolute dictatorship. But I suspect that there's no such thing.
The problem with democracy is fundamentally a time-frame issue, I think. Leaders are so focussed on the fact that they have to get re-elected in 3-4 year's time they can't make unpopular decisions that are in the long-term best interests of the country. A serving term of 9 years, with provisions for early elections under certain circumstances, might make more sense. It always seems to go left-wing for a few terms, then right-wing for a few terms, swinging back and forth, so why not just make the serving term longer?
I think that's one of the problems in Iraq, Afghanistan and all those places at the moment. I mean, logically, the transition from a dictatorship to a functioning democracy is likely to take at least a generation - so a good 20 years, anyway. So why are we trying to do so much in Iraq in 2 years? Sustainable change, like sustainable growth, must be organic, not imposed; be fostered, not forced; and be realistic, above all. The wounds on the psyche of a people subjected to trauma takes time and peace to heal it, on al levels. Didn't we learn this in Europe over the last 500 years?
We live in the age of the political quick fix, one eye on the clock, the other on the polls. Nobody seems to have their eye on the ball. Things are messy, in the real world. There are grey areas. There are compromises. There are conflicting opinions where neither side is clearly right. Economic reality says that you can't lower taxes and raise spending indefinitely. Health care is a bottomless pit. Money cannot fix all problems. Neither can policy. The best we can really hope for is policy and funding to allow a consistent cultural message that will foster real change in the community, long-term. It takes longer than 3 years to see any results, but the difference is, the slow fix works.
You want to lower the abortion rate? What we need is a government to set policy that says: We, as a country, value life and family. And then back it up, consistently. A parent wants to stay home with their kids for the first 10 years of their life? We support that, and we'll pay you to do so. A teenager gets pregnant? We'll support you, emotionally and financially, to have the child and then either keep it, or give it up for adoption. Either way, we'll support you. But also, we expect you to help your child - there are strongly-encouraged parenting classes, free 24-hour hotlines, a well-funded and robust CYFS, and heavy penalties under the law for bad parents and for those who threaten families - paedophiles, domestic abusers, violent crimes etc.
But you see what I mean? There is so much to be done, it can't possibly be done through legislastion, directly. To achieve the stuff above, it would be so multi-disciplinary and cross so many portfolios, it needs more than a "Vision: Families" bill. It needs a government that says, We have our priorities ranked. The things most important to this country are: the value of life and families; encouraging sustainable economic growth; living responsibly within our enviroment. And then once you have your priorities, that guides your policy in all things. It becomes your yardstick for everything - does this legislation further our priorities?
It just makes me mad to watch governments in a democracy dance to the rythym of elections and polls. I elected these people to lead me, not to pander to me. Frankly, I'd rather have a coherent government that did things I didn't always like, than a government that was more concerned about keeping themselves employed than the direction of NZ.
Sigh. What's that Winston Churchill quote on democracy? "Many forms of government have been tried and will be tried in this world of sin and woe. No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all wise. Indeed, it has been said that democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others that have been tried from time to time." Damn straight.
In fact, you know what? Read this article: Democracy - it's a very short article but I think it raises some excellent points (while being too short to discuss what it raises!)
I was trying to get to sleep last night but I kept getting these lines running through my head. So I got up and wrote them down and went back to bed and finally got some sleep :)
curled in me
this child feeds
Oh the garden is just so much better now I have done some work in it! The dogs are finally manageable. I built four hinged fences (two panels, hinged together, so they can be opened into a self-supporting V shape) and used them to construct a chute from the laundry to the dog run. The dogs are now fed in the dog run, and it has a big kennel with snuggly blankets in it, so they are not too bothered about spending some time there each day. And having them run in through the laundry means the mud goes there, not on the kitchen and living room floors and counches :) Soooooo convenient.
Hey, is the Segway the name of the advanced, expensive upright two-wheeled scooter/transporter thing? I wanted to write something about it the other day and then couldn't remember the name. Anyone know?
I am having another crack at that novel I keep trying to write. I got 25,000 words into my previous one about 4 years ago and then gve it up because I didn't know what happened next :) It was not as bad as I remembered it, I reread it a couple of weeks ago and it was actually reasonably readable, if not exactly a stunning work of SF... funny in places, although probably that's only because my sense of humour hasn't changed in the last four years.
This time the book is shorter, deliberately plot-less, post-modern/post-post-modern/chick lit/meandering/narcissistic and quite fun to write :) Which is really the main thing, because let's face it, I'm writing for a captive audience of one, so I might as well enjoy both ends of the task!
The Calgary Flames are doing very well and are contenders for the Stanley Cup this year - go to article. The reason I point this out is because my mate Tracy lives in Calgary so she's probably painted her lawn red by now! :)
Today I am going to have an 'easy day' - it's weird but I just crashed last night I was really depressed and emotional, so I think maybe I'll just have a nothing-day today and see if that helps.
I know I go on and on about my kitten, but honestly, Henry is just so cool :) I can't get over what a self-possessed little guy he is. When I feed the dogs, he's right there in the thick of it, this slim ginger morsel among five surging bodies, head down and in the bowl. He's taken a fascination with Bea's tail and runs skittering across the room to capture it... The dogs cut him a lot of slack! He plays chase and pounce and tag and all those other good games with the puppies, who must weigh several times what he does. His relationship with each puppy is quite unique - Lucy he's good mates with; Charlie he plays with the most, but also fights with the most; and Millie is just a sook who he bullies. The dogs lick him (I gather it's a sign of affection, not an attemt to eat him) and he looks so cute all wet and spiky!