Not About Narcissism; Not Really

I love this poem.  I loved it when I first read it in 1994, and I still love it today.  Some things resonate so loudly they can’t be denied:

(With gratitude to Sandra Cisneros for writing this poem. It’s all over the web, so I hope I’m not committing a copyright violation)

Loose Woman

They say I’m a beast.
And feast on it. When all along
I thought that’s what a woman was.

They say I’m a bitch.
Or witch. I’ve claimed
the same and never winced.

They say I’m a macha, hell on wheels,
viva-la-vulva, fire and brimstone,
man-hating, devastating,
boogey-woman lesbian.
Not necessarily,
but I like the compliment.

The mob arrives with stones and sticks
to maim and lame and do me in.
All the same, when I open my mouth,
they wobble like gin.

Diamonds and pearls
tumble from my tongue.
Or toads and serpents.
Depending on the mood I’m in.

I like the itch I provoke.
The rustle of rumor
like crinoline.

I am the woman of myth and bullshit.
(True. I authored some of it.)
I built my little house of ill repute.
Brick by brick. Labored,
loved and masoned it.

I live like so.
Heart as sail, ballast, rudder, bow.
Rowdy. Indulgent to excess.
My sin and success–
I think of me to gluttony.

By all accounts I am
a danger to society.
I’m Pancha Villa.
I break laws,
upset the natural order,
anguish the Pope and make fathers cry.
I am beyond the jaw of law.
I’m la desperada, most-wanted public enemy.
My happy picture grinning from the wall.

I strike terror among the men.
I can’t be bothered what they think.
¡Que se vayan a la ching chang chong!
For this, the cross, the calvary.
In other words, I’m anarchy.

I’m an aim-well,
shoot-sharp,
sharp-tongued,
sharp-thinking,
fast-speaking,
foot-loose,
loose-tongued,
let-loose,
woman-on-the-loose
loose woman.
Beware, honey.

I’m Bitch. Beast. Macha.
¡Wáchale!
Ping! Ping! Ping!
I break things.

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A Departure from NPD – Happy Stuff!

I decided a change from angst was needed, so I’m posting some photos I’ve taken over the years.  Some have been heavily edited in Photoshop to create “art” and others have been left as-is, because they were perfect to my eye when taken.  I hope you like them.  (I’m not sure why there’s so much space after the fire hydrant, but I can’t figure out how to take it out, so it stays. )

This is a garden gate, taken on a walk along a creek.

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Fire Hydrant in my old neighborhood in Baltimore

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Bales of Hay in Chadd’s Ford, PA

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Fence Perspective, Chadd’s Ford, PA

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Sunrise at Buckroe Beach, VA

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Keyhole in the door to the basement in my old apartment in Baltimore

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My old buddy, Jake, the best dog ever.  He went over the doggy rainbow in 2010. Jake was so beloved by all that he would even be invited to dinner parties.  He was sweet, loving, loyal, polite and protective.  I adored him. RIP, Jakey!

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Rollercoaster at Wildwood, NJ.  I thought the colors were amazing!

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Happy accident with my camera!

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Hey Congressman Shuster!

I’ve sent you three letters, and I clicked the little box that said “wants reply.”  It’s been more than a week and you’re awfully quiet.  What – was I too bold?  Did I use verbiage that cracked your glass house a bit and now you’re doing damage control?  Or is it as I believe – that the employment status of your constituents (you know – the people who VOTE) doesn’t matter to you?

Not a peep.  Not even a canned response telling me how busy you are and that my “very important” request will be handled in as short a time as possible.

Nope.  Nuthin – which is what I’m getting from the more than 2,000 job applications I’ve made over the past 52 weeks.

Guess I won’t be voting for you.  I’m one of your voting constituents, man.  Don’t you get it?  I may be unemployed and I may be new to your area and I may seem insignificant to you, but trust me on this point:  I’m not insignificant.  I’m an excellent communicator and when I’m passionate about something (survival comes to mind) I go after it like a ravening wolf.

Maybe a petition to you signed by thousands of your constituents might get your attention?

“Carnage.” Apt Use of the Word by Joe Carbone

Here’s the link:  Trapped in Unemployment.  Mr. Carbone, you chose the perfect word to describe what’s happening out there.  Corporate America has and is causing carnage in what used to be the greatest country in the world.

While legislation has been enacted to prevent companies from placing language in job postings to reflect their unwillingness to hire the unemployed, this legislation is about political correctness, not about getting people to work.   It’s  a “feel good” measure created to make Congress think they’re doing something to lower the double-digit unemployment rate.  Yes, people, our TRUE unemployment rate is in double digits.  Think about it.  Go find the formula used to calculate it.  It’s a skewed formula which does not include those termed as “leaving the workforce.”

This legislation is an insult to the American public.  While I’ve always maintained that our government thinks we’re stupid, up to this point  they’ve made an attempt to at least cloak the yawning crevasse between what the people truly need and what they want for themselves in some form of verbiage that will fool at least some of us.  This time they simply got in our faces and called us idiots.

Remember this: Congress is comprised of upper-middle class individuals who each earn an average of $174,000 a year – money “we the people” are paying them to pass legislation during the biggest unemployment crises in more than 60 years.  These are individuals who have no reference point for the crisis of the working man and they simply chuckle at Corporate America and say:  “Dude,  we’re catchin’ some flak about these job postings.  Y’all can’t go around saying unemployed people can’t apply for your jobs.  You don’t have to hire them, but we gotta keep ’em quiet, so quit being so blatant about it, okay?”  Then they glad-hand all around, pour a few more drinks, and check the return on their investments.

Why do corporations outsource our jobs and lay off workers?  It’s a simple answer but they’d say otherwise.  The answer is this:  If they are publicly traded, they have to keep their shareholders happy. Shareholders want to make money, and lots of it, on their shares.  They want to see a lean, mean, bantam-weight workforce and they aren’t willing to give up any of the return those  job cuts provide them.

Who owns a lot of shares in Corporate America?  Why…gosh…our elected officials own lots of shares in Corporate America.  So why would they enact legislature that would take money out of their pockets?  They want to keep corporations happy.  They don’t give a flying red one about us.  Good lord, they might have to sell a fancy car, or a yacht or, god forbid, get RESPONSIBLE WITH OUR MONEY.

How many average citizens can afford to own enough shares in publicly traded corporations that will provide a significant return on their investment?  I know of very few.

I have used 52 of my 99 weeks of unemployment benefits.  That leaves me 47 weeks, during which time I will be told that I have to “look harder” for work and accept any position offered me.  Nice, guys.  Just beautiful.  Let’s deconstruct that mandate.  Here’s what it really says:

“You’ve got to be a slacker or you’d have found work by now.  Since you won’t do it yourself, we’re going to force you into it.  For 52 weeks you only had to apply for 2 jobs a week.  Now you have to apply for 6-10 jobs a week and send us those records every month and if the local convenience store offers you a job that pays less than what you’re getting from us, why, you have to take it.”  

On average, I apply for 22 jobs a week.  I have been doing this for 52 weeks.  The last “interview” I got was last week.  I showed up at the location – it was a staffing company – and the office was locked and dark.  So I called the number posted on the door and was told that I needed to drive another 30 miles to another location because they decided to use the office, at whose front door I was standing at that moment, only two days a week.  So I asked why I wasn’t notified.  The receptionist got nasty with me and said she called me the day prior and left a message.  I told her she didn’t, that their number was not in my incoming or missed calls list, nor was there a voice mail left for me.  She blamed it on my phone.  Odd – I got plenty of calls on the day she said she called me.   She never called.  She lied.  Why not give me HER job, thus ensuring that someone responsible, professional and who actually CARES will see that contacts are made?

I have another “interview” set for this thursday. I have to drive 75 miles to get to it.  Will I be treated the same way?

I’ve stopped telling staffing agencies (because they are the only organizations who call me for interviews now) that I’m unemployed.  My resume reflects that I am currently  a freelance data analyst.  I do not tell anyone I am accepting unemployment benefits.   If they ask, I lie.  While I would accept work as a freelance data analyst, thus am technically “employed”  no one is beating my door down to use my service.  If I need to provide references for any “work” I’ve done as a freelancer, my network of small business owner friends give me a great reference.  This is what Corporate America has done.  They’ve taught us that it’s necessary to be just as dishonest as they are if we want to work.  While I’m not certain I can compromise my values in this manner much longer, I often wonder what choice I have.

Even with all that, I can’t find work.  Why would a company employ a 50 year old “freelance data analyst” when they can get a fresh young thing straight from college who doesn’t know enough to be insulted by the salary offered, who has not yet developed “bad habits” and who won’t use their healthcare benefits for anything but wellness checks, and do that very rarely?   A company won’t hire me when they can get what I’ve described above.

When I spoke with the staffing agency rep yesterday she asked me if I had a degree.  A degree for an entry-level clerical position.  A DEGREE.   She had my resume in front of her, could see my level of experience, could see my education and instead of saying “wow – we can certainly place YOU” she says:  “Do you have a degree?”   I wanted to reply:  “Yes, I have a degree in dodging discriminatory hiring practices” but I simply said:  “It’s right there at the bottom of my resume.”  Apparently she hadn’t read that far.

Carnage.  What do those of us who are without a secondary household income do when our (meager) unemployment benefits run out?  Do we storm the gates and create some carnage of our own?  I say yes.  I say all of us who are part of the carnage go crashing through the bedroom door and pull our government out of bed with Corporate America.

You do realize that WE are the only people who can facilitate this kind of change.  Our elected officials are engaging in such marvelous financial sex with corporations that they’re not going to stop unless someone (we, the people) force them to stop.

Do you understand what is going to happen to all of us if we can’t force coitus interruptus?  Our government is not protecting us.  It’s destroying us – all in the name of money.

 

Karma is a Beautiful Thing

I won’t name names or speak to situations but I will say that there are some who just keep building bad karma for themselves.  It’s always amusing when their own karma finally runs them over and they drag themselves up with a look of surprised outrage on their faces.

I heard something today that, had I not already believed in karma (you get what you give), would have convinced me beyond all doubt.

It took a coupla years but the wheels on the bus go ’round and ’round…

All You Need To Keep Warm…

Okay guys, I had to move again.  The town where I moved 2 months ago was far too dangerous.  Three weeks ago, when two people got killed half a block from me, I decided to move out to the middle of no where.  I got lucky.  I found a deconsecrated church out in the middle of dairy farm land that is lovely.  It’s been turned into a single family home.  I love it.  I absolutely LOVE it, even though I can’t get the temperature indoors above 60 degrees on the very cold days.

How do I stay warm?  As I type this, I’m wearing chenille gloves with the fingertips cut out, two shirts and a polar fleece jacket.  I’m wearing a hat (heat escapes from your head very fast!), a pair of yoga pants with thick fleece sweatpants over them, thick chenille sox and my trusty LL Bean wool slipper sox over those.  I’m toasty except for my nose.  I also feel like the  michelin man, but think how thin I’ll feel when it finally warms up.

I don’t care about the lack of heat.  I can always add layers.  I don’t mind wearing a hat indoors.  I LOVE the sunlight that comes through the windows (and helps with the heat) and I LOVE the wide-open configuration of this place.  I love hearing the cows bellow throughout the day, and I love that almost all I can see around me are cornfields and silos.  I also love the trout and bass-filled creek that runs behind my property.

I hope I don’t have to move again.  This place feels like home, despite the fact that I now look like Randy from “A Christmas Story” in his snowsuit.

Hope I don’t fall down…

 

(ps – I have 20+ foot ceilings.  music soars in my new home and I don’t have to worry about gangs who randomly spray the neighborhood with gunfire while cruising by in their thumpers.  The universe is good. )

I’ve Been Remiss…

…sort of.  I’ve been extraordinarily busy, and haven’t had much chance to get out here to post and read replies.  I want to thank everyone (except the spammers!) who has taken the time to post here in my absence.  You guys are great and I love hearing what you have to say.  I rarely check the email associated with this blog, so maybe all these great comments are telling me I need to!

I’ll be in and out of here, but post away, please!  I’m hoping things settle down in about a month and I can get back to my regularly scheduled posting!

Miss Crankypance (who isn’t cranky at all – at least not today!)

Holy Moly Mackerel! I’m moved, I have food, shelter, clothing and I’m happy!

Yesterday was moving day.  I’ve moved around a lot in my life, but the older I get, the harder it gets.  Our economy being what it is, I found myself forced to move 80 mile west of where I was living.

The good:

I’m up in the mountains.  I like the mountains.

It’s a small town.  I like small towns.

It’s a town with old-world european flavor.  I like that, too.

My home was built in 1900.  I like that.  (see cons also!)

 

The bad:

In order to afford to live, even frugally, and save a bit of money, I had to move to a “less desirable” area of this town.

I live in a 111 year-old home that has been converted to a duplex.  While I have plenty of space, the walls are paper-thin and my neighbor has two children and a boyfriend with whom she apparently fights; frequently.

Since no one has lived in my home in almost a year (my landlord refused to rent to “just anyone,” my neighbor has not felt the need to control her children, since there was no one next door whose aural sensibilities needed consideration.  Today I awoke to much screaming, crying, yelling, dragging about of things, and in general, noise that goes well beyond that which could be deemed a tolerable level.

Still, I’m fortunate.  I’m tired, emotionally and physically, but I’m lucky.  My family helped me move and my brother; the man with two bad knees, moved my furniture AGAIN.

It’s a lonely existence for right now because I don’t know anyone in this town.  That’s okay – I’ll figure it out.

The kitchen is minuscule, the stairs to my second floor are so steep as to be almost vertical.  The full attic compensates for that.  So does the rent.  I live in a state that has one of the highest costs of living in the nation.  Thanks to my former company, USG, who transferred me up here on a salary barely feasible for South Carolina, where they hired me, I’ve had to learn to live without luxuries – you know the things – brand name toothpaste, rationing shampoo by diluting it with water, and buying food boxes from the local food charity.

That’s okay, I eat.  Some don’t.  I’m glad to be gone from USG.  Good riddance to bad rubbish.  If all americans would simply stop and ask themselves who they are truly helping by working in their drone-like jobs for Corporate America, we might, again, be a nation built on free enterprise, full of people who do things about which they are passionate.  It won’t happen though.  Corporate america pays just enough to make Americans feel the illusion of safety.  Shrug.

Me?  I will make it.  I’m strong.  I have skills and gifts outside that which corporate America used to parsimoniously pay me for.  I’m going to use those skills and to quote Katie Scarlett O’Hara:  “As God is my witness, I’ll never go hungry again!”

(ever gone hungry?  I have – and recently.  I can tell you it ain’t pleasant.)

 

Am I Really Awake?

It’s 6:32 am on a Saturday.  I was actually out of bed by 5:38 am.

Why would I do such a god awful thing on a Saturday?  Let’s see.  I’m teaching a basic smithing class at 10:00 am.  It’s really not even that much of a class – found out just a bit too late that the gallery where I’m teaching isn’t insured for me to use a torch there, so it’s morphed into a cold connection class, with an emphasis on earrings.  Why up so early if the class isn’t until 10:00 am, you ask?

Because yours truly needs 2 hours to wake up and the gallery is 25 miles away.  Luckily for me, I packed my “portable” studio last night – if you could call it packing.

Shuffling off to the shower now.  I just knew all my readers would want to hear about this most unnatural moment in my life, so I’m posting it for all the world to read.  It’s the bleedin’ middle of the night fer crying out loud!!!!

(does anyone but me smell a pity party?)