carose59: food (a life spent making mistakes)
"That's Going To Be My New Motto: Wham!"*

-:- -:- -:- -:-

I believe I've come up with a system that will help me with my buying-food-then-not-cooking issue.

I've been in the kitchen, washing dishes. I needed to do that because I need to cook because I have food that will go bad if I don't cook it and I have enough to feel guilty about. Today's a good day (so far) because I got everything I needed clean, clean. Now I can cook.

And I'm still thinking, "But when I go out, I could just pick up Boston Market." Because instant gratification. Because depression. Because I'd rather pretend I'm going to start writing any minute than chop vegetables.

I'm not going to. And if I do, I won't tell you.

Anyway, my system. I'm no longer allowed to buy food to cook if the proper dishes aren't clean. And I'm no longer allowed to buy take-away unless I then wash some dishes. If I go out for Chinese, after I eat, I have to wash dishes. If I can stick to this, I won't buy food if I'm going to have to delay cooking it until I feel good enough to wash dishes to cook it in. (I get a little high when I shop and in the moment I'm sure I'll dash right home and wash dishes. This is never the case.)

And this is the important thing, the important thing about all systems: it won't always work. I won't always be able to stick to it. I've come up with a lot of systems in my life. Some of them didn't work at all. Some of them worked for a short time before things changed in my brain. Some of them work periodically.

But every step forward is a step forward. Not coming up with system is no solution. I have to learn to be optimistic in the right places: no in the grocery but yes with systems. Even if this only works once, it's still a time I got it right. This is what happened with my last system. It didn't dig me out of the housework hole depression pushes me into, but it made the hole shallower. That might be all I can do and it might not be enough, but I can forgive myself for the rest.

Also, I made eggs for breakfast!

carose59: dealing with people (the same as people who aren't different)
"If I Am To Stand By The Door And Attack People As They Leave, How Will He Eat?"*

-:- -:- -:- -:-

Sometime last autumn, I got a phone call from my mother as I was driving home from work. It was about a young guy who had come to the door wanting to do yard work. There was some confusion about whether or not I had talked to him—I didn't remember talking to him, but I don't remember a lot of things—and later my mother became convinced that he'd misrepresented himself. I'm on the fence about this because you simply could not trust my mother's interpretation of anything she heard. She was also very unclear about whether she wanted me to hire him to do something, and if so what. I ended up paying him some unremembered amount to cut back some branches and haul them away. That was the deal.

He cut back the branches.

He did not haul them away, not all of them.

Later, he called asking for more work. I reminded him about the branches. He told me he'd take care of them.

He called again, telling me he'd be coming over to pick up the branches. He didn't.

He called again—these calls took place days or weeks apart—again looking for work. I reminded him about the branches again. He assured me he'd take care of them.

Winter came. He came back. That day I wasn't in the mood to talk to anyone about anything, so I just said there was nothing I needed done and I got in my car and drove away. There was no mention of the branches, which were probably covered with snow.

A week or so ago, he came back again, looking for money—I mean, work. I laughed at him.

I told him he hadn't finished the last job I paid him for, and I certainly wasn't hiring him for another one until he did. He then made the mistake of telling me I didn't have to be a bitch.

"Really? You think not wanting to give you more money when you didn't complete the last job I paid you for is being a bitch? I didn't demand the money back. I didn't take you to court. I didn't call and harass you. I simply said I didn't want to hire you again. Your standards for bitchiness are pretty damn high."

When I get like this, I sound like my maternal grandmother. I become concise, articulate, mocking, and coldly logical. I'm scary. He backed down. I should have reminded him about the branches!

"How many times? I reminded you the first time you called looking for work again. You spontaneously called and said you were going to come pick them up—but apparently forgot, which makes me wonder how you get anything accomplished. You called again, and again I reminded you. Is this how you always do business, you only do work you're reminded of over and over and over again? I am not your mother. If you can't be a responsible adult, that's your problem, but I'm not paying you for it. Now don't come back here."

He apologized, but as he was walking away (and I was going back inside) I heard him mutter something. I was back outside like a shot. "What did you say?"

I scared the crap out of him. I don't know what he'd said, but I'm pretty sure it wasn't the thank you he claimed he'd said.

I told Patrick about it later, adding that right after somebody dies is a really bad time to piss me off. I'm in a nihilistic mood and don't care what bridges I burn.

*Fritz Brenner

Cleaning up my life

Saturday, 2 April 2016 11:06 pm
carose59: fandom (the lunatic fringe begins here)
The Truth Is In Here*

-:- -:- -:- -:-

Many years ago, after Twin Peaks ended, I noticed there was going to be a new show on staring David Duchovny. It looked interesting, so I started taping it in the bedroom while Pat and I were watching whatever we were watching in the living room. I didn't mention this to Pat.

When April came, I took my spring vacation. I brought out the many tapes I'd been surreptitiously making the last six or so months and I said to Pat, "I've been taping this show, it's the thing Denise Bryson's in." (That was Duchovny's name on Twin Peaks.) And I stuck a tape in.

After each tape ended, Pat would ask excitedly, "Are there more?" until, sadly, there were no more. We were hooked.

And The X-Files was big. There was lots of stuff out there: books and magazines and T-shirts and lunch boxes and zines and I-don't-know-what-all, and Pat bought as much of it as she could find.

I've told the story of how I got rid of most of the T-shirts. That only left me with half a dozen or so three-ring binders bursting at the seams with newspaper and magazine clippings, and scripts, and trading cards. And some books. And some other stuff that I'm not sure what or where it is.

And I wanted to get rid of it.

My love for The X-Files passed rather quickly. Pat's never did. We would drive to the mall and I would go into the bookstore and buy any magazine with anything about the show on the cover. We went to Media*West and Pat would buy everything she could find.

I've been trying to get rid of things. I kept thinking I should offer this stuff to the fans I know, but that didn't work out so well when I offered the T-shirts, and T-shirts don't cost much to mail.

I have a good friend who has started watching the show with her kids, and they're excited about it, so I offered the stuff to her. She accepted and seems really happy about it. I've given her the books already, and she said her daughter took them immediately.

Today I spent the morning taking the three-ring binders out of the bookcase and cleaning them up. Now they're on the shelf next to the front door, waiting to go to work Monday morning and I have a nice, clean, empty shelf on the bookcase in the dining room.

One of the things I found were two binders full of scripts. I wasn't sure they were something my friend would be interested in, so I gave her call this morning.

I told her about the stuff I had for her and she pointed out that this stuff could be worth some money someday.

That's true. That would be a good reason to hang onto it. But I have better reasons to give them away.

First, I don't think I'd be any good at the whole hanging-onto-stuff-and-selling-it thing. Second, there's no guarantee.

But most importantly, it goes against my life's philosophy. I think people should be happy; I like to see them happy, I like to be a part of it. To me it seems like a big waste to hang onto something I don't want, let it take up space in my house, in the hopes selling it when it could be making somebody happy right now. Happiness today makes more sense than maybe-money tomorrow.

And I have clean shelf in my dining room bookcase. It's a win-win.

*Pretty much every magazine cover in the mid-nineties.
carose59: PLS (moses supposes his toeses are roses)
"My Room Is Making Me Very Sad. I Would Like To Kill Myself. May I Have A Different One Tomorrow, Facing The Front, Perhaps?"*

-:- -:- -:- -:-

Many years ago when Pat was away visiting her family at Christmastime, I did some cleaning and renovating. I cleaned the bathroom to f fare0thee0well, bought a new shower curtain which I cut down to make curtains for the window in the shower wall, used the remainder to cover the place where some of the tiles had fallen off, and generally wore myself to a frazzle making the bathroom pretty.

But I didn't stop there. I also assembled a bookcase we'd bought and put it up in the tiny hall that leads to the bathroom. Previously there had been an ironing board sitting up in that spot. The bookcase was more useful. I have no idea what lived on it; I know that nothing that's there now was there then.

It all looked very nice, and I was most pleased with myself when I finished. I couldn't wait to show Pat when she got home.

Pat was less than enthusiastic.

I think she liked the bathroom; I really don't remember. It was the hall she didn't care for, the hall with the bookcase. The bookcase that covered up her eagle collection.

Pat loved eagles and had been collecting them for for well over ten years. Some of them had been broken in our moves, and one little stuffed guy succumbed to old age and leaking stuffing. It was hard for her.

When we moved into the house, I suggested she hang her collection in the hall. The hall is short, with two doorways on one side and a wall and archway on the other. I said the wall could be her eagle wall.

I said the wall could be her eagle wall.

And then a few years later I put up a book case in front of the eagles and expected her to be happy that I'd just forgotten everything I'd said.

In my defense, I was high when I did this. I know this because I only ever do major house cleaning stuff when I'm high. My brain doesn't know how to housework unless I'm nicely hypomanic. So I can say I was not in my right mind when I did this. But it doesn't help, because I did hurt her.

The bookcase is still there. So are the eagles. I don't know why we didn't move them. This niggles at the back of my mind every time I actually see the bookcase (as opposed to walking past it without really seeing it, the way we do most of the time with the things in our lives). I can't seem to stop hating myself for this, even though I know Pat doesn't hate me for it anymore. I do believe she loves me and forgives me and wishes I'd stop crying about it. But I just don't know how to do that.

*David Rakoff

Another good day

Sunday, 7 February 2016 08:21 pm
carose59: holidays (i got a rock)
If You Want To Survive You Must Find Out How To Love What You Are.*

-:- -:- -:- -:-

Well, it's starting again. I'm cleaning. I mean, today is my birthday and I took the recycling to the park and cleaned two of the shelves in the bookcase in the hall. This is not how I usually celebrate my birthday. There was leftover pizza and chocolate cake, so that was nice. But the cleaning was a thing I wanted to do.

My mother called. Yesterday she told me to have breakfast at Texas Roadhouse which, I don't understand. They're not open for breakfast. Today she called to see how my breakfast was. I told her they don't even open until eleven, and she claimed I used to tell her all the time how I'd gone there for breakfast.

And it stopped being about a present for me and became a story I was supposed to act out because she wanted to see it. So I didn't go at all. Honestly, she's acting like my father when he was having a breakdown: we were supposed to have "fun" and be the "happy family" because he was telling us to. I don't respond well to that.

I did watch a few movies I'd been wanting to see again. First was Applause, which was on TV in 1973. I had loved it then—and I still love Lauren Bacall. But now I've seen All About Eve, and much as I love Lauren Bacall, she's not Bette Davis. She doesn't have the edge. And the rest of the cast really isn't that impressive. Nor is the music. But I'm still glad I got to see it again.

The next one is a comedy with Mary Tyler Moore and George Peppard called What's So Bad About Feeling Good? and it was as good as I remember it. It's a sixties comedy about a virus that makes people happy. Of course the government is against it because happy people aren't dependent on alcohol, tobacco, or anti-depressants, and they don't vote. It's a silly movie, and I enjoyed it very much. It was also Thelma Ritter's last movie, so there's that.

And finally there's Penelope with Natalie Wood. Another sixties comedy, this one about a bank president's wife who robs his bank to get his attention. The best part of the movie is when Peter Falk, the cop, is suspicious of her and they walk around town talking. I with she'd ended up with him, but it was still a fun movie.

Fun is the name of the game. I'm trying to be happy. And I am better. I know this because I watched a horror movie a while ago. Last month I couldn't have, I was feeling too fragile. Between that, and cleaning, and having ideas, I'm definitely better.

*Aaron Raz Link
carose59: cleaning & housework (it's next to impossible)
It Looks Like You’re Digging A Grave! Is This A Business Grave, Or A Personal Grave?*

-:- -:- -:- -:-

I took the day off work today to get things ready for my mother to come home tomorrow. There was laundry to be done, dishes to be washed, clothes to be put away, a refrigerator to be cleaned out. Also, she wanted to make stew when she got home, so I needed to go to the grocery.

I got to the grocery. And I put in a load of wash, came back upstairs, and began folding clothes. I had my MacBook with me to have music to listen to, and I sorted it in order of length, which gives you a decidedly weird playlist. Mostly I listened to TV theme songs, introductions to songs (mostly Romanovsky & Phillips and Arlo Guthrie), and weird Beatles songs. (Nobody needs to hear Wild Honey Pie twice in a one morning.) My favorite moment was when, just after Arlo Guthrie told me about how he'd met this incredible songwriter who sang him this incredible song, and here was the song—and Love, American Style came on.

It takes so little to entertain me.

Anyway, for about eight hours I worked on putting away my mother's clothes, or getting them clean. I never got to the kitchen except to walk through it to go to and from the basement. I got two loads of wash done. Her drawers and closet are overflowing because she's been buying clothes through the mail but hasn't gotten rid of most of the stuff that doesn't fit anymore. We'll need to go through it, but in the meantime it all needs to be put someplace so she has her bed back.

I wanted to get this done so home would be nice when she came back to it.

She called me in the afternoon, but my phone battery was dead so I had it turned off. I called her back about four thirty. She wanted to know if I'd gotten her message yesterday (that she could leave at one tomorrow afternoon). I said, "Yesterday?" Because she hadn't left me a message yesterday, though we had talked.

Yes, she had called me yesterday to tell me she could go home at one o'clock today.

"Tomorrow," I said. "You left me the message earlier today. It's still Thursday."

Then she said some things I didn't understand, then she asked me what time it was.

"Four thirty," I said.

"Well, why don't you come over now?" she asked. "Why not?"

I have no idea what I was supposed to go over there for—to wait until tomorrow when she could leave? Just to visit? I don't know. I said, "Because I spent eight hours working at your house and I'm exhausted," I said.

"Well, fine," she said, and hung up on me.

I didn't call her back. What was I going to say? Your daughter is exhausted and depressed and sometimes barely functioning? Because that's what's going on. I'm supposed to be whoever she wants me to be at whatever moment and I don't want to play. And even if I did, I can't because I'm too fucking tired. I don't take care of myself as well as I take care of her. I'm doing my best, and if I'm not doing it with my best cheerleader enthusiasm, that's unfortunate. But wasting my energy faking enthusiasm is ridiculous when there is real stuff it needs to be used on.

Tomorrow the refrigerator. The rest of the clothes can go in a laundry basket in a corner. I'll get the dishes washed. At least I don't have to go back to the grocery.

*Hypothetical Clippy on Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me!
carose59: cleaning & housework (it's next to impossible)
[Originally posted elsewhere December 30, 2006]

Seriously. I'm baking brownies and I added a couple of splashes of white creme de cacao. (And I'm a little buzzed because I have no tolerance for alcohol and I just finished licking the bowl. Yeah, I know, it's ridiculous. I'm not drunk though, just a little looser.)

But I've got other stuff I need to get rid of. It's insane, I have bunches and bunches and bunches of stuff that I'm keeping because I know there are other people out there who would be happy to have it. The problem is, I don't know who they are.

It's X Files stuff,i, mostly, and some Starsky & Hutch stuff. Pat was a True Believer, she loved The X Files long after I fell away from it. But we bought every fucking magazine—you know, the ones that had "The truth is in here!" on the cover. Yeah, guys, clever the first time, but you're not the first. Pat kept scrap books, and bought artwork and action figures, and trading cards, and I don't know what all. I have a bunch of the pro tapes. And there's a 1997 desk diary sitting here next to me right now. I have no idea if she ever wrote in it or not, though I suppose I could look.

I'm not saving it because it was Pat's. There are things I am saving because they were Pat's, but I've thrown things of hers away, and I've given away things of hers—given them thoughtfully, to close friends, and given them just to get them out of the house, to AmVets. I don't think AmVets would want a bunch of X Files scrapbooks, or a ten year old desk diary. The tapes, though, I could probably sell.

I keep thinking, every time I look at it, that there are things out there I would kill to have, things other people have thrown away, and I hate waste, and I hate the idea of throwing away things other people might want.

OK, the brownies are done. Between the creme de cacao and chocolate chips, it's very possible it might make me begin to levitate, so if you don't hear from me for a while, that's probably why.

[I gave the tapes to my cousin. The brownies are gone. The rest is still here.]

Short update

Tuesday, 27 November 2012 07:32 am
carose59: the rose behind the fence (rose is a rose is a rose)
[Written November 14, 2012]

The One Function TV News Performs Very Well Is That When There Is No News We Give It To You With The Same Emphasis As If There Were.*

-:- -:- -:- -:-

I tried to post the other night, but was unsuccessful. Some of it was technical difficulties, and some of it was trying to deal with technical difficulties with a cat lying on my arm while I was juggling a keyboard and a trackball on my lap. It took me hours to get something posted, and I never did get the formatting worked out, so I scrapped the whole thing. If I'd been posting something serious, I'd have worked it out later, sans cat, but it was just a bit of ephemera—not only not worth the time I'd already spent, but it would have been stale by morning.

I have not yet cried today. The last few days, I've cried every day. I developed an irresistible desire to listen to The Sweetheart Tree by Johnny Mathis, a song that has always made me cry. I'm still sinking.

I'm also still cleaning. I'm still thinking about cleaning, and still enjoying myself, in a more subdued way. I'm thinking about writing, but not doing any, except for this. Sometimes I feel like the need to write is slipping off me, the way skin follicles die and float away. Would it matter, as long as I'm reasonably happy anyway?

For the record, I was nowhere near the explosion that happened on the far south side of Indianapolis the other night, nor have I, myself, independently exploded for any reason.

*David Brinkley

(no subject)

Tuesday, 25 December 2007 09:00 am
carose59: holidays (i got a rock)
Happy Melody's birthday, everyone!

Oh, and Merry Christmas, too, if you celebrate that kind of thing. *g*

ETA: if you've been following my laundry chronicles, you'll love how they end: I killed my washer! I burned out the motor! With a load of wet, soapy clothes in it!

Hey, for me this is a good Christmas—at least I'm not sick. *g*

Why yes, I am.

Friday, 21 December 2007 06:40 am
carose59: the rose behind the fence (rose is a rose is a rose)
"Feeling a Little Manic, Are You?"*

-:- -:- -:- -:-

Sunday morning, I got up at six and started picking up the clothes piled up in my room. I dragged them down to the basement, sorted them into piles of things that needed washing and things that just needed a little refreshing (which I just run through a rinse cycle).

I don't know how many loads I did. I do know that I bagged up thirteen grocery bags of clothes and put them in the car.

Since then I've gotten rid of those bags, and done eleven more, and gotten rid of them. (I'm donating them to the Gaia Earth Movement, and there's a box just down the street, which helps a lot.)

Today I did three loads of wash.

I own a ridiculous amount of clothes, I make no bones about that. But I'm a little crazed (I can tell because in my head, I can perfectly imagine this ungodly mess of a house perfectly organized. Believe me, this will not last). So I'm a little crazed, and I'm taking advantage of it by getting rid of clothes, and reorganizing drawers.

In Shirley Jackson's last, unfinished novel, the heroine's husband has been dead some time, but it's only recently that she's left their home and gotten rid of his stuff. She was nervous about doing this because she was concerned that he might come back and want to know where his things are. Since the book was never finished, I don't know whether or not this was a reasonable concern. I do know that I feel the same way.

Last night I dreamed about Pat (which I've been expecting since Sunday) and yes, she wanted to know where her clothes were, and I was a little panicked and feeling guilty. (And, for the record, we were in a car, which is right. We spent a lot of time in cars. I don't think it was one of our cars, though. I think it was one of my parents' cars, from when I was really young. I don't know what kind of car it was, except that it definitely wasn't my mother's Dodge Dart.) The ones that make me saddest to get rid of are the things Pat owned before we ever met. They feel like the piece of road just before she reached a crossroads, and there was a path she could have taken that didn't include me. And maybe that would have been better for her, and was I ever kind to her, was I ever anything but selfish, is it my fault she's dead, or that she was sometimes unhappy? And I go to that place for a while, feeling like I'm watching some other life dying before my eyes.

So, anyway, I'm kind of manic. I took the day off work today and this is what I'm doing, and I have four more days off. I cleaned out Pat's closet, and I'm hanging my clothes in there. My goal is to own nothing that I would be unhappy to find was the last piece of clean clothing in the house, so I'm not only getting rid of clothes of Pat's that don't fit me, but things of mine that I just don't like.

There's still too much of it. My underwear is getting a little shabby, but otherwise I have enough clothes to last me a good long while, as long as my weight doesn't change. And I don't think I'm quite manic enough for that to happen.

If I start getting the urge to go out for promiscuous sex, or to spend myself into a huge hole, I'll let you know.

*my mother
carose59: common unhappiness (empty and aching and i don't know why)
[I wrote this two months ago. I have no idea why it took that long.]

"All We're Trying To Do Is Keep a Lot of People In One Place While We Shoot At Them. Why's It Have To Be So Hard?"*

-:- -:- -:- -:-

I can't sleep.

That's not completely true; I can sleep at work. I can sleep here in my chair at my computer. I can sleep on the sofa, if there's a movie on I really want to watch. But in bed, in the dark--


Bed has all the relaxing qualities of a blank sheet of paper I'm required to fill with proof of my literary talent. I have hot flashes; then I'm freezing. I itch, usually in places like the bottom of my foot, or the middle of my back, or, if I'm lying on my side, the hip I'm lying on. Itches that require not just scratching, but major shifts in position, disturbances in the entire eco-structure of the bed (I usually have a cat either on my head, or lying right next to me. On the other side, I have Pat. When I move, everybody moves. I feel like Shamu).

And my brain won't shut down. How much vacation time do I have--is it enough for going to Media (yes) and coming home and being off the week after, while we have guests--

if we have guests--

Should I go back to my desperate house-cleaning? Maybe if I got up and washed dishes, it would make me sleepy, maybe.

Almost every item of cloth in the house is clean, if not yet put away. I could put them all away, which would clear out the living room pretty well--

I need to clean the bathroom.

(I tried to clean the bathroom yesterday and nearly killed myself. I was dusting the overhead light--which is not the overhead light that my grandfather and uncle put in, because that one burned out--not just the bulb, the whole fixture, and the only saving grace is, it didn't cause a fire, because they knew nothing about electrical wiring, nothing, nothing, nothing, and the light fixture itself burned up. So what I have in there is a hanging lamp my parents gave me for Christmas one year, many years ago, which hangs from the previous light fixture and is plugged into an extension cord that's plugged in in the hall because there is no outlet in the bathroom, except the one over the mirror that the toothbrush is plugged into. Anyway, the old fixture came loose--hanging a few feet from the ceiling by a couple of wires. I dropped the lamp entirely. The bulb didn't shatter, but it did break. I had to stand on the pouffy toilet seat lid to hang the thing back up, and I'm very afraid of heights, particularly unstable heights. I broke out in a cold sweat up there, trying to yank the old fixture all the way off, wondering if I was going to electrocute myself. I finally got it off, and got the lamp hung back up. Then I spent the rest of the day lying on the sofa, watching movies and wondering what I'm doing and why I'm doing it.)

I'm trying to work up some enthusiasm for going to MediaWest, but all I'm feeling is anxiety, about time, about getting everything done, about packing, about picking up the rental, getting Pat to the doctor on Tuesday, how much time will that take? About forgetting things, necessary things, will I get all the necessary clothes washed, will I forget the damn toilet seat raiser--again?

Seriously. Ernest Shackleton worried less about preparing to head off to Antarctica--and I'm only going one state up, from Indiana to Michigan. The only really important thing I could forget would be something to do with Pat's motorized cart. We fucking go to Meijer's virtually every day. We're not destitute. If we needed something, we could buy it. There's nothing life-threatening, or earth-shattering, that we could possibly leave behind--

What if the rental's not right? It's a full-size, we're promised a full-size, that should be big enough, right? It has to carry our suitcase, and the wheelchair, and the cart--there should be plenty of space, right? And tall enough--low to the ground cars are no good, Pat can't get out of them, not unassisted.

Will she be all right?

I worry. What would I do if--

I'm buried in ifs, bad, mean, awful ifs that suffocate. And what will people think?

I've talked about my grandmother, my mother's mother, who worried about what the neighbors thought. My mother always talked about her as if she was paranoid, although from things she's said lately, the neighbors really were talking. And much as I hate and despise the need to do things because of the opinions of other people, I know what my grandmother was talking about. She could feel those opinions on her skin, like drops of steam sizzling downward. There are days when I swear I can hear people thinking about me. And no matter how conceited or paranoid it sounds, when I think of my grandmother (and how the neighbors really were talking about our family), I can't just shake if off, can't just bundle myself up in my sunglasses and baggy clothes and go out into the world and not care. It hurts. Going out is an act of will, and believe me, it's scarier than heading off to the Antarctic, in a bikini and without Shackleton.

I was talking about something when I started this. I don't know what it was. I'm going back to the sofa.

*Flake Project X

July 2017

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