The Last Journal: Num dead again

For the next couple of entries, I’m going to transcribe exactly as written, as it gives a better window into her life. You’ll see I’ve been editing puncuation to make things more readable. I’ll go back to editing after this, because transcribing randomly spelled words would make me insane.  Well, more insane.  I will still leave the occasional misspelling, because that was my mom. Also, that way you’ll never know if I make a typo.

Note that she gets “surgery” correct the second time. She knew her weaknesses, and was constantly trying to improve. If she knew a word was wrong, she would head for the dictionary. She had very little formal education, and constantly strove to learn new things.

Feb 2 1983

2 days off back to work Today – dog well again. Wed – Boss in Hosp – go to have suragry [scratched out] – Had to move Beer again. No steaks – just odd & ends. made soup – cleaned – not feeling to good – got tired – a combo – of bored – rut – left over flu – Smoking to much – etc – Cold & windy – sunshine – car need Railes [maybe ‘raides’]  fixed but making it. Mar’s back out bad – making her sick. – Iam still hot & cold. Iam – num dead again – too much too long.

Feb. 3, 83

Thursday – Moon Big but only 1/2. up at 12:00 S back lost her Bus tickets – Called Zenna – Work – good dinner – 4 tips – Lorna in dum mood. Every one ealse in good mood. Jim has surgery today – remove blatter – 8 weeks to recover. Mar better – going to stay at Kerns [I don’t remember who this is. Anybody?] for week end – then in day or two on her way to Huston, texas. S had talk whi with Lane – drink 7 beers – ate – to bed at 4:30 – up at noon.

Feb  – 4 – 83 – Friday

Mars Back Bad again – I put it in1 – up at 12:00 – she’s all packed – her suitcase is in $5.90 – she went back to bed – Moved Oscer [don’t remember if this was a plant or a fish] – he’s sure thining out – Cut hair – Shaved legs & etc. Head iches to much – car still runing – .

Footnotes

I have realized I’m gonna need footnotes (which I keep trying to type as ‘foodnotes’) unless I want to interrupt the text at length. They will just be by entry. Not doing an Epic Work here.

1:    In our family, our backs were always “going out.” Not even sure what that means in real, physical terms. Marlene had trouble with her lower back, and Mom was insanely strong for her size. The technique was to hug the victim from the front, with your hands clasped tightly at the lower back, then lift a few inches. This was often followed by a harrowing pop, and great relief.

The Last Journal: 8 months, 7 days

Mom & Marlene

Marlene had been Mom’s best friend for about 15 years at this point. I’ll let Mom speak for herself later as to the depth of that love. Marlene was a bass player and vocalist, and spent some time traveling on various shoestring tours. She had a fine voice. I say “had” because I’ve no idea if she sings any more. She is still around, doing caretaker work. I grew up with her sons, Mark, Todd, & David, who are mentioned briefly. There is another Mark in the story who I do not remember.  So, for clarity, Marlene’s son Mark doesn’t do bad things. Well, not in this journal.

Jan. 28 – 1982 [actually 83–we all do this, eh?]

A full moon today. Up at 10:30. S just left for school [I went to CCI, Computer Career Institute, learning such useful things as Assembler and COBOL]. Still could sleep, but back hurts some. Cat & dog on the move too. Feeling much better–almost good. Weather good, little wind, some clouds, another storm coming in. Mar works tonight, 32.50 per.

Called Zenna [my sister, who now goes by Ivy–in her late 20s as of this writing]. Made soup. Ate a hot dog. Work good. Mar took the car. 140 morning before eating. Drink too much beer last night. #310.83 coming back on taxes sent Jan 29 today. 2.25 in tips. Gave to S for bowling. Long night got home at 3. To bed at 5. Up at 12:30. Ate soup and san, very full. Weather good–a little cold. Mar leaves on Feb 7 83 for Houston, Texas. They are going to work their way down. Feel better. Still dizzy at times. Must be my eyes.

Jan 29 – 83

Full moon on down side. Mar will take car again tonight–she’s really tired. S happy, a B+ on that test after being out ill for 6 days

30-31 & 1

Dorn brought us 7 boxes of newspaper for fire. Tried to go to Longview. R[unreadable] plugging. New manager–Tonie. It’s now Wed morning,

Feb 2 -83

I was in bed by 11 and up by 8:30–back hurt. Bug [my childhood nickname. Do not abuse this knowledge, interwebs] was going to start bowling–no one else showed Saturday [yeah, I was that kid]. Judy [not sure if this is Aunt Judy, or a co-worker] had one hell of a birthday Sunday. Monday, worked on car. Done shopping, bought a turkey. Got real tired. Too many long hours last week. Purty good week end. Sunday real low in food sales–Superbowl Game. Taxes sent out Sat. Hard rain–a lot of the weekend clear, cold & windy now. Almost got flu again, but better today. Mar supposed to leave on 7 Monday. Will see. Came in June 1-82, leaving Feb 7-83. 8 months, 7 days.

Mom’s Last Journal

journal-frontWe picked up mail from the PO box tonight. In it, there was a small package from my aunt Diana. I hadn’t heard from her in years, so I was very excited. On the way back to the car, I noticed the top of the envelope was mostly open, so I tore it the rest of the way. Inside was a notebook. I lifted it a little, peeked at a page, and burst into sobs.

Bill was immediately at my side, asking what was wrong. When I could speak again, I said: “It’s my mother’s handwriting.”

My uncle Dean died last year, and among his papers was my mother’s last journal.

It begins January 26, 1983, and ends November 14, 1983. She died on January 19, 1984.

I’ll share as much as I have the nerves for. All of it, I hope. Mom had quirky grammar, and had to sound out words to spell. I’ll have to correct most of the spelling, but I’ll leave her manner of speech.  I’ll put some notes in brackets. I don’t have a lot of pictures from this time period, but I’ll add them when I can.

My own birth name has been redacted to “S.”  Not for privacy reasons, but because I hate the bloody thing, and don’t want it bandied about.

journal-name

Jan 26 1983

June took Lorna’s shift–very slow–drew $10. Beer & tampax for Mar [Marlene, Mom’s best friend] — Put taxes in, cost $20. Money I saved from tips — 20 one-dollar bills.

Re-sealed hole in wall at work–foil and cardboard. S did not go to school — got talking to me and missed first bus. Went back to bed. Mar waits for me to come home to talk, but I am too tired. Stayed after work–had 3 beers, so I could draw $10. And relaxed. Jack’s got a crush on me had to run. Don’t know him–told him to come back in 3 years when I have kids raised, and maybe I’ll feel like dating. Wanted me to go out and eat, but went home.

No manager yet still interviewing. Laid new floor behind bar. My hubcaps were stolen last Sat at Thirsty I Tavern–dam. Dorn [son] moved into house last week.

Morning Jan 27 83

To bed at 4:00 up at 11:30–bad back ache again. Knee also hurting some. Cat [a large black cat named Geddy Lee] wants out. Ate salad–small steak–3 bread–cheese–still hungry. Wind and rain storm early this morning. Dog [an ancient Chihuahua/Dachshund named Zapata] still sick, but went outside by herself at 11:30 this morning, and at. Has not had a movement in 4 or 5 maybe 6 days. S went to school. Going to do cards [tarot]. Zap just went out having movement. Cards OK. Showered, done I Ching–41 & 60–Slow, then better. Work a little better. Marge feeling better. Sold 4 steaks, Lorna’s feeling no pain. Whip cream can bulging, had to carry it to the garbage. Never handled a live bomb before. Hadn’t blown yet when I left–too cold.

Done some more f[unreadable] in the kitchen. Good lettuce this time. Cut up a ribeye 16oz. Weight 145 after eating. Turned cold, then warmed again. To bed at 3. Came right home, had Mar take Lane [my boyfriend at the time] home. Him and S had been to a movie. Cat got locked in garage–sure was glad to see me. Had 3 or 4 beers, ate toast–2–, small steak, salad, and baker. Went to bed. Many spirits walking through Grove last night–strong full moon. Made 1 dollar in tips from June.

journal-cross

 

Felted Critters

The hiatus has been longer than expected. Honestly, I’m not all that into the blogs right now. They’ll come back. They always do. For now, posting will be sparse.

I have been busy. Wanted a Nordic/woodland tree this year. I have a bunch of felt baubles I bought on clearance after Christmas last year, but I wanted to make some critters to go with.

critters

There are about 10 each. May be an extra fox or owl. The Spousal Unit helped by cutting out all the felt pieces, which, frankly, made this possible. We really enjoyed spending a few evenings at the kitchen table, crafting together.

The owl and bear are just simple silhouettes I grabbed and/or modified. The fox pattern is (more or less) by Mollie Makes. I couldn’t find it on the site, but here’s a blog post from Dawanda.

I’m watching the cat carefully, making sure he stays on his perch, and doesn’t get down and fetch these off the chair where I took the picture. Better go move them now.

eHiatus

Having a sick lizard seriously broke my blogging habit. That’s not necessarily a bad thing

Lately, I’ve found that sitting on the computer sucks my spoons out through my eyeballs.  I need those spoons to do stuff in the blue room. I’ve actually been dreading sitting down on the computer, knowing what it would do to the rest of the day.

So I’m taking a break. Not just from my blogs, but likely from everything. I’m not sure when or if I’ll pop up. I love sharing stuff I’ve made, so I may do that.

I still love sharing stuff I’ve found on the internet. Problem is, along with wonderful things, I find horror as well. I need to not do that for a while.

No idea when I’ll be back. I expect I won’t be able to stay away from Spooky Moon in October.

See ya when I see ya.

The Landing

THE LANDING – Short Film from Perception Pictures on Vimeo.

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Angelo

Angelo Sarafis, pvt US Army World War II.  1895-1985

I posted this pic on facebook because I thought some author friends, who collect names like I do, would get a kick out of it. If ever there was a name for an angel in an urban fantasy, this is it. It’s even a bit too obvious.

Under the picture, I commented “All serafim know they will die under the same numbers they were born. Angelo knew 1958 was a possibility, but he hoped for 1985.”

The Spousal Unit said he wanted to read this story. Well, okay then. I started posting bits in the comments. Over the weekend, I wrote the rest. It’s in the comments on the facebook post, but I thought it would be easier to read here.

Fair warning: I cannot bear to read anything without a happy ending. That doesn’t apply to what I write.

Angelo

All serafim know they will die under the same numbers they were born. Angelo knew 1958 was a possibility, but he hoped for 1985. 5891 would be even better.

He was fearless in battle, protecting his fellow foot soldiers from enemy weapons. It was 1943. He could not die.

War is a mess of sensation. A brain riot. Serafim are slippery. Though many encountered Angelo before the war ended, only one remembered the beautiful man who pushed him to the ground, and twitched with each bullet. Simon Woolsy knew Angelo should have been dead.

Because serafim are so easily forgotten, Simon had to work hard to remember. Luckily, he had a reminder in the form of a single bullet graze on his right forearm. He would forget Angelo for days at a time, until his arm would pain him.

On weekend furlough months later, while his friends were getting eagles and scantily clad women, Simon had the initials “A.S.” tattooed at the tail of his scar.

The ink made it easier. He no longer needed notes stuffed in coat pockets, or strings tied on his finger. He could abandon the habit of poking at his arm, knowing the action meant something, but not remembering until the discomfort came.

After the war, Angelo could have continued to seek danger. He considered being a test pilot, but walking away from a fiery crash would raise too many questions.

Instead, he indulged in a few years of peace.

He tried to marry, but women would forget he’d made a second date. His love life became a series of elaborate one-night stands, where he would pretend–just to himself–that this was a special anniversary, and not a first meeting.

In 1958, Angelo looked like a man in his 30s, because he would always look thus until he died. Simon looked like a man in his 30s because he was.

Angelo settled on the gulf coast of Florida. He came to love the temporary friends the winter brought. He could tell himself they hadn’t forgotten him, they’d just gone home. He also loved the sweltering summers that drove them away, the heat wrapping him in a cloak he imagined felt like Divine love. He knew nothing of that. He knew what he was, but the blood had been diluted by generations. If he’d left a child with someone, they likely wouldn’t know themselves. They’d die under any number at all. And they certainly wouldn’t feel this itch he felt in is side. It wasn’t a human itch. It moved when he turned, always pointing roughly east.

Serafim do not answer prayers. They rarely hear them. Over millenia, there were one or two women whose swelling bellies reminded them of the name they then whispered. One or two serafim who were still only a short distance away, close enough to feel that strange itch. The knowledge of their birth and death is as natural to a serafim as suckling is to a human child. But they no more understand prayer than that human understands speech. Whether those few fathers followed a prayer and its possibilities back to the source, we do not know. Angelo followed his.

He followed highways old and new, sometimes back-tracking, keeping the itch front and center. As miles ticked, it became worse. By Okeechobee, he had to bandage the wound he’d made with desperate fingers. As the itch became pain, he considered fleeing, but found it impossible. Sweating and shaking, he stopped the car at Juno Beach, staggering to the sand. Tourists were thin, most unwilling to bear the off-season to save a little cash. Few saw the beautiful, dark-haired man walk into the ocean, clothes and all. If they saw him, they didn’t notice his scruff of beard or his trembling limbs. They didn’t see him double over in relief, his face briefly dipping in the ocean. Or if they noticed, they forgot. All except one.

Simon kissed his suffering wife, realizing he shouldn’t have brought her here for a rare vacation. He loved the heat, but she did not. She never complained, only smiled and waved him off as he headed for a swim, following the man he couldn’t believe was real, was here.

When Simon remembered, he remembered everything. He’d shared a mess-hall table with Angelo several times. Introduced anew each time. They’d laughed with the other men at the table, talked a little of their families. Angelo had just his mother at home. Simon had wondered about that.

He looked for Angelo, after, but he had vanished. He never spotted him again, and he learned quickly that asking after him yielded nothing. He listened for stories of heroism, and heard plenty, but nothing like taking twenty bullets broadside and walking away.

Simon rubbed his scar, now misted with surf.

“Angelo,” he said quietly, when he was inches away. The man straightened, and turned those ice-chip eyes to his.

“Simon?” It was a surprise to be remembered, but he supposed a man who was forgotten would remember everything.

They didn’t pretend this wasn’t momentous. They didn’t waste time with awkward pauses. They embraced like the long-lost brothers they were, and everything that was tilted turned right again.

Angelo drew back and looked at the light brown hair, the mossy eyes, and decided Simon was dear, his miracle, and that he would stay.

He was dragged by the arm up the beach, toward a redhead lounging beneath an expansive umbrella.

“June!” Simon yelled when they were still too far back. “June,” as they got closer, “remember I told you about Angelo, who saved my life during the war? This is him. Angelo, this is June, my wife.”

June puzzled for a moment. “I didn’t remember the name,” she admitted, “but I remember the story. It’s nice to meet you. Thank you for saving Simon for me.” If she noticed Angelo’s strange attire, she didn’t let on. She smiled charmingly, and extended a hand. That she remembered him at all was something to think about later. For now, the men sat down and established the friendship they should have had. He did his best to include June, and she warily went along.

He spent as much time with Simon as he could, while still respecting his marriage. June never appeared unhappy, but he knew she must be, as he certainly resented giving Simon back to her at the end of the day. He swallowed it, because Simon should have June.

When their vacation was over, they shared the usual admonishments to keep in touch. Angelo would keep those promises. As they drove off, he returned to his hotel room, and screamed into a pillow until they were far enough away.

He tried to stay in Florida. Phonecalls and letters helped. He lasted three months.

Under the pretext of a job offer, he followed them to Vermont. Simon knew why he came. June was suspicious. Nonetheless, they fell into an easy routine of getting together once or twice a week after work. It had to be enough.

In October, Simon and June announced that she was pregnant. Angelo tried to be less selfish of his time with Simon. He even wished his birthright came with a healing touch, as June was fiercely ill into the winter. Her sister came to stay in November, helping through Thanksgiving, then staying on when she saw she was needed. June, though still sick, became more content with her sister near. She vetoed Simon cancelling his annual ice fishing trip, insisting on “girl time.” He wasn’t pleased, but he acceded, bundling Angelo into the car, and meeting other friends at a cabin on Lake Champlain.

Angelo spent the week making temporary friends, staying visible as much as possible to keep in their memories. Days were spent in the shanty, sharing beers, and staring down holes in the ice. Catches were frequent, and there would be salmon for June and Aggie, if June was up to eating it. There was a day they kept the shanty dark, and took turns with a spear. That night they ate the previous day’s catch.

A freezer full of fish on ice in the trunk, Simon and Angelo headed back. Simon drove, the two in easy silence, the radio out of range. The shapes of the trees were discernable only as they blotted out stars. The winding road revealed in chunks of headlight, beyond which the darkness could have hidden any number of spectacular things, but probably didn’t.

Angelo studied his his hands, then Simon’s hands, then Simon’s face.

“I love you,” he finally said. It seemed a good time.

Simon squeezed Angelo’s shoulder with his right hand. “You know I love you like a brother,” he said.

“I don’t–”

“I know,” he interrupted. He moved his hand down to Angelo’s, grasping it. “I don’t think I can be that for you, but I don’t want you to go.”

Angelo nodded, facing front. He kept Simon’s hand, soaking in the affectionate touch, even if it wasn’t what he wanted.

Minutes passed, and Simon glanced quickly over. “So, what are you?”

When Angelo was born, he glowed. His mother would sit and watch him endlessly, stroking the fine, dark down on his head, and calling him her angel. Not like any mother calls her baby an angel, but like she would say: “my human.” For a while, that was fine, but then she stopped doing other things. He learned that if he glowed too much, he didn’t eat. Gradually, he learned to pull back his light. When he was a little older, his mother would ask him to glow, just for her. At first, he did, but when she began to beg and plead, he thought it better if he never glowed again.

Perhaps if he let out the tiniest light, Simon would understand, and maybe see him differently. Just his face, just the smallest bit against the darkness.

Simon’s jaw slacked, his eyes grew wide. He reached for Angelo’s face. But he was still holding his hand.

The impact was over before Angelo realized anything was wrong. Then everything was wrong. He tried to clear the blood from his eyes, but his right arm wouldn’t work. He would not move his left. He blinked and managed to wipe one on a patch of clean upholstery. Simon was staring at him, not noticing the steering wheel embedded in his ribs.

No, not staring. His eyes were merely open.

Angelo lifted the hand he still held, and prayed, wet-faced, through Simon’s knuckles. He prayed to everything at once, then to each serafim who would share some form of his strange name. He prayed to the Divine, though he’d never really felt it, hoping he had some small connection. Some foot in the door that would fix this. He begged for an hour, but the only magical thing in the ruined car was his own blinding light. He begged for another hour, as his light faded with his own blood loss and exhaustion. At least, he thought, he would also die tonight.

But he didn’t, because it was now 1959.

June glared hatred across the casket at him. She would remember him. He briefly considered staying, enduring her hate just to be remembered, but after the casket was in the ground, he left.

Back on the gulf coast, he tried an experiment. He wrote stories. He wrote about the war, changing only a few details to leave out hints of the supernatural. Sometimes, he left them in, and sent the stories to inspirational magazines. Mostly, he sent them to men’s adventure magazines. He wanted to send them in under “Simon Angelo,” but he feared using even a bit of his name would make the stories disappear. He decided instead on “Simon Champlain.” The stories did well. They were even collected in a couple of volumes.

A private detective in Vermont checked on June occasionally. When she needed help, Angelo found a discreet way to provide it. Little Gretchen had her father’s hair and eyes. Eventually, June remarried, Gretchen had a new father, and Angelo checked less often.

When 1985 came at last, Angelo waited a few days to be sure. He drove to Juno Beach. It was high season, and the daytime beach was populated with mostly-naked teenagers and boogie boards. At night, only a few distant bonfires could be seen on that special stretch of sand.

Attired for swimming this time, Angelo walked into the surf. He stood waist deep, lit by a waxing moon. Beneath the sound of the surf, he was sure he heard his name. An itch on his ribs pointed to the sea. He followed.

Links, 27 may 2016

Turn your smartphone into a telescope

Turn your smartphone into a telescope

Every Frame a Painting--wonderful youtube channel on film.

Every Frame a Painting–wonderful youtube channel on film. h/t Teresa Frohock

Sakura in Tokyo from the air.

Aida Muluneh

Aida Muluneh

Sue Jackson passed away earlier this year. This is why she was beloved to the world of automata.

Meow Wolf's huge interactive art space

Meow Wolf’s huge interactive art space

Piggies, Little Blues, and Green Quesadillas

First, piglets

Something I never really thought about seeing: wild pigs. They are everywhere here, though they are shy, so you don’t see them often. A few days ago, we got to see a passel of piglets, out without their parents. Sneaky buggers.

piglets 01

piglets 02

They ran into the woods when we pulled up in the parking lot beside the grassy area, but the Spousal Unit said to wait, they’d be back. And a few minutes later, they were.

piglets 04

piglets 03

Here’s a little video:

Next, little blue heron

Little Blue Herons don’t start out blue. For the first year, they’re white. We caught one at that awkward in-between stage. He was adorkable.

changing blue 01

changing blue 02

Last, Green Quesadillas

Made some really good quesadillas last night. Should have taken pics. Didn’t. But here’s the recipe, mostly because I don’t want to forget it:

  • 1 med sweet onion, diced
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1 poblano pepper, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 4oz can green chilies
  • 2 roma tomatoes, seeded and diced
  • 1/2 cup corn (I used canned)
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese or queso
  • Pinch chili flakes
  • 10 small tortillas
  • Salt and pepper

 

  1. Preheat oven to 250. Put tortillas in a covered dish and pop them in the oven to warm.
  2. Saute onion in a little olive oil over med-high-ish heat until just softened. Stir in cumin. Season generously with salt and lightly with pepper.
  3. Add peppers, and cook for about another five minutes.
  4. Add green chilies, tomatoes, and corn.  Cook until everything is soft.
  5. Add chili flakes. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed.
  6. Pull out the tortillas. Place one down, sprinkle with cheese, add filling, then more cheese. Top with another tortilla and press.
  7. Cut into quarters and serve. I like them with a little sour cream on top.

HINT: The recipe will make five, but I only made eight. The leftover filling made a killer frittata the next morning.

Sacred Harp

Sacred Harp is some of the earliest American folk music. Glorious, harmonic, a capella yelling.  It is being revived, of all places, in Ireland.

The immortal Alan Lomax recorded a bit in the 40s:

In the 80s, Sacred Harp was performed in African-American churches by the Wiregrass Singers (video starts a minute in, after the preaching about saving our young people):

Finally, here’s a short documentary, featuring the Sacred Cow Harmogenizers.

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