Monday, November 21, 2011

The Fall Years Run...

One of the unicorn meat eating cats has gone to meet her Maker, and my heart is still sore. I look at the spot on the bed where she used to lay and I cry. My only consolation is that she didn't suffer, and the support of my friends. She got to run in the woods she loved up until the last night, which is a blessing. Loss is one of the most interesting things to write about, but certainly the most difficult, despite the angst of Love.

I am trying to look forward to the trip to Scotland in the summer next year, and I love the change of the seasons. I love wintertime, and all it's connotations of coziness and braving the cold and having shelter from it. I love Christmas and snow. I am going to work on my portfolio this winter, which got lost when I moved. I plan to look for it today in the jumble that is my life.
Just trying to make myself feel better by reviewing an accomplishment. I submitted my blog for Southwest Virginia Artists' Association today and it should run today. Check me out on Facebook.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Chasing my Tail

I have been chasing an indoor only cat all day, outdoors. She won't come in, she won't stay out. This is a cat's nature...
Mill Mountain Coffee and a bagel for brunch and lunch with a lovely friend tomorrow and Saturday. I love waking up with NPR and plan to donate for their fall fund drive. I hope you do, too.
 My brother has been haying for a week straight, eleven hours a day. What we do for horses...

Just random today, to keep my hand in. Love you all and welcome all comments except the vulgar. Would you talk to Shakespeare with that mouth?

Monday, September 12, 2011

How we behave toward cats here below determines our status in heaven. Robert A. Heinlein, The Cat Who Walks Through Walls (1985)

It's amazing to watch someone recover from a stroke. I had one at 18, and didn't even realize what recovering was. My white hair is spreading and I have kitten. That's a guarantee of more.

Je t'adore

The unicorn meat eating cats are doing well and I submerge my guilt about their prey because they are so beautiful. Like Severus Snape. Now that it's not a spoiler, I can freely declare my love for Prof. Snape and move on with my life. Although the delicious actor that gave us Snape isn't dead.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

It is a part of the poet's work to show each man what he sees but does not know he sees. ~ Edith Sitwell ~

The manic dog is manic, except when he sleeps, which he is good at. He lies perfectly still with his ears up. The unicorn meat eating cats circle him like John Wayne at the last roundup. My floor got flooded from the last deluge from tropical storm Lee. Not too bad. It could have been worse except the ground is so dry from the drought. The zinnias and the yellow tomatoes appreciate the wet, although the cats don't. I appreciate rain. We are water creatures at birth and I grew up on the ocean. I like the feel of rain on my hair and face and love walking in it. I feel so Jane Austen when I do.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Dedd bugs

I haven't been deluged with mosquitoes yet but it will happen. Trust me.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

At his best, things do not happen to the artist; he happens to them. ~ William Saroyan ~

I have ripped the screen from my door by accident. In the South, the U.S. at least, this means I will be deluged by mosquitos eventually. The unicorn meat eating cats don't care, but I do. I must smell good to bugs, and we have a lot of them here. As the poet says, there are 10,000 kind of spiders and 9,999 live in Virginia, plus a couple a kinds that no one has heard of. And flying insects...don't get me started. I already have the welts to prove it...

A friend died the other day. I am getting to the age where this is happening more and more. One day it will happen to me. I want to be cremated and spread at Hollins University, along Tinker Creek. How do you want to be disposed of? Let me know at

Friday, August 26, 2011

Shall Earth no more inspire thee, Thou lonely dreamer now? Emily Bronte

Now that I have my mojo back on...I have a friend who wants to hear about pedestrians stepping out into traffic. It reminds me of being in Cairo, Egypt in 2002. I was visiting a lovely friend who indulged my passion for Lebanese food by taking me to the same restaurant everyday. To get there, we had to cross a four lane road, only in Cairo, that is a sixteen lane road. Cairenes will squeeze a vehicle into spaces no car is meant to go, which made it seem like we were living on the edge all the time. Which we were, being pedestrians.

My friend has a problem with pedestrians who step out into traffic in front of Carilion Roanoke Memorial. Maybe they are dazed by the coffee the hospital serves, or news of the impending death of a loved one, making them insensitive to their own approaching death. Me, I am heartened by the hoards of smokers clustered under the underpass bridge. At least Carilion provides shelter for all those people in wheelchairs...

More on this and Cairo after some coffee.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

We live in a world we ourselves create. ~ Johann Gottfried Herder ~

O, if only that weren't true, I could blame everything on someone else...The earthquake the other day was pretty interesting. Virginia is known for it's karst topography, that is, holes in the ground with caves underneath. Not shifting plates, which is what an earthquake is. I heard the quake ran along the "it's your fault" line that runs out of Washington.

My friend River Laker, is upset by some of the small minds that comment on blogs about him. Stripping down in a nightclub for charity in Virginia is as earth shaking as it gets. Virginia today tends to take it's cultural mores from the 1950's. We have not always been a pillar of rectitude, and River is an example of why. All those English immigrants were a pretty raunchy crew, as we are today. After all, John Smith didn't invent porn, it has been contemporaneous with all of human kind. Look at the ruins at Herculaneum...
in Australia, River would have been given an award for nicest ass of the night, or a full moon. Look at "Petunia, Queen of the Desert" as an example. The Puritans did us more damage than we thought. And now, all we have is hound dogs and okra.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Hope is Gone, but not Abandoned

The kitten I was fostering for the SPCA, who I named Hope, has gone back to the SPCA in her search for a forever home. Echo, one of the unicorn meat eating cats, has returned to her rightful home, with me and the other two and the dog.

I went searching for my favorite pair of earrings the other beloved mother bought them for knots that suited me perfectly. I didn't know young dogs could mangle gold like that, although it IS a soft metal, and their teeth can crack elk bones. I'm grateful it wasn't the foster kitten. But I loved those earrings dammit.

Finished the blog for Gwenda Kellett today, about the award winning, short film "The Porcelain Unicorn". It's a truly lovely, three minute piece about the meeting of a small member of the Hitler Youth, and an even smaller Jewish girl in hiding. You should really google and watch...

I have been told my comments on this blog have been disabled, and I can't turn them back on: feel free to write me at or facebook me at Alise Stewart.

Please, no profanity.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

If you try and take a cat apart to see how it works, the first thing you have on your hands is a non-working cat...Douglas Adams

One of the unicorn meat eating orphans is missing. Someone in the neighborhood has her trapped, puree-ing her ostrich meat, no doubt, instead of merely shredding it. They don't know how cruel they are being, keeping her small, shining soul from my view. Undoubtedly, that's why they are keeping her...her love.

Onto news of the world...the manic dog is still manic and the other two cats still return at noon and dusk to receive their ostrich meat, shredded. I have committed to writing an arts blog every month and realize how outclassed I am after reading everyone else's blog. It's not that I can't blog, although sometimes I can't. It's just the realization that my appreciation of the arts is limited to Shakespeare's plays, Monet, and Bach and Mozart...this is a small fraction of the arts world, people.

I would like to address real people...instead of my stats. That means feedback. Come on, send me something I can address.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Never give up! it is wiser and better Always to hope, than once to despair. ~ Martin Farquhar Tupper ~

And Hope is her name. A 4 week old, stumbling, manic kitten who loves her ostrich meat and sleeps a lot. It's been a while since I had new life in my world, the unicorn meat eating cats are 11, and I love it. She is Hope itself. A friend who is 18 spent the night to play with kitten self, and she is hope as well. As ancient as I am at 47, I barely remember being that young. Although I imagine Grandma Moses would think the same about me.

And there is something worse than lying in the dark, listening to the cat heave, and knowing you can't get there in time...having the cat become frantic and seek to outrun it's nausea.

Chicken and collards and cornbread for dinner and scored some squash and cukes when I took the friend home. How Southern can ya get?

Saturday, July 16, 2011


Did you know that a group of Jewish librarians hold the largest collection of anti-Semitic works in the world?  Freedom of Speech is only secondary to Freedom of Thought.

Meanwhile, I am moving on and fostering a 4 week old kitten I have named Hope, for the SPCA. The dog loves the kitten, the unicorn meat-eating cats hate her. After all, they think unicorn meat is hard to come by. I am breaking her into the world of catness easy, by starting her off on ostrich meat. Unicorn meat is an acquired taste. But she should start by knowing the privileged rank she is born to.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Unicorns are Territorial

The unicorn meat eating cats have finally adopted the new dog. He's a corgi mix, and very territorial; at first, everyone had conflicting interests. But he stuck his nose in Echo's butt and that did it. The orphans are just too used to having a dog raise them to reject that kind of advance.

I was kissing Eddie's nose one time, and my mother said, "Don't do that, dogs lick their butts." I replied, "Eddie's too fat to lick his butt." And he promptly leaned over and licked the cat's butt. O, the irony of animals...

The new dog's name is Maxwell, Max for short. Although he is called, depending on the circumstances, Maxi-pad, Maximum, Max-a-Million, etc. I thought about Peanut Butter for a name, he's that color, but rejected it as frivolous. He doesn't have too much more dignity than that, but he has some. The funny thing about corgi's is, they have full sized beagle bodies and the legs of a dachshund. I think Maximum is mixed with beagle, so he missed out on having all that hair, thank God. What he does have, he is quite willing to shed.


There is a plague overwhelming the South. The South USA, I mean. We call them Stinkbugs, and they really reek. It makes skunk smell seem friendly somehow. At least one can get rid of it by lighting a match. Sulfur really doesn't smell that bad compared to stinkbugs.

I have been reading David Sedaris, any David Sedaris, and know that all of his stories of Raleigh, North Carolina, are true. No matter what he says, they are all true. My relatives on my mother's side live in Raleigh, and I can believe any story put out. I had a great-Uncle in Raleigh we called "Uncle Frogface." That is the epitome of life in Raleigh.

I remember walking into Aunt Ella's house on a summer afternoon and hearing nothing but a ticking clock. I remember my Grandfather sinking a watermelon in the local spring and pulling it out, cold and dewy, for dinner. I remember Mr. Honeycutt's peacocks and trying to pull plums off of a tree, whilst dodging bulls and our great-uncle Mortimer. And the chickens. And the donkeys. And the horses...

Monday, June 20, 2011

Wobble in the Orbit*

of the planet is my mother spinning in her grave, as Douglas Adams so succinctly pointed out. I now have a tattoo, gentle readers. It is the size of a Border Collie print on the inside of my right forearm, as jet black as Eddie was. As solid as the memory of his first jumping up on me in delight, paws distended and dancing. As joyful as his laughing mouth at the thought of being released from his 'run' at the League for Animal Protection. As joyful as any dog can be at the thought of running with the pack.

The unicorn meat-eating cats are able to escape me every morning now, although Minkins must come in by 10 am. Otherwise he is gone all thing that he is. Romania has joined my list of hits. I love the Iron Curtain countries, literature and culture, and am glad I am making some kind of impression there. 

I am glad to see the Arab Spring persist in Syria. It's much harder to do without any physical support and shows true dedication.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Short But Sweet

My dog craves a fenced in yard and cat food. Unlike Edward, Max is not overweight. Yet. Cat food does tend to put the pounds on.

Back to regular NPR on weekday mornings. I love NPR, just not the weekend shows, besides "Car Talk." As a Southern woman, I am addicted to everyone else's car problems.

A Facebook friend wrote about a passenger on his airline that thought Hawaii was an international destination and wanted to know where she could change her currency. If you are in a car with this woman, you don't yell, "Navigator" at her and take off across country.

I am still painting my walls a creamy white. The final product is  so nice, who cares about the carcinogenic fumes my cats and I are sleeping in every night? Echo has started to glow in the dark, but I am sure they have planned some way to take it out on me. I HAVE to keep track of my checkbook. The little buggers can use my bank card.

I am planning for Maxwell to go to Field of Dreams in the nearby town of Vinton for some training. They have doggie day care, complete with naptime...who can beat that?

Speaking of dogs, a small black and tan mix was found wandering the streets of Dublin, Ohio with a small note attached, "My name is Chessy. I am 1 1/2 years old and I am a good dog. I need a good home. Sorry." How sad is that? Short but sweet, and it didn't help him in the end. I happen to know the person who found him will find him a good home if she can, but in this time of America's recession and full shelters, this story is not uncommon, except for the note.

Please help. Donate something to your local shelter. Anything. Any shelter. As great as no-kill shelters are, there just 'aren't enough homes for them all.'  And I think it takes some guts to volunteer at a kill shelter, knowing they aren't all going to make it and wanting to make a difference in their lives all the same.

Monday, May 30, 2011

I Love Ralph Lauren

I love my coffee, my dog, my unicorn meat eating cats, and a sheet set by Ralph Lauren. They don't have the plastic stuff on them that cheap sheets do. Now, this is of no interest to anyone but me, but I think sheets should smell like my Grandfather's cedar chest, if they are to function properly, like putting me to sleep. They should have a somewhat iron smell that cedar and my Grandfather's hair oil did. They should be crisp and cool when one slides into them, and the blanket should be handmade by Great-grandmother, or Martha Stewart.

Many evils are committed for hunger's sake, but it all really boils down to sheets. I have been hungry, poor, discouraged and lonely, but nothing makes up for it like a really nice set of sheets. And if you think I am just tired, think again. I am. My dog loves his bone, my cats have a passing fancy for catnip and I love Ralph Lauren. Is he dead or what?

Thursday, May 26, 2011

I Turn To See You

 I have taken AdSense off of my blog from the sheer weariness of looking at that drivel below my posts.

I have added Russia to my blog viewers. It's nice to know that in a country the size of Russia, some ONE has noticed this blog. Although it's a miracle really. When I think of Russia, I think of angst ridden characters sipping tea from glasses and looking out at the fields while contemplating death. You know, Chekov stories. Or small apartments with no electricity or toilet paper, (Moscow on the Hudson.)

I know it's a stereotype. Culturally, Russians are as sophisticated as all get out. They modeled their society on the most high flying culture of Peter the Great's time: France. But Russia added practicality to the model. France is all out for anything, anytime; supporting Libyan liberty without committing any resources. Russia accepts liberty, but never expects any improvement in their own lives. In fact, millions of Russians are always slaughtered when a new ideal sweeps the country. That takes guts.

Meanwhile, my cats are happy with Purina.

I stand knee deep in grass
The storm is here,
I turn to see you,
the fire is coming.

I Would Like to Thank the Nobel Committee

and being asked to do a monthly blog for the Southwest Virginia Artists IS a Nobel for me. Not much gets noticed in Southwest Virginia...we are considered too unsophisticated. Although all the best music, paintings, and poetry get done here, we lack the culinary skills to be considered top drawer. Well, we don't lack the culinary skills, Easterners just think we do. We supposedly eat hog and beans and swing from trees. Not that there is anything bad about either. Swinging from a tree is about the best fun one can have this side of the dirt. And if made correctly, there are subtleties to pork and beans missed by many.

The cats are pissed that I am painting my apartment. I am happy with the color just not the smell. How my dog stands it I don't know, but that is the nature of being a dog. You have to put up with everything.Although, the way he farts, maybe the scent is not too different. He can peel paint off the walls.

If you are a cat, you just leave when the slaves don't obey. Somewhere out there another slave is waiting...with better food and longer nails.

Monday, May 23, 2011


The unicorn meat eating orphans have taken to running up and down my face all night to punish me for not letting them outside. It's a bit like those Japanese women who run up and down one's back, only it's not. Minkins, the boy, is become philosophical about the whole thing...Echo, the girl, tries to claw through the glass and howls...usually starting about 10 o'clock at night. That is, as soon as I lay down and she is sure she has an audience.

Max, the new corgi, thinks the whole thing is just too interesting and starts barking or chasing them around the bed. Just to keep it fun. I need to modify Eddie's service animal vest to fit Max. He is just as broad as Ed was, but from muscle, not tubbiness. And he's about 3 feet shorter than Eddie. You'll know him when you see him at Mill Mountain Coffee.

Queen Elizabeth collects corgis. I suppose after the brouhaha about Charles' nuptials, a pack of small yappy dogs seems a relief. They have a medium throated bark, not Chihuahua, not Newfoundland and I guess they drown out anything she doesn't really want to hear. Kind of a royal face saver, "Your Majesty, the economy is in the tank." "Yes, order one in fuchsia as well; the one with the brim." Not that the Queen doesn't care about the economy, but she is darn certain not going to give any of those castles back to the Scottish and they already turn their bedsheets to save the washing of them. What more can one ask?

And I'll tell you the truth, dear Reader, now that I have been recognized by other artists as an artist, outside of Hollins, writing this blog is scary. I think I was so much more funny before I gave a damn and was writing for that dude in Slovakia.

It's All Gouda

I am honored to be asked to join Southwest Virginia Artists.

Now for the dirt:
The unicorn meat eating cats have banded together to eat the dog's food. Meanwhile the dog, a STRAY, only likes the $ 47 a bag food that the neighbor's dog eats. Something has to give.

And it figures that now that I live in Roanoke, it's most interesting attraction, the Food Court in the Market Building, is closed until August. The funnest thing to do Downtown is eat, after all...look at all the restaurants and even the coffee shop has an extensive menu. So does the Art Museum. Everyone eats, except the Board of Supervisors. They live by osmosis, like amoeba, or a virus.

Friday, May 20, 2011

My Life of Crime

Got a mani and pedi at Ilema's Esthetique in Salem, the "High Maintenance Center for Men and Women" today. Next door at "Lourine's", she sells wigs and breast prosthesis. It's fun to help someone with creative advice who is out for a new look as they enter or leave chemo or radiation. I have never met anyone who wasn't pumped about getting any hair they want.

For a nail color, I picked "Last Night on Wisteria Lane" which is a hot pink...usually I like "Meet Me at the Copier" or "Out for a Drink of Lunch", but I wanted something more sentimental to match my leavetaking of my home of 25 years in Botetourt County.

The cats are especially pissed because they are now indoors only, after 11 years of crawling all over the backwoods of Troutville and cruising God's Own Half Acre, as Mom used to say. They have never known any other life and take it out on me every night: howling, crying, crouching at the screen door, being tortured by the birds...I'm such a bitch. But I lost too many animals on a busy street growing up in Roanoke, and now that I am on a quiet one, I don't feel any safer. They are too innocent in the ways of the big City, and too trusting of dogs, since they were raised by one.

This article is not only to say goodbye to Home, I have more grieving to do and will write about it in the future, but is also dedicated to River Laker, one mean kilt-wearing...sorry...jeans wearing dude about town; practicing for his Marilyn Monroe tribute...Marilyn over the heating grate, that is. Shorts don't have the same impact as a kilt would, but I think the brou ha ha about his strip tease took something out of him...yes, that IS a challenge. After all, do you know of any question more perennial than, "Do they wear something under there?"

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


continues to dig me, according to my stats, which is really cool with me.  I would love to be in Europe right now. Although the spring is magnificent this year, unless you live in Chicago, which is much cooler than  usual, or anywhere in reach of the Mississippi River, which is much wider than usual.

Blackberry was returned and adopted out...The pit/lab mix ended up being named Capt. Jack Sparrow and being much more energetic than I had planned for. He got adopted thanks to the combined efforts of the Roanoke Valley SPCA. Now I have been gifted with a beautiful corgi mix, a rescue from Boone, NC. I named him Maxwell, which is pretty boring on the whole. I was going to name him Peanut Butter, after my niece's chicken, but was voted down in a poll.

I have moved back into Roanoke City, where I spent my teenage years. It's a blast from the past to be 5 minutes from Downtown...although I am not giving up my Daleville Mill Mtn. Coffee & Tea...the baristas are too cool. More later. I just wanted to check back in...Love to All.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011


to write something more entertaining when a video beats my best article in "statistics." For those of you who blog, you know what I mean.

For the rest of you it just means I'll be trying harder to entertain. I'm low on Girl Scout cookies, but my connection is gonna hook me up tomorrow. Addiction is a terrible thing.

I am addicted to: the love of my cats and any dog wandering by, my brother's sense of humor, cigarettes (already rolled), coffee, liquor, fudge, pearls. But my friends are my biggest addiction. It's hard to explain it to them sometime. People are a big addiction.

I was handing out posters, looking for my puppy the other day, when this elderly gentleman, parked in front of Food Lion, rolled his window down to ask me if I wanted a free paper. Egypt is Free was the cover...either he was so happy he couldn't wait to share the news or so depressed he didn't want to read it. I didn't ask.

This time of revolution is another peak in the wave that hit France, England and America in the 1700's, so let's not blame too quickly.

"River", his real name, is a revolution in Roanoke, VA. Born in Kent, he works for the city government. At a local restaurant the other night, he was participating in a "date auction" and decided he wasn't getting the right response when he didn't get any bids. So he stripped down to a hard hat---symbolizing the reconstruction of the market building going on right now. For those children out there reading this blog, it was tastefully and strategically placed.

This is Roanoke. People either didn't care, were scrounging for food that night, or booze, or were shocked, as they were supposed to be. Either way, it titillated. It didn't call for stoning, like the Hollins woman who painted themselves red and strolled out on campus. She is now an avant guarde choreographer, who owns a pit bull she adopted in Roanoke. 

This is all beside the point. The point is that something about Roanoke makes people want to get naked. Why? Is is our air of sophistication? Hell, no. But there are several undercurrents running here; the avant guarde in Roanoke itself (!) which means the faction that wants Roanoke to be avant guarde so it will make money. And the native feeling that nudity should be allowed and encouraged...which stems from the fact that Franklin County, directly adjacent to Roanoke, is the Moonshine Capitol of the World. (Moonshine is homemade booze)

It also gets very hot here, due to global warming. Perhaps River, being from a colder country, felt the need for some air.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Still Water Runs Black

No, not doom and gloom today, although Blackberry is no where in sight. When I pulled out his bed and jingle bells last night, the day of empty searching rushed in and I cried, as I should. Probably some student at Radford has him, not know how very big he is going to get. I think they will take him to a shelter sooner, rather than later. He chews everything, and isn't housebroken yet. I am going to alert apartment managers on Monday.

Now that Mubarak is gone, it's too bad Naguib Mahfouz is gone. He would make an excellent leader...Nobel in literature.  Or Khalil Gibran...even if he was Lebanese...what a state Egypt would be then! Leaders worthy of Egypt's past and future.

As for my own small world, it is windy and cool today/night. Spring is coming/here! And I have never been happier to see it come. I hope I am in Scotland when it's spring there...about 4 more months. I'm passing on exposure this time. Marc's not planning to go to Orkney again, but I am. Although it's more boring without him. I'm hoping Megan can come this time. She has a new rash of chickens, but is less interested in them. Being a child is such a fleeting, temporary thing.

I am fostering another dog...haven't named him yet. Lab/Pit mix, looks like. Loves to cuddle. Looks like a black pit bull. I was thinking about naming him Dog Blue. All votes counted and suggestions considered. Come on, folks. Help us out here.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Roll 1 4 Me

Was a friend's car license plate a long time ago. Right now I am in the phase of rolling my own cigarettes. I know, I was supposed to have quit, like Obama. Actually, I hope he does smoke. Smokers need more positive role models. I get tired of hearing about how the original "Marlboro Man" died of lung cancer. Mubarak probably smokes...that's the kind of street cred we have.

Of course, those of you overseas are wondering, "Why wouldn't anyone want to smoke?" And "What's street cred?" Street credibility is how bad, totally cool, brilliant, viking someone is. Those with a lotta street cred are: U2's Bono, Sting, Severus Snape, Zaphod Beeblebrox, Harrison Ford, Luke Skywalker, or the late Jimi Hendrix, Timothy Leary and Janis Joplin...someone so hip they can't get their pants on*...

They all smoked, until the health thingy started to hit the planet. Now we know smoking is bad for us...and our culture looks at smokers as criminals. Right on up there with child molesting and torturing baby weasels. Or people who pick their noses in conversations. Rare, fragile, freaky birds are we in the U.S. I still remember when you were allowed to smoke OUTSIDE, which one can't in some places now.

While at the same time our per capita consumption of sugar has gone through the roof, even overseas. People get fatter and fatter. A musical group called 'The Waitresses' once had a song that touted smoking and drinking black coffee as a way to cut down on world hunger. I think it's time we reevaluated that one. Cause it looks like it's true.

*Douglas Adams 

Thursday, February 10, 2011


Bruised, bothered and bewildered. No hits today, which is a crushing blow. Usually I just sit and stare at my statistics and the nice littleworld map that comes with it. Never mind the figures are wrong usually. It's an illusion that works for me; that people read my stuff.

I know some of you do because you write me on FB about it...FaceBook. But today? Laura's computer is down, my brother is one-handed and everyone else is watching Mubarak. But, as I have stated many times, fantasy is so much more important than reality. Look at my posts that are part real. They are much more funny than the real stuff I write about.

This world is idiotic and scary. Not funny. Voltaire wrote: "God is a comedian, playing to an audience too afraid to laugh." I used to think the quote was funny. Now it has overtones of creepy; that we are hostages to God's sense of humor...which I don't think Voltaire meant at all. Voldemort means that...not Voltaire.

And I don't think God does either. Humans just like looking a gift horse in the mouth until it drops of starvation.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Add What?

Ok, folks. I have now gone commercial. Keep yer pants on. JK Rowling is commercial, Timothy Leary, Dave Barry...don't guilt me. Vincent Van Gogh wasn't commercial and looked what happened to him. Tim Leary was the anti-commercial commercialist...that's my ideal.

What all this means is that some advertiser will put something on the bottom of my posts. If you click to see it, I get paid. I need it, so click away. How do you think most writers make money? Sorry, that's just my bitterness kicking in. AdSense is supposed to pick up on key words in the article and post an ad similar to it's theme. You know it's computer generated because there is an ad for a big juicy burger coupon right below my article on stinkbugs.

This could be fun.

All revenue will go toward keeping food in the mouths of my three rescued cats, who as we all remember live on unicorn meat, just like Lord Voldemort. And to retrieve my favorite retriever, Blackberry, who is being held by a stupid person who doesn't know how much I need him. They just want him cause he's cute. I need him to stop the nightmares. Big difference.

But now that I have something ridiculous like AdSense to examine...I will never be short of writing material again. It's a gift from God.

Nature Imitates Art

---Oscar Wilde.

I love Oscar, but I would have to disagree. My morning search for stinkbugs continues. For those of you fortunate enough not to have met these little gems yet, a word of explanation is forthcoming. Nasty, odoriferous, Chinese imports, these beauties can die in water, and then revive when taken out. Yes, Jesus bugs. Their smell is so toxic, it can make one vomit. Now imagine getting one in food...If you squish one, the smell is impossible to get out of your skin, even if you use a shoe. Now, that, is toxic.

The little buggers hitched a ride into Pennsylvania from China. They cannot be killed except by professional insecticidy people. Stinky bedbugs is what we have here. They like warm rooms, like kitchens, and food, like in kitchens and they contaminate everything they touch. If your chickens eat them, their meat will taste like stinkbug. So much for free food for your flock. If you catch one to flush down the loo, they will emit their scent onto your hands through the tissue, where it is impossible to remove, even with dish liquid and a brillo pad. I am not joking.

These little beasties are so hateful, that if they ever make it to my beloved Scotland, I would turn around and come home. And for some reason, they are attracted to English Ivy, which figures. It's only a matter of time. 

Still haven't found my puppy in the Radford, VA area. Small, black, male, baby lab with green collar. Please return him. He is irreplaceable to me.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011


basic meaning: running into something great while looking for something else. Like the invention of Tang while trying to put humans on the Moon. While that may sound like sarcasm, Tang was quite a hit for a long time. Just the whole idea of drinking the "drink of Astronauts" was enough to make any child wet his pants for a glass of the stuff. It tasted like orange Dixie sticks, didn't it? I'm sure that somewhere in the world, someone is still making it. I am surprised that it's not widely, and wildly, available in the South (U.S.) We like putting our children on a diet of sugary drinks until they explode, so we can give them pills for it.

And there was a recipe for Russian Tea that utilized Tang instead of a dozen oranges. I have dim memories of blue haired ladies cooking substantial vats of the stuff for Christmas. It was cheap, and a powder, so they could even combine it with instant tea and pass it out as gifts.

Of course, the last time I looked at kid's drinks, I was one, so maybe there is Tang still out there. (A kid, I mean! That's the problem with English, no gendered, possessive articles.) I have bought some cute, astronaut-pouch juice drinks for my niece, but she is so hard core at 12, she sneaks Daddy's Mountain Dew (diet.) You can tell she is a Stewart---we grab the nearest bottle of jet fuel and go. Along with a tendency to fart, even from drinking a glass of water, it's a real gift. And a curse.

Those of you out there who know my brother can empathize.

No Blackberry yet. But as far as serendipity is concerned, I have re-met some of my loveliest friends, and met new ones. Dog people, and cat people, are the basis for the origin of the word, mensch.

From Wiki: "According to Leo Rosten, the Yiddish maven and author of The Joys of Yiddish, mensch is "someone to admire and emulate, someone of noble character. The key to being 'a real mensch' is nothing less than character, rectitude, dignity, a sense of what is right, responsible, decorous."

I have met a few on this journey and glad I am in a position to see it. Mazel tov! to life!  

Monday, February 7, 2011

I'm Happy

to see Australia still exists. It must be a relief for them, too. Insane numbers of animals dying off and the biggest storms in centuries. And now my puppy is missing.

I haven't hit depression out of the ordinary yet. For which I am intensely grateful. I wrecked and totaled my car looking for Blackberry in Radford. No car and the house is like a tomb. Neat, clean, inactive, like its' owner. I have probably spent 20 hours on the computer trying to track my dog.

I was visiting a friend in Radford and  let him out to pee in a fenced in yard. One squirmy puppy and a hole in the fence later, and he is gone. I wander around the house on my short breaks of trying to find him. The house is too quiet, and devoid of toys and toilet paper he has strewn around.

He is 3 months old, black lab with a white star on his chest and a green collar. A Reward is offered. Please help me. The nightmares are coming back.

Yours truly

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Missing in Radford

3 month old black lab, male puppy. Green collar with white on chest. Last seen in Bird Street area near Radford University. We need him very badly.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Blackberry is My Name

Fostering is going well. Although Blackberry has ripped a pajamas top and several rolls of toilet paper. And is currently working on my feet. My trainer got a look at him last night and remains noncommittal. You really just can't tell at this age what kind of service dog he might turn out to be. He is amiable, and sociable. More important, he has learned to leave the cats alone. It's really saved his bacon.

I reread my post on MI, or mental illness. I am not sure I want that out there. I have to think of getting employment somehow, sometime. But I have also been trained as an advocate for the voiceless and poverty stricken. I love that job. It's too bad that the stigma of MI limits us in the present. It didn't do that in the past for the following:

Abraham Lincoln, Virginia Woolf, Leonardo da Vinci, Galileo, and Ernest Hemingway. None of whom had a resume, but most of whom ended painfully.

And if I can make life better with someone else with MI, then I will leave that post up. It's a selfish decision. It will be to my benefit to be met with understanding when I talk about my Psychiatric Service Dog. And there is another reason.

I was friends with a veteran from the first Gulf War, Desert Storm. He passed at the age of 26 recklessly fighting himself and his memories. It pains me to think that something like a service animal could have saved him, when millions of animals are put to death across the U.S. every year. It's spitting on the gift that the Universe gave us,  to watch him and those animals die and not speak up.

What will we do when our current soldiers come home? The cost the American public pays as a result of it's wars has been carefully hidden since Korea, in the 1950's.

I am suing the Veterans Administration for reasonable accommodation for my service animal. The case comes to trial February 23, 2011, at the Poff Federal Building in Roanoke, Virginia, USA. It's the same building I was forcibly removed from with my service dog, Eddie, over 3 years ago. Since then, the VA has consistently tried to make the case around my disabilities. It says I am unstable; that my disabilities aren't "real" since they are invisible. It says that my service animal wasn't "real" because my disabilities are not located below the neck. It denies that any animal can help me.

The VA is the only government agency to endorse this view...a truly frightening prospect. Veterans have been arrested for walking on base or to a doctor appointment accompanied by their service animal. This is on federal property, folks. Service animals are protected under the ADA or Americans with Disabilities Act. It's a key piece of legislation based on the 1964 Civil Rights Act and the 1972 Equal Employment Opportunity Act. The VA is acting as Mubarak in this case. It says that I have rights, but not on federal property, doing a federal job.

Those with MI are targets for the barely human I call sociopaths: the M.D. that raped and stalked me targets women who are mentally ill. He is still practicing. I was fired by a small company in Eagle Rock, VA who lied about my conduct and stability, simply because of their fear of my diagnosis, and what it might have meant to the bottom line. It's not that I wanted their disability benefits, but why take that chance in a State that only pays lip service to workers' rights? That is: Virginia, USA.

That the government endorses this attitude makes me feel quite ill. My disabilities are linked with creativity and art in the brain's pathways. They are linked to thinking outside the box. They are not illnesses in other cultures, but signs of a Universe that likes to bestow gifts.

Standing, knee deep in grass,
I turn to see you.
The fire is coming...

Monday, January 31, 2011

My Fans

Or my readers, as I should call them. I appreciate you all: from the person in Slovenia, and Russia to someone in Switzerland and another in Australia. Your hits on my site are really what keep me writing. Thank you.

A new group has joined my readers: the Healthy Place. That's an online community I subscribe to for my disabilities, or as it's sometimes known, MI, or mental illness. This is the place I want to talk about my love affair with chocolate, coffee and unicorn-meat eating kitties. And sometimes the environment and world affairs. I am documenting an island in Time. And the water is rising.

It's an artificial environment, trying to live the 50's American dream in this world of global warming and world wide economics. And I am fortunate that I know it's artificial. Otherwise I would blame myself for my lack of funds. So many are poor, but the culture where I live carefully preserves the reality, and the illusion, of wealth.

And when I was really ill, I bought all I wanted and more. We are so wealthy, it's a disease: I was a shopoholic. One year for Christmas, I went on an all day shopping spree and didn't eat. I ended up in hospital for the night, vomiting. 

But this blog is a haven for me that I share with you.

I can go to a store and buy all the chocolate I can eat. I can buy rich coffee from anywhere in the world for next to nothing. I can buy anything I want, if I have the money for it. Of course, I can't buy all the cats want...that's an Impossible Dream.

And the places in the world where this can happen disappear one by one: Greece, France, Egypt. But I don't think we are waiting on the Darkness, but on the Light.

Take heart with me here. I feel your presence more than I can tell you, with all my art and craft. Any poem I write must have you to exist. You are the poem and I hear your call to me.

What Do You Think?

I am now a foster home for a dog. A small Labrador retriever puppy, named Blackberry. He is the first runner up in the search for a new service animal. He is amazingly cute, even to a curmudgeon-in-training like myself. And in a Pirate of the Carribean Johnny Depp sort of way, too. He is currently engaged in destroying what little in the house the cats have not barfed on.

So we have moved on to Mill Mountain Coffee in Daleville, VA. He is posing for his LAP calendar picture, and Mike and Olivia are working tonight. Ryan left earlier. It's nice to be surrounded by gleaming yet beat up floors and shiny wood tables. The coffee is the only thing I can taste over my stuffed up nose.

I am watching what is going on in Egypt, along with the rest of the known universe. I have several friends from Cairo, ex-pats, and visited there in 2002. Cairo is sin city for the Arab world, and I have seen the poverty up close. The economy stinks there; just as it does in other places where people have rioted: Greece, France, etc. As America gets poorer and poorer I am waiting and watching.

Times, they are a changing. I feel as if I am caught in a Bob Dylan song. And, as poor as I am, I am eating cake.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Coffee or Tea?

I love Mill Mountain Coffee and Tea (MMCT) in Daleville, VA. It's not a place to drink coffee, it's another universe.

Mike is the manager, stud muffin and barista extraordinaire. There's Olivia, who looks almost exactly like, but not quite, Imogene Heap. Her partner is Ryan. They are both so young and earnest, they make me blush. I liked growing out of that phase, actually, but it's delightful to see it in someone else. It's like a quiet path beside a stream and some ferns, with the sunlight streaming in through the trees. Together, they look like a Benetton ad. There are other baristas, the other Mike, who slings coffee and plays guitar, and the odd assortment who pass in the night.

Then there are the 'regulars' whom I will not describe, other than to say the majority did not grow up in the South, which is a breath of fresh air. There is a lot of reading accomplished there and every Wednesday night, a small crowd gathers to play Celtic and bluegrass, and a larger crowd gathers to listen and dance.

I was describing it to a friend in Australia, and found out her father played the saw. Startling. Must be a Scottish thing. So I am skipping out on moving to SW Roanoke. I have been to all the Mill Mtn. Coffee shops and this one is the best. Why mess up a beautiful relationship?

But I am ashamed to say that I have seen the baristas treated so rudely that it's unbelievable, in a nouveau riches sort of way. It IS just a Botetourt County thing,   And I blush for the patrons who act that way.

Besides, service animals and children are well loved here.

It's the way the light streams into the windows on a Tuesday afternoon, and the way the lights twinkle at night.  It's the light refracting off of the faces of the loved and loving. It's the breeze in the summer, and the startling cold of iced coffee. It's the poundage I don't gain with their food, but do with their desserts.

Well, well. But one will go on and on in a shop with coffee that strong with real cream.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Never Get Up At 3 in the Morning

Well, reporting on large groups of animals dying got boring for the media, so they stopped reporting it. It makes my head spin trying to figure out if it only got noticed because they started reporting it in the first it truly, as some officials say, that this 'sort of thing' happens all the time, but is not covered, so not noticed?

Or, is it a 'cover-up'? I don't know. But I do know that I have grown up in the country, in the US, and have never heard of flocks of birds falling simultaneously dead. I grew up on the Chesapeake Bay, and massive fish kills were directly related to some kind of environmental contaminant. That wins my vote.

None of which explains why I woke up at 3 this morning, with the feeling that it was time to get up. Ben Franklin used to get up at 3, as did some of the ancients. Our lives with electricity are vastly different than many previous generations. However, for me, as for many, this is the middle of the night. I have had jobs that required me to get up at 4, and felt dreadfully sorry for myself as long as that job lasted. Getting out of work at 2 in the afternoon doesn't compensate one for having to go to bed at 8 at night.

When I was much younger, I had a job where I got off of work at 3 in the morning. I loved it. That was 20 years ago. The cats, at least, are flexible. They will wake me up at their regular hour no matter what time I go to bed, or when I want to get up.

And they always want me to get up at 6 when I can sleep late, and at 10 when I have to get up early. Funny how that pans out.

I see our NYC friend's post on Youtube got big enough to make it to Yahoo and the major networks. So much for dead birds.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

When a Sparrow Falls

Ok. I am going to post a news story from Yahoo from today, Jan. 2, 2011. With my comments on said news story, since this is my blog. The story is true, the mindset of the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission almost unbelievable.

And I quote, "– Sun Jan 2, 9:18 am ET BEEBE, Ark. – Wildlife officials are trying to determine what caused more than 1,000 blackbirds to die and fall from the sky over an Arkansas town.
The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission said Saturday that it began receiving reports about the dead birds about 11:30 p.m. the previous night. The birds fell over a 1-mile area of Beebe, and an aerial survey indicated that no other dead birds were found outside of that area.
Commission ornithologist Karen Rowe said the birds showed physical trauma, and she speculated that "the flock could have been hit by lightning or high-altitude hail."
The commission said that New Year's Eve revelers shooting off fireworks in the area could have startled the birds from their roost and caused them to die from stress.
Robby King, a wildlife officer for the agency, collected about 65 dead birds, which will be sent for testing to the state Livestock and Poultry Commission lab and the National Wildlife Health Center lab in Madison, Wis.
Rowe said that similar events have occurred elsewhere and that test results "usually were inconclusive." She said she doubted the birds were poisoned." End of Quote.

Let's examine the possibilities together, gentle reader:

"Similar events have occurred elsewhere"? The only other time I have seen a story like this is after Chernobyl, Nagasaki, and Hiroshima.  But over some wheat field in Arkansas? Should we be wrapping our houses in plastic and duct tape? Where have I heard that before?

Fireworks scared the birds to death? What kind of fireworks are they using in Arkansas? Are they marked, "Made in North Korea?" Or maybe the birds keeled from realizing the jokesters were breaking innumerable fire codes and noise ordinances? OR, maybe they were on retreat and meditating. Anything but a noxious cloud of something drifting over Arkansas and poisoning the birds. That would be alarming.

I can actually buy the one about the hailstorm, since Arkansas is in Tornado Alley and Tornado Alley has been having a bad week. And lightening--- the phrase, "A thousand points of light" drifts across my mind. But the commission didn't run with that one. They ran with: fireworks?

It can't be a train wreck releasing deadly gas into the atmosphere. We've already had one environmental crisis this year in the Gulf spill. There can't be two, that would be overwhelming. The public might realize that the Environmental Protection Agency is a shell of an government entity, a hollow mask propped up to mute those who want the U.S.A. to work on the reduction of global pollution. Holy Cow.

It's much more likely that some of Lord Voldemort's dementors are hovering over Arkansas and killing blackbirds thinking they are Aurors. (With all due respect to J.K. Rowling)

And I think, that with that talent, the commission should be paid better.

Tomorrow: I Am Just Waiting and Watching the News