Monday, January 30, 2012

Haiku Monday: Rain

Furious  rain pelts
my anguish ... cleansing my grief.
Joy crests in my soul.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Head's Up Florida!

 Look out Floridians, the politicians and the horrid big money political machines are coming.
Be prepared to be under attack!   In your mailbox, in your newspaper, on your smart phone, on your computer, on your televisions, your radios, and your landline phones.  There will be signage littering all your streets, most of the lawns around town. I have no poll to prove this but I suspect gun sales have been up this week. You might want to just go ahead and unplug those landline phones now and save yourself dawn til way past dusk aggravation.

Finally, today, the hoards will depart our state and flock in mass to Florida.
For sure they have plumped up some local and state coffers. Charleston has been raining money. All those yankee network folks and their hairdressers and such seem to have learned how to enjoy cheese grits and biscuits for breakfast. Good bye lattes and energy bars.

Back to the politics.
Things are not as they seem.
First of all, I made it a point to take all the  polling calls. I saw this as a duty. If you do not plan to vote for a candidate with big PAC money then the only way the others can make any showing in the numbers is if we voters suffer through the calls and speak up for our choices. It is grueling work. I took the calls from the robos and actual humans. It would be hard to say which was more frustrating.  This experience got me so aggravated I sent e-mails to all the taking heads at Fox, MSNBC, and CNN. Here is why, they are broadcasting flawed data  24/7. I am still awaiting their replies.

Here is a typical situation with the robo calls:
" If the election were being held today would you vote for
Romney? Press 1.  Gingrich? press 2. Paul? Press 3." 
If, after the third offer you have not pressed a button the call is terminated.
There is no opportunity to add your position to the polling. No choice for the others.
What is maybe a tad interesting is the order of the voting for Ron. Newt or Mitt depending on who is conducting the poll. In some of them, where their candidate is mentioned first and you don't push number one ... yep they disconnect so they only collect votes for their candidate.

What happened to honesty?

The polls are reported on every airwave as favoring the glove, the  reptile and  mocdoc. There are signs all over Carolina for Rick Santorum. He hardly shows up in the polls on the news outlets. One of the reasons is because the poll calls do not accord the option to choose Huntsman, Perry or Santorum. Two of those are now "suspended" campaigns. Here is another issue. The super PACS for the three came in like locust and bought up all the available airtime for tv and radio. Once the teams for Huntsman, Perry and Santorum   tried to get  some exposure they were already shut out. Not one minute of airtime was available.  Super PACS are hijacking this election. And they are skewing the polls.
Lady Liberty is weeping.

When actual humans call the experience is different.
Some are rigidly impersonal others seek to bond through a sort of theatrical folksyness.
In one  polling call,  a man asked if I had a few minutes to answer a survey/poll?
" Well, yes if you hurry up before it's time for me to get the pasta out of the hot water".
" Is that a candidate?"
" No, it's dinner"
" Will you take the survey?
" Yes, but get on with it."
" What is your date of birth?
" You called to survey my age?"
"We try to determine the age of voters"
" Okay, I am old enough to vote."
" What is your actual age lady?"
" Somewhere between 18 and death".

He hung up.
At least he did so before I overcooked the pasta.
Blowfish was over in his chair having a laugh.
He does not feel enough dedication to answer any of the calls but he is having a fine entertainment
watching me have fits over them all. I threatened to go on a Kitchen strike. No cooking for non participating Americans. I think it is important to step up and not be silent. If you want to have a say in what is happening in our country you have to participate in the process.  If you have been a long time member of the "silent majority" it is time to be silent no more. Speak up! Act! Vote!

On Thursday morning, a few hours before the last SC debate, I received a personal call;

" Good morning!  Is this Fishy?"
" Yes"
" Mrs. Goodsouth here, calling to share with you this morning our family's pride  and excitement in the opportunity to again have our White House as the residence of a fine Southern gentleman!"
" I think your gentleman went home  to Texas this morning."
" I am, of course, referring to Speaker Gingrich."
" Oh."
" Fishy, I am calling this morning to invite you to join us  in supporting Speaker Gingrich in saving our Nation. He is the only one who can oust the current occupier of our White House."
" I will not be voting for Mr. Gingrich."
" Well that is just not a loyal decision.  Let me help you understand why you must , as a thinking person,  vote for our  Speaker"
" Can we skip that part of the conversation and just move on to have a nice day?"
"Please explain why you think you  will not be favoring our candidate with your support.
I can  set you straight again in one skinny minute."
" Mrs. Goodsouth, you have my admiration for your participation and support of this election process but I will not be voting for the Newt. There is nothing you could say which will change this."
" Why ever  in this whole world would you  withhold your support from this fine man?"
" Because he is NOT a 'fine man' and there are better choices."
" He is the only candidate who can beat The Occupier in a debate".
" Do you think we are  hoping to elect a Great Debater or a president?
 Plus he is not , in my view, a great debater.  He does however practice effective stagecraft."
" Oh my goodness Fishy. We have a lot of work to do to get you on the true path this morning".
" I am not going to travel your path today Mrs. Goodsouth. Good bye and God bless you."

I hardly hung up from that call when my phone rang.
A robocall again disallowing a vote beyond the PAC's candidate.
I was soooooooo annoyed I called the local GOP office to complain.
The man taking the call there suggested I stop answering the robo calls and just vote for his choice.
I mentioned as a staffer in the GOP office he was not there to support any one candidate.  If that was his mission he should be on the phone banks in the  headquarters for his chosen one.
 His response,
" Would you like to make your donation by phone today?"

I found this equally dismaying and irritating.
Here is my next issue.

If you decide you are going to support a candidate financially via their website you cannot do so without filling out a form and using a credit card. There is not a contribute by PayPal option.  If, like me, you do not list your personal data online and you do not enter your credit card data online then you cannot make a contribution.  Is this a law?  I don' t know but I did send an e-mail to the website asking why there was no PayPal donation option. That was a week ago. Still no reply.

So to the Trolls, Auntys and La Divas of Florida, you have my sympathies.
It's  not fun but please, y'all do your part ! Participate! Report if things are not as they should be and vote. It counts. A lot.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

A Note to Boxer

Dear Boxer,

 It looks like  I have been affected by your adoption of Henry.
I visit your blog to see his pictures.
I write haiku to you both.
Then today, while researching for a client,
this is what caught my attention.

It does not look a thing like the lighting I was hoping to find.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Annual Misery

Every couple has differences they head butt on from time to time. We are not excused from that reality here at the Pond. Sad, but very, very real.

One of the issues we can never  resolve is about colds. I come from a family with multiple kids. When one of us came down with a cold our Mama was tough enough and smart enough to place the sick one in isolation to prevent the spread throughout the family. Blowfish is an only child. When he had a cold his mother  moved him to the living room sofa so  grandmothers, aunts, uncles and cousins could all  dote and wait on  the poor little sick man. Thus, before we even get to the reality of dealing with the actual cold you can see where we are poised for conflict.

It is complicated.
I have over the years provided Blowfish with reams of data on how colds are spread, what are the best protocols for not  spreading a cold , not catching a cold, the ways the cold virus becomes airborne,  the typical contagion periods, the best ways to manage a cold once you become afflicted and how to shorten the duration of a cold.  I must have shared all of this data in some foreign language because not one syllable of one word, nor any knowledge,  has stayed with the man.

This conflict is an annual event at the Pond. I have not had a cold in years. I employ protocols into my daily routine to reduce my susceptibility to catching illness from others. Blowfish refuses to.  Even Santa Claus  tries to help Blowfish by placing things like hand sanitizer or immune boosting supplements in his Christmas stockings. They all pretty much live in the graveyard of his bedside table drawer. He often mocks me for the fight I wage for my health but fails to notice it is the mocking  man who falls. Not me.

Back to my mother. She made our time in isolation as pleasant as possible, there were coca colas, our favorite jellos with fruit, applesauce, homemade soups, crackers, Luden's wild cherry cough drops, boxes of kleenex, and a personal trash can. There were plenty of books to read, lots of crayons and coloring books, paperdolls and an etch-a-sketch to keep ourselves entertained. Mom made sure we understood the reason for the isolation was for the well being of the many,
" Fishy I know you don't want the baby to get sick".
She was also smart about changing our sheets daily and making us get up and take a hot shower to help drain the gunk out of our sinuses. There was a vaporizor and smelly rubs and while it was not pleasant, it was not punitive.

Blowfish has a cold.
He has one this time every year.
I know he will have a cold this week so I prepare.
I get books for him to read, make soups, stock up on juices and kleenex.
On Thursday he began with sneezing. He is not necessarily the sort to direct that into his sleeve. On Friday he started sniffling and shuffling. I gave him Tylenol and vitamin C. By afternoon he was complaining of a scratchy throat so I gave him some honey and lemon drops with a topical anesthetic to soothe his throat.

Friday night I kept to my plans of attending a gallery opening. The subject  of the show is "Images of France" which  showcased the works of   a group of folks who went on a tour of France with a Photography Instructor from a nearby university. The tour  had permission for the participants to take pictures inside museums and galleries which normally strictly forbid photography with any kind of flash.  There were two great things about going to the opening. I bought a framed  photograph and I missed the onset of the oh-woe-is-me-stage of  the man with a cold.

When I returned home Friday night  one look told me Blowfish would not be spending Saturday with his son as planned. His son has MS. Which means  he has a compromised immune system and therefore not a good idea for his virus stricken  Dad to go breathe on him.

Blowfish slept  hours later than usual on Saturday morning.  He came into the Kitchen to start a pot of coffee. I was already making soup and  had started taking down and packing up the Christmas decorations.  He looked miserable. Droopy posture, gray color, shuffling foot work, shaky hands.

" Good morning. Would you like some breakfast?"
" I think I will just have a bowl of cereal"
" Are you sure? Milk tends to increase mucus production which is why it is not  recommended  when you have a cold".
" I'll take two eggs over easy, toast, a side of bacon and orange juice."

( I may have mentioned this before...
I do not love it when Blowfish speaks to me like I am a short order cook positioned in his Kitchen to
service his culinary needs. )

I took a deep breath, tried to hold onto my compassion and not give way to irritation and  with reasonable cheer said ,
" I can do that."
So Blowfish went to sit in his favorite fireside chair in the Keep to read the paper.
He was sniffling.
He was coughing.
He was sneezing.

(He was touching the furniture and the paper and blowing his virus across the room.)
" Blowfish, did you take your medicine this morning?"
" No."
" Well you have time to take it before your breakfast is ready"
" It's on my bedside table.  Where you put it for me.  So I would not forget to take it.
You want to go get it for me?"

(There's an invitation a girl just cannot resist)

" Sure"
I fetched the meds and some orange juice and chatted a bit about the morning editorials before resuming my duties at the stove.
Blowfish continued to sneeze, sniffle, cough.
" Do you have some Kleenex?"
"No, I don't need any".
" I sure don't want to get your cold so how about you do a few things to moderate my risks?'
"You believe in that malarky, I don't"

(I did try to keep my tongue in my head but .... really?)

" What ?"
" If you get a cold, you get a cold. It has nothing to do with me."
" Do you want me to pull up the website from the CDC on how colds are spread?"
" Why? So you can tell me you are right and I am not?"
I pulled  a placemat, some  silverware, and a  napkin from  various drawers.
I marched into his Study, moved things aside on his desk to accommodate a place setting.
I opened the window a crack, fetched a box of kleenex, sprayed the trash can with lysol and located his book before returning to the Kitchen to finish making his breakfast. When it was ready I proceeded right past him and into his Study.
" Fishy, what are you doing?"
" Serving your breakfast".
"Well I am not eating in my office"
"So you think you should camp out in  the main rooms spewing your cold on everything and everyone? I think not."
"I have told you I do not agree with you or your damn CDC on how colds are spread!
Bring my breakfast in here."
"Right! I will not be adhering to the wisdom of a man who still thinks you catch a cold if you don't wear socks to bed!"

And so the day went. Blowfish hung out in his office, reading a little, watching a little tv,  doing a little surfing, and later, taking a nap. We had arrived at a truce. Sort of.  He will never do all the  recommended things  science directs one with a cold to do. Never. I could provide him with every medical directive, every internet video, every scientific graph on this issue and he would still cling to the same beliefs he held at 5.  He believes he should be in the center of the sofa, in the center of the house, being the doted on center of attention of all because he has a cold.  He will miss his mother. A lot.

So the compromise is he will do what he pleases.
In his suite of rooms.
He will not do  as he pleases all over me.
I will accept he is doing all he can.
I will do his laundry and make his food and fetch his medicines and bite my tongue to shreds.
I do this every year.
I always feel sad and guilty.
Because Blowfish is an only child.
Because January 7th is his mother's birthday.
She has been gone now for 19 years.
The year we lost her we celebrated her birthday on the 7th.
On the 8th she went into the hospital, succumbed to coma on the 9th,
went to Heaven just after midnight on the 11th.

For every one of these 19 years, in this same week, Blowfish gets sick.
Not "sick with grief" but sick with an actual cold, or flu,   in addition to his grief.
There is a medical explanation for this phenomenon.
Blowfish rejects this too.
He prefers to believe it is just the reality of colds happening  in January.

I loathe we cannot do a better job of handling this annual event.
I loved my mother in law dearly. I still miss her.
I try hard to comfort Blowfish.
I cooked  potroast for him yesterday.
I cooked it the way his mother cooked pot roast.
For her son, on her birthday.
I cried for them both.

I cannot fathom how hard it is to be Blowfish this same week every year.
I cannot fathom how hard it must be to manage life in general without the ability to
communicate how you feel. Whatever Blowfish experiences about  the loss of his mother,
he has never been able to express. All of his  suffering stays within.
This makes him sad.
And it makes him ill.

On the 12th, he will be better.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

2012: Tangerine Tango

Happy 2012.
Meet the color of the year,
Tangerine Tango 

Pantone Color Number 17-1463

The "color of the year" is announced each  December. By the time the announcement is made millions of products in the "new" color are already in production. In Mid-January I will go to the first big market of 2012 where "Tangerine Tango" will be 
well represented in every showroom.

 There are 3 main entities which determine what colors will be THE color for specific years. This is because color effects emotion which effects consumer behavior... so this is a HUGE deal. The colors are selected about 10 years in advance. In 2008 the color of the year was "Blue Iris". That was color prophecy as 2008 was a very "blue" year for many of us. 

Are your emotional responses to "tangerine" positive? Is this a color to lift your spirits and open your pocketbook? Will you remodel your home, buy a new car or replace your wardrobe because of your response to this color? If you are a Gator fan this might indicate a really good year is looming, also true if you are a Clemson fan. What if you are a Florida or Carolina State fan? Does this color choice bode ill for your teams? Is "tangerine" too close to red? As in red ink? Or does the color "tangerine" conjure  images of tanned flesh and string bikinis? 

Will you share? Please tell me your strongest association with the color "tangerine".