Sunday, May 20, 2012

Remembering my mom

I haven'tnbeen writing as often lately. The death of my friend Ro really bothered me. I have been less social. My mom died this week. She had been sick for five years. Lung disease is a terrible way to die.

Mom was creative, funny,mand witty. She was a bad driver and an awful cook -- but she was never boring. She loved to write and draw. She had an avid interest in Celtic mythology. She was probably a witch in a prior life (and maybe in this one too). She was a unique, special, and warm individual. She had the blackest of gallows humor. She never let bad things get her down even when she was sick.

My coven held a memorial service for her last night and it was quite lovely and dignified. My friend Doris drove up from South Carolina for emotional support and for the memorial. I am grateful.

I hope mom has peace and regeneration in the Summerlands.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Death of a friend

One of my friends died this week. She was felled by a particularly aggressive form of cancer that killed her in only five weeks. It always seems like evil people live long, full lives while decent folk get cut down at middle age or younger.

My friend's name was Ro. I want to take this time to write what I most liked about her. None of my (few) readers have ever met Ro, but I know you would have liked her. She had a sense of humor that was not politically correct. She had a raucous laugh. She helped raise three children who were not her own. She was true to her partner for close to thirty years. She adopted unwanted dogs.

She and her partner were also deeply caring people. Back in 1996-1997, I went through a pretty tough time. I almost ended up homeless. My family turned me away. My church (I was still Christian then) turned me away. My "brothers and sisters in Christ" turned me away. All but one friend turned me away. But Gail and Ro helped me get back on my feet. I would would have either died in a gutter somewhere or I would have committed suicide that year if not for that intervention. I never forgot their kindness and generosity.

Ro is a person I will miss quite a bit. I loved how she laughed. I cracked up at her jokes. She had a bad taste in movies like I do. She liked my spouse and liked my dog. I wish she hadn't gotten sick.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Various thoughts on my wretched family

Ever since mom got back from her most recent hospitalization, I've been calling her every day. I do it because I know that each call might be the last time we talk with each other in this life. She just isn't bouncing back from her illness this time. I visited her last weekend and she weighs about 70 pounds. It's heartbreaking. I knew that if I did not visit, however, I could curse myself as a coward for the rest of my days. That said, it's one thing to intellectually know that a loved one is dying, but it's another to see it happening before your very eyes. I hate to see mom in so much pain and in such a state of debilitation. It seems profoundly unfair that mom should be so sick while my father is living it up in retirement, traveling all over the world and be in want of nothing.

It should be the other way around. Of course, dad is a Christian and YHVH rewards evil sociopaths with many blessings. It's how YHVH rolls. It's part of why I'm no longer a Christian. I can't worship an evil god.

I don't celebrate Easter. That said, no one in my family invited me or my spouse over for Easter dinner. I don't depend on them for anything. They have let me down too often. There was a time back in the late 1996 when I almost became homeless. My family would have let me die in a gutter. That is the truth. In my time of greatest need, they closed their doors in my face. I haven't forgotten that. So, I can be courteous to them. I can attend family dinners on the rare occasions that the deem me and my spouse "acceptable". But I don't kid myself into thinking that I am loved by them in any meaningful sense of the word.

One of my relatives recently indicated that the reason why she now speaks to me and was "MIA" for fifteen years was that she now believes I am sufficiently "successful". Well... I guess. Sure, I like my job and I'm reasonably good at it, but the pay isn't anything to write home about. I'm not sure how she defines the word. But she is someone who I suppose I can be courteous to, but not someone who will occupy a place of trust in my life. After all, she wasn't willing to part with a can of soup or a loaf of bread when I was hungry and sick in 1996. She wouldn't even answer my phone calls. I guess I was too much of a "loser". Who knows?

So, with mom's death approaching, I keep thinking about my family and it's diseased interpersonal dynamics. It's depressing and frustrating.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Close to the end

Things have been pretty rough for my mom lately. As my (few) blog readers know, mom has COPD -- a terminal lung disease that is brought primarily by smoking. Mom got diagnosed with the disease a little over five years ago and was told at that time she would have a year to live. Of course, she has outlived that prediction by a considerable margin. I am very happy about this. However, about six months ago, her condition started deteriorating rapidly. She told me this weekend that she arranged for her hospice care nurse to prepare a cocktail of drugs that would end things if her pain got unbearable. I suspect that it has been unbearable for quite some time.

I can't call what mom is considering "suicide". I don't want to lose my mom. But I think she is rapidly reaching the point where she doesn't have any quality of life at all. She's starting to have trouble with her circulation now also. Her feet are starting to turn black. I hope that she can have an end before she starts losing body parts. This illness has been exceedingly cruel.

It really bothers me that mom is so sick while at the same time my father is living the high life in Portugal. Both individuals smoked and drank to ridiculous excess. And yet the vices ruined my mom's health and left my dad apparently unscathed.Of course, I've noticed that the Christian God always rewards greedy, evil sociopaths while at the same time brutally punishing the meek, mild, and the broken. It's one of the many reasons I'm not a Wiccan.

My worthless sister is still nowhere to be seen. I suppose it won't bother her that mom will die soon. She has no moral compass and her emotional depth is about as thick as tissue paper.

So I have not been getting much sleep. When I try to go to bed, my mind races and whirls. I have two competing thoughts in my mind: 1.) I don't want mom to die because she's the only REAL parent I have (dad is a sociopath and we haven't spoken since 1995). 2.) It is hard to see mom suffering and in pain, so if she needs to end her life I cannot oppose this.

This is a terrible situation.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Web Transitions

I've had the (dis) pleasure of moving two websites recently. One was out of necessity and one was out of economics. I had to move the site because Microsoft decided to discontinue the server that hosted the site. That was a real drag because not only did the server get discontinued, Microsoft outsourced the domain services to an Australian company called MelbourneIT (after all, we gotta make sure that no Americans ever get jobs anywhere!) Microsoft didn't do anything on their end to migrate the site. All I got was a list of the new DNS pointers and told "good luck".

Well... It took two days, but I got Turning Circle running again. The new web services support content editing from an Android tablet, and I can update the TC calendar from a tablet or cell phone. So I can totally dig that.

My next move was economic. Since my money situation is pretty dire, I called up Aplus Net (the company hosting my RPG hobby site) and learned that I could get web hosting for half the price I'm paying now. So that was a no-brainer. Unlike Microsoft, Aplus Net reset the DNS pointers to the new server for me. I'm in the process of uploading the website content from an archival backup now. The site will probably be down for two days, but I doubt anyone will notice. Nobody really plays the game anymore since its heyday was 1998-2006. Nobody plays paper-and-dice roleplaying games anymore.

Since the AT&T network is so shoddy, I ended up cancelling my ZUNE account for my Windows Phone. There's absolutely no point in paying for a music streaming service when the associated 3G/4G network is so crippled that it can play only 3-4 minutes of music before devolving into stutters and gibberish. The funny thing is that it was not that long ago that AT&T had a data network that actually worked. I used to be able to stream music all day at work. On the unlimited plan, rounding out 7-10 Gb was a monthly norm. My last month's data utilization was under 2 Gb. And that reduction wasn't because I wanted to use my phone less. It's because the phone *worked* less, thanks to AT&T's utterly broken network. I think they should have been upgrading their infrastructure instead of handing over huge sums of the subscribers' money to straight, white, rich, ignorant, hate-based Dominionist Christians like Rick Perry (who received $486,000 from AT&T. Awesome investment, eh?)

So, it looks like my weekend adjustments have me at +$25/month more money going forward. That's not a lot, but every bit helps!

So, I was thinking about Saint Patrick's Day. Lemme tell ya: as a witch, I DO NOT celebrate this holiday. why would anyone of a Pagan/Wiccan faith celebrate the fact that a religious zealot brought the Roman Catholic Church to Ireland? the result was the extermination of the Druids, the imposition of a new religion based solely on fear and hate, the denigration of women, and the molestation of children at the hands of hate-based clergy whose allegiance is to Rome (not God). There is nothing to celebrate about the Roman Catholic Church having expanded. It is the world's most powerful, most wealthy, most ancient, and most tenacious organized crime syndicate in human history. Celebrating the Saint Patrick is, in a very real way, making a holiday out of Pol Pot's birthday. After all, both men were leaders of organizations that would go on to commit genocide. The difference is that I never heard about Pol Pot molesting children.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Upcoming year and other stuff

I am really hoping that this is the last year for a while in which I will be as poor as I currently am. As you all know, this is year FIVE with no raise. My disposable income has, for all intents and purposes, been inflated out of existence. Gasoline is ramping up to $4/gallon again and could reach $6/gallon by summer. Groceries get more expensive every week. The property tax just keeps going up and up and up. My car insurance went up and I haven't had a claim in four years. The union sues increased. Tolls have increased. My pay, however, has not increased I really am worried about getting through 2012. As of 1/19/2013, I get promoted to Senior Agent, thanks to my prior service credit. Doug's car is also paid off in 2013. I just hope we can hang on to the house through 2012. We also keep getting persecuted by the Baltimore Housing Authority for trivial things that the straight, white Christians on the block don't have to deal with. On Monday, I get to find out what brand new demand the City wants. I really want to move out, but I don't know if we can sell the house in this wretched economy.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Prior Credit

Ireceived a piece of welcome news this week. The Powers That Be in the human rrspurces department have determined that six years of service at Pretrial is equivalent to 4.8 years as a probation agent. What that means for me is that in 1.2 years my pay will increase from Grade 12 ($31.5k) to Grade 16 ($41.2k). I find it downright ironic that a job in which I could get shot on duty currently pays (at Grade 12) about $3/hour more than Target and $1/hoir more than being the night manager of a Taco Bell. Grade 16 is still below the median income mark by several hundred dollars but it's a big step in the right direction.

:: Sigh :: I really miss those terrible ol' Clinton days. You know... when unemploymemt was 4%, the debt was under control, inflation was under control, and everyone got raises each year. The religious right decided to throw away our good economy, our freedom, our solvency, and world peace because they are afraid of gays and thus voted for a brain-dead fake cowboy who also hates gays. So now the American Dream is to somehow get paid only slightly less than the median income amount. Even that is a joke. $41k in the Bush Great Depression spends like $25k did under Clinton, thanks to five years of hyperinflation.

Apparently, however, Christians aren't the least bit concerned about the economy. They are only concerned with banning contraception, gay marriage, Social Security, pulic schools, science, other religions, and abortion. Go figure.