I’m back in Sioux Falls. We had a thunder blizzard last night. It felt pre-apocalyptic, but I was overwhelmed at the time, (so assume a minor adjustment for reality.) I’m sure I’ve mentioned how thunder freaks me out, (beyond my ability to pretend I’m fine.) Strong gusts of wind against my improperly weatherized balcony doors made it worse. The howling wind in my living room was creepy.
Today there’s a layer of ice covering everything, including my windows. It’s as if it rained sideways, froze, then snowed. I opened my balcony doors to have a look because the windows provide a trippy view. It took lots of effort to open them. Then after gawking for a bit, I struggled to close them again. I had to dig through two feet of snow to step outside.
It’s supposed to snow all day, then twice more next week. Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow shiver this year, I guess. I’ve already determined my next travel destination: Northeast to visit my sister. It’ll be both visit and tech consultation. I send her my former gadgets, knowing she’ll pass along whatever doesn’t interest her. She’s repeatedly surprised me with her interest and eagerness to learn.
I’ve made the drive before, and there are only three turns. Heh. It’ll be soonish (before my sister leaves for her summer place.) I’m a bit leery of my niece who she’ll be visiting afterward, (her oldest kid.) I still have the occasional nightmare of her beating me up. She punches like Miss Sophia in The Color Purple, (and from a similar training ground.) She knocked me out when I came home from basic training for Christmas. (Just to remind me of my place in her world.)
My sister has that toughness in her, too. But she uses it to endure rather than bully. I’ve only seen her be violent to a brown bear who invaded our camp. She calmly pelted it with rocks until it fled. 😂 I’m going to teach her a bit of Photoshop and lots of tutorial links since she has a DSLR camera. I’m also going to give her my 25-key Novation midi keyboard to try some music apps on the iPad. And a keynote presentation on why she needs to get broadband. She uses her iPhone for all things interweb. (!!!)
I probably have a Wacom tablet in my retired gadgets closet. I’d like to see her embrace her creativity digitally. I love teaching tech to people who are older than me. They’re so easy to train it’s delightful. The only thing you have to do is pretend you’re doing it for the first time, and say what you do out loud as you do it slowly. Then give it to them in writing as an ordered checklist, and done, (they master it after you leave.) They also usually end up teaching me about features I’ve never used before. (Probably because of RTFM.) 😂
Baby boomers tend to be less intellectually lazy than Gen X’ers in my observations. Let’s blame corn syrup. 😶 I’m going to try and watch more Star Wars: The Last Jedi. I’m already anxious as hell, so I may as well knock out some anxiety-provoking activities while I’m already maxed out. Too bad I don’t need anything from the mall, or I’d throw that in, as well. 😂 Peace.
I saw a quote by Patti LuPone this morning. She basically informed a reporter she hates 45’s fucking guts. I got the impression she was reluctant to respond at all, and when pushed, she told it like it is (SNAP.) In celebration of this moment of honesty from a strikingly beautiful and talented woman, I’m going to state the obvious. I love her. I know. Who doesn’t? Welp… 45 doesn’t anymore. Poor pathetic Putin puppet. The modern day Helen of Troy thinks you’re wasting oxygen, too. Dayum!
I spent several hours answering questions for my Prodigy last night. It cracked me up how she initiated the session. She emailed me a contract. She basically asked me to promise not to withhold information based solely on her age. I didn’t need to think about it for very long. Doing so would be incredibly hypocritical. I didn’t believe I was a child when I was her age, either. I remember how offended I used to get when people assumed otherwise. I’m pretty sure she knew I would agree.
I ended up telling her about my foster siblings. There were over 100 before I joined the Army. My parents fostered six kids at a time. Most were severely developmentally disabled. Some died in our home. (I still have nightmares.) I think because we didn’t talk about them after they passed. The Foster Babies, as I called them, were a constant source of joy in my life. There was always a baby I could rock. I assigned myself the duty of night watch when I was little. (It began as an excuse to be up past my bedtime.) A few times a night, I would peek into their cribs to make sure they were still breathing.
My parents had baby monitors, but I preferred in-person checks. We had a baby with microcephaly, Spina Bifida, and intellectual disabilities. His mom was gravely ill when she carried him (Anorexia Nervosa), and she had a difficult time with (irrational IMO) feelings of guilt after he came to live with us. Seeing her weep when she visited her baby hurt so much. Just remembering it has tears welling. He lived with us for two years, then passed when I was eight. I still remember how kissable his cheeks were. If you said his name in a sing-song voice, he would light up and laugh. I try to remember those details, and forget the ones that still haunt my sleep.
When he died, I was putting on my uniform for school. My parents ordered us to go to our rooms when the coroner came, but I disobeyed. His skin was bluish gray. I watched them take my baby foster brother away forever. I remember not knowing how to feel. I saw his mom at Best Buy once as an adult. I walked up to her and gave her probably the longest hug I’ve ever given anyone. I wanted desperately to tell her something, but I didn’t have the words. So I just kept hugging. I hope she understood.
A few were older than me when they lived with us. I have a Native American foster sister who used to babysit me. I see her about town once in a while. She’s married and seems happy. She’s intellectually disabled. She was on the strict side but kept me safe. I remember when one of my brothers called her the R word, and she slapped the shit out of him. The slapping part was hilarious. He knew he couldn’t tell on her for it, which made it funnier. (My parents made it extremely clear we would not survive the consequences of harming one of the foster kids.)
Unfortunately, they weren’t always able to prevent asshole moments like above. My older siblings were embarrassed by the foster babies as teenagers. My oldest brother tried to convince my mom to let me go live with him and his wife because he didn’t think it was a healthy environment for me to grow up in. (She said no.) Gar is the brother who taught me how to read, used to make us call him Garfunkle, and has a ridic high IQ. He’s fascinating, but I don’t think he’s terribly compassionate. I love him, but I’ve always kept him at arm’s length. He told me when I was twelve he thought it was more merciful to kill the foster babies than help prolong their lives. It painfully annihilated my ability to trust him.
It was hard to leave the foster babies when I left for basic training. When I got out of the service, my parents were retired. I visited a little brother, who was three when I left, at his new foster home. It sucked. He was “too old” to be picked up and showered with kisses. He loved his new foster family. His new dad owned an auto body shop. It was testosterone heaven, and my adorable baby brother thought the idea of giving me a hug was funny. That day sucked ass.
Shannon is probably the one I remember most strongly. Before my parents brought her home, they had a talk with us about her condition. She had a facial deformity. She couldn’t open her eyes, and she had a severe cleft palate. I remember being a little nervous as it was the first time we had such a talk. It was for naught. Shannon was the most affectionate and loving person I’ve ever met in my life. She had bright red hair, porcelain skin, and I got a peek at one of her cobalt blue eyes through a tiny slit where the skin opened. I think it was just enough for her to detect light.
She had plastic surgery soon after she came to live with us. They repaired her palate and nose. There was barely a scar. She was less than a year old when she came to live with us and was blind and deaf. I loved her so much. My mom got really attached to her, too. When you picked her up from her crib, she would hug you, kiss you, and pat you on the back. She knew who was holding her by touching our faces and hair. When she hugged my mom, she would make cooing sounds, like she was comforting her. She lived with us until she turned six, and was sent to an institution. That sucked, too. I’m so glad I got to know her. She was love personified. I’m off to read.
I laughed when I chose today’s Seinfeld quote. Mostly because I love referring to my (figurative) penis when going postal on a misogynist. There are few groups I consider fair game for an all-out verbal attack. Misogynists top the list. I barely consider them human. They’re contaminating the gene pool. They cling to ignorance, and a false sense of superiority like their life depends on it. It’s sad. I’m happy to report they’re dying off. In twenty years the word misogynist will only show up in novels and word games. Glory days. In the meantime, they usually insist on identifying themselves within minutes of contact, so at least they’re easy to avoid.
I’ve been enjoying the hell out of my electronic drum kit. Unfortunately, I damaged the snare drum pad. Now, It only plays softly no matter how hard I hit it. Disclaimer: I void warranties religiously. I took it apart. I could fix it for a few bucks, or I could build a better one. I wasn’t about to fix a cheap rubber snare drum pad. Clearly, they’re too easy to break. Although, for a cheap entry kit, I’m astonished by what I got in a good way. The rack and module alone are worth what I paid for the whole kit. The drum pads and cymbals are temporary, and I’m in the process of replacing them.
I love the rack because it’s matte black everywhere, it’s compact and sturdy, and I can use standard hardware on it. I ordered a 10″ rim, some 35mm piezo discs, foam tabs, a 1/4″ instrument input, cables, and a mesh head to make a better snare drum. It’s now a dual trigger, shiny, mesh pad and is a joy to beat with sticks. I can do rolls, and the velocity triggers beautifully, too.
I’m debating on how I want to address my hi-hat replacement, which is next. Part of me thinks I’ll never want an acoustic kit, and shouldn’t limit my choices in that respect going forward. I much prefer having the sounds from multiple super expensive kits recorded in high-end studios than whatever I could reproduce. In that instance, I’d prefer using a mesh head pad for my hi-hat and cymbals, too. It’s a quiet enough trigger that I can practice anytime I want, day or night. How very attractive to this insomniac. If I decide against the mesh cymbals, I’m just going to get acoustic cymbals because the rubber and plastic cymbal pads currently being sold are unbelievably shitty substitutes.
I have a tendency to read all night. I’ve been doing it often since I learned how to read. I was raised to believe laying still in bed while wearing pajamas counts as sleeping. The laying still part really means being silent enough not to awaken others. Laughing out loud at a book while reading is something I’ll admit to often doing. In my head, I’m in another world where something funny just happened. Not laughing would be weird. Immediately after, I feel guilty for making noise.
The guilt part is just a habit at this point. When Heather died, her diaries were given to me. (All my siblings kept a journal growing up but only the girls continued in adulthood.) She wrote about my late night giggles with fondness as an adult. She wasn’t so fond of them at the time, I recall. We shared a bedroom until I started 7th grade. My Mom decorated it, but it looked like Holly Hobby threw up in there to me. Yellow gingham fabric with lots of ruffles everywhere.
Starting in Junior High, I got to decorate my own room. Heather was so worried about me having my own room. She didn’t think I could handle it (Queen of Nightmares is my original title). Thinking back now it makes me laugh. She was really the big sister at times. She was my self-appointed voice for much of my childhood. At first, it was because I didn’t speak, but later because it amused me so much. (Heather was always a bit of a loud talker who didn’t hesitate to demand being heard.) We were opposites in so many ways, but we always had the same sense of humor. On that nostalgic note, I’m off to continue reading Last Night in Twisted River by John Irving again. It’s so fucking good. (That’s my review.)
I had a busy and productive day. I’m touching a computer for the first time today, which is astonishing. My Mom would have been proud. It got up to 66° F. In February. In South Dakota. It should be well below freezing for weeks yet, but climate change. Since I’m doing my best to deflect my personal repercussions on the environment, I decided to enjoy the beautiful weather. I almost blew it straight away by going to an automated car wash. I remembered in time, and went to a self-serve and used as little water as I could.
I’m too high strung to drive a dirty car. The snow melted so it should last a while. I got a few more clients on my Meals on Wheels route. They live in an apartment complex where an existing client resides, so I’m not worried about finding it. It’s a weird building, though. There are two sides separated by the entrance. The problem entails units numbered the same on both sides, (so there’s a 210 on side A and 210 on side B.) It took me a while to figure this out. I made up a few new curse words during the process.
While researching the demographic of 45 supporters, I discovered they’re mostly Caucasian men in their 50’s. I’m pleased with the leadership of the resistance group I joined. I spent lots of time learning about leadership in the Army, so I know when I’m following a good one. The demographic reminded me of my Dad. He was a conservative, but I know he wouldn’t have supported 45.
My Dad was a Shriner. He wore glasses and had a white beard and mustache. He wasn’t obese, but he did look a lot like Santa Claus. At least I thought so until I was five and discovered he was just my Dad. I have only good memories of him. I remember sitting on his lap while he smoked his pipe. It made my eyes burn, but I liked the smell. I used to try to think of a question I didn’t think he’d know, then I’d ask. I remember thinking he was the smartest person in the world.
I didn’t spend as much time with my Dad when I became a teen. My parents divorced when I was eleven. I didn’t notice at first. To me, the difference that stood out was Saturdays. He would pick us up and take us out to lunch and the zoo or circus. I remember a Sunday with Dad where he took us to a restaurant and allowed us to choose what we wanted to eat. I ordered a grilled cheese sandwich. Then I hurled it onto the back seat of his car.
In hindsight, I suspect I was carsick. I’m highly susceptible to motion sickness. I think it’s because I don’t look at the right things while moving. I try to see everything when I should only be looking where I’m going. The memory of that hurl fest is so powerful I still refuse to eat at Cracker Barrel. If not for that I would still boycott them for their homophobic hiring practices. So I guess fuck Cracker Barrel either way.
My Dad was always there for me when I needed him. Every single time. I didn’t even realize this was remarkable in real time. There weren’t very many kids with divorced parents when I was growing up, but the few I knew lived with their Moms too. My Dad started dating, and eventually married the woman. She was always kind to us, but we called her by her first name, not step-mother. She was easy to love. She stayed with my Dad until she died. She was his third wife. I never met his first as she died before I was born. My Mom’s first husband had died before I existed, too. We were a lot like the colorful Brady Bunch. Only a lot more kids, many of which were disabled. The DeBolt family was well known when I was growing up for adopting lots of kids of various races and abilities.
Heather and I were disturbed by the DeBolts. We didn’t know how to express why at the time, but I know now it was resentment for their attention seeking. At that point, following a family with cameras was considered a documentary, not reality TV. We were offended by it. Strangers often came up to my Mom while we were together running errands. They would go on and on about how she was such a saint for adopting us. The utter shock they displayed right in front of us used to infuriate me. We weren’t fucking monsters. Granted, we did live in what was virtually an all-white community. I grew up in the 70’s and 80’s, before Madonna, Angelina, Sandra, and Mariska adopted infants of color, (IOC hahaha).
For most of my childhood, I was the first black person the people of my community ever met. (I’m of mixed race, but I check African American on forms.) I’m not as light-skinned as Rashida Jones, who can pass as Caucasian, but chooses not to. I have an African nose. If my skin were white as rice, I’d still be of obvious (relatively recent) African descent. My nose is old school. I just cracked myself up. I’m glad I’m not the type of person who is upset about having a nose that in profile reminds me of a chewed wad of bubblegum. I’m the type who thinks it’s hilarious. I just wish it held up my glasses better.
My parents would have been livid had they lived to see 45’s regime. Knowing this is a comfort to me. My Dad had no tolerance for the mistreatment of people. He taught us it was important to do what was right at all times. He explained to me what I did when I thought nobody was watching revealed my character. (When I was a kid, Character Counts was bandied about like a motto during Saturday morning cartoons.) I’m often literal, and as a child, I believed I was being watched by Jesus at all times, assuming that’s who my Dad meant. No wonder I’m so high strung.
My Mom would have adored the Obama’s. She also would have pointed him out to me before he ran for President. She went out of her way to make sure I was aware of successful POC my entire life. I’m glad she did because it was a gift I didn’t know I needed. She gave me books by Maya Angelou and Alice Walker. We spent a lot of time in libraries and museums. I mostly remember my Mom complaining that Steve and I had touchy-itis; a horrible disease where the sufferer is compelled to touch everything, especially if fragile.
There was an authentic Sioux teepee on display in a local museum. It had a soft but rigid hide and thicker than I expected. I also discovered the improper securing of said teepee when it tipped over. Fortunately, my Mom decided my horror at tipping it over was punishment enough. I still agree. I’m grateful I had parents who valued good character. Their influences still guide me daily. I miss them, but I’m also glad they’re free from 45’s tyranny.
I’m doing well. It finally stopped snowing, but the driving is still precarious. My boss asked me if I’m happy in my position today. I’m overqualified for the job, but I didn’t understand why it’s an issue as it was deliberate on my part. He said something about retention, but eventually, we got to the bottom of things. He was concerned I might start my own company again. I assured him it doesn’t interest me.
I’m on the other side of life now, since I don’t have kids. I won’t compete with Millennials in the workforce or business sector because it’s their turn now. My job is to help them achieve and get access to resources. Because duh. My fellow Gen X’ers who are still raising their kids need me and others like me to help with their grandparents, and sometimes parents who are struggling to remain independent. The circle of human life. When I’m no longer able to live independently, the Millenials will probably have gadgets to compensate and a bot to report any problems. Home automation will include whatever necessary to allow me to stay independent the way Meals on Wheels does now. (Alexa, I’ve fallen and can’t get up!)
It takes a village isn’t just about kids. It’s about everyone in the community. I know how to be a good neighbor. Mr. Rogers taught a lot of us. If everyone looked out for their neighbors, it would be a nicer country to live in. Also, homelessness would be a rare problem. Not having a family to fall back on probably leads to it often. I lost family to the cult of Drumpf after the election. It wasn’t surprising. I figure if having two black little sisters didn’t aid them in overcoming racism, nothing will.
It was stressful having racist family members, and I won’t miss that stress. My mom’s dad overcame racism when I was a preteen. It was a major event in my life because he was my only grandparent. I just understood I didn’t have grandparents because my parents adopted me, not their families. That’s a quote. There were other family members I heard about but never met. Some were because they were racists.
My dad’s parents are an example. Heather and I weren’t allowed to get out of the car because the dogs didn’t like black people. Another quote. I do remember this, although I was four or five at the time. I didn’t look at my dad’s parents, so I don’t know what they looked like. The ground just outside the car was muddy, so I wasn’t going to get out of the car anyway. I believed dogs could be racist, though. I took it as my mom stating facts, not my dad’s parents being racists.
I didn’t understand racism until I was five. That was a rough year. I began Kindergarten, which led to my finding out I was black. That was devastating. I don’t know how I lived for four years before noticing only Heather and I matched. I had some wild theories about a lot of things before I found out the facts. I thought birth control pills were what you took to get pregnant, for example. They should call them birth prevention pills.
I found out later that year my dad wasn’t actually Santa Claus, then that there was no such thing. More devastation. I had an epic meltdown because I didn’t know parents could lie and my brain wouldn’t process it. I have a hard time adjusting to new rules. I like rules too much on top of it. To me they’re directions. I hate when I don’t know the rules. The Army always had manuals for how to do everything. If the manual was for a HumV, it was kept in the HumV. I loved that.
I could do anything I was asked to do because if I didn’t have the skill yet, I had the manual that would teach it to me. Memorizing the manuals paid off big when I competed in knowledge bowls for free trips all over Europe. I was surprised how few bothered. I had a blast. Then again, most people in my unit in Germany couldn’t pass the international drivers test. There were a lot of signs to memorize, and some people aren’t good at it. I bought a BMW 525 Si in white with chocolate brown leather interior while I was over there, but the cost to get it converted to American emission specs was ridic.
I used to drive my friends to a Chi Chi’s, and they would get hammered. Then on the way back to our post, a few would get in the trunk because they couldn’t find their ID cards needed to get back in the gate. That used to make me nervous because MP’s on guard duty don’t play. But the trunk was huge. It held two soldiers uncomfortably.
I’m still working with the Democrats. I basically do whatever they ask. I understand now where I fucked up, and how badly. I still love Bernie Sanders, but I support the Democratic party period. I’m anti-GOP so hard. I hate Nazis. I do enjoy watching people punch them in the face, however. I don’t normally like boxing, but this is a sport I can get behind. I’ve seen a few gifs on Twitter that were most satisfying to watch. I’m off to order a Drumpf piñata.