My friend and faithful reader Leah in NC forwarded this to me. It’s a letter from Fiona Apple to her fans when she had to cancel the South African leg of her tour because her beloved dog was dying. It is, in a word, beautiful.
It’s 6pm on Friday, and I’m writing to a few thousand friends I have not met yet. I’m writing to ask them to change our plans and meet a little while later.
Here’s the thing.
I have a dog, Janet, and she’s been ill for about 2 years now, as a tumor has been idling in her chest, growing ever so slowly. She’s almost 14 years old now. I got her when she was 4 months old. I was 21 then — an adult, officially — and she was my kid.
She is a pitbull, and was found in Echo Park, with a rope around her neck, and bites all over her ears and face.
She was the one the dogfighters use to puff up the confidence of the contenders.
She’s almost 14 and I’ve never seen her start a fight, or bite, or even growl, so I can understand why they chose her for that awful role. She’s a pacifist.
Janet has been the most consistent relationship of my adult life, and that is just a fact. We’ve lived in numerous houses, and joined a few makeshift families, but it’s always really been just the two of us.
She slept in bed with me, her head on the pillow, and she accepted my hysterical, tearful face into her chest, with her paws around me, every time I was heartbroken, or spirit-broken, or just lost, and as years went by, she let me take the role of her child, as I fell asleep, with her chin resting above my head.
She was under the piano when I wrote songs, barked any time I tried to record anything, and she was in the studio with me, all the time we recorded the last album.
The last time I came back from tour, she was spry as ever, and she’s used to me being gone for a few weeks, every 6 or 7 years.
She has Addison’s Disease, which makes it more dangerous for her to travel, since she needs regular injections of Cortisol, because she reacts to stress and excitement without the physiological tools which keep most of us from literally panicking to death.
Despite all this, she’s effortlessly joyful & playful, and only stopped acting like a puppy about 3 years ago. She is my best friend, and my mother, and my daughter, my benefactor, and she’s the one who taught me what love is.
I can’t come to South America. Not now. When I got back from the last leg of the US tour, there was a big, big difference.
She doesn’t even want to go for walks anymore.
I know that she’s not sad about aging or dying. Animals have a survival instinct, but a sense of mortality and vanity, they do not. That’s why they are so much more present than people.
But I know she is coming close to the time where she will stop being a dog, and start instead to be part of everything. She’ll be in the wind, and in the soil, and the snow, and in me, wherever I go.
I just can’t leave her now, please understand. If I go away again, I’m afraid she’ll die and I won’t have the honor of singing her to sleep, of escorting her out.
Sometimes it takes me 20 minutes just to decide what socks to wear to bed.
But this decision is instant.
These are the choices we make, which define us. I will not be the woman who puts her career ahead of love & friendship.
I am the woman who stays home, baking Tilapia for my dearest, oldest friend. And helps her be comfortable & comforted & safe & important.
Many of us these days, we dread the death of a loved one. It is the ugly truth of Life that keeps us feeling terrified & alone. I wish we could also appreciate the time that lies right beside the end of time. I know that I will feel the most overwhelming knowledge of her, and of her life and of my love for her, in the last moments.
I need to do my damnedest, to be there for that.
Because it will be the most beautiful, the most intense, the most enriching experience of life I’ve ever known.
When she dies.
So I am staying home, and I am listening to her snore and wheeze, and I am revelling in the swampiest, most awful breath that ever emanated from an angel. And I’m asking for your blessing.
“I always knew I shouldn’t have said that.” ~ Jon Stewart, The Daily Show
If it’s Friday, it must mean leftovers . . .
Boy oh boy. Where do I start? It’s been quite a week for inanity in action (say that three times in a row really fast: inanity in action inanity in action inanity in action). The Tea Party, the oil spill, the Republicans, the African lions, the Wal Mart shoppers . . .
Attention Wal Mart shoppers: In Salinas, California, police have arrested a couple who tried to sell their six-month-old baby outside a Wal Mart. Going price? Twenty-five dollars. Just how much meth does $25 buy? It goes without saying that the two were high when police got to their home.
In Kingsport, Tennessee, a woman being charged with DUI told police that she would test possible for a few drugs: Xanax, Lortab and Phenergan. Okay, let me just say right here that Lortab and Phenergan are on my daily medication list, and neither one of those affect me. Well, phenergan sometimes makes me sleepy. I once joked with my PCP that if I ever got stopped, I would have the police call him to verify that the medications found in my bloodstream are all prescribed . . .
The National Pork Board (yes, there is one) attested that they know that unicorn meat isn’t real. Wow. That’s a relief. Seems that Pork Board people got put out because an online retailer called ThinkGeek was selling fake unicorn meat and marketing it as “the new white meat.” The canned meat is described as being an “excellent source of sparkles. The Pork people sent a Cease and Desist. Seems they didn’t understand the whole concept of April Fool’s.
Word of warning: Don’t get on a pool float if you are smashed. Seems a man at a Tampa Beach in Florida passed out while on a float and drifted about a mile offshore into the Gulf of Mexico. The U. S. Coast Guard rescued the man after receiving a report from a boater who saw the unconscious man. I wonder if he got any oil spill on him . . .
Those whacky Arizonans are at it again: A restaurant in Phoenix is serving burgers made of African Lion meat. The restaurant ordered 10 pounds of the lion meat from a USDA-regulated, free-range farm in Illinois. Il Vinaio restaurant owner Cameron Selogie claims that he researched to make sure they were humane. I feel so much better now.
“For me it was just exciting to see fake news catching on like that. We don’t . . . you know, it’s interesting. I think we don’t make things up. We just distill it to, hopefully, its most humorous nugget. And in that sense it seems faked and skewed just because we don’t have to be subjective or pretend to be objective. We can just put it out there.” ~ Jon Stewart, The Daily Show
Senatorial candidate (R-KY) Rand Paul (so glad he’s running because he is great for fodder), has a bright new idea: He wants to build a fence along the U.S.-Mexico border. Heard it before, right? Wrong. Paul wants the fence to be underground and electrified: “My plans include an underground electric fence, with helicopter stations to respond quickly to breaches of the border.”
Half-governor Sarah Palin must give back more than $386,000 in contributions to her Alaska Fund Trust (AFT), which she set up as a private legal defense fund while she was governor of Alaska. According to the AFT website, the trust is “the official legal fund created to defend Sarah Palin from an onslaught of political attacks launched against her, her Family, and colleagues (sic).” What’s wrong with that? Well apparently it’s a question of ethics: The trust website quite openly uses the governor’s position to solicit donations, and “There is probable cause to believe that Governor Palin used, or attempted to use, her official position for personal gain in violation of Alaska statute. Shame, shame.
“We don’t consider ourselves equal opportunity anythings, because that’s not—you know, that’s the beauty of fake journalism. We don’t have to—we travel in fake ethics.” ~ Jon Stewart, The Daily Show
Speaking of politicians using things for personal gain, Eliot Spitzer, former governor of New York and Client No. 9 of the Emperor’s Club escort service, fancies himself a political pundit. Spitzer has been selected to star in CNN’s 8 p.m. time slot with Kathleen Parker, Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington Post columnist. The show will not be called “Crossfire,” the long-running show that originally featured Pat Buchanan and Tom Braden. Giving Spitzer the 8 p.m. slot formerly occupied by Campbell Brown has caused more than a few raised eyebrows. Felix Gillete and Reid Pillifant of Media Mob had this to say: “The truth is, a solid foundation in scandal has come to be a perfectly respectable starting point for any small-screen aspirant hoping to break through in an age of hundreds of channels and on-demand everything. Whatever else his qualifications, Mr. Spitzer has proven in recent times to have a knack for one of the more prized skills in cable news-namely, polarizing audiences.” Personally I just don’t like the guy.
In the 1990’s, Nevada GOP Senate candidate Sharron Angle belonged to Nevada’s Independent American Party. Noteworthy is that in 1994, the party placed a sixteen-page advertising insert in Nevada newspapers promoting an amendment to the state constitution that would explicitly permit discrimination against LGBT people by businesses and government. The anti-gay insert portrayed LGBT people as “sodomites” and child-molesting, HIV-carrying, Hell-bound freaks and brazen perverts. How absolutely delightful.
Coming to a theater near you: One of my favorite politicians, Michele Bachmann, is slated to star in “Socialism: A Clear and Present Danger,” a documentary that explores the dangers of socialism. Bachmann is touted to be an anti-socialism expert. Must be the crazy eyes that give her such insight.
“No. I’m not going to be your monkey.” ~ Jon Stewart, The Daily Show
And finally,Stephen Colbert took a look at Kentucky Republican Senate candidate Rand Paul’s dissident ophthalmology re-certification group, which Paul created after a dispute with the national board.
Gloria Swanson as Norma Desmond in Sunset Boulevard
Joe Gillis: “You’re Norma Desmond. You used to be in silent pictures. You used to be big.”
Norma Desmond: “I am big. It’s the pictures that got small.” ~ From Sunset Boulevard
No post yesterday as I could think of absolutely nothing interesting to say. Hate it when that happens.
A few bits and pieces for my Friday Leftovers:
♦ One of my favorite bloggers has taken down her blog. I deleted it from my blogroll today and have to say that it gave me a pang of sadness to do so. She is a wonderful writer and has a great turn with words. I’m hoping that she will reconsider and come back with a new iteration. Although I must admit that I understand too well her comment about how she feels that her blog has become too whiney. I often feel that way myself, although, it doesn’t stop me from continuing to whine and post. Perhaps she has the right idea . . . Just a thought.
♦ I’ve been reading the latest on what Junior Senator Al Franken of Minnesota is doing, and boy am I glad that he was finally sworn in. The man is incredibly intelligent and is working quickly to make a name for himself. In one article, Franken took to task conservative economist Diana Furchtgott-Roth for claiming that the Democrats’ healthcare reforms would increase the number of bankruptcies filed for medical reasons. As Franken pointed out, countries with national healthcare, such as Switzerland, Germany, and France had exactly zero bankruptcies due to medical crises last year. So nice when sweeping generalizations are countered with cold, hard facts.
♦ In my ongoing quest to add new titles to my music playlists, I have downloaded some songs from the movie Across the Universe, which features covers of Beatles’ songs. Even though the Beatles still rank as one of my favorite bands, I am not a Beatle elitist, and I really enjoy a good cover. I’m including one of my favorites at the end of this post. It’s by Fiona Apple, who has a wonderful voice. The song is actually not from the movie but from the television show “Smallville,” but it is a Beatles’ cover nonetheless.
♦ I have asked Corey to go through the storage bins again and find me some new-old reading material. I haven’t read a book in almost two weeks, and I’m going through withdrawal. Of course, for most of those days, I couldn’t read because of the blasted migraine, but the pain has settled into just a general tight discomfort, so I want to read. In particular, I’m craving my Ann Rule books. If you like a tightly-written true crime novel, she is the best in her genre.
♦ Speaking of migraines, I think that I’m clenching my teeth again. Actually, I’m sure of it. When I first wake up, my jaw is very tight, and it hurts, just like it used to years ago when I was clenching and grinding in my sleep. I actually had two jaw surgeries because of my TMJ. I hope that just by being aware of it now I can reteach myself not to clench. No more surgeries for me.
♦ Last week this time it was about 46° F outside. Today it’s about 80° F. I love this area. It’s just a hotbed for extremes, which wreaks havoc on the sinuses. Common saying about Tidewater/Hampton Roads: “If you don’t like the weather, just wait a few hours.”
♦ I glanced at the calendar today, and am completely mystified as to how it is October already, let alone almost Halloween. I am so not ready for the holidays. I hope to make it through November reasonably well this year, but I never know. November is such a horrible month for me—too many bad anniversaries. Here’s hoping that I don’t crash and burn like I did last November.
Norma Desmond: “There once was a time in this business when I had the eyes of the whole world! But that wasn’t good enough for them, oh no! They had to have the ears of the whole world too. So they opened their big mouths and out came talk. Talk! TALK!” ~ From Sunset Boulevard
♦ Another political aside: Darth Dick Cheney received the Center for Security Policy’s Keeper of the Flame Award. Looking on and listening to Cheney were convicted felon Scooter Libby and former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. Great company. Essentially, the speech was filled with more of Cheney’s nonsensical commentary about how life was safe under Bush and Cheney (for, and I quote, “seven years, four months, and nine days”) and life is horrible now because . . . well . . . Obama hasn’t resolved the war in Afghanistan that Cheney started . . . This administration isn’t using the former administration’s review of the eight-year-old war. I believe the word dithering was used. Hmm, if Cheney had such a great plan to end the war, why didn’t he do it when he was in office? Why did requests for more troops sit unanswered for eight months? Why was Afghanistan clearly relegated to secondary status after Iraq? But most importantly, why is this man still speaking, and why are people still listening? “Keeper of the Flame”? More like perpetuator of flaming discord. Beh.
♦ One more: When I mentioned earlier that I didn’t think that President Obama’s White House should openly engage in a fracas with Fox Noise, I said that the publicity would only encourage them. Boy was I right, and not in a good way. People: Calm Down. Some of you need to be reminded that the Bush administration regularly neglected to allow commentators and news people from networks and radio stations that were perceived to be too liberal or anti-Bush. Whenever W. invited talk radio hosts to the White House, liberal hosts were never included, but conservative braniacs like Glenn Beck were. In the last two years of the administration, NBC, and MSNBC were regularly left off lists. And dare I mention that little tidbit about how W.’s communications people paid journalists to ask questions? Remember Jeff Gannon of the questionable Talon News? ‘Nuff said.
♦ Sending good luck wishes across the world to Australia for Maureen of White Orchid, who is waiting to hear about her new job, and her daughter Prue, who is scheduled for surgery. A stressful time for everyone. Hoping that everything turns out well.
♦ On this front, still waiting to see if Social Security is going to approve my disability claim this time. Had to send them additional information. Have I mentioned before how much I love bureaucracies and paper work?
♦ Someone please explain to me why it would be bad to have healthcare for everyone who needs it? I know that we aren’t going to get exactly what we need, but if we get nothing again this time, then I am going to work my butt off in the campaign to rescind healthcare for Congress at no cost. Why do they deserve healthcare, but everyone else does not? And don’t try to tell me that this statement and the one above contradict each other. I would gladly fill out forms if it meant that I was getting somewhere. It’s the constant completion of forms without any forward progress that irks me.
♦ President Obama is coming to Virginia on Tuesday on behalf of Democratic candidate for governor Creigh Deeds. About time, I say. I’m not really sure why Obama waited so long to get involved in this race as it’s a big one. Virginia almost always goes with a Republican governor when the President is a Democrat. This time, we had a chance to keep a Democrat, yet Obama has not done much in the way of supporting Deeds. You would think that he would have worked harder to retain a state that went blue for the first time since 1964.
♦ Windows has come out with Windows 7. Excuse me, but I still can’t use this frigging Windows Vista without my computer locking up at least once a day. Windows XP was a wonderful operating system. I loved it, loved everything about it, considered it the best since Windows 95. What is it with Windows? I know, Macs are better, but who can afford a Mac? If they weren’t so blasted expensive, I’d say convert all of the PC’s to Macs, but of course, that is completely out of the question. Corey likes to remind me that he has no problems with Vista. Yep. Okay. Whatever.
Norma Desmond: “We didn’t need dialogue. We had faces.” ~ From Sunset Boulevard
♦ When I proofed this post on Sunday, I realized that an entire paragraph was missing, the one that explains the whole Sunset Boulevard theme: In case you did not recognize the quote “I’m ready for my close-up, Mr. DeMille,” it is taken from Sunset Boulevard, a classic movie starring Gloria Swanson as Norma Desmond, an aging, delusional movie star. That particular line comes at the end of the movie. Some of you may remember Carol Burnett’s hilarious turn as Norma Desmond on the old “Carol Burnett Show.”
♦ Nothing yet on the job front for Corey. He did submit his application to Newport News Shipbuilding for their apprentice program, but we have no idea as to how long that process takes. If he gets in, it would be a great move. He would get a decent salary as an apprentice with full benefits, plus he would finish the program with an Associate’s Degree. I’m really hoping that this works out because the whole tug boat thing is at a standstill.
♦ Mom decided not to replace her roof right now, this after weeks of calling us every couple of hours about what to do. My mother is decidedly single-minded once she is focused on something, and then, she turns on a dime. Not even trying to figure her out any more.
♦ By the way, any more is technically supposed to be two words all of the time. Over time, anymore as one word has been substituted, but it is not preferred grammatically. The difference is that any more as two words signifies any longer. When used as one word, it is a colloquialism for nowadays: Not a day goes by without a headache anymore. Yuck.
♦ Other than that, everything else is pretty much normal. Tillie is fine after her last episode. Brett is trying to stay caught up in school, and Eamonn is still working on his construction job until the new school semester. Not hearing a lot from Alexis these days. Not sure if she is in one of her moods, or just extraordinarily busy. Such is life when everyone is busy with their own things. Oh yes, the van is still running nicely, and the truck is still dead. Good and bad, as usual.
Here’s hoping that nothing else too dramatic happens in the next few days. However, I’ve been on the phone (currently on hold) with my retirement fund for the past 20 minutes regarding a withdrawal, and I don’t think that I’m going to hear what I want to hear; this after speaking to three different people about this transaction and being told that everything was fine. Why oh why, I am whining to myself.