Thursday, December 28, 2006

speaking symbolically

Here I am at St. Frank’s again, doing my outreach hours. I couldn’t get in here for the past two months or more due to low staffing at our primary office. The time that I was unable to come here, as those who read my blog will have noticed, had a direct effect upon my overall mental health and well-being. My job totally sucked ass. I mean, even more ass than usual.

Coming back here after stress-o-rama gave me some added insight into my own career meanderings. I mean, I come from a clergy family and I earned all the degrees to become a minister. Then I got stalemated by the doctrines and church traditions and blah-blah’s that I would have to sign on for to do ministry.

I did a stint as a hospital chaplain for coursework and that was great. The thing is, you can’t be a hospital chaplain without being funneled through a church system. So here I am backed into a career corner.

The thing I like about chaplaincy (and that even my Baptist supervisor said was my strength) is that chaplaincy demands that the chaplain be open to the faith journey of the patient. It is not a good place for evangelists – anyone rigid about the belief structures they can allow into their brain or tolerate in others. I have the opposite problem – self diagnosed as hyper-fluidity.

So I was good at it and enjoyed it – but my difficulties with ordination power-structures have dead-ended me every time I tried to approach that career path. I ended up in human services – first doing residential care and then the job I have now at the domestic violence place. A lot of the work is similar, but there is a piece missing that I think I bumped into today.

I had the church to myself for a couple of hours and I love that. Call me anti-social, but churches are always best when they’re empty. I love my little office, which is a partially-converted vestment closet. I engage in an ongoing OCD battle with someone from the choir about whether the little St. Frank in the window should be facing out toward the landscape or in toward the room (i.e. closet). I mean, don’t you think St. Francis of Frigging Assisi or what-all would rather look out the window than stare at a closet? They bill him as nature-guy. Right now we have a fragile truce in which Frank is angled so one eye could see out the window and one into the closet/office – provided he wasn’t a frigging block of wood. I have a lot of time on my hands, here.

So on. I was in the sanctuary looking at the statuary. The giant St. Frank on the wall (rosary at hip, foot on the globe) had a bundle of fresh bay leaves tucked under the foot. Someone had clearly gathered it at the beach and stuck it on there.

I have always liked this particular statue – problematic doctrinal symbols set guiltily aside. That’s my fucking problem, by the way. You should see me trying to sing a hymn or do a responsive reading without stalling out to scowl at the intricacies of the text. And don’t tell me to go be a Unitarian. They thought I was too Pagan. Yes, they allegedly allow Pagans but you are apparently supposed to be UU first and Pagan second (actual quote). I am the other way around, thanks very much. Plus the local ones have a vehement hatred of vegetarians. Yep, religion is just that stupid. Hence my preferring a church when its empty.

Okay, back to the thing – the idea that I bumped into. Something about the image of the fresh bay leaves tucked under the foot of that old statue reminded me (or made me realize) why I got into religion in the first place. And being stuck in our central office for all these weeks, sometimes as the only staff there, facing crisis after crisis – ugly mess after ugly mess – it helped me to see how the religious symbols help life to mean something. They give us something pretty and hopeful to hold onto. Even those male-centered, Caucasian/European-heritage-centered and anthropomorphic, middle class, diversity-excluding hymns that drive me up the fucking wall every time.

So – I will try to appreciate what people are holding onto in those hymns, and take comfort in the religious imagery that nourishes me. Yay.

Oooh! Gotta go. I’ve got the church to myself, again. Time to go ogle the solid wall of Poinsettia’s under the organ pipes.

Happy New Year – filled with diversity, empowerment and peace.

pretty thoughts


Well, here we are. We survived Christmas. I am going to Boston tomorrow to do second Christmas with Dad's side of the family. We do that every year and it is good. I wrote some work stuff here, yet deleted it -- too septic even for me to keep. I want to blog on normal, mundane stuff. Pretty thoughts. Yay.

It's good weather for travelling. It is below freezing for once, and there is frost on the ground. Still, we have had almost no Maine winter. We had about four inches of snow in November, but it melted off in forty degree weather the next week. It has been totally bizzare. I'm not complaining. The ski-freaks are, though. I say fly to Aspen if you haven't got anything to do except ski (then insert profanity).

Okay. Gotta go walk the dog. :)

Friday, December 22, 2006

star and flower



my puppy's sister and littermate is up for adoption through http://www.greyhoundplacement.com/ (the exact link to flower is http://search.petfinder.com/petnote/displaypet.cgi?petid=7488586)if anyone has been oh, so jealous. here's her pic so you can see how much starflower (flower) looks like my girl, stardom. (flower is on the left, star is on the right).




speaking of stardom, her pedigree is on http://www.greyhound-data.com/d?d=stardom&sex=f&color=&birthyear=&birthland= (so is starflower, for that matter).

It's cool. It shows her Sire going all the way back to a dog named Pilot in the UK in 1820, and her Dam going back to Kitty in that same period.

:) leslie

Monday, November 20, 2006

Nettie Rolling


This is the cat that came to us from the dump a couple of months ago. Obviously, she is settling in. :) ljl

Saturday, November 18, 2006

crazy work short-fic


Wrote this for my friends. Enjoy it if you dare! ;) ljl


Betty, Terry, and Leslie sat in the darkened office. Rain came down the foggy windows in cool, gray sheets. The only good thing about this weather was the sense of isolation. Perhaps it would be a quiet day.
After a long week as an advocate at a domestic violence agency, a good day was a wonderful thing. The three colleagues sat in a large office and toyed with the idea of lunch.
“I’m so ready for Friday,” Leslie said.
Terry nodded vigorously. “I know. I didn’t even know it was Friday already. I came to work thinking we had two more days to go.”
“Don’t even say that,” Leslie replied.
Betty rocked back and forth in the office chair so that it made a grating, methodical squeak.
“This has been about three Fridays already,” she said, “and it isn’t even noon.”
Terry nodded again. “I had three clients yell at me before nine o’clock.”
“Yeah, and I got a couple of them when the called back,” Leslie agreed. “I can’t frigging wait until the end of the….”
She stopped speaking and jumped in alarm as a loud, male voice echoed down the hall.
“Choco-doodle-doo, its twelve o’clock!” it said.
“Jesus Christ,” Leslie said under her breath. “That thing is Satan’s clock.”
Betty nodded. “Big, chocolate Satan. Obviously.”
Terry giggled. Everyone in the office teased her about the M & M candy paraphernalia that she had decorated her office with when her home daycare closed.
“At least I reset it,” she said. “It used to say good morning when it came to noon because it was set to think it was midnight.”
“Yeah, it’s much better this way.”
“I know, I know,” Terry conceded – but not in a way that suggested the slightest hint of remorse.
Betty rocked her chair faster. “At least the thing is going forward. I don’t see any of these other clocks moving, at all. Either that or they are running backwards.”
Leslie scowled. “Maybe. I still want to hit it with a hammer.”
At that very moment, the doorbell rang. All three looked toward the hallway and started to move, but Leslie moved forward first.
“I’m on in fifteen minutes,” Betty said. “I can take it if….”
Leslie shrugged. “I’m still on, and I already ate. I might as well go.”
She said this as she moved down the hall. Terry and Betty relaxed back into the silence as Leslie’s footsteps faded. She clomped down the stairs to the first floor and then they could not hear her, at all.
“So, who yelled at you?” Betty asked.
“The guy,” Terry answered.
“Which guy? The fundy?”
“Nope.”
“Oh. The crazy one?”
“Which one do you….”
“The one that smelled.”
Terry wrinkled her nose and shook her head.
Betty frowned. “Who, then? Tire iron guy?”
“Nope.”
“Hammer guy…with the hole in his head?”
“Nope. Chainsaw guy.”
“What?”
“The chainsaw guy. The one that said if he couldn’t have a twenty-four pack of beer by four o’clock, he would….”
“Oh, yeah.” Betty said. “Prick.”
Terry nodded again. They sat in silence, once more. In fact, there was absolutely no sound save the rain being blown against the modular walls.
Betty frowned again. “Hey, did you even here Leslie open the front door for anyone?”
Terry thought about it. “No, actually. She must have, though.”
“Yeah, I guess. But it makes me a little nervous.”
They looked at each other in silence for a moment before Betty sighed and got up.
“I think I’ll do a walk-through,” she said. “If I’m not back in five minutes, I’ve been killed.”
They both laughed. “Okay,” Terry said. With that, Betty was gone.
Terry looked around for something to do. She would rather gargle with broken glass than go into her office and catch up on her pile of client files. She pulled a domestic violence self-help book off Leslie’s bookshelf and flipped through it. She didn’t stop to read the pages.
As she set the book down, she noticed that the lower floor of the building was still totally silent. It was odd. Even if there was no client, Betty and Leslie should be talking or laughing. At least they should be opening and closing the kitchen cupboard doors.
An unsettling thought crept into her mind. What if the unthinkable had happened? What if an angry perpetrator had come to get revenge?
Terry sighed and slapped her knee with one hand. “Come on, now. Get your lunch. Those bitches are just hiding in a closet, hoping you’ll get worried and go looking for them.”
“No way,” she mumbled to herself. She jumped out of her seat and went downstairs.
The lower floor of the building seemed totally empty. Yet nothing was out of place. It seemed that Terry was totally alone.
She scowled and stomped over to the refrigerator. She wasn’t going to give them the satisfaction of getting scared. Betty and Leslie were undoubtedly hiding in a closet. After all, the three of them had pulled the same trick on another colleague, in the past.
“They’ll be sorry when they smell my food cooking and they are stuffed into the closet in the legal room, or some shit.”
With that, she gathered her cold, fried chicken and tortillas. She was going to make a nice wrap. When they came rolling out of the closet, they would find her enjoying her meal. The laugh would be on….
Terry started to scream as strong arms wrapped around her – pinning her arms and covering her mouth. They were long and coiled about her like steel cables. They reached upward, as if her assailant was close to the ground.
She tried again to struggle and scream. It did no good. She felt dizzy with terror as she was dragged backwards across the kitchen floor. She could see her tennis shoes, but little else. The rubber soles of her shoes squeaked as she was dragged to the basement door.
There was no escape. Her unseen attacker was pulling her down the dark stairwell. The soft glow of a light could be seen looming beneath her. It was not just the safety lights that always illuminated the basement. It was flickering. It smelled. It was a fire.
As her assailant dragged her around the corner of the stairwell, Terry saw a terrible sight. There was a cauldron as big as a hot tub in the middle of the basement. There was a pile of burning logs beneath it. The cauldron with filled with…what? Tar? No. She recognized that smell. It was….
“Time for a dip,” a nasty voice said. It was cartoon-like yet very, very evil. Every syllable dripped with malevolence.
“Yes,” a munchkin-like treble replied. “She can join her friends.”
The hand finally came away from Terry’s mouth. She saw a white glove pulling away. As she screamed, she craned her neck to see. She looked behind her – then down.
A child-sized M & M was still pinning her arms and preventing escape. The red-coated agent of Hell had a mean, red glow behind the rattling plastic beads of his google-eyes.
“Put her in,” the treble-voice repeated. Terry strained her eyes into the flickering darkness. She could see another one. It was green.
“I don’t know what the fuss is about,” a blue peanut-job said. Its voice was mocking and cruel.
“That’s right,” Terry’s captor agreed. “You all said you loved chocolate, didn’t you?”
He turned Terry so that her eyes were turned toward a horrendous sight. Leslie’s yellow-coated, candy-carcass was hung from the ceiling by its feet.
Her dead face was contorted with terror. Her chocolate stained and blistered arm was reaching toward the floor. It looked as if she had been trying to escape right up until the molten confection had filled her lungs.
“Aaah, I hope you can’t see anything you’re not supposed to,” the red one said.
“Shut up,” said the peanut. “That’s your clock script. Be a free thinker, you ass.”
“Yeah,” said the green one. “This is a coup. This is revenge.”
Terry tried to control her breathing. She knew she was about to pass out. Then the sound came to her. There was a scratching…no…a pecking. It sounded like a baby bird was trying to break out of its egg. A big bird.
She looked past Leslie and screamed again. There was a giant, red cocoon of hard candy hanging from a second hook. The side was slowly cracking. As Terry watched, another chocolate-covered hand clawed forth. It had to be Betty.
“Now you see what’s on the menu,” the peanut said. “It’s you.”
The red one laughed maliciously from behind her. “Aw, don’t worry. We’re not gonna eat you.”
“No, we wouldn’t do that to you,” the green one said. “Oh, no. I hope you enjoy keeping track of the time. It’s the talking clock for you.”
Terry screamed and kicked as she was pushed…dragged toward her doom. She regretted every M & M she had ever eaten as the hot chocolate loomed into view.
The last thing Terry heard as she was consumed by the smore-stinking blackness was the rasping, relentless beat of a familiar beast. She heard the pendulum of her M & M clock.

The end.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

settling in




Star is settling into her first house very nicely. We keep her in her crate when she is unsupervised as the adoption folks told us to do. As Louise at Maine Greyhound Placement (AKA her farm) explained to us, "Star's life until now was only as big as that crate. As eager as you may be to lavish her with the household freedoms that you want her to have, it has to go slow. Every new experience can accumulate to become overwhelming."

So Starry spends a lot of time in her box. She used her peanut-butter and cheese stuffed Kong toy to make the time pass. Oh, and there is sleeping. She does a lot of that. She enjoys her walks across our field and her time playing with chew toys, but she spends most of her time asleep - in or out of the crate.

Sammy Cat - the Dog Whisperer



My boy Sam loved our greyhound, Lucky. I always thought it was because both boys were black and Sam saw Lucky as a "supercat." He mimicked Lucky's posture and followed us when we went for walks. He looked for Lucky when Lucky died.

As soon as Stardom came into the house, Sam was trying to approach her. This made me nervous because Star had a low prey drive but had never been literally surrounded by cats, so I wanted to take things a lot slower than Sam did. Of course, Star was crated whenever I wasn't right there.

Sam started going on our walks with us right away. He was the first cat to let Star sniff him and walk up to him whenever she felt curious. By her second night in the house, she was just learning to lay down in the living room on a cushion and Sam came in. He flopped down only inches from her with his back to her. She sniffed at him, looked at me, then stretched out and went to sleep. Thanks almost entirely to Sam, Star is now getting along very well with the cats. She is a little afraid of some of them, but she is getting used to their mannerisms. By night four one of the little tabbies got spooked by another cat and dove off the couch at a run. She literally landed on Star's nose before taking off across the house. Star blinked. Then she went back to sleep. It is a good thing we have a dog whisperer in the house. :) ljl

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

good to have friends


PS: if my friends Crimsoncrow and Gwennie (obviously along with Mom) had not helped me get Stardom (and Gwen is still walking her on her lunch break), I would be in a hospital by now. LOVE YOU!

Stardom


I gotta new doggie! I'm still tired and a bit nervous, but it is not because she has any behavior problems. She is a very good girl. Her name is Stardom and she is three years old. She has some scars on her back and neck from a racetrack injury, but it doesn't seem to cause her a great deal of recurrent trauma or pain. She has only been off the track for three months. She looks really thin to me, but they say she needs to lose ten pounds. She is seventy-two pounds, now, according to the PetQuarters scale.

Having a grey who just came off the track is a lot different from my Lucky Boy. When I adopted him, he was seven years old and had been living in a house for several years. He basically came home, flopped on his bed, and only got up for walks, meals, or a hug.

With Star, she had never been in a car, never been in a house, so on. It has been a lot different (hence the nervous and tired). We have to put her in her crate whenever we are not in the room (let alone away from the house). We have a muzzle, though she hasn't had to use that since the first night. We have to watch her around the cats and continue her "no chase" training, though they gave us Stardom because she had no real interest in cats (what adoption groups assess as a "low prey drive"). But living with nine cats is an adjustment for any sight hound who spent the first three years of her life chasing lures. Of course, the fact that she was injured on the track may have done something to remove her interest in coursing.

Anyhow, so far so good. She is getting used to having chill-time in the living room, though she is fine in her big crate. Racers are in a crate all the time except for four daily "turn-outs" and their racing/training. She has two rubber Kong toys that I stuff with peanut butter and alternate in the freezer. When she is in the crate for a long time, she always gets one of those. She already knows it. She came out of her crate on her second morning with us and found a potato to play ball with, so we gave her a dog toy. She carries it around and tosses it into the air once in a while, but she is mostly about the sleeping. Typical grey.

So -- onward with the home-adjustment period. Ready, set, go! :) ljl

the big day


Thursday, November 09, 2006

Noah's Animal House in Las Vegas: Pets and Domestic Violence


I love this. I put it on our work blog, but no one reads the frigging thing. DAMMIT! Oh, well. Enjoy. Check out http://www.noahsanimalhouse.org/ for more info. :) ljl

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE January 25, 2005


SHADE TREE SHELTER HIGHLIGHTS CONNECTION BETWEEN ANIMAL CRUELTY AND FAMILY VIOLENCE WITH NOAH’S ANIMAL HOUSE


Las Vegas, NV—In violent homes, pets are commonly abused by batterers in order to threaten and intimidate children, spouses, significant others, or elderly family members. Animal abuse can also be a predictor of a violent home.
Because domestic abuse shelters generally cannot accept pets, victims of family violence often stay in a dangerous situation out of fear for the safety of their pets. Unfortunately, this fear is well founded. All too often, batterers punish victims for leaving by abusing or killing their pets.
That’s why Shade Tree Shelter is adding a new service to the facility. Noah’s Animal House will provide temporary housing for family pets for their resident clients. What’s unique about Noah’s Animal House is that the facility will be built on the grounds of Shade Tree, a departure from most of the country’s pet safe haven programs, in which family pets must be sheltered away from their companions in veterinary clinics or animal shelters.
“We’re so excited about Noah’s Animal House,” said Brenda Dizon, Shade Tree’s Executive Director. “If a single battered family is able to leave sooner because they can now bring Fido or Fluffy with them to Shade Tree, we’ve been successful.”
Dizon also noted that the shelter is certain their clients will more easily adjust to their new environment if they’re able to keep the family together--including pets--while in the transitional programs Shade Tree provides.
“I’m convinced that Noah’s Animal House will save lives,” said Staci Columbo, a Shade Tree board member and volunteer. “It is our hope NAH will become a model for the sheltering of domestic violence victims together with their companion pets across the country.”
Shade Tree’s next step is to raise awareness—and funds—for the facility, which will be built entirely from charitable donation.
Although some businesses have stepped in with large cash donations, more is needed. Columbo said it is important to raise awareness of the project among local residents and businesses in the hope that some will wish to donate additional funds, volunteer time, or services to see the facility is built.
For information on how to help Shade Tree build Noah’s Animal House, contact either Staci Columbo at 221-6933 or Brenda Dizon at 385-0072 extension 101

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

"You need to edit that, Dumb ass!"


I had a small fit of hysterics during my semi-annual, internet, market-search for places to send short stories to. Most of them are wonderful and professional and affirming. Still, I gotta tell you, some of those editors sound even more burned-out than I am at my job. I definitely get crabby at work. I do feel bad because I get edgy with people whom I have had the same conversation with a half-dozen times. I think some of these folks are way in the same boat (or possibly they already sank).

I totally get that editors get piles and piles of writing. Some of it must be really displeasing to them. Everyone has different tastes. Anyone who works for a living gets tired and cranky. But the kind of “submission guidelines” that you see from editors can get pretty hilarious.

Let’s see. Here’s sample:

“Please, no tweenie or teeny-bopper or “California Girl” type of infantile drivel. NO!”

“Most common reasons for rejection are: lack of power, lack of originality, slow pacing, poor writing, boring themes.”

I understand their frustration. I really do. BUT do they really think any writer anywhere thinks his or her writing is “boring,” “poor,” or “slow?” Does anyone brag to her or his friends about the “infantile drivel” they just put through its sixth revision? Come on.


One of these days, if it isn’t already out there, I fully expect to see a submission guideline that says:

Standard Submission Guidelines:


Non-Fiction:

Fuck off. Who gives a shit? Go write a fucking blog.


Poetry and Prose:

Please refer to the non-fiction guidelines. If you are too fucking stupid to get the point, then please read the following disclaimer:

Don’t you fucking dare send me your shit-ass brain-farts you fucking organ donor jack-offs. If I get one more paragraph (by electronic or hard-copy submission) I’m going to hunt you down and carve out your fucking liver. I’ve got a grapefruit spoon with your fucking name on it. Go ahead. Try me!

Sincerely (and Fuck Off),

Blah-the-blah A. Powertripper
Editor-of-Something



Oooh! Which story should I send first? I’d better watch my liver. Or maybe I’ll just keep them with me and put them through their seventh revisions. ;) ljl

Monday, November 06, 2006

scared!

I am excited and scared. I am going to the greyhound rescue kennel this Saturday. I may come home with a dog, or begin the process thereof.

Something I haven't blogged about because of grief is that my greyhound, Lucky, died last February. February 9. At 11:58AM. It was unexpected and I am still not even able to put his ashes in their urn.

I think I will do better with that process when I have another dog. If the kennel doesn't work out, it won't be a grey. But that is my next big adventure. Everybody hold your breath! :) ljl

http://www.greyhoundplacement.com/

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Halloween/Samhain, Yay!

Enid's Happy Halloween Fic

Samhain is the Pagan New Year -- the time where old meets new. In the spirit, then:

Trick or Treat:


Enid slipped on her sunglasses and smiled as a group of preschoolers were herded down the sidewalk by their teacher’s aides. Every one of the little ones was dressed as some Halloween figure.

Most of the parents had gone in for some sort of cuddly, animal motif. The children wore pajama-style costumes that morphed them into bunnies, puppies, rabbits and the like. Of course, there were a few witches and pirates dealt into every deck.

She had always adored this holiday. It had been called many things in the cultures that she had drifted through. Yet the similarities remained charming. Any holiday that featured offerings to the dead was going to be top shelf with Enid.

It was about four in the afternoon. The sun was just starting to bow its head over the crisply temperate horizon.

The teacher’s aides were walking as fast as they could in an effort to herd their short-legged charges to their school. It would be time for the parents to start swarming in for the evening pick-up, soon.

Enid would be starting her Samhain festivities when the sun went down, as well. She was on the prowl for some particularly tasty meat. This was indeed “harvest time.”

Enid did not pick her prey based upon height, weight, or appearance. She did not even care about blood type. Enid liked to kill bad people.

She was looking for a pimp or a pedophile or a superficial asshole. She was a true hunter – respecting the natural balance of things. Yet she took this a step further than the other creatures that hunted their meat.

Enid sought not merely to kill the weak, old or sick. She sought the immoral ones. She would make the world a better place, one meal at a time. That was how the world made sense to her.

She already had a good candidate. It did not take long when she hunted near these suburban schools. There were others hunting here, too.

Enid could smell her prey -- the short man who sat upon a bus bench on the other side of the street. She wrinkled her nose. It wasn’t his blood that had the foul stench. It was his soul.

That was how she picked them. Vampires had razor sharp senses. The horror movies had that small detail right. That was why she needed sunglasses.

It was not because the sun would burn her, but only because solid shapes were too dense. They hurt her eyes. Her kind saw more than the surface of things. When Enid hunted, she looked well into the edges of the spirit realm.

She could hear the warm blood gurgling through the man’s veins. She could hear his past whisper like a distant echo. She could hear how he yelled at his aged mother. She could hear that he used to pull the legs off frogs.

Now he was looking for a youngster to steal. Not this time. He would never see the dusk, let alone the next dawn.

Enid ran her tongue over her fangs. The man was here to find a Halloween treat. She was going to turn him into hers.

She was just about to cross the street when two enormous shadows towered up from behind her. The man jumped up and walked away. Enid was too preoccupied to care. There was some terrible power behind her – one that even the undead had to respect. It could only be….

“Naughty, naughty,” a raspy voice said. It sounded like a very old woman.

“Yes,” someone else added. “Naughty – were you going to ask for that chap’s candy?”

“She would take it, I think.” The first one said. “She would take away all his sweet meats.”

Enid turned slowly and looked up at the eight-foot-tall forms. She felt her own blood grow cold, as it had not since she had been un-born. She was facing the arcane women – the old ones.

These were the elders that had made her. They were the Nosferat.

There were a hundred things that she might have said when faced with the old ones that had made her. All those things faded out of her mind at the sight of the elders in their Halloween costumes.

Both of the Nosferat were nearly nine feet tall. One had the feet of a lion and the other had the talons of a bird. The feet were not disguised, but each wore a novelty costume over her scaly body.

The elder who had bird feet was dressed like Cinderella – complete with plastic tiara. She had cut slits in the back to accommodate her huge, black wings.

Her lion-footed sister wore a Jedi robe and was carrying a plastic sword. She had an unsettlingly realistic police-hat perched between her own donkey ears.

The surreal look of a silly costume on top of what looked to be an extremely good one was enough to make parents yank their children to the other side of the street. Not to mention their enormous size.

The squawk of a police radio sounded from somewhere. Enid traced the sound. It was coming from inside the Jedi Nosferat’s plastic, Trick-or-Treat bag.

“How are you doing, Enid, dear?”

“We decided to come and see you.”

“It is the only night of the year when we can walk amongst the living. If we wish to leave even a single one of them alive, that is.”

“How is your sister? Does she still eat her dinner out of a plastic bag?”

The Nosferat giggled and Enid blushed. Her sister, Svetlana, was on what she referred to as the “three pint program.” She ordered her blood from some diet company that got it whole-sale from local hospitals.

“Sign up now and get your first week of blood for free,” Svetlana had said. Enid thought it was shameful for a vampire to live that way.

She fidgeted and tried to think of what she could tell the arcane monsters that had chosen Svetlana and herself to receive this heritage. She was afraid that they would punish Svetlana for denigrating the hunt. Yet they seemed to be in too jolly a mood. Thank goodness for the holiday spirit.

The winged one clicked her tongue impatiently. “Come, now, Enid. Demon got your tongue? Now, tell me…what exactly is your costume?”

Both Nosferat scrutinized Enid for several moments. She could not think of a single thing to say.

The one in the Jedi robe finally nudged her sister. “I don’t believe she is wearing a costume.”

“Oh, Enid…where is your holiday spirit?”

Enid swallowed hard and managed to speak. “I do not know, Mother. I…I suppose that I could not think of anything.”

The one with the donkey ears shook her head so that they swayed violently. “Dear, dear. That is very sad. Don’t you own a television?”

“I don’t think she does.”

“Oh, my. What a shame. We watch the telly all the time. The humans have the most wonderful technology.”

“Yes. We especially like the cooking shows. We saw a lovely cordon bleu recipe just the other day. They did it to a chicken.”

The winged one licked her lips. “Yes. We must try that, once we catch a really plump one.”

“It shouldn’t be hard after this holiday.”

The two giggled like nine-foot, mutant schoolgirls. The police radio squawked again. The Jedi Nosferat shook her bag until it fell still.

“You really should have a costume, Enid,” the winged one said. “It is only respectful to age old traditions.”

Enid forced herself to speak. “Mothers, it is so good to see you, again. There are many who say that the Nosferat no longer walk the earth!”

The monsters giggled again. “Oh, you youngsters don’t have any imagination. I think you rely too much on the telly to tell your stories for you.”

“I don’t know about that, Sister. The telly has some very good stories. They come up with some very entertaining….”

“Well I know that, Silly. I only mean that these youngsters tend to enjoy the stories without taking the bother to tell their own. Take Enid, here. She can’t even think of a costume. Isn’t that right, my dear?”

Enid mouthed something silently and then looked at the ground. A giant hand with talons like tree branches reached down to pat her on the head.

“Well, we had best be going,” the winged one said. “We have a haunted house to go to. We like to sneak in the back door and bring a little something extra to the ending.”

The Jedi cackled. “Yes, yes! They get tricked and we get treated! Would you like to come along, Enid?”

Enid mouthed something silent. The winged one nudged her sister and shook her head.

“She has a pedophile all picked out, remember? And he has scampered away. Hurry, Dear. His trail will grow cold.”

“We can catch him for you if you like, Sweetling. After all, we called you off the hunt.”

“Now, now. She can do her own hunting. Enid is one of our best pupils, aren’t you, my blossom?”

Enid still stared in silence at the arcane goddesses that had been the fodder of her village upbringing – brought suddenly and horribly to life when they snatched her off the steppes. Their sudden reappearance seemed to have the same effect on her, to this day.

“She is peckish,” the donkey-eared one finally said. “Let us be on our way.”
Both monsters blew kisses at Enid. The gust of breath that this created sent up a massive swirl of dead leaves.

Enid blinked and that was enough. When her vision cleared, the old ones were gone.
She turned and looked at the suburb around her. It was bustling with cheerful, holiday life. The young ones were out. Goblins and werewolves abounded. The pedophile was long gone. Enid could just catch his scent.

He was near the public firehouse. She knew that the mortals were having a community party there. So many parents were afraid to let their children knock on strangers’ doors, these days.
They were right, but Enid was going to give them one less reason to be afraid. Holding the fantastic memory of her Nosferat mothers in her mind, she started down the concrete sidewalk.

The sun was down and its warmth was gone. She didn’t want her dinner to get cold.

The end (and happy Halloween)!

mop up in isle styx


A skeleton walks into a bar. He says, "I'd like a beer...and a mop."

Yep, that's the best I've got. Happy Halloween! ;) LJL

Sunday, October 29, 2006

the hallow tree

when the power is out

Things to do when the power is out:

-Test the batteries in all emergency power outage equipment (assuming you can find the shit)

-Set things on fire

-Play Marco Polo

-Invent fun, new games like "Which cat did I step on?"

-Waste laptop battery with dribbling blogging

-Sleep

Saturday, October 28, 2006

kitty card



adorable! had to post it! this is my fave time of year. ;) ljl

monster mash


I’ve been watching a lot of horror movies this month. Most of them are from the forties. I’ve got “Dracula,” “Mark of the Vampire,” “Frankenstein,” “Bride of Frankenstein,” “Son of Frankenstein,” “House of Frankenstein,” “The Mummy,” “The Mummy’s Hand,” “The Wolfman,” and something like “Dracula Meets the Wolfman.”

I can’t wait for my all time favorite to air: “Dracula and the Wolfman take the Mummy out for Drinks and the Mummy gets totally Shitfaced then They dare him to Strip and use his Bandages to Vandalize the Topiary on Sorority Row.”

Classic.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Dirty Stories


First: I do not mean porn. Get your mind out of the damned gutter.

Moving on: I opened the trunk of my Subaru yesterday and started rooting through the trunk, looking for something or other (don't remember what). I dug under the disposable doggie-poop scoops (unused, thanks very much) and the old newspapers and...ah...some petrified snack bars (in my defense, they tasted petrified when I bought them), a couple of cat toys, and several dozen coffee cups to reveal...

...about three chapters from one of my story drafts. It had coffee on it, of course, and what I optimistically assumed to be "mud." But it made me think of the typical condition that my old story drafts tend to wind up in.

Any story draft that is left in the open for any period of time has pawprints on it -- and probably a rip or two. My tortie-cat, Ophelia, resents my time at the keyboard and has been known to perch on top of the printer, shredding each page as it comes out.

Then come the inevitable coffee stains. Maybe some chocolate or even some mustard. It could be anything, really.

When a story is "done" (if there is such a thing) and I feel safe discarding the drafts, they become:

1) kindling
2) phone messages
3) band-aids (I once bled all over the title page of a novella)
4) a private message from one cat or another that the litter needs to be changed
5) grocery lists
6) paper dolls
7) door-jams

The kindling one is hardest. I try to think about it as letting the old stuff recycle back into the Universe, but sometimes it just looks like burning my work.

No matter how much I think I conserve paper and rely on the computer, it is amazing how much paper I have gone through over the years. Pound upon pound of dirty stories.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

mmm...choclate-y justice goodness


hi! i just got an article posted on the frontpage of www.cauldronliving.com/ (thanks, sonya!) about fair trade chocolate. check it out if ya can.

;) leslie

Monday, October 23, 2006

Awarnesess month fun and frolic



Awareness month. What can I say? Banners, brochures, emotional exhaustion....

The funnest thing we have done this year is the "Pumpkin Patch Pet Show and Children's Day," which went on this past Saturday at the elementary school. It was fabulous! We had people from the local animal shelters put up their own booths, and help judge the pet show. We had games and toys and a bouncy house. It was cool. A ton of pics follow. Enjoy the ride! And please don't feed the advocates. Feeding the goat is fine.

star volunteer


Mommy! Worked her ass off all day just because I needed help, which is not unusual (um...her working or me needing, that is).

I wish I'd remembered my coat


Does anyone else feel a draft?

auxilliary power



Whoa, boy! I need a hug.

super-dog


wait -- get my good side.

got the goat


two of the stars of the show -- for obvious reasons.

If I had a hammer....


A coworker of mine takes matters in hand....

This is what awareness month is all about -- psychotically-overstimulated victim's advocates. Yay!

animal welfare


we had a pet show and family fun-day type of thing this weekend. it was cool. despite working nearly all day saturday, it was neat to see all the kids and their pets come in. we did it to highlight recent domestic violence/animal cruelty legislation which passed in our state. check out this link to see the info on the bill and the efforts of my pal and our board member, Sue Walsh. She's the one sitting...uh...at the animal welfare table. :)

http://www.all-creatures.org/adow/art-20060411.html


ps: here is sue at our pet show! :)

Thursday, October 19, 2006

dribbling babble

Hi. I’m at the church. I just went to the store and scored some coffee plus a cinnamon roll. I have a quandary. I want the computer on my lap but I want the cinnamon roll in my face. Hang on….

There. Now I have about half a cinnamon roll in my gut and big flakes of hard icing all over the floor. Now the church may get rats and I may get ex-whatever-icated. It was worth it. Hang on….

There. I just crawled around on the tile under my desk and picked up most of the icing flakes. Did you ever see the “X-Files” where the vampire was compulsively picking up sunflower seeds? That’s me with the flakes. The rats will be very disappointed.

I have a local paper here. It comes out on Thursdays. I love/hate to go through the court reports and see how many defendants I know – plus how pathetic their fines or sentences are. Hunting and fishing violations get like three and four times the fines or sentences of any kind of domestic violence. Virtually all the domestic assaults that lead to arrest bail for under $100 (and usually under $50).

Blah. Getting mad, now. Must deflect. The sanctuary has the greatest centerpiece on the piano. It has sunflowers and other flowers – mostly yellow, orange, or red. Then there is a fabulous cabbage-thing down to the lower left. Very cool. I am about to blog something that no one heretofore knew. Brace yourself.

When I am here I always sneak into the sanctuary and pray for a minute. I feel like a fugitive and I have actually hidden against the wall when on the verge of being caught. I don’t know why. I guess I just like it to be private. Even when you don’t live with your father anymore, I guess you can’t stop being a minister’s kid. I love a good sanctuary – but only when they are empty.

There. Flowers, good. Court reports, bad. I knew that. I will move on.

I find myself wondering more and more often about how damaged my soul has become by swimming in this sea of abuse, day in and day out. I have been working at the agency for five years, as of last month. I usually assume that it has been the internal strife and instability that has caused me more stress than the client work. Sometimes I wonder, though. Just in the past ten days I have had:

A two year old with cuts and bruises on his head from being boxed around – hugging and clinging and doing anything for a bit of safe affection.

A seven year old telling me how “I didn’t like what Daddy did to Mommy. He banged her head against the wall. He said he would tear Mommy’s head off.” – and telling me this about five times in eighty minutes.

A woman who had her head bashed against a wall until she shit herself – then was beaten because she shit herself. PS: the assault was retribution for filing a restraining order, which we helped her with.

A man who shot himself in the head in front of his family – and lived and still has custodial rights. PS: has a god-complex because he lived.

A woman who was beaten and choked, then her assailant called the police on her because she bit him during the choking. They have since both filed restraining orders against each other, which will be put to a hearing together.

A woman who came to this state with her fiancĂ© and is isolated on a bridge-connected island (remote but not impossible to get to). She has been assaulted “seven times” – including most recently when she was choked and kicked in the head. The assailant then called the police to “throw her out of his place.” They did not arrest her, but they did not arrest him, either. Then she was stranded on an island with no transportation and still with her assailant.

Kids who were knocked unconscious and then taped to a chair by their father – who had them for court-approved visitation despite the frantic efforts of the mother. As anyone who has ever thoroughly read a pertinent divorce judgment can tell you, “domestic violence prosecutions do not imply an inability to co-parent.”

A man who was beaten with a lead pipe in a busy parking lot by an unknown male whom he believes was sent by his ex (who is apparently in a mental hospital).

And, yes, SO MUCH MORE!!! Rural Maine – “the way life should be.”


There. No more icing flakes on the floor. No more rats. No more ex-whatever-ication.

Gotta go. PEACE! ;) ljl

Friday, October 13, 2006

my day job


Yay, October! Pumpkins, cool weather, costumes, and (of course) national domestic violence awareness and prevention month (you knew that, right?) Oooh. And candy.

Here's my deal-blahdy-blah-thing in the newspaper. Read it while the link lasts!

http://ellsworthmaine.com/site/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=4400&Itemid=46

or

http://bangordailynews.com/news/?a=141287&z=35


Peace, Leslie ;)

Friday, September 29, 2006

we are the future


The school year has started and I had my first gig for a high school earlier this month. I was just going over my agency required "outcome measures" (feedback forms) and I wanted to share.

This was a ninth grade so most of the students were fourteen. We did five gigs that day - only about a half-hour each with groups of twenty to thirty. If you have ever done youth ed., you know you can't expect to accomplish too damn much in that amount of time, in that amount of chaos, with that large a group of students (who are in their orientation and don't even know or trust each other/their teachers yet - let alone you).

So, here is my standard gig:

blah, blah - me (i.e. intro)
list "healthy/unhealthy" relationship stuff on flipchart (they tell me)
go over teen power and control wheel (if I feel like it)
wrap a kid in tape.

Okay. Now you have a question. What this means is that I wrap at kid in masking tape while the others give examples of unhealthy/power and control tactics. Kid processes how it feels to be restricted in said manner. More blah, blah. Then I unwrap tape while others give examples of "how to help" a friend in an unhealthy relationship.

give candy-type bribe
issue feedback forms.

So here are some of my fave "outcome measure":

1) Mis-spells name of his school and says to "things to look for in a good, healthy relationship": "hotgirl." For "any suggestions for improving future healthy relationship presentations": "look for a hottopgirl."

hmmm. Is this in reference to breasts or asphalt?

2) One has good content, I think. He says healthy is "being able to talt to you partner about probems."

3) "Talk into partner" (astral projection?)

4) "not bosyness"

5) "Yes, don't abbuse stuff."


And my favorite is a typed letter that the guidance director clearly copied and then sent (to me and similar ones to other presenters) saying:

Dear ms. Linder;

I am a freshman at (school name). Thank you for participating in our Freshman Awareness program last week.

It gave me a nice relief of not having to be in classes all day, and I got to watch you wrap some students in tape. I liked that your class wasn't so serious and that we could have some fun. I rated your presentation the highest rate.

Thank you again for taking the time to tell us about your organaization.

(name)

Yay, me! Saving the world, one little shit at a time. ;)

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Mabon


Happy Mabon (Autumn Equinox)! Hope you eat a big loaf of bread.

Life is progressing. I have coffee that a lovely co-worker just brought me. I dropped some processed cheese on my keyboard. No damage and actually quite amusing.

Nettipotts got spayed yesterday. She is still weak from the anesthesia so that part was scary, but she seems to be steadily improving. We have a tentative home for her in a week or so. If not, she is fine where she is.

By the way, when I say "we" I mean my mom. I know, I know. How can I be a healthy, stable adult when the gods of television and movies say that living with one's parents is bad? Well, I look at it this way -- if two adult, single women can get along and trust each other and join forces to afford the mortgage on a house and land - unable to do so otherwise - why not? So we get to live free of landlords and have wiccan rituals in our yard, fill the place with cats, and blah blah - whatever. Plus we can cover the floor with ridiculous amounts of pillows so that a sick cat can feel free to topple over - like we did for Nettipots when she came back from the vet.

So, there. Power to the people.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Fall!


Yay, Fall in Maine! It is my fave season - even if it has to be followed by winter.

Did the Komen Fund Breast Cancer 5K this weekend. It was good. There were over three thousand people there. There was also one little, white male fundy standing in the middle of the park holding a cardboard sign about "abortion causing breast cancer." That was one brave little fundy. Perhaps he was looking to martyr himself -- be eaten by the feminists and earn a seat at the right hand of god. But I think he lived. I certainly didn't eat him.

My text about the bog is below all the pics. I outsmarted myself by saving the text as a draft before I posted the photos. Oh, well. So let me restate that all the pics below this post are from my mom's birthday walk at the Bangor Bog. We had fun. Then we went to see "Hollywoodland," which was good -- though ageism-inspired suicide may not be the optimal topic for celebrating one's sixty-fourth. She didn't seem to see that angle and enjoyed it, at any rate. Now she wants to see "The Illusionist" again. That was very good.

So...on to the bog. Enjoy the pics and don't get your feet wet. :)

bog and still more bog


pitcher plant



this little puppy holds bog water like a "pitcher" and uses it to kill and eat bugs, apparently. COOL!

bogging


wierd black thing


your guess is as good as mine.

toadstools