Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Holding Court

I am on vacation at the moment. The usual New Jersey trip.

This year, I wasn't really looking forward to it so much because of the broken foot.
It's slowly getting better, but I can barely put weight on it. I still need the crutches and the walking boot.

I had a dream last night that I was walking around barefoot.  It was both thrilling and frightening at the same time.

So far, I have been here 2 full days and its quite nice.
B goes out and gets me a Turkish coffee first thing every morning.
There is a patio with a lounge seat and an awning.
I can sit in the shade to read and write while everyone else goes to the beach.

My mother in law has hibiscus plants so I can watch the hummingbirds and butterflies visit and the neighbors have a bird feeder so I get to watch the happenings there as well.

Firefly season is just starting around here. Last night we went up the street after going out for ice cream (yes ice cream every night too) and watched the fireflies in the dark meadow.
To the West Venus and Jupiter were bright above the horizon, colored a wash of pinks and orange.
To the East floated the gibbous moon above the where the ocean was.

Pretty moments that are not to be missed. My favorite thing about June is visiting that meadow at twilight.

I am thankful for another June to enjoy the moment.

Life is precious, people!

It's time for a book review. Book #20 for the year so far.

The Scarlet Gospels by Clive Barker.

Very exciting for us fans of Pinhead and the whole Hellraiser franchise. Movies one and two were really good. That ended it for me as far as the movies. I never realized there were more beyond those.

I have read more than a few of Clive Barker's books over the years and have loved many of them.  Weaveworld and Imagica are on my list of security blanket books and I re-read them at least once every few years.

Scarlet Gospels. First book of the summer for me. I bring two to vacation in New Jersey every year.

I will write this without too many spoilers if I can.

Pinhead. The mighty Cenobite.

Reading Pinhead's inner dialogue and learning that he has motivations, aside from making people who open Lemarchand's box writhe in exquisite pain.

For me,  I can only describe it as (please bear with me)
It was like hearing and then walking in on your ideal person, your perfect God/Goddess, person of your dreams, that you hold in the highest regard, taking a very loud and very messy diarrhea.

You are kind of horrified. You say to yourself, "No. No. No. this doesn't work. Not at all."

They are supposed to be wonderful and amazing, not squatting over the can like everyone else.

But you don't go running out the door because they are who they are.

Your ideal.

They just have become a tiny bit more human, more real so to speak. They have their origins and inner workings and desires,  no matter how gross.

So you stick around and you are happy you did.

They are still really great. Everyone has a bad bout of diarrhea, including you. Then you move on.

In the end, you get some great perspective from some new characters that show up to save the day (not really for those in the book, but for you, the reader).

Everything gets wrapped up nice and neat. There things to ponder on that venture into possible new stories, even if they are only in your head and never written.

 Then you close the book with a contented sigh, satisfied.

Clive Barker-I am so sorry that I doubted you, even for a second.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Pause for a Brief Eulogy

There are certain people who come into your life, for however long, be they friends, lovers or family and by virtue of your relationship with that person, the choices you make because of them,
you are pushed, pulled and shaped into the person that you are today.

Everyone has at least a handful.

Jon was such a person for me.

We briefly dated when I was 16 and he was 19.

I won't go into details except that like many relationships when you are young, it ended very very messy.

Everyone has at least one or two of those, I am sure.

It took years to pull myself out of that experience and I shall spare you the details.

I'm sure some of you who were there are already quite familiar with them.

We had closure though, good closure. We talked one evening a few years afterwards and sorted out our business.

We parted on good terms.

I have not seen Jon for 16 years and only spoke to him occasionally on Facebook.

But when I got the news yesterday that he had died suddenly, it brought me to my knees.

Not literally. I am happy to report that I was in fact, sitting and that was a good thing.

I went to his Facebook page and wrote that I was crying and yelling "Asshole" at the sky for making me feel that way.

I wrote that I was sure that if there was an afterlife, he is there, having a laugh at us all.

I then deleted it-thinking that it's probably not a good thing to refer to the dead party as an asshole.

At least not this early in the game.

There are people in our lives that shape and pull us, leading us to make choices based on our relationships with them.

They make us into the people we are at the moment.

 Everyone has at least a handful, be they friends, lovers or family.

Jon was one of those people for me.

We dated when I was 16 and he was 19.

I say again that I will not go into details except that we were together briefly,  but the aftermath of those months took years to get through.

I last saw him perhaps 16 years ago.

I ran into him at a restaurant while out on a date with the man I ended up marrying. The man who I am still married to and still truly in love with to this day.

But one never forgets first love, no matter how it turns out in the end.

You just don't forget.

I am not entirely comfortable with my reaction when I heard and how I am feeling right now.

My experience of his death will be quite small compared to the others who are close to him, who will miss his presence. Who will feel that empty space.

My heart is heavy for them.

When I called him "asshole" on his page, I meant something else entirely.

What I really meant to say was:

I am really really sad that you are gone.

I truly hope that you were able to find whatever you were looking for.

I regret nothing.

And thank you.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

I Read All 3 Fifty Shade Of Grey Books and I am Terrified of Bees- A Confession

It has been quite a while..
Since April 1st I believe.
 I think I was writing very sporadically before that.
Ok let's see..Some housekeeping...In order to move on,

I have to satisfy my OCD and will just make a quick mention of a few things so i can be done with them.

What was, what I now refer to as..The Brown Christmas..I puked through Christmas Day and missed the whole shebang.

 I made it through Christmas Eve, managed to gorge myself on, then vomit up, all of my favorite holiday foods, starting at 3am Christmas morning.

 Now I have no idea what the hell we are having for Christmas Eve dinner next year.

Christmas cookies, fruitcake, the same fried pork chops with German macaroni and potato salad I've been having for Christmas Eve for as long as I can remember?

I can't even stand the thought...the smell..of those things now.

If there is a good side, the pressure is off. I realized that it's just a day. A very special day, but nonetheless it is simply a day and it's not the end of the world if it gets missed.

Only its better to be missed in not such a pukey fashion.

The tradition New Years day list of books I read in the past year..

Here is my book list for last year, I'll include authors if I have them-Stars are for the best ones.

  1. Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children
  2. Hollow City
  3. The Coldest Girl In Cold Town-Holly Black
  4. The Fault In Our Stars***
  5. Sharp Teeth
  6. The Girl Who Played with Fire
  7. Holes-Louis Sachar
  8. Drop Dead Healthy-AJ Jacobs
  9. The Forest of Hands and Teeth
  10. The Crane Wife-Patrick Ness
  11. The Wind Through The Keyhole-Stephen King
  12. Insomnia-Stephen King
  13. Anna Dressed In Blood
  14. Death Poems
  15. The Rathbones**** 
  16. Orphan Train
  17. Dreams of Monsters
  18. Daughter of Smoke and Bone
  19. Odd and the Frost Giants***
  20. Storm of Swords
  21. I Am The Beggar Of The World**
  22. Under The Wide and Starry Sky
  23. The fault In Our Stars-I know..I read it again..shut up...
  24. Pretty Monsters****
  25. About A Boy
  26. Outlander
  27. 50 Shades of.....Ok-I feel the need to explain. Last summer, I got sick..It was a suspected case of Lyme Disease. For the two weeks before I got treatment, I felt like complete, utter shit and this crazy brain fog came over me. During that time I read the entire 50 Shades trilogy on my phone. This is what prompted me to seek medical attention as it was a good indication that something was truly wrong. Lyme Disease is a terrible thing. Sudden desire to read 50 Shades should be listed as a symptom.
  28. 50 Shades Darker-It's really quite funny how the author uses the phrase, "AAARRRGH!" to describe a woman's sexual pleasure/orgasm. She does it ALL the time in the books.
  29. 50 Shades Freed-Ok who am I to judge, just like Stephanie Meyers and the Twilight series, the author, whatshername,  has managed to cash in by pumping out crap for the masses. The people like crap. They supplied it. Good on them. By the way-Gilbert Gottfried reading 50 Shades (Look on You Tube) is magical-check it out.
  30. Silver Linings Playbook
  31. Islands Of Chaldea-Diana Wynne Jones-(I was heartbroken when I heard about her death-go read Howl's Moving Castle-it's her best)
  32. Nice Dragons Finish Last-Rachel Aaron
  33. All of the "Y-the Last Man" comic books
  34. Horns-book is good but god please skip that movie
  35. Monstrous Affections
  36. The Bone Season-Samantha Shannon
  37. Johannes Cabal, Necromancer
  38. Gone Girl
Every year, in June, just before vacation in NJ, I try to rustle up 2 new books to read. Last years choices were meh-
"Under The Wide and Starry Sky" was good, but not June vacation book good. 

I made up for it this year during the February NJ vacation. New Neil Gaiman and Kelly Link short stories.  I felt a lot better.
On my dresser sits the new Clive Barker Pinhead book-"The Scarlet Gospels"
That is waiting for next week and I am waiting for a book I ordered to come in, (The Goblin Emperor-recommended by Kelly Link herself, so it will be good)

This vacation stands to be much better book-wise. 

I need lots of good books to bring with me considering I can't go to the beach because I broke my fucking foot. I plan on eating a lot of ice cream and crutching around the block all week.

But it's ok. I'm out of work, spending a lot of time alone, which has done wonders for my mental health.

I got to watch the Daredevil series and I am having the time to work on editing the book I wrote.

Yeah, I did that too. I'll save it for another time. But the first draft is complete and I am editing and then I shall find an editor and then we will see what happens.

Then, in the meantime I'll find something else to write while I wait to see what happens with that. If you see me staring off into space, oftentimes I'm making up a story or adding to another that I thought of.

I do that often while B is watching sports. He has commented on my interest in watching. I just nod and say, "Uh-huh." while I burn cities in my head and stare blankly at the TV.

So lets talk real quick about bees. 
and wasps. 
There is this thing I have a problem with. It has trickled down to the kids as well, especially G, she was there for that bee incident I'll get to in a moment. 

Imagine two scenarios if you will.

Scenario 1
Kids in the living room watching TV, one calls out to me (I'll be the one in the kitchen, rattling dishes)
"Moooom! There's a wasp in the house!"
"Ok!" I calmly call out. I fetch a wad of paper towels or the jar, I keep a jar handy for these things. 
I calmly locate the insect, trap it and bring it outside to release. 
The kids return to watch TV, I go back to rattle some more dishes. 

Scenario 2
Kids in the living room watching TV, one screams out to me (I'll be the one in the kitchen, rattling dishes)
Me: "AARRRGGHHHH! (yeah just like Anastasia Steele in 50 Shades..see what I did there!) 
I burst in with a newspaper, chair or the cat, waving it frantically until I strike the bee down with whatever weapon I grabbed and beat on it, double, triple, tap, to make sure that it is dead dead dead.

Messed up right?
Wasps trapped in the house are so much more likely to sting than a bee.

And I'm a fucking beekeeper.

So any of you who have read my blog for the past how ever many years remember the time that my hive was vandalized and my attempts at putting it back together ended with me getting stung a number of times on my feet (I still find the hot cankle thing really funny), some girl who worked in the offices next to my hive getting stung on the eyelid, my daughter getting traumatized and me having to move my hives out to the woods.

Before the incident-I was really comfortable around bees. I would go into a hive gloveless no problem, putter around the outside of it without a veil or a thought. 

After the incident, my hives were moved really far away. A half hour drive at best.
I only went out there to work the hives, and when I did, I had the veil, suit, the whole nine yards. It was tough too, whenever I went to open a hive up, my heart would race, I'd start to sweat. Once I was in and doing stuff I was fine, but the anticipation killed me. My hive was pretty defensive too-always pissed off-I forgot that there was such a thing as gentle bees.
It has gotten better over time. I don't flake out as much when I am suited up and working.

But, aside from actually working a beehive, I did not regularly spend time around beehives.
So I never again  got used to the regular day to day being around bees aside from cracking open a hive which is always bound to piss somebody in there off.

There is a bit of a difference.

But I have stuck with it as most of you know-I still have bees,
I am not giving up beekeeping-there is no argument, don't even bring it up. Not happening.

I love them. I even take care of bees for someone as a side job.

But something about the buzzing of a bee in my ear. Or even the sound of an agitated bee nearby.

It sets me off, it's an actual PTSD trigger for me-
fucked up, right?
Stick a wasp around my face and I will casually swat it away.

A bee?

Forget it, my reaction is kind of comical.  Especially considering I'm a beekeeper.

My heart starts thumping, I get short of breath, the sweat machine kicks in.

Full blown flight mode.

This past winter was a bad winter for all of us. It was really bad for the bees. I had 3 good hives going into the Winter.

Two hives died and I was left with one I thought was queenless.

I gave it to some beekeeper friends to combine with a weak hive with a queen. They have helped me so much in the past and present so that basically, my bees are their bees.

 I convinced B that we should try to keep some bees at the house. To minimize driving time and because the one thing I missed the most about having bees nearby is to be able to just sit and watch them. 

It has been years since I was around beehives without a suit on and a can full of smoke.

 I have had 2 beehives here since the end of May. One is mine and the other belongs to the woman I work for, that one will move to her place in the Fall. 

It has been an adjustment for all of us- 

The bees have settled in, as bees do. So far they haven't given anyone problems. 

The kids have adjusted-they walk right past the hives with no problems or if the bees are really bustling (around 3 pm every day) they have the option of using another door.

B is good-once he gets used to a change-he is fine-although that first weekend he was a ball of stress. 

Me?-I was/am a wreck in some ways-that first weekend with Brian and the kids being nervous about 2 hives of bees outside our front door was hell.

All of that I already mentioned and the fear my plan to have a beehive at my house would fail. 

I feed off others moods all the time.
(Hence this alone time with the broken foot has been great.)

The buzzing still gets me, but, if a bee dive-bombs or buzzes at my face, I stand still or walk away slowly, that works. 
I make myself go around the hive and water plants and putter-it's difficult right now with the foot, but once I am better I will do it more. 

It's this head thing where I get even more anxious if I don't have a means to escape and with my foot..

Hobbling on crutches away from angry bees...nah...I think being injured makes you more wary anyways.

If my walking boot is off and the dog gets too close to it-I get antsy.

So That's it-for the bees. I have them here now..it makes me anxious but extraordinarily happy at the same time. 

There is a basement window that looks out to the hive entrances and I could stand there all day watching them. 

Scenario one has taken over scenario two and now if there is a bee in the house I go into "wasp in the house mode" instead of the former, more violent "bee in the house mode"

Last night, the power went out and there was a thunderstorm rolling in.  I sat on my front steps and watched all of the bees come in from foraging. Circling down from thirty feet up to fly right into an entrance barely a 1/2 inch high. It really is something to see. 

I could totally get used to that.

I will get used to that. 

A few years back I wrote a piece about a hive that I installed, I got stung a few times and for a few days I was pissed off at all bees.

I'm putting it here-edited a bit to reflect my current situation:

Yesterday I wanted to punch one of those bees in the Goddamn face.

Today I am better

Tomorrow or some day in the near future I go outside, throw my arms open (standing at a safe distance) and proclaim that they have been forgiven and I am over myself.

Not that they care of course.

I guess love is kind of like that.