pjthompson: (lilith)

This morning on National Public Radio I was listening to Sherman Alexie discuss his troubled relationship with his mother and his new memoir, You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me. Memoirs, it seems to me, and Alexie affirmed, are for those who don’t get the chance to reconcile their complicated feelings towards parents and other loved ones. Oh yes, there are celebratory memoirs, to be sure, but when you come from a twisted root, it’s hard to write the sweet without delving into the sour.

The discussion triggered a lot of things for me. While I listened, I thanked God, thanked God, that for the last five years of my mother’s life, I was her caregiver. Those were difficult years, but… I got that sacred chance to reconcile my complicated feelings—and I think my mother did as well.

I used to call my mother the Dragon Lady with my friends who knew her well. She was hard-charging, always right, full of anger and unreconciled childhood crap of her own—but charming as hell, funny, creative, with an amazing life force, and a remarkable personality that drew people in and made them love her. Both sides were genuine, but she generally saved the Dragon Lady side for those she loved. People always told me I had the coolest mom. And I did. Except for when she was Dragon Lady.

I harbored so much anger and so much resentment for so many years. Therapy helped, but it didn’t leach the poison in me, just gave me mechanisms for coping with it.

In those last five years of Mom’s life, though, the roles were reversed. She was the child, I was the parent. At first, Dragon Lady was still there, fighting to retain her power, fighting to get the most out of life that she could in diminished circumstances. But even when she was most frustrating, she was so damned courageous. Always. For me, being a full-time caregiver, working full-time, and trying to find a way to get Mom to and from dialysis three times a week, I didn’t have the physical or emotional resources to carry my bad feelings forward. Gradually, I released them—or they released me.

And a wonderful thing happened. My mother began changing, too. The Dragon Lady never apologized for anything, ever; she said thank you rarely and never said “I love you” unless someone said it first. In her last years she became gentle, grateful, considerate in a way I’d never seen. She frequently told me “I love you, baby girl” without any prompting at all. And it became very easy to reply, “I love you, baby mom.” It wasn’t just that I didn’t have time for anger and resentment anymore—they really, truly went away. All that remained was love. For her, for me.

I won’t kid you. Those years were not easy. By the time my mom died I was stretched so thin I don’t know how much longer I could have gone on and not torn to shreds. But I really think my mother died in a state of grace, and that grace extended to me.

It nearly crushed me when she passed. But at least I had gotten that incomparable gift of reconciliation.

About a year after she died, I got the notion of writing a memoir, and worked in a fever for about a week. But it was impossible to write the sweet without the sour. I had purged myself of those hard feelings, and I didn’t miss them. They had poisoned my life for a long time and I really did not want them back. I let go of the memoir and held on to my state of grace and my reconciliation. I am so grateful for them. They are a rare and precious gift, mysterious as grace always is.

I love you, baby mom.

Mirrored from Better Than Dead.

Buddies

Jun. 20th, 2017 10:56 am
pjthompson: quotes (quotei)

Random quote of the day:

“A man loves his friend the better if he does not know why he loves him.”

—Ernest Dimnet, What We Live By

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this random quote of the day do not necessarily reflect the views of the poster, her immediate family, Lucy and Ethel, Justin Bieber, or the Kardashian Klan. They do, however, sometimes reflect the views of the Cottingley Fairies.

Mirrored from Better Than Dead.

pjthompson: (bigfoot)

1. Let me thread you a story…(1-18)
2. We had us a preacher once named Mike Spike Huckleberry who liked to preach fire and brimstone and “superior” values.
3. He set up church in his house and called it the God’s True Will Church of Everlasting Superiority.
4. Trouble was, this ain’t a fire and brimstone kind of town. At least not in the sense of damning everyone to Hell.
5. But Mike Spike, well, he was one self-righteous sumbich. Not a speck of love in his Gospel, only judgement and damnation.
6. Some folks in this town ate it up with a big spoon cuz some folks love an excuse to feel superior to others.
7. And if they can fool themselves into thinking God is backing their claims to be chosen amongst men, that makes the poison more delicious.
8. For a time it seemed Mike Spike was going to take over the town. Most people didn’t hold with his message, but he shouted real loud.
9. Sometimes those who shout loudest and insist they’re being persecuted if you disagree with them can hold sway.
10. Cuz good-hearted folk just can’t believe that someone will preach about God and still hold evil intention in their heart.
11. It took a deal of cowering and doubt and good folks second-guessing their motives, but the tide finally turned on Mike Spike.
12. Billy Budd Gibbons, he of the All Souls Love Congregation, asked God to show us a sign if we should follow Mike Spike’s ways.
13. People lost count of the lightning strikes after 48 turned Mike Spike’s house into a deep, dark pit of char.
14. Mike’s daughter, Hectorine Huckleberry-Skanklebrass, spokesperson for Mike Spike, missed the deitific barbecue.
15. She was at her own home next door with her husband, Winnie, doing some cowering of her own in the basement.
16. She and Winnie did some considering while they cowered, afraid the Lord might have a postscript for them after finishing with Mike Spike.
17. They left town in an awful hurry. No one much was sorry to see ‘em go.
18. Sometimes it’s hard to reconcile God’s ways to man. Other times it’s as clear as a flash of lightning.

This story can also be found on Twitter @downportalville.

Mirrored from Better Than Dead.

Reasons

Jun. 19th, 2017 10:11 am
pjthompson: quotes (quotei)

Random quote of the day:

“The awful thing about life is this: Everybody has their reasons.”

—Octave (Jean Renoir), The Rules of the Game

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this random quote of the day do not necessarily reflect the views of the poster, her immediate family, Lucy and Ethel, Justin Bieber, or the Kardashian Klan. They do, however, sometimes reflect the views of the Cottingley Fairies.

Mirrored from Better Than Dead.

Tribal

Jun. 16th, 2017 10:16 am
pjthompson: quotes (quotei)

Random quote of the day:

“There are nine and sixty ways of constructing tribal lays,
And every single one of them is right!”

—Rudyard Kipling, “In the Neolithic Age”

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this random quote of the day do not necessarily reflect the views of the poster, her immediate family, Lucy and Ethel, Justin Bieber, or the Kardashian Klan. They do, however, sometimes reflect the views of the Cottingley Fairies.

Mirrored from Better Than Dead.

pjthompson: (bigfoot)

  1. Let me thread you a story…(1-20)
  2. Sheriff Rosa Limonada came to us by way of Texarkana where she worked as a deputy in a little town named Spoot.
  3. The sheriff she worked for had nothing but high praise for her. Said she was the crucial factor in solving their La Llorona murder case.
  4. She’s fit in well in Portalville and been a fine sheriff to us. She has this special power to quell magic. Mostly, she doesn’t use it.
  5. But if somebody is behaving bad magically, the sheriff can hawk up a metaphorical anti-magic spitball and launch it into their face.
  6. Do no harm is taken seriously ‘round these parts, and the sheriff enforces it—in the nicest possible way.
  7. If some of the young ‘uns get a little too rowdy with their mischief spells on a Saturday night, Sheriff Limonada knows how to calm ‘em.
  8. She’s mostly live and let live when it comes to magical working. If you do no harm, you’ll never hear from her.
  9. Most folks do as they will and harm none, but once in awhile someone gets out of hand or really full of themselves and needs quelling.
  10. Mostly, though, the sheriff uses her powers for the more sinister characters that slip into town.
  11. The last one was a skinwalker straight out of Uintah County in Utah. Was bothering folks’ cattle something fierce.
  12. Borrowing folks’ faces, too, and walking around like it owned the town. When it took the form of Mayor Begay the sheriff took action.
  13. Like a scene from one of them Old West movies, with the skinwalker standing at one end of Main Street, the sheriff at the other.
  14. The skinwalker reached out its hand, fit to steal the sheriff’s face or soul, and Sheriff Limonada drew her gun.
  15. The skinwalker laughed, a sound like rocks grinding together, cuz skinwalkers can’t be harmed by bullets.
  16. But the sheriff marshalled her resources and yelled, “Kapow!” at the thing as she launched her anti-magic.
  17. The skinwalker’s laugh turned to a shriek like ice ripping through a steel hull and it disappeared in a fiery ball.
  18. Took a helluva lot out of the sheriff, all that energy, but the critter ain’t never been back, so Sheriff Limonada did a real good job.
  19. She said it made an interesting change from wrangling drunks and setting up speed traps.
  20. All things considered, though, she hopes she doesn’t have to face one again soon.

This story can also be found on Twitter @downportalville.

Mirrored from Better Than Dead.

pjthompson: quotes (quotei)

Random quote of the day:

“Those who are willing to be vulnerable move among the mysteries.”

—Theodore Roethke, “Arcs,” Parabola Magazine, Fall 2012

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this random quote of the day do not necessarily reflect the views of the poster, her immediate family, Lucy and Ethel, Justin Bieber, or the Kardashian Klan. They do, however, sometimes reflect the views of the Cottingley Fairies.

Mirrored from Better Than Dead.

Summiting

Jun. 14th, 2017 09:35 am
pjthompson: quotes (quotei)

Random quote of the day:

“You cannot always stay on the summits. You have to come down again So what’s the point? Only this: what is above knows what is below, what is below does not know what is above. While climbing, take note of all the difficulties along your path. During the descent, you will no longer see them, but you will know that they are there if you have observed carefully.”

—René Daumal, “The Art of Climbing Mountains,” Mount Analogue

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this random quote of the day do not necessarily reflect the views of the poster, her immediate family, Lucy and Ethel, Justin Bieber, or the Kardashian Klan. They do, however, sometimes reflect the views of the Cottingley Fairies.

Mirrored from Better Than Dead.

The blame

Jun. 13th, 2017 11:08 am
pjthompson: quotes (quotei)

Random quote of the day:

“The fault is in the one who blames. Spirit sees nothing to criticize.”

—Rumi, quoted in Rumi Wisdom by Timothy Freke

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this random quote of the day do not necessarily reflect the views of the poster, her immediate family, Lucy and Ethel, Justin Bieber, or the Kardashian Klan. They do, however, sometimes reflect the views of the Cottingley Fairies.

Mirrored from Better Than Dead.

pjthompson: quotes (quotei)

Random quote of the day:

“The hardest people to reach with the love of God are not the bad people. They know they are bad. They have no defense. The hardest ones to win for God are the self-righteous people.”

—Charles L. Allen, When the Heart Is Hungry

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this random quote of the day do not necessarily reflect the views of the poster, her immediate family, Lucy and Ethel, Justin Bieber, or the Kardashian Klan. They do, however, sometimes reflect the views of the Cottingley Fairies.

Mirrored from Better Than Dead.

pjthompson: (bigfoot)

1. Let me Thread you a story… (1-14)
2. Peaches McCaffrey stopped into Bar-Bar’s Ice Cream Parlor. She told Bar-Bar she’d been having strange dreams.
3. Now, Peaches is a sensitive soul. She runs the Peace Now Meditation Center down on Greenbriar Road.
4. She likes to talk about chakras and higher consciousness & all kinds of stuff I don’t rightly understand, but it seems to make her happy.
5. And folks come out of her center with big smiles on their faces so I guess something must be going right down there.
6. But she said that every time she ate Bar-Bar’s orange ripple chocolate ice cream—her favorite—she dreamed the same dream.
7. In it there was a beautiful white horse with sapphire eyes that always tried to coax her to frolic with it in Laverty Pond.
8. Bar-Bar told her, “Not everyone can take the higher emanations of the chocolate-fruit infusion.”
9. (Or the mystical spells some say Bar-Bar mumbles as she’s mixing batches.)
10. She told Peaches to try a dollop of Calming Sprinkles next time she got the orange ripple chocolate.
11. Oh—and on no account was she to follow that horse into that pond, in dreams or in real life.
12. Some say Bar-Bar was a high priestess of some sort before she moved here from New Orleans, but nobody really knows if that’s so.
13. She’d be far from the only one in town fond of spells and potions. It’s that kind of place. It don’t make no difference to me.
14. Because who am I to judge? I’m just a Narrator and everyone knows narrators are unreliable sots, fruit infused chocolate or not.

This story can also be found on Twitter @downportalville.

Mirrored from Better Than Dead.

pjthompson: quotes (quotei)

Random quote of the day:

“The result of the struggle between the thought and the ability to express it, between dream and reality, is seldom more than a compromise or an approximation.”

—M. C. Escher, Introduction to 29 Master Print

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this random quote of the day do not necessarily reflect the views of the poster, her immediate family, Lucy and Ethel, Justin Bieber, or the Kardashian Klan. They do, however, sometimes reflect the views of the Cottingley Fairies.

Mirrored from Better Than Dead.

pjthompson: quotes (quotei)

Random quote of the day:

“I think hell is something you carry around with you. Not somewhere you go.”

—Neil Gaiman, The Sandman, Vol. 4: “Season of Mists”

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this random quote of the day do not necessarily reflect the views of the poster, her immediate family, Lucy and Ethel, Justin Bieber, or the Kardashian Klan. They do, however, sometimes reflect the views of the Cottingley Fairies.

Mirrored from Better Than Dead.

pjthompson: (bigfoot)

  1. Let me Thread you a story… (1-11)
  2. A big orange blob parked itself in the town square. Just appeared overnight and plugged up the fountain something fierce.
  3. Trapper Bruce poked it with a stick & it blatted something that sounded like “Sad!” then barfed chicken fat out of one of its orifices.
  4. Sheriff Limonada suggested taking a flamethrower to it, but nobody had one of those, so a mob with torches formed up.
  5. I don’t really hold with mobs carrying torches myself as many an innocent creature has been declared a monster by them.
  6. But this blob gave off a foul odor of corruption & kept getting bigger, spreading all over the fountain and the park benches around it.
  7. It exploded soon as the first torch hit it. Guess it wasn’t much more than a giant gasbag filled with grease. Burned real good.
  8. The fountain ain’t never going to be the same, though. The nymphs who frequented it have been debauched & are quite traumatized.
  9. They had to go to Aunt Cozy’s Soothin’ Shack for some deep soothin’. Don’t know if they’ll ever return to the fountain.
  10. Only one happy about the situation was Natty Knowles who owns Spic n’ Span Like It Never Happened Cleaning Service.
  11. One of his biggest jobs in recent memory. I hope we’re all done with explosive orange blobs.

These tales can also be found on Twitter: @downportalville

Mirrored from Better Than Dead.

Immutable

Jun. 7th, 2017 09:48 am
pjthompson: quotes (quotei)

Random quote of the day:

“I was reminded of the Four Immutable Laws of the Spirit: Whoever is present are the right people. Whenever it begins is the right time. Whatever happens is the only thing that could have happened. And when it’s over, it’s over.”

—Anne Lamott, Some Assembly Required: A Journal of My Son’s First Son

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this random quote of the day do not necessarily reflect the views of the poster, her immediate family, Lucy and Ethel, Justin Bieber, or the Kardashian Klan. They do, however, sometimes reflect the views of the Cottingley Fairies.

Mirrored from Better Than Dead.

pjthompson: quotes (quotei)

Random quote of the day:

“If a man will begin with certainties, he shall end in doubts; but if he will be content to begin with doubts he shall end in certainties.”

—Sir Francis Bacon, The Advancement of Learning, Book I, v, 8

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this random quote of the day do not necessarily reflect the views of the poster, her immediate family, Lucy and Ethel, Justin Bieber, or the Kardashian Klan. They do, however, sometimes reflect the views of the Cottingley Fairies.

Mirrored from Better Than Dead.

pjthompson: (bigfoot)

 

  1. Let me Thread you a story… (1-12)
  2. Ned Riskom said as how he’d seen a leshy down Woodward Lane way. He’s usually sober as a church mouse. Not like him to spread tall tales.
  3. Then again he did once say as how he’d met the Queen of Sheba coming out of Bar-Bar’s Ice Cream Parlor & that sounded a bit off the mark.
  4. Bar-Bar herself didn’t mention the Queen. Then again, Bar-Bar once served a cone to Vice President Gilroy and didn’t know him from Adam.
  5. Vice President Gilroy allowed as how he’d never tasted finer rocky road in his life. Nice man. Him and his puppy, Adam.
  6. We’re always glad when Big People come through to visit us Little People. Makes us know we’re not totally alone out here on the fringe.
  7. So, back to Ned’s leshy. Trapper Bruce went down there to check things out but Woodward Lane can sometimes be downright weird.
  8. By the time Bruce got there, the elms had crossed the lane to have words with the oaks and there was an all-out tree war going on.
  9. ‘Spose one of them tree-shaper leshies could have had something to do with that, if more than one of them was walking Woodward Lane.
  10. I hear they fight to protect their territory. And they can take the shape of anything. Nobody remembers elms on Woodward Lane before.
  11. Bruce hightailed it out of there cuz the branches was flying like javelins & he didn’t fancy getting impaled for somebody’s else’s war.
  12. Ain’t none of us worked up the nerve to go down thattaway to see how the chips have fallen. Like I said, Woodward Lane is weird.

These tales can also be found on Twitter: @downportalville

Mirrored from Better Than Dead.

pjthompson: quotes (quotei)

Random quote of the day:

“Trust everybody, but don’t sell your sword.”

—Paulo Coelho, Twitterfeed, September 11, 2012

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this random quote of the day do not necessarily reflect the views of the poster, her immediate family, Lucy and Ethel, Justin Bieber, or the Kardashian Klan. They do, however, sometimes reflect the views of the Cottingley Fairies.

Mirrored from Better Than Dead.

Love art

Jun. 2nd, 2017 10:18 am
pjthompson: quotes (quotei)

Random quote of the day:

“The more I think it over, the more I feel that there is nothing more truly artistic than to love people.”

—Vincent Van Gogh, quoted in Van Gogh: The Self-portraits by Fritz Erpel

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this random quote of the day do not necessarily reflect the views of the poster, her immediate family, Lucy and Ethel, Justin Bieber, or the Kardashian Klan. They do, however, sometimes reflect the views of the Cottingley Fairies.

Mirrored from Better Than Dead.

Madwoman

Jun. 1st, 2017 09:45 am
pjthompson: quotes (quotei)

Random quote of the day:

“Memory is a crazy woman who hoards colored rags and throws away food.”

—Austin O’Malley, Keystones of Thought

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this random quote of the day do not necessarily reflect the views of the poster, her immediate family, Lucy and Ethel, Justin Bieber, or the Kardashian Klan. They do, however, sometimes reflect the views of the Cottingley Fairies.

Mirrored from Better Than Dead.

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