Greyhound

Not the dog. The drink.

I follow a blog by a food writer and occasional chef named Michael Ruhlman. I don’t even remember how I found his site now, but I like the way he writes and he has some interesting things to say about food and cooking (as you’d expect). Every Friday, he posts about beverages of the spiritous sort, everything from aged eggnog to new cocktails to the classics. Today, he wrote about a vodka-and-grapefruit-juice cocktail called a greyhound. And I had a rush of memories about a friend who drank greyhounds — only he drank them with gin rather than vodka, as I recall.

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Burn

Many moons ago, Steve’s dad got this bee in his bonnet about moving. This was long after Steve and I had stopped being a couple, after coming out to his folks, after the end of his second (only other) long-term relationship — but before he’d slid too far down the path into the dark.

Anyway, J (Steve’s dad) was forever on about moving. Different city, different state, didn’t seem to much matter to him, as long as it was different and far away from his current life. Steve’s mom, B, was still working the first few times the subject came up — and she was NOwhere near ready to “retire” to a place she’d never been, with no job and no friends, just to spend 24/7 with J, the retired law enforcement sergeant and recovering alcoholic who, once he stopped drinking, didn’t really have any other hobbies…except maybe having become the next-best thing to a born-again Christian during his recovery. That was…fun.

I mean, they loved each other, J and B did, but Steve and I could watch them, did watch them more times than I could count, go from amity to acrimony in less than ten minutes because neither of them seemed able to stop pushing the other’s buttons. Hell, I’m not sure they ever figured out they even HAD buttons, let alone knew what they were doing to set each other off, which pretty much made them clueless about how to stop.

What, you think Steve should have said something? He may have, to his mom, anyway. But his dad was an angry, nasty drunk with a hair-trigger temper, and that’s something that didn’t change after J kicked alcohol.

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Filed under change, fear, homelessness, inertia, writing

New Year, Now

Assuming you’ve already read this, you’re ready to hear about What I Did for Winter Solstice and New Year’s, 2013/2014 Version. Trust me, it’s DEFINITELY an improvement. ;)

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New Year, Then

New Year’s Day. I’ve had a blog in mind — a couple of them, actually — since about the Winter Solstice, because in a lot of ways, the dark of the year seems like a more reasonable closing of the old year, so the day after would make a better beginning. But we have what we have, regardless of the calendar you use, so instead, A Comparison of the Life I Was Living two years ago (end of 2011, to be slightly more precise), and the one I’m living now, which will be here. The tale of two years ago will mostly come from posts on Making Light.

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Walk

It’s the little things, sometimes, that get you.

Well, me, anyway.

I won’t say that before life went to hell in a handbasket on a buttered slide (heh), I was blind to the little things. But it was easy to overlook them, until I realized I didn’t have [THAT THING] anymore. I don’t mean just the material goods, either.

Let’s talk about…walking.

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Books

I was mucking about on Facebook, like you do, and Allegiance: A New Musical had posted this photo:

Library_Magic_UnknownSource

Which speaks to me in so many ways because it is EXACTLY how I feel walking into a library or a bookstore.

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Life & History, Part the First

There’s this website called Making Light (often abbreviated to ML). I’ve been reading it so long I don’t even know when I found it, or even how, although it was probably by way of either Neil Gaiman or John Scalzi (both of whom are terrific writers and both of whom you should check out). At any rate, a few years back on or near the autumnal equinox, one of the moderators there, abi, started what she called the Dysfunctional Families Day thread, based on the idea that not everyone’s family of origin (birth, foster or adoptive family, whatever structure it was that raised them) was the basis for a Norman Rockwell painting or a gooey-sweet greeting card. That some people, in fact, had had it rough, and some had had it horrifically, terrifyingly bad, and many of them were still dealing with the fallout. So she started that thread as a safe haven, where people could talk without judgment about what they’d experienced, share coping mechanisms, ask for advice, or just…talk. Get it out of their systems, because sometimes just being able to do that, to talk to people who weren’t going to immediately say, “Oh, but you have to forgive [parental unit/sibling/other relative] despite the fact they did [horrific thing] — they’re your family!”

Well, no, being family doesn’t actually give you the right to fuck up someone else’s life, even if you didn’t mean to do it.

And every year around the first day of autumn, a new Dysfunctional Families Day thread would go up, and a couple of months later, it would essentially peter to a halt and abi would close it until the next year. Until 2011, when the thread filled up (reached nearly 1,000 comments) in just over two months and abi started another. And then another. And it stopped being an annual thing and is now ongoing because people don’t, it seems, only deal with family fallout during the holidays, although this is a particularly fraught time of year for a lot of people.

What I’m leading up to is that I posted on those threads quite often, those and the various Open Threads, when I was losing the fight to keep my house two years ago. I posted there because it was safe, because if I wanted advice I could ask for it, if I just wanted to vent, I could do that too, and it helped. My life was falling apart in ways I’d never imagined, and it helped to go to ML and write about it.

Things are so much better now. I just passed the one-year mark at my job, had my first annual review (of many, I hope), and they still like me, they appreciate me, they consider me an asset. Oh, I have room for improvement, I always do — and hell, if I ever did get a perfect review, where would I go from there? ;) — but it’s good.

What follows began life as a post on Making Light, bad poetry and all. It’s been edited to add font differences in an attempt to make it easier to read, and proofed for the most obvious punctuation mistakes, but otherwise, what you see is what I wrote one dark night in 2011.

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Filed under fear, homelessness, inertia, job search, life & history, money