Beach Trip Revelations

So. Last time I ranted at all of you and then, THEN I ran away from home. Yes, I ran away to the beach for some much needed R&R to clear my head. It was the week of 9/11 and everywhere the energy was all jittery, plus a Mercury Retrograde was coming up on top of that. Not a good combo. So, I got in my car, like I do when I need to get the fuck AWAY, and I drove to Charleston, SC. It’s a nice, easy 5 hour drive that ends at the Beach. Aaaahhhhh.

I ate smoked turkey, croissants, cheese and poptarts. I drank wine and beer. I walked a lot and I thought a lot. I did Sun Salutations in the sand and gathered up some shells and seaweed. I took some awesome pix [see the Gallery]. It’s always amazing to me how much the ocean and beach restores my sanity!

Now that I’ve done that and I feel mostly back to normal, I thought I’d try to write some of the thoughts that came to me as I walked those miles on the beach. One thing that occurred to me was that no matter what it is, no matter how big of a deal it is to us humans, the Earth goes on. The world moves on. The ocean still ebbs and flows and the stars still shine each night. I was thinking about September 11 and I realized that as bad as it was, the planets still orbit the sun and the order of the Universe is not bothered at all. I’m not belittling that event, hell no, I cried about it again, I’m just pointing out perspective. I think Stevie Nicks says it well in the song Planets of the Universe:

And the Planets of the Universe
Go their way.
Not astounded by the sun or the moon
or by the day.

Those buildings and those people are gone, gone, gone. There is not one thing we can do about that. But what we can do is elect politicians who will lead this country and this world into the future with integrity and thoughtfulness and farsightedness. We can try to be as fair as we can to our fellow humans. We can hold ourselves to high standards and expect the same of others. We can be true to ourselves. We can tell the truth. We can be strong enough to bear the truth. We can follow our hearts’ desires. We can be happy. We can show each other our true selves and expect the best from each other.

I know that I am hella difficult at times. I know that I expect a lot from people. I know I have zero tact. I do try to be tactful, it just never seems to work out for me! What I really think always ends up coming out my mouth or my emails or my Rants and it usually does this in the most blunt way possible – much to my chagrin. But at least I try to live what I blab about all the time! I vote for the politicians who are the lesser of the evils. I do not spend my money with companies who do bad things to animals or the Earth. I boycott stores, products and even TV channels who do stupid shit and won’t rectify the situation. I recycle. I take care of my pets (spay and neuter, people!). I drive an efficient car. I fill out my donor card. I know I’m just one little person, but I figure if 1,000,000 other little people do the same then it’ll add up to something, right?

Isn’t that all we can do in this life? We can do our best and live life to the fullest, because you just never know when your time is up and you’ll be gone, gone, gone.

Memorial Day is Different Now

Memorial Day has always been just the marker of the beginning of summer for me. I suspect most people feel that way. But now, in the aftermath of September 11, 2001, I have more respect and a lot more reverence for this holiday to remember that war leaves scars on land and people.

I suppose it’s like most things – you’ve got to be close to it to understand it, and our generation has not had to deal with war like our parents and grandparents. My family didn’t lose anyone in Viet Nam or Korea, but we lost my grandfather to World War II. Here’s the story about that and what this day means to me.

My mother’s father was killed in France in the Battle of the Bulge. By that late in the war (1945), they were drafting older men, even those with families who depended on them. My grandfather was 25 years old, with a wife and 2 kids when he was drafted. It was known that new draftees didn’t last long in the brutal fighting at the end of WWII, with the average time being just a few months before they were wounded or killed.

Dwight E. Harvey was in the 14th Armored Division, 62nd Armored Infantry Battalion. There are no records of his unit in any WWII historical site because the unit was completely decimated (we infer this, due to lack of information). We have basic information, but his specific information and that of millions of other veterans was lost in the National Archives and Records Administration fire of 1973. His date of death is listed as March 23 1945, but it’s assumed that he actually died in the Battle of the Bulge in January 1945 in the Rhine region of Germany. My grandmother did not receive any personal effects and no body was every recovered. My mother never knew her father (she was only 3 when he was killed) and neither did my uncle. He was just gone.

I’m one of only 2 people in my family (my uncle is the other) that has seen my grandfather’s marker in the American Military Cemetery in Lorraine (St. Avold), France. It was very moving to stand in that place, with thousands of markers all around. It really brought home the meaning of WAR and the loss of life involved in such violence. As I stood there on that summer day, under the blue French sky, I realized that each and every marker represented a life. Fathers, brothers, husbands, sons and probably a few women, too. Those markers that stretched as far as the eye could see were people just like my grandfather – most of them even younger. It literally brought me to my knees. I knelt there, with tears coursing down my face and my breath caught in my throat, feeling overwhelmed by the magnitude of it all. Then I realized that this was one of many WWII cemeteries (the largest for those lost in Europe) and these were only a portion of the people lost to the folly of war…

As my sobs subsided, and I regained control, I begged the gods and goddesses of our Universe to have mercy on all the souls lost and to give guidance to the rest of us poor, ignorant humans so that we may avoid this massive loss of life in the future. So that we may save ourselves from ourselves.

My experience in St. Avold, France gave me a much deeper respect for the seriousness of war and the real costs to us as a species. I kept asking myself, “Why?”. Why did all these kids have to die horrible deaths in the cold, in the water, in the foxholes and airplanes? Why do we humans refuse to change our ways? Why, why, why…

Then, years later, came a morning with crisp video coverage of the attacks in New York and DC and we all got a taste of what it must have been like for the people in Europe during WWII. Now we know what it’s like to watch our monuments burn and feel totally powerless to stop it. Is it enough to keep us from another World War? I doubt it. If we go at it again (and we will, we’re just that stupid) there’ll be nothing left to fight over. And when we’ve decimated our planet, then what will we stupid humans do?

Most likely, we’ll fight about whose fault it was.

Is that really the way we want to be? Can’t we rise above it?

We, as a race, need to decide to STOP being petty, selfish and short sighted and put our species and our world first. That is our challenge and that is our duty.

Dreamweaver woes

Have I mentioned that DreamWeaver 3 is CRAP? Well, it is. It’s really annoying to have to constantly go back and forth between the 2 versions [DW2 and DW3], according to what I’m doing. Like now, for instance. I’m typing, so I have to use DW 2 because DW 3 i.s…s..o….s..l..o..w. Apparently DW 3 has issues with all browsers, which renders it useless in my book, since doing WEB DESIGN usually requires using a BROWSER. HELLOOOOOOO!!! I don’t know what the morons at Macromedia were thinking. In addition, DW 4 still has the same typing and table editing bugs as DW 3. Talk about useless upgrades…

Anyway, what I’m really posting for today is to let you know that I updated the About page with new info and pix. I fiddled with the links page a bit, but not enough to really make a difference. [nevermind, they are rolled into this new site now – A]

Another interesting thing I found out today as I was trolling my referrer logs trying to see who is scoping me out is that I’m listed in a blog list called Who knew? It’s also interesting to note that I had one bad rating and one good one. Tee! In addition to that interesting finding, I have stats about platform and browsers that will help me to get the new design right. For a change. It appears that mostly Winblows and Exploder are used to view this page, but Mac accounted for 1/3, so that makes me happy. ‘Specially since Netscape is such a piece of crap now that AOL got ahold of it – now I can relax and just deal with browsers that uphold the standards [MSIE 5, anyone?]. To hell with all the old browsers that just don’t cut it. Sorry Netscape, really I am! I wish Netscape would come out with just an email client. That’s what I use it for anyway. Eudora can’t show headers, so that’s out. Outlook is just, well, so MicroSux. Why doesn’t someone come out with a kick ass email client that does everything that Netscape Messenger does? Huh, WHY?

Andy Graduates!

Found Links to amuse: Museum of e-Failure. Yes, this guy has made it his mission to go around to all failing dot coms and get a screen shot of their last site before they die and become just another Ghost Town on the Info Super Highway. It’s a worthwhile pursuit and I, for one, am glad he is attempting to document this cyberspace equivalent of ghost towns left from the Gold Rush. Interesting. [update 3.28.09: is more of a blog now, but they still have some ghost sites in that section. It’s mildly entertaining. – A][update 2: Mar 2015. Totally a blog now. Don’t bother. -A]

Andy’s graduation sort of took over my life last week, which is why, Dear Readers, you’ve had no fodder here at Misangela. I know that’s no excuse, but hey, it’s the one you get. Andy is now, officially, DOCTOR Ray!

Andy's Graduation!
Andy's Graduation!

Our post graduation celebration was at the

Andy's graduation party.
Andy's graduation party.
with a bunch of friends.

He took Hobbes away to CA with him and it was a total scene at the airport. He cried, I cried, Hobbes whined. It wasn’t pretty and it took the rest of the week to recover from the emotional trauma.

What Hobbes thinks of CA!
What Hobbes thinks of CA!
Hobbes is still freaked out to be in a new home with no siblings, but we think he’ll adjust. Now, to get ourselves adjusted… [3.28.09, interesting note: This was the last time I was ever to go to the gate to watch someone leave. 9/11 took away that right several months later. Yes, the terrorists DID win IMO. – A]

Things are going fairly smoothly here at Casa Misangela, aside from the aforementioned stuff. The ID mailer went out last week and now I wait for responses. I certainly hope there are responses, otherwise, our Heroine gets to hit the pavement for a lovely ‘real’ job. I just can’t articulate how much the idea of that thrills me. //end sarcasm

You Can Pick Your Nose…

…but you can’t pick your family.

My family and I haven’t had much to do with each other in a long time. It’s not that I hate them or anything, it’s just that I can’t live my life the way they do. And I can’t live in Knoxville, TN, either. They’ve never forgiven me for that.

Most of the time we have a truce situation: don’t ask, don’t tell. They don’t ask about my personal business and I don’t tell them anything about myself. Hey, it works for us, OK? They are conservative, bigoted and narrow minded people with whom I have nothing in common and it’s best if we don’t try to compare notes about how we live our lives, lest we break our truce and begin the Cold War again.

To give an example of this tenuous hold we have on civility and the gulf that separates us, let me tell you a bit about a conversation that I had with my mother today. But first, I suppose I should give a little background on what the family (that would be them, not me) is going through right now. My brother got a girl knocked up about 4 years ago and didn’t tell anyone until the baby was born in 1997. A paternity test confirmed his responsibility and he decided to take in this girl as well as her other illegitimate child, whose father is a drug dealer currently doing time. Yeah, a real NICE girl fer sure. Anyway, she takes him for a ride for about 2.5 years and almost bankrupts him by supporting the rest of her white trash family with his money and now she and my brother are in a custody battle for the child. My brother is currently losing the battle due to the courts’ predisposition to place children with the mother (no matter HOW white trash she is) and the added problem of a sibling that the system is loathe to separate the child from (no matter how neurotic and damaged that sibling is).

OK, so that’s the background of the situation. So, I get a call from my mother this morning with all the latest scoopage about the custody suit and this is sort of how it goes:

Mom: …and I thought you’d want to know that your name came up in the paperwork from Janell [that’s the white trash’s name -Ed].

ME: oh yeah? In what way? This has nothing to do with me!

Mom: Well, she said that you were a devil worshiper and uh…well…

ME: [laughing] And what? Do you think I care what that white trash says about me?

Mom: [concerned tone] Well, it was in the papers and she said you had a devil worship website…

ME: [not laughing anymore] So? Do you believe her or something? I don’t like your tone! Websites are public, Mother. If you don’t believe me, then go and look at everything I have up. Just because you and the rest of the people up there have no clue about the internet is no reason to insinuate anything about me!

Mom: [still a concerned tone] I’m not, it’s just that she is saying this stuff and it’s about you and uh…

ME: Why would I care? Why do YOU care? She has accused everybody up there of something at this point! She is just a malicious bitch who knows absolutely nothing about me. I don’t know why this concerns you. It certainly doesn’t concern me.

Mom: I just wanted you to know…

And the conversation goes on about other stuff after that. But it certainly left a sour taste in my mouth. I’m disturbed that my mother would even *think* such a thing about me. Hell, I’m disturbed that she has so little knowledge about me and my life. It saddens me to realize that I’m so alien to my own family, but I don’t see how it’ll ever change, either.

I must admit that I was biting my tongue in half with the effort it took to not say something smart assed like “well just because I dance naked in the back yard and sacrifice goats doesn’t mean I’m a devil worshiper”. Geez, the stuff those people think! And as for Janell, she is just acting like the white trash that she is. She is a cunt for turning on me in the first place! I was the only person in my family that gave her the benefit of the doubt when all this shit began and this is the thanks I get. I’m so glad that karma will take care of her in due time. She is a pathetic excuse for a mother and for an incarnate being. [Update 2013: Karma did in fact take care of her. She was murdered! I kid you not. Karma’s a bitch, baby.]

I sincerely hope that my brother gets a decent custody settlement. He deserves it. And I hope my family can open up enough to get to know me one day. Maybe one day we can all be friends. [Doubtful – 2013]