July 03, 2004

Good reading, good writing.

I dug this post over at blogsisters from Tild's blog, where I also found 21 reasons why the average republican seems confused, at which I giggled long and often.

good reading + good writing = funw/blogs

Let sleeping pigs lie

the pig slept in the dog house for so long that I thought he must be dead.

today he moved. took himself out for a walk around the muck.

It didn't rain all day today. We had some sun. We were all quite frightened. I got sunburned.

July 02, 2004

The answer is: When pigs fly.

I wonder when the neighbor's going to start on that fence...


Pigs sleep a lot.

Babies don't come when you want them to.

July 01, 2004

Coveting Ham

I've been watching the pig. It's been a week or so now. Today I decided that he's kind of cute. All joking aside, he seems to have adapted to life in suburbia better than I have. Sometimes when I stare out the kitchen window, I switch places with him. I play mind games. I'm in the dirt pushing around lettuce leaves and he's in my messy kitchen, and neither of us seem to notice the difference.

The thing is, I guess, pigs adapt.

He has no sense that he doesn't belong a mile off I-75 near a strip mall and an elementary school playground. What does he care? He's got dirt and food and can snap his curly tail (I've seen him) when the flies bother him. He could be in Oklahoma. He could be in Buckhead. He doesn't give a shit. Because he's a pig.

I like the pig now. I like looking out my window and seeing a pig where he shouldn't be, not caring one way or the other where he is.

He's happy for the dirt and the lettuce and the long days of rain that have made his mud hole that much more enjoyable.

You go, pig.

don't know nothin' bout birthing that baby...

I'm supposed to help my friend have a baby in about 12 hours.

Isn't that something?

I don't know what will happen.

I had a baby. I had a c-section. It's not the same.

Don't know nothin' 'bout no labor.

Today I'll know more.

Happy labor day.

In the dog house

The Pig has a dog house now.

I saw the big pig in the dog house today.
I saw his big pig head and big pig legs sticking out.
His big pig snout was resting on his big pig feet,
And he was having a big pig nap.

I wonder what happened to the dog.

June 30, 2004


So What do they do in there?

Well, in a word or two, a lot.

Simply magnificent.

A dog's blog / A cat's blog

Again, from my brother-in-law (who really should start blogging himself) I got this via email today. Hadn't seen it before. You? Since we're on the topic of animals... tee hee.

*/Pet Diaries Uncovered /*

*As seen in a dog's diary:*

*8am - Oh Boy! Dog food! My favorite!*

*9am - Oh Boy! A car ride! My favorite*

*10am - Oh Boy! A walk! My favorite!*

*11am - Oh Boy! A car ride! My favorite!*

*Noon - Oh Boy! The kids! My favorite!*

*1pm - Oh Boy! The yard! My favorite!*

*3pm - Oh Boy! The kids! My favorite!*

*4pm - Oh Boy! Dog food! My favorite!*

*5pm - Oh Boy! Mom! My favorite!*

*7pm - Oh Boy! Playing ball! My favorite!*

*9pm - Oh Boy! Sleeping in master's bed!! My favorite!*


*/As seen in a cat's diary:/*

* Day 183 of my captivity...*

*My captors continue to taunt me with bizarre little dangling objects.
They dine lavishly on fresh meat, while I am forced to eat dry cereal.
The only thing that keeps me going is the hope of escape, and the mild satisfaction I get from ruining the occasional piece of furniture.*

*Tomorrow I may eat another house plant. Today my attempt to kill my captors by weaving around their feet while they were walking almost succeeded -- must try this at the top of the stairs.*

*In an attempt to disgust and repulse these vile oppressors, I once again induced myself to vomit on their favorite chair -- must try this on their bed. Decapitated a mouse and brought them the headless body, in an attempt to make them aware of what I am capable of, and to try to strike fear into their hearts. They only cooed and condescended about what a good little cat I was. Hmmm, not working according to plan.*

*There was some sort of gathering of their accomplices. I was placed in solitary throughout the event. However, I could hear the noise and smell the food. More importantly I overheard that my confinement was due to MY power of "allergies." Must learn what this is and how to use it to my advantage.*

*I am convinced the other captives are flunkies and maybe snitches. The dog is routinely released and seems more than happy to return. He is obviously a half-wit. The bird on the other hand has got to be an informant, and speaks with them regularly. I am certain he reports my every move. Due to his current placement in the metal room, his safety is assured.*

*But I can wait, it is only a matter of time...*

June 28, 2004

Excuse me, do you have a pig?

Good fences make good neighbors. That's been my personal mantra of homeownership since I first home-owned in 1988.

Strange thing about fences here in Georgia, at least in our county, is that there are no ordinances about which way a fence must face. In other words, when we built a fence in New York (and I think in any other state in the union), we would of course build our fence with the posts and rails facing INTO our yard.

For lack of a photo here--the pretty side faces out; the ugly side faces in.

There's no such rule in our county. Although our back fence faces into our property, it belongs to our backyard neighbor. In fact, he once got an insurance settlement on the fence, when a tree fell on it, but unfortunately had better things to spend the money on (aka his new hot tub). That was not good news for the fence, or for us. During the last decade, the six-foot stockade fence has been eroding away, slowly but surely.

We've done the things you do when your fence is falling apart. Even when it's not yours. Especially when there are dogs on both sides of the fence who, on most days, hate one another. We chickenwired, we rigged, we tied, we leaned. Those tricks definitely bought the structure another couple of years. But the fence is dying. Decaying, rotting, falling.

And we're stuck with a cheap, unfriendly backyard neighbor who has displayed zero interest in addressing the fence.

But these things--they have a way of a-changin'.

It's a southern thang.


Let me go backwards for a moment. Clarify things. We don't live in the country. In fact, we live in an old (by Atlanta standards) subdivision, nothing fancy, no neighborhood pool, where the houses are about 20-25 years old. 3/4 acre lots, a good size yard, lots of trees, but we're not in the sticks. Okay? I can hear I-75 from my porch at night. Are you with me? Good.

Imagine my surprise, then, when George mentioned two weeks ago that he saw a pig in our backyard neighbor's yard. Disbelief is a better word, I think.

I explained it away--it was probably one of their retrievers gone fat, or it was one of their friend's dogs, or he'd had a dream about a neighborhood pig.

He insisted that he saw a pig. And I quote: "With my own two eyes."

My thoughts turned to those interesting pot-belly pigs I'd seen on television specials running through people's living rooms, over their oriental carpets. Always the t-shirt wearing wife in the fancy pants home flapping her lips about what great pets pigs make.

I asked George, "Could it be one of those pot-belly pigs?"

He licked his lips. "No, it's a pig. And I mean a pig."

"Like a p-i-g hog?"

"I know what I saw. It was a pig."

We can see our neighbor's back yard from our kitchen window. The lush trees outside our window, heavy with the summer rain that won't quit, block all but a slice of the corner of our neighbor's backyard.

For two weeks I glanced out the window, with mock wide eyes. Poked fun at my husband. "Yah, you saw a pig. Uh-huh." "Ooooo where's you're little piggy-wiggy?" and the obligatory "oink oink oink--I wants some ribs!"

And then late last week I saw it.

No doubt. No way. No how. A big fat pig. Right behind the fence that separates our dogs from their dinner.

No potbelly. A P-I-G hog.

And of course, the question weighing on everyone's mind: Why?


The rain won't stop here. It won't let up. Late at night the moon comes out from behind the clouds, the stars decide to shine, and I want to slap the sky for these days filled with storms and nights filled with quiet.

Yesterday, it was pouring. Relentless. I decided to let our mutt Bando in, and as I opened the door on the deck, I noticed that in addition to our boxer mix, we had somehow inherited a purebred boxer in our fenced yard. Huh?

I ushered Bando in and went to step out on the deck, where miss lady boxer had decided to greet me with a snarl and a bark.

"Who are you?"


I see heads behind the back fence, examining the dilapidated, half-hanging structure that belongs to them. Yes, the pig people.

"Is this your dog?" I shout through the rain. We aren't on friendly terms since they emptied their inground pool into our yard at the end of last summer.

"Yes--can you chase her this way? She won't bite."


"Uh, well, go on now girl! go home!"

Like I'm going to step out on the deck with a full-grown boxer growling at me. Not.

"Look, why don't you drive around to our street and get her out the front gate?"

"Okay--we'll be right there."

Hmmmm. My mind is working already.

The Lincoln SUV pulls into our driveway about 60 seconds later, and the lady neighbor gets out. I tell her go on through the gate and get her boxer--that our dogs are inside.

Then I plot. I weigh the right way to ask it, to subtly remind her that I remember her chlorine-water dumping crimes of the past, and that I'm on to her new addition.

As she walks her boxer to the car, I say, as loudly as possible: "Excuse me, do you have a PIG?"

She ignores me. I could let it go. We'd all be more comfortable. The car's running. It's raining. She's got the dumbest boxer I've ever seen trying to figure out what exactly an automobile is for.

No way, baby. I've gotcha.

"Hello--I'm wondering, do you have a PIG?"

Still no response. I stare. She has to acknowledge me now--the dog is in the back seat and I'm looking her face on as she comes around to the driver's side.

"I'm sorry, I couldn't hear you," she lies, looking for the door handle.

"I asked if you have a PIG."

She's defeated. She's busted. Her shoulders hang. I smile.

"Well. yes. it's my daughter's pet."

She looks up at me exasperated.

"I see. Interesting," I say. "We're going to have to talk about that fence,"

She agrees. Says they will get estimates. We'll talk next week.

You better believe we will.

The moral of the story is: Never look a gift pig in the snout.

June 27, 2004

Birmingham, Cut It Out.

We're floating away here. Not float on pool, but thunderstorms and rain and rain and thunderstorms. Makes me glad for the good dry indoors, even with the ceiling leaks here and there. The roof repair guy seems to have slapped the tar on in the right spots. I keep looking up for drips; just the ugly yellow stains look back at me.

Birmingham, do us a favor and keep your thunderstorms this week. Just keep your rain over there. We don't need any more. I promise. Ask the oak tree in the front yard, ask the weeds, or ask my old dog whose hot spot sprang up from the dampness.

See, I have a kid who's spooked of tornadoes, and she's starting to spook me too. I think I hear sirens now. She's in my bed waiting for me. And it's only sprinkling now. Just cut out all the rain and wind and thunder, and we can shake hands and make nice over the state line.

That's the last time I'm asking nicely.

What does genocide look like?

We who say what we mean say what we mean.

Mike my brother, I almost missed this one. Oh, it's the best I've seen, yah the best I've seen.

Thanks to Shelley for thanking you and for thanking AKMA, otherwise I might have missed your whole diss. And that woulda been tragic.

What I really thank you for is writing about the genocide in Sudan. Because, like, most of my neighbors are so busy slapping their Bush/Cheney 04 bumper stickers on and looking for Bin Laden at the Quick Trip that they've missed that news.

Now maybe they'll listen to me.


Spontaneously yours...

Oh. Dear. Evil Genius at Work? Dog Island.

So I'm searching up hound mixes online, trying to start networking to find my sister a mix of some or other hound variety, and I come across Dog Island. Have you seen this? Well, you really must.

Check out the Rates page:

The Normal Route, Dog Island: Free Forever

Permanent residence for dogs at Dog Island is free! You will have to pass the interview process and so will your dog. It is not easy, we really want exceptional dogs, and we need dogs who have been properly trained for the island. We never make the implication that it's an easy transition, but the dogs experience themselves anew, so it's worth it.

Dogs never want to leave the island once they experience it, so you will not be able to have your dog again. You can come to the public visiting days, they are three times a year. Sometimes, someone sees their dog again. Usually the dog has either forgotten them, or has grown to resent all the years of captivity. Even with the sweetest relationship, it was always wrong for the dog to not be free.

Vacation Island: Three Weeks

Vacation Island, on the other hand, is very very expensive. It is only for rich people who have that kind of money to spend. This is the only way to visit the island with a dog and still come back with your dog.

If have you have the money, this is often a good way to show your dog what it has been missing, while helping to give it to many, many others. As a rich visitor, your dog will be in ecstasy for three weeks. However, once that period is over, we regret to say your relationship with your dog will be flat for a little while, only because your dog will have had such a great time, that he will now miss it thoroughly.

Not to be missed, get down with the Dog Island groove.

Special Note: We are booked for the next 12 years. Please consider supporting a local chapter.

I mean with a business model like this, what could go wrong?

If your dog is accepted, there is no cost at all! This is completely free. We make this possible by some funding from rich people with big hearts, and by the money we make from the rich people who like to use the Vacation Island.

Southern Africa's Beauty

Saw a special on Atlanta TV the night before last on Mateya Safari. A mere $1,500 a night for a piece of peace.


While they're busy catching those bad guys without WMDs who had nothing to do with 9-11....


The U.S. Agency for International Development estimated that at least 350,000 people will die of disease and malnutrition over the next nine months.


Returning from a recent trip to refugee sites on the border between Sudan and Chad, a team of investigators from Physicians for Human Rights issued a report that found several indicators of genocide in Darfur. The eyewitness accounts from refugees are heartbreaking. The destruction of villages, the killing, the hot pursuit of survivors, the systematic rape of women -- these crimes form a pattern the report calls genocide.


According to estimates by international humanitarian organizations, at least 1.2 million people in Darfur have been forced from their homes and scores have been terrorized or killed by Arab militias known as the Jingaweit.

And I'll keep talking about it.

Don't Sue Me, Or Do--I'm Posting It Anyway

My bro-in-law forwarded this article from today's Boston Globe. He said it reminded him of me, and even the writing did. He's a good egg. It is indeed well written, way well, better than I could do justice to, and it is also the stuff my brain turns round and round all the time. Go Dr. Ely.


The subtler injuries kids bear

By Elissa Ely, Globe Columnist | June 27, 2004

MY LITTLE GIRL was in mourning for someone she loved. It was not a consequence of fire or war. The beloved in question was still alive. But logistics and distance had caused a natural separation, which time then extended. Calls were not answered, dates left unarranged. The love affair had become one-sided, and there was no explaining to her that intimate bonds can dissolve into yearning on one side and disinterest on the other, that this happens more often than not, and that, through nature and time, better bonds will form. After much unhappiness, she wrote a poem in pencil, then copied it in glowing yellow highlighter onto a piece of paper covered with hearts:

Life is good But not so good

Without a friend

Like you.

She mailed it off. There was no response. Over the next weeks, references to the beloved tapered off. After they finally stopped, I understood that her heart had quietly broken, along lines of cleavage I could not repair. That night we were watching a video of her choosing with two adults who have no children. We had convinced our friends to forgo more age-appropriate options by promising them charm, wit, and jaw-dropping technical effects. The video is considered a recent children's classic, a marvel of computerized animation. Most important, my little girl wanted to see it again.

She sat in my lap and looked expectantly at the adults across the living room. She is very fond of them and wanted them to love her movie. She was setting them up on a blind date for romance. "Isn't it great?" she said, the instant the title appeared.

They wanted to like the movie, too. They were prepared to chuckle at childish things and appreciate young humor. They lounged on the floor, pillows piled around, looking relaxed. It was a break from the profound films they usually take in.

But we had forgotten -- because we are so used to it -- that the movie was filled with incidental violence. The plot itself is benign, and the main characters emerge untouched, but there are dozens of unfortunate special effects: steel cutting skin, heads banging, and once, a little bird blowing up when a tone-deaf heroine sings to it. Our friends raised their eyebrows at first, then winced, then grew stiff and dropped all pretense of enjoyment.

My little girl could not understand. The violence did not interest her: Not one blow drew a chuckle. She put up with it, and watched for the sake of adventure.

Our friends did not want to hurt her feelings. After the video ended, they spoke in neutral phrases until she had gone, puzzled, to bed. Then they erupted. It was a critique full of inarguable thoughts about the hazards of children absorbing violence and the media honing it so attractively. They were appalled at the exploitation and enraged at a world where millions of dollars fine-tune hurtful visual effects so children will laugh harder.

My husband, always invigorated by the prospect of disagreement, answered with spirit. He said a parent's job was not to prevent media exposure but to help children learn discrimination. He pointed out that the mother doe's death in "Bambi" was far more devastating than a movie in which peripheral characters no one knew or cared about disappeared quickly off the screen. He said there was much worse out there in children's programming. He dropped Bugs Bunny into the argument to make a point about historical continuity -- someone was always being banged by Bugs's frying pan or wearing gunpowder from his musket, and our generation survived. He looked over to me for reinforcement.

My own thoughts were drifting elsewhere, to my little girl's recently broken heart, and her yearning, unanswered poem. I was thinking that there are gross violences, casual and pervasive, and so extensive that they become background voltage in the lives of kids. They are wrong, and of course children's movies would be safer for children without them.

But I was also thinking about the subtler kinds of injuries children absorb -- not intended, not life-threatening, not technically violent, not even anybody's fault, but still life-changing. I know it is a luxury to worry about a broken heart in a world where broken lives are standard trauma. I know how lucky we are that this is the worst the little girl has faced. And yet, it didn't feel that way. She had stepped away from Eden, and there was no protecting her.

Elissa Ely is a psychiatrist.

Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company