December 16, 2004

Why a Pig is Not An Ass

Requests--of course we take requests. And so, it's time for a pig update.

I thought of you, dear pig enthusiasts, when I saw Pig out back today frolicking in the leaves. In case you wonder, pigs, or at least this pig, love to run and kick up leaves.

It's funny--today was about 40 degrees--the nights have been very cold. In the 20s. And I've been wondering about Pig. I wondered how pigs handled cold weather. What special provisions they need. Really, I have no idea. But I can tell you the techniques of our pig-owning neighbors.

It appears that the first technique, which I observed as the leaves gave way to an unobscured view of the pig owners' yard, that they have constructed a pen for Pig.

A pig pen, I guess.

Now, the thing is, we've been after them to fix the stockade fence that separates our backyards for a decade now. They claim they don't have the money for that, but they obviously had the money to install a new, ten-foot-tall, 12x12 chain-link pig pen in their back yard. I was unaware pigs could climb. So why 10 feet? I don't know.

It is perhaps the ugliest feature within their very ugly yard.

Anyway, a tip for all of you who may one day own a pig in the winter, the pork-savvy neighbors have now padded the entire square pig pen with hanging blankets. First one appeared. Then another. Then a few days later, the pig pen became a tapestry of thick, hanging, dirty blankets.

I finally figured out it was to protect Pig from the cold. Pigs don't have much hair. So I guess hanging blankets ten feet in the air makes sense.

If you're an idiot.

Anyway, the lady neighbor let Pig out from his pen yesterday to romp in the yard. She stood on the deck. George was at the window in our kitchen watching the touching scene. "He's running right over to her and nuzzling her leg!" he told me. George admires pig. But just about every other day he says, "It's time to call on them. It's just not right."

Problem is, Pig is really the best pet in the neighborhood. Pet? Hell, he's the best neighbor, period. (Except in August when it smells like a zoo at our house.) The majority of the time he's great. He doesn't bark. He doesn't climb on the fence. He doesn't mall children. All he does is push the ground around with his snout. He seems happy. I envy Pig.

Pig isn't an ass--his owners are.

These stubborn, hot-tub-and-pig-pen installing, nasty-mouthed neighbors refuse to replace their now-half-fallen back fence. If they'd just do their neighborly duty, so that animals and at least some of their odors would stay in their yard, we wouldn't mind Pig a lick.

Last week I was out on our back deck when I saw the husband and wife back there fashioning more junk between the holes and missing planks that speckle what's left of the fence. A table leg here, a dining room chair bottom there.

You know you're in redneck territory when...

I said, "HI THERE!" They tried to ignore me. "When are you planning to fix the fence?" I asked.

"When we get the money," said Mz. Personality.

"Well, with the pig and all, it seems like the right time to find the money to fix the fence."


"We've been here ten years now, and the fence hasn't been fixed," I continued.

"We've been here 23 years!" said Mr. Insurance Salesman, proud of his subdivision longevity for some reason.

"Well, 23 years seems like plenty of time to fix a fence then, huh?"

After that, they ignored me. Stupid Boxer had come home for a visit, and I guess they had other things on their very small minds. Like watching the dumb dog bark and leap at the pig pen for the next three hours.

Yep. If I could have it my way, I'd let pig stay and call the County Code Office on his owners.

December 15, 2004

Personal Weblogging Meets the Real World

In the early days of weblogging, we were all personal bloggers. It was only with the second wave of bloggers, those who chose to construct their writing around growing religious extremism and a bright and shiny new war, that personal weblogging took a back seat to punditry and proselytizing in political and war blogging, closely followed by their friends, the business bloggers.

I respect finely-tuned weblogs. I just don't enjoy reading them. Because something is invariably missing. And that would be the blogger himself or herself.

Because we were fewer in numbers back in 2001, bloggers were, by their very nature, personal. As we hyperlinked across what was a more intimate territory, we came to know and care about those with whom we jammed. That was then, before blogging grew up and became famous.

This, of course, is now.

Now I struggle to remain personal here. With a growing business--and even growing interest from clients in weblogging--I should be writing about, well, business. Marketing stuff, PR stuff. Recent developments. Caveats. Trends. You know, important stuff.

But I don't. And when I do, I don't sustain it for long. And that's because my business is not all that I am.

I'm also a mom. An ex-smoker. A recent griever of a dead pet. A Sicilian. A sister. A child who lost her dad when she was only six. A surgery survivor. A horse lover. A woman who thinks about death three times a day. A finger picker. An occasional Xanax needer. Someone who can keep better time than most drummers. A partner of nearly 20 years to my husband. A liberal. A mixed-marriage contender. A reader. A writer. A 42-year-old with quickly graying hair. A woman who has lost a relationship with her mother and has found herself. Someone who doesn't cry often enough. Someone who wishes she laughed more.

That is what interests me about sustained writing online. It is when we reveal, little by little, all of the parts and pieces, some jagged some smooth, some ghoulish some gorgeous, of who we are. And even better, when we find some of those missing pieces through the act of blogging.

It happens.

It's beautiful.

It keeps me here.

I'm not interested in one-dimensional weblogs that feature punditry, business, or politics, because webloggers have begun to hide behind their ideals. They post HTML and leave their heart locked in chains 5 inches thick. They want certainty, not the openness of "what if...?" They want neatly plowed fields, not crop circles. They want a sure thing, not a "we'll see." And they are very big on what they see as decorum and integrity. This is how they hide. This is urging weblogging toward the ho-hum, business-as-usual, mainstream.

That's fine for them. But it's not for me.

So, hello clients or future clients who've wandered in. I know from my site meter and Google that you've been here. I really ought to adjust my prose accordingly. But I'm more happy for you to know me.

And now you know me a little bit better.

Stick around here, and you'll know me way too well.


December 14, 2004

2005 School Calendar--Why Bother?

I don't know if this is a pattern in the rest of the U.S., but here in Cobb County, we just received the controversial 2005 school year calendar, and, these kids actually GO to school for a full month?

The answer is no. Essentially, they get a week off every month. You can color it a teacher workday, a student holiday, an early release day, a conference day, or any old Monday, and the point is, school's closed.

What is up? I don't EVER remember being off school. They threatened us all year long, and held the dreaded summer school over our head, as if making it almost into July wasn't enough.

Let me unveil to you our days off next year, and you better believe I'm including early release day since I have to be in the parking lot at 12 noon, which is like, why bother at all? I'm not including weekends. We get those off too though.

August: Student Holiday/Teacher Workday 3, 4, 5, 8, 9. Why they mark those, I don't know. I won't count them.
First official day: 10th
September: 5, 21
October: 5, 14, 17, 18, 19 20, 21
November: 2, 8, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25
December: 23, 26, 27, 28, 29, 39
Jaunuary: 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 9, 16, 25
February: 17, 20
March: 1, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24
April: 3, 4, 5, 6, 7
May: 27 through to next August.

That's 43 school days off or out early.

That's a month and a half off.

Are we the only state that's lost its mind?

thank you for your consideration in this matter.

Approaching Half a Year

January 4th, it will be six months since I quit the smokey-nasty.

How in the heck did that happen? Six months have nearly flown by. Except for those moments when I've been pulling my hair out at the roots. Although, that activity also makes time pass invisibly. Try it sometime. No long-term health risks, unless you count what could happen at the asylum.

Just yesterday, I was posting in my head about how much I miss the act, how I don't know who I am without it, how in my soul, and in my mind's eye, I will always be a smoker. Just one who's not smoking.

How much a part of me that ritual was. How very much a piece of myself I had to let go with it. This relationship I'd had since I was only 12. How desperately sometimes I want her back. I want her, on the chair on the deck in the sun approaching the moment, flick, light, breathe. Centered. The noise stops. I'm with myself.

I know I know I know I know that's twisted. I know I know I know I know all the good stuff about "not" about being a "non" about living and life and health. I realize I have not been sick since July. I am, and believe me on this one, so very thankful. I realize all of this. And none of it changes the longing.

It's that piece of me I thought I knew. It WAS me for crying out loud. It was the only way I knew how to just "be".

So, a half year later, I'm still trying to figure out how to be. There are rare moments when I think how wonderful it is not to have to extract myself from a moment to go partake. Especially with Jenna. I am not always extracting myself from activities, from talks, from nothing at all even, not marking time with a flame.

I'm also more tired. I relax way too easy. And so I sleep. A lot more.

Oh, and there's the 600 pounds I've gained. Yah, there's that.

Anyway, this is not meant to dissuade anyone from doing what must be done. It is not even meant to throw me off the track (believe it or not). It's not a rationalization. It's not meant to bemoan that place we all come to where we must make changes if we want to keep living.

Really, what I'm describing here isn't any kind of big deal at all.

And at the same time, it has turned me inside out.

if not her,
then who am I?