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Chameleon: An Interactive ExplorationPart VI -- Reminiscing Anecdotally
-- Clarence Shepard Day, Jr., once-reknowned author, poet, artist, and outspoken supporter of women's rights
"My love for you is like the ocean: vast, volatile, and potentially deadly."
"The time to be happy is now. The place to be happy is here. The way to be happy is to make others so."
"For you shall go out in joy/ and be led back in peace./ the mountains and hills before you/ shall burst into song./ and all the trees of the field shall/ clap their hands."
"In the midst of movement and chaos, keep stillness inside of you."
I, A Woman
Prelude (Abbreviated Synopsis of the Synopsis of Technology and Me) -- Strophe -- Growing Up Rich (To The Manner/Manor Born) -- Manhattan! -- Music and Hippiedom -- Settling Down and Yuppiedom -- Technology and Careerism -- Wilderness Basics (Beasts and Heathens Part 1) -- Art and the Internet (Beasts and Heathens Part 2) -- Epic Coitus Interruptus -- Town/Community Life -- Frivolities -- Beasts and Heathens (Finale) -- Recoveries -- Reprise -- Joie Plaisir Eibr -- NOW (New Original Word)
Living Remains(summary content--for full access click "boxtop" view, above)
III. Reticence Retro
"We are made for This Moment." -- USA President Barack Hussein Obama
II. 2008/13 -- Legionnaires: Marvel & Myth
Anecdotal reminiscences of rebuilding "nuked" life, work and relationships during the socio-economic holocaust
Despite the 2008 market meltdown, I found myself pre-stroke with a reasonably comfortable semi-retirement income, generously excellent credit, and -- mostly thanks to a somewhat surprise late-2009 legacy from our WWII-USAF disabled veteran Freemason father to me, my California-resident half-sister (who related that their mother divorced our father as being too "boringly good") and half-brother -- supplemental funds for leisuretime adventures, and emergency expenditures. And an adored Jonesborough Tennessee-based non-profit Mountain Empire arts and culture promotional corporation, intriguingly monumental website and stylistically varied artworks. And a groovily-pleasant and amenities-convenient residence and plentifully diverse new to antique artsy-craftsy home furnishings. And an animated catform we named "!Lilliput Jobo!" -- nickname "Lily"Overall peri-stroke, the absence of effectively selfless empathy and essential assistance exhibited by a surprising few -- professional to personal -- is sadly memorable and unmentionably scurrilous for public detail but widely-known inevitably in private discourse, and near-lethally painful and malfunctionally-rippling consequence. Thankfully, there have been, throughout, equally surprising Shining Lights of enlivening individuals and enlightening happenstance.
Junior, an entertainingly in-transition erstwhile neighbor in need of pickup work, cooked and delivered hearty meals for me post-release from rehab hospital. My favorites any time of day were succulently-prepared and invitingly-displayed eggs sunnyside up, fried sliced potatoes and onions, biscuits and gravy. He drove me on request to the local grocery and got me safely into and around in a motorized cart there for shopping on my own, fresh air, and town interactions along the way.We also enjoyed Main Street Music on the Square performances, restaurant specialties, and vendor fare.
With others one evening, we dined to Lightnin' Charlie's music and tales at now-relocated Cranberry Thistle's cabaret cafe' and one impromptu day rode the back way toward Erwin's rolling-to-craggy mountain range, choosing an unfamiliar two-lane headed toward a summit. With no turnoffs it turned out, as we checked the gas gauge, until the "Welcome to North Carolina" sign at the crest -- a few miles from the nearest occcupied and commerced town.
___ Other pleasant days we drove narrow river-lined roads around his nearby backcountry childhood homeplace, stopping to chat briefly with several of his relatives and friends remaining there. Junior had traveled with one to post-Katrina Louisiana where they'd got "up close and personal" with flooded swamps and alligators, and "fast money" to throw around.
Junior's Jonesborough-native family of 15 brothers and sisters by one father and his first and second wives include a locally popular country musician who performs on guitar and sings the regional circuit with a long-time male companion.
Junior did all the "housekeeping" here, immaculately and affordably, including laundry washed and folded, which he wafted by my nose to appreciate the subtle scents he added happily. A resourceful repair person, he unclogged sinks and retrofitted appliances on the blink also. His expression of barely-submerged terror at my suggestion that he accompany a test drive for visually-impaired me in a deserted parking lot deserves a special place in memory. He never found an appropriate venue.
My female professional homecare therapists and personal assistants became caringly good friends too amongst whom we shared jokes, witty quips and instructive-to-interesting tales amidst necessary exercises and oblations. Laurie donated on an insistent unscheduled visit her "home brew" remedies of chicken soups, crackers, OTC medicines and gingerale on the occasion of one seasonal "cold."
For a quick vacation teen neighbor Angel, baby Lisa Marie, Yvonne and I stayed a night at closeby AmericaInn to avail ourselves of their jacuzzis, group-sized hot tub and heated pool. We ordered pizza delivered and provided our own "distilled spirits," finger-foods and spontaneous entertainment. There is no sweeter enchsntment than awakening beside a blissy infant. A "shot of (breast-fed) Lisa" cured the blues, nearly all agreed.
I knew for sure that Lisa Marie and I are soul-mates when she threw up all over the counters at Walmart during the frantically-crowded holiday season and provided her with distinctively celebratory ethnic clothing instead from Janet Browning's import emporium.
Two home and health assistants, Dallas and Pat, shared their excellent poetry --- and selves -- with me. And visa versa. Pat is a "techie" who insisted she clean up my laptop and install Google Earth and Chrome. As a friendship gift I gave her, a Jonesborough native of many generations past, one of my framed acrylic paintings of its proposed flag.
Alone, on three occasions I stumbled, lost my balance, fell to the floor, crawled to the nearest steady appurtenance for grabbing to elevate my still partially-paralyzed body into upright functioning. Another time, I soft-landed into the bathtub to await corrective company while ever-watchfully concerned Lilliput The Catform comforted me helplessly and encouragingly. Throughout these challengingly frightening times, I reminded myself that my great-aunt, NJ's Mary Elizabeth Harris, swam to the top of a New England hurricane-induced tidal wave to survive and become one of the two first successful businesswomen on Wall Street. The other was her sister. Their Freemason brother out in Denver "read for the bar" and invested his energies and expertise also in copper mining ventures. Copper became the family "gold."
Retired neighbor Margaret, who was bored with life post-employment and now cares daily for her very active toddler great-grandson while the mother works, visits chattily to catch up on news and views. A younger neighbor shares regularly colorfully arty hardcover magazines I treasure. Another provides regular cyberworld assistance. In exchange, I offer mounted collages and book loans.
Scottie, another in-transition source of humorous company and essential homecare assistance along with his newish female companion, is also a native Franklinite. Like many, she is predominantly of Cherokee heritage by blood. His now-elderly father is called to walk the streets telling spontaneous Jesus stories from the Bible to receptive passersby. An uncle has been a major World War II-era builder and developer. Scottie's high school sweetheart recently died of complications from childhood diabetes leaving her bereftly disconsolate widower to raise two tween daughters on his own. Unfortunately, in a too-common instance of these times' familial failings and financial exigencies, Scottie stole large sums from my bank accounts by debit fraud and forgeries that I was able to get reimbursed because he told me, weepingly, what he'd done immediately so I could file timely necessary forms for repayment.
The collateral damage from multiplicitous forged checks included exponentially compounded and exorbitant bank overdraft fees, dangerously exaggerated post-stroke stress-related physical disabilities, inconvenience to assistive and also over-burdened neighbors, and unanticipated malfunctions in my autopays of essential utilities -- all of which necessitated ameliorative correction as quickly as possible. At several times, I had no accounts on which checks could be written, although funds were there, as the banks blocked access unilaterally in an expansive financial freakout. The caringly concerned Risk Assesment Manager at my favorite locally-owned and -operated bank insisted I switch financial institutions for transactions that had become nightmareish to her also. My credit accounts had become inoperable somewhat simultaneously for similar reasons.
The first spate of forgeries totaled around $4,000; the second hailstorm (hell-storm) well over $8,000, only half bank-reimbursed. Later, I joked with friends that I'd not realized I was well enough off to be grand-larcened so often and to such an extent. Enter the entertainingly cordial individual I reference as ACR, Inc.'s "Angel Investor," whose family also owns some of my traditional-media artwork.
Throughout the marauding monetary and material maelstrom, ACR content updates from Christmas 2010 (assembled and coded in-hospital primarily) to the current 2012/13 installation online continued with cooperatively encouraging input from its present consortium of participants and pan-planet contributors.
___ Rebecca accompanied a functionally-distraught me into the two local banks affected adversely to assist in explanatory conversations I find tediously difficult due to stroke-related speech/throat impediments. Thankfully, their investigators approved full reimbursements and cordially polite Jonesborough police, and soon thereafter Tennessee Adult Protective Services, took charge.
Prior to their arrangement of my receiving delightfully designed and sweetly delivered --including members' fresh seasonal flowers and fruits --five-day-a-week Jonesborough Senior Center Meal-On-Wheels, I sampled monthly the array of healthy frozen microwave market meals, most of which are surprisingly and tastily, and affordably, excellent. And quickly easy to "prepare." Kinda predictably, a favorite brand is Boston Market. And Marie Callender.
I have still my stock of Assorted Emergency Apocalypse Dried Beans stored inside the covered enamel pot of the antique wooden potty chair in the Museum of the Butler's Panty off the kitchen. There's a dizzying display of other dried and canned foods secreted within the cabinetry also for that oft-forecast day. And jugs of clean water.
To distract my attention healthily and productively, and inexpensively, from what I term to be post-operative fibromyalgia nerve-pain, I intently and delightedly have discovered possibilities and opportunities in digital folk art "paintings" created with Windows Paint graphic software, which I've taught exploratory tricks it didn't know that it knew or could do. Disabled, this has the advantage over acrylics and other traditional media of being clean and requiring no special clothing or aftercare pickup.
___ For someone mobility-impaired who loves research and "mental travel" extended internet content and extraordinary tech advances are a special boon for (safe, clean and free) "armchair adventure." My peri-stroke disabilities and discomfitures have been both curse and blessing in motivating explosive pain-driven expansions of artistic and technical design explorations/expressions for me, ACR Inc., Jonesborough Tennessee and our country. Surprisingly, The exhileratingly vibrant internet marital Love Affair of our CyberAge still spices and sparks to energize enthusingly these endeavors also.
My solely-purchased/owned once-isolated riverfront Virginia country home was a (beautifully) dangerous place to live, work and play in many ways: e.g. practically, it was over half an hour from the nearest fire prevention station and emergency room or doctor; petty larceny, vandalism and trespassing by strangers had become somewhat common; environmental pests like gypsy moths proliferated; socio-economic evils of nearby metro DC seeped outward inevitably. No soberly sane, near-elderly, slight-of-figure single woman would choose to live a "public life" in that unprotectedly precarious circumstance and I didn't, by cautiously committed relocation planning. Jonesborough Tennessee, preferably, provides the "comfort of numbers" in predominantly pleasant and palatable dosages, convenient necessities and effective pest control, the kind of cozy anonymity of over-populated cities like New York, historically wholesome and interesting atmospheric conditions, and comfortable affordability.
Sadly, the South's never-settled and ever-ugly confederate antagonisms and animosities fester still like chiggers under the skin, perniciously and discordantly, into the exhilerating spirit, warmly heartfelt embrace, and stalwart stand by a majority of Franklinites once captured, conquered and enslaved by invadingly hostile CSA armed forces.
For example, the female individual I've referred to throughout these writings as "my best friend" and in person on occasion as "my sister," in accord with her requests to remain anonymous publically, is (now-widowed) Rebecca Leah Price Grindstaff who named me around the time of birth to be Godmother for her 60s-era out-of-wedlock daughter and my sole "Living Will" heir (1997-2012), [Leesburg VA owner of an unrealized 2008 or 2012 "dream" startup dinner theatre (Mrs.) Leah Price (Grindstaff Daily], who adopted the surname of her mother's later husband -- Butler TN's Joseph Grindstaff -- father himself to one son, Nickalous, and now two grandsons, who raised and supported Leah Rebecca from toddler to teen, by then-married and now-remarried (MA's attorney/judge and mother Diane Esser) Blacksburg Virginia-published novelist/musician/professor/poet Pennsylvania-native Wilson Roberts (who has repeatedly referenced ACR as "a national treasure"), also father then and now to four sons by his first wife, [NC's] Sally, an outstanding artist in oils and watercolor. Rebecca's ever-Union/USA father's family goes back generations to American Revolutionary times in and around Rogersville TN. Her mother's Jervis family extends back to the Virginia mountains near coal-country Wise County's Big Stone Gap in the state that has prided itself as the "heart and larder pantry of the Confederacy" -- as distinct in separately superior Commonwealth identity from the federation of other states as Vatican City from Italy and the Euro-Zone.
Because, widowed and having taken a bargain-priced lump-sum ETSU "early retirement buyout" for years of office service, Rebecca -- whom my grandmother had treated, as "my best friend," decades past to a week-long, all expense-paid roundtrip visit with me to her 57th Street Manhattan apartment -- complained of financial difficulties with life basics, I offered her the use as loans for emergencies during 2008 of two high limit credit cards in my name. On skimming statements later, I was surprised to note the charges were all for nonessential incidentals -- eventually "maxing out" those accounts. On several occasions at her request, I took $1000 cash advances for her use, although she used none for necessary home maintenance or repairs like furnace/roof replacement and never made any monthly payments due on the totals borrowed -- for which I was docked punitive fees of well over $3000.
Despite the hardships these laxities caused me in daily living and in "turning the other cheek," I replaced voluntarily her broken computer with the laptop she uses now. As one of several disaffected offspring of an unschooled and criminally abusive fundamentalist preacher, Rebecca -- disfigured to facial pockmarks, and severely mobility-disabled, in childhood by untreated disease -- views such behaviors as signs of idiocy -- rather than beneficently aware kindnesses -- to be near-lethally raped and heartbreakingly exploited, while publically thanking my forewarned half-sister Kathryn for her "friendship and support" in the meanwhile, of their true meaning and intention.
Back in 2009, Rebecca and her TennCare-dependent mother had asked, piteously, to borrow against my credit $1500 to fund their farewell visit to a dying sister of "Granny" far south of here -- Georgia, I believe -- which I did to repeated expressions then and later of gratitude from "Granny" especially, although their promised repayment was so unjustifiably tardy as to incur exorbitantly compounded punitive fees and to cause two Court-ordered warrants of nonpayment to be served by local law enforcement at my back door and thereafter unanswerably insistent dunning notices to me by postal and telephone service. Of course, all of that derailed again my once-excellent credit history and raised unilaterally interest rates charged on any loans in my name. Many of Rebecca's behavioral deficiencies and moral lapses mimic -- and may intimate -- the concertedly-concealed mental retardation of an early college-dropout, rather than the widely-suspected substance abuse.
Naturally and on the urgent advice of knowledgeable counsel, the connection with that secretively surprise source of sprawling harm and swarming horror is severed by irreversible legal notice "for the greater good" of myself, and of my home town and neighbors. And my country of allegiance and fond fidelity.
Miraculously, my (weather-dependent) physical and financial situation has stabilized pleasantly and comfortably -- and sometimes delightfully -- since the close of our 2012/2013 holiday season.
C.-- Recovery Daze___
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First, it's important to stock up with the basic essential Fancy Feast pantry products: richly sweet cakes, pudding pies, cookies, ice creams, an assortment of syrups and thick liquors for toppings, variety of cold coffees bottled and canned, catfoods with veggies, diverse-media art and entertainment. And the company of tested, trustworthy and true good friends.
___ Escape travel is important too....
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Land of the Blue Mist
United States of Appalachia
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"I have fought the good fight, kept The Faith, and brooked no peace with Evil."
I wish you strength, love, and peace with friends in paradise.
World without end.
Music!Band: Tedeschi Trucks YouTube Channel
Precious Products Recommendation: Jacquie Lawson-gifts
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"Home -- that blessed word, which opens to the human heart the most perfect glimpse of Heaven."
-- Lydia M. Child (1802-1880), abolishionist, activitist, novelist, journalist, and poet who wrote extensively on justice issues for Native Americans, African Americans, and women
"Our life is frittered away by detail.... Simplify, simplify."
Meditations/prayers from Silent Unity's 2008 On Sacred Ground calendar:
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