Saturday, January 31, 2015

Hawwt Donkey Sex

Got your attention, huh? There's nothing in this post about donkeys or sex. But here you are reading it ...


I’m swamped. I have too much to do, too much to worry about. And most of it is school stuff. I may be caught up in a week or two. And I need to sell stuff. I’m going to sell off papers related to Photodrama of Creation, an early multi-media program and the second movie ever coordinated with sound via phonograph records. We have a window advertising hand out, and some of the newspaper size souvenir sheets. It pains me to do this, but both my writing partner and I are swamped with medical issues, and we need the money. So …. So much for that.

Remember my new bookshelves and the family room alcove I’m redoing? I thought I’d be done by now. But no, not even close. The shelves are up and mostly full. The books aren’t fully organized. I have piles of things that need a new home or maybe I should donate them to a thrift store.

I’ve taken boxes of things to the Goodwill this month. An aunt by marriage died, and a cousin showed up with a truck. “Here,” he said. “She wanted you to have this stuff.”

Ummm ummm why? Most of it has gone to the Goodwill. I have four boxes left to sort. She had tones of costume jewelry, some of it nice. I’ll keep about fifteen pieces of that, and the rest will go off to one of my aunt’s best friends. She can keep what she wants and donate the rest to someone.

I’ve misplaced my new camera. It’s probably in plain sight. I’m really good at overlooking the obvious. I lose my keys too if I don’t put them in their usual spot. (A ratty silver-plate bowl in which I dump small change.)

The school district (and to a lesser degree a new state law) requires a change to our school’s focus. We’re about evenly split between ultra-smarties and children with learning disabilities. There is, of course, considerable overlap. Being a little genius doesn’t mean one is free from learning disabilities. So we have a new counselor designated as the lead for the new programs. I like her. She knows her stuff.

It seems to be official; I’m teaching a medieval history and literature course next year. This will be for 4-6 graders. I don’t have time to develop a full curriculum so we’ll adapt a pre-existing one.

And how was your day?


Oh, I forgot. I got some new cheapish stamps. They’re from various German colonies. The auction photo made it look as if there were duplications and condition problems. I believe that the seller didn’t know what he had. The duplications turned out to be Michel listed varieties, some of them on the more expensive side. So I did well with this.

Amy!

Amy Goddard and Friends Concert, Troedyrhiw, 30th January 2015 Posted on 31 January 2015

Amy Goddard presented a very enjoyable evening, showcasing a mix of songs from her debut solo album "Burn & Glow" and an opportunity to get to hear some of her new songs - Amy is already working on her next album.

The atmosphere of the evening was light and friendly, with Amy holding the crowd with a relaxed charm. Emotionally, the music took us from a stark warning of the dangers of bullying, reminding us that "words can cut as deep as any blade," to the light joyful anticipation of meeting someone special at the end of a long early morning train journey.

Amy, who is an exceptional guitarist in her own right, was joined on the stage by Jonathan Lewis ho took turns playing bass guitar and lead - and also impressed us all with his excellent playing.

Amy’s husband, Matt Goddard, also took to the stage for a song that had the whole audience giggling - "Things you don’t say to your wife" - which contained entertaining lessons for husbands everywhere!

After Amy sang "The Lonesome Picker’s Last Hurrah," her moving tribute to John Stewart, Alan Whitby joined her on stage to perform one of Stewart’s songs:"Eyes of Sweet Virginia"

After the interval (with much appreciated tea and cake!) the stage was taken by Sophie Williams. Sophie recorded "Near the Sea," one of Amy’s songs, in the Autumn of 2013 and it was released through Incantus Media, subsequently being broadcast on BBC Radio Wales. Sophie delighted us all with that beautifully reflective song, which she then followed with her gorgeous performance of "Closest Thing to Crazy" which left many of us speechless.

For me, the highlight of the evening was one of Amy’s newest songs, which I hope will appear on her second album. Based on love-letters exchanged with a soldier fighting in the trenches of World War One, "Gladdie" brought tears to the eyes.

Amy invited all her guests back on to the stage for the finale, and the sound of so many talented voices performing together was a sheer joy.

Amy’s album "Burn & Glow" is available on CD from her website and from Amazon.co.uk. It is also available as digital download from all the major online retailers.

Sophie’s singles "Near the Sea" and "What You Wish For" (which includes "Closest Thing to Crazy" as B-side) are available as digital download only through all the major online retailers, or direct from Incantus Media.

http://news.incantusmedia.com/news/5636-amy-goddard-and-friends-concert-troedyrhiw-30th-january-2015.aspx

Monday, January 26, 2015

From O. Reader


JOBSWORTH

This is a rant. I don’t usually rant, and this is probably not the place for it – but I have ranted elsewhere, so I might just as well rant here as well. Normally my posts attempt to be mildly humorous, dealing with the vagaries of nostalgia and growing old gracefully – or rather, in my case, disgracefully. This is about age, but there’s not a lot to laugh about.

For a number of years we had increasing responsibilities towards my mother and her husband, who suffered from dementia towards the end. He died 18 years ago, so since then Mrs O and I have had sole responsible for my mother’s care. She is now 95, not far off 96. We have gone through all the problems of her going in and out of hospitals, and having an alarm button go off in the middle of the night when she fell or made it to the bathroom but couldn’t make it back. She adamantly refused to live with us, so this is done at a distance of about a mile. Mrs O ultimately ended up washing and dressing her for years, and I helped feed her, and we got her to her place of worship until a little over two years ago, when we just couldn’t get her back out of the car. Finally, about two years ago, it became permanent bed. Over the years we bought special beds, special chairs, you name it, and finally when our “get up and go” sort of “got up and went” we had care agencies come in four times a day to feed her and bathe her and ultimately just keep her clean and comfortable in bed. We regularly slept on make-shift beds at her place whenever there was any sign of a need, and were geared up to move in at night-time on a semi-permanent basis. And that’s when the Jobsworth people struck!

If you don’t know what I mean by Jobsworth, all will be revealed at the end.

My mother now eats pureed food – which we buy in from an excellent specialist company. She has a thickener put in her drinks – just in case something goes down the wrong way, although it never has. BUT – all of a sudden someone in the social care system cottoned onto the fact that the carers were giving her thickened liquids. Horror of horrors - they are not qualified! If they worked in a care home, they would be qualified – with even less actual qualifications, but because they work in the community, the rules say they are not qualified. It’s a policy you see. It’s a guideline – although actually, it is viewed as a law. And one size fits all. So who can feed her now? Well, the family can. But, but – they’re not “qualified.” Yes, but if something goes wrong, they are not going to sue are they? So how does the family get “qualified”? Well – er - the existing “unqualified” carers who have been doing this for a couple of years can train them...  Huh?

And if the family can’t do the feeding several times a day forever, the only other option – apart from the client starving to death – is a care home.

I have very negative feelings about the care home industry – probably because I have worked in it for the last 35 years. There has been a huge scandal in this country about horrendous things happening to vulnerable people in care homes, and in the most infamous case I was interviewed by the police twice as a potential prosecution witness. As it happened, the proposed villain of the piece – a doctor who owned a string of care homes and made his fortune – never got to trial. Someone attacked him with a hammer, and he was declared unfit to plead. The cases collapsed. It would be an irony if he ended up in the care system he was accused of abusing.

Anyhow, back to what actually happened. One evening a few months back, we had just got back from long trip to England for a funeral – when a phone call came through at 7.30 in the evening. An officious voice – we hear that the carers are feeding your mother with thickened fluids – they can’t do that. We’ve stopped it! Crunch! But, this is tomorrow morning – can’t they do it tomorrow until we can get our heads around it?  No – absolutely not – rules is rules, orders is orders, and we are only obeying orders. So what happens to my mother? There was some “flannel” as we call it here, but basically, that was our problem!  So to prevent my mother going without food and drink for the whole day, we dropped everything and did the feeding – as noted above, having been “trained” by the “untrained” carers who are still allowed to go there but only to change and wash her.

Finally, it came down to it. The rules say that only nursing auxiliary carers should feed her because she has a medical condition. But tough - they haven’t got any spare. That’s why it is all down to us and when we eventually crack up, a nursing home for her. Forget the government’s pledge to keep people in their own homes. Forget the fact that the regular carers have no problem feeding her whatsoever, and are up in arms at the slur on their capabilities. Forget the fact that my mother has had unsurpassed personal care and all paid for (by her and ourselves) - it doesn’t matter, you see, there’s a “policy.” We are not allowed to think outside the box.

In discussions at subsequent urgent meetings we try and get some sense. I ranted and Mrs O burst into tears. She was more successful in getting a sympathetic ear, although the results were the same, until we pointed out – er – what is this medical condition then? Answer – she has difficulty swallowing. How do they know? Well the SALT lady (Speech and Language Therapist) said so. But she’s never ever seen my mother! She’s never visited! She made a decision without consulting us down the end of a telephone! She just ticked a box! Consternation! Errm - they would have to look into this...

Anyhow, to cut a very long and tedious story short – we finally got the SALT lady to come and see my mother. It took three months of nagging to get it to happen, during which time the health authority that lobbed the hand grenade into our lives was conspicuous by their absence. And when she eventually came and did the examination – surprise, surprise, my mother may LIKE thickened fluids for “ease” but she has NO problem swallowing. Phone-calls are made with a mushroom cloud coming out of our heads – and this time the health authority backs down – the original carers can feed her again. Back to square one after three months of totally unnecessary grief.

If we were the family from hell and my mother looked like she was being abused, then I can understand the cavalry coming to the rescue. But we’re not and she’s not, and we have been praised by the doctors and nurses for our level of care for a relative. But this was a different department you see, and (umpteenth repeat) it’s a policy. That’s the mantra. Jobsworth.

We are still not out of the woods. There will be further future reviews – as there should be – and there’s always the chance that an officious social worker will find a new policy in triplicate designed to trip us up.

Are we going to complain to higher authority? We would certainly have done so if they hadn’t caved in, and my letter was already prepared. And when my mother is no longer with us, we will consider what we can say to prevent anyone else being needlessly put through the mill in the interests of bureaucrats ticking boxes. For now, it is a sigh of relief.

So – rant coming towards its conclusion – Jobsworth? It’s a folk song by Jeremy Taylor. I’ve sung it a few times in the past, but I suspect that the next time I go to a folk club and warble – it will be on my list.

The chorus goes...

Jobsworth, Jobsworth
It’s more than my job’s worth...
I don’t care, rain or snow,
Whatever you want, the answer’s NO.
I can keep you waiting
For hours in the queue.
And if you don’t like it
- YOU KNOW WHAT YOU CAN DO!


That’s the chorus. I think I am going to write my own verses.

 

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Friday, January 23, 2015

Just Because ....

Movie Review IV (From Harry)

Young man’s parents are killed and he is forced to live with abusive relatives. His only hope is an education in a very exclusive private school.

Note from the Pixie: I know what this is. But I'm keepin' me mouth shut. (Or is that my fingers still.)

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Man with No Name

Movie Review III

Lost name in the west of Italy.

Hobbies

I collect book. I like books. I collect stamps. I have a stellar stamp collection that was started two generations back. I like my stamp collection. I collect old photos and post cards. I "collect" interesting people. I have a small group of vintage to antique moccasins. I started that as a project in high school and kept them. I collect coins. I love interesting sea shells. But my favorite hobby is flirting with and seducing my pet Scotsman.



Wednesday, January 21, 2015

The Headline

'Woman on top' is most dangerous sex position, scientists conclude ...

Headline in The Telegraph .... Scientists hard at work ... in Brazil. And just who funded this research?

Must have been a dull day at the Telegraph

Movie Review II

Demented gentleman with mercury poisoning frozen in time. ...

A book and movie. Name it!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Movie Review

Lifted from an email from O. Reader ...

A young girl travels to a psychadelic landscape where she kills the first person she meets, then teams up with three complete strangers to kill again.
Name the movie!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Toe curling


            Some things amuse me and some are mildly distressing and some are just stupid. Can you tell I have complaints and concerns?

            Two of my classes ended for the semester today. They’re both lower-grades history classes. [We teach US history more intensively than most schools. First semester considered the era from the arrival of the first natives to just before the American Revolution. Next semester will take us up to near modern times.] So … we watched a movie in my 2-3 grade class. [Long John Silver to be exact.] We’d studied pirates, hence the movie.

            I let the students find a comfy place on the carpet. Two of the little girls stretched out near my chair. They can’t keep their pants up. I’ve talked to them before. But they’re oblivious. So one ended up giving me a really clear view of her pudgy butt, and the other let her pants creep down until there was almost nothing hidden from a front side view.

            I shouldn’t have to teach modesty to little girls. That’s their parent’s job. There is a time and place to be naked. But not at this age, not in my class, and never in school. … 

            The 4-6 grade class watched the same movie, though less of it because we had an elementary assembly that cut into class time. In that class I have a compulsive talker, rude, brash, and overweight by three times his expected weight. He never blows his nose. He has chronic sinus problems. I usually plunk down a box of Kleenex and tell him to “blow it.” Not that he ever does. He would rather sniff and slurp snot down his throat. He’s also nearly deaf. His parents don’t address either issue. So he’s full of snot and endlessly asking, “What did you say?” or “What did she say?”

            I thank God that I won’t have him or his lazy brother in any of next semester’s classes. Did I mention that I don’t like his parents either? I see I did not. Consider the statement made.

            My open house exhibits are all ready. That’s a relief. I have another day of parent conferences. They’ve all gone well so far. For privacy reasons I can’t post student work here, but I can tell you about one of my students. He has a history that no child should have, and as a result, he is accompanied by an adult to each class. He is in my creative writing class [4-6]. He came to us late in the first semester, and while we usually address the needs of talented, bright young people, we’re also able to tackle other issues. His first story was a scribble, but he took off in my class. His last story was a three page, single spaced story full of imagination. I have better writers in that class, but none who’ve progressed so quickly or so far. Events like this one make teaching worthwhile.

            I think OR believes I’m neglecting Mr. Adams. I am. I’m still looking at Mr. Jones. Mr. Jones was a fornicator, not quite a pedophile but maybe close, a thief, a liar, and a number of other bad things. He was also talented and lazy. I like him better than Mr. Adams who was just mentally creepy. I’ll get to Adams soon enough.

            So … I’m reading a volume from the Cambridge Medieval History. Dry, but interesting. Lots of dirty old men and wenches and such. I even found a reference to one of my distant ancestors and his mistress. Such family scandal!

            Daughters 2 and 3 were in Seattle on a school trip. Both brought me home a present. (And one for everyone else too.) They’ve been emotionally attached at the hip since infancy, but apparently they didn’t consult each other in the matter of presents. Dau 2 bought me a Space Needle coffee mug. It’s very nice. Daughter 3 bought me a Starbucks mug, also very pretty. It has pretty pink followers on it. I like pink. One can never have too many coffee mugs.

           I met one of the new teachers today. She’s a music teacher and gives individualized lessons in piano. She’s very nice, very smart too. I see a potential addition to our coffee mob.

            Did I ever tell you that my pet Scotsman is a good kisser? He just reminded me that he is. I think my toes are still curled.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Odd Stuff, Open House and such


            I’m continuing my pursuit of the bizarre. Among other things, I’ve read parts of a website entitled Marriage Equality. It’s a mixture of fact and wishful thinking. I am not recommending it to my blog readers.

            I’ve read major portions of two books on medieval era life. One is quite good and the other is a haphazard presentation of bits of medieval life. I’m looking for a third. I own it. I’ve put it back on the shelf and obviously in the wrong spot. It’ll take a concerted search to find it. There’s a section in it about 14th Century manor houses that talks about table manners. I want to review it.

           The things and acts and behaviors that attract people always interest me. Even when they have a huge train-wreckish, ick factor. And let’s face it, buster, some things people do are truly icky.

            Also on my mind is the “wise child” mythology. You’re probably more familiar with the foolish child stories. Red Riding Hood is one of those. So are Sleeping Beauty and Snow White. In the medieval era, most of the foolish child stories ended badly. They did not have the redeeming endings with which we’re most familiar. There are “wise child” stories too, many of them forgotten. In their modern retellings we find characters such as David Edding’s Aphrael, one of my favorite characters in any story, and Kipling’s Kim.

            The wise-child stories seem to have their roots in religious stories, some of them quite ancient. I’m new to this topic, mostly. So I really do not know. It is interesting though, and I think my surmise is accurate.

            Related to this are the resilient child stories. A 19th Century version would be the Goody Two-Shoes. It’s a charming story about a self-sufficient child. Some of you will know the title as a pejorative phrase, but it’s a story by John Newberry about an orphan girl who grows up to be an effective teacher. The original was published in the 1760s, but there is an Americanized version published in the 1830s that I like better. In that story she’s not an orphan but an adventuresome child who walks out on her own. She’s helped along her way by people who are strangers to her or not well-known by her. But they know her well. She’s given the gift of independence through the artifice of quiet oversight.

            On the history front not much writing is happening. We’re reviewing pages from four magazines, trying to connect articles in one to articles in the others. This is hard, slow work, but it is essential work. So that’s where we are, and it’s given me a headache.

            We have end of semester parent conferences today and through the rest of the week and an open house on Friday. We showcase student work. I saw part of the art department exhibit this morning. Our new art teacher has raised the level of student work to a startling degree. Super stuff!

            All of my classes are represented in the Open House. I’ve made books out of all the student writing. My lower grades history classes' interpretive art work fills another book. I hope this pleases the parents..

Writing Stuff

Wednesday, January 07, 2015

Nice ...

An occasional comment would be nice.

Tuesday, January 06, 2015

Isabella of Angouleme, Queen of England

Below you will find an encyclopedia entry about Isabella. Because her descendants by both husbands intermarried over the next three hundred years, I am related to her in maybe a dozen ways. The most direct relationship makes her by 24th Great Grandmother. Read the article and tell me if you believe personality traits persist in families?


Isabella of Angoulême was the daughter and heiress of Aymer Taillefer, Count of Angoulême and Alice of Courtenay, who was sister of Peter II of Courtenay, Emperor of Constantinople and granddaughter of King Louis VI of France.

Isabella had been betrothed to Hugh de Lusignan, Count of La Marche, although the marriage had been delayed because of her extreme youth. A renowned beauty, reputed to have had blonde hair and blue eyes, it is said that King John of England became infatuated with Isabella, then twelve years old. The unprincipled John stole the enchanting Isabella from under Hugh's very nose, which resulted in King Philip II of France confiscating John's French lands, and the entire de Lusignan family rebelling against him.

His first marriage to Isabella of Gloucester had been declared invalid, since they were related within the prohibited degrees. Isabella's marriage to King John took place on 24th August 1200, at Bordeaux. She was crowned Queen of England on 9th October at Westminster Abbey. It was said that John was so besotted with his young bride that he refused to rise from bed until well after noon. Isabella was far younger than her husband but was possessed a volatile temper to match his own, resulting in a tempestuous marriage. Both took lovers and Matthew Paris referred to Isabella as 'more Jezebel than Isabel'.

Hugh de Lusignan, Isabella's slighted fiancée, had sought redress from his overlord Phillip Augustus, who promptly summoned John to the French court to answer for his actions. John refused to comply and accordingly, Phillip, acting under feudal law, claimed those territories ruled by John as Count of Poitou and declaring all John's French territories except Gascony forfeit, he invaded Normandy. Chateau Gaillard, Richard the Lionheart's impregnable castle, fell to the French after a long siege in 1203, it was followed by the rest of Normandy. John, his resources exhausted, was forced to flee the smoking rubble of his father's once great French Empire.

Isabella became Countess of Angoulême in her own right on 16 June 1202. She gave birth to a son and heir, Henry, seven years after her marriage to John, on 1st October 1207 at Winchester Castle. Another son, Richard, later Earl of Cornwall and King of the Romans was born on 5th January 1209. Three daughters were to follow, Joan, later Queen of Scots, was born on 22 July 1210, Isabel, later Holy Roman Empress in 1214 and Eleanor, later Countess of Pembroke in 1215.

John died at Newark on the wild stormy night of 18th October, 1216, leaving England in a state of anarchy and civil war. Isabella and John's nine-year-old son Henry, described as being a "pretty little knight" was crowned King Henry III at the Abbey Church of Gloucester with a circlet belonging to his mother since his father had previously lost the royal treasure in the Wash.

The highly capable William Marshall, Earl of Pembroke, was appointed Regent along with Hubert de Burgh. At the time of King John's death, London and most of the channel ports were held by the French. In a popular move, Marshall announced his intention to rule by the terms of Magna Carta, the French invaders were driven out and peace restored in England. Less than a year after his coronation, still a young woman, Isabella left her son in the care of William Marshal and returned to France to assume control of her inheritance of Angoulême.

 

Shopping!


I went treasure shopping today. I didn’t buy much, though there were some nice things. I passed by a partial set of Limoges. It didn’t appeal to me. But I found a depression era creamer and sugar in clear glass to buy. I don’t know the pattern. I’ll research it later. They were coated with old kitchen grunge, but a little soap and water made them look as new.

            I passed on some Ruby Glass items. I almost bought someone’s framed sketches. I may check back in a day or so. They were very well done. And I bought two books: 

Laurie R. King’s The Art of Detection. [If you haven’t read her Holmes mysteries, you’ve missed out.] and Sarah Bradford’s biography of Disraeli. Most biographers treat him more kindly than he deserves. We’ll see if this is any better. 

            I came home worn to the bone, even though I only teach two classes on Tuesdays. My eyes hurt, especially the one with lens replacement surgery.

            I don’t work tonight, and I intend to crawl into bed early, read something, and after a snuggle sleep the night away.
 
Honey, I found this on the pastry shelf. It seemed so lonely. Can I buy it?

Kisses

I really like kisses. You may have noticed that. Knobby Knees is home today. ... Kisses! Sticky, huggie, wet, feely kisses. God invented them. ... just for pixies.

Sunday, January 04, 2015

From Harry

 

Saturday, January 03, 2015

Normal Behavior


            So … the girls are all away. Two of them are at their Gramps, playing with their baby aunt. (Its technically baby sitting, but it’s probably more running and yelling and throwing a bouncy ball than sitting.) Three of them are off to a party. That means that this has been a very casual, mostly snuggly day. At 4:00 pm I’m still in my fluffy, feeted jammies, not that the bottoms have been off a couple times since seven this morning. Not that you needed to know that. …

            I’ve been thinkin’ about the earlier post, and contemplating ‘normal’ behavior. We tend to call normal that which falls within culturally expected norms. In the United States that’s usually colored by Christian ethics. But that sort of ‘normal’ is usually the exception.

            Just before my ninth birthday we moved into a house on George Washington Way. That’s in the city where my aunt and uncle live. It was and is an upscale neighborhood peopled by the educated. It was a nice tri-level house, but with only four bedrooms we shared. Today, most of those who live there seem to be older, retired or nearly so. When I was nine, the place was full of children.

            I was shy and quiet. My introduction to the local child-culture was through my oldest sister. I was a tag along, introduced to kids my age through her association with older children. I wasn’t exactly Harriet the Spy, but I was observant. I watched. I listened.

            So … in this upscale part of town (now eclipsed by other areas and more expensive homes), among these well-educated, well-off families, I found ‘normal’ – right?

            Our social area extended four blocks north and south, and was two blocks deep. There were exceptions, but if I wandered outside, that was my limit unless I was with my oldest sister. On the south side we had two adopted boys. They had a clubhouse built on top of an old, dead snag. They enticed three of the local young boys into it, introducing them to anal sex. This came to light when the youngest of the seduced boys kept making a squeaking noise. His parents took him to a doctor. This was a huge, though quiet, scandal.

            A German immigrant family lived across the street from the bad boys. They had two children. The boy was nearly grown. I think my sister had a crush on him, though she probably talked to him no more than a dozen times. He went off to the University of Washington, leaving behind his younger sister. As far as I know she was never connected to any of the wild acts of others. She was very nice I think. She and my sister and some others of the older kids would sit in our back yard and gossip. She was fixated on the Devil and demons. I remember her telling one of the neighborhood boys he looked like Satan.

            Now he was handsome. I liked him. But other kids said things about him that I doubted then. But I really do not know the truth of any of it. He was, my sister said, very bright, talented. He wrote for the small neighborhood paper, and the articles were interesting. But some of the older, near grown boys didn’t like him. They claimed he’d had sex with a pony. True? Who knows.

            Next to him lived an oriental family, Japanese descent as I remember it. I played with their middle child. Invariably, when I was in their house, the youngest girl was naked. I thought this odd. But I have no conclusions to make.

            An older couple lived next to us. They had two children, a boy and a girl. The boy was vain. The girl was a slut, even if her parents didn’t know it. A block behind us was home to a little boy, four as I remember it, who’d had heart surgery. His parents never disciplined him because they worried that he might have a heart attack. He threw things and swore like a lumberjack. Next to that household was a family that came from old money. They were originally from Pennsylvania. The dad was an amateur photographer. They had three children, two boys and a girl. One of the boys was found by one of the older kids in the old irrigation ditch (now long built over), with his sister’s pants down. No one told the parents. The parents wouldn’t have believed it anyway.

            Up the block from them, on the corner, lived a much older couple. He would waddle out into his yard and insist we stay off his grass. We were never on his grass, but he yelled at us anyway. One of my sister’s best friends lived on the cross street. They had a boy and a girl near my age. They were fun. I still hear from the girl. We went to WSU together. She’s a neurologist in the Seattle area these days.

Next door to them was a truly creepy family. They had a girl and boy. The boy was about thirteen as I remember. He sexually abused his seven year old sister. This became a whispered topic among the young people, and finally he was put in therapy. He told a boy across the street, in my hearing, that he let their German Shepherd lick him where it mattered. I do not doubt his claim. They were a good Baptist family, attending the largest of the Baptist churches.

Next to them were two high-school aged boys. They swore endlessly. One of them tired to seduce my sister who was then thirteen. She thought he was a fool, and I agreed.

Up the street from us, and out of my allowed play area, was a retired couple. He was a short-wave enthusiast and very racially prejudiced. I remember him expressing his views to my dad, saying, “Well how would you feel if one of your daughters married one!” Yet, when the one black family moved in, he watched their daughter endlessly. He was a distasteful man, probably a pervert.

If I went with my sister and her friends, I was allowed to tag along down to the river. We found a pair of blood spotted panties on a beach rock. They would have fit me, which means they were small. I was 9 or ten I think. My presumption was that someone went swimming and forgot them. Looking back, that’s not a tenable conclusion.

This does not exhaust the list. Considering we lived there not quite four years, I accumulated a surprisingly long list of local scandal. “Normal” behavior is really rare, I think.

Friday, January 02, 2015

Knowing ...

How nice to have a pet-husband who knows and fills your needs! A nice morning snuggle. Then rushing to dress, apply prettyfying goo, and coffee served by my pet!

Thursday, January 01, 2015

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            I’ve been reading medieval literature (Some of it is hardly literature.) looking for the antecedents of a religious philosophy. The late medieval period was characterized by moral tales. Some writers call them cautionary tales. Bad deeds are done; divine retribution follows. In many (probably the majority) the tales focus on the maiden gone astray. They’re usually short, probably told orally first then written. They give an interesting insight into the medieval mind and common morals.

            Many of these tales present an incestuous couple. Their lives end badly. The lesson is, “Dear Maiden, do not crave your brother or your father or your uncle.” That there are so many of these stories suggests that incest was common, but if one seeks fact beyond incidental accounts, disappointment follows. We don’t know how prevalent incest was. One writer said it was as frequent then as now. That’s a non-explanation. No one knows how prevalent it is now. A sociologist said that within the United States about thirty-thousand cases are reported each year. I mistrust the statistic, but assuming it’s near correct, one must presume many more cases. Usually an incestuous couple does not run out and shout, “I have sex with my brother and I like it!”

            I should interject the thought that I’m not writing about child-rape by a near relative. Though that is incest because of consanguinity, it is in fact rape. I’m writing of willing partners, seduced siblings.

            So we’re left with wild speculation. Your guess is as good at mine. I think. Probably. Within my medieval era family there are two known incidents of father-daughter incest. Most modern genealogies politely omit the father from the daughter’s “husband” entry. I can’t change the past, and I wouldn’t be me without these people in my ancestry. But I pretty sure I never felt sexually attracted to my father. And I never had a brother. If I had, I’d probably see him as I see most of my male first cousins: If we have a relationship, let’s have a trans-Atlantic one. You be as far from me as possible. The men in my family tend to be annoying and self-involved. They love themselves best.

            Religiously, the prevalence of incest tells us much about the Catholic Church as a purveyor of morals. It failed. This connects to my current research in several ways, none of which will find a place in volume 2, the book we’re writing now. There’s probably no need to elaborate beyond saying that a good test of religion is how deeply it affects its adherents. Medieval Christianity (including the heretical sects) gave adherents a feeling of holiness without the obligations.

            I have discussed this topic with my Coffee Mob a number of times. The results are always interesting. Within that group are at least two who had or continue an incestuous relationship. I don’t see it as my duty to call the police and inform. One of them had a continuing sexual relationship with her father through her twenties and into her mid-thirties. Distance rather than inclination ended the sex, but apparently not the feelings. She does not seem to be mentally unbalanced as a result. There is a daughter, a sweet girl who seems normal physically and mentally. The other group-member has an on-going relationship with her older brother. She’s in her early thirties. There are no children.

An unexpected Confession.
 

            You may find them umm distasteful. I don’t. Insane maybe. But they are my friends and they told me this in confidence. I don’t see their choices as a reason to break a friendship.

            Both of these women were raised in ‘religious’ families. The one that has sex with her brother (they share an apartment, so I imagine that’s fairly regularly.) is a friend from childhood. She has, she tells me, been having sex with her brother since she was twenty and he twenty two. It’s not as though they’re ugly and can’t get anyone else.

            Can I explain any of this? Probably not, and I won’t try. I believe that much that psychologists and sociologists write is bunk. (I’ve read a huge amount of that stuff lately.) There’s considerable denial of what seem to be obvious facts. One ‘expert’ lists only three kinds of incest. There are more than the sister-brother, mother-son, and father-daughter types he lists. I think many ‘professionals’ misstate the causes. I think they misstate the strength of the supposed incest taboo which exists more in the breach than in the keeping.

            One survey (very unscientific) suggested that three percent of Americans are incestuous at some point. This means that ten million Americans have some form of incestuous relationship in their lifetime, a figure we’re allowed to doubt. But the acutal number seems to be large in any case. Do I have a conclusion to make? No.

            I am, however, interested in the causes of inter-family attraction. One writer suggested that it was the ultimate in narcissism. Having sex with your brother is as close as one can come to having sex with self. This may be partially valid. But more realistically, one does what one cultivates in life. Not every decision is mature; not every object of affection is appropriate. But if you pursue it, dwell on it, you will do it.