photo by Sheri Dixon

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Texas- Red...With Embarrassment

I woke up this morning to the Dallas news station blaring about the 'huge Tea Party victory' here in Texas yesterday.

Of course they also pointed out that Texas was virtually the only state that had a Tea Party victory, so at least the rest of the country seems to be getting over their childish infatuation with The Drunk Uncle of the political spectrum.

Everyone has one of those. When you're a kid, you love Drunk Uncle because he acts just like you...only he's big. When you're a teenager, you are skeptical of all adults, but still sorta dig Drunk Uncle because he makes all the other adults so damn uncomfortable. Once you're grown? If he weren't related to you, he wouldn't be at your dinner table, near your family or on your property.

You know...This guy-

Ain't no amount of Pillsbury Crescent Rolls gonna make that dinner better. Anyhoo.

Yanno what the newspeople didn't mention this morning?

How disgustingly dismal the voter turn out was. Less than 5% of registered Texas voters showed up to vote.

Yanno why that's not news? Because unless it's a presidential election, less than 5% of Texas voters always show up. That's because for all its snort N blow about Texas being so great, so wonderful, Number One in everything all the time everywhere, Texas ranks dead last in voter turnout. Last. Out of all the states. Last.


So the only people who even cared enough to show up yesterday were those who
a) give a crap about elections and why they're important
b) the Lunatic Fringe.

Now, I need to do some Tex-splaining here. Because groups a and b above are totally different here in Texas than the rest of the world lately...for say the last two decades. That's the amount of time we've been officially insane here, ya'll.

In modern day Texas, group a consists of Tea Party fanatics. While middle of the road conservatives didn't show up yesterday... because remember- unless it's a presidential election, they don't show up- the Tea Party was out in force. Flexing their muscles, ya'll. Takin' a break from parading around Sonic and Chili's with their AR's slung across their patriotic backs and slapping up against their patriotic fannies in an ammo-erotic display, they braved going somewhere unarmed to go vote. What a sacrifice. Those brave, brave dears.

Group b is, of course, Democrats, other assorted liberals, commies and middle of the road conservatives (aka RINO's).

And here's the other thing that did not get mentioned on this morning's news.

We had a little run-off between David Alameel and Kesha Rogers. Both running as Democrats; a Lebanese male dentist and a black female who touts a meager background and young life as a political activist. So on the face of it, if you aren't paying very much attention to what they're saying, the tendency would be to vote Kesha.

Here's the thing- and it's a very heartening thing if you are a Texas non-Republican.

She lost. She lost big because Texas non-Republicans are paying attention and were sufficiently (and correctly) alarmed at her actual words coming out of her actual mouth. See, she's a Lyndon LaRouche Democrat and has paraded around with posters showing Obama with the little Hitler mustache that the Tea Party loves calling for his impeachment.

Now, ya'll know I'm not in love with everything Obama has done or is doing. In fact, I flat despise a good number of his policies and appointments. But I'm not going to parade around comparing him to Hitler. Because, he's not- and only deluded alarmists think he is. You know...the Tea Party, KKK, Fundamental Right, NRA - all those folks. That's who Kesha is aligned with.

So there are two very good results about yesterday's run offs.

1) Non-Republicans here in Texas are paying attention and can get out the word and get out the vote when push comes to shove.

2) The Tea Party had a wonderful victory.

Why is #2 a good thing?

Because come November, Texas moderate conservatives will arrive at the polls and be faced with either voting for a batshit crazy guy in their camp at both the governor and lt. governor levels...or Wendy and Letitia.

I'm guessing they'll either be too horrified to vote, or hold their noses and vote D.

Either way...Texas wins.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Because That's What Friends Are For

I very rarely plug other people's books, but in this case I'm making an exception. The author and I go way back. WAY back.

'Wyrd Justice- Weekends in Dystopia' is a compilation of six separate stories told consecutively; each encompassing a matter of just a few days spanning an undetermined time frame.

Fate Devine is the heroine who finds herself in the middle of the meltdown of America at the hands of (we know who- and it ain't the Liberals or the poor people or the sinners). She's strong, beautiful, sexy and powerful.

This ain't a G rated book, ya'll. Not by a long shot.

There's detailed sex scenes, some violence, mainly 'adult situations', and also humor, witches, guns, and zombies.

Talk about a 'total package'.

Here's an excerpt-

The woman tapped politely on the door, and waited patiently till the Sheriff looked up from his newspaper.

His practiced look of pained courtesy was usually enough to send most people apologizing and beating a hasty retreat, but he froze mid-look when he saw how damn attractive this visitor was.

Backlit in the doorway, her hair seemed to move on its own in shades of silver, gold and copper; waves of softness framing her serious face and contained only by the black-framed reading glasses perched atop her head.

Wearing a simple matching skirt and jacket in a light spring tweed, the skirt ending just at her knees and the jacket open to reveal the raw silk blouse underneath- the first three buttons undone.

The scent of Black Orchid preceded her into the office and she sat down smoothly and silently across from him, catlike.
She lowered her glasses and read from a small notebook in her hand. “Sheriff Thomas?” she glanced up at him, her brown eyes flecked with green magnified in her lenses. He nodded.

“May I ask you a few questions?” and she pushed the glasses back onto her head, smiled, and sat back in the chair, clearly going nowhere no matter what his answer was going to be.

As she sat back, her blouse opened up just a bit, revealing a glance of cleavage.

Sheriff Smith Thomas was a quick thinker- that’s what’d kept him alive all these years in law enforcement, in life and in his decades-long marriage to Ginny.

He and Ginny had grown up together and their families were best friends together. Any other ending other than being married to one another had never crossed the minds of anyone in either family, including themselves.

Sheriff Thomas cleared his throat, and answered gruffly, “Well, maybe just a few…as you can see, I’m a very busy man. What is this for, Mrs….?”

“Oh, I’m so sorry. It’s Miss. Miss Fate Devine, and I’m writing a book on lawmen of the South- such a noble and disappearing breed.” She flushed at the thought, and his predatory instincts took over.

“Miss Devine. I do have just a short spell here where I can talk with you. What would you like to know?”

She asked him about his motives for becoming a law enforcement officer, how long he’d been Sheriff, and for a few anecdotal stories from his days on patrol. The answers rolled off of his tongue effortlessly- he’d been asked the same thing by everyone from news reporters to 3rd graders and it took no thought at all, which gave him ample time to admire her as she wrote- head bowed, glasses on again, hair shielding her face and framing her long slender neck. He watched the steady rise and fall of her bosom and knew right then where this interview was going to end up.

Here's the link for the Kindle version, ya'll. It'll be up soon in paperback as well.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

I Always Thought Wisdom Would Come With Less Tylenol

"That's quite an accomplishment for someone of your age".

On the other side of the looking glass, that would've been a bigger compliment- back when I was a child and had done something considered beyond my years. But this was recently, when I passed my certification test to become a Certified Veterinary Practice Manager- a pretty grueling task.

"That's quite an accomplishment for someone of your age", said a former employer who had been one of my four required references to even apply to sit for the exam.

Because I'm all old now.

At 54, I'm all old now and had never been to college and one of the requirements had also been 18 college hours of business courses. So I signed up for the courses at the community college in the next town over. Five of them were online, but one was in person.

The first night of class I texted Ward. "If I add up the ages of all the other students here, it'll still be less than my age."

I was older than the teacher. Not by much, but still.

I will admit that having gray hair and bifocals has its advantages.

Young men will reach up and get something from a top shelf at the store or offer to lift heavy sacks out of my cart at the car and it's a lot less stressful to know it's not because they are looking for an opening to ask me out but because I remind them of their mom (or grandmother).

When dealing with difficult people at work, it's much less intimidating and confrontational that I look pretty harmless; like I should have fresh-baked still-warm cookies in my pocket.

And I can generally out-maneuver most anyone in any sort of debate- auto repair, work meeting, political discussion...because yanno. I'm old and stuff and they never expect any opposition, much less expertise out of me.

I am a little disappointed in gravity.

I would think that here in the 'non-science-believing' zone of the US, gravity would've been kinder to me just because I accept its existence. Why is everything on me pointed down now? And I swear I'm shorter than I used to be.

I used to worry about appearance. I know it didn't show, but I did to a certain extent.

I polished my nails and wore makeup and pantyhose- even shoes with heels on occasion.

At some point in the last few years, though, I've stopped worrying about how my parts look and just became grateful that they still work.

I've become accustomed to aching most everywhere most every day and weather the days mostly without the aid of Tylenol. At night I sleep with Ward up against my back, Fizzgig up against my tummy, and a heating pad on my side to warm all the aches. I don't sleep very well for some reason- keep dreaming I'm wedged somewhere and can't get out. Then I wake up needing to pee and realize that I really can't get out, and when you need to pee is NOT the time to have to PUSH against a 15 pound dog who weighs roughly 75 pounds when unconscious.

My hair is graying, my parts are all sagging and squishy, my eyes need bifocals, my hip hurts constantly and clicks when I walk, and my ankle that got caught up in a dog chain 11 years ago will never ever be strong again, but yanno what?

I'm OK with all of it.

So I don't look 25 anymore. I'm NOT 25 anymore and wouldn't be 25 again for anything- that was a horrible time in my life filled with instability, lack of self-confidence and angst.

Don't like how I look? Don't look.

Don't like what I have to say? Tough.

Ward's first wife 'had a lot of work done' in an attempt to look young(er). When he and I became a couple 20 years ago, I told him, "I'm going to get old. I will do my best not to get fat or smell bad, but other than that there WILL be gray hair and wrinkles, so if that's not OK, you just need to know that now."

I'm 20 pounds overweight, but not fat (by East Texas standards, anyway), my hair is gray and I've got wrinkles. My one expensive indulgence is French perfume so I'm pretty sure I don't smell bad and Ward is still here.

That's all that matters.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Head vs. Heart

I always feel so much better when I'm not here.

Whenever we're in Denton, or Austin, or Houston, or pretty much anywhere not East Texas, mentally I'm so much more relaxed and happy. Anywhere I don't feel like I have to don mental armor just to leave my yard to survive the almost constant onslaught of FOX News in every waiting room and restaurant, the never-ending parade of bumper stickers proudly proclaiming ignorant and outright hateful statements about pretty much every single social issue out there, having to walk into a board meeting at work and having financial decisions weighed not by how much money there is in the bank and the profit/loss trends of our business but by, "Lets wait and see what Obama is going to do to the economy", walking into a room full of people and having someone say, "Well, we all gotta watch what we say now...the LIBERAL is here" and they're not poking fun- everyone looks at you like you're the Enemy.

It just gets freaking old.

Even up on Oklahoma City, surrounded by old Baptist ladies, when one of them asked me sweetly if I knew Jesus, she was A-OK with my answer that I was raised Lutheran. When I moved down here I was flat-out told that "Lutheran is a cult." Nothing but Baptist counts, and all those old ladies in OKC would be labeled BINO's. (Baptist in Name Only)

We drive three hours one-way every single week to be in a home school group that believes in EVILution and who doesn't think gay people are going to hell.

"Why don't you move if you're so unhappy?"

Because I always feel so much better when I'm here.

Whenever we're in Denton, or Austin, or Houston, or pretty much anywhere not East Texas,I can't seem to physically 'settle'. Our friends and like-minded people are in all those other places, and when I'm away (and a lot of the time when I'm home) I look at real estate and take in the scenery and try to settle myself there. I can see the beauty in pretty much any environment and have always been able to- the harsh but resilient desert, gently rolling plains that accentuate the sky, any coastline or water anywhere, even the terrifying mountains are beautiful...from really far away.

And I think, "If I just look hard enough, I'll find enough to love about this place and be able to call it home."

And then we come back to East Texas- the gigantic trees, hills, water, so much like my childhood and young adult home of Wisconsin, but without the death-dealing bone-cracking snotcicle-inducing winters. And I know I'm home here; have been home here since I got here almost 20 years ago. We are fortunate to have brief stewardship of a tiny chunk of this place and I walk over our meager 12 acres of woodland and wetland, creekbank and hillside and know I'm Home.

As soon as we cross into this particular mix of pines and oaks, water and hills, I actually physically relax and sigh deeply.

So I've been stuck between my head and my heart.

Lately, with the push to Turn Texas Blue and the wonders of the interwebs, we've been in contact with like-minded people crouched in fear hiding out who also live in really Red and regressive areas of Texas- been to dinner with some in Denton, had coffee with one here in Tyler, was looked at at the Henderson County Democrats meeting like I was an Ivory-billed Woodpecker when I said I live in Brownsboro and I'm a democrat because 'there ARE no Democrats in Brownsboro!' and last night had dinner with almost two dozen of 'em...right here in Tyler!

Just to spend an evening talking to people and sharing our stories which are way more than about 'living Blue in a Red state'- this Shiny Buckle of the Bible Belt is notorious for being as close-minded and unforgiving as any Taliban- and still be right here, well lemme tell you- was some sort of special.

Oh, don't get me wrong- I was highly skeptical when the organizer told me, "And they said they'd give us the room for groups for FREE!" That smelled like either a trap (and yes- I did check for an alternative exit other than the main door to the room), or proof that they wanted us all where we couldn't 'infect or offend' the other diners. Yes. It's that bad here.

But to be around people who are aware that Texas hasn't always been Red (a common refrain here, uttered loud and proud is "You'll NEVER turn Texas Blue!" Baby- I moved here only 2 decades ago and the first election here voted for Ann Richards. Gimme a break. Mass amnesia?)

Fun fact- from 1848 till 1980, Texas voted strongly Democrat in all but four Presidential elections. "Turn" Texas Blue? It's been Blue up till the last two decades.

So, last night was more than just dinner for us.

It was a beacon of hope.

I now know that there are others out there within reach. And that I just need to look hard enough to find them.

Texas WILL return Blue. That's a given. No matter how much they gerrymander and bully and thump us all on the heads with Bibles, the demographics are changing and that's not going to stop anytime soon.

And no matter how much they try to stop it, the Far Right will be left behind. The very people who embrace and say they live by 'survival of the fittest' haven't looked in the mirror lately.

It's called evolution, baby.