Monday, December 31, 2012

injaynesworld "A New Year Is Upon Us..."

As the last page of the calendar drifts slowly to the floor, I marvel once again at how quickly one year turns into another these days, though it was not always so.  Mother Nature was a free-wheeling gal until Father Time came along to crimp her style.  It would have been nice to have lived before such constraints – to know only the sun and the moon and not worry about much beyond that.

In 2012, we managed to dodge the Mayan’s prediction of the end of the world, although when I look at the current state of things, it occurs to me that they may have been speaking metaphorically.  As a species, we continue to kill each other at an astounding rate, pollute the planet beyond what future generations may be able to survive, and worship at the altars of fear and lack.  Frankly, it’s a wonder to me that we’ve lasted this long.  I often question if we are not just a grand failed experiment and somewhere in the Universe is another planet much like ours where “God” got it right.  Then I turn off the news...

Many will be happy to see 2012 go.  I am not one of them.  Exhausting as it was, I’m not happy to see any year go.  It only means I have fewer left.  You start to notice those things at a certain age.  But I embrace the New Year and, like you, I eagerly infuse it with dreams and goals, promises and pledges, determined to make it even better than the last, hoping to hold onto its newness for a little longer this time around and to ward off the self-flogging when resolutions fall by the side of the road, as most inevitably do.

We might all be better off to just promise that we’ll do the best we can, forgive ourselves when we fall below our goals, and recognize the chance to start fresh with the dawn of each new day.  After all, there was a time when each new day was all we knew. 

Wishing you all an abundance of love, health, and good fortune in the coming year. 

Jayne, Dixie, Mason, Bubba & Levi

Thursday, December 13, 2012

injaynesworld “The North Pole’s Got Nothin’ On Me…”

It didn’t grow wild in the forest or come from a Christmas tree farm, but it won’t drop needles all over the floor as its dying carcass is sadly dragged from the house sometime in late January because I can’t bear to part with it any sooner.  In fact, I needn’t part with it at all.  I could just hang hearts on it in February, Easter eggs in spring, and little American flags in July, but I won’t because I’m not yet quite that demented. 

True, it doesn’t fill my home with the smell of fresh pine, but that’s why God created Glade. 

If life has taught me anything it’s the importance of improvising.  Gone now are the Christmas parties of years past where my large home was packed with friends decorating my eight-foot tree and feasting on freshly-made tomato bisque soup.  The soup is still here, but the gatherings are smaller, two or three friends at a time as my tiny new abode will allow, and not a bit of the festivity has been lost.

It’s hard for me to believe that I was once a “Bah-humbug” about this time of year.  Unhappy with my own life, I felt mocked by the gaiety I saw everywhere around me, and tried my best to shut Christmas out.  Like a raging river, however, it would not be denied, and ultimately I always broke down, unpacked my tiny fake tree and carefully positioned the lights.  “You win, Christmas,” I would say with a smile.   

There are many people feeling that Christmas is lost to them, but it’s never lost to anyone.  It continues to live in our hearts, maybe only as a tiny ember of Christmases past, but make just the smallest effort to meet it halfway and see how quickly its flame ignites to lift your spirits.  

Go on.  Improvise. 

Wishing you all the blessings and joy of the holiday season.

Monday, December 3, 2012

injaynesworld “The Universe Calls My Bluff…”

This is Bubba.  He’s 27 and yes, that’s old for a horse.  I retired him in 1999 due to some soundness issues never dreaming he’d still be on the payroll all these many years later.  In fact, I’ve often complained about just that, wondering when the old coot was going to stop draining my dwindling funds to pay for a retirement that is far better than anything I’ll ever be able to afford for myself.  Not long ago, in a moment of fiscal frustration, I even uttered the words, “When is that damn horse going to die?”  I was ashamed the moment they spewed from my lips and I took them back immediately, but it was too late.  The Universe had heard. 

When it comes to my animals, end-of-life decisions have rarely been clear-cut.  More often than not, I’ve allowed more time to pass than I should have and regretted it in hindsight.  Hindsight sucks.  As Bubba grew older, I swore that when his time came I would not put him, myself or my bank account through needless suffering by prolonging the inevitable. I’d given him the best quality of life a horse could want and there would be no regrets.  My prayer, of course, was that one warm, sunny day he would simply lie down in his green pasture to nap and peacefully drift away, saving me from the difficult duty of having to play God.  Besides, I’m pretty sure it’s in His job description.  It sure as hell isn’t in mine.

Bubba first took ill on Thanksgiving.  (Note:  Horses have the uncanny ability to know when it’s a holiday and veterinarian calls double in rate.)   The signs were subtle.  He was off his feed a bit.  Probably a mild colic and was treated for such. But by the weekend, his temperature was 103.6, over four degrees above normal, and it was clear something else was going on.  A full blood panel was ordered.   Expensive, yes, but at least I’d know something definitive and a decision – the decision – could be made if need be. 

And here’s where the Universe steps in… The blood work came back clean.  Yep.  All systems go.  And yet he’s clearly sick.  But how sick?   Is it his time or isn’t it?  What do I do?

As I write this, it’s been a week of taking his temperature three times a day in the “exit only” region, inspecting his stall for the blessed sight of fresh manure, and walking him out to graze. (Oh, yeah – he quickly figured out that I will, in fact, stand out in the pouring rain with him so he can have his much-preferred fresh grass.)  There have been antibiotics that must be dissolved in water and squirted into his mouth every 12 hours via a large syringe.   As you might guess, Bubba is none too fond of this and so the amount I actually get down his throat as opposed to the amount of the pricey brew that he spits in my face just adds to the merriment.  His water intake must be monitored and the large, heavy bucket cleaned out twice daily to keep the water fresh and inviting to his picky palate.  My lower back is crying “Uncle” and it’s not alone.

Bubba has four more days to go on the antibiotics.  I can tell that he feels like crap, but no more than you or I with a bad case of the flu.  Can he rally?  I don’t know.  The definitive answer I need in order to make that end-of-life decision continues to elude me.  Meanwhile, he still shows an interest in eating and if he’s not ready to give up, then neither am I.  I want him to live.  I want him to still have that chance to check out on his own in his beloved sunny pasture, and I swear I’ll never again complain about a single buck I spend on his care.  You hear that, Universe?

The moral of the story is this:  Guard your words, my friends, because the Universe is always standing by and eager to test your resolve. 

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

injaynesworld a "Thanksgiving Memory..."

It was 1961.  Four generations gathered in the San Francisco home of my cousin Barbara, her husband, and two young daughters to celebrate the holiday:  Aunts and great-aunts; grandmothers and great-grandmothers; first, second and third cousins, they were my family.  I was an only child, and happy to be part of such a big, lively tribe for the day.   The dining table extended into the living room and, in the old black-and-white movies taken at the time, my loved ones wave to me as they feasted on traditional holiday fare, forever preserved on celluloid and in my heart.

Gratitude is all attitude, as expressed beautifully in this wonderful short film.  Enjoy...

Wishing you all a Thanksgiving that is bountiful in every way. 

Monday, November 19, 2012

injaynesworld we've "Gone Fishing..."

Actually, I prefer that someone else do the killing, cleaning, and cooking, but I couldn’t resist this latest flash fiction challenge from Business Card Fiction, a new website featuring two monthly prompts, which must be written in the format of the back of a business card.  Best of all, there are prizes involved!  

The official tournament starts on December 1st, but right now we’re in practice mode, so from the prompt “fish” here is my first attempt at Business Card Fiction.  

That’s all there is to it.  Go check out the website for all the details and come play with us.

Thank you Business Card Fiction judges for choosing my piece as a BCF Favorite and awarding me this nifty badge of merit.  I do love shiny things.  

Friday, November 16, 2012

injaynesworld it's the "Friday Recap..."

I suppose it was selfish of me to hope that with the election over we could all slide into a period of well-earned calm and enjoy the approaching holiday season with only stories of PETA turkey protests and the occasional drunken Santa to mar our peace. 


What would the 24-hour news cycle do if powerful white guys ever started keeping their pants zipped?   There’s a whole industry of people who could be thrown out of work without the dependability of a good sex scandal at least once a year.   Hard to believe it’s been over a year since Weiner-gate, isn’t it?  

The players…
The General

The Wife
The Babe
The Other General

Creepy FBI Dude
The Other Babe
And as long as we’re speaking of a woman scored, remember Mother Nature?  The gal who let loose with some major whup-ass on the east coast?   

AP Photo/Julio Cortez

Sadly, Sandy seems to have already taken a back seat to our insatiable appetite for shiny new objects. 


Meanwhile, John McCain…

… is vowing to block the appointment of Oxford educated-Rhodes Scholar U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice for the job of Secretary of State, accusing the ambassador of lying about the Benghazi attack…

On Wednesday, McCain skipped out on an intelligence briefing on the details of the Benghazi investigation to instead hold a press conference – to blast the administration about the lack of intelligence briefings on the details of the Benghazi investigation.  

Get the net.


Mitt Romney finally figured out why he lost the election…

Eager to share his insights with donors on a conference call – and apparently still unaware of the invention of recording devices – Romney whined that it wasn’t his fault.  President Obama gave “gifts” to all his voting constituencies and that’s the only reason he won.

Yes.  If only his billionaire donors had possessed the foresight to send us all new cars, Romney could have sewn this thing up.

To their credit, every Republican politician who hopes to run for any office ever again stated emphatically that Romney’s comments only served to dig the party further into the shit-hole of irrelevance and suggesting…


Toodaloo Twinkies…

Hostess announced that after years of losing market share in the junk food industry the company is closing its doors, but not before blaming those big, bad unions for its financial woes.  It would seem, however, that there is plenty of blame to go around.

The company, which first filed bankruptcy in 2004, has been controlled by a group of Wall Street “restructuring” investment firms for the past eight years that, while squeezing concessions from workers, rewarded its CEOs, who had no bakery or food industry experience whatsoever, with fat compensation. 

Twinkies could be back though if another company buys the brand during the sell-off of the company’s assets. 

Personally, I will miss the Hostess Lemon fruit pie.  Yum.   

What’s your guilty Hostess pleasure?


 And finally, “Dump the Donald…?

Macy’s is standing by Donald Trump despite an online petition that has amassed over 600,000 signatures asking the company to dump Donald’s line of men’s clothing due to his "especially unpleasant, nasty and despicable behavior" such as "personally attacking women" he disagrees with, denying climate change, continuing the "birther" conspiracy against President Obama.

I disagree.  We have freedom of expression in this country that protects even douchebags.  If you don’t want his product line to succeed, don’t buy it. 

On the other hand, I completely agree with Chelsea Handler’s take on the issue…

Well, that was fun.   


Friday, November 9, 2012

injaynesworld "Tell Me A Story..."

The line extended as far as the eye could see, each of us hoping that today we would be among the lucky ones chosen to be part of some writer’s story.  

I’ve led many lives; a pregnant teenager, the father of a murdered son – that was a tough one – a prison inmate, even a horse near death from neglect, so I’m hoping for a bit of romance this next time.  

You’d think with so many writers in the world that there would be a shortage of characters, but the truth is we are in infinite supply, our variation limited only by the dreams and discipline of those who would seek us out. 

They do so like to believe they’ve created us.  Little do they know we’ve been here all the time – just waiting. 

From the FiveSentence Fiction prompt “character.”

Saturday, October 27, 2012

injaynesworld "'We the People' Means Everyone..."

As a child, I recall a woman coming to our door one evening collecting for the poor. I pushed my way in front of my mother who stood in the open doorway. Even at seven years old, the thought of someone not having enough to meet their basic needs was crushing to me. I ran to my room, got my piggy bank and would have handed over my entire savings of $3.00 had my mother not stopped me. I don’t remember what Mom gave her, but the image of that woman standing there is still very vivid in my mind. That may have been the day I became a “bleeding-heart liberal.”

We were not well off by any means, but we had more than some. There was a family in our neighborhood who we gave my school dresses to once I’d outgrown them. They were really the only “poor” family I knew, but at least they had a house to live in.

Eisenhower was in the White House, the highest tax rate was 90%, and the country had never been more prosperous. Those folks in the 90% bracket were mostly the stuff of movies to the rest of us, but sometimes my family would pile into our old Hudson and cruise the rich neighborhood to gaze at all the mansions. Nobody begrudged them their wealth. It gave us something to strive for.

Today the term “wealth inequality” is one we hear a lot. The highest tax rate is supposed to be 35%, but if you’ve made your millions from investing, you only pay 15%, and if you’re Mitt Romney with an investment income of $57,000 a day that figure inexplicably drops to a paltry 13.9.

But who can really fault him? He’s not breaking any law. Okay, those foreign bank accounts of his aren't exactly kosher, and having the tax laws written by the same Wall Street interests from which Mitt and folks like him derive all that dough might be the teensiest bit skewed, but as Romney would explain it -- the rest of us are just lazy, envious, free-loaders.

Ours has historically been a class-based society with extremes on both ends of the money spectrum and a vast middle where the majority of Americans comfortably resided. It was a society where your birth status took a back seat to your dreams, and those “poor kids” who wore my hand-me-down dresses needed only a willingness to work for those dreams to achieve them. I miss that America.

Today, most of those mansion-filled neighborhoods that I drove through as a child have gates around them, and gone from our collective consciousness seems to be the notion that when we all have an equal opportunity to succeed our country also succeeds.

A strong and prosperous society depends on a balance between collective rights and individual rights. Today’s GOP would have individual rights, primarily those of the richest 1% among us, trump all else – except when it comes to a woman’s right to make decisions governing her own body, of course.

Despite what Romney believes about us, I know that given an even playing field Americans are the hardest-working folks on the planet. As for me, I’m still that seven-year-old who wants everyone to have enough. The difference today is, I now also know that there really is enough for everyone.

Monday, October 15, 2012

injaynesworld we make "Final Arrangements..."

She was supposed to have been in Sacramento by two o’clock to go over the final arrangements for the annual partners’ dinner that night, but it must be long past two by now.

Emily liked things to go according to plan – insisted on it – to the frequent annoyance of colleagues who often suggested she try to be more flexible, but “flexible” was just another word for indecision to Emily who prided herself on her decisiveness.

She watched as the large crane pulled her submerged sedan from the lake’s chilly, black water, and knew that lovely new cocktail dress she had so meticulously packed was probably ruined.   The car was slowly lowered down onto the bank where it was quickly surrounded by rescue personnel who now carefully pulled Emily’s lifeless body from the vehicle.

As Emily felt herself floating farther and farther away from the scene, she wondered if perhaps, just this once, she should have been a little more flexible. 

This post is in response to the Five Sentence Fiction prompt “Detour.”  

Friday, October 12, 2012

injaynesworld we're "Tired of the Herd Mentality..."

We're a nation of idiots.

How can any voter be undecided at this point?   Do they live in caves?  

And what’s with these daily polls swinging this way and that?   I feel like I’ve been living in a martini shaker.  Who are these people who keep changing their minds according to what the media tells them on any particular day?  

Okay, that 47% remark by Romney was a big deal.  I understood when he tanked after calling half of America a bunch of freeloaders.  But then he showed up at that first debate, lied about every single thing he’d ever said in the past and bump!  He’s up again.  Granted, Obama didn’t bother to even show up, but still…  Are people’s memories really that short?

I guess I’m no one to cast aspersions on anyone else's memory.  God knows, it’s all I can do to remember where I live on some days, but I do remember my core values.  

Last night as I watched Biden schooling the young Ryan in history, I did so knowing my mind was already made up.   The following two hours where pundits argued about who did or did not “win” weren’t going to make a damn bit of difference to me.   Yet today, everyone’s eyes are once again on those almighty polls like a bunch of sheep waiting to be told which way to go.

We’re a nation that swings wildly from left to right and back again in a time frame as little as a decade.  Is it no wonder we can’t establish any lasting policies that the world can depend upon?   Seriously, who the hell knows what we’re going to do next?

We demand instant gratification.   Problems decades in the making are expected to be solved in as little as four years.   If not, we switch course yet again.   Then we stand around and complain about how nothing ever gets done.

Make a damn decision and stick to it, people!   I’m exhausted!

Related Posts with Thumbnails