Saturday, January 31, 2015

Politics Are A Scary Thing

Right now I'm reading "Dead Wrong - Straight Facts on the Country's Most Controversial Cover Ups" by Richard Belzer, David Wayne and Jesse Ventura and I'm reminded anew that our government is only as good as the people we elect. Plus, if you can do just enough obfuscation over a scandalous happening you can also protect your reputation and have another run at higher office.

I just finished the section on the mysterious suicide of Bill Clinton's childhood friend and crony Vince Foster and it's chilling. What is even more frightening than the story of what looks like a large scale government cover up over the death of Vince is the fact that as Hillary Clinton is preparing to run for president in 2016 the Republicans and the main stream media seem to have forgotten that it's likely she has Vince Foster's blood figuratively on her hands.

Back when Vince Foster died I still believed that our government and politicians were mostly good, having the best interests of our citizens in the forefront of their work. Then I experienced my own realization that government sometimes makes things look one way when it's actually something entirely different. I know the guy that found Vince Foster's body.

That guy, Patrick Knowlton, used to stop by our country store in Madison County, Virginia, because he had a weekend place mere minutes away. I always liked Pat, he was a straight forward kind of a guy, likable and he always doted on my youngest, Laura. He used to adore her and anyone that did was a awesome person in my eyes. We never talked about his discovery of Vince Foster's body.

During our time owning the store I was also the town postmaster, not really much of a job, just a few minutes mail sorting and handing it out every day. I was un-involved with politics and believed what the media said about Foster.

But over the course of a year or so I had various investigators stopping by my little country store to ask me about Patrick Knowlton. Sometimes the badge they carried said they were with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, sometimes the Treasury Dept. Once the badge was Secret Service.

There wasn't much I could tell them. Patrick was a nice guy, he played with my toddler daughter when he came in, he sometimes bought beer and he owned a convertible car. That was about it, the extent of my knowledge of Patrick Knowlton.

What was so weird about all of these exchanges is that the questions were many times very leading, trying to get me to say he was  drunk, or a homosexual or some sort of 'subversive' type person, but I always stuck to what I knew of him, that he was a nice average sort of fellow.

Later I spoke to Pat, let him know that various government agencies were noising around my little redneck Pepsi-filled corner of the world, what they asked and that I told them what I knew, he was an okay sort of fellow. He told me a little of what he was going through. Years later he ran into Jim and filled him in on the years, we're talking years, of harassment he received at the hands of the Clinton administration.

I've always believed him. Seeing it set down in writing, Patrick's testimony, in a book, makes me almost shake thinking about how the Clinton's apparently used the power of Bill's office to harass someone that certainly did not deserve it at all.

I would love to have a female president, but I shudder to think what might happen if Hillary Clinton was elected. If what happened to Vince Foster and to Patrick Knowlton merely because he found Foster's body are past history of the Clinton's it could be anything goes.

Found out that Patrick wrote a book about his experience, it's going to be my next read - Failure of the Public Trust

Monday, January 26, 2015

Phthalo Blue

After a stressful morning realizing that the mainstream church I have been attending is morphing into a very conservative fundamentalist church filled with people who don't give a real damn about anyone else and going to fetch a pizza for Jim only to be stampeded by a pile of extra extra extra large people when the doors opened who were all buying six or more pizzas each I decided I needed relaxation.

Used to be I painted in oils every Sunday after church. But I mostly stopped that, I don't know why because I love to paint and have been painting since my first art lessons around twelve years old.

Yesterday I did a big canvas of a shell path leading through the wild sea grasses and oats to a deserted beach. I feel a strong need for the ocean right now. I got no sea time last summer and yeah, I know we're in the middle of planning a Costa Rica and Panama trip in about a month but I need it now..

It was when I was almost down when disaster struck. Kiki, my older male dark tabby decided he was going to jump up on the table. He landed, his two hind feet firmly enmeshed in a puddle of phthalo blue and cadmium white paints. I tried to grab him, he struggled, resulting in both of us being covered in phthalo blue paint. He was snarling and spitting as I scrubbed his feet, but not before he put blue footprints everywhere.

I have my work cut out for me today, scrubbing random things with a bottle of denaturated alcohol in one hand and paper towel in the other. He even managed to get it all over my new coat, which I neglected to notice till I got into my car and smeared it all over.

I love my pets, I love my pets.... I keep telling myself.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Almost "Done"

I went to church for one of the few times between Thanksgiving and now and was very triggered again. The sermon on controlling your thoughts and ceasing to complain or even dare to mentally criticize is really rubbing me the wrong way.

Like I said recently here and on NLQ I don't think complaining is necessarily always bad, it's the first step toward really getting things done. Sometimes it's the complainers that are the catalyst to getting stuff done, taking names, calling out injustice, fixing social wrongs.

The reason pastors don't like it is because it means those in their congregations aren't under their control or are (in the pastors mind) agitating and causing trouble.

I came away again today with a distinct unpleasant taste in my mouth, listening to what I know in my soul is complete and utter bullshit used to control people. Not one person asked me where I'd been or how I was and the few I spoke with cannot be considered friends in any way, shape or form. The usual people were there behaving as always in their little cliques.

Once I got home I decided I might start visiting other churches in the area, starting with the one my friend Joanie goes to. But when I pulled up their website I saw that the guy that was the burr under my saddle blanket during my old church days had preached a few sermons there. I pulled up his sermon notes and proceeded to laugh and be triggered anew. Yes, Tom Smith, the Tom Smith that created endless drama in my life for the years I attended the old church and has tried to keep on punishing me when I left is trying to tell people about love, God's love. Tom Smith gave a sermon.

His sermon was on how Jesus loves him, and he started his sermon with his simplistic little ditty he wrote that has a chorus like this:
"I like Jesus
Jesus likes me"
Then he says this:
" Loving God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength will produce automatic obedience.  Love eliminates the striving to obey."
Again, simplistic, but this time quite wrong. Did King David, a man who did love God with all his heart, mind, soul and strength, perfectly obey 100% of the time? Well, no, there was at the very least that thing with banging Bathsheba and killing her old man along with other stuff he did throughout his history.

Loving God isn't going to turn you into a Ned Flanders-bot, no matter how much you wish it would.

But to me the sermon capper was this bit, his description of himself before he starts claiming that at 38 years old he started living in love with the Lord and obeying God most of the time along with serving others:
brat, smoking, getting high, drinking by age 13. No friends. Rejection on bus.Saved on school bus. Went strong months and months until we moved again.Became a chronic backslider for the next 25 years."
This is the most absurdest part considering he and I are the same age and I know for a fact he was having an affair with someone else around the same age as 38 or shortly thereafter. I also want to know how he squares his simplistic views of obedience and serving others in that time with the time he grabbed me and shook me so hard I had bruises for a week, the time he chased me and my children across his front yard with an upraised fist to try and hit me, or all the piles of emails he sent me demanding I repent and apologize to him for leaving our old church, calling me names, threatening me with hell and burning coals being dumped on my head, ad infiniteum.

I know he hasn't changed much since then. This is a small Southern town where everyone knows everyone elses business.

He is still a backslider, he's just managed to find a place where many fewer people know that he's behaved in some atrocious behavior for anyone, much less someone claiming to follow Christ.

I know, I know, no one is perfect and we're all human, but my experiences with Tom Smith, and now the people at my big mainstream church leave me thinking that many, if not all, Christians are a load of controlling, shit-spewing, hypocrites living in a hermetically-sealed church bubble with no idea how ridiculous they are to the rest of the world.

I think I'm going to have to be 'done' with church, not with faith or my spirituality, but with organized religion for a while. I'm tired of being surprise-triggered by this stuff. It is starting to drag me down. When church starts to derail you from your spiritual life it might be time to ditch going to church at all.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Re - Adjusting, Doing, Viewing, and Remembering

This afternoon's snack when what I really wanted was something carb-y, sugary, crunchy, chocolaty and and oh so bad for me. This is crunchy with some sweetness, but not my mind's first choice.

Yesterday afternoon Laura and I had a long conversation about many things, but mostly about the changes we have both been making in the new year. Hence the above photo of my afternoon nibbling.

One of the things Laura was bemoaning is that many of her friends are turning with up engagement rings and wedding plans and she's feeling envious. She wants that proposal and she wants it now, even if she recognizes that the timing would not be the greatest considering she's working full time at the university and working on her MBA at the same time.

The heart wants what the heart wants. Right now my heart wants a pile of gooey fresh-from-the-oven chocolate chip and pecan cookies. Laura wants an engagement ring.

She talked me down from the cookie-lust and I pointed out to her that not only would the timing suck for her life plans if she got engaged or married right now, but it was responsible and respectful that her long time boyfriend Ian waited to propose. He's not in any position to support a family, he's still working hard towards his career goals and has some past mistakes he must take care of first.

We ended up having a funny conversation where I reminded her that planning a wedding could be an extraordinarily stressful affair. I asked her if she was really ready for that level of crazy and then told her about my wedding, warts and all, my mother taking over the planning as if it was her own wedding and driving me around the bend over every small decision and that was before things started going hatefully haywire in the arrangements.

I'd told Jim I didn't want a big wedding, in fact it mattered little me. I would have been content to marry him in the parking lot of the local Piggly-Wiggly barefoot and wearing a croaker sack for a dress. He said he wanted a big church wedding, my mother pounced on that idea and away we went.

After two weeks of trying on dresses in a fleet of high end dept stores and bridal shops I ordered a reasonably priced one from J.C.Penney's, one I could afford. All the dresses had started to look the same to me by that point, giant frosted cupcake-looking affairs that cost way too much. Plus I was trying to keep costs down for my wedding party attendants. The catalog had bridesmaids dresses in the color I wanted that coordinated with my wedding dress. I ordered my dress, veil and a flower girl dress for my daughter from my first brief marriage, Beth, My maid of honor ordered her dress at the same time, from the same catalog, store, etc.

Two months later, we keep getting messages that my maid of honor Kay's dress was back ordered, back ordered, back ordered before getting a cancellation notice. Kay required a size 20 or 22 plus sized dress, which was one of the reasons I went with those particular dresses, because they came in an entire line of plus sizes. Four months left before the wedding and we were left scrambling. After consulting a seamstress, combing many other stores we finally found an acceptable substitute at a local bridal shop. But it had to be ordered. The bridal shop assistant started snipping that we were cutting it way too close ordering the dress a mere four months before the wedding. Apparently back almost 29 years ago you needed to order any dresses from the shops a good six months in advance.

A week before the wedding, no maid of honor dress. I'm freaking out, plus my mother is constantly trying to make me make decisions on things like which color netting the birdseed for throwing as we leave should be, things I don't care about and tried to delegate to her.

A day before the wedding. The dress arrives but needs to be slightly altered. They do the alteration while we wait. But the seamstress has snagged the material, creating a long laddered run in the light knit material that starts at the underarm and runs nearly to the waist. When I complain that they've ruined the maid of honors dress a day before my wedding I'm told tough titty, it was a cheap dress and they could not be responsible for that! Just about hyperventilated and passed out! The dress was several hundred dollars, not cheap at all in that time. We decided it was too late to do anything else and my maid of honor went with the dress with the run under the arm, like cheap pantyhose when you've been dancing barefoot in them on gravel.

The morning of the wedding Kay and I went to have our hair and makeup professionally done at the salon we both love. My hairdresser's sister died in the night, so I ended up with someone entirely different, who ignored my requests for the same style my usual guy did. I ended up with a hairstyle I didn't much like with my veil mashed onto my head at a weird angle and sewn to my scalp.

And then we get to the church and instead of wearing the dress that echoed the cut and color of my bridesmaids dresses that we'd picked out together my mother is wearing satin, a fancy red satin low cut formal dress. My mother in law had on a perfect dress that complimented the colors and design, but my mother was dressed like she was working in a Wild West bordello. She was beautiful as always, it was just so completely inappropriate for a big formal church wedding.

There were a number of smaller screw ups happening, that had happened, like the wedding cake had started to melt in the bakery truck, the icing roses slicing down the cake and social awkwardness like my father telling my future mother in law that the large African American lady sitting up front was my mother's sister instead of her coworker.

But I decided on the spot I was not going to allow any of this to wreck my day, that I was marrying the love of my life and none of this mattered. Forgive, forget and move on. Kay and I drank some wine in the Brides room before the wedding and laughed over all of that. I went out and married Jim before we had a wonderful reception with family, friends and a melting wedding cake that tasted fantastic.

My extended family still refers to my wedding as 'The day Barbara wore a whore-y dress to Suzanne's wedding" which still makes me laugh. It's part of family lore now. I don't resent it, it's just her and she was working through her own issues in her choice of dress.

After I told Laura this story, with a lot more comedic flare than I'm recounting it here, I pointed out that you really cannot waste time wishing things were different that you have no control over, you have to breath in, breath out, laugh and move on.

I feel pretty sure at some point Ian will propose to Laura, they've been together for two years now and they both talk about a future together as a married couple with a family. But right now I get the sense that Ian is the type that will not propose until their careers and educations are completed and he's dealt with remaining things involving his years ago driving under the influence conviction.

Ian, like Laura, was raised in a 'Good Christian' (tm) family and they both have had to work through the aftermath of leaving. Laura and the rest of us in our family have had exit counseling and it's made a world of difference in our being able to leave the church, forgive each other, breath in, breath out, laugh and move on. Ian has not had that opportunity and is still working through those things, handling it much better than many coming out. He's making real efforts to heal and move on.

I cannot wait to see what the future holds for these two and I'm making a vow here and today that I'll not take over the wedding plans or wear a red satin dress when they do marry.

Keep short lists for being offended. Know which battles are worth fighting for. Know that others weird behavior is more about their own issues than anything you have done and try not to take it personally or react like it's personal.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Is Complaining Really Bad?

One of the things I still struggle with after leaving my old church is when a sermon series starts and you just know that it has nothing to do with trying to teach people or make them consider an issue they hadn't considered in the past. It has to do only with controlling those same people.

Back in my days at my old cult church at least once a year Pastor Pat would return to a single theme: Complaining. Looking back I'm sure it was because the Creek Church was filled with people that whined and complained about many different things to him. Sometimes I was called on the carpet to explain myself to Pat after he'd gotten some odd complaint about me.

I remember one in particular. Shortly after I'd had a complete hysterectomy, very much against the advice of just about everyone in our home Bible study group, I had attended a Saturday night revival service at the Creek. During the course of the evening one of my good friends decided we needed to do a 'fire tunnel' with the mattah sticks I'd made.

Let me back up and explain a few things first.

What's a 'fire tunnel' I hear you say? A 'fire tunnel' was a activity/affectation that several of us had carried away from various conferences, such as from the Toronto Airport Christian Fellowship and other places. The theory of the fire tunnel is that it is the people praying lined up in two lines, facing each other, and then another line snaking through the pray-ers. The people praying with touch the prayees on the shoulders, back or head and start praying loudly as the people slowly shuffled down the line. Some Christians think 'fire tunnels' are demonic, I've come to believe it was just another game we were playing with our emotions and the emotions and expectations of others. Not demonic per se, but not worth a plug nickel even thought prayer never hurt a thing.

What's this 'mattah' thing you were using? Basically it's a decorated stick, about six to seven feet tall, decorated with strips of fabric, beads, etching, paints, whatever floated your boat to put upon it. I felt very touched by using a mattah very early on, more than twelve or thirteen years ago. It's something you use in worship, pounding it rhythmically on the ground during worship songs. I still do it sometimes now, even if it's something I very rarely do at my new church. It is just a representation of a staff, rod or ensign. According to teachings the word 'mattah' is used in conjunction with a decorated staff with the tribe's name or insignia on it in the Bible. I don't know, I just know I like decorating them and pounding them on the ground during worship. It's fun.

So where were we? Yes, my friend set up a fire tunnel. Some of us, about six, raised and crossed the mattahs like you might do swords at a West Point wedding and we prayed. Everyone else trooped under the crossed worship sticks while worship team played in the background. It got downright silly, with the laughing, screams of 'More, LORD!' and other charismatic shenanigans we engaged in that night. I used to love those things, now I see them quite differently, like it was some sort of group hysteria that everyone did to feel like they were part of it.

After about a half hour I started feeling weak, like I was going to faint. It had only been a week since my surgery. I'd had a complete hysterectomy, bikini cut, everything removed that might possibly one day be a problem, right down to my appendix. I turned to my old nemesis that I was making a supreme effort to get along with, Tom Smith, and handed him my mattah, going to lay down on the carpet in front of the altar to soak in the worship music.

Next week, oh boy, I was called before the pastor and informed I had screwed up royally, How? By handing off the mattah to Tom Smith, who was not fit to participate in praying for anyone or be any part of ministry at the Creek. People were offended when I did that. I should have only handed the mattah off to another member of the altar ministry.

I tried to explain to the pastor that I really felt strongly that allowing Tom Smith to have a small role like that to bless others wasn't a bad idea. That keeping him perpetually stuck outside of the loop when he wanted to participate wasn't doing him or the church any favors. Surely he would be easier to manage if he felt he had a role in the church? I felt sorry for Tom, because even as Tom had set up a huge computerized sound system involving many hours of work he wasn't allowed to run it. He was not allowed any role in the church other than member. I understood why the pastor had him powerless, but at the same time felt that by keeping Tom from having any role in the church the pastor was making Tom's weirdness and hatred much worse. Better to allow him to run the sound board, keeping him from interfering in the business of other members than to allow him to be at loose ends, ruining things for others.

Needless to say pastor Pat failed to consider my view an we agreed to disagree. I went home, took a pain pill followed by a nap.

The next Sunday we embarked yet again on the subject of complaining. For six weeks. It was not the first time, nor was it the last time a series of sermons was preached on the subject of 'Keep Cheerful & Question Nothing." This time the pastor even went so far as to post a huge sign over the doors of the church leading out into the Sunday School area that read "Fast All Complaining"

So now my new mainstream denomination is doing a series on not complaining, which makes me wonder if this pastor is dealing with a laundry list of the complaining in the church. But I'm fasting this series, not participating and not attending. It's simply too triggering plus I doubt there is anything this pastor could possibly say about complaining I haven't heard, either from the Creek church, or some Christian cultural enforcer like Nancy Campbell of Above Rubies.

Is complaining actually bad in the first place?

Sure, there are those that complain a great deal, but I would categorize what they do not as complaining but more whining. Whining is annoying but it is not essentially harmful.

Complaining is sometimes simply venting and venting can be emotionally healthy, as long as you don't get stuck there.

When something is wrong, no one acknowledges that it is wrong, then those that complain about it are bringing the wrong to light so it can possibly be rectified. Sometime complainers and complaints are the only way to get shit done.

You can always chose not to respond to a complainer or complaint. Criticism is not the end of the world. Sometimes it indicates a different viewpoint that you're never considered. It can spur you to think in a deeper fashion on many subjects.

That's the thing I think that trying to silent a complaint in the church boils down to. They don't want you to think, simply accept whatever leadership tells you. It's about control. There's already way to much controlling behavior in church leadership without trying to squash down any complaints. Please don't tell me not to think or think in a contrary way to the church and to keep my mouth shut.

The series I wrote for No Longer Quivering about my bete noire, Tom Smith

Part 1 Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | 
Part 6 | Part 7 | Part 8 | Part 9 | Part 10

Tuesday, January 06, 2015

Social Media Outrage and What Good Parents Do

It's cold here, cold and snowy, so between the lack of car and the cold I've been huddled up next to the fireplace with the lap top waiting for the heater to do it's thing.The house stays nice and cozy and the heater works well, until the temps get in the teens/low low twenties, which it did.

Two stories on social media caught my interest and made me laugh. But I think the majority of the folks complaining about both stories missed a crucial point.

First, Kanye West's fans were twittering and Facebooking about how wonderful it was that Kanye helped an unknown musician be seen by a wider audience, thereby launching the career of this unknown. The problem being that this 'unknown artist' was Sir Paul McCartney of The Beatles, Wings and a long successful solo career. Writer of some of the most memorable iconic tunes of the sixties, seventies and eighties not to mention his later work.

Yes, it was ignorant of the Tweeters, but yes, it's likely that they'd never been exposed to the information on Paul either. What information these kids lack points to a lack of exploration of cultures in the parental home.

Don't think I'm blaming the parents for this, oh no, but if a child is raised in a home where exposing the children to a variety of music, literature, thought, other cultures doesn't happen then it is not surprising when those same children as young adults have knowledge gaps. Another reason to make sure your children have a well-rounded education that starts in the home and the home keeps supplementing and completing what education takes place at school.

I am a big believer in this, always have been, which is why both of my kids know who the Beatles were, what fork to use at a fancy dinner and how many different things are out there that they didn't learn about in the classroom. It's every parent's responsibility to do this, but part of our lazy culture is that many do not supplement the class room education with the real life stuff. Every child should know basic self care things such as cooking and doing laundry and have a deeper understanding of society and culture before they leave home in order to be responsible citizens of our world.

Many parents don't do this because they may be exhausted from working long hours to support the family, or it wasn't how they were raised, or perhaps they don't value this sort of thing. Hard to say and even harder to get others to implement this type of education in the home.

The other story was the infamous story of failed vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin posting a photo of her special needs child standing on the spine of the family dog to help do the dishes. I agree that allowing a child to stand on a dog is never a good idea for the health of the dog. It's pretty heinous, I just cannot understand why the media isn't commenting on the worse underlying issue. The fact that Palin was not paying any attention to what her special needs child was doing. She admits it in her posting of the photo, saying she wasn't really paying attention so she didn't pick up Trig, which led to him using the dog as a step stool.

She had no problem with him standing on the dog! Which is pretty awful, even if you consider it harmless to the animal to stand on it at the very least Trig could have been badly hurt. What if the dog had bitten him, or shifted just enough for Trig to fall and face plant right on that hard tile floor?

It's irresponsible parenting even if Trig wasn't special needs. But knowing she was paying almost no attention to the needs of a child with issues really makes me much more furious than Trig standing on the dog, and I'm already pretty mad about the abuse to the dog. She's proven yet again she had no business raising children.

Monday, January 05, 2015

Carlessness and the Resolution Body Count

Laura has my car this week and part of last week. I didn't realize not having a car was going to make me feel antsy, but it does. Something about knowing I just cannot walk out and go anywhere I want to go has me feeling riled up. Which, I guess, explains why and how I ended up breaking a few of my New Years resolutions already.

What resolutions have I broken?

  • I drank a few diet cokes - Alright, so I think the medical community has established that diet soda is not good for you. Which is a problem for me because I love, love, love the stuff, but only Diet Coke. The other varieties? Not so much. This isn't the first time I've given up the delicious brown stuff, I've quit in the past for months, for a year, but always find myself going back to the bubbly. Never had a problem before, this time I did. After about 36 hours of no products containing Nutrasweet in my body I started having that woozy-boozy dizzy feeling of withdrawal. Apparently my brain and body are somehow very addicted to Diet Coke. So I'm tapering off slowly. 
  • I indulged in some petty sarcasm on my husband when he proclaimed on Facebook that he was both perfect and humble about his perfection. It was too difficult to allow that to pass without a funny crack on him.
  • I was extremely unkind. To be fair, I was in Wal Mart, in a non-express line because I had 21 items not the required 20 and I was making myself stick to the rules and wait in line like every other Josie-Schmoe. While I'm waiting, having waited about twenty minutes in this line, some young gal comes up behind me with a six pack of beer and asks to cut in front of me since she has only one item. I said no, and pointed to the two express lines with only one person with two or three items. She looked at me like I'd just kicked her puppy before biting off it's head. Wal Mart always tends to make me a whole lot meaner and makes me want to tell total strangers to do things like pull up their pants or get out of my way. 
  • More unkindness. I posted on Sarah Palin's Facebook that she was an irresponsible parent for not paying close enough attention to her special needs child to keep him from standing on the family dog. I know she's an idiot, and she's going to keep on posting inflammatory idiocy, but that doesn't mean I really need to respond to her. 
Going to push the 'restart' button and try again. Cooking red beans and rice and doing laundry today. I can't get into too much trouble if I just stay home and prepare for the predicted snow, can I?

Saturday, January 03, 2015


I am so patiently (sort of) waiting for Jim to come home from the library and gym today. Laura has my car while her's in the shop and it's been somewhat irritating to be without a car. I feel stuck.

He better get here soon. I need to get to the store to get all the ingredients for laundry soap. Just about out.

It's silly that I even feel stuck or trapped because if I really needed to go somewhere I could always take the city bus for a mere 50 cents.But that doesn't work well when you need to pick up big bags of cat litter and washing soda.

Hurry home Jim.

Friday, January 02, 2015

A New Year's Eve Comedy of Errors Complete With Cop Fear

On Wednesday I'd just finished writing about my MIA faith and the old house we are considering rehabbing when I got one of those calls I positively dread. Jim. Jim called to tell me he'd gotten on the wrong train out of Union Station in Washington DC and was now stranded in the wilds of Woodbridge, Virginia, at least a good ninety minutes with no traffic from our home in the Piedmont.

There was no way for him to get to his correct train and station from Woodbridge and he wanted me to come fetch him. It was either that or he could do like he once had to do due to cancelled trains, take one very expensive taxi ride across Northern Virginia to get to his car. I sighed, I looked up where the VRE station is in Woodbridge and prepared to leave.

I hate to state this is the part of being married I hate, hate, hate, having to rescue Jim from some misadventure that could have been avoided had he only been paying attention. My father used to call him The Nutty Professor behind his back because of his slim grasp on common sense and misadventure mishaps and mistakes. He's intellectual, he is highly educated and he's a great guy, but he is prone to this sort of thing.

As I was putting on my coat to head out to Woodbridge Jim called back to say he was getting back on the train and taking it to the end of the line, Fredericksburg, Virginia, closer to our home by about 30 to 40 minutes. I'd been to the F'burg train station so I was happier with that.

The only real problem were my phobias. We always have an unhappy conversation around New Year's Eve because I am a homebody. I have no desire to go out and party on most holidays, much less one filled with idiot drunk drivers. I was pretty amped up about having to go fetch Jim in a downtown area I'm only slightly familiar with in the dark on a night known for insane drinking.

And there were drunk assed drivers out there, even as I was living my house at 5 pm. Before leaving my tiny southern town I got to witness as least two cars being piloting by people who were either extraordinarily bad drivers or just plain old vanilla legless boozed up. I did my best to manuvoer around the Drunky McDrunk Drunks and get over to the old town section of Fredericksburg where the train station is. But I turned too soon, realizing my error pretty quickly and I pulled into the local paper's parking lot to consult the GPS on my Iphone, seeing I was only a few blocks away, even with the streets being narrow and one way.

Things sort of went downhill from there....I followed the GPS cheerfully chirped out instructions and ended up at a road block. I'd forgotten that Fredericksburg always has a large 'First Night' family celebration in the old town area. I eased my car close to the road block to try and ask one of the police officers manning this thing the best way to the train station since my GPS is too stupid to pick up on road closures. A huge beefy red in the face cop, high and tight crew cut glistening with blonde hair came over to yell at me and tell me to get the hell out of there with my car. I kind of sat there in shock for a moment or two, until he yelled again and I scrammed.

Burst out crying, driving along the narrow streets wailing and weeping. Being yelled at and called names always triggers me, sending me back emotionally to when I was a seven year old child being sexually molested, called names and yelled at by an authority figure in my life. I go right back to being a terrified seven year old every time.

Adding in all the police brutality and shedding of innocent blood by law enforcement nationwide with the fears of law enforcement I've harbored since the lady I knew, Pat Cook, was gunned down in broad daylight for no reason by a cop I was in a pretty frantic state by the time I reached the next roadblock. This time, thankfully, the officer was a nice young man, an African-American, who talked to me til I calmed down some before giving me the right directions to get to the station and avoiding the many closed roads in the old town section.

After finding and circling the train station about five times I finally found Jim. It just so happens he left his cell phone sitting on his desk and was without a phone. It really complicated things.

I drove home cautiously and avoided the drunks. We stopped for dinner at one of our favorite Mexican restaurants but by the time we got home both of us had enough for one day. Simply gave up and went to bed.