Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Halloween backlog

I feel like a bureaucrat who has been called on what's not filed. Yesterday, I watched a Jackson County legislator tell someone from the finance department that "there is a break down in your office," that the goal of getting contracts, etc. online a day after they're signed by the county executive "is not happening."

Well, what is happening?

It's Halloween, so in a few hours I'll be "amusing" myself with costume-gawking, trying to get photos of kids running at light speed to the free-candy houses. I do this every year, six years in a row, and all I can say is that I'm sure I'll feel slightly more positively about the whole thing once I get there, but really, I am not interested in repeating all the pleasantry conversations that will inevitably happen between me and the volunteers, the same adults everywhere, every year.

I am under the influence of hormones that make women homi-sui-mega-cidal, so, exactly - I would rather be sitting in a witch costume on a chair on a porch with a bowl of sugar in my lap, pretending to be fake until unsuspecting kids come up and try to take a piece.

It's Halloween, so I took the down-time Tuesday to go get my cervix looked at by my doctor, who moves the office every year, it seems, due, I presume, to the fact that you can't be a solo practitioner anymore. Then I had them take blood, since no one knows my cholesterol and I spent yesterday reminding myself not to eat.

It's Halloween, so tomorrow is All Saints Day and Thursday is All Souls Day, and since my grandmother died October 19, and since she performed quite a family miracle by getting the lot of us all to attend a full Catholic Mass (at which, for the first time in decades, I actually didn't find myself hating The Church), I actually have someone to pray for.

Don't make me think about it. . .it still makes me cry.

PMS, remember?

I remember a lot of little things about her, and they're mixed up in a long ("long;" my life is only 32 years so far) personal history of growing up, of going to spend the night there at the age of nearly three, the night my brother was born, of going to Lake Londell and watching Grandma "not swim," of always knowing that there was a great supply of snacks in that kitchen closet, that Grandpa always dried the dishes right as she was washing them, that she sang "Tiny Bubbles" from a lawn chair the afternoon we kids at some family gathering learned that the air conditioner was a great automated bubble-maker, that she had nightmares about clothes-pin reindeer after we made a bunch of ornaments at the kitchen table.

She taught me about clean. She probably taught all of us about clean. I think I was surprised to learn that her sister came to do the cleaning, but nothing at Grandma's was ever dirty for long. In fact, if our husbands wanted to blame on her influence all our psychotic nagging about every dirt speck and every non-span-clean, unstraightened thing we encounter (since we will always in our hearts fall short of her supreme-clean ideal and thus secretly hate ourselves for not being able to maintain the creed of spotless and therefore express it through nagging), then they might go ahead and do that.

However, Grandpa is a clean person, too, and I think we all assumed that we could mold every male that way if we just tried hard enough.

I know there's more to it than that.

Together, they have taught us how to stay married 57 years. What remains to be seen and what can be heart-rending if I dwell on it, is how one adapts once that long partnership ends.

It is especially hard to think of someone as gone when you already picture them in your head as away. My whole family is away, across a highway I hate, and since high school, college, Japan, Kansas City, I haven't been the most frequent of visitors. My adult life with my relatives is relatively abreviated. The connection is there, but it almost surprises me.

Family is someone you already love and then get used to learning how to do it for real, by being there through time, through experience, through doing. It largely happens over holdiays, crowded, noisy events that are flanked by obligations and squeezed in between jobs and other families. In my heart of hearts, no matter how much I've complained or asked to be left alone, I think the real me is someone out there in some village or some past-America that hardly was, where my family all lived within walking distance and we walked the distance casually, frequently and were made whole by it.

And all this from a woman who doesn't have kids and never visits her in-laws who do live in town.

Thursday, October 26, 2006


. . .finally went to optometrist.

Got new script and am waiting for glasses.
Got new contacts (free ones for now) and have already lost one due to waiting too late to take them out.
They become part of your body, and then they disappear.

Not a good sign, when real ones cost $20 a piece.
It's okay, one eye is better than none.

PS - graffiti on 39th near Penn.
PPS - the camera is auto-focus;
no setting for "moving car,"
so this image is not my eyes' fault.
PPPS - spent $500.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Oak red

Three Creeks near Columbia, Mo.

Where we were over Saturday night.

As usual, camping "sleep" was interrupted by early morning rain. It happens invariably. Also, the sun just doesn't stay out long enough in the fall. Dark. It doesn't get up early enough in the morning. Dark. I'm tired of getting up in the dark.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Not death-worthy

Blood tests revealed no terminal illnesses like feline leukemia or feline immunodeficiency virus, so now we have a cat.

Kitty tally is at $173.

Vet said she was a she, about six years old and has had (obviously) a hard life.

It's kind of scary all the things that can go wrong with a mammal like this. Birds seem so much easier.

I quote myself at the last four bird expos, "We can't have a conure because they are $100 and there's no room for another cage."

Now, of course, the apartment will become an experiment in door management. Who will fold first - the budgie who wants to stay free, the woman who wants natural weather and circulation, the man whose studio is where the litterbox is going. . .?

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Oh, the freedom

As seen from the Liberty lofts, still under construction, looking north at the tracks that run behind Union Station.

The view is free for now, as it was a week ago during a tour through the Urban Living Center, but if you would like to move your furniture into this dusty shell once the dust has settled, plan on spending $129,000 for 662 square feet of a place that was the last American destination for recruits off to wars during the 1950s through 1980s.

The primo units, which both are "two storys" (one of these is a half-floor, of course, with a second bathroom), are $369,000 for 1,454 sq. ft. and $489,000 for 1,942 sq. ft.

There are 25 units; the one that's $219,000 and 972 sq. ft. and lacks the "Hollywood bath" (meaning that all you get is a cheesy pre-fab tub/shower unit and no tile) is already sold.

Marketing information details "why" The Liberty was chosen to name this building's residential rebirth from its dull Armed Services Building past:

well, it's by Liberty Memorial, sure. We get that, even though most of what you can see from the windows is the giant IRS complex to the south.

The other two reasons, both sentence fragments, are stretching it a bit, I think:

Second, out of respect for its most recent previous use.

And Finally, because The Liberty allows homeowners a lifestyle of "personal liberty."

Ah, yes, the freedom to spend way more than something is worth "just because" you think it's a good deal and/or are just jazzed about Kansas City's loft and condo and luxury downtown "boom."

The folks along with me (who was doing this as a favor and for the wine and snacks) did not seem as skeptical as I; my favorite was a blonde 30-something woman (heck, maybe 20-something) who was so pleased with herself to tell her companion (perhaps mother) that she had picked up one of the "decorator's cards" from a piece of furniture in one of the lofts (tour included Metropolitan Condos on Eighth, 700 Broadway, The Coffee Lofts, Riverbend Lofts and Old Orchard at Fifth and Grand, too), "because I really like how they have done it and I want to have them do my place, too."

I don't know if she was talking about a loft in her future or some home she already occupied, but it made me laugh inside, mean as I am in front of others' spontaneous and private comments, that she was so "impressed" by a few sticks of mod-looking furniture and a non-white-walls paint job.

It made me ill, too, that at one of the locations, if one did not choose, for example, to pay the extra $1,000 for a kitchen upgrade (mind you, on a place that has already been occupied once at least), then you'd be stuck with cabinets that are so cheap that they have featured in a number of apartment renovations I've seen, the kind where you are only going to ask for $500 a month in rent, plus an electric "stove" and refrigerator from the 1980s.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Steve Glorioso

He must know the Mulvihills of The Barbershop Gallery or he was planning some kind of PR coup in advance of the November election.

Anyway, the "Ten" show, during its short run this week, was well-attended; there were even some sales. Waiting to see what's left for my walls.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Frozen the 13th

Been too "busy" to work here. I hate how ideas fester in one like constipation. Wait too long and there is nothing useful left. It's stale, stupid, over with.

Today, I'm at the workplace, shivering and feeling indignant. Never mind all the people who are outdoors today, whose jobs mean they have to be pouring concrete, fixing power lines, etc. Plenty work in unheated warehouses and shops, too. And the non-working ones, well, they're there. Cold as always. I would be drinking hard liquor right now if I didn't have false hope that the person might actually repair the heater for this cracker-box place before the end of the day.

Besides frozen fingers that falter into too many typographical errors, the fact that my computer is slow is starting to take its toll on my productivity. I am going to start using a timer to clock all the minutes spent waiting for programs to open, files to save and other general "you can't click or do anything right now because I am 'thinking'" computer down-time moments.

Today's issue is that attachments from e-mail are being stupid, telling me things like "already in use by another user" (preposterous and impossible) and "file error."

Shutting down and restarting takes seven minutes.

Tomorrow should have been a perfectly nice day, except I have a board meeting and there is that cat issue to deal with.

Friday, October 06, 2006

First Friday Full

There are a lot of things to do this weekend, including fun at Mattie Rhodes art gallery with Día de Los Muertos, and I guess you'd have to be "not a reader" not to have noticed this show already, but I'm plugging it anyway because Chuong's photos kick ass.

Another reason

Things like bridges, streets and buildings shouldn't be named after people, especially while they are still living and capable of being evil.

It's really obvious that Steve Penn is making a fool of himself with his premature and fawning quest to locate some ediface or landmark to bear the name of our current mayor.

However, if you donate millions of dollars to build something, should others in the future be allowed to remove your legacy?

Well, in this case, the man in question didn't get up the cash himself, but was honored for doing things like expanding student health at the University of Missouri.

Tom Brady got his name on the student food and book area Brady Commons, but apparently he was also strict about enforcing anti-sodomy laws of the 1950s by making suspected gay students see the shrink or quit school and leave.

Now that the school has a shiny new center, some people think that Brady's name should go, in light of the fact that he was anti-homosexual and today, umm, well, yeah, sure, we're not.

Maybe they should just call it the "Brady was a Gay and Guggenheim Fellow Commons."

Thursday, October 05, 2006


and pretty bricks for sale at 3943 Troost.


Fire prevention month wasn't enough.

The governor got his own hog on yesterday after signing a declaration making October Missouri Pork Month.

Kathy Chinn raises hogs out in Clarence, Mo. for us to eat and is chair"man" of the Missouri Pork Association.

Do you believe her when she says:

"Pork consumption continues to escalate, and pork is now the number one consumed protein in the world."?

It's the number-one smelliest protein in the world. . . .

Surely the chicken, egg and soybean people will be taking up arms to battle back with their own "meaty" months?

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

It's a fact

A cop touched me today.

Another one today told me about "coming up" in the Northeast back in the 80s.

"D'you know the Concourse?" he asked me, as if it were possible for a newspapergirl not to. It wasn't the best of conversations. We had very little in common. Conversationally paralysed, instead of asking him some cool question like, "So, what's your favorite patrol zone - who has the best commander?" I attemped to clarify the headlights laws, and I felt like the biggest nerd on the planet.

The traffic cop called me "Sarah," which, I guess, is a version of my name in some parallel place, such as a very large urban greenspace, where the wind was chilly and myself and most of the children there for their event underdressed. At any rate, it illustrates how hard it is to talk to law enforcement, even when you're not being enforced upon.

Is it hard to make friends when you're a cop?

When I left that scene and went to get lunch at the Subway, yet another officer was encountered by me. I recognized him, but he didn't me, just expanded his banter with the cashier girl. She said, jokingly, "You gave me this penny too late; I don't need it," as she gave him back his change.

"You see how we're treated?" the cop said, trying for a joke at me. "Everyone hates us."

"I like the police," I said.

"Sure, until we stop you."

"I don't break laws. . .," which led to him complaining that he had gotten a parking ticket recently, etc., sure, haven't we all, and someone else in the store said that her friend got one but it was only $2 and wasn't due until 2008. Incredulous comments came from the few worker guys having their sandwiches. I said, "Yeah, Lawrence, Kan. parking tickets are only two bucks."

Then I took my sandwich to a neighborhood meeting, where an officer I do like (and who is married with kids and whom I've known for several years) did teasingly bump up against my shoulder before sitting down in a chair next to me. We both were "job"-ligated to be there.

Disclaimer: there was nothing negative I could feel about that contact, no matter the "effect" my opening paragraph.

Is it odd that a person like me would so frequently be in the presence of law enforcement? There were a number of other officers in my day, though our interaction was indirect. They're everywhere.

But no one I know has a police officer as a friend. I certainly don't.

I have a friend whose friend is in the police academy, and it will be interesting to see how that goes.

It's likely I saw her standing at attention Monday morning on Truman Road, one woman in one of two rows of new recruits.

I feel that I am just (obviously) too liberal to be involved on a genuine personal level with anyone who makes money (my recycled tax money) enforcing laws in which I don't wholeheartedly believe.

Of course I "agree" with some laws; inconsistency is the hallmark of humanity. So is thievery. I am irritated, naturally, when some danged opportunist chooses me as their slave and makes out to steal my things; then "laws" seem like some recourse.

However, I don't recall seeing rehabilitation or punishment work much in real-life scenarios. Twice, I should say, I did see jail-terms transform two cocky youngish males into more responsible and productive people. They had a good foundation, though. I was so scared of cops back then that I wouldn't even visit the one guy, and when I did see the other, I was half-implicated in the whole mess and therefore a nervous, defensive wreck. (I was not a conspirator nor charged, for the record.)

But sicking the system on someone doesn't usually produce better behavior. It certainly doesn't get you your car or your peace of mind back. We don't have enough jails to contain all the predators, and if you're a victim of one, the cops usually aren't going to make it to your aid until you're already bleeding.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Ms. didn't contact me

. . . or anyone I know that I know of.

It's weird how you can be going along, doing your own thing in your head and then someone comes along and usurps it.

The film.

Now this.

It's all good.

Even if "evil" is evoked. I shudder that MSN "news" is all involved.

My uterus is my own.

Long live the Hystera.


(that, at least, is mine.)

It's not that. . .

It's just that, what do you do with this kind of information about women at the Planned Parenthood:

biker chick, struck up converstation, third (at least) abortion, tried all the various methods. . .she almost skipped over to the counselor's office when her name was called. . .two people, a couple, with a friend there too in the waiting room, and that one, she, was chattering away loudly on her cellphone, despite the signs in every eye-shot stating "please be courteous; no cell phones," and eating chips loudly from a crinkling bag, despite the fact that every other woman there for her surgery hadn't been able to eat since the long night before, a kind of minute Ramadan or Yom Kippur or Lenten Friday amid the yowling devil. And she looked for the journal she had donated to the communal experience there on the coffee table that never had anyone's coffee, just magazines - only to be told by the receptionist, that, yeah, someone must have stolen it, along with all the others that had been written in.

People keep stealing the stories, and people keep breaking the rules, and people keep having to do this nonetheless.


It's some kind of job on a film set.

He's a man I respect and/or had a crush on for being so damned smart.

He's also a freaked out congressman who gets his freak on by sending freaky e-mails to younger males who work under him, but gives the reasoning that he, first, was "sexually abused" by a clergyman.

And, oh mi god, he's a minister/molester too.

Been there, done that.

No longer shocked.

This is what's "wrong" with Americans.

12th & Vine

"Going' to Kansas City" optimism
almost makes The Paseo
look like Ward Parkway.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

35th and Broadway

Proving graffiti can come in many forms:


There are a number of such bun-decorated poles on this block, at least recently, as if an Atkins dieter had been walking along chomping meat patties with distain for feeding the pigeons, rats or trashcans and with a new view on what ketchup can do.