Saturday, October 28, 2006

FOOTBALL 10/28/06

I was reading my friend Jeremy's blog entry about football
and I had some memories come back. So here they are:

Having grown up as a girl-child in New Jersey, I did indeed attend one football game with my dad. It was on a Sunday and it was the New York Giants. Two guys drinking beer in front of us started a fight and my dad said the teevee cameras probably caught our faces as well as theirs.

Later on, my dad and I spent a winter of Sundays watching football. We watched OJ play before he had become a killer and I believe that the Miami Dolphins won the playoffs that year, or at least had been in them. We always stopped at a small gift shop called Rosendale's first [where I'd been introduced to "The Gospel According to Peanuts" by Charles Schultz really young] and then off to the local Foodtown where we bought two kinds of snacks and soda. Then it was off to the den to watch whatever game was on that week. We had played touch football too with some cousins.

That is not to say that I was athletic. As I was not sports-minded in the least. I bike rode all over my county and liked to walk and horse-back ride alright, and I was a danger on skis, but any sort of physical competition was out for me. I did take tennis lessons one summer and had a good backhand but lacked the speed to really be able to do anything with that. And the gym teacher in my senior year of highschool finally found something to compliment me on-- she said I was a natural at badminton! That was only because I had perfected my "smash" when serving the birdie.

Over at exit 26, I've a friend who likes the Pittsburgh Steelers and around the time that the "Men in Tights" Robin Hood movie came out, she used to talk about watching the men in yellow tights win the championship or the playoffs or whatever it is that football teams do. She seemed to have a genuine affection for them. Her affection for the men in yellow tights was somewhat like my affectation for Don Mattingly in his younger days. I decided to like Don Mattingly cuz a few others in my crew did and that is why I phrased it just now the way I did. He'd been a good all-around baseball player and he was slowing down just before he went to Japan. I had learned to pick up various sports phrases and repeat them back to others in different conversations rather well.

Jer likes the New England Patriots as any decent New Englander would. I know nothing about them except that maybe they are from Boston or someplace like that. I did read some book about being a winner by some football coach and it did inspire me in a bland sort of way-- again, it was a book that someone [an old boss in this case] had suggested that I read. It was about teams and winning and work and stuff and so therefore it was destined to become part of the "management" section of my personal library. Since I've stopped working after my tbi, those books are steadily collecting dust.

Being a team player was never really one of my strong points. I'm not really a maverick either. I suspect that I am a hermit deep down inside my heart of hearts as mostly I do prefer my own company. The world is far too loud, bright, and fast for my liking these days.

I will admit to a certain curiosity about what some of those men might be carrying along in their tights-- especially when I am at the gym [no women-only gyms for me thankyou] watching them on the big-screen teevee-- but I suspect that is beyond the scope of this blog.

sapphoq on life

Wednesday, October 25, 2006


My first job away from the nest of parental-owned business was at a certain fast-food restaurant noted for their hot dogs. This particular place was located at the Livingston Mall with headquarters in Coney Island or New York City. I was hired almost instantly. That should have told me something but didn't. We were allowed to eat what we wanted during breaks. I soon found out why.

The manager was a stubby little guy with a bad Brooklyn accent who looked the part of a gangster albeit in miniature. The assistant manager had beautiful long hair and she was somewhat of a pothead, as I was at that time. Upon punching in, she would immediately inform us minions what was safe and not safe for us to eat that day. The Pothead would groan as she would tell us, "Don't eat the hotdogs today" or "Don't eat the french fries." Stubby had implemented some money-saving practices in the area of purchasing foodstuff and it showed. The various foods he bought at bargain-basement discounts would have been rejected by the starving children in Biafra. Colorful is not always pretty.

I remember coming in one morning and spying Stubby vigorously washing the green slime off of some hot dogs he had purchased on the cheap. I also remember the black mold running through the potatoes-- also purchased on the cheap-- being cut up for fries. About the only thing that was consistently safe to eat was the ice cream. The pizza was also a questionable proposition.

Shirley and I were usually put on pizza together. We would freeze yesterday's leftovers to serve in the early part of today. Frozen pizza re-nuked loses in flavor. Add the stoned hippy factor and well, ya just never knew. We were young enough and lacked enough developed conscience not to care that sprinkling "herb" on pizza was very wrong. It was a matter of pride for both of us when some old lady would come back for more, telling us it was the best pizza she ever had. I regret that now but I can't fix that part of my past. Being as the statue of limitations ran out on that particular criminal behavior more than a quarter of century ago, the legal system can't fix it either.

I lasted there three months and then I went on to pastures which even if not greener were less laden with bacterial masses. Even now, it is difficult for me to eat at any fast-food place where the help is underloved and underpaid. I am quite sure that there is a Stubby in the backroom somewhere looking to decrease the overhead on his little piece of the franchised scene in any way that he can.

~sapphoq on life

Sunday, October 22, 2006

SAM HAIN 10/22/06

When I was a kid, hallowe'en was a big deal. I don't know why that should have been cuz my grands owned a small grocery store with an old-fashioned candy cabinet. The cabinet was black with glass windows. The customers had to point to what they wanted and one of us would get it for them.

Halloween costumes, well I don't really remember too many. Actually, I can only recall two clearly. I had a red and white cowgirl costume complete with boots and hat when I was little. Later on, my stepdad made me a pilgrim costume on his sewing machine and I wore that one for several years.

Churches back then weren't all that hip on history or origins yet. Guitars were a revolutionary addition to some church services back then, the roman catholic church had just conceded to speaking the mass in english rather than latin, and the christian churches of various denominations had yet to get political. Halloween was non-controversial in my childhood.

My mother always insisted on inspecting my loot before I ate it. Stories were surfacing about kids eating embedded laxative squares or razor blades in their begged-for chocolates. And I think I was only supposed to go to the houses of people we knew. I went with my friend Gracie and her mother. When I was too old to go begging, I was commissioned to hand out the individually wrapped little chocolate bars and pennies to the little beggars coming up behind me.

"Mischief night" was an annual source of terror for me. I don't know why. We had a driveway so it wasn't our cars getting egged upon. Even so, I wasn't driving back then. I suppose having lived through the riots one summer and a house robbery during which I'd woken up could partially explain my fear.

The other part of my fear was my own sense of self-preservation. I'd never been in a fair fight in my life. The kids in my grammar school just didn't do that. By time I'd gotten to high school, my chicken status was well-established. I didn't have the guts for fighting with my fists. I learned to fight with my words and with my ever-present adolescent sullen attitude.

Throughout tenth, eleventh, and twelve grades for me life was either religious obsessions or drugging. I never thought there could be life without either. It wasn't until many years later with significant time in recovery from my addictions that I learned that there could be life with neither.

I came into recovery believing, or at least attempting to believe in the religious ideology I had discovered while surfing between drug runs. It no longer worked for me. After several frustrating years of intellectual and emotional dishonesty, I hooked into the Star Wars craze and "The Force" became my higher power. When that stopped working for me, I used my dog. I told people that my dog was utilizing his common sense in his life far more than I'd been able to in mine. I re-discovered paganism and some new age oddities, spiritualism, and then briefly a group of people who self-identified as "wiccans."

I knew I was no "wiccan." A witch I was through and through. I discovered through reading the various creation myths and linguistic studies that I no longer believed in any god at all. Not the polytheism of my fantasy life, not the duo-theism of many wiccans [Lord and Lady, one god and one goddess with many faces....], not the monotheism of my youth.

Shortly, the wiccan group had to go. I re-affirmed my own identity as a solitaire and that is where I am today. An eclectic solitaire with no deities to muddle things up. Believing in the sanctity of life, in the sacred within, in the divinity within every living being has freed me to make my own decisions and forced me to seek out the rational, logical, and scientific.

Today, I celebrate the seasons. The four seasons are my major holy days. In my schemata, Sam Hain is a celebration of my ancestors-- both biological and spiritual-- and the legacy they have left. As I keep what I know of the old ways, I remember who I am and I tap into my roots for nourishment.

Sam Hain is the Witches' New Year. It is also my new year-- a time of remembering. It is a time when the veil between the worlds [of the living and the dead] is said to be at its' thinnest. Since I don't go in for a yearly seance or calling in of the ancestors as some witches do, I had to find another way to acknowledge Sam Hain.

I have an ancestors' altar which has mementos of some of the folks I hold near and dear to me who have passed on. It is there I go to remember those who have come before me. In remembering where I came from, I am better able to live today.

~sapphoq life

Sunday, October 15, 2006


Freddy Fender lost his battle with lung cancer yesterday. He lived in Corpus Christi, Texas. He counted the guitarist of ZZ Top as one of his many friends.

I had forgotten Freddy Fender crooning "Don't Be Cruel" and "Before the Next Teardrop Falls." It turns out he also had an active drug addiction in his younger years, thus acquiring Hepatitis C. He was the recipient of both a kidney and a liver transplant.

Back in 1978 when I was running wild in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, I informed my work supervisor that I was going to Texas with my friend Irene whom I had brought to the office to meet her. Johnnie said, "Oh that's nice, sapphoq. When are you leaving?" "Right now," I replied. Johnnie was an older woman, a true southern belle. She was fairly old back then. She must be dead by now. She had taught me well, as she was also in the habit of suddenly announcing funerals of some best friend or other in order to go skiing in Colorado for a week.

Irene and I made our way down the east coast of Texas, stopping to see the two aunts of one of my party buddies. They lived in Freeport, Texas. For washing the dishes in their small Mexican restaurant, I and whoever was with me were given all we could eat and all the cervesa we could drink and a bed for the night on their beautiful screened in porch. We also spent a night in Corpus Christi at the Holiday Inn-- sleeping in the car in the parking lot. We were the last of the hippies-- so we thought-- and broke as the the real hippies had been.

From there, we made our way to South Padre Island. We slept on the beach there with all the other tourists. Cars and Winnebagos were allowed to be driven onto the white sands. We met some snow bunnies there from Minnesota who were baking themselves a brilliant red atop of their rented Bago. We also drove along the bay and met a guy who lived out there among the reeds in a tent. He was the rugged type. He showed us where he had stitched a huge wound on his leg himself. He may not have been a nice man. When the car balked at driving off the damp bay sand, he suggested that we let some air out of the tires. "That would help," he told us. Irene snorted and went back to pushing the car as I rocked it back and forth to free it.

We then went calling on the parents of one of her roommates in Brownsville Texas. They had a beautiful home. The next day, we left the car [reeking of pot and covered with the evidence of a lifestyle] at the shoe store parking lot in Pharr or McAllen for fear of being busted on the border. Clad in corduoroys in the Texas heat, we walked across the pedestrian bridge to Reynosa, Mexico to drink Tecate and buy fresh veggies for our host.

Reynosa was a different world. The taxi cab drivers were far more reckless than those I'd left behind in New York City. There were beggar children and smokey little storefront bars, haphazard streets, noise, a butcher shop, squat concrete buildings, and not too many tourists. Reynosa was a different world.

All of it was different then. It is hard to say what tricks memory plays on us unassuming humans. Those memories trickled back into my brain along with the memory of seeing ZZTop play at the New Orleans Blues Festival that August. That year I spent down south in Baton Rouge traveling around Texas and Tennessee and Mississippi and Alabama seems wrapped in a haze of drugs. Drugged I was-- a chemist, mixing and matching all sorts of street drugs and the drug alcohol with abandon.

But I didn't find the "Better Living through Chemistry" as the old Dupont slogan promised. I found the throes of addiction, lonlieness drilling downward to a cellular level, the emptiness that drifting can bring to those who have not embraced their shadow-selves.

I don't regret moving to Baton Rouge and the adventures I'd had there. What I do regret in odd moments is my inability back then to make a go of it while living in health. Those who say that drugging oneself into oblivion is the way to freedom are among the most deceived on the face of this earth. I didn't know that back then. With the wisdom that comes from getting clean and staying clean for more than half my life, I certainly know that now.

~sapphoq on life

Sunday, October 08, 2006


A friend and I have returned to Bennington Vermont from a weekend trip to Wellfleet Massachusetts-- two towns west of Provincetown, for any of you not in the know. Her lover is returning Saturday. Meanwhile, I will probably stay here until Wednesday or so.

This is "Women's Week" at P-town. Friend has to work tomorrow so she was not able to stay. Friend rented a whole house in Wellfleet. The house itself was really pretty. I stayed in the loft where I had my own private deck looking out past the woods to some salt flats. After an excellent home-cooked meal, we went to the beach in P-town on Saturday evening where I took some cool pics and witnessed how difficult it is to walk in sand on crutches. I also yielded to the temptation and finally took off my sopping wet shoes and socks so I could wade in the low tide. That was boss!

Today my five lesbian friends, one straight woman friend, and I set out for the Wellfleet Flea Market. It was a pretty warm day as it turned out. I spent nine dollars for: one enamel bowl-- excellent for using as a kitty litter pan, one little souvenir plate from Valley Forge Pa. so I don't have to buy souvenirs during my probably trip there in June of '07, one sweet Chinese-looking blue and white medallion sort-of-thing {an artistic interpretation of peacocks?} on a blue string tied with a fancy knot which I am wearing around my neck right now {the only one like it that I have ever seen}, and one old "tea towel"-- that's what my gram always called them and she used them to keep rising bread warm-- with blue letters that say "Pullman Company" woven in.

I took a nap when we got back. At three-thirty, we all sat down to an early Thanksgiving dinner. Turkey with all of the trimmings. And football. I don't know who won the game as friend and I left at four-thirty with hopes of beating the traffic letting out from Gillette Stadium in Foxboro.

The soil on the cape is rather sandy as to be expected in a beach environment. I saw two pelicans setting on old tiers on the ride in along Route Six. I remembered the two weeks every summer I spent in Lavalette NJ with my mother, step-father, and [after she arrived] little half-sister.

Lavalette lacks the artsy feel of Provincetown but by its' own right remains fond in my memories for other reasons. The houses were mostly cement. We usually got to rent one of them though one miserable summer we had to stay in one room in Freda's Motel. I remember some vague reason given along the lines of the rentals all being gone or not having gotten to make arrangements soon enough. It was probably more associated with the rather active drinking that the semi-parentals were doing at that time.

The smell of the ocean air and the sound of the waves at the New Jersey shore I did not find this weekend. I did find the familiar scrub pines, sand, sailboats, and water. Lavalette also boasted a general store, a boardwalk [one without rides or attractions but possessing gazebos where we kids hung out and did things at night like smoke cherry cigars or ran to after the seance held under the lifeguard boat to try to call back JFK], a church with Bingo Night, and a nice restaurant. And kids. Folks round here might go to the Cape. Kids in Lavalette hailed primarily from other parts of New Jersey or from as far away as Poughkeepsie NY.

I wondered at all of it as I was sifting memories through my brain...and I think that probably the sea will claim me as her own. At some juncture, I will probably wind up living on an island that one has to take a ferry to or perhaps near a sandy little beach-- hopefully someplace warmer than Chebeague Island Maine and a bit more rugged, less commercialized than the Cape.

~sapphoq life