Saturday, July 31, 2010


My friends, Lrns and Slick, had a baby boy last night. The world just became a bit of a nicer place to be.

Those are Pobble Thoughts. That and a buck fifty will get you coffee.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Meerkat Moment #1

Generally, when I am working hard and fast, as I am now, I fall completely out of touch with what is happening in the real world. Every so often, I will pop my head up in what I have described in the past as "not un-meerkat-like" and check in, just to see if anything interesting is happening. World still on its axis? Check. Gravity still the law of the land? Check. Excellent. But every so often, something else will catch my eye and when that happens, I have to comment. Why? Because I'm me. So, yes, I am late to this party. I have been under my rock in Lambert Falls. However, that being said...

Shame on you, Andrew Breitbart. You are an intelligent man. If you weren't, you wouldn't have bothered to edit the video so well. You wouldn't have bothered to spin Shirley Sherrod's story. You wouldn't have managed to pull off the racist bullshit that you did.

Call it what you will ~ a misunderstanding, misconstruction, not meant as a personal attack, whatever. It was deflection. It was a low blow. It was racist. And it was racist in the ugliest, most insidious of ways, couched in trying to seem helpful, educational, to bring information, fairness, and objectivity into a situation that had none. Bullshit.

You knew better. You had to have. You orchestrated it all too well for it to have been accidental. And even now, instead of being willing to stand up and say "you're damn right I did it" you are backing off, still trying to shine the exposing-the-wolf-in-sheep's-clothing light on all of this. In other words, handing us more deflection, another low blow, and continuing the (insidious) racism. You are intelligent. Stop insulting ours by pretending this didn't play out exactly the way you'd planned.

No wonder I prefer my fictional worlds.

Those are Pobble Thoughts. That and a buck fifty will get you coffee.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

I'm Doing What?

Seshat be with me. What the hell am I thinking?

With only about three months before my deadline for book three of the  trilogy, I have decided I hate the story I've got, have completely thrown out the original plot, and am reworking the entire story, almost from scratch.

The characters, especially Carter Anne herself, just weren't working. The story depended on her behaving in ways that she wouldn't have behaved and reacting in ways that she wouldn't have reacted. Part of me finds this totally reasonable and logical. Another part of me thinks that these are characters I have created and therefore they can do anything I want them to do...but that doesn't feel right. If anything, it feels like a bit of a cheat.

I wrote to my wonderful teacher, who wrote back some incredibly helpful words of wisdom (including: if you hate what you're writing, others will hate it as well which makes So Much Sense ~ but I had managed to lose sight of it anyway) and gave me the courage to do this thing, even three months out. Wish me luck. Because what the hell am I thinking?

Those are Pobble Thoughts. That and a buck fifty will get you coffee.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Done and...Done.

Back during my divorce, I had a credit card get completely out of hand. There were legal bills, court costs, mediators' fees. There were unexpected expenses, such as having to pay to have certain services changed over because the SGM or his new wife were trying to access them, relocating things for the same reason. You get the idea. Now, don't get me wrong; the card wasn't empty when all this started. It was, however, under control. And then my friendly, amicable, we-aren't-going-to-screw-each-other-over divorce went sour.

Today, July 16th, 2010, Lithus and I made the last payment on the card.

This is a huge relief, obviously. As someone who prides herself on money management, to have had this kind of debt hanging over me has been stressful, to say the least. I don't overdraw. I don't over-extend. I budget and budget well. To paraphrase the Divine M ~ I may spend down to my last three cents, but if all I've got is three cents, I know it and won't spend four. Now, I get that for some people one card out of control seems like it's not that big of a deal. My credit will recover quickly and relatively easily and all that. For me, though, it has been exceedingly hard. So, I am relieved beyond measure.

I've realized there is more, though. There is something else going on here. The last vestiges of one of the ugliest chapters in my life is over and gone. Erased. I didn't even know I was carrying it. But it's over. Finally. Done and done. And that feels even better than a shot at a decent credit score.

Those are Pobble Thoughts. That and a buck fifty will get you coffee.

The View In Alaska

The smokejumpers were wandering around shirtless again. I cannot give you a single reason why this sucks. There is much to be said for laundry day.

Those are Pobble Thoughts. That and a buck fifty will get you coffee.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Yes, Maybe, No

I'm always just a little amused by the question "Is Lithus flying today?" The answer is yes. Flying is his job. Some of us go to offices or churches or hospitals or schools. He goes into the air.  Every day, for twelve days in a row. Two days off and then it starts all over again.

Is he going to be home tonight? Maybe. That's really the best I can do for you. Some days, I can stretch it to probably but realistically, probably is just a more optimistic maybe. Regardless of what his schedule was when he left, this is a fluid job. New fires, new crews, more cargo...everything changes quickly. If nothing else, when your vehicle breaks down on the way home from work, you call a tow, call a friend, call a rental, something. There may be paperwork but you'll get home that same day. Lithus's vehicle breaks down on the way home from work, he's gotta wait until someone can get to him with a part and another bird.

Do you know when he'll be back? Nope. Not a clue. Even on days when the answer to "will he be home tonight?" is the ever positive "probably", I don't know when he'll be back. His duty day is from 10:00 to midnight everyday. I never lock the door until midnight. He leaves here about 09:45. Sometimes, he rolls back in about 12:00 and we have lunch and that's that. Other times, he rolls in about 23:45 and we're grateful he made it back to the ground here in Galena with those 15 minutes to spare.

Mind you, I do recognize that people ask because it means they care. They care about him, about me, about us. So I would rather answer the questions than not have them asked. Still...

Yes. Maybe. No. Every time.

Those are Pobble Thoughts. That and a buck fifty will get you coffee.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

And Just Like That...

...the door opens and he's home.

Dirty, tired, scruffy, smelly ~ and beautiful.

Those are Pobble Thoughts. That and a buck fifty will get you coffee.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

With Friends Like This...

Apparently, these photos are making their way 'round the internet these days:

(For those of you unfamiliar with Matt Bomer, he is the co-star of the show White Collar, on USA.)

Now, as pretty as these pictures are ~ and, hello, do you see the man? ~ my feelings about pretty boys are well-known by my friends. But, hey, this is what's making the rounds right now. Who am I to complain? These pictures did, however, get me into an email "conversation" with a friend about how I really prefer the other actor in the show, Tim DeKay. He's a little older, a little less pretty, a little more...something. Yeah.

And going into Day Five without Lithus home, what does my friend Denny do? Sends me these...

Just so ... not right.

Those are Pobble Thoughts. That and a buck fifty will get you coffee.

Monday, July 05, 2010

Monday Morning

* When dressed in pajamas and going to get one's first cup of coffee in the morning is not a good time to wander into the crowd of showered, cleaned, and well-dressed pilots milling around the hallway, waiting to leave town.

* Any place called Skinny Dick's Halfway Inn would not be allowed to stay in business very long in the lower 48.

* It used to be relatively easy for me to put my hands on $1500 if I really needed it. Aren't finances supposed to get better/easier as you get older?

* Wearing a watch after years of not doing so takes an adjustment period.

* Having your grossly inappropriate crush admit it was mutual way back when may make you sigh over lost opportunities but it is terribly good for one's ego.

* A cell phone should stay charged all on its own. Or take AA batteries. Or something.

* Although sparklers aren't the same in places where it doesn't get full dark, they are still pretty.

* "Yukon Mud" is iced, sweet, strong, thick espresso ~ and delicious.

* For those of you keeping track, we are going into day four of no Lithus.

Those are Pobble Thoughts. That and a buck fifty will get you coffee.

Sunday, July 04, 2010

America, the Poisoned: Hold These Truths to Be Self-Inflicted, by Charles P. Pierce

The truths are supposed to be self-evident, even though they weren't at the time, and seem even less so today, as we arrive upon the 234th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, a document more criminally misappropriated down through time by intellectual grifters and political mountebanks even than the Book of Revelations. Thomas Jefferson said he wrote it "to place before mankind the common sense of the subject, in terms so plain and firm as to command their assent," which it certainly did not, at least not immediately. And in rousing the spirit that would produce the document, Thomas Paine titled his pamphlet Common Sense, which was more aspirational than it was anything else. This weekend we celebrate, among other things, the ultimate triumph of hope over experience. It is a triumph that currently shows all the signs of being both fragile, which it always was, and temporary, which it always was not. 

There's a poison in the public bloodstream these days, and it's affecting the mind, as poisons will. One entire political party has lost its mind, and well may succeed for having done so. A congressional candidate in Alabama is running commercials equating progressive taxation with slavery and the Holocaust. A candidate for the Senate in Nevada seems to deny any role for a central government short of raising an army, and perhaps not even that, since she seems to suggest that, if the election doesn't go her way, her several followers may go to guns in response. The members of that party in the national legislature have utterly abandoned their duties to the public good for unalloyed obstructionism. On Wednesday, the Senate again failed to pass an extension of unemployment benefits for the first time since the 1950's, and this in a time of 9.5-percent unemployment. The government is unwilling to bring the criminals of the previous administration to justice, and seemingly unable to bring the corporate criminals of the previous decade to justice, either. Some 20,000 barrels of oil are spilling daily into the Gulf of Mexico, where now huge columns of smoke are beginning to rise from the surface of the sea. And maybe it is time to read Revelations with a fresh eye, after all, except for the fact that the horsemen are not unleashed upon us. We invite them in to ride. 

The poison dulls the mind and enervates the body. It leaches away the critical faculties and leaves in their place a kind of dull-eyed acceptance that borders on chronic lassitude. We accept what we cannot change and then decide we can't really change anything, and thereupon, we accept anything. A political party that embraces public lunacy in its candidates, and public dereliction in its elected officials, should pay a political price for that. It will not, because the only people motivated at the moment are the people who are motivated in support of the lunacy and, in fact, who would like to see more of it. And they may well do so. Instead, we study the lunacy as if it were a phenomenon detached from our daily lives, the way that we have detached ourselves from the discipline and responsibilities of self-government, congratulating ourselves on how fair-minded we are for giving the lunatics a hearing and then becoming mystified when we realize that, if they are empowered in the government, they mean to do what they say. 

An unemployment rate that nudges 10 percent should occasion societal upheaval. Instead, we give a polite hearing to responsible "moderates" who argue that it's pretty much the way it's going to be for a while, and to conservative voices telling us that the unemployed are simply entitled parasites, drowning in indulgence and flat-screen TV's. And we congratulate ourselves for being broad-minded enough not to call an obscenity what it is out loud. In a properly functioning, self-governing republic, the corporate criminality that nearly brought down the economies of the world, and the corporate criminality that has turned the Gulf of Mexico into flaming toxic stew, would demand a vigorous political response. But, generally, we accept the notion that the latter would be impractical, that it essentially would be requiring one conjoined twin to beat the other one over the head. 

That this is a mortal sin against what we are supposed to be, a primary heresy against the American faith, is lost on us. (James Madison thought corporations as inimical to self-government as organized religion, and Tom Paine hated them as much as he hated George III.) Instead, we channel what outrage we have into sub-comic spectacles — idiots in tricornered hats, spouting off about the founders, the crackpot Glenn Beck's pretending to be Paine, who would've eaten his liver and asked for sauce. Comfortable with oligarchy and comforted that we are We and not They, we bestir ourselves only to be mean and vengeful. We bestir ourselves, when we bestir ourselves, to be proud of our ignorance, vain in our rootless delusions, and vaunting in our sad pretensions. 

But that is not the poison. The poison is the wars. 

War was not theoretical for the founders. War was fifty miles away from them, and closing in fast. War had been made upon them in New England long before they got around to making war back again. War was why they distrusted standing armies, and why, when they got around to writing a Constitution, they placed the power of declaring it in the diffuse institution of the legislature rather than concentrating it in the executive. This is another principle that we've fairly well abandoned. We have two of them ongoing, their purposes now more vague than ever, and their outcomes increasingly ill-defined. They alternate weirdly in the public mind. Afghanistan seems to be the primary concern again, what with loose-tongued generals and all. But, while we have two wars going, we are not a nation at war. We ceded that responsibility in 2001, when we were told that all we really had to do was go to the mall. If we took our responsibilities seriously, we would have been insulted by that, and someone would have paid a political price. Instead, we found ourselves lied into a second war, which really should have shaken up the politics, and we responded by reelecting the liars, because that was the course of least resistance. Now, Iraq is said to be more stable, but Afghanistan is going to be the long, bloody slog, which was the reverse of what we were being told five years ago. This should occasion some general soul-searching as to just what in the hell we are trying to accomplish in either place — a Fulbright committee for the new millennium — but our political participation in our wars is just the same as our political participation in everything else: empty, exhausted, and vicarious. 

If we can be at war this way, how much easier is it for us to walk away from our responsibilities as regards the economy, the environment, and other things that are harder to understand? If we can accept Afghanistan as a semi-permanent drain on our resources and our souls, it's easy to accept a 10-percent unemployment rate as the dismal status quo, as the way things ought to be. The truths are no longer self-evident. We've done too good a job of hiding them from ourselves, and ourselves from them. But their terms are still plain, and they are still firm. After 234 years, if we ever truly engaged our heritage and its full implications, we'd scare ourselves to death.

~ Charles Pierce, for Esquire Magazine, July 2, 2010

Those are Pobble Thoughts and dear Goddess, I wish Pobble Words. That and a buck fifty will get you coffee.

July 4th: Both/And

I struggle with this holiday. I adore John Adams. He was a bit of an asshole and I adore him. As for the rest, I struggle with this holiday.

On the one hand, there is the fact that what happened in Philadelphia two hundred thirty-odd years ago was truly brilliant. No one had ever done what these men did. They broke with the mother country and created an entirely new one. The confluence of brains and bravery is, quite frankly, unparalleled in my opinion.  They pulled this shit off. They were men ahead of their time.

On the other hand...they were men of their time. They were racist, misogynistic white men who had built their new country on the backs of slaves and at the expense of the indigenous people who helped them survive in the first place.  I learned from a very young age that the Preamble should have read: "We the white, male, land-owning people of the United States ..."  Attempts to abolish slavery through the Declaration were not only ignored but used as blackmail. Admonitions to "remember the women" (Abigail Adams to her husband, John) were disregarded. The effects are still in play to this very day.

I believe the Constitution is one of the greatest written works ever, right up there with Hamlet. Its ideals should be celebrated, lauded, emulated.

I don't believe we have ever, going all the way back to that hot room in Philadelphia, truly lived those ideals in this country.

So. Do I celebrate the Constitution? Toast the bravery and brains that accomplished the truly unthinkable and lay the groundwork for every other revolution? Or do I call out the bigots who lay the groundwork for the inequalities they refused to acknowledge and we still face?


Those are deeply patriotic and conflicted Pobble Thoughts. That and a buck fifty will get you coffee.

Saturday, July 03, 2010


I needed some good news today. Looking for something completely unrelated, I ended up on Being a bit of a masochist, I decided to check and see how the books are doing.

While none of them are as high in the ranks as I would like ~ okay, they are all actually much lower than I'd like ~ all five of them have "only (x) left in stock --- order soon (more on the way)" on them. Yep. All Five.

 Only 3 left in stock

Only 4 left in stock

Only 2 left in stock

Only 3 left in stock

Only 2 left in stock

You see that smirk? Yeah...that's me.

So go ahead, buy books. It's okay; there are more on the way. Go ahead. You know you want to. Your friends want to. Your mom wants to. Hell, everybody wants to. Books for everybody! You know you want to...

Those are Pobble Thoughts. That and a buck fifty will get you coffee.

Feeling a Little Silly

When I was married to the SGM, I would literally go months without seeing him. In other relationships, I have been accused of being indifferent ~ one of the nicer terms for it ~ because I was okay with so much time apart. For a long time, I have intimacy issues, people! was practically a mantra here at Pobble Thoughts. It surprised no one, myself included, that when I dipped my toe back into the dating pool, the guys I was most interested in were hundreds, if not thousands, of miles away. Hell, even Lithus was safe. He was on the other side of the country for God's sake!

Now? Now, he's in the tundra. Since Thursday afternoon. He got back from Fairbanks about 11:30 and was flying by noon. He thought he'd be back that evening but wasn't 100% sure. I threw his toothbrush and nicotine lozenges at him, just in case. His mechanic made sure his tent and sleeping bag were in the helicopter. We've all learned. Which is a good thing because sure enough...

He's still not home. We're not even sure he'll get back today. I'm not worried about him. Here in Alaska, they check in with dispatch via radio or SAT phone every thirty minutes. It can go too badly, too quickly up here. So he's fine *knock wood*; he's just busy and stuck on a fire.

Only, this is the longest we have gone without talking to one another since I moved out to Washington state all those years ago. It's only been two nights and about 48 hours. But I miss him. And I guess that's okay, even if I feel a little silly. It's kind of nice, too.

Those are Pobble Thoughts. That and a buck fifty will get you coffee.

Friday, July 02, 2010

When Does Older Meet Wiser?

Both of my parents are only children. Whenever Crow and I referred to aunts or uncles, we were actually referring to great-aunt and great-uncles. Over the years, there have definitely been times that I have wished for an aunt or an uncle. I have wished for someone a little older, a little wiser, not my parent, not just a friend. Someone who could advise without having to parent, yet someone who was family, so they had to listen. Someone with just enough more life experience under their belt to have the wisdom I needed in the moment. 

For the first time in a long time, I found myself wishing for that today (because, interestingly enough, I got through this past winter without wishing for it, although it's a surprising realization). But today...yeah. Today, I could use an aunt or an uncle. Which also made me realize ~ I'm forty years old. I'm at the age where I hope My Heart would come to me at times like this in his life. I'm the one I hope the Hatchling and Hatchlette will come to eventually. And if not to me, then to Lithus. Because when you're growing up, it really helps sometimes to have someone who isn't mom or dad ~ but isn't just a friend, either.

So...what happens when you're supposed to be old enough and wise enough ~ but don't quite feel it yet? I truly don't know. I do know I thought I'd be smarter by now. Maybe that's why I needed an aunt or an uncle: to tell me that older doesn't mean as much wiser as we think it should. Fair enough. Lesson learned. Now if we could just work on this other thing...

Those are Pobble Thoughts. That and a buck fifty will get you coffee.

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Two Days

Lithus had Tuesday and Wednesday off. That's his schedule ~ he works for 12 days and then gets/has to take two days off. Last time, we stayed in Galena because it was questionable if he would get paid if he went to Fairbanks. Since then, we were assured that, if he went no further than Fairbanks, he would still get paid (don't ask, seriously). Monday night, we were in Fairbanks.

Not very long ago, people used to joke ~ and justifiably so ~ that roughing it for me was a hotel without room service. I couldn't disagree with them. I didn't even want to. Self-awareness is a good thing, after all. Amazing how things can change. These days, luxury is a fitted sheet on the bed and a bathtub.

When watching MASH or even back when I was married to the SGM, I never really understood the concept of a 48 hour pass. What good was 48 hours? Why bother traveling into town, wherever "town" was, just for 48 hours. Wouldn't that just make you more miserable when you had to come back after such a short time? Oh, how little I understood.

We spent three nights in the hotel. I have taken three baths. I was bad for the environment and got fresh towels every single morning. We were up until three and slept until eleven. We saw a movie in a theatre with popcorn. We ate meals we had a choice in. He drank scotch; I drank vodka; we both had Diet Pepsi. There was ice for our drinks. There were television shows we wanted to veg in front of, in our own bed. I wore skirts and makeup and high heels and even did my hair.

Now, I'm back in Galena. Lithus is on his way. And it's actually good to be here, good to be, well, home. But those two days...oh my friends...what lovely two days...

Those are rested and refreshed Pobble Thoughts. That and a buck fifty will get you coffee.