Life Maintenance

Life Maintenance

Because a big part of life is routine and mundane. The 4 Ss (Shit, Shower, Shave and Shampoo), meal preparation, eating, cleaning afterwards, washing the laundry, hanging it out, bringing it in, folding and transporting it, shopping, exercising the body, housework, yard work, carrying out the trash, getting to and from work, work itself for most people.

In fact, I have heard it said that most people’s lives lack enough drama. Probably one reason for the success of movies.

You can go through life resenting it or, as I see it, there are two solutions.
1. Stop resenting it and start enjoying everything you do for the satisfaction you get from doing it. After all, many cannot do what you resent doing and would love to be able to do it.

2. Get really, REALLY good at what you do best so you can make a bucketload of money and hire others to do what you do not want to do.

Leningrad Is Not Afraid Of Death

Leningrad Is Not Afraid Of Death

From a friend:

When the Germans invaded the Soviet Union on June 22, 1941, it was one dictatorship ruled by a madman invading another dictatorship ruled by yet another madman.

But it has been said that though Hitler invaded the Soviet Union, he ended up fighting the Russian people. That made all the difference.

Aside from Moscow (which Hitler literally planned to level and turn into a lake if he had captured it), the city the Little Corporal most wanted to capture was Leningrad. This city (formally St. Petersburg) was considered a birthplace of Communism and Hitler’s plan was to cut off the food supply and allow the population to starve. This was the plan even if the city was captured by Nazi forces.

But, though the German armies at first seemed likely to overrun the Soviets with ease, the Russian people soon began to fight back with unbelievable courage and tenacity. When the Germans approached Leningrad, untrained and often unarmed young men (fighting from fortifications hastily dug by civilians) held off the enemy for nearly a month. When the Germans finally broke through this defensive line, they surrounded Leningrad and cut off supplies, but were unable to actually capture the city. For 27 MONTHS, the starving population fought tooth and nail. Russian casualties in Leningrad were higher than the combined casualties for the Americans and the British during the entire war. 800,000 of the 1.5 million Russian casualties were civilians.

But Leningrad held and was relieved by the Soviet Army in late January of 1944. Along with the battle of Stalingrad, weapons and supplies delivered by the Allies and the Russian winters, it was one of the major factors leading to the defeat of the Nazi armies on the Eastern front.

A commenter replied:
Interesting, especially considering that I read this portion of text, written DURING that war, just yesterday. From Isabel Paterson’s “The God of The Machine” (1943) is an absolutely fabulous book! How is it we all know about Ayn Rand and Rose Wilder Lane, yet it seems so few have ever heard of Isabel? It starts off a bit difficult to get into (almost boring, in a way), but once she gets going… …look out!

A Letter To My Friends

Fiona Apple and Janet

This is a beautiful letter from Fiona Apple explaining to her fans why she must postpone a concert date. I am impressed at the way she was instantly able to make the decision to choose love over her career. Indeed, the world needs more of this. Enjoy the story…
It’s 6pm on Friday, and I’m writing to a few thousand friends I have not met yet. I’m writing to ask them to change our plans and meet a little while later.
Here’s the thing.
I have a dog, Janet, and she’s been ill for about 2 years now, as a tumor has been idling in her chest, growing ever so slowly. She’s almost 14 years old now. I got her when she was 4 months old. I was 21 then — an adult, officially — and she was my kid.
She is a pitbull, and was found in Echo Park, with a rope around her neck, and bites all over her ears and face.
She was the one the dogfighters use to puff up the confidence of the contenders.
She’s almost 14 and I’ve never seen her start a fight, or bite, or even growl, so I can understand why they chose her for that awful role. She’s a pacifist.
Janet has been the most consistent relationship of my adult life, and that is just a fact. We’ve lived in numerous houses, and joined a few makeshift families, but it’s always really been just the two of us.
She slept in bed with me, her head on the pillow, and she accepted my hysterical, tearful face into her chest, with her paws around me, every time I was heartbroken, or spirit-broken, or just lost, and as years went by, she let me take the role of her child, as I fell asleep, with her chin resting above my head.
She was under the piano when I wrote songs, barked any time I tried to record anything, and she was in the studio with me, all the time we recorded the last album.
The last time I came back from tour, she was spry as ever, and she’s used to me being gone for a few weeks, every 6 or 7 years.
She has Addison’s Disease, which makes it more dangerous for her to travel, since she needs regular injections of Cortisol, because she reacts to stress and excitement without the physiological tools which keep most of us from literally panicking to death.
Despite all this, she’s effortlessly joyful & playful, and only stopped acting like a puppy about 3 years ago. She is my best friend, and my mother, and my daughter, my benefactor, and she’s the one who taught me what love is.
I can’t come to South America. Not now. When I got back from the last leg of the US tour, there was a big, big difference.
She doesn’t even want to go for walks anymore.
I know that she’s not sad about aging or dying. Animals have a survival instinct, but a sense of mortality and vanity, they do not. That’s why they are so much more present than people.
But I know she is coming close to the time where she will stop being a dog, and start instead to be part of everything. She’ll be in the wind, and in the soil, and the snow, and in me, wherever I go.
I just can’t leave her now, please understand. If I go away again, I’m afraid she’ll die and I won’t have the honor of singing her to sleep, of escorting her out.
Sometimes it takes me 20 minutes just to decide what socks to wear to bed.
But this decision is instant.
These are the choices we make, which define us. I will not be the woman who puts her career ahead of love & friendship.
I am the woman who stays home, baking Tilapia for my dearest, oldest friend. And helps her be comfortable & comforted & safe & important.
Many of us these days, we dread the death of a loved one. It is the ugly truth of Life that keeps us feeling terrified & alone. I wish we could also appreciate the time that lies right beside the end of time. I know that I will feel the most overwhelming knowledge of her, and of her life and of my love for her, in the last moments.
I need to do my damnedest, to be there for that.
Because it will be the most beautiful, the most intense, the most enriching experience of life I’ve ever known.
When she dies.
So I am staying home, and I am listening to her snore and wheeze, and I am revelling in the swampiest, most awful breath that ever emanated from an angel. And I’m asking for your blessing.
I’ll be seeing you.
Love,
Fiona

Paul Harvey’s Letter To His Grandchildren

Grandson And Granddad

We tried so hard to make things better for our kids that we made them worse. For my grandchildren, I’d like better.

I’d really like for them to know about hand me down clothes and homemade ice cream and leftover meat loaf sandwiches.. I really would.

I hope you learn humility by being humiliated, and that you learn honesty by being cheated.

I hope you learn to make your own bed and mow the lawn and wash the car.

And I really hope nobody gives you a brand new car when you are sixteen.

It will be good if at least one time you can see puppies born and your old dog put to sleep.

I hope you get a black eye fighting for something you believe in.

I hope you have to share a bedroom with your younger brother/sister. And it’s all right if you have to draw a line down the middle of the room, but when he wants to crawl under the covers with you because he’s scared, I hope you let him.

When you want to see a movie and your little brother/sister wants to tag along, I hope you’ll let him/her.

I hope you have to walk uphill to school with your friends and that you live in a town where you can do it safely.

On rainy days when you have to catch a ride, I hope you don’t ask your driver to drop you two blocks away so you won’t be seen riding with someone as uncool as your Mom.

If you want a slingshot, I hope your Dad teaches you how to make one instead of buying one.

I hope you learn to dig in the dirt and read books.

When you learn to use computers, I hope you also learn to add and subtract in your head.

I hope you get teased by your friends when you have your first crush on a boy / girl, and when you talk back to your mother that you learn what ivory soap tastes like.

May you skin your knee climbing a mountain, burn your hand on a stove and stick your tongue on a frozen flagpole.

I don’t care if you try a beer once, but I hope you don’t like it… And if a friend offers you dope or a joint, I hope you realize he/she is not your friend.

I sure hope you make time to sit on a porch with your Grandma/Grandpa and go fishing with your Uncle.

May you feel sorrow at a funeral and joy during the holidays.

I hope your mother punishes you when you throw a baseball through your neighbor’s window and that she hugs you and kisses you at Christmas time when you give her a plaster mold of your hand.

These things I wish for you – tough times and disappointment, hard work and happiness. To me, it’s the only way to appreciate life.