Thursday, February 5, 2009


(On 10 November 2008 while visiting the White House, President-elect Barack Obama waves while walking with President George W. Bush. Photo by Tim Sloan/Agence France-Presse.)


At a press conference yesterday, President Obama pointed out Who Won The Election, you morons, and who didn't (why is ANYBODY quoting McCain's comments on the economy? why not dig up Pat Paulsen and ask him that he thinks?)

"In the past few days, I've heard criticisms that this [stimulus] plan is somehow wanting, and these criticisms echo the very same failed economic theories that led us into this crisis in the first place, the notion that tax cuts alone will solve all our problems, that we can ignore fundamental challenges like energy independence and the high cost of health care, that we can somehow deal with this in a piecemeal fashion and still expect our economy and our country to thrive.

"I reject those theories. And so did the American people when they went to the polls in November and voted resoundingly for change."
Even Letterman worked this into his monologue. Keep it up, President O.

[Cross-posted at Group News Blog.]



Viwe of yard throught night vision goggles
Here's another installment of my Great American Lesbian Novel (in progress), Ginny Bates. If you are new to reading GB, go to the section in the right-hand column labeled Ginny Bates to read background and find out how to catch up.

(Winter 2018-2019)

Allie and Chris were still there an hour later when Margie walked over with one of Frances' rustic loaves and a bowl of seafood marinara. "Franny said she wasn't sure you'd have fresh bread and, well, we always have marinara" said Margie. "Plus, I wanted to see how you were doing."

"Better, thanks to all your help last night" said Myra. At that moment the doorbell rang and Margie said "I'm up, I'll get it." She returned with a package, setting it before Myra. Myra used the butter knife to open it and said "My night vision goggles!"

"Your what?" asked Allie.

"Myra went shopping as a way of dealing with her sasquatch visitation, before we called Nancy" said Ginny.

"Your what?" repeated Margie. Ginny gave her the short version as Myra installed batteries and tried on her goggles. "It's too bright in here, I can't tell how they'll work" complained Myra, as Margie kept repeating "No way, no way" to Ginny.

Chris said "There's rooms in this house without windows". Ginny interrupted her story to Margie with "The varnishing room, it's pitch black in there when the door's closed and the light is off. Plus there's canvases to look at on the wall racks."

"Let's go" said Chris. Myra pulled off the goggles and said "I don't feel up to the trip, you take 'em. I'll play with them after dark. Wonder when my maple sugar candy will get here?"

"You sure?" asked Ginny, her hands closing gladly around the goggles.

"Yep. I'm going into the living room and use my albuterol machine in there, I haven't had a treatment yet."

"I'll go with you" said Allie. "What else did you buy?"

Margie elected to go with the goggle contingent. "The kids are going to go ape over those" she said.

"Which reminds me" said Ginny, feeling her way upstairs with the goggles on. "Not a word around them about the sasquatch, you hear?"

"Hey, Mom, say 'Resistance is futile'" urged Margie. Ginny said "What do you mean?" as Chris giggled.

As Myra settled into the armchair and Allie was twisting open an ampule of albuterol to put in the face-mask hose, Myra said "I could use talking with you alone for a few minutes."

"Okay. 'Bout the sasquatch thing?"

"No. At least, not directly. No, about -- sex."

Allie got a wary expression on her face. "Whose sex?"

"Mine, and Ginny's. Don't worry, it's not a question about technique."

"Well, you want the drugs or the talk first?" asked Allie.

"I guess the talk, while they're busy upstairs. Here's the deal. Well, first of all, we -- we kinda did it."

"My god, Myra, sometimes you talk like you still in the 50s" said Allie with a nervous laugh.

"But...I can't hack the idea of letting me. It feels like -- I just get so scared, I'm numb" said Myra.

"Oh. Yeah, I know 'bout that" said Allie.

"It doesn't make sense to me, Al. I mean, what hit me hardest about the whole Pat episode is that Ginny didn't know how to say no right away, that she's got -- crap, I guess you'd say, like the rest of us, that makes her vulnerable to -- violation. But I got back to the point of trusting her, of trusting that she's doing the best she can and if she fucks up, we'll figure it out together. It's not my job to do more than be as sure as I possibly can at the moment. You know?"

"Yeah" said Allie.

"So, then, why can't I turn that around on myself?" said Myra.

"Why can't you trust that who you choosing to open the door to is actually trustworthy, that what you asking? Well, that's the million dollar question, Myra."

"It doesn't seem logical that it would go one way but not the other" said Myra.

"Ain't none of it logical" said Allie. "It all lies. You find little hummocks to stand on, in a swamp that stretch to the horizon. Good as it gets."

"I guess I thought I'd drained the swamp" said Myra.

"At least you go someone willing to hop from hummock to hummock with you" said Allie. "Okay, now, I'm gonna turn this thing on."

Myra held the mouthpiece to her face. Margie came back downstairs before she was quite done to say "It may be rude but I'm hungry, can I heat up some of what I just brought over?"

"Yeah" said Myra, lowering her mask for a moment. "We ought to still have good cheese in there. And the garden will have stuff to pick."

"We harvested yesterday for you, it's in the crisper" said Margie. "I'll steam some kale."

When Ginny and Chris came downstairs, they began going through the seeds and berries Ginny had brought back from California.

"Don't plant most of this right away" suggested Chris. "That sage plant rootlet, yes, you'll have to. And maybe a few of the apple seeds, you can let the trees get a head start under your grow light over there until the spring."

Ginny gently dislodged a tablespoon of soil from the baby sage plant and said "Let's check this with my soil testing kit. I'll create a planting mix to match."

"Where are you going to plant apple trees?" said Myra, finishing her treatment.

"Well, that spruce at the front of Margie and Frances' lot looks on its last legs" said Ginny.

"Yeah, but part of the reason why is because there's so much traffic at that corner" said Margie, putting salad on the table.

"We could build a little baffle to help it get a good start, maybe" said Ginny. "The rest of the trees, I know Kip will find people who want them."

"Joanie Appleseed" said Allie.

"Your cat is curled up on the bedding pile outside the bedroom door" Chris said to Myra.

"Poor little reject" said Myra.

Ginny squared off on Myra. "Listen. We can make her a special bed in your study, or buy a cat tree thing like you've always wanted, but she needs to not sleep on our bed any more. You have to have sleep in a clean room. Don't argue with me, Myra. I vacuum and mop this entire fucking house at least twice a week, and I don't mind dealing with the fur because I love these cats, too. But for at least one third of each day, I want you not breathing them in. Your lungs aren't made for it. Franklin will sleep with her, and she's got your study as secure territory."

"I agree with Ginny" said Allie instantly. Chris nodded her head, and Myra said "When did you all hatch this plot?"

"We didn't. It's just great minds thinking alike" said Ginny.

"Okay" said Myra reluctantly. "But I am buying that cat tree. In fact -- "

"Oh god" said Ginny. "You want to build that ledge around the upper perimeter of your study, don't you?"

"A real catwalk" said Myra, her eyes brightening. "With a couple of ramps up and down."

"I'll help you" offered Chris.

"So fur can rain down on her all day, and I get to vacuum overhead" muttered Ginny.

The doorbell rang again. Ginny went to answer it, returning with another package for Myra. "If this is that candy, you need to wait until you're better before pigging out" she said.

"It's not -- this is one of the things I got from eBay" said Myra excitedly. "I wonder -- yay! It's my Honey West doll!"

Margie reached for it across the table. "Wipe your hands first" said Myra.

"My god, this is a velvet catwoman costume she's got on" said Margie.

"Before catwoman" said Myra. "I had the serious hots for Honey West when I was ten years old."

"This doll is 50 years old?" said Ginny. "How much did you pay for it?"

Myra decided not to answer. "Look at this little revolver -- they don't make toys this good any more." She turned to Allie "I found a set of metal Amazon toy soldiers, too, with tiny bows and arrows."

Allie said "Don't you let eBay get they hooks in you again. Speaking of which -- I got that LOLCat you sent."

"What?" exclaimed Ginny and Margie together. Margie said to Ginny, "Remember when we were teenagers and she was making like a dozen a day? I got to where I deleted them from my e-mail as they came in."

"This was a one-time deal" said Myra defensively. "I made it for the grandkids, and I sent Allie a copy because I thought she'd find it funny. And Chris."

"It was hysterical" said Chris. "I bet the humor went over the little ones' heads, however, probably just bummed them out."

At Ginny's raised eyebrows, Myra said "You know that really great head shot of Keller? Well, I captioned it with 'I hate it when I can't see you'."

Ginny burst into laughter. "Utterly twisted, Myra. Did you post that at I Can Has Cheezburgers? They'll ban you."

Myra ate a little kale and marinara dipped into bread with Margie, while Allie took her leave. Chris hung around most of the afternoon, through the grandkids' visit and until nearly dinner. Ginny pulled out her unfinished canvas and decided it could use a night vision inset in one section.

At Halloween, Myra and Ginny walked with the children to go trick-or-treating while Jane and Gillam went out to an adult party. Myra let the kids have so much candy that getting them to bed was a nightmare of meltdowns and false starts. On Dia de Los Muertos, Myra helped the kids make sugar skulls, with Ginny saying “Why is it you can't learn not to stoke them up?” They pitched a tent by the pet cemetery, blew up air mattresses and Myra slept out there with the four oldest children, keeping candles lit on the graves and telling ghost stories.

In mid November, Myra had a series of readings at Seattle bookstores promoting the Seed books, with Ginny and Allie also guests of honor, but the evenings were stolen by the appearance of the grandkids, each of whom thrilled to the fame of being associated with their respective literary characters. An article with photographs appeared in the local paper, giving Mimi and David a swollen head for the week at their preschool.

Eric got promoted to a management position in his occupational therapy department, and he began taking a course one night a week in small business management for the day when he and Carly could open their own clinic. The week before Thanksgiving, Frances and Margie had a joint birthday party at their house. The older crowd attended but were overwhelmed by the numbers and noise fairly rapidly.

In mid December, Margie's, the new Galveston restaurant, opened to immediate success. Frances insisted the lunch service include an at-cost pasta dish with open-air tables in the covered parking area below, feeding a steady number of homeless and unemployed people each day with homemade food. She set up a donation jar by the register for paying dinner patrons to contribute to this effort, and eventually was able to offer the lunch meals for free.

During the late winter and spring, Sima audited a class at U-Dub on the history of Communism in the Jewish community of the U.S., especially focused on the phenomenon of Red Diaper babies and their contribution to later social movements. It was taught by a lesbian professor named Susan Levy who was visiting for the year from Harvard. This class and what she was learning there soon dominated Sima's conversations. Her face was animated, her energy higher than it had been in a long while. Ginny loved the change in her, and even went with her to one class. The professor clearly doted on Sima and funneled questions her way.

Chris, in the meantime, was increasingly absorbed with Seven Drums training, frequently traveling as far away as Idaho and Northern California. When Chris was out of town, usually Sima did not come to Friday night dinners, either. Myra began to miss them both, and tried to make alone or couple dates with them, but this was not working out as often as she'd like.

Since Ms. Schevitz had died, Myra had continued paying for a Christmas day buffet at the assisted living center where Ms. Schevitz had lived, a residence of about 50 people plus staff. This year, she and the grandchildren made extra cookies, cakes and pies to supply the center, and she hired two of Frances's kitchen crew to do the catering for extra money. She and Ginny decided to take the grandchildren for a visit there on Christmas Day. Once that was arranged, she and Ginny bought a gift for each of the residents and staff, then helped the children wrap them. Jane prepared a concert of Christmas songs, Ginny coached the children in dances some of the residents could do, and Myra took her Seed books to read aloud. That afternoon was enormous fun, and Gillam asked they repeat it each year: “It will do the kids good to give as much as they get” he said.

They also continued the tradition begun when Margie was a baby of going out to feed wild animals and birds in nearby parks after gifts were opened. This year, a heavy snowfall on Christmas Eve made this outing a frolic. Margie put coats and booties on the slender greyhounds so they could go as well, whining on their leashes at the tempting flocks of birds who arrived to feast on sunflower seeds and cracked corn.

The day after Christmas, as they were waking up, Myra said "Gin, I need to ask you something. Are you not approaching me for lovemaking as often as you'd like to? Are you holding back?"

Ginny rolled over and looked into Myra's face from a couple of inches away. "Yeah. I think I am."


Ginny thought for a minute. "We're not being us, with this one-way dynamic. We've always been so -- enthusiastically equal about going after each other. At least half the pleasure for me is making love to you. I'm just honestly answering your question here, sweetheart, I'm not trying to put pressure on you."

Myra's face was deeply sad. "I don't like this change any more than you do."

"I know that."

"I wish you'd keep asking like you used to."

"The hesitation has become automatic. I mean, I'll see, but -- lots of the time, what I want most is what we can't do."

Hesitation was contagious. Myra had to push the next words out of her mouth: "Do you want me right now?"

"I do." Ginny put her thigh over Myra's and exhaled in sweet pleasure as Myra began kissing her.

Gillam turned 28 with the New Year, entering his Saturn cycle, Myra said. Ginny turned 63 just over a month later. She had a show planned for April, but when they had filed their taxes in early January, her income for the previous year had been much less than usual: She simply hadn't done enough paintings. She and Myra decided to begin drawing on their retirement fund, a partial pension. Sima and Chris were already on Social Security plus the pensions Myra and Allie had set up for them and paid into the last three decades.

The first week in March, Ginny went out to lunch with Sima alone at Sima's request. After they had ordered, Sima said, fidgeting with her napkin, "I need to confide in you. I don't have anyone else to talk with this about."

"Okay" said Ginny. "Is something wrong?"

"Yes, and also no. Very much no." Sima was smiling in an odd way. "You know Susan, my instructor?"

Ginny nodded.

"I'm...I think I've fallen in love with her."

Ginny sat back in her chair, shocked to the core. "You're kidding -- right? Oh, no, Sima, how can that be?"

"We have so much in common, Ginny, and I feel alive and young again around her. She brings out parts of me I'd forgotten. It just happened."

"What about Chris?"

"I love Chris, nothing's changed there. But she's so preoccupied with her spiritual path, for years now. And she's -- she's always in recovery, got a tight line she's walking. I never realized before how tight it was."

Their food arrived, but Ginny didn't even want to look at it. This was terrible news, no matter the luminous look on Sima's face.

"Does Chris know? For that matter, what about Susan, is she in love with you too?"

"We haven't talked directly -- I mean, me and Susan -- but I'm pretty sure...We almost kissed last week, I think. I have to talk with Chris, but I don't want to until I can figure things out with Susan. You can't tell Myra about this, Ginny. This is just between you and me."

Ginny stared at her. "Of course I have to tell Myra, Sima, I can't keep secrets from her, especially now. Especially about sex and infidelity. Surely you knew that. And for that matter, Chris is my friend too, what did you think, that I would help keep this from her as well? You can't wait to tell her until you've landed Susan, that's -- reprehensible. I can't believe you're even suggesting it. I don't understand how you can treat Chris this way. For that matter, I can't understand why you'd do this to yourself. Susan must be twenty years younger than you, she lives in another state, and you're married, doesn't she know that?"

Sima was extremely upset by Ginny's reaction, she could tell. "Don't you dare go running to Chris, you or Myra."

"Well, then, you have to tell her yourself."

"I'm not ready..."

"Get ready. Myra is planning to see her in two days, you need to tell her before then."

"You're completely out of line, Ginny. You don't have any right to meddle in my business."

"You made it my business by telling me, involving me. I won't be part of hurting Chris by silence, I just won't, Sima. I'm not Susan, playing games with you."

"You don't have any fucking idea what Susan is like, don't you talk about her that way. This is not you and Myra, this is not you cheating on her with your best friend's partner, and don't try to get all moral and righteous with me, Ginny!"

People nearby in the restaurant were starting to look their way. Ginny wanted to shout at Sima, but deliberately lowered her voice.

"This is a godawful mess, Sima. It's not my mess, it's yours. It's not too late for you to do the right thing, here. Think about what you're doing. You and Chris have been together over 30 years, my god, how can you rupture that kind of trust and history?"

"Chris and I don't have the romantic fairy-tale illusions that you and Myra have" Sima all but hissed. "And I know damned well that part of what you're freaking out about, aside from how Myra will associate this with you, is also that you're scared if Chris is free, Myra will finally get a chance to light that torch she's been carrying for her all this time. Look to your own house, Ginny, and quit making judgments about mine!"

Sima stood up and left the restaurant. Ginny couldn't think coherently for a few minutes. The waiter appearing at her side returned her to the moment. She said "I need to pay the check" and he presented it immediately. She tossed money on the table and walked to her car. She was furious and terrified at the same time. She wanted to go talk with Allie and Edwina, or see if Nancy was available, or even Margie -- anyone but Myra. Instead, she drove home and went directly to Myra's desk.

"You're back early, aren't you?" said Myra, looking at her clock. Then she looked again at Ginny's face and put down her pen.

"I have to tell you something" said Ginny. Myra's blood turned cold. Ginny pulled over a chair and took Myra's hands.

"Sima is planning to leave Chris. She says she's fallen in love with that goddamned professor of hers."

Myra had a one-two punch of relief that it wasn't about her and Ginny, then the crushing reality of who it was about.

Ginny recounted the entire conversation as best she could, including the final comment about Myra and Chris. When she was done, she wanted Myra to reassure her. But Myra didn't know what to say; she didn't even know how to take this all in.

"Has she lost her mind?" she finally whispered. "Is this about sex, at her age?"

"She's our age, Myra, you tell me." Ginny was hanging by a thread.

Myra looked at her, meeting her eyes. That was a help.

"I'd never do what she's doing" Myra said. "I'll never be in love with anybody but you. It's an easy promise to keep, because I keep feeling it, but even if wasn't, I'd keep it. And no, I'm not secretly hankering after Chris. I do love her with all my heart, and at this moment, I'd do just about anything to keep this from happening to her. Can we -- if I talk with Sima, can we stop this?"

Ginny could breathe again. "I don't think so. Seems like it's -- she's not listening to me, and I think she'll listen to you even less. Oh, hell, Myra." Finally Ginny was able to cry. She got up and sat in Myra's lap. Myra pressed her face against Ginny's chest and let her cry.

"I can't give her two days to let Chris dangle this way. I know you offered her that, but I can't" said Myra.

"Oh, god, what are we going to do?"

"We're okay, Ginny. We've got hard work for us right now, I know, and we're not back to where we once were, but we're solid enough. And we have to help them. Sima, as much as she'll let us, and Chris -- this could threaten her sobriety. This could -- I don't know how she's going to deal with this, I really don't. But we have to keep her safe. Allie'll help. We can do this a piece at a time."

Ginny kissed Myra, still weeping, and Myra kissed her back. After a while, Myra said "Okay. What to do first. No, stay here, I want you on me like this. I guess I have to call Sima and tell her I can't cover for her. Try to get her to talk with me. Then -- Allie. Does that make sense to you?"

"Yeah. I want to see Nancy, too, and offer for either or both of them to see her."

"Good. Can you and I go together to Nancy, or do you need a solo session?"

"I'd love to go with you, Myra. Oh, honey, I was so scared to come home and tell you."

Myra looked into her face again. "I guess you were. See, we really are doing okay, if you ignored the fear and came straight to me." They kissed again.

Ginny said "Have you had lunch?"

"No, I was writing. I need something to eat, though. My body feels weak with -- grief, I guess it is."

"I didn't eat, either. I'll make us something, but will you come in the kitchen with me to make your calls?"

"Let's go."

Sima didn't answer her phone, and Myra couldn't think of a message to leave that Chris would be okay to hear. She did get through to Allie. She told her the news, and Allie said she and Edwina would come right over. Then Myra called Jane and told her they wouldn't be able to take the grandchildren that afternoon.

Ginny doubled the Cobb salad she was making. She put on a pot of tea, and set out sugar and milk -- both seemed like a good idea at the moment. Myra went to the freezer, got out a black cherry pie and set it to bake as well. Comfort measures.

Allie looked old when she arrived. The four of them talked throughout lunch. None of them could think of a plan, or even something to say to Sima, that would fix things. It was like being tied to the post of a pier, watching the tide come in. Myra asked "Do we know where Chris is right now?"

"She's in town, because I'm supposed to see her tonight" said Allie.

"You want me to join you?"


Myra leaned back and grabbed the phone from the counter, tried to call Sima again. Still going directly into voice mail. Eating hadn't really helped her energy level; she still felt weak.

Allie watched her for a moment, then said "How are you two? Is this -- are you talking? To each other?"

Ginny reached and put her hand over Allie's. "Yes. We're connected. You know, we never ask you and Edwina how you two are doing. Shouldn't be that way, that only the...troubled relationships get all the attention."

Myra closed her eyes briefly at that word, troubled, but opened them again to focus on Allie and Edwina.

Edwina said "It's been painful to me, individually, to see -- you and Myra, see how much you've suffered. And now this. But when I'm in Allie's arms, it's just me and her."

Allie leaned sideways against her, grinning for the first time since they'd arrived.

Myra picked at a bit of pie crust. "Allie...I got a question that may make you mad."

"Out with it, then."

"Are you worried that this may push Chris into -- are you worried about her going off the wagon?"

Allie's black eyes got flatter. Her long, strong hands, now with a fine network of wrinkles over their backs, adjusted the silverware on her plate. She said "No. I'm not worried. There's some of us who move beyond that, after enough time. We change, we completely change. Honestly...I don't think I'm an alcoholic any more. Maybe I'm kidding myself, but I can't remember the last time I wanted to drink in any way. And I know that's true for Chris, too."

Myra nodded in relief. "Sometimes time is on our side."

Ginny suddenly ached to be on Myra's lap. Instead, she stood up and began clearing the table. Myra went to help her. They were in the kitchen, Allie and Edwina holding hands at the table, when the front door swung open and slammed against the wall. Chris stood there, wild-eyed, her bone-white hair loose and a little tangled.

Myra reached her first. Chris was wooden, couldn't seem to feel Myra's arms around her. Myra got her to the couch and sitting. Allie pulled up the hassock and sat in front of Chris, and Ginny got on the other side of her. Chris kept breathing in big gasps.

"Do -- you know?"

"Yes, that's why we're all here, trying to figure out what to do. What did she tell you, Chris?" said Myra.

"She's in love with someone else. She said she still loves me, but not that way any more, not enough. She wants to be with someone else." Chris's voice was high with disbelief.

"She said that definitely?" asked Ginny.

Chris looked at her. "Yes. Do you think she doesn't mean it? Did she say something different to you?"

"No, oh god, Chris, no. I was just hoping..." Ginny kissed her cheek. Chris was still unbending, unnoticing.

"I don't know what to do" said Chris, bewildered.

"You don't have to know" said Allie. "You with us."

Chris looked at her, then Myra. "Don't let them lock me up again." Her voice was begging.

"Never" swore Myra. "Never, never, never. No matter what."

Chris began making long ragged sounds then, almost like crying but there were no tears. She lay her head on Myra's shoulder and gripped Allie's hand, drawing in long breaths to force out another sound. After a couple of minutes, Ginny motioned to Edwina and stood up, saying quietly "You take my place. I've got to go find Sima and see if she's all right."

But Chris's car was parked behind theirs, jutting out in the street. Ginny went back in and Myra coaxed Chris's keys out of her pocket. Ginny reparked her car and returned the keys to the house. As she was getting into her car, Margie came up the driveway from her house.

"Looks like a party" she remarked.

Ginny sat with her door open and reached her hand to Margie. She told her what was going on.

Margie leaned heavily on the roof. "Oh god, Mama. I'm not old enough to handle all this. I'm sorry, I shouldn't say that to you -- "

"No, I feel the same way. And I'm your mother, I'll always want to hear how you're doing. I mean, if I'm in my right mind..."

"Do you want someone to go with you to see Sima?"

Ginny looked at her beseechingly. "Is that really okay to ask of you? I mean, yes, I really really want you with me."

Margie walked around to the passenger side and got in. "Bates women on the move" she said. Ginny backed out of the driveway and headed for Sima's.

© 2009 Maggie Jochild.


Tuesday, February 3, 2009


(Vice President Joe Biden and President Barack Obama attend the Middle Class Working Families Task Force event in the East Room of the White House in Washington, January 30, 2009. Photo by Larry Downing for Reuters.)

The Senate is not listening. I'm willing to bet they never will, really. We have to replace them.

In the meantime, we have work to get done. And instead of doing that work, the Right is in lockstep to send our new President into Fail as soon as possible, no matter who goes down with him. (They have their money and protection already, thanks to Bush, and it will take more than short while to actually get them out from behind their gates.) While people all over this country are without heat or light, not eating reliably, being evicted and foreclosed on, losing jobs and not qualifying for ANY kind of assistance except the sporadic "faith-based" kind, giving up on college, sliding into disability and death because of no health care, afraid to eat peanut butter or spinach or (fill in the blank this week), worried about dams and bridges and overpasses -- while we are under SIEGE because of failed conservative policies, Republicans and some idiot Democrats are filling the corporate-controlled airwaves with bleating about how the economic stimulus package must not be passed for this or that reason.

The real reason behind their opposition is to strip President Obama of the power which we, the masses, awarded him in this election.

The stimulus package is definitely not a perfect bill. It definitely doesn't address the core issue, which is that the foundation of our economy has to change completely in order to meet the needs of this century. President Obama was stupid enough to toss out family planning funding with no gain at all as a result, and he may concede more until he learns that They see compromise as weakness.

But if we let him get hamstringed this early in his administration (think Clinton and health care), if we act like we as progressives can get people elected but not show up for the complicated issues afterward -- if we let the Senate think they represent anything more than a small minority of Americans -- well, it can and will get worse.

So, I'm asking you, despite your (and my) reservations about this bill, as a matter of principle, let's get it passed and, from that show of strength, gain increased leverage in the future. Call your Senators and tell them you want them to vote yes. No screwing around, just pass it. The Senate switchboard number is (202) 224-3121. If you can't get through or would rather send an e-mail, you can look up your Senator's contact information and web form at the site.

Many, many progressive groups are asking their members right now to call the Senate, including the AFL-CIO, Campaign for America's Future, the Center for American Progress, Health Care for America Now, MoveOn, and USAction. If you've already responded to one of their pleas, thank you right now. If you have your own blog, please consider posting on this issue today. Pass the word. At this point, the Right is logging more calls than we are, despite their much fewer numbers.

Just because they haven't been listening doesn't mean we can shut up.

[Cross-posted at Group News Blog.]



(Graphic provided by ZenComix.)

I'm celebrating Blogroll Amnesty Day today for the first time. For a full explanation, see the originator Jon Swift. The short version is, it's a chance for bigger blogs to promote smaller blogs whom they read and/or wish to support. But I'm a small blog, so I'm employing the caveat that it doesn't have to be smaller than me: It just has to be choice blogs for whom I'd like to blow a celebratory horn.

Below is my "Check These Out" list. Not all of these blogs publish every day, or even every week. But I love each and every post they produce, I learn from them, I find my energy and spirits raised by reading them. Some of these bloggers have become my (cyber)friends because of exchanges we make to each other's blogs. And, it just so happens, they are all blogs created by women. Go figure.

Flip Flopping Joy mastheadFlip Flopping Joy -- by BrownFemiPower (whom I discovered at La Chola because of last year's B.A.D.): BFP writes about everything pertaining to the human condition, from a WOC, no limits perspective. She IS the leading edge, the event horizon.

Liza Cowan in greef scarf January 2007 See Saw -- by Liza Cowan at Pine Street Art Works, Burlington, Vermont: About art + retail, plus politics, pop culture, and did we mention art?

Sue Katz Sue Katz: Consenting Adult -- by Sue Katz: Frank talk, critical views and a belly laugh now and again

Ojibway Migis Bineshii Ojibway Migisi Bineshii -- by Ojibway Migisi Bineshii: News and information about Aboriginal, First Nations, Indigenous and Native people worldwide from an Ojibway feminist perspective.

Crow logo for Kat of BitchCraft BitchCraft -- by Kat: Feminism, music, and geekiness, free of party lines or pontification.

Womanist Musings Masthead
Womanist Musings -- by Renee: Humanist, pacifist, womanist, deep deep voice against racism and classism -- thank god this woman is also raising children.

Carolyn Gage Carolyn Gage -- by Carolyn Gage: Lesbian-feminist plays, musicals, one-acts, and monologues



Here's the weekly best of what I've gleaned from I Can Has Cheezburger efforts. There are some really creative folks out there. As usual, those from little gator lead the pack.


Monday, February 2, 2009


Sumeg Village House, Patrick's Point, California (Sumeg Village House, Patrick's Point, California)

Here's another installment of my Great American Lesbian Novel (in progress), Ginny Bates. If you are new to reading GB, go to the section in the right-hand column labeled Ginny Bates to read background and find out how to catch up.

Late October 2018

Myra began laughing. She and Ginny looked at each other without hurry. Myra had always been someone who preferred to keep her eyes open when kissing, but she could remember, before Ginny, this was almost always colored by fear. With Ginny, it was joy, the kind of anticipation before opening a present from your oldest friend, sure it was going to be a good one.

Ginny closed the gap slowly. As her mouth met Myra's, she made a sound of appreciation, as if tasting an extraordinary food, and breathed out slightly. Myra found herself literally dizzy with desire. Without remembering how it came to be, Myra found she was lying on the couch with Ginny full on top of her, their thighs between each other's knees, making out with abandon and a lifetime of practice.

Myra found she was not worried about the boundary that existed at the moment. She knew neither of them would cross it without prior communication. Kissing was its own universe, and they went on for a pile-up of minutes, stopping to catch their breath, laugh, and take in another look at their illuminated faces.

During one pause, when Ginny had her head on Myra's shoulder, she asked “I can see the connection between – well, the symbolism of your bigfoot terror and – sexual violation. Why it might have come up. But Nancy pretty much hinted that you'd made a decision to bust through, here and now. I keep wondering what pushed you over the edge into that decision.”

“Huh” said Myra. She thought for a minute. Ginny leaned her elbows on Myra's shoulders to look at her from a non-blurry distance.

“Those grandkids, Gin...It's not like our own kids. I figure we'll last until they're young adults, but that's probably it. I feel like I'm pouring the equivalent of concentrated nourishment into them, a version of me that will have to last the rest of their lives.” She stopped to think again.

“I know what you mean, Myra. This is not to knock our kids, whom I think are the finest humans who ever walked the planet. But this next generation – they're not going to be content with being good citizens. I think those five, each in their own way, will be leaders, artists, malcontents – they're going to be like us. I worry for them, and I'm also happy for them.”

“I guess that's part of why I'm encouraging them to try on the role of heroes” said Myra.

“And why I'm teaching them to dance. Emma Goldman, you know” grinned Ginny.

“So...they kinda suck us dry. And if it's not them, it's the rest of the family and of course our respective siren calls of creativity. I often feel like I'm putting out a sliver more than I'm taking in. I don't talk about it because how can I compare myself to Jane and Gillam, the overwhelming burden they carry every day?” said Myra.

“Each generation builds on the extra handed them from the one before, if they were lucky enough to get extra” said Ginny. “They're doing all right.”

“But we began with me and you, Gin. Well, and our friends. And being out of that house, away from the Compound” Myra winked at Ginny, “It helps me get back to bedrock. We really do need to leave town more often.”

“You know, I heard Jane talking with Margie about those monthly camping trips they take the kids on. She said it was wonderful how the children have so many adults who play with them, who give themselves permission to play. Margie said she looked forward to it as much as when she was four or five. But Jane said even so, playing with adults imposed a structure on children that they don't experience with each other. I winced at that, because I know it's true. And she said she and Gillam believe one of the chief perils of modern life is our dissociation from the unknowable complexity of nature, the impact simply exploring wilderness through play has on our developing brains. She sees it as a form of deprivation. So they're trying to make sure their kids don't have that deprivation.”

Myra said sadly “We didn't quite pull that off with ours. We gave them nature, but not wilderness. I did have that, growing up. Jane's right.”

“No regrets, Myra. Anyhow, here we are, letting wilderness do its thang on us” said Ginny.

“In our own messy way” agreed Myra. They resumed kissing.

After another half hour, they reached a point of temporary satisfaction. They lay in silence for a while. Then Ginny asked "What shall we do now? Are you going to write some more?"

"Not unless you're going to paint" said Myra. "I like being here on the couch with you. We could read aloud to each other."

Ginny's eyes sparkled. "We haven't done that in ages. What books did you bring with you this trip?"

"Well, there's that new Shackleton bio."

"No" said Ginny instantly.

"The last Martha Grimes mystery, but I'm almost at the end of that. An N. Scott Momaday I somehow missed way back when, but I'm well into it and it's cumulative. A collection of Sharon Olds' poetry -- not ideal for the cabin-bound. What do you have?" said Myra.

"The letters of Berenice Abbott, but it helps to know her oeuvre the way I do. Oh, I know, I have a compilation of Carolyn Gage's one-acts, we could act those out with each other!"

"Perfect" said Myra. Ginny went upstairs to get the book, bringing back wool caps for them both, while Myra retrieved her glasses from the small table. They swapped dramatic readings, with much making out and laughter, until almost 8:00.

"I'm hungry again" said Myra.

"There's enough soup left for a second meal" said Ginny.

"With a bacon sandwich" said Myra. "I'll make you a toasted crab bun with cheese."

"Deal" said Ginny. As they stood from the couch, Myra said "Damn. It's even colder now."

"Yeah, when I went up, I turned on the gas heaters in the bathroom and our bedroom, shut the doors. I don't think there's any insulation in this roof but maybe it'll keep the damp from settling into the sheets" said Ginny.

"No wonder this place sits empty during the winter" said Myra. "We should've asked the woman who rents it out more questions, I guess."

They ate by the fire. When they were done, Myra said "Oh, crap, I forgot to send the grandkids an e-mail today."

"I'll help, we'll make it extra big and it'll be there in the morning" said Ginny. They collaborated on a visual treasure hunt game involving various downloaded photos of their ramblings thus far and sent it off. Myra glanced through her e-mail and said "I should write Mai back."

"Go ahead. I'm going to check on my canvas, see if there's any way I can work in this room temp" said Ginny. With a final kiss, they parted, and didn't notice their immersion until midnight, when the fire had died enough to make Myra's hands start to cramp from the cold. They went to share a bath in a room filled with choking heat at eye level, nasty drafts from the knees on down. As they climbed into bed, Ginny still in her spaghetti-strap shirt and Myra in a tee, Myra said "Turn off the gas heater, if I sleep in these fumes I'll get a sinus headache."

"I'll keep you warm" said Ginny with a grin. They kissed again until Myra felt sweaty from desire. She thought briefly about all creatures in the woods on a night like this, but no fear leaped out of the corner. Surprising herself, she went to sleep without a pause.

She woke again at dawn. She didn't think the rain had stopped once all night. Somehow, during her sleep, Ginny had shrugged out of the spaghetti-strap shirt. Her breasts were mashed against Myra's side. Myra wanted to touch them, and tried to distract herself with thinking about the Humboldt current, the whales migrating a few miles away and what they might be seeing in the cold upwelling darkness, but it didn't work.

After a minute, Ginny said “You awake?”


“You're putting off lovely heat.”

“Gin...You can say no, let me begin with that.” Ginny rolled so she could see Myra's eyes, her asymmetrical eyebrows raised.

“I know it doesn't make sense, but I'm – I can't see my way clear to letting you make love to me” began Myra.

“I know, Myra. It's all right, we're fine.”

“No, wait. What I want to say is – if you think it's not going to fuck up our balance – I want to make love to you. One way. I know that's not our style, and you'll have to have faith it won't be that way forever. But I can't tell you when it would shift, either.”

They stared at each other. Myra's heartbeat was loud and liquid in her ears. Ginny's face slowly took on a smile. “I won't get all grabby, but you have to take off that t-shirt” Ginny said. “And that ridiculous wool hat. Here, let me help.”

The morning light coming through rain-soaked windows was itself pale blue, it seemed to Myra, marking out the blue and green veins in Ginny's breasts and setting the dark rose of her nipples into higher contrast. Her skin was both softer and thinner feeling than it had been decades ago. Gravity had definitely had its way. Myra closed her eyes momentarily against the well of gratitude she felt at knowing this woman, this body, this love.

She gathered the weight of Ginny's right breast into her palms, lifting it gently and nuzzling underneath. Ginny leaned toward her, her hands light on the crown of Myra's head. Myra traced the tip of her tongue around Ginny's areola, then lowered her open mouth over the nipple, letting her tongue wash in all directions before she began lightly sucking. Ginny's responding cry was sharp.

After all this waiting, Myra paradoxically felt no rush. She took her time with one breast, the nearby underarm, the ribs below, Ginny's collarbone and nape, before moving to the other side, then back again. Ginny kept moaning and saying her name, and sometimes Myra would move upward to kiss her mouth again, replying “My Ginny, my darling”.

She wanted to go down on Ginny, but stopped first to explore Ginny's belly, the rucks and puckers which proved she had borne children, stretch topography which was even silkier and more fragile than the rest of Ginny's skin. When she went back up for a final kiss after this, Ginny rolled half onto Myra, her legs spread, and Myra could feel the hot soak against her thigh. She could not help but move one hand down into it, and when Ginny arched against her the way she always did when Myra first touched her vulva, Myra could not help but keep stroking up and down this other woman's folds she knew better than her own.

Ginny began repeating “oh god, oh god yes”, and Myra used all four fingers to explore the terrain up and down, right and left, trying to slow Ginny's galloping need. Ginny's eyes were unfocused and dark, dark blue when she gasped “My god, Myra, now, now”, and Myra slid two fingers into her as Ginny pushed herself against Myra's hand. She could tell Ginny was already coming because her upper slope inside was smoothing out, taut and creating more room. She felt the waves pass through Ginny, and then Ginny was weeping hard against her chest, open-mouthed sobs. Myra slowly pulled out her hand and held Ginny as tightly as she could. “I know” she whispered. “I know.”

When Ginny slowed her crying, she looked around for a tissue and found none. “Use my t-shirt, it's there beside you” offered Myra. Ginny giggled congestedly, blew, then rolled to her side and spooned back into Myra's curve, facing the front window. The sky had not shifted from pale charcoal.

“That was as good as it's ever been” she said quietly.


Ginny sighed, stroking Myra's hands on her chest. “I want nothing more than to roll over and have my way with you.”

Myra kissed the back of Ginny's neck.

“We maybe shouldn't have turned off the gas heater before we went to sleep. That looks like ice on the sill there” commented Ginny.

“Praise Isis for body heat” said Myra. “We can just stay in bed.”

“I love you more than I can quite comprehend. All the time” said Ginny.

“Yeah” said Myra.

They dozed a while, afterglow and pooled warmth seeming to Myra almost like a red haze in the grey room. After waking, Myra began tracing the grooves between Ginny's ribs with her thumbs, finding them with recovered memory beneath Ginny's generous flesh. She nibbled with lips only at Ginny's shoulderblades, and felt her coming fully awake. Ginny pulled her right knee up, and Myra knew this exposed her inner thighs, strong and wide. She moved her hand around to Ginny's hip, massaging the curve down and back up the angle of her gluteus maximus, which on Ginny was maximus indeed. Her fingers found the dimples at the top of each buttock, and her palm followed the curve back down to at last dip again into magma territory.

Ginny rolled onto her stomach with a sigh which caught in her throat. She turned her head to face Myra, her cheek pressed into the pillow. Myra kissed her forehead, her nose, and her mouth as she moved her hand around Ginny's crevices. But coming from behind created a little more obstruction, so she scooted down a foot in the bed, resting her own cheek on Ginny's upper back, closing her eyes to listen only to Ginny's body, telling her what it wanted.

An hour later, Myra woke again and began, reluctantly, leaving the island of warmth which was their bed.

“Where are you going?”

“I have to wash my hands” said Myra.

“Will you turn on both the heaters?” asked Ginny. “Oh, never mind, I have to use the toilet.” Eventually, they opted to pull out the thermal underwear they'd packed as an afterthought and get dressed.

“I want fried potatoes” said Myra.

“We're out. We could go to that cafe, their breakfast menu looked good” said Ginny.

They put on a second layer, resuming their hats and adding boots, and dashed to the rental car through sandy mud. Over breakfast, they considered what food was left in the house, planned meals to use up everything except quantities of applesauce, and stopped briefly to buy a cooler for transporting the applesauce home plus half and half for chai.

When they got home, Ginny said “As long as my poncho is soaked, I'm going to haul in as much wood as I can again. I'll stack it inside the door so it'll dry out by the time we need it.” Myra made biscuits for later. She noted the chicken stock was gone, but they'd bought kombu and bonita flake at the natural foods store, so she soaked the kelp in boiling water and strained it. Ginny loved to use dashi as the basis for any soup.

Ginny was red and cold by the end of her woodhauling. Myra made love to her on the couch in front of a new fire. They put back on their thermal underwear and separated to computer and easel. The day was spent in work, making out, and tending the fire. In fact, the next 24 hours was a repeating cycle of these satisfying activities.

For dinner their last night in the house, Myra made salmon a la Ginny. She superheated a rimmed baking sheet in the oven while scoring the skin side of thick fillets just to where the flesh began. She put these skin side down on the sheet, hearing the sizzle begin, and drizzled the fish with olive oil, salt and pepper before putting it to bake at a normal temperature. She had already cooked cut-up sweet potatoes in a pot with a half inch of cream and pureed garlic in the bottom. She mashed these with butter and more pepper. She had steamed baby carrots and broccoli.

Now, as the fish cooked, she started two small skillets with generous amounts of butter. In one she fried sage leaves from the garden until they were crisp and the butter permeated with their flavor. This was to pour over the veggies. In the other skillet, she mashed a handful of gooseberries, cooking them until they were a buttery stew. She dressed the salmon with this after it had rested a few minutes.

Ginny took a bite of everything and said “My god, Myra. Frances would steal every one of these recipes from you.”

“Yeah, well that tomato leek soup you made for lunch was pure genius as well. Have I ever told you how much I love that you make soup way, way better than me?”

They ate every scrap. Myra said “Oatmeal for breakfast, that's all we got.”

“You know, I'm worried about the drive back to Grant's Pass in this weather. I think we should pack tonight, get up with the dawn, and leave then. We can grab meals on the road.”

“Good idea. I'll check road conditions online.”

Myra found it hard to leave the house. At the last minute, Ginny said “Damn, I meant to gather some of those berries for seed stock, see if I can get 'em to grow at home. Give me a minute, okay?” She tromped out the front door toward the southwestern clearing. Myra stood in the empty main room, now reverting to deep chill, and spun around slowly. I'll be back she thought.

She walked out to warm up the car. Ginny returned with a few baggies of frost-bit berries, shivering and wide-eyed.

“You okay?” asked Myra.

“Yeah. Just – turn up the heater, okay?”

“You should have worn gloves” said Myra, pressing Ginny's hands between her own for a minute before putting the car into gear and slowly driving toward the creek.

They hit icy patches and took turns driving to stay fresh. When they got to Grant's Pass, they discovered the train was delayed, the small station crowded. The only seats they could find together were near the door. Right outside the door, a crowd of smokers huddled under the small overhang, and every time someone went in and out, a toxic cloud blew in over Myra and Ginny. After Myra used her inhaler a second time, Ginny went to complain to the station manager.

He looked at her with narrow eyes. “I can't force people out into the rain, ma'am.”

Smoker thought Ginny. She tried to upgrade her and Myra's tickets from the regular car to a private room, but none were available – or the agent was jerking her around, she wasn't sure. When they finally boarded, Myra complained about having a chill and her chest being tight. Ginny unsnapped her wool-lined poncho and wrapped it around Myra as a makeshift blanket. She made a pillow from her hoodie and Myra leaned it against the window, dozing off.

But the train traveled slower than usual because of snow in the passes. Ginny began worrying they'd get stopped for good. She kept walking to the food car and returning with six-pack cups of tea, plus orange juice, until Myra said she was diuresing. She also walked with Myra to the bathroom, because Myra's breathing was growing steadily more short-winded. When Myra began running a fever, as they pulled into Portland, Ginny called Margie and asked her to pick them up at the station with the portable oxygen tank they kept at home.

It was almost 11:00 before they got home. Myra, leaning on both Margie and Frances, had to stop inside the front door and sit on the couch before she could walk on. Ginny went into high gear while Frances kept Myra company and Margie unloaded the car. She raced up the front stairs to their bedroom, discovering the door standing open and signs that more than one cat had slept on Myra's pillow for many days.

“God fucking dammit” swore Ginny. Margie, arriving behind her with suitcases, said “Uh oh. The kids came over with Gillam to check on the house, I bet one of them came up here looking for you and left the door open.”

“She's sitting down there with Keller, Franklin, Spencer and Olsen already glommed onto her” said Ginny, savagely ripping bedding from the mattress. “She was fine the whole time we were there in that damp, cold cabin, despite the freak-out -- it's the dander that gives her grief here.”

“What freak-out?” said Margie.

“Later. Will you help me? Pull out the HEPA vacuum and run it over this floor, especially around and under the bed” said Ginny, piling the linens in the hall outside. She went into the bathroom to start the tub with hot water and eucalyptus salts. As she left the room, she said “Then give it a light wet mop with that eucalyptus mix in the broom cupboard. Wipe it down with a clean towel. I'll be back to turn off the tub.”

She brewed a pot of her herbal mix for lungs and carried it upstairs, putting it on the nightstand next to the albuterol machine. Margie was finishing up. Ginny called downstairs, “Myra, honey? Take the elevator up. We're going to wash off ciggie smoke and cat fur.”

Ginny began stripping before she hugged Margie bye. “We'll be okay. Thanks for all your help. Lots to tell, but could it wait until tomorrow?”

“Sure” said Margie. Ginny had Myra strip in the hall, adding their clothes to the pile of laundry already there. The bath helped, the tea and a breathing treatment helped more. Ginny began to think maybe Myra could avoid another round of antibiotics for incipient bronchitis. After Myra dropped off, Ginny went down to check on the alarm and turn off lights. She discovered the cooler of applesauce and put most of it in their freezer, saving out two containers for sharing the next day. She sent a text to Gillam, saying Myra was sick, they probably couldn't care for the grandkids but a short visit would be welcome. When she returned to the bedroom, she found Keller waiting outside the door.

“You've had your run” said Ginny. “I want her in good shape for longer than you'll be alive, you need to get used to sleeping with Franklin on your own.” She shut the door in Keller's face.

The next morning, Myra came downstairs a little past 10:00, wheezy but not blue around the mouth any more. As she sat down to Ginny's pancakes, Allie and Chris arrived.

“We hear you sick” Allie said, kissing her forehead and taking a temperature simultaneously.

“How was the trip?” asked Chris with meaning.

“Extremely good” said Myra, smiling. “With one horrific episode in the middle, right, Gin? I got sick because of problems on the trip home.”

“What episode?” asked Allie, helping herself to a pancake and spreading it with applesauce.

Ginny said “Myra saw a sasquatch in our back yard there one night.”

Allie froze in mid bite, and Chris snorted. “Holy shit, I can just imagine how that went over” said Chris. “I'm surprised you're still functional.”

Myra was grinning but her eyes were on Ginny. “You're being very kind, Gin. I notice you said 'saw' instead of 'thought she saw'.”

Ginny took a long breath. “I have something to tell you.”

Myra put down her fork. “What?”

“When I went back for the berries...I startled something at the edge of the clearing. Something that crashed into the trees, making the saplings shake violently all the way up to their crowns. Like, 20 feet high. And – there was that smell again.”

Myra's face lose all its smile. “You didn't tell me.”

“I – I wasn't sure how to. I just wanted to get out of there. But...that's not all, Myra. I called the woman who rented the place to us this morning, to tell her we'd left and the problem with the gate getting broken. She...she got weird, Myra. She asked if we saw what had busted through the gate, and I said you'd seen something in the dark, which must have been a bear. She didn't agree with me, she didn't argue. But she did say other people have seen what they thought were bears. Then...she asked if we heard anything. When I asked what she meant, she said they thought there was a mountain lion in the area because people had reported hearing it scream.”

Ginny and Myra's eyes were locked on each other. “Fuck me running” whispered Myra.

“Exactly” said Ginny. “I called Nancy to make sure it was a good idea to tell you all this, and she said yes, the breakthrough was irrelevant to whatever you actually saw.”

After a minute, Myra said “I guess we won't be going back there again.”

“Not if I have a vote in it” said Ginny.

“Okay, whoa, back up, start at the beginning” said Allie. “And where in hell did you get this applesauce, it's like nothing I've ever had.”

Sasquatch applesauce” said Myra. She and Ginny roared. “Okay, so there was this creek nearby that ran back into the mountains...” began Myra.

© 2009 Maggie Jochild.


Sunday, February 1, 2009


(Still from the Patterson Film, Bluff Creek, California, 1963)

Here's another installment of my Great American Lesbian Novel (in progress), Ginny Bates. If you are new to reading GB, go to the section in the right-hand column labeled Ginny Bates to read background and find out how to catch up.

Late October 2018

Myra felt a second shock at hearing Ginny's words. She listened to Ginny sketch out what had occurred last night and today. One thing she had to say for Ginny, she could do succinct and thorough at the same time.

At the end, Ginny said “So what do we do? Run back to Seattle and get help there? Buy an AK-47 and let her get arrested for shooting it off in a municipal area?” Ginny wasn't laughing, and Myra guessed Nancy wasn't either.

“From my end? Well, I thought it was going extremely well. We haven't gone somewhere that wasn't a book tour or a gallery opening since our trip to Brazil, and before that, really, it was when we went to the Clabbered Scablands right after we got together. We simply haven't gone away from home alone together enough. This was working, at least for me. I felt like we were deepening our connection. We were doing some art, but more we were spending time as companions. And – this may play a role in what went awry – I feel like the sexual tension has been a lot thicker. In a good way.”

Myra realized she was staring at Ginny. She had to agree, now that she heard it put in bald terms like that.

“I don't know, you'll have to ask her...All right. But I don't want to be her mother, Nancy, and I feel like she's reverting to childhood with this...Yeah, I can see that path, kinda...No, the land-line here has an old-fashioned Princess phone, no speaker on it – but Myra's cell has two jacks for headsets, and we've both got ours, we could plug in at the same time and I think that would work...Okay, I think I can remember all that. Talk to you soon.”

Ginny clicked off and said “We need to call her back in five minutes. Go to the bathroom while you can, then get your cell and headset.”

Ginny was telling, not asking. But it definitely didn't feel maternal. Myra realized suddenly she had to pee very badly. She went to the toilet off the kitchen. Ginny turned off the soup, made a pot of tea, and carried that with two mugs and a metal mop bucket to the couch in front of the fire. Myra got her cell and plugged in her headset, then Ginny's. Ginny had gone upstairs and returned with a blanket, her bottle of Rescue Remedy drops, and a roll of toilet paper.

“What, no MREs or penicillin?” joked Myra. Ginny smiled faintly as she put more wood on the fire.

“What did Nancy say, when you first told her – what you told her” asked Myra.

“She said 'Ahh. She found a way.' Don't look at me like that, I don't know what she meant” said Ginny. She settled in beside Myra and put the headset in her ear. “You ready?”

“Nope. But -- “ Myra pushed her speed dial for Nancy.

Once Nancy was on the line, Myra said “I don't think I can do this here, Nancy. It's – I don't feel safe.”

“I hear that, Myra.” Ginny pushed closer to Myra. Nancy continued “But if you were really in danger, I'd get you out of there immediately, you know that, right?”

“You don't know what's going on” said Myra.

“Well, tell me.” Nancy listened again to Myra's detailed account of what had occurred, going back to before the sighting. Nancy said “So you think there's a local sasquatch, perhaps more than one given the possible migration path of the creek, who is fixated on the house where you're staying and maybe you individually?”

Myra refused to look at Ginny's face. “Yes.”

“Why would they be targeting you? And if they are watching you, why do you assume a physical attack is imminent?”

Nancy wasn't just blowing her off, Myra could tell from her tone of voice and also from the tension in Ginny's body nearby, radiating disapproval.

“Well...It's hanging around more than once. That's one clue. And – there've been attacks on people before, even people in houses.”

Nancy said “Are you referring to the 1920's attack on a miner camp? And the more recent incident of a mother with her child having to flee for safety?”

Myra was completely caught off guard. “Yes. How do you know about this, you haven't had time to research since we called you a few minutes ago?”

“I live in the Pacific Northwest, Myra. I pay attention. And, I can tell you this much, you're not the first client I've had with sasquatch issues. I also have to tell you, those two incidents are not entirely credible. There's conflicting information about what occurred, making it doubtful actual attacks occurred.”

Myra felt herself walking away from the trust she'd begun to feel for Nancy. But Nancy continued. “The thing is, overwhelmingly, eyewitness accounts stress that the sasquatch is doing everything it can to escape detection or real contact with humans. Even the most valid piece of evidence, the Patterson film, shows a female all but running away from human discovery. Their habitat is the deepest and remotest of woods, with only accidental intersection of human fringe environments, and if there's an explanation for why we don't have more physical trace of them, it's because they are sentient and determined to keep away from us. Yet you feel this one is breaking with all habit and instinct, and somehow is determined to come after you. So, I ask you again, why do you think this?”

Myra's emotions did another about-face as she thought She's trying to find out the truth, she really is looking out for me. She said “I don't's my gut, I guess.”

“Has your gut ever acted in your behalf before around this issue? About sasquatch, in particular?”

Oh, shit. “Uh...well, it's come up before. But – okay, my gut was wrong. Had to be, I mean.”

“When was this, while you've been with Ginny?”

“No. Before.”

“And were you in this part of the country?” Nancy's questioning was gentle and honest. Which are usually one and the same.

“Uh...No. I was in Seattle. Heart of the city.” Myra dared Ginny to make a sound. “But, Nancy – I'm so scared I really feel like I might die.” Her heart skipped two painful beats as she said it.

“I hear you, Myra, and I believe you. We can't leave this as it is. And I'm not convinced that going elsewhere will automatically remove you from the sense of danger, the adrenaline overload that this fear is inducing. I'd rather fix it here and now, as swiftly as we can. Will you do that with me?”

How could she say no? She understood the people who refused rescue by motorboat in the flooded Ninth Ward after Katrina, she had been raised to live that kind of despair and distrust. But she'd stepped away from her upbringing, she and Allie and Chris had all become traitors, they were not going to die anonymously in a wheelchair under a blanket. She whispered “Yes.”

“All right. Ginny, you are to keep watch over her, not as a mother would but as her beloved lifelong companion and best friend. Is that something you can do?”

“Yes” said Ginny. She put her arm over Myra's shoulders.

“Myra...let's go back to that moment when you looked into its eyes and knew it had seen you, turned to look directly at you. First of all, was this bigfoot a male or a female?”

“Male” whispered Myra. She was close to passing out, and said so.

“Let's avoid that, if we can. The way to not pass out to make sound. Make the sound that expresses what you're feeling.”

Myra opened her mouth and a scream came out that to Ginny's ears didn't sound very different from the recording Myra had played on her computer half an hour earlier. Myra drew breath and kept screaming. They were off.

Ginny later thought she could never have handled this on her own, no matter what kind of training she'd been given. She began wanting to quiet Myra, to hush her into false comfort, anything to not witness the soul-shredding terror Myra was unlocking from some vault inside her. But Nancy kept digging, and Myra kept breaking chains. Myra vomited twice, cried so hard she blew a blood vessel in one eye, and shook hard enough that once she bit her own lip and left a small tear.

This really happened to her thought Ginny. Only not a sasquatch.

After an hour, Myra was exhausted. Ginny dropped Rescue Remedy into her mouth and coaxed a couple of sips of tea into her. She stood to allow Myra room to lie down, and instantly Myra was asleep. Ginny covered her with a blanket and said into her headset “What do I do now?”

“Take some of the Rescue Remedy yourself. Sit someplace comfortable and let me do a clearing for you as well” said Nancy, who was beginning to sound tired herself. Ginny sat by the fire, her knees pulled to her chest, and accepted Nancy's ministrations. When she was done, Nancy said “This will make an enormous difference. I'm proud of you both for getting to this point. Call me back if you need to, but I don't expect you will. Have a wonderful rest of your trip.”

Ginny hung up the phone staring at Myra's face, which looked young and peaceful despite the ravages of crying. She added wood to the fire and went to the kitchen to heat herself a bowl of soup. She'd wash out the bucket after she ate.

Three hours later, Myra woke up. Ginny was at her easel, painting but with half her attention on the couch. Myra sat up and said “Wow.”

“That's the word for it.” Ginny came to sit beside her. “Are you hungry?”

“I can't tell yet. You know, I'm sure our fees over the years paid for her children's college education, but I still think we haven't paid her enough. And you -- “ Myra looked at Ginny with profound love and trust.

“Myra, it's mid-afternoon. If you still want to go find a motel somewhere, we need to make a reservation, get packing. I want you to know, I'll do whatever you need.”

Myra leaned her head on Ginny's shoulder. “No. You were right about how good this place was for us. I'm not scared of it any more.” She pulled back to look Ginny in the eyes again. “I do believe I saw a bigfoot, Gin. I think there's one around here. But of course it's going to stay away from us. I may have scared it as much as it scared me.”

Ginny took a breath. “I don't believe that's what it was, Myra. I hope that's okay to say. I think it must have been a bear. Which does mean being careful out in nature at the moment.”

“It's okay, we don't have to agree.” They grinned at each other. “Did you make soup, do I remember that right?”

“Yes. Plus I fried some of that bacon you haven't touched yet, to crumble into it or whatever.”

Myra laughed. “Let's go.” They walked into the kitchen together. Ginny took a second small bowl of soup herself. They sat at the table, looking out into the garden.

“If it was a bear, putting all those scraps out by the fence didn't help matters” said Myra.

“Getting ready for hibernation” said Ginny. “Do sasquatch hibernate?”

Myra looked at her appreciatively. “Not if you consider the sightings that go year-round. Plus, it's some kind of hominid, I don't know of any hominids that hibernate.”

Ginny reached out and picked up a piece of Myra's bacon to take a crunchy bite. “Not bad” she said, returning the rest to Myra's plate. Myra was laughing.

"Gin, I don't know if this is residue, but I'm feeling a little chill.”

“No, it's gotten markedly colder in her. I pulled that electric heater from the cupboard and set it up under my easel just to keep my paint from coagulating. Shall we go back by the fire, I'll build it back to a roar.”

Myra carried her chai to the couch and watched Ginny squat, expertly rebuilding coals and new logs into a blaze. When she was done, Ginny backed into the curve beside Myra and looked at her from an inch away, saying “You have shiny lips. Bacon grease, I bet.”

“Makes me more attractive to marauding omnivores” said Myra, and they both laughed giddily.

“Will you tell me about when this came up before? In Seattle?” asked Ginny. “Before we became lovers?”

“It was. Around 1979 – I remember that Chris was only a few months out of the hospital, not living with me any more, she'd had a place of her own but that wasn't working out so she was crashing with Allie. And I was trying to break up with Fern, who was – well, let's just say I had reason to be in physical fear at the time. Anyhow, we went to a triple matinee of old scary movies, and one of them was The Legend of Boggy Creek. When we got out of the theater, it was dark, and I began having the heebie-jeebies on the way home. I went – well, kinda bonkers, I guess. Chris or Allie had to spend the night with me for a long time, and I couldn't go to work for a few days. See, I was living in this crappy flat with some other women and my room didn't have a real window with a view, just one that opened on an airwell which was only accessible through the locked basement. But I was sure there was a sasquatch in the airwell below us, hiding whenever anybody looked out the window. Allie finally went down there with her gun to prove to me it was gone.”

Myra was embarrassed. Ginny didn't look weird, however. She kept her face close to Myra's and said softly “I'm glad they were there for you.”

Myra looked into her eyes for a while. She said “ were right about the sexual tension. That blue spaghetti strap shirt you were wearing...”

“This one?” said Ginny, pulling off her sweatshirt to reveal the undershirt.

“Yummy. I'm not ready to make love yet, but I've been missing kissing you something awful. Could we, maybe, give just kissing a try?”

Ginny didn't answer for several long seconds. Myra licked her lower lip and tasted bacon. Finally Ginny said “I thought you'd never ask.”

© 2009 Maggie Jochild.