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Saturday, December 12, 2015

AmyKossBlogThang: Disc of Death

AmyKossBlogThang: Disc of Death: D ears, as   we are all the center of our own universes, it stands to reason that our personal dead are way deader then the nameless, f...


Beside my chronic morbidity and the current crush of death in the news, I'm prompted to write today by my recent experience of a futuristic funeral of convenience.

My cousin Lenny died over a year ago. I’d been texting with his daughter during his last days and was informed when he’d breathed his last. I was sad, or sad-ish; Lenny had been a big part of my childhood, and sweet, shiny bits of him remained in my memories, but we hadn’t seen each other in decades. Buying a last minute plane ticket to attend his funeral was not a consideration.  

Historically if you must attend a memorial service you did so at a proscribed time in a proscribed place, say Mt. Sinai Chapel at 3:00 on Tuesday the fifth. And in the old days if you were unable to attend because say, you lived in Los Angeles and the deceased was to be interred in Minneapolis, then you were off the hook. 

But a few weeks ago Lenny's daughter sent me a package with some old family photos and a disc with a recording of her dad's funeral service. This meant the traditional restrictions of time and distance no longer applied. 

She had taken the time and effort to copy and mail it, so I knew she wanted me to listen, but a disc of this kind is not something a person is necessarily eager to play. But even if I were, it didn’t seem right to pop Lenny's funeral into the player while scrubbing grout or doing my nails. 

So weeks, maybe months, passed before I finally took the CD and drove to Forest Lawn. In a feeble attempt to minimize the maudlin creepiness, I avoided the freshly dug graves and the ones with obvious active mourners. I parked instead near the long dead, recognizable by the absence of flowers on their graves. 

There in the seclusion of the forgotten, I slipped in the disc and attended my cousin’s funeral in the privacy of my car. I watched a cemetery crow hop around while the Rabbi moaned in Hebrew, Lenny's son delivered a eulogy recounting his dad's WWII silver star heroism and cello playing. His granddaughter talked about his jokes and magic tricks and fondness for dogs.

My crow flew away as the service ended with the schmaltzy caterwauling of the cantor. I’d forgotten to bring tissues and had to wipe my snot on my sleeve.  

xo Amy   

Sunday, November 22, 2015

AmyKossBlogThang: Uncle Jerry

AmyKossBlogThang: Uncle Jerry: Dearest Dears,  My Uncle Jerry, diagnosed as paranoid schizophrenic, made my mother so miserable that as a kid, I just wished he'd get...

Uncle Jerry

Dearest Dears, 

My Uncle Jerry, diagnosed as paranoid schizophrenic, made my mother so miserable that as a kid, I just wished he'd get hit by a bus. When I'd hear about some good guy dying before his time, I'd wish it was Jerry instead. I could always tell from my mother's posture or tone of voice when she'd had contact with her brother. He sucked the soul right out of her.

Jerry got a degree in mathematics before I was born. But by the time I was conscious he was in and out of institutions and jails. Sometimes homeless, sometimes taken in by women who thought they could help him. These women blew my mind -- why would they want my creepy uncle Jerry? 

The pattern repeated. A new social worker or girlfriend would call my mom, horrified by her callousness. What kind of sister could let her brother sleep in unlocked cars? Eat out of trash cans? Go without meds?

And my mom would agree, she was a horrible person, a terrible sister. She'd let her dead mother down. Hadn't Bubbi said, "Something's wrong with Jerry! We have to help Jerry!" before she died at 51?

The girlfriends and social workers never lasted, but my mom's guilt and misery was relentless. My own sympathies, however, were never with Jerry. Ever. I hated when he "visited," I hated what he did to my parents -- his mental illness was virulently contagious.

It wasn't until adulthood that I had any real compassion for the Uncle Jerrys of the world. And now that Jerry is dead, of natural causes, at a ripe old age, I can see how fiercely I detested him and his disease. There was no separating the two, for me. 

Since then other friends and family members have been stricken with similar illnesses. With them it has been easier to understand that the illness is not the person and the person is not the illness.

And now there is a brilliant book called CHALLENGER DEEP by Neal Shusterman. A first person narrative of a 15 year old boy's nightmarish plummet into mental illness. This book would be an amazing read for anyone, but for kids with mental illness in their family: wow! A brilliant, terrifying, hard to read but impossible to put down treasure. 

If I'd had this book as a kid, I probably wouldn't have hated my uncle Jerry any less, but maybe I would have understood him a tiny bit more.  


P.S. CHALLENGER DEEP won the NBA (National Book Award for Young People) a couple days ago, and never have I agreed more with any award committee's choice. 

Friday, September 25, 2015

AmyKossBlogThang: The Woman in the Hat!

AmyKossBlogThang: The Woman in the Hat!: My Dears, No time to blog right now, but sweet Eillen did this interview with me for Childhood Cancer Awareness Month on her EXCELLENT blog...

The Woman in the Hat!

My Dears,
No time to blog right now, but sweet Eillen did this interview with me for Childhood Cancer Awareness Month on her EXCELLENT blog. 
So, if I'm pushing the right buttons, here's that.
Lots of love and sloppy kisses, Amy

Monday, August 10, 2015

AmyKossBlogThang: Why I Hate %!@%&! Nature

AmyKossBlogThang: Why I Hate %!@%&! Nature: Dears, Remember my last post about a bird nest in my yard? To recap: The parents built their wacky hanging nest, and they came and wen...

AmyKossBlogThang: Why I Hate %!@%&! Nature

AmyKossBlogThang: Why I Hate %!@%&! Nature: Dears, Remember my last post about a bird nest in my yard? Well I bet you can guess the rest of the story... right? And the reason you can ...

Why I Hate %!@%&! Nature

Remember my last post about a bird nest in my yard?

To recap:
The parents built their wacky hanging nest. Then they came and went and came and went, like birds do.

I put up my emotional dukes, like I do, addressing myself in a stern voice: This nest, including its builders and inhabitants, is none of your business, Amy. In fact it's SO not your business that it is practically criminal voyeurism to pay any attention at all.  

"Ha!" Nature says, "HA! HA! HA!"

The eggs hatched.
Other people heard them but I couldn't until day four or five when the babies were big and strong enough to make a sound even my waxy old ears could detect. It was a creaky peep like tiny rusted hinges. 

Today one of the babies fell or jumped out of the nest.

Nature pulls that shit all the damn time! What the hell is it with nature that babies have to fall out of nests?

"Oopsie!" Nature simpers. "Tra-la-la."

The baby is unbearably cute and round and weighs no more than a leaf. It is trusting and defenseless and in no way prepared for this world of hawks and coyotes and kitties and my own evil roommate hounds, or wind or cold or night. 

But Nature shrugs one shoulder and looks away with a yawn, leaving the frantic parents, and the baby and me to figure it out -- or not. 

This is the real nest -- Way, way high in the tree

This is the basket we hung as high as we could reach in his tree to imitate his nest.  So far, the parents are feeding him there, but what happens tonight when it gets cold????
xo Amy
P.S. Thanks to Em & Juan for their profound basket hanging skills. 

Friday, July 10, 2015

AmyKossBlogThang: Birdbrains!

AmyKossBlogThang: Birdbrains!: O f all the trees in town, what compelled this bird to hang her nest from this flimsy palm frond where the least breeze could dump her...


What compelled this chick to hang her nest from a flimsy palm frond where the least breeze could dump her babies SPLAT! on the hard packed dirt of my yard? 

A yard, I might add, with two resident dogs and two daily visitor dogs, all relentlessly in search of the kind of amusement that helpless baby birds could provide.

It's not that the mom was lazy, she worked her tiny feathered ass off building this nest. So now it dangles its precious cargo in my face, as a reminder of the precariousness of life.


This is probably how my parents felt when I moved to California and started my life on a fault-line. Or how they felt when I smoked cigarettes, or decided to go into the arts.

Good luck you stupid little birdies! May the wind never blow and the rains never come until your babies have hatched and grown and flown away.

xo Amy

Monday, June 15, 2015

AmyKossBlogThang: Dead Father's Day!

AmyKossBlogThang: Dead Father's Day!: I just got an e-mail suggesting I SKYPE with my dad this Sunday for father's day. The ad c laims that skype is so easy that even the el...

Dead Father's Day!

I just got an e-mail suggesting I SKYPE with my dad this Sunday for father's day. The ad claims that skype is so easy that even the elderly can master it. Imagine the elderly learning anything!!!!

The ad did not however, mention whether it was too taxing for the deceased. 

Unlike the stereotype of Jewish men being all fumbly and inept at all things mechanical, my dad was a brilliant problem solver and fixer and figure-er-outter of how things worked. It wasn't until the very end of his life that simple tasks began to flummox him. The dishwasher, the computer... the very same ones that he'd formerly understood, began to mess with him. 

He didn't take it well. 

First he raged at the stupid TV, the stupid radio. Then when he watched the dishwasher repair guy simply hit the lock-unlock switch... my dad's anger turned inward. He was furious at himself for being "stupid."

When I suggested he treat himself as gently as he would any other old fart who was losing his marbles, he ignored me. 

I reminded him how sweet he'd been with Milt Levine after his various strokes and what not. "Remember how you drove Milt to dialysis and  played games to get him to remember words like umbrella? Can't you be as nice to yourself as you were to Milt?"


So my dad probably could not have mastered SKYPE there at the end. And the whole futuristic, Jetson's-like wackiness of talking with real-time video from across the country -- might have fucked with his wavering grasp of reality. 

And once dead, I can't help thinking that it would make for less than a cozy Father's day, gathering the family 'round the ole computer to skype with my decomposing dad in his coffin setting. 

It could frighten the children. And really, what would we say?

There's no need to SKYPE with my father-in-law either because he's right here on the bookshelf in the living room, encased in a demurely quilted box that I made for him in one of my homier moments. Plus, skyping with ash and bone-fragments sounds like a sneezy allergy attack waiting to happen. IMHO. 

So, thanks, SKYPE, for the thought, but I think we'll celebrate some other way this year. Perhaps it's Dead-Dads-Get-In-Free at the multi-plex?

Better yet, how about free beer and popcorn for everyone with no father on father's day? And free cookies, and a hug.

Happy Father's Day,
Smooch 'em if you've got 'em!

Saturday, June 6, 2015

AmyKossBlogThang: Bedspread Revenge!

AmyKossBlogThang: Bedspread Revenge!: T he care-taker was with my mom so I had four glorious hours to run errands in peace. It had been a long night, a long week, and I was ...

Bedspread Revenge!

The care-taker was with my mom so I had four glorious hours to run errands in peace. It had been a long night, a long week, and I was giddy with freedom. Finding myself in a strip mall full of time-killing possibilities, I held the door of the dollar store open for a woman pushing a baby girl in a stroller. I knew the baby was a girl because it wore a pink headband on its little bald head. I could get my mom one of those, I thought, to wear on her nearly bald head. That would be so cute.

In the old days this would have been impossible  to even imagine. In her prime, my mom was efficient, competent and although she was loving she was the antithesis of silly. And she certainly didn’t play dress-up.

She's not the same woman now, though, between her trifecta of illnesses she no longer has strongly held opinions or a ridged sense of herself. I suspect that she’d no longer care what I put on her head.

I went into Marshall's next and let the racks and shelves of bright colors and clashing patterns soothe me.

My mom wouldn’t have liked Marshall's, she has always been a minimalist down to her bones. Not only was she anti-clutter, she was anti-pattern, anti-all-but-muted, inoffensive earth tones. The walls of her house were white.  Her furniture was modern -- straight lines and right angles. Her surfaces were clear. Even the inside of her drawers were tidy. 

She wore crisply tailored clothes in solid colors, except for the occasional horizontally striped shirt. No bows, or ruffles, no lace, or trim. Her hair is always short and neat.  So was mine, as long as she was in control of me, and I was dressed as a mini-mom, at least in the family photos.

So as a kid I wanted long hair, of course, and craved splashy, extravagant, billowing excess. But my girlhood bedroom reflected my mom’s sensible, no-nonsense taste, tidy, fitted bedspreads, white sheets and crisp solid curtains. 

Flash forward fifty years. When I moved my parents into their apartment in assisted living, I tried to  miniaturize their house, maintaining their style and sensibility. Since that time, however, my dad died and my mom's dementia, Parkinson's and macular degeneration have advanced. Now I am about to move my mom from her apartment to a single room with 24/7 care.  

This move requires paring her already pared down possessions, art, furniture, even further. This move requires replacing the queen bed she and my dad shared forever, with a twin.

As I wandered the aisles of Marshall's looking for replacement bedding for her, it occurred to me that this was my chance to get her back for all the beige-ness of my childhood. I could buy her a screamingly gaudy bedspread maybe one with fringe or sequins. How about this furry, blue Cookie Monster pillow? Animal print sheets? She's pretty blind, anyway and would hardly notice!

Ha! If she got mad, she wouldn't remember it long enough to hold a grudge. She'd forget the whole thing within moments.

Suddenly all the fun went out of my fantasy as I realized how easy it would be to seriously abuse my poor mom. Even her minor dementia renders her nightmarishly vulnerable. My mother's senior housing complex is full of addled older people who are dependent on the kindness of strangers. People with only the most tenuous hold on their own dignity and self respect. Defenseless, powerless elders incapable of fighting back, unable to fend off pink hairbands or flowered bedspreads. And beyond her building, countless others…

After a brief, panicked cry among the sheets and towels, I quickly bought my mom a tasteful solid color quilt and felt lucky to be able to do so.
xo amy

Sunday, May 31, 2015

AmyKossBlogThang: Girlfriends

AmyKossBlogThang: Girlfriends: My mom is talking in her sleep, a woman across the hall periodically screams in Russian, and someone the has been coughing vigorously for ho...


My mom is talking in her sleep, a woman across the hall screams periodically in Russian, and someone has been coughing vigorously for hours, so it's no wonder I can't sleep. Plus, even though I sneaked the sheets and pillowcase off and washed them, they still smell like rehab. (My mom has no roommate so I've been sleeping in the next bed.) 

Anyway, in my awakeitude I've been thinking about my mom's girlfriends Edie, Alva and Flo. 

My dad and Edie's husband Jack were boyhood friends, so my mom and Edie (now widows) have been pals since they were brides. 

Alva and my mom met a little later, sang in Yiddish choruses together I think, had mutual friends, some of whom have since lost their marbles or died. 

Flossie and my mom go back forever, Flossie's mom and my mom's mom were friends.

I've never not known these women.

There were other close women friends and cousins, Selma, Rusty, Bea, Lorraine, Ethel... but they are gone. And my mom has newer friends, made since I've lived away.

But it's Edie, Alva and Flossie who are on my mind tonight as I think about how hard it must be for each of them to make themselves get in the car and drive here. There are always so many other things clamoring for their time and attention. Finding reasons not to visit would be so easy & no one would fault them if they gave it a miss. They too are older women with aches and pains and fears and limited energy. 

It can't be easy for them to see their friend so altered and how could they not imagine themselves in her position? 
It must be both heartbreaking and terrifying.

And yet, they come. 

They don't do it to impress anyone, or out of guilt. 
They've each been through their share of tragedy so the novelty of anguish has long since worn off. 

The three aren't particular friends of each others so don't come together for support. They each come often. And they come alone.

Girlfriends: brave, beautiful, loyal, remarkable, wise, kind, funny and profound. 

My mother and I are lucky to know them.

xo amy

Thursday, May 21, 2015

AmyKossBlogThang: Call Light

AmyKossBlogThang: Call Light: Last time my mom broke her hip she did time in a rehab up the street. Whole novels could be imagined, written, published, reviewed, read, pu...

Call Light

Last time my mom broke her hip she did time in a rehab up the street. Whole novels could be imagined, written, published, reviewed, read, pulped and forgotten in the time it took to get someone to answer her call light there.

The nursing staff was overworked and underpaid and most of their tasks were gross. The gnomes who ran the place squeezed every cent out of them by under-staffing to the bone. Between management greed and staff resentment, many patients' beds were soiled, and pains endured far far longer than necessary. 

Come hip break #2 we are no longer innocent babes. Armed with the lessons of the past, we ask the new gnomes at rehab #2 about their response time to call lights. Turns out they have a new system in place that insures that all call lights are answered within ten minutes! The lights are on a high tech monitor-timer-thing that keeps a record of how long each light is on. This ensures prompt patient care, keeps the staff accountable and abolishes negligence.

Half way through our second night here, I can explain how it works. 

1. When a patient's call light goes on, the nearest staff member goes in to that patient's room (within the ten minute period) and turns OFF the light, signaling that the problem has been addressed. 

2. The staff member promises the patient to alert the nurse who handles pain meds or bed pans, then promptly disappears as if to do so. 

Now the patient, knowing that she has been heard and that help is on the way, feels better...for a while. But even among the most trusting and optimistic, faith eventually gives in to despair. By the time the patient loses all hope and hits the call button again, so much time has passed that it looks like a whole new request. 

The record on the fancy, high-tech employee monitoring system shows only the relentless demands of that cranky patient in 306. 

¨Sheesh! She called at 7:00 then again at 7:45...8:24. What a pest!¨

Isn't that clever?

I am so glad my mother only has two hips.

xo amy

Sunday, May 3, 2015

AmyKossBlogThang: Taking Sides

AmyKossBlogThang: Taking Sides: M y succulent / cactus garden began with cuttings snatched from neighbor's yards and public places. I nurtured them in pots for a bit,...

Taking Sides

My succulent / cactus garden began with cuttings snatched from neighbor's yards and public places. I nurtured them in pots for a bit, then transplanted them to my front yard, hoping they’d fill in. Eventually they did.

My garden's golden age was pretty and peaceful. Like when the prince and princess are done resisting each other and the fates that kept them apart are vanquished, and they live happily ever after, the end.

But there is no end in a garden. The plants keep growing. With their spikes forward, the Agave & Nopales advance steadily on the tender Jade.
As space became scarce, violent, slow-motion battles played out in complete silence. 

My friend and fellow gardener, Carl, is forever uprooting his plants and moving them in search of their perfect spot. I’ve been objecting to this for years, insisting that he was over-playing his  humanness. I felt sure that plants were not happy travelers once their fates had been established with roots. 

See a weed making do in the crack of a sidewalk, a tree entwined with a cyclone fence. 

But when I woke up this morning I realized that my jade plants were counting on me to protect them. Their happiness and safety were my responsibility, and I'd been neglecting them by not using my garden-god-powers in their defense.

Right or wrong, I carried my dad’s rusty old saw out front and tried to make things fair, although I’m sure the agave & nopales would not agree with that assessment. They'd had no evil intent -- they'd only done what I’d asked of them: Grow! Live! Thrive!

None the less, I hacked off and carted away whole buckets full of their heavy limbs.

The jades didn't noticeably rejoice at the conclusion of this blood-bath (sap-bath), but I assume they are, in their own way, grateful or at least temporarily relieved.

And me? I'm covered with prickers and will probably be too sore to move tomorrow. Nothing is simple.
xo amy

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

AmyKossBlogThang: Wintery-Spring

AmyKossBlogThang: Wintery-Spring: My Poppa playing for my daughter long ago I should be doing laundry and packing for tomorrow’s early flight to Michigan. At least I s...


My Poppa playing for my daughter long ago

I should be doing laundry and packing for tomorrow’s early flight to Michigan. At least I should be planning what to launder and pack. 

My Michigan family says that spring has sprung. I hear it in their voices. 

So I picture spring as I remember it: tender baby leaves, spongy fragrant earth, soft fuzzy buds, daffodils, forsythia, lilac, the sweet smell of newness and hope...) Sneakers, light jackets and T-shirts.

But a check of the forecast says that my Michigan family is delirious. Their beastly winter has left them untrustworthy in their relief, unreliable. 

Or, it might be my recollection of spring that’s faulty. Maybe spring has always had frozen strands of winter woven through it. Maybe those last wintery bits are essential for making the springy parts even sweeter. So, sweaters still? Scarves and gloves?

But I’m not packing yet: I’m bracing. 

A trip home is no longer an easy thing. My father will still be dead when I get there. In fact, he’ll be considerably more dead there than he is here, especially when he won’t wrestle up from his chair to greet me at the door.

And my mom will not have recovered from the cruel process of aging. She used to say it was like a sinking ship, one thing after another goes overboard. Short term memory, names, hearing... 

She doesn’t say that anymore. 

But the things I need to brace for are the things I can’t brace for, the things I don’t see coming, until they’ve mowed me flat. Like a couple weeks ago when I blithely attended a classical music concert.

You’d think I would have suspected that my first time hearing an orchestra tune up on a darkened stage would be tough. After a life-time of my dad's concerts, it seems stunningly stupid of me not to have anticipated the pain.

But there it is. The things we see coming, and the things we don’t. How do you pack for such a trip?

xo amy

Thursday, April 9, 2015

AmyKossBlogThang: The Art of Nagging™

AmyKossBlogThang: The Art of Nagging™: W e think of writers working on novels, articles, Pulitzer acceptance speeches and shopping lists, when in reality, the bulk of a writer...

The Art of Nagging™

We think of writers working on novels, articles, Pulitzer acceptance speeches and shopping lists, when in reality the bulk of a writer’s writing time is spent in the careful composition of the rarely discussed Nag-o-Gram™. Perhaps the time has come to examine this secret, slightly shameful, yet utterly professional art form.  

We all know roommate / family-member nagging, which is essentially reminding someone who if they -- 
1. Really loved you. 
2. Really cared about your wishes. 
3. Had been paying the least bit of attention, or, 
4. Weren’t lazy-assed turds -- 
Would not need reminding. 

Professional nagging, however, can not be articulated satisfactorily by sighing, eye-rolling, or even whining. Nor can the writer pen a pithy, anonymous, passive-aggressive note to attach to the laundry hamper or empty milk carton.

No. If the person who requires nagging holds the writer's precarious career in the palm of her hand, the writer can’t just dash off the petulant, ‘When are you going to read my fucking manuscript all ready? Isn’t that your god-damn job?’ and expect a productive reply. 

No matter how many times the agent or editor or publicist has failed to come through as promised, the writer can't afford to scold or demand. The writer's task is to remain likable, non-critical, entertaining, grateful, publishable -- in essence F-U-N to work with.

Thus, the writer can spend days crafting the offhand, friendly, reminder that she has been waiting, unable to blink or swallow since last Tuesday. 

And if the initial nag-o-gram garners no response, the second one poses double the challenge to the writer's skills. How many times can she pretend to be asking after the health of the editor's cat?

And the third in a series of nags? Fourth? Straining the writer’s wits and tricks.

No wonder some agents and editors posthumously publish their writers' correspondences. They are probably the most desperate, delicately wrought and inventive work of the writer's career. 

Surely those in power see through the writers' wily attempts. 

Maybe they get together and have a good laugh, comparing them. 
“HA! Here’s a good one!” they say. “It’s the sick kitty again!!!”

xo amy

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

AmyKossBlogThang: Skid Row Snacks

AmyKossBlogThang: Skid Row Snacks: S ome of our fellow Americans complained that homeless people were shitting in the bushes.  The problem solvers thought the problem over ...

Skid Row Snacks

Some of our fellow Americans complained that homeless people were shitting in the bushes. 
The problem solvers thought it over and realized this: 1. Homeless people are Bathroomless people. And: 2. The more you eat, the more you shit. 

So instead of devising a plan for more public bathrooms, they came up with a new ordinance forbidding citizens from feeding the homeless under penalty of fine. Isn't that clever? If they don't eat, they won't shit! Problem solved!

My daughter got wind of this legislated meanness and was so pissed that she spent a hundred bucks of her puny pre-school teacher wages on groceries, and made fifty lettuce, tomato, and hummus sandwiches on whole wheat bread. 

She put each sandwich in a little baggie, and after school today, she, her boyfriend and I went down to Skid Row to hand them out.

I figured we'd park near Sixth & San Pedro in Downtown LA, near the Mission, then walk around and see if anyone wanted a snack. But that's not how it went down.

Before we'd found a parking spot, we leaned out the car window and asked a woman on the street if she'd like a free sandwich. 

And within four minutes all 50 sandwiches were gone. 

Everyone was sweet and polite and grateful and surprisingly pleased that the sandwiches were veggie. We hadn't even gone a half block.

But driving back through the crowded streets with no more food to give was utterly depressing. We knew that fifty sandwiches wouldn't make a dent. But knowing and knowing are two different things. 

My daughter's boyfriend thinks one solution to all this hunger has to come from re-purposing the enormous amount of waste from markets and restaurants. Maybe that's true. Whatever the answers are, we need them NOW!

xo Amy

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

AmyKossBlogThang: $WEEP$TAKE$

AmyKossBlogThang: $WEEP$TAKE$: Because we share his car, I just dropped my college graduate son off for his first day of work at the bowling alley.  He didn’t know...


Because we share his car, I just dropped my college graduate son off for his first day of work at the bowling alley. 

He didn’t know yet if he would be scrubbing toilets or spraying deodorant into bowling shoes. Either way, he was glad his job search was over. 

The only other job he'd been invited back to interview for was bag-boyBut if the grocery store hires college grads as baggers now, what becomes of the disabled adults who had those jobs before?
Have they been gentrified right out of the game? Is everyone backing down the ladder, stepping on the fingers of the person below them? Ouch!

Does this explain why I recently accepted a gig with a slimy book-packager, when such a thing would have been stinky turd on my shoe not so long ago?

The point is that it's a relief to know that all this nonsense and insecurity will end this Friday when I win the Publishers Clearing House Sweepstakes. 
Because not only did I faithfully move my stickers from one place to another but I also registered daily for my rightful opportunity to claim my prize! 
And when I do, all boats will rise together!! 

That's a promise. xo amy

Saturday, February 7, 2015

AmyKossBlogThang: Valenturtle's Day

AmyKossBlogThang: Valenturtle's Day: As Valenturtle Day nears on cupid wings and doily hearts, I feel called upon to share  this tragic tale of terrapin heartbreak although it...

Valenturtle's Day

As Valenturtle Day nears on cupid wings and doily hearts, I feel called upon to share  this tragic tale of terrapin heartbreak although it has nothing at all to do with anything besides the fact that Terkel swims in a plastic heart. 
It began many years ago when we bought a matched pair of those tiny baby turtles they sell illegally in  China Town, LA. 
We thought we were rescuing them. Never mind that two identical babies quickly replaced them on the shelf. 

In our defense, they were adorable. Had they been ugly they may have been spared. But they were bright green, with perfect miniature turtle-like details thus paralyzing us with their cuteness. 

Each was the size of an earring. In fact, they would have made fabulous earrings. 
I’ve read that live baby turtles are also sold as key chains. At least we didn’t do that! And any guilty twinges we may have suffered, were assuaged by the fact that the turtles had each other.

When someone told my son that baby turtles had a high infant mortality rate, he quickly distanced himself emotionally. 
Soon after that my daughter realized that turtles don’t do much and her affections strayed as well. 
The only member of the family who remained keenly interested in everything the turtles did and said, was our lumpy old lab, Sweetie-the-Dog.
Sweetie knew she was not supposed to eat the bunnies or turtles or guinea pig or any other member of the family.
But you could see her longing for just one taste... She’d sometimes give the other animals long, lingering licks, but she held herself back, until the day she didn’t.

It wasn't easy to find a vet who'd treat a shattered turtle. But she epoxied the shell back together and taught us how to inject antibiotics into in his weird little turtle leg.
He healed. Yes, it was our fault for being inattentive, and there was no excuse. But then, there was really no excuse when it happened again. The second time was fatal.
Sweetie-the-Dog is long gone as are the bunnies and guinea pig, but our remaining turtle soldiers on year after year alone. He isn't one to show emotion, so who knows how often the grisly murder of his partner replays in his tiny dinosaur brain? Or how much he misses his mate, and suffers in his isolation?
Terkel shows no interest in or aptitude for catching bugs (having always been hand fed) so we don't dare release him in the wild. But every now and then, we pull into our shells a bit, and reflect on the dangers of cuteness, and the terrible omnipotence of being human. 
xo Amy

Monday, January 12, 2015

AmyKossBlogThang: Car-free in LA!

AmyKossBlogThang: Car-free in LA!: P erhaps you recall that a mid- size  car inserted itself up the butt of my 15  year  old van several months ago, totalling it.  Well,...

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Car-free in LA!

Perhaps you recall that a mid-size car inserted itself up the butt of my 15 year old van several months ago, totalling it. 

Well, I still haven't replaced that van which I suspect indicates some hesitancy on my part, so I'm taking this opportunity to examine my reluctance. Do feel free to click away if deep psychological exploration makes you squeamish.

For one I'm pretty sure it's not the paper work as my attacker's insurance paid up nominally but promptly. 
And it's not just that I've been slogging forth and back from Michigan to California too much to focus. 
It's not just dread of talking to glad-handy car sales people. 
Or the scraping up and forking over of the dough.

I think what stops me from going out and at least looking at a car or two, is that this car-lessness is so liberating. 

I can't / don't have to / do anything. There's only the wonkiest public transport in and out of my canyon, (not that I've actually checked...) So I'm stuck. 

And if I can't go anywhere, then there's no need to put on a bra or shoes. No need to bathe. No need put down the book, or get off facebook, or get out of bed. No need to be public and civil. 

And my carbon footprint is negligible!

I do occasionally stumble out into the world and stand blinking at all the activity. 
WHOOSH! Traffic! Lights!
Cheerful waitresses with lots of teeth who politely ignore my bathrobe and moose-slippers. 

Friends fetch me and take me out for an airing, but not too often. And I assume that the longer I shun the toothbrush & shower the less frequently that will occur.  

My husband, loyal and true, brings in food & takes out trash.

The to-be-read pile next to the bed grows shorter. 

The dogs and I commune. 
Rain helps. None of us want wet paws.

My sympathizers assume it's all because I've had a beastly year, and am on the mend. 
But really, I've always suspected I'd make a great invalid if given the chance.  
And now, thanks to that young woman probably texting while driving, I have the wonderful luxury of feeling that none of this is my fault.  

xo Amy