Monday, May 31, 2010


I apologize, Gentle Readers, because so many of my posts of late have been about movies I've watched. It's because I have so little free time because of the censeless that when I have an opportunity to relax, it's usually just long enough to watch a movie.

The latest is The Young Victoria, which I thought was quite lovely. The costumes are gorgeous, Emily Blunt as Victoria is superb, you have intrigue, you have romance - who could ask for anything more?

And talk about a woman who overcame obstacles. I don't want to give away too much of what Victoria had to deal with as a princess and a young queen because it might spoil the movie for you, but she had to fight for her right to paaaarty? Oh no, that was someone else. Victoria had to fight to maintain her right to the throne.

Based on all accounts I have seen and read, Victoria and Prince Albert (yes, the famous one of prank phone calls who comes in a can so you'd better let him out) felt great love and devotion for one another. Albert died from typhoid at age 41 or 42, I don't remember which, and Victoria had his clothes laid out every morning until she died at age 81. She also had his night shirt laid out every night. They had nine children and she remains the longest reigning monarch of England to date. I'm not sure how many years Elizabeth II has to go until she beats Victoria. Elizabeth appears to be going strong at age 84, so if she hasn't yet outreigned Victoria, she has outlived her.

A very good movie about Victoria in her later years is Mrs. Brown, starring Dame Judi Dench. The film explores Victoria's relationship with a servant who helped her through her many, many years of mourning.

One of the these days, I'll have to read a good biography of Queen Victoria, most definitely a woman who belongs on the pages of WOMEN: WE SHALL OVERCOME. Perhaps I'll start with Queen Victoria: A Personal History. Amazon has a number of interesting books about this most interesting of queens.

Victoria spent so many years living in the past. I had a nice long conversation with BFF Kate last night and she was telling me about a woman she knows who has been divorced for quite some time who cannot let go of the sins her ex-husband committed against her.

I find that the longer I'm away from my husband, the better off I am. When I saw him every day, his wrongs were fresh and present. Now they have faded into the past, where I am glad to let them remain.

Let's learn from the past but live for the present and the future. We have so much to look forward to.

By the way, today is the first full day off I've had since I trained my enumerators. And it's raining. If it continues, they won't want to work tomorrow and I'll have another relatively easy day. It's pretty hard to juggle papers in the rain, and of course, they don't go inside people's houses or even porches. Safety first, dear enumerators.



Saturday, May 29, 2010


Gentle Readers,

I watched The Blind Side recently, which I enjoyed tremendously.

The lovely relationship that develops between Michael Oher and his adoptive family is humorous and a joy to behold.

I have read that Oher does not care for the way in which he is portrayed in the movie - somewhat passive and not knowing how to play football. I wish Oher had been presented more accurately in the film; however, I hope his love for his family and theirs for him is reality.

I especially liked it when the character of Michael calls Sandra Bullock's character "Mama" and tells her he has her back.

Within days after I started working for the census, my enumerators, 90 percent of whom are black, said, Don't worry Miss Lola - We got your back.

I hope they feel I've had their backs too.



Saturday, May 22, 2010


Gentle Readers,

The book The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold is so painfully beautiful that I didn't think a decent movie could be made from it.

I was wrong.

The movie of The Lovely Bones is very good.

It's not terribly gory, which I liked, because I knew what was going to happen to Susie Salmon and that was frightening enough by itself. Stanley Tucci deserved his Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor for playing the murderer, Mr. Harvey.

But more important, the movie is beautifully designed and lit. Saoirse Ronan, as Susie, has the most incredible other worldly glow. Those blue eyes of hers when she sees heaven -- WOW!

Susie Salmon: "I wasn't lost, or frozen, or gone... I was alive; I was alive in my own perfect world."

The movie even manages to have comedic relief with Susan Sarandon as Grandma.

Buckley Salmon: Are we still a family?
Grandma Lynn: Of course we're a family. Your mother's in crisis, your father's a wreck.
Lindsey Salmon: What does that make you?
Grandma Lynn: I'm in charge.

I also recommend Lucky by Alice Sebold, a memoir about when she was raped as a young woman.

Alice Sebold, you are way cool.

Susie Salmon: [Last Lines]
Susie Salmon: When my mother came to my room, I realized that all this time, I had been waiting for her. I had been waiting so long, I was afraid she wouldn't come.
Abigail Salmon: [Whispering] I love you susie.
Susie Salmon: [Voiceover] Nobody notices when we leave. I mean, the moment when we really choose to go. At best you might feel, a whisper or the wave of a whisper, undulating down. My name is Salmon, like the fish. First name: Susie. I was 14 years old, when I was murdered on December 6th 1973. I was here for a moment, and then I was gone. I wish you all, a long, and happy life.



Friday, May 21, 2010


Gentle Readers,

Here is a poem that is in the works. I started writing it quite some time ago but couldn't get the poetic persona right because the speaker is a young black woman and in case you haven't figured it out, I am not young, nor am I black.

But I started to get it right - I hope - when I met two young women who are black and they talked a lot about their baby daddies.

Here's the first draft of the poem:

My baby daddy,
He don't understand that we don't necessarily have to be together after the baby's here.
We broke up again Saturday.
Now he won't stop texting me.
He say I miss you, I wanna be with you.
Wah, Wah,Wah.
He say he do anything to help me but I ask him to watch my little girl this morning and he say no, I got something else to do.
He won't do that to help me out.
He say I wanna be with you. I wanna help you.
But I don't need him. I'm independent.
I love him but I'm not in love with him.
He can't get his head around that.
My cousin, she say the problem he loves me more than I love him.
I think she right.

Here's the current version of the poem:

My Baby Daddy

For Ginger Maduro

My baby daddy,
He don’t understand that we don’t necessarily have to be together after the baby’s here.
We broke up again Saturday.
Now he won’t stop texting me.
He cry I miss you, I wanna be with you.
Wah, Wah, Wah.

He say he do anything to help me.
But I ask him to watch my little girl this morning.
And he say no, I got something else to do.
He won’t do that to help me out.
But he cry I miss you, I wanna be with you.
Wah, Wah, Wah.

His name Cash. He live where you useta live I think.
You know him?
I had a butterfly collection.
He broke my butterflies.
But he cry I miss you, I wanna be with you.
Wah, Wah, Wah.

He say I wanna be with you. I wanna help you.
But I don’t need him. I’m independent.
I love him but I’m not in love with him.
He can’t get his head around that.
He cry I miss you, I wanna be with you.
Wah, Wah,Wah.

Last night he left a blue glass butterfly at my front door.
It is so beautiful I scared it will break.
I scared I will break.
I don’t know I can trust him.
But he cry I miss you, I wanna be with you.
Wah, Wah,Wah.

My cousin, she say the problem is he loves me more than I love him.
I think she right.
He say I wanna be with you and the baby.
I wanna be daddy to your little girl.
He cry I miss you, I wanna be with you.
Wah, Wah, Wah.

Last night my boyfriend asked me to marry him.
He say we go to marriage counseling and he take parenting classes.
He gonna get me a ring.
I cried all night.
I miss you, I wanna be with you.
Wah, Wah, Wah.

My sister called me and said you gotta think of the baby and stop crying.
My boyfriend called me and said you gotta think of the baby and stop crying.
But I’m so happy I can’t stop crying.
Nobody disrespect me no more. I’m engaged.




Would anyone care to express an opinion? Is simpler better?

Lola Who Has To Get Ready To Go To An Evil Meeting

Monday, May 17, 2010


Ah, Gentle Readers, Sunday was restful until I had to be involved in the evening waste of time conference call, and today is off to a good start because it's raining. In fact, it's pouring.

My beloved enumerators don't venture out in the rain, so they're not calling me every five minutes with questions.

So I watched the movie Brothers. Brothers is quite dramatic and I found Tobey Maguire's performance to be quite moving.

I like Tobey Maguire, but he usually seems so calm in movies that sometimes I wonder if nobody bothers to wake him up before he performs. Take, for example, The Cider House Rules. It seems to me that a man having an affair with a woman who looks like Charlize Theron because she is Charlize Theron would show considerably more passion than Tobey Maguire does. He's also just too relaxed about practicing medicine without a license and performing abortions.

But somebody definitely poked Tobey until he woke up for Brothers. Strangely though, at times I felt I had seen the movie before, and I certainly did not see it in a theater. It just came out on DVD recently, and I know I didn't see Brodre, the Danish movie on which it is based. I just had this weird deja vu feeling at times during the movie. If you know of a movie that's very similar to Brothers, then please let me know so I can stop wondering why it seemed so familiar at times.

By the way, I like the book The Cider House Rules by John Irving very much and I recommend it.

And I like the movie. Michael Caine is always good and I like Tobey well enough, even when he sleepwalks.

I wonder how they shot Tobey and Charlize together so she didn't tower over him. Maybe he stood on a stack of phone books. Charlize, I believe, is six feet tall, and I don't think Tobey approaches such heights. After all, he played a jockey in Seabiscuit.

[last lines]
Homer: Goodnight, you princes of Maine. You kings of New England.



Sunday, May 16, 2010


I am pleased to report, Gentle Readers, that I have had a nice, quiet non-census afternoon. I rested and then watched Quentin Tarantino's Academy Award nominated and winning (for best supporting actor) Inglorious Basterds.

I was pretty grossed out by the scalpings and the carvings of swastikas in foreheads, but I liked it. Who wouldn't want to see Jews killing Germans and especially enjoyable, murdering Hitler? Some Jews could not save themselves, but many fought, defied deportation to the camps, and even escaped the camps from time to time.

Inglorious Basterds also has a Joyce Carol Oates connection for me. During the question and answer session with Oates at the Writers Workshop I attended, someone asked Oates if everything you write has to be true. She laughed and said no, of course not, and mentioned that although she was not interested in Inglorious Basterds, she saw it because her husband wanted to see it. She said Quentin Tarantino completely rewrote history in the movie.

I also thought of the wonderful Mary Karr and her memoirs, The Liars' Club, Cherry, and Lit.

Mary Karr writes quite a bit about her childhood in Leechfield, Texas, which does not exist. She grew up elsewhere in Texas, and she changed many names. She does not even reveal any name for the boy and the man who molested her. Memoir is memory; it is not autobiography. And our memories, perhaps inaccurate according to some people who were there at the same time and claim something completely different happened, shape our lives.

Perhaps Tarantino wrote history the way he would have liked it to happen.

I like Quentin Tarantino, although normally I do not care for violent movies and his are pretty darn violent. Yet I am inexplicably fond of Pulp Fiction, Reservoir Dogs, and Kill Bill - Volume 2.

I love seeing those women kick butt in Kill Bill.

However, I don't know why, but I didn't like Kill Bill - Volume One.

If anyone can explain to me why I like volume 2 but not 1, I would be very pleased to have you explain the inner workings of my mind to me.

Love from the woman who doesn't understand herself,



Gentle Readers,

The Census counts on.

The enumerators must fill out their forms using a #2 pencil because the forms go through a scantron. I believe each enumerator received two pencils when we started. Pencils have a way of disappearing as you know, and erasers wear down. We received a few of those little erasers you can put on the end of the pencil when the original eraser cries No More, but the little erasers break after 3-4 erasures.

So this morning I went to the census office and turned in time sheets, etc., and I requested pencils. I was allowed to have four. Ten enumerators currently work under my supervision and three more will start this week. Four pencils for 13 people.

I guess the government fears someone will take extra pencils and make a killing by selling them on the street.

New policies and procedures continue to be announced almost every day. When I go to the census office, it's as if I'm one of the three billy goats gruff trying to cross the bridge. The Field Ops trolls do their utmost to amaze and confound me, but I refuse to give in to them when they tell me to do something I know I am not supposed to do.

In fact, last week I learned the magic words that banish trolls. Shhhh - it's a secret so I'm typing very softly. The magic words are: M**** said. M**** is the boss of the entire operation for this area. I met her on Wednesday and the very next day a troll who bore a strong resemblance to the hunchback of Notre Dame was scurrying around like a rat in heat telling me to do something I'm not supposed to do.

That was the first time I used M**** said and suddenly I was in charge.

I love power.

It's a shame I'm a Muggle who was never invited to Hogwarts.



Friday, May 7, 2010


The thing about working for the census, Gentle Readers, is that it all comes in one huge rush. All those people to train and send out knocking on doors because you, Gentle Readers, did not return the form you received in the mail.

Of course, I don't mind that you didn't return your form. Your lack of desire, motivation, your procrastination, or whatever - it gave me a job. So I thank you.

But I am tired.

Currently we are allowed to work 45 hours per week. It is late Thursday night, or actually early Friday morning, and I haven't finished Thursday's quality control. I don't mind doing the work, but I have already reached a little more than 40 hours for the week, which doesn't end until the end of the day on Saturday. So somehow I have to do the 20 hours or so of work required on Friday and Saturday in about four hours.

Hmmmmm . . . .

As some of you already know, I had a car accident last year and broke my back in five places. The orthopedist I saw in the state where I used to live said I should expect to have some back pain for the rest of my life.

Unfortunately, the pain suddenly increased on March 20th. Today I saw a new orthopedist in the state where I now live. He said the only reason for the pain to return in such force is that my back didn't heal completely. He is scheduling me for an MRI to confirm his belief. Or maybe he'll find out he's full of it and something else is wrong or maybe my back is just going to hurt when I sit in an uncomfortable chair all day - as I did on March 20th - or when I lift too much.

I'm not supposed to lift more than a pound. Ha! I doubt if my purse weighs less than a pound. Not many things I need to lift weigh less than a pound.

Fortunately, I can definitely lift my son's young lady friend's chihuahuas. They are very cuddly little boogers.

Now let's all go to bed and dream of boogers.

If you awaken with your finger in your nose, then you'll know what you were dreaming about.



Thursday, May 6, 2010


Sorry for the lack of posts, Gentle Readers.

I am very busy working and continuing to recover from fever, bronchitis, congestion, wheezing, infection, a rattle in my chest, and brain loss. Hoping for a brain transplant with Hawking as the donor, but I just want the smart part of his brain, not the loss of mobility - however, maybe I want the electronic voice. It's kinda cool and robotic and makes him sound even more incredibly freaking brilliant.

When my daughter went to school at Cambridge University (no, not in Boston - it's in England), one of the first nights she went in the math building she got lost and found Hawking's office. She peered around the corner and saw Hawking's assistant and Hawking's chair but didn't see the great man himself. I believe he is retired now.

Maybe you'll want to check out Stephen Hawking's A Brief History of Time.

I admit I've never read it.

I don't have time.

Maybe some day I'll get to A Briefer History of Time.