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Wednesday, December 19, 2018

An open letter to our insurance adjustors

Dear insurance adjustor,

Please stop telling me that inventorying my belongings will be easy and that it will only take a couple of hours.

My shell shocked brain has tried to do this repeatedly over the last several weeks.  I have stopped and started and deleted and started over a dozen times.

I realize it's in your best interest to rush me through and make me forget half the things I had, before cutting me off.

But for me this is both closure and torture.  And it is NOT the bloody cast iron pans and and 3 bloody sets of dishes from every time we changed the color of the kitchen that is tripping me up, nor the model of the fridge.

It's not even the bubble VCR tapes of what felt like every Disney video in existence.  Big collectibles, but they were just bought to appease my growing daughter. 

It's not even, though it does make me tremble slightly, the leather bound complete hitchhikers guide to the Galaxy, out of print now. Or the original, unmodified, untouched star wars trilogy from before Lucas went back and fuc... Er.. touched it up.

It's the first edition paperbacks of the entire Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy and Dirk Gently series that I bought new as they came out, starting in junior high school. 

It's the edition of Illusions that my father bought me at 14.  And Das Energi.  And Ishmael.  Its the books my grandmother, long deceased, handed down to me. 

It's the sandstone with a quartz inclusion I have used as a bookend for 30 years and the memories of that trip to the Grand Canyon.

It's the star wars trading cards I lovingly swapped and collected from elementary school on, then cheerfully finished up the missing ones as an adult with disposable income and ALL the memories attached.

And it's the completely irreplaceable things... The necklace with my Dad's ashes.  My Dad's ashes.  My daughter's baby teeth.  Cards and letters and original artwork and poems gifted over the years by my many talented friends.

My own decades of writing that had never quite been transcribed to the computer age. 

You see, 50% maybe, of my losses were utilitarian.  EVERYTHING else has memories attached.

I haven't set up an appointment for you to try and rush me through this because after the PTSD and shock wore off, and while I've been trying to find some place to live, what with my town burning down, they finally opened up to let us go stare at the soggy ashes of what once was Our. Entire. Lives.

That was a bit jarring and emotionally exhausting.

So the next time you find yourself talking to someone who's lost everything, do me a favor.  As the words, "it will only take a couple of hours" begin to roll off the tongue or the fingers, stop yourself.  Completely.  And then say, "it will take a minimum of a couple of hours... Up to however long you need.  Because I know and understand that you. Lost. It. All.  And I know that takes time to describe.  And I'm here for you."

Friday, January 26, 2018

Life Rolls On

He was always there for her,
Through the schemes and drama.
She caused more trouble
Than anyone he'd known.
A life of chaos and trauma.

Lying and hitting, she tore him apart.
Stole his money, beat on his heart.
Late nights alone and calls from jail.
"Got into some trouble, honey, can you bring bail?"

He should've left a long time ago,
But he loved her and he loved their child.
Couldn't deny that girl her mama,
Couldn't deny himself her smile.

Life rolls on,
Where there's a will there's a way,
Baby, we'll make it work,
Just promise me you'll stay.

She had no trouble moving on,
She'd always traveled light.
The next big score just down the road,
The future in her sights.

Loving and hopeful, he held on tight
He'd never been much for letting go,
He clung to her long after she'd gone,
And the days rolled on and on.

Life rolls on,
Where there's a will there's a way,
And if I had a choice,
I would get you to stay.

She landed light and found new friends.
Whisky and weed helped her forget about him.
He struggled to his feet and he learned to forgive.
But he never forgot how he'd wanted to give.
If only she would receive.

Life knocked him low, a few times or more,
He'd try and talk with her, understand what it was all for.
He cried out his heart, lost his mind, crushed his soul.
She just sunk further and deeper into that hole.

Life rolls on,
Where there's a will there's a way,
And if I had a wish,
you would be here today..

The years went past
And he found a new life,
Discovered new interests,
Got a new wife.

And he found someone to
Receive and to give,
Found himself new reasons to live.
And he moved on.

Life rolls on,
Where ever there's a way,
Guess maybe I'll run
Into you someday

Now she didn't make out quite as well.
The ship never came in,
And the memories were hell.
She couldn't forget the love they had shared.

And the years rolled so fast,
People came and they left,
But nothing would last,
And nobody seemed to care.

So she looked him up then,
Told him all that she felt
How much he'd meant to her,
How life had dealt.
And he listened to her,
And then he turned away.
The tears stained his eyes,
But he had nothing to say.
He had a new life now.  He could grant her no reprieve.

Life rolls on,
Love finds a way,
But you've gotta give it back,
If you want it to stay.

Photo:. Matthew Wilkinson

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Guitar Lust

Guitar lust is a problem. I own two functional guitars, and Dark Matters. I've got a cheap, light electric Davison that exists primarily for Rocksmith, and a lovely Oscar Schmidt acoustic electric that is my daily driver and had been plugged in all of twice, because I've no real need to be loud.

I don't NEED any more guitars. As a rule, most of us can only play one at a time. I'm not ready to test out the concept of playing bass yet, nor do I plan on taking up classical at this time. Speaking of which, all links in the article are of the affiliate kind, the better to fund more guitars I dont need.

The problem is that music stores are a thing that exists, even in my somewhat conservative neck of the woods. Wandering downtown Chico today eventually led Raven and I to Herreids, the local music store, where we observed and played with Ukeleles, something she's considered taking up. (I am for this.)

After browsing the ukes, we, of course had to take a turn through the guitars. There were all of three, which kept temptation low. No basses, a heavy monster Squire, and two acoustics. One was a nice acoustic electric, but not any nicer than my daily driver in terms of sound. Action was a little lower, super easy string presses.

The other made me pause for sole nostalgia:

This baby,

reminds me of Daddy's, growing up. Nice deep sound on the thing, which always draws me... If I've one complaint about Oscar the Grind, it's that he's just a tiny bit tinny... Not so much as to make him unplayable, it's more a mood thing... He's actually a really nice fella, but sometimes, very slightly, too shallow for me... He just only wants to go so deep, ya know?

This pretty was only $200. I didn't buy it. I'm not sold on my need for it.

What drew me, MAYBE because we'd been looking at the tiny little ukes, which made guitars seem so much bigger, were the baby Taylor's. That seems like a real pretty little travel guitar and they felt kinda nice. Maybe even a lot nice. Thankfully, there were no lefty versions. And ya know...they cost a bit more than the fender did.

How do you righties manage to keep living indoors with all this temptation around you?

So, I guess the Taylors spoke to me because not 3 hours later I was googling away. The one I loved is, in fact, available left, and at about the price I expected:

I can ALMOST justify it, given its portability.

I need a roof, and the driveway regravelled. Being a grown up sucks.

PS. Raven got a tie dye soprano Kana for her first Uke.

If she takes to it, she'll have the same problem I do.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

The Alleged Guitar

The Alleged Guitar, is arguably, one of the best presents I've ever received.  It speaks of love.  It speaks of KNOWING someone.  It speaks of sacrifice.  It speaks of thoughtfulness.  It speaks of faith.  Yes, the Alleged Guitar has a LOT to say.  The one thing it doesn't speak of is music.  Let me explain.

The Alleged Guitar was a gift for my forty nth birthday.  Which one doesn't matter.  It was the last one if you're reading this as a fresh post.  It might not have been if you're reading this in the future.  It was an awesome gift.

Robyn KNEW I'd always wanted to play guitar.  Robyn KNEW I'd regretted not sticking with it.  Robyn KNEW I loved music.  Robyn KNEW I could learn to play now.  Robyn KNEW it would be good for me- I carry a lot of stress and she knew this would help unwind me.

And Robyn ain't got a dime to spend on such high falutin nonsense.  So Robyn WORKED to get me this guitar, from a neighbor.  Robyn also sucks at surprises... But she kept this one!

The surprise present was a beautiful black rogue dreadnought, 3/4 size, excellent learning guitar, beautiful sound.  Which happened to have a quite broken and quite repaired neck.  So long as you didn't tighten the strings.

Stepfather Mark worked his butt off to try and repair the guitar.  And he did.  And it was solid.  So long as you didn't tighten the strings.  Meanwhile, I did try and learn, and Robyn, hero of this story, went back to work and for a SECOND guitar from the neighbor, which was just missing a string.  It's alright, but it is NOT the Alleged Guitar.  The sound is thin.  Action is high.  It's not as pretty.  But it IS a guitar.

Here's the deal in all of this.  I am left-handed.  I was left-handed when Dad bought me my first guitar.  I was left handed when the Alleged Guitar became the keeper of my heart.  I was left handed when the Replacement came home.  The more I played, the more I understood being left handed.

Many assume traditional guitar will be easier for a lefthander, which is why NO LEFTY HAS EVER made a left handed guitar, or restrung a righty, and why all rightys immediately restring their guitars left.

The fretting hand, is, after all, all about strength and flexibility, which you'd have more of in your dominant hand.

Here's the problem:  the strumming hand is all about speed and fine muscle control, and rhythm.

Now for some, this may make no difference.  While I am left handed, I can wrestle a steak right handed out of my best friends fist,  AND cut it up and eat it.  The steak, that is... Not my best friends hand.  He needs that.  The point is every lefty is a little bit ambidextrous.

However, when I tap rhythm, I do it with my left side.  When I clap, I lead with my left.  I cut, bat, throw, hit, hammer, screw, tie knots, and pick up tiny things with my left.  I'm pretty into this lefty thing, is what I'm saying.  So, while I was reacquainting myself with the guitar, I'd throw it upside down and left, for awhile, just to set how it felt.

Turns out it felt better.  So I bought myself a lefty electric, cheap knock off fender style, no whammy bar, one pickup, basic as it gets.  I didn't buy it to shred.  I bought it to learn to play guitar.  I bought an electric because it's a bit easier on the tender princess fingers you find out you have when you start trying to learn.  ( gender is unimportant here, we ALL have tender princess fingers, especially us desk job, geeky types.)

She has no name, though  Craving  will do.  I don't LOVE her, the way I love the Alleged Guitar.  But she fills a need.  I end my workday and ache for her.  She gets touched and played with more than anything or anyone in this household.  My dog is barely speaking to me.  I'm surprised my partner is.  She's a bad affair is what I'm saying... An obsession.  My electric, that is, not my partner.

And meanwhile, the Alleged Guitar?  She has a place on display, and always will.  I love her and sneak glances at her, even as I practice each day, with the electric.  She is the symbol, of hope, of faith, of rebirth, and of someday making pretty sounds.  Her name is Dark Matters and she is helping me to reinvent me.

One more time for prosperity:  best present ever, Robyn.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

My failed career as a rock goddess

So long ago, and far away, before the million fires of the inter webs raged into the night, back when folks often concentrated on things for minutes and even hours at a time, back then in the dark ages of libraries and FM radio, I... I became a teen.

I'd say if they existed back then I would've been a Goth, but Goths did exist back then, and I wasn't one.  I was considered a stoner, long after any interest in drugs or experimentation stopped.  I'm told I would've been called a Hessian in some circles.

So I was the (totally imagined) cool chick in black leather and jeans, who listened to mostly metal and hard rock, and wrote bad poetry, some of which you've read on this site, ( and you've only just begun, because it's kind of like a bad road accident that you just can't look away from) and was sometimes in bands that didn't really play.  I wanted to be a rock star, because being a poet seemed kinda sissified, and, of course, what I had to say had deep meaning that needed to be shared with the world.

But it was so much worse than that.  You see, I grew up with parents who loved music.  Music was how folks communicated when words were hard.  My Dad was an incredibly talented NATURAL musician, with the voice of an angel, perfect pitch and he played a mean acoustic guitar.  Because of this, the guitar is an almost mystical being to me, comprising my earliest memories, feelings of home, feelings of longing, belonging, expression, connection.  Wow.  That's a lot to put on a piece of wood and some strings, is it not?

So I wanted to play guitar:  to be like Dad, to be a rock star, to impress the ladies, to be one of the guys, to impress the guys, to be a demi god,  really.  I begged and lobbied for a guitar.  Dad finally gave in and got me one, along with a pitch pipe, chord book, and some picks.

He even tried to teach me a bit, but that generally ended in tears and frustration, since I was incredibly stupid, musically.  How stupid?  I have no pitch, I sing off key.  I have no rhythm.  I was the kid they gave the sand blocks or triangle to in elementary school, then took them away because I kept missing my beat.  LOVING music does not equate to talent, it seems.

So I tried, some, but at that age, (14 Ish) I also had:  no patience.  No determination.  A low tolerance for pain.  Arguably, a life.  People to see, places to go, ya know?  In short order, I gave up, accepting my fate as a talentless music lover, and to some degree, set my rock star dreams behind me.

Flash forward 30 odd years:  I have no rhythm.  I have no pitch.  I rarely write actual poems now.  I am fully aware the world has no need to hear what I have to say... It rolls on just fine without my participation.

Now here's what I do have:  patience.  Determination.  An insanely high pain tolerance ( thanks, psychotically angry uterus!).  No life.  Seriously... I've been making a living and raising a kid, and only now that she's grown, have I looked around and said, " right... So where was I?  Oh that's right... Writing, ren faires, music, geekdom".

Here the amazing, freeing part:  I DON'T HAVE TO BE COOL ANYMORE.  That's right.  Not at all.  No one's around to bully me for not fitting in, and if they do, I can call the cops on their ass.  I've done my public service, been a minor captain of industry, paid my taxes, supported others, raised a useful addition to the planet.  Furthermore, that useful addition to the planet will sometimes think I'm cool and other times not, and there's not much left I can DO about that.

This means:  I get to dress like a fool and go to faires.  I get to watch hours of doctor who and Xena, and if you don't like it, go elsewhere.  With today's technology, no one has to watch what I am watching or do what I am doing.  (In my day, kids, video type entertainment could only be watched on a tv, and most houses had exactly one.). I get to write.  I get to post my poems, because it doesn't matter if everyone hates them.  And I get to finally try and learn to play guitar. I would make a hilarious geriatric rock star, so the pressure is off to make something of it.

So that's what I'm doing.  Just carving out bits of love and passion and fun along the way, while not having to worry what they amount to.  And that's arguably, the best place I could POSSIBLY be.

And that leads us to...The Alleged Guitar .

Tuesday, April 14, 2015


The landscape freeze-frames.
Clouds slow their motion,
and the sun halts in the sky.

All to show off,
for a long slow moment,
this day's quietly gathered masterpiece.

One day for us.
A lifetime for a cloud.

February 16th, 1997

Tuesday, February 10, 2015



Welcome to the world, 
little one.
We're awfully glad you could make it.
And very pleased to meet you, indeed.

You have a lifetime of learning, ahead.
I should warn you, 
some of the faster thrill rides 
can be frightening.
And there will be bumps and scrapes
along the way.

But time enough for that, later.
For now, it's enough to say
that you have every potential in the world 
right at this moment!

And you are surrounded by many
to love and care and teach 
and help you grow.
Sweet dreams
and sweeter wakefulness,


Monday, September 29, 2014


the subject is phobias-
Your fear of love is obvious,
locked down entrances to your heart,
we slip what we can through the mail slot,
look for carelessly unguarded windows.
Somehow, we always find a way in.

I keep bravely approaching 
the edge of the cliff.
But whenever I look down, 
find myself scrabbling back to safety.
The rocks are slippery on the edge,
adn each time I recall that it's
not the height I fear, it's the eventual fall.

The subject is relationships-
You sidestep the very question,
and from what you say, 
the action as well.

I get caught up in the past,
or the impossible,
and find it difficult being 
present for whoever's truly there.

The subject is love-
you see it as imaginary,
and as something to avoid
falling into.

I see it as the highest form
of human expression,
and would gladly fall again
if I werent so damn afraid of heights.

At least we have the sense
to laugh at ourselves
and each other 
while changing the subject.

Mutual Paradox© Cammie S. Sinor, 2014

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Attention Span

It has come to my attention
That you don’t give a damn
And I should leave this place

Yes it has come to my attention
That you just don’t give a damn
I can see it on your face

I stayed too long
I just wanted us to be
All that we could never

Well I didn’t pay attention
Didn’t think much of the competition
Now it’s gonna cost me

Well I didn’t think you’d ever
And I was so damn sure
I saw forever standing there

And now I’m gonna think too much
Now what do I do?

It has come to my attention
That you don’t give a damn
And I should leave this place

Yes, I’m fine with it.
Doesn’t matter.
I need to think it through

(I need to be with you)
Yes, I’ll be alright.
Just let me be alone.

It has come to my attention
That you don’t give a damn
And I should leave this place

What?  No, Forget it.
I should leave this place.
I’m leaving.

If I could just find the door.

Mutual Paradox© Cammie S. Sinor, 2014

Monday, September 22, 2014

Road Trip

Photo by George Armstrong (This image is from the FEMA Photo Library.) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

"Detour" said the sign, and I agree.
It's been a long, long time.
I must have missed the turnoff
to take me back to the main road.
I've been lost on these little backroads 
and I can't find my way free.

Left turns are a great way
of catching a glimpse of what lies behind you.
But life in the rearview mirror
is closer than it appears.

Step lightly on the brakes,
or the past will overtake you.
It's a shame that life has so many
damned blind curves.

Well, if the road is winding,
at least the scenery's nice.
And it looks like it's all downhill
from here.

July 18th, 1996

Mutual Paradox© Cammie S. Sinor, 2014

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