The Themes Guiding Cricket and Grey, Book 2

spider web

Before I turn my attention to sewing today or working on my Sugar & Pith website as I did all day yesterday, I want to do a little exercise for book 2 of Cricket and Grey. No one need stick around for this. I want to focus my attention on what themes dominate book 2, what the feeling of it needs to be, and words that encapsulate those things. A stream of consciousness activity to focus my energy back into the book. Feel free to adios yourselves if this is not something you want to read.

The theme of book 1 was death and sleeping dogs. It was about maturation, stripping away of old selves and old lives and old lies to reveal truth and through truth, deaths that make way for new life. Winter. This is what winter is.

The theme of book 2 is hunger. Scarcity, desperation, PTSD. Planting seeds for the future, making blueprints with which to build something new from the bones of the dead. Reorganizing family roles. Exploring purpose, leadership, and vision.

When we’re connected with the seasons through nature we find out that spring is the hungriest season. Most people think winter is the lean time  because it’s cold and nothing is growing but the truth is that what we harvest in the fall usually sees us through the winter but by the time spring comes along the stores are low and most food is still just in seed and seedling form. Spring is a strange paradox between desperation and hope. In early spring the sap of plants begins to flow allowing new leaves to bud and seeds to rise through soil to the light, signs of life and renewal humans find hopeful and happy. At the same time, many beings are weak with hunger and more vulnerable to disease. Disease is more prominent with a combination of moisture and warmth, spring weather, depending on where you live.

Cricket and Grey have gone through hell and torture during the winter and in early spring are still recovering from the damage to their bodies. They have each other but what the future holds after all the changes and deaths the winter brought is unclear. They don’t know the way forward and before they have a chance to explore it a stranger arrives in their life that causes deep waves in more than just their own lives. Waves that reach out to other families and the community at large. While struggling with PTSD and the monotony of dried fish soup they are propelled forward mercilessly by other people’s needs. Cricket makes a rash decision that separates her from Grey, Julie, and Matt. In a much harsher environment from which there is only a 50% chance she’ll survive, she begins to see her path forward, her greater purpose.

As a side note, I don’t believe that one needs a “higher purpose” to make life meaningful so it’s curious to be giving a higher purpose to my main character.

Cricket has always been an able follower of the discipline her parents imposed on her, a capable soldier who doesn’t question her leaders. In book one she experiences a devastating disillusionment and realizes she’s believed her parents, not questioned them, and finds they’ve lied to her. She realizes how sheltered she’s been from having to be truly independent. It’s actually in her nature to be independent but she’s leaned heavily on her parents as guides. In book two others start seeing her as the natural leader she is but it takes her time to see it for herself. She inspires people to action but learning to do it with purpose is the growth she experiences in book 2.

The atmosphere of “Spring” shifts subtly between light and dark. Bright green and streaks of warming sun shimmer through days of cold rain. There is a feeling of oppressive anxiety shot through with points of hope and action.

To pinpoint the actual atmosphere I’ll need to do a free-write on its own with the proper soundtrack.

This is Like That Scene in Spirited Away

peeling paint

You know that scene where the giant stinky spirit comes into the bathhouse and Chihiro has to clean him and she washes and washes and washes him and the stink is so bad but eventually she finds something stuck to him and pulls it out and all this human trash comes spilling out and it turns out he’s quite small once all the trash is cleaned from him? That’s my head right now.

In an effort to purge my head of some noise I will now let thoughts fall randomly from my head. There may or may not be a strong theme with what comes out.


If I were to measure Trump using his own yardstick of beauty which he freely applies to women as thought they’re cattle up for auction, he would be a big fat toupeed ZERO.

I wonder if Trump inspects the gums and teeth of all the women he sleeps with?

Men who seek sex with virgins a) creep me the fuck out and b) are almost never virgins themselves and c) probably raised on religion and/or d) are pedophiles because finding virgin adults is rare.

There is no greater turn-off than a man telling me how to behave so that he or other men will find me more “attractive” or more “pleasing” or – just go fuck your damn selves you giant syphilitic dicks!  This includes telling women to “smile more” or telling them when to open or shut their legs, or telling them to wear more skirts, or telling them how to behave so men won’t feel threatened, or – my god, this list is endless and it just gets worse and sicker.

(Purging is so important- I forget how much I need to do this)

I don’t tell men how to dress or act or behave. Except for my son. I do tell my son how to behave like a good human being. I don’t ever give him gender specific advice though. I never say stupid toxic shit like “Be a man about this!” or “Boys don’t cry” or “To attract women you should be Ryan Gosling”.

I think it’s best to follow this rule (it’s good for everyone): if the advice you’re giving to a woman isn’t advice you’d ever give to a man, then don’t give it. Men who tell women to “smile more”, have you ever in your life told another man to “smile more”? If you have, then you’re just a jerk all around. People don’t like being told to smile more. Makes them want to punch you. But in my life I can’t count how many times a man has told me to “smile more” and how many times I’ve heard the same advice being dished out to other women by men. Yet I have never once overheard a man telling another man to smile more. That right there is misogyny, for anyone who can’t recognize it.

The reverse is true. If the advice you’re giving a man isn’t advice you’d ever give to a woman, then don’t give it. Also, generally speaking, don’t give advice to people unless they ask you for it.


For example, when writers talk about the difficulty they’re having with a project, more often than not they aren’t asking for advice from whoever’s randomly passing by on social media or in person, they’re hoping for commiseration. Most writers I know actually ask other writers for advice when that’s what they want. Why is that so hard to grasp?

I don’t understand how come so many atheists and non-Catholics are so riled up any time someone says they like Pope Francis. I’m seeing so many people pointing out that he isn’t perfect, disappointment that he’s met with conservative Christians during this trip to the United States. Why do people expect other people to be either all good or all bad? I like Pope Francis because he’s really saying some radical things for a Pope to say. Good things. Things I actually believe in. But just because I like him doesn’t mean I automatically think he’s above criticism or mistakes or that he’s ANYTHING OTHER THAN A RELIGIOUS LEADER AND A FALLIBLE HUMAN BEING. I’m an atheist, I don’t believe in the Papacy. What I understand is that he’s still a Catholic and still is leading millions of people who are also Catholic which means I don’t agree with a lot of what they believe in. There are things that not even the most liberal Pope is going to be able to change or even want to change about the church he leads because if he wanted to change the Catholic church that much HE WOULDN’T BE THE POPE.

Who the fuck cares if he met with Kim Davis? Do you all imagine his point in meeting with her was to congratulate her? I suspect that she represents a person in need of guidance. But even so, I really don’t give a fuck. The fact that he met with a person I think is horrible doesn’t invalidate the good things he HAS done and the good examples he HAS made through his own actions.

I don’t need reminding that all humans are human. All humans are capable of mad fuckery. I don’t even LIKE humans. Popes are people I usually dislike for their ridiculous pomposity and conservatism. Seeing a pope not wear those robes of state for every public gathering is refreshing. Hearing a Pope talking about not hating gay people and firing Bishops who have focused all their energies on anti-gay agendas – these are unheard of things for a Pope to say or do until now. So yeah, even I am impressed because compared to all the Popes that came before Francis, he’s pretty radical.

BUT HE’S STILL A CATHOLIC POPE WHO IS BEHOLDEN TO THE CATHOLIC CHURCH. So obviously you can’t expect him to remove the ban on contraception. It would be phenomenal if he did and I’d like him better if he did. But he’s the goddamn Pope, people.

Why is it that whenever a human does something noteworthy and people note it there is a huge inevitable wave of people crying out “BUT THEY DON’T HAVE A PERFECT RECORD AS A HUMAN BEING SO HOW CAN YOU ADMIRE THEM?!”?

Listen you little lump-nuggets, do YOU have a perfect record as a human being? I sure don’t. Don’t you sometimes think that when you do something that was challenging or new for you and positive it’s okay for people to admire you for it even though you don’t have a perfect record as a human being? I do. I think it’s okay to applaud people for improving on themselves or improving on an institution even if they haven’t done all the improving possible. It’s okay to note good actions by people who also do questionable things. It’s also okay to note when generally good people do bad things.

Positive feedback is very important to making a difference in the world. If all you do as a human being is point out what’s bad in the world and what you don’t like and what’s wrong, then you’re missing half the arsenal of change. Yes, the bad and the ugly must be pointed out and said out loud and addressed in order to bring light to the dark. But the other part of it is that when someone does something good or something good has happened – we also need to applaud it and say “YES! More of this!” and “I like this change!” and “This person did something admirable after being a total douche-pickle. Hey person I used to call a “douche-pickle”, I like this thing you did, maybe you’re not such a douche-pickle anymore” Why? Because encouraging behaviors and actions that you like and make you feel good or help the world in a positive way encourage people to do MORE good, not less. People need to know they’re going in a good direction. Nearly all species on earth respond to a positive feedback loop.

Humans have really gotten stuck in a negative feedback loop. You all can do whatever you want but I’m going to still praise imperfect human beings when they do good things for beings outside of themselves and/or the planet. I’m going to praise imperfect beings when they shed a little light somewhere. Even if it isn’t epic. It’s a given they’ve probably done things I don’t agree with. So I’m not going to listen to any of you when you point out to me that someone I’ve praised isn’t perfect. I’m going to point to myself and say “I’m imperfect too” and then I’m going to probably flip you off.

I’m still sick of this old (but active) chestnut: people who think logically aren’t emotional. Logic itself isn’t emotion, of course, but a language equation. But using logic doesn’t require one to be unemotional. You can be full of emotional outrage and still make a logical argument. Critical thinking is a skill that anyone can learn and apply regardless of their level of emotional involvement in a subject under debate.

Logic doesn’t belong more to one gender or another. It belongs to anyone who has critical thinking as part of their educational curriculum and who actively practice it. it’s a complete fallacy that men are generally (and naturally) more logical than women. It’s also a fallacy that men are generally (and naturally) less emotional than women.

Now I’m late getting going on my sewing projects but I feel much better for having purged so much bullshit that’s been accumulating in my head and heart. Things making me angry and itchy and depressed. This only dips in the surface of a deep well, but at least it’s a start.

My Writing Has Become California Rain


This is, without a doubt, the driest writing period I’ve had in my life. How to shut out noise is a problem I’m struggling with. Not just literal noise but spirit noise, world noise, the noisy needs of others, and the noise in my head. Writing is typically how I get some of the noise out of my head but lately I sit down to write and I can’t even make coherent sense of most of it. I think it’s been so long since I’ve been able to write regularly that there’s a lot of backed up noise in my brain. I can’t shake it loose in a meaningful way.

Stress has certainly frozen me.

Lately I’ve been really bothered by misogyny disguised as feminism. I see it everywhere and I feel really angry about it. There was one man in particular who I followed on Instagram and Twitter who finally tipped me over the edge of patience. I blocked him. He claims to love women but really he sees only through a traditional lens of a woman’s greatest power being her beauty and a man’s greatest power being, well, his power. And his power is generally strongly linked to his penis.

He writes “romantic” poetry that is ultimately either worshipful of women for their fragile beauty or poetry in which he penetrates women with his male power (his penis) and dominates them. But what really tipped me over the edge was him posting advice to women on how to be attractive to men. SO. FUCKING. GROSS. And also telling women that when their man yells at them they should yell back to show him their fire. What the fuck kind of advice is that? It leans hard on the idea that anger is a sign of passion. When I suggested counter advice (if a man yells at me, we’re through) he responded with a bunch of sideways nutsacks: “<3<3<3″ And another gem was when he advised men not to be afraid of getting a woman pregnant.


Having to see his “poems” and “advice” and general obsession with his own feelings about women and sex and himself and himself having sex with women and also being a very emotional and moody poet and – I found myself starting to really hate men. It’s bullshit like this women have been fighting for a few thousand years. What makes me most angry is how this man thinks of himself as a great lover of women. Like, thinks of himself as a man who really respects them. But when you strip all the “I love and cherish women” stuff off the top where it floats like fluffy serene clouds, you find a man who wants to subsume women. Consume women. Advise them on how to BE women. That’s not a feminist. That’s not a person who respects women.

So I blocked him and it’s a relief not to see his bullshit polluting my social media. But I was scared to block him in case he comes here to comment or in case he finds my email and decides to write me that way. That was some serious noise. There have been other men on Twitter who’ve sent up major red flags and I’m getting better at sorting them out faster. Then there are the bigots and the racists and women shaming other women and those people spreading blankets of shame over the LGBT community.


This is all the price I pay to be connected to other writers and far away friends, a connection I value very much. I have learned ways to mute some of the noise and when my own life is calm and not full of serious stress I can think more clearly. But my life has not been calm at all. It IS settling down a little bit. My mom is getting stronger, Chick’s ear is healed (the surgery was a success), our car isn’t broken, I got a new phone, and Max’s toe is – well that’s still infected. So things are not quite as keyed up around here. But I’m still spending a lot of time being a caretaker to my mom. She’s supposed to be getting some home care help soon so I don’t have to do quite so much.

I still feel overwhelmed and I think depression is taking a toll on me right now. I’m at a low point in my depression cycle.

~Days Later~

See? My drafts folder is full of unfinished posts like this one. I’ve begun the process of making some new clothes for myself so I expect some deeper depression to follow soon. Something wonderful did happen yesterday – it was grey and chilly out all day. I didn’t go outside for a minute and now I wish I had. The sun is back full blast with days and days of temps in the 80’s coming up. The one fall-ish day was uplifting. I would like some more please.

I had another dream that started off as a nightmare and kind of stayed stressful but I didn’t want to wake up because I was looking for someone and knew if I woke up I wouldn’t find them and I would feel incomplete and would never know the outcome of the dream. The second I woke up the dream faded fast like it was evaporated by the light of awareness. Why is it that when I want to remember a dream I can’t but the ones I want to push far away from me stick to me like velcro for days, sometimes years?

I have this nagging feeling that my writing is stuck because I’m snagged on something mentally. Something I can’t let go of but need to in order to dive back in. I’ve tried setting myself free to work on other ideas that are less fraught with intention and hinging on the details of my first novel, but those palled too. It isn’t the projects that are the problem, it’s inside of ME. Perhaps a fear of letting go of control for just a little bit. I already know I can’t wing it with novel writing. I need an outline so I keep the story on track. But perhaps I need to free-write for a little while. Maybe I need to write some scenes without any worry about how awful it will be or if it will bend consistency out of shape. I could write in a note or a separate folder so I don’t feel like I’m screwing up the current MS. Julie’s role is bigger this time but I don’t feel I’ve given her role enough meat yet. Some of this can be addressed in edits. In fact, the truth is, the whole manuscript will be made infinitely better in edits but to get to that point I HAVE TO FINISH WRITING THE WHOLE FIRST DRAFT.

I have to use all extra time to make clothes for myself first or I’ll have to go naked soon because my battered clothes are literally falling apart. So I’ll do that and then when I have clothes to put on again I’ll try doing some free-writing. While I’m concentrating on clothing myself I will make a point of opening Scrivener every day to read the previous chapters. By the time I’m done rereading what I’ve got so far I should be ready to start writing again and will have the story freshly in my head. I don’t know if it’s a good plan, but at least it’s a plan. If any of you suffer from chronic depression and anxiety you’ll recognize that sometimes just having a plan is a big improvement.

Time to get dressed in my rags and make some better ones.

Flammable Heart

old flame

I’ve spent years trying to express, expel, excoriate, and exorcise the sound of the world and its suffering souls from my head, from my consciousness, from my dreams. The source of so much of my discomfort in the world is hearing all the exquisite pain, joy, and noise of living other people let loose on the collective radio-waves. The sounds of suffering keep me up at night. Sometimes I can disentangle individual voices from the cacophony and sometimes it all blends into one voice, one sound, one collective pain. Mostly pain.

It’s always amplified on holidays.

When I cry for myself I’m nearly always crying for others with me. I’m part of a collective I can’t shut out, I can’t unhear, I can’t separate from selfhood. When I cried into the wind and the rain and the bay tree shimmered and amplified my wailing, it carried so many voices into the night besides my own.

I’m not sure I’ve ever cried completely alone, even when I felt completely helpless and torn by circumstance and darkness.

When I feel alone in the world I feel alone with all the millions of other people who feel alone at the same time. It isn’t comfort because when I feel them out there feeling the same aloneness I feel myself – we are all similarly paralyzed.

Imagine you have lived all your life never meeting another soul who can describe what you’ve spent the last 30 years trying to explain to deaf ears, that you’re sometimes crippled by the deafening awareness of every other soul on earth. And then you meet a twin spirit who hears it too, who knows the sound of human suffering in the quiet, who can hear the breathing of the earth and is discomfited by it.

I’m 45 years old and for the first time in my life I’ve met someone who understands the noise I live with. The sentient noise that roars across the atmosphere just underneath the speed of sound. It feels like coming home, like meeting a spiritual doppelganger and slugging down liquid fire to ignite mutual courage in meeting the noise head-on.

I’ve hated feeling alone with this noise. I’ve nearly drowned from the weight of it and no one knowing what the fucking hell I’m talking about. Everything has sound. I can hear it all sometimes. Other times I’m mercifully able to block it out, but rarely at will.

If there are two of us, surely there are more of us? What is it about our brains that we can’t filter out NOISE? Is it an evolutionary advantage or a primal ability mostly bred out of humans? What are we called? Is there a name for being able to hear all the beings on earth at one time?

I don’t believe it’s true madness. Whether it’s something primal I’m tapped into or an evolutionary shift, I have always known it to be as real as my own skin. And now I know absolutely for sure that I’m not the only one who hears the breathing of the night.

I have always found comfort in labels, in categorizing life, in being able to compartmentalize it. I like to think of life as one great big library card catalog. I know that reality is a sticky jammy  mess that defies cupboards and drawers, but I still want to put the bread where bread belongs and look for jam jars on shelves reserved for jam. I want things to be tidy in my mind because they never are. I want to impose order where order can’t survive. I want to believe I can put my stamp of rationality on everything and it will all separate and divide accordingly.

I remember the last time I used the card catalog in the San Francisco library, the old location. I remember the smell, the feel of the slightly worn oily much-fingered cards, and I remember the randomness of discovery as well as the charming irregularities of the library typists encountered deep in the drawers of cards.

I’m not a free spirit. I sleep best alone in a narrow dark corner where no one can touch me. I don’t like to explore why this is because I know why and it terrifies me. I feel most comfortable in well prescribed spaces. I want to know the dimensions of the places I’m going to spend time. I want to know and plan for the noise I will experience.

Earth has always been a hostile environment for me.

My skin is electric.

My heart is always on fire.



Self Care Means Going Small


As you all know by now, my great non-drinking plan was interrupted by stresses I wasn’t strong enough to handle sober yet. But we’re back to no drinking and me working on self care in all the ways one can care for one’s self. The big theme I’ve been working on mentally is doing small things. Or, doing things in a smaller way. I tend to go all out or not at all. This isn’t so great when my energy is low and my body is hurting.

For example; I have many big garden projects that I need to tackle, but I have low funds and my back has been very weak this summer. In addition to that I’ve had so many other responsibilities and projects that have sucked up all my energy. It’s frustrating as hell. My garden is suffering in this heat and needs a ton of compost added and then a thick layer of mulch. I can’t do it right now. So how to make progress under those conditions?

Go smaller. I might not be able to do a lot but I realized that I can take very small parts of my garden and improve them. The first one I tackled was the barrel just outside our back door. The soil level dropped to the half way mark and everything in it was overgrown and struggling. So I pruned back what needed pruning, dug all the plants out, filled the barrel with fresh soil (I had a bag already) and replanted the giant aloe as the centerpiece and the million bells to drape over the side as it had been before. Though it might actually die. We’ll see. I repotted my rue and am going to repot the lemon verbena if it doesn’t die before I get to it.

That’s a tiny piece of my garden in need of attention that I was able to give attention to. One small focal point that is more pleasurable to look at and makes me happy. When I can afford a few plants I will add a couple of small succulents to grow at the base of the giant aloe.

Next up I need to care for our potted fig. I have many of these little areas that need help. Go small.

The same applies to housework and homesteading projects. I’m pretty stressed out at the thought of not being able to can any tomatoes this year. I got to Imwalle Gardens and their tomatoes are finally truly IN and ripe and beautiful and I want to CAN THEM ALL. But my back pain is a real obstacle. So is time. I need to spend more time on my website and business and writing. Plus I’m still looking after my mom (and her dog) and so there just isn’t time to do it.

I will be pickling jalapenos though. That’s a quick and easy canning project.

But here’s what I realized: I love canning so much and spend a lot of my summer preserving summer food for later that I often don’t spend time making special dishes using them fresh. Part of it is that preserving projects tend to take up my whole kitchen for days at a time. Then I’m too tired to explore cooking new dishes. Or my kitchen is just a disaster. So instead of canning tomatoes this year I’m going to concentrate more on cooking with the remaining summer vegetables this harvest season.

Tomato dishes I want to make: Tomato tart with a basil crust (old favorite), then a vegan version of this same dish using cashew cream instead of cheese, herb and breadcrumb stuffed tomatoes, eggplant and tomato sandwiches with pesto (another old favorite), and Mexican style rice.

I want to go through my cookbooks and find some new things to try. There’s still some corn available and summer squash. Not for much longer though.

So that’s what I’m working on. Going small.

Chick had her surgery and it seems to have gone well. We won’t know for sure until her sutures come out and we see if her ear pocket actually successfully closes. It looks pretty good right now. No infection so far. But this surgery isn’t always successful. I hope it is for us because how we’ll be able to afford continuing care or other surgery I don’t know. I also don’t know if amputation is the next thing when the surgery fails, I’m afraid to ask. I love her beautiful floppy velvety ears.

I got some Sugar & Pith orders so I’m excited to make more sachet blends today and ship some good stuff out to friends! I just have to clean up my new apothecary space (away from the kitten nursery since that space can’t be kept sterile now). As soon as I’m done with this post I’ll clean up in here, get dressed, and work on my orders.

If you didn’t see my Chick post or GoFundMe campaign to cover the cost of her surgery and you’re interested in donating – here’s the link again:

Chick’s Surgery Fund

Thanks so much everyone for your support and generosity!

I think now is the time to get productive.

Please Consider Donating to Help Pay for Chick’s Surgery

Chick post surgery

This is my darling girl, Chick, AKA Chickadee.

I’ve just started a GoFundMe campaign in hopes of getting help covering Chick’s ear surgery.

Chick’s Ear Hematoma Surgery Fund

The story about what’s been going on is there in the link but it boils down to these factors:

Chick is a true Williamson and always manages to get the rare and difficult to treat issues. We tried treating her ear hematoma without surgery and spent hundreds of dollars doing it. They drained the fluid from her ear flap and then wrapped her ear carefully in a bandage which we had to get re-wrapped every week and all the while she’s been taking antibiotics and steroids (to constrict the blood vessels).

Naturally it didn’t work. Today we had to lay down another $822 to go for the surgical fix which, WOULDN’T YOU KNOW IT, might not even work. Like I said, we’re good at having difficult problems around here. Today they had to re-drain it as the pocket in her ear filled with fluid again (serum and blood) and then they sutured the area with many little sutures to keep it from filling again and get the pocket to heal closed.

We have now spent almost all our living expenses for the next few weeks to care for Chick, because that’s what you do with pets when they’re part of your family. We have  no savings, no credit cards, and we were denied the care credit card that allows you to make payments on pet care because we have bad credit from having gone bankrupt a few years ago. So we’re pretty fucked.

Max desperately need socks and new pants and some of the money we spent on Chick was supposed to go towards a few basics to tide him over. Yeah, he can wear sweat pants with holes in them for a while longer but his socks are a couple sizes too small and getting holes in them too. I can’t even tell you how much this stresses me out.

Some kind friends (and a couple of strangers) have ordered from my shop – my favorite way to make money! – and every penny helps. But a few people suggested starting a GoFundMe campaign. So I have, because mostly we get by on what we make per month. Just as long as we don’t have any sudden expenses like the car needing work (two weeks ago) or getting dental work (Philip has been waiting to get a crown fixed for 3 years and we were just about able to afford it until the car and Chick’s needs just evaporated all our slack) or major vet bills. We’ve been slammed and I don’t know how we’ll get by in the next few weeks as most of our next paycheck goes towards rent.

I most definitely need to work on getting my business going but I was taking time off to care for mom.

Do I sound like a sad sack OR WHAT?! But no – really – I know we’ll get through this. Anyone who helps us do it is obviously going to be deeply appreciated by me! And I don’t just mean people contributing funds, I know too many people in tight financial circumstances themselves who may not be able to donate to my fund or spend money in my Etsy shop (still working on my own website) but all the emotional support you give me matters to me too because it helps buoy me up during these tough days. Thank you so much for all the well wishes for both my mom AND Chick! You guys all rock!

Chick’s doing really well right now considering she was at the vet all day long. I love this girl. She’s been such a great family dog so far. She makes us feel safe (remember how she knew the Douche-Twins were bad news before I did?), she is so easy to please (walks, scratches behind her ears or on her chest, treats, just being around us), she loves all the same people we love, she is hilarious the way she groans like an old lady (since she was a puppy), and she’s been remarkably inexpensive all these years having been such a healthy and robust dog. We love her so much we couldn’t NOT spend all our money to do what needs doing.

But dudes, this has been a phenomenally tough past month.

Egg-related Catastrophes, Fucking JEFF, and Reverse Unicorns

All of it is here

In an alternate universe I’m a philosophical radio personality punctuating the adventures of people I eat near, walk past, get snubbed by, and get talked about by.

The highlights of this week:

Hearing my mom lucidly recount the horrible powdered egg poop she had a day or two ago that needs to be entered in the annals of the most repulsive (and regrettable) digestive system egg-related catastrophes of all time.

My sweet kitten-heart Tonka nursing on the hem of my pants for comfort after being neutered and purring like he’s competing for a noise championship.

The thought that the whole world would improve if half of all human men were neutered before they reach puberty.

The realization that: a) such comments could encourage the MRA to slaughter me, and b) since the whole bible construct is patently misogynistic, and therefore hell itself is also an elaborate myth of the patriarchy, I will now be marked indelibly for a first class ticket to hell.

Fucking JEFF.*

Haunting the nurse station at both Kaiser hospital and the nursing facility like a wrathful spirit penning their offenses on the great wall of nursing crimes.

Four kittens purring.

The experience of being so bone tired I could lay myself down on a railroad track and get the best sleep of my life knowing trains be a-coming.

That’s a lie, I never sleep well no matter how bone tired I am and you people who experience good sleep are like reverse unicorns to me.

The sign outside the Catholic church that read “Jesus is the living bread that came down from heaven, eat of him and live forever” ZOMBIE JESUS. CANNIBALISM. CAN VEGETARIANS BE CATHOLIC?!


Max asking how come high school is so “easy”.

(Angelina wipes brow with her sweaty hand of industry and advocation and says “I don’t know, son”)

The good, the bad, and the perforations.**


*Nurse with an obsession about not over-medicating patients  through which he manages to under-medicate patients with a relentless refusal to offer the full prescription of medication allowed to his patients who can’t argue with him anyway because they’re so fucking delirious with PAIN and are too busy hallucinating loud parties in the driveway. Fucking JEFF!

**Cryptic message from the brain with no discernible meaning but it seems as good a note to end this post on than any.

Here, Have a Box of Kittens

box of kittens

I haven’t been on social media so much. I’m tired of reporting on my mom’s condition. Not because it isn’t important to me or that it might be boring to others, but because it forces me to see just how tenuous and fickle a body can be in recovery. It’s a big process requiring care from so many angles. I’ve been fighting so hard to make sure my mom’s needs are being met and it’s dreary and has me going in circles. My sister has stepped in to make phone calls which is a relief because now I’m not the only one talking to all these dildo-donkeys.

Yeah, I’m super mistrustful of the team of people who are supposed to be caring for her. Today her team will make a bedside stop and I will be there. I hope today is a better day for my mom than yesterday. She was super delirious yesterday, slurring her words, and admits to continuing hallucinations. Yet she passed a cognitive test to determine how capable she is of following directions. You should have heard her garbled report of how well it went.

This is where boxes of kittens come in handy. I definitely need a box of kittens. I’ll share them with you! These kittens are getting fixed today and will go up for adoption this weekend. 3 out of 4 of them. I’ll have Tusker a little longer because she needs to put on weight before she can be fixed and she needs a little more time for taming. We’ve had a great start to the day with our bonding session. She just purred for me for the first time and exposed her belly and also climbed into my lap. She didn’t stay in my lap but she did climb into it twice.

I don’t think I slept at all last night but two good things came of my pseudo-sleep: no nightmares and a kind of soft-focus for my brain in which it didn’t have to be thinking or worrying or plaguing me with upcoming tasks and lists of my responsibilities. I didn’t sleep because I slept in my mom’s apartment so her dog and cat would have some over-night company. The dog hangs out with us nearly all day so it’s not like she feels abandoned, but the cat never comes in our part of the house (because our dog will chase her) and boy oh boy did she need some love and attention. She sat on me, circled me, pawed at me for more attention. She was so starved for attention. Normally I stay in my mom’s apartment the whole time she’s at the hospital but after she got toted away by the EMT’s her room was a disaster and I couldn’t bear to be in there. So it was a cozy animal night, making my mom’s animals feel more normalcy and love, but no sleep. Just drifting in that half-sleep half-waking place.

I didn’t wake up with so much back pain, so that’s cool.

That’s all I have to say for now. I’m burnt to a socket.

62 Things That Keep Me Up At Night

all lit up 2

It’s important to have life goals. Here’s my new one:

To be eaten by a whale when I’m 60 years old.

Or, better yet:

Be lowered into shark infested waters in a cage with chum, except without the cage, when I’m 60 years old.

I actually wanted to be put in a pod and shot into outer space but my friend Sid pointed out how expensive that would be. That’s why all my goals now involve being eaten by big things in the ocean. Which is a weird life choice for someone who’s pretty afraid of drowning in the bigness of the ocean.

This day was so depressing and so full of fuckery and depressingness that instead of talking about the bleak nature of the day I’m going to write a list of everything that keeps me up at night:


1.  The lack of world peace.

2.  Other people snoring.

3.  Sound of dog licking herself.

4.  Husband’s breath on my neck or face.

5.  My own breath on my arms or hands.

6.  Total silence.

7.  The sound of leaves shaking when there’s no rain or wind to shake them.

8.  Thinking about un-caught serial killers.

9.  The sound of my heart beating.

10.  The sound of other people’s hearts beating.

11.  All the people crying at the same time across hemispheres and time zones.

12.  The thought of more people being born and the dwindling resources available to humans.

13.  The pressure of my jaw that I only feel when I can’t sleep that keeps me from sleeping.

14.  My feet being hot.

15.  My feet feeling dry.

16.  The weight of human life all around me.

17.  The belief that as soon as I’m just about to fall asleep I’ll need to pee even though I’ve already peed 5 times just before bed, then it really happens and I have to pee again and sometimes this goes on for two hours.

18.  The sound of beetles rooting through the soil.

19.  The thought of animals being hurt.

20.  The hideously large number of people I know who’ve been heinously abused in one way or another, most of them when they were children.

21.  That there are humans out in the cold dark corners of every town and city trying to sleep in alleyways or under freeway bypasses.

22.  The thought of all the abandoned babies of all species around the world struggling to survive bleak chance and I can’t rescue even a trili-fraction of them.

23.  That I have only a quarter to give when a homeless person asks me for change.

24.  Dry lips.

25.  The thought of dry lips.

26.  All the people whose lives my country has callously destroyed.

27.  The horrendous and unconscionable history of black slaves in my country and the far-reacing and current poison it’s spread across several hundred years.

27.  All the women scared to say “no” to almost anything.

28.  My own difficulty and guilt in saying “no” most of the time even if I’m able to say it when I need to.

29.  That thing I said hours ago that no one remembers but me.

30.  The slow grind of the earth turning.

31.  The thought of people wearing socks to bed. Particularly saggy socks. Seriously, now I’ll probably never sleep again because I’ve put that in print.

32.  The thought of Donald Trump’s creepy mug and toupee being printed on money.

33.  Any kind of itch.

34.  The feeling of my eyelids being too heavy, or not heavy enough.

35.  Other people’s skin touching mine.

36.  The ending of How I Met Your Mother.

37.  The thought of how many dull scissors there are around the world.

38.  Wondering if my child just died in his sleep.

39.  The thought of Netflix getting rid of Fringe.

40.  Worrying that I haven’t stored enough nuts away for the winter.

41.  Debtor’s prison.

42.  Thinking about how my son insists on getting dressed in the wrong order.

43.  Not wanting to wake up in the morning but knowing I probably will.

44.  The dread that my husband forgot to brush his teeth before bed.

45.  Thoughts racing 140 m/p/h.

46.  A snag in a fingernail or a toenail.

47.  Wondering if Jesus got corns walking through the desert.

48.  Wondering if Jesus ever had a necrotic sore.

49.  Wondering if Jesus wishes he hadn’t saved his faithful brethren.

50.  Worrying about having such Jesus-centric thoughts as an atheist.

51.  Thinking about what tomorrow will bring.

52.  Anxiety about the possibility of the phone ringing past 10pm because no one ever calls past 10pm for good news.

53.  The knowledge that people torture animals.

54.  The realization that white dirty stinky tube socks are too good for such people.

55.  Feeling my staunch non-violence and non- revenge beliefs be challenged by thoughts about people torturing animals.

56.  Leaving my mom in a skilled nursing facility tonight that is incompetent at best and negligent at worst and that represents the level of care is considered acceptable by a lot of insurance companies.*

57.  The sound of a mosquito.

58.  The memory of spider bites.

59.  Recent spider sightings and subsequent disappearances.

60.  Trying to understand what mechanism has gone wrong in men that makes them want to rape women, and why there are so fucking many men who think it’s okay.


62.  The fact that I can’t finish this list ever because it’s infinite and yet if I stop listing things it won’t reflect the perfect truth of all the things that keep me up at night because there are few things that don’t keep me up at night. In fact, that would have been a much smaller list.

The Hospital Report

all this equipment

The day before yesterday I spoke with my mom’s managing physician before her second surgery and he made it absolutely clear to me that it was very unlikely that Kaiser would see fit to send my mom to a skilled nursing facility when I brought up my concerns about her coming home too fast. I may have mentioned that this second surgery would most likely have been avoided if she had stayed another day or two in their care or went to a rehab center for a few days. He made it very clear to me that Kaiser isn’t responsible for what happens to patients after they’ve been discharged. It is of no concern of theirs if the home they’re being returned to is a safe healing environment or if the people caring for them are in any way qualified or able to care for a post-op patient with needs such as: commode monitoring and emptying, physical therapy exercises, med control, bandage changing and wound care.

He told me that Kaiser has strict PT criteria and when the patient reaches them they are discharged and if I don’t like it I can blame congress for it.

It was an icy conversation. I was already upset that Kaiser, this time around, has not been keeping me informed about decisions for her care. I did not get unpleasant with him, no raised voice, no direct accusations, but I did respond with a “we’ll see” when he said they’d probably send her home two or three days after her surgery.

The doctor did not speak to me again. The nurses did not tell me that the plan for her had changed completely. My mom told me herself but she was hallucinating off and on all day yesterday so I couldn’t be sure.

Some things I’d like to note:

The physical therapist my mom originally worked with (after the first surgery) was taken off her case and she got a new physical therapist.

The doctor I spoke with who was so sure my mom wouldn’t qualify for a stay at a rehab facility has been replaced with a new doctor who actually called me this morning with an update on their plans for her rehab which include a stay at a rehab facility and the assurance that Kaiser feels they should take my mom’s recover “very slowly”.

The surgeon who performed the first surgery was contrite during the pre-op visit. He seemed extra gentle with my mom and not at all dismissive of my questions (as he somewhat was the first time around) and though he never visited my mom after the first surgery he has already visited her twice this time and yesterday said to my mom “I’m sorry, this shouldn’t have happened”.  She says she responded with “No, it shouldn’t have.” Go mom!

The physical therapist who paid a visit to our house the day after her discharge did not think her excruciating pain and inability to walk to the bathroom was worthy of note or consultation with her surgeon. The surgeons believe that she had already dislocated her new hip the day before because of my mom’s description of the level of pain she was in. This should have been a red flag to the PT guy. But all he did was lecture me on administering pills to my mom correctly. Fucker.


So, as of today, I know for sure they’re going to keep her at Kaiser for another day or two and then they will move her to a skilled nursing facility. They didn’t tell me how long they think she’ll be at the nursing home but I’m sure it will be the shortest time possible because that’s how Kaiser likes to do things. I think this 180° change in their approach to her care is due (probably) to two factors: they have come to realize that my mom is in worse shape than they originally supposed and I rocked the boat and made it plenty clear that I hold Kaiser responsible for her needing this second surgery. All I can say is suddenly they’re being very cautious of her recovery.

I’m still angry with Kaiser. I absolutely hold Kaiser responsible for my mom needing this much more complicated second surgery. But I feel loads better now that they seem eager to make things right and see that my mom recovers in a manner that is safe and appropriate.

Good things:

My mom is a trooper. Truly such a trooper. She has so many fears (at clinical anxiety level, like me) but she just keeps bouncing back from those fears with new eagerness to recover well so she can come home to her dog and her textile art projects, and to us.

My mom lets me take pictures of her in the hospital. Indulging me in my macabre fascination with medical equipment and hospitals is definitely not something all mom’s would do.

My mom never loses her sense of humor. Her humor is almost as dark as my own.

She says her leg feels “right” this time, that it didn’t feel quite right after the first surgery.* So she feels optimistic that her recovery is going to go better.

She’s not fighting me on my strong feeling that she needs to go to a nursing facility if her insurance allows. Two years ago she fought me so hard I caved and it was really rough on me to have her home and not yet even completely sure how to change her colostomy bag. This time she’s totally on board. It’s probably because the level of pain she felt when she broke her femur on Tuesday was so tremendous she is scared to have a repeat of anything going wrong at home.

I’m just about to go visit her. This has been a gnarly three weeks for us here and I’m ready for everything to go well now instead of falling apart. The car is fixed (for $$), Chick’s ear seems to be healing so it seems possible she won’t need surgery, my mom’s dog Rosie who got hurt during the whole EMT visitation is barely limping now, Max’s toe is still infected but he’s soaking it so I think that will heal soon.

My phone is continuing to break down. Payday is today and I have a little bit of money that I made from Sugar and Pith that I can transfer to our account so hopefully I can replace it because I’m so tired of having to work around the part of my screen that no longer responds to touch. Maybe that sounds unimportant but it just had to break down when I needed to be able to text my brother and sister frequently with reports on our mom’s sitch.

But the main good thing is that things do appear to be calming down and getting fixed. I’m not sick to my stomach with anxiety today. It’s not so hot out. It’s still tomato and summer squash season, and fall is just around the corner. ** Although I failed to stay sober through all this hospital stuff, I will be soon be ditching the beer again for tonic and mega-lime with no gin.

Thank you to all of you who have been following our misadventures, offering thoughts of healing for my mom, and emotional support for me. You are absolutely wonderful and your reaching out has been so helpful. xoxo

Update: It’s 3 minutes after I published this post and my mom’s dog started throwing up, so maybe I spoke too soon. Holy fucking hell.

*That would have been incredibly useful information to share with her PT and her doctor right away.

**Which sometimes means hotter weather than summer here in our county. So fingers crossed we get a real crisp fall this year. We’ve had several cool grey mornings this week and that’s been heavenly.