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?!

Tomatoes!

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:

62 THINGS 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.

61.  ALL OF THE THINGS IN THE UNIVERSE OVER WHICH I HAVE NO CONTROL.

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.

The First Law, The Only Law

first law is love

I’ve been struggling with my words so hard the last few days. I’ve written several posts and deleted them all. I keep trying to free my tongue from the glue that holds it firmly to the roof of my mouth, to the hollows of my heart, to the wall of the dark pit of my mind. I said things last time that I itch to unsay, yet even as I die a little every morning when I wake up and find I haven’t made the smallest effort to take all my words back, I know they can’t be unsaid.  Not even if no one has read them. And people have read them.

The last week has brutalized me. Today has been one long pustulent pock on my spirit, on my everything. Nothing a million people haven’t had to deal with at the same exact time. We do this, us humans, we try to put everything in its place, tidy up the shit storms so the sewers catch as much excrement as possible, and we attempt to soothe our fragile selves with pillows made of unfulfilled promises and angel farts. We want so much to believe that life is more than this bed-pan existence, but this is IT. This is what we are.

Our bodies break down, rot, ooze, leak, ferment, fracture, and seek the lowest ground on which to burn to bones and ash.

I wrote songs about this when I was fourteen. I knew the truth when I was six which was the last time I shit my pants, not because I wasn’t potty trained but because I was scared as hell to be left to care for my baby sister and I knew, even then, that life was going to be so much more morally complicated than hurting inside when I was encouraged to salt snails and watch them die.

Every day I retreat deeper into the cave in which I hide my truth from you and everyone else. The world is too much for me. Too loud for me. I hear you all breathing from my pyre of nightmares as loud as if I was in your fucking mouths, assholes. I hear your disappointment from here and I’d care a little more if you were more honest with yourself.

The one law I still abide is love. Love for individuals. Love for non-human animals. Love for the lost, love for the dead, love for the unsteady. Love for the abandoned, love for the abused, love for the homeless. If I give you a dollar I don’t give a shit how you spend it. If I give you my coat I don’t care if you cut it up. Love is a thing you offer up without conditions or stipulations or contracts.

I see race, I see gender, I see religion, I see sexuality, I see body shape, I see style, I see all of what you show me whether you mean to or not. I see and I love and I appreciate and I celebrate everything that makes you the best possible person you can be and the things you were born to carry in spite of having not chosen for yourself. I see all of the things that make you YOU because there’s beauty and value in your skin, your spirit, your experiences, your personal expression, and your heart. The one law I still abide is love. I can love almost anything about you if you let me. I can love almost anything about you if you’re light is honest, your voice genuine, your spirit raw. I want to celebrate your hair, your skin, your eyes, your bravery, your weird taste, your love of strange perfume and funky artifacts.

If I make fun of your magnificent fluffy extreme ginger mullet it’s because you’ve accomplished something worthy of comment.  Don’t you get it? I can’t make fun of a magnificent mullet without a certain amount of actual admiration. I’m not the decider of all things good and fashionable. I’m just one lousy little person of medium height and a reasonable but not genius IQ. My opinion, like all other opinions of anything, is completely subjective and pretty much bullshit. Except for the part where I love when anyone can distinguish themselves in any amusing and interesting way that isn’t hurtful to others.

I want to say: WEAR YOUR TIGHT SHINY DISCO PANTS, LET THAT CAMEL-TOE BE SEEN FROM SEA TO SHINING SEA, SHAKE THAT MULLET LIKE YOU KNOW EVERYONE IS AMAZED WITH IT, ROCK THAT FROSTY FEATHERED DO LIKE YOU’RE IN AN 80’S ROCK VIDEO, EAT THAT JELLO LIKE IT’S THE BEST FUCKING FOOD ON THE PLANET, RECITE BIBLE VERSES TO YOUR FAMILY LIKE THEY’RE BALLADS FOR GUILTY CONSCIENCES, EMBRACE DRUGS LIKE THEY FIX SPIRITS, JACK OFF TO RICHARD SIMMONS WORKOUTS BECAUSE – WHO DOESN’T?!

Whoever you are, BE YOU. I swear I’ll appreciate you (even if I don’t understand you) if you’re the most genuine self you can be.

There are so many things about me that you can laugh at, enjoy guiltily, put on a billboard, or report to Jon Stewart to try and get him back to the Daily Show, and I won’t hold any of it against you. I’m a ridiculous person in so many ways. But I beg of you, if you find me homeless, if you give me a dollar, don’t put conditions on how I spend it.

Don’t make a contest out of human suffering. Don’t tell people they can’t possibly understand your experiences because when you do that you effectively say they have never suffered, that their experiences are inferior, that even if they care about you they can’t ever care about you enough or appropriately or in a way you accept.

Suffering is something all humans experience.

Love is something all humans should experience.

You are beautiful to me.

 

 

My Mother’s Mother

mossy outreach

I didn’t drink for 14 days through some really stressful times but right now I have beer because I reached my limit of sobriety during the super stresses of: mom in hospital, 14 days of kitten diarrhea and cleanup, phone malfunctioning, car dying a gasping agonizing inconvenient death, the dog developing a seratoma on her ear and spending so much beer money on avoiding surgical procedures which have resulted in a lancing and sausage bandaging of her ear requiring vigilance to keep dog from worrying it off, nightly nightmares worse than usual, hot weather, feet suffering from unusually bad eczema, my back trying to go out for a week now, having to sign my kid up for high school, the chaos of all my spaces spilling out of their allotted spaces and into my head ——

It was 100° today and the air was full of smoke from Lake County being up in flames for two weeks. My mom got her discharge papers from the hospital in a fog of confusing information and she herself was disoriented to the point of near-incoherence. When we finally got her home it took a half an hour to get her the short distance from the car to her bed and at the end of it the pain wiped her out for hours afterwards. She’s not hungry but would like to know if we have any jello? Today is yesterday to her groggy mind. Her hip is in massive pain in spite of the excellent morphine coursing through her system.

In my mom’s delirium she said something shockingly hurtful to me that I’m trying to forget. What people say in delirium is stripped of self consciousness and more truly what they think than what they say at any other time. She’d be horrified if I told her about it later. She’ll be horrified if she reads this because I know she loves me very much and has no idea half the time the power her words have to impale me. I don’t think she’s ever really understood her power over my emotional state. I wish I could take that power away from her but it seems wholly connected to my primordial self. I believe I’d be a lesser person if I severed my connection to her. The connection that makes me feel responsible for her.

Today when a new nurse came in and introduced herself I introduced myself as my mother’s mother. A bare truthful slip of the tongue. I have always felt responsible for my mother. This isn’t something she put on me, something she imposed on me. In fact, she’s annoyed whenever I rain on her parade, trying to impose some reason and responsibility on her that she rightfully doesn’t think I should push on her. She’s a grown woman. She’s the grown woman who gave birth to me 45 years ago. But from my earliest memory I have felt the weight of responsibility for her actions, for her abandonment of me, of herself, of her duties, her reason, her adulthood. When I was a kid she would come to my bedroom at night and cry on my shoulder after fighting with my dad.

Maybe it only happened once. You know how tricky memory can be. But the weight of her pain, her sorrow, her anger, her fears laid heavy on my spirit my whole life. I remember being no more than 11 years old and wishing so hard I could fix all her problems, deliver her from her mistakes, be enough to heal her heart and her mind and her –

My shoulders have never been broad enough for the both of us. I set myself down on a quiet hillside and left myself there so I could carry the imaginary weight of my mother through to the end. But nothing I ever did could deliver her from her demons, or from herself.

I don’t want this to be the only thread that tethers me to earth. I ran for a few years, I tried to snip the thread with sharp scissors but it grew back quietly in the alley of my life like a virile vine groping the bricks against which prostitutes seduce Johns with sallow blow jobs. I wanted so desperately to disconnect from my origins, from my umbilical cord of duty, but it ran too deep. I was pulled from the soft timeless ether back to earth to be born for this and I don’t know how to sever myself from the stars that gave me body without killing also those who depend on me.

Therefore I float here, uninvited by predestination, too independent to tow the line of fate, ready to be killed by the vicious dogs of sleeplessness.

My nemesis has had more children in this space than I’ve had thoughts.

There’s no magic strong enough to fix this lightlessness.

When I die I hope to ignite dawn with an evanescence of spirit that turns love on fire.

Predestination is Lazy and Tiresome

painted vine

My back is trying to go out. My mom is recovering from her hip surgery and might come home today. Chick’s weird ear thing is still a weird ear thing and I don’t think we can afford to fix it. An appointment has been made for aspiration of fluids. I need to be making money. Wait, no! No pressure right now or I’ll curl up into a tight ball of inertia that will eventually implode and become a black hole into which everything will be sucked up and subsumed. The car might be breaking down too. Well, why not?

Bill O’Reilly was my boss in my dream, that’s how you know it was a nightmare.

I’ve been watching The Secret Circle. Another silly witch show. It only ran for one season so not a big run. I wonder why it seems that teen vampires and vampires in general are so much more popular than witches? Personally i find witches more interesting. I loved the Ann Rice treatment of vampires in the 80’s but it got old pretty fast. My friend Catherine posed a question on vampires the other day – how could they father children if they have no living fluids in their bodies? If they have no blood, they must also have no semen. They are, in fact, dead already. I would like to extend that question to this: if they have no flowing blood, how can they possibly get erections? If they can’t get erections, then how can they be having so much sex? These are worthy questions of those creating vampire stories. An explanation is not an unreasonable expectation. If you take a myth and you pervert it to your uses and you make it new, you still need to answer – in some semi-scientific way at least – how your mythical creatures operate and live.

If you create a new mythology based on an old mythology you have to back up your new mythology with some semblance of thought and answers.

One of the things that keeps me from being a real fan of shows involving the supernatural (except for “Supernatural” because of reasons) is the huge theme of predestination and fate. I am so fucking tired of the idea of THE CHOSEN ONE and THE ONE WITH EXTRA POWER BECAUSE OF ANCIENT BLOODLINE and INDIVIDUALS FATED TO BE TOGETHER or INDIVIDUALS ILL-FATED AND ALWAYS STAR-CROSSED AND PINING STUPIDLY FOR EACH OTHER AND ALL THE MELODRAMA OF DYING FOR LOVE AND DON’T YOU KNOW THERE ARE OTHER THINGS IN LIFE AND SOMETIMES WORLD PEACE IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN ROMANCE?

Humans love this shit. They really love, and apparently crave, the concept of their lives and purpose being decided for them by an unseen force long  before they were born. They love it as much as they love the idea of ancient family royalty. I think it’s total bullshit. (Both predestination and ancient family bloodlines meaning anything other than a nasty tendency towards incest to keep blood “pure”) People love predestination because it means they aren’t responsible for their lives or actions. People love the idea that they were born with a higher purpose. When played out in fiction it’s nearly always means that one person is born evil and another person is born “pure” enough to defeat them. It’s just God and Satan all over again. Infantile bullshit. Simplistic belief in good versus evil. Angels versus demons. Black magic versus white magic.

One thing I appreciate about the show Supernatural is the ambiguous nature of the Angels and the demons. That the angels don’t all agree with each other about their ultimate directives from God, that not all of them even believe that God is still in the building, that not all of them feel humans are worth protecting. And demons are not so cut and dried evil, that they have weaknesses humans can relate to, that they are not all completely evil. It’s still full of predestination and that break-off show they hinted at at the end of Season 10 is all about ancient families. I’m so sick to death of ancient families. Royal families. Special families.

Can we please stop with that bullshit? What I’d like to see is a show about witches that has no royal witch bloodlines. No chosen one. No star crossed lovers. No predestination. I want a show that has myth but without all the religious overtones. I want one that has more realistic characters, where there’s witchery and magic but without the childish themes of good versus evil. How about a show that has curses and spells and interesting characters battling real evil like political corruption and spousal abuse and bigotry? How about witches or other mythical creatures whose power doesn’t come from gods or devils but from the well of humanity and from nature? I’d love to see witches and other mythical creatures taking responsibility for their lives, their actions, and stop looking to blame bad relationships on destiny.

The thing that really ruined Grimm for me was the whole Royal family story-line. YAWNFOREVER. It’s so fucking irritating and soapy. I loved all the monsters and fairytale derived creatures – I loved the crime solving and the relationship between Nick and Hank and them having to negotiate between two worlds. I love the trailer full of artifacts and I love Rosalee and Monroe and the herb shop and trying to figure out how to stop spells and I loved how not all the creatures are monsters but beings from another world who have to learn to live with each other. I loved all that. Then they had to muck it up with the usual stupid bloodline bullshit. Did the Hapsburgs teach us all NOTHING? There is nothing noble about “pure” bloodlines. There is no such thing as pure blood and that people think that’s powerful and desirable creeps me out and it says how little we’ve evolved over the last few thousand years. That depresses me.

I’ve got a black kitten named Tonkatsu in my lap as I type this. How fitting is that? He’s purring like he doesn’t know that lots of people think black cats are bad luck and that black cats are harder to adopt out than other cats. Don’t you dare tell him! He’s the sweetest little boy kitten ever! He’s purring madly and he wants to be part of everything going on. He loves to be in human laps and to play and he has the funniest disco swagger EVER.

It’s time for me to get dressed and go visit my mom in the hospital and ice my back some more and think about what a family Grimoire for a fucked up weird 100% impure and un-royal family might look like. What magic might it contain? What myths might come out of such a tome? The most interesting and powerful families, in my opinion, are ones that are full of members from different origins and legends. People of mixed blood are healthier and stronger. That’s a fact of nature. Mixed genes are better. It also means a rainbow of stories and legends and family histories all mashed together. It’s crazier and harder to track and way more interesting.

So here I go. Having a boozeless Friday. May your family be mixed-breed and your future yours to make!

The Destructive Hubris of Humans

the fly up close

Does this picture make you uncomfortable? Itchy? Grossed out? Are you trippin’ on the fact that me and this fly are equally hirsute? Okay, fuck you, I’m hairier than a goddamn fly. It’s body is also a much prettier hue than mine. Fucker. This fly was dying. I find flies intensely irritating but I also have mad respect for how much more important they are to the planet than humans. That’s a true fact. Humans do nothing for the planet’s ecosystem while flies are a vital part of breaking down organic matter into nutritious soil-improving humus that helps plant life flourish. Ants and flies are vitally important, humans aren’t important at all.

All humans contribute to earth is their destructive hubris.

There was a time when at least dead humans fed maggots and ants and could be counted on as fertilizer for plants  but then we, in our hubris, decided that we were too good to rot like other animals. We began to devise ways to avoid returning to the soil naturally and learned to turn our corpses into toxic land mines.

I DO kill flies sometimes when they get in my house and won’t stay out of my face or off of my food. But when I do so, I understand that I’m killing a better creature than myself. It’s not sometimes I celebrate. This dying dude and I shared some poetry together and I let him hang out on my arm as he pleased. I had beer, it was a moment. I later found him on my floor feet skyward.

I’ve gone mentally microscopic. My thoughts have become macro views of an almost invisible universe.

I’ve been thinking a lot about all the novels I have in my queue. My urge to work on fiction is strong but not strong enough right now. It’s all percolating. I’ve had the freeing thought that I don’t have to ever work on the stories I’ve semi-mapped out already if a newer more urgent one starts screaming through my mental discomfort.

I had awful nightmares last night. So much going on in them. It’s hard to quantify what made them so disturbing. What made them stressful. If I have one directive with my writing it’s to put the tension and strange terrain of my nightmares into stories, out of my head and into other people’s heads. You probably think I mean to write horror. I do not. I don’t like the horror genre. Incidentally, this might sting some of my writer friends, I have always disliked Lovecraft. I don’t care for monsters and mystical creatures as villains or gore for titillation. Humans are the villains of my nightmares. Humans and chaos and slowing time and the vile sludge of human filth.

Broken-down over-flowing stench-filled public bathrooms have long been a recurring horror in my nightmares.

Rape, torture, dismemberment are other horrors of my nightmares and of my mind. I’ve heard a lot of people on Twitter saying lately that they’re tired of rape being depicted in books, that there’s no need for that. I get not wanting to read rape scenes. I get that women are tired of the rape of women being common.* A lot of people are calling rape in fiction a “device”. I disagree wholeheartedly with this assessment. It’s true that some authors may use rape as a story device. But in a lot of stories, especially by women, this is a depiction of reality. Rape is an inexorably common occurrence, particularly against women, and to stop telling stories that have rape in them is to expunge an enormously life-shaping experience too many people have.

I think rape has been featured in stories so much and continues to be featured because it’s so common in reality. Dwelling on the scenes might be sensationalism at times but I’ve read at least a thousand books in my life and in most books rape is glossed over. So much so that when it’s treated to a dose of reality in books like “The Color Purple” it’s shocking and gutting. I believe this is a more important story for women to tell than the age old story of women being mothers, wanting to be mothers, worshiping motherhood. Good god, we never stop reading stories about women as mothers. The impact of having kids in every possible circumstance. Women as wives. Women as Femme Fatales.

But books that deal intelligently and honestly with women as the sexual objects of men and as the punching bags of bitter disappointed angry men – WRITTEN BY WOMEN – are still too thin on the ground.

I don’t actually want to read books that are just about women’s experiences of being raped. I want to see stories about women’s lives from a more complete view. I want to know about the violence women experience and how it shapes their lives and most importantly I want to know how they come through it, I want to know how women have become empowered after being crushed.

Life is full of violence. I don’t have any stories to tell that aren’t full of violence too. I don’t have any gentle stories to tell. There are no gentle corners in my head. There are no verdant green spaces full of fairies and flowers and flooded with only love and good and beauty. The brighter the beauty of a thing the darker its corners are in my experience.

Most of my stories don’t have rape in them specifically. One of them does and it’s important. It’s so important to me that I write it but it’s the one story that I’ve written so much for and remains hopelessly tangled and inarticulate. It’s the hardest story to tell of all the stories in my queue.

Until violence against women and abuse of women becomes a rare thing, stories that involve violence and abuse against women remain important. For every woman who remains silent about her experiences out of shame or fear, women writers need to open the way. We need to be telling their stories for them. We need to be exploring how to come away from those violent experiences stronger than we were before we went through them. We need to explore how to stop it from happening to others. We need to explore why it happens. We need to explore the dark tunnels that lead to light.

Not talking about bad things has never fixed a thing. Burying stories because they’re unpleasant gives the unpleasantness all the room it needs to flourish. Silence is never the way forward. Silence is never the way to healing.

I’m not interested in reading stories that use rape or violence as a “device”. But I dare you to find any great story that isn’t propelled forward by either an overt or an implied threat of violence. It’s pretty much the underpinning to all conflict. If not literal violence, then aggression that ruins people. There are no good stories devoid of either aggression or violence. Without one or the other (the one is just one end of a continuum that leads to the other) there can be no conflict. Without conflict there is no tension and no tension means no story to follow.

Sometimes you have to stop listening to the voices of strangers on social media, even of other writers, and trust yourself to write what you need to write and know that someone out there desperately needs you to write it. I write for myself and for that someone who hasn’t yet found their own voice and needs to borrow mine for courage.

Part of this journey of self care is to shut out all the approbation of others, the shoutings and the directives others are pasting all over their own walls and sharing publicly, to paint my own directives, to shout my own truths. To ignore the wider world so that I can listen to the macro world, the almost invisible world around me. I’m shutting out news and activism and babble and rabble – so that I can get to a deeper kind of spiritual activism.

 

 

*IT IS COMMON IN REAL LIFE.

11 Days Down Isn’t Much

flammable gas

It’s only been 11 days since I stopped drinking alcohol. If I’m being honest (and why not?) it feels good to not drink but it irritates the fucking bejeezus out of me when people encourage me or tell me how healthy it is.* I definitely don’t want anyone agreeing that it feels good not drinking alcohol. It bothers me that I don’t have any evening treats to look forward to.** I’ve been drinking tonic water with lime. It’s good. It’s okay. It DOES-ish.  I’m not sleeping better than usual, but I’m not sleeping worse than the poor sleep I usually get. I’m certainly still more irritable than normal, but I suspect that won’t go away. It’s the real-real me. I like myself better when I have beer to look forward to, it keeps me mellower all day long knowing I have that pillowy mellowing drink(S) to look forward to and I like that less edgy sharp me.

Other people do too even if they aren’t willing to admit it to my face or out loud.

What makes me itchy is realizing how it’s only been 11 days and I have nearly a full year of this left to go. The fact that it makes me itchy is the reason I’m doing it in the first place. My mom is going into surgery tomorrow for a hip replacement. This is routine and I should be able to get through it just fine without any alcohol and that’s what I’ll do.

Unless something goes terribly wrong, which it most likely won’t since it’s a very common low risk surgery. I’m just saying that if something goes wrong with her surgery I will probably end up drinking beer and will have to start the clock over. But today I’m preparing myself to fly through this experience alcohol free because I’d really rather not have to start over. That I have to do this there is no question. Life is full of trauma and bad days and rough seasons and it’s okay to swig some liquid courage through all of that if you’re not guzzling liquid courage every single day just to deal with other humans. Being able to get through a bad day without booze is important. It’s an important thing to know you can do and to often DO. It’s a life skill I let erode away.

Not only is tomorrow my mom’s surgery, but it’s also registration time for Max. He’s going to be a sophomore in high school in just a week.

Working on turning my dining room into my apothecary has been fantastic. It’s strained my back but it’s worth it.  Getting my cabinets organized means it’s easier to find what I need to make things. It’s easier to see what I’m low on and what I have way too much of. I’m excited to have that room looking good and being functional.

The kittens are all sleeping off their post-breakfast exhaustion. Right before they ate they were playing on every surface of my office, paying special attention to my laptop keyboard. Here’s a piece of unsolicited advice: NEVER DISTURB SLEEPING KITTENS. It’s the same rule with human babies.

That’s the kind of rule one lives to break and regret.

My dog’s seratoma thingy is filling up again. I’m trying really hard not to think about the vet saying surgery is the only option. What if we can’t afford the only option? What then? I can’t bear the thought of Chick being in discomfort but what if I can’t do anything about it? I’m going to tuck that thought up into a neglected corner of my brain for now because I have too much to do in the next couple of days. I’ll call the vet on Thursday and discuss reality.

I’m on my last cup of coffee right now. This means it’s almost time to shower and go run those pesky errands. I’ll feel better once I’ve done them. Then I’ll have to work on freezing all the soup I made and pick my mom’s dog up from the groomer and then make Max food and then take the kittens in…

One foot in front of the other.

I just paused for a second to admire my tiny oak leaf that I keep on my desk. It’s smaller than the pad of my pinky finger. And it’s absolutely perfect.

 

 

 

*Remember that I’m a deeply conflicted person pretty much at all times.

**Don’t make any suggestions at this time, please. I will bite you.

Favorite Things: Italian Deco China Cabinet

fake fruit and veg

Some people like to say that things can’t bring us joy, that having things can’t make us happy, that possessions have no spiritual value. I disagree. I think when acquiring objects is more important to a person than spiritual solvency, that’s a problem. When the pursuit for possessions is insatiable, it’s not a need for beautiful or useful things driving a person but a pit of need that can’t actually be met by buying or owning more objects. I rarely desire objects any more. There came a point in my life where I had plenty of things, where I loved most of the things I owned and didn’t need more.

stag

After our house fire in 2003 we had to replace most of our furniture and we had a generous amount of insurance money to do it with. We chose not to replace quite a few things in favor of using the money to buy fewer better things. This Italian Art Deco china cabinet is one of the pieces we bought. It was expensive to us but we couldn’t have bought a brand new quality* china hutch for less and most of them were more.

Aside from my rare book collection, (not all pretty vintage copies, just hard to find Georgette Heyer, Mary Stewart, and a few other vintage favorites), this is my most prized possession. Every single day I walk past it and it makes me happy. We use it every day. We keep all our most used dishes, both humble and fancy, in this cabinet. As of last night we now keep ALL of our dishes in it. (I cleaned out another cabinet, culled out some things, and rearranged all the dishes)

Italian Deco

I couldn’t remotely afford something like this now. Perhaps that makes it extra wonderful that I had a short period in my life where I could buy something in my favorite period for furniture. We have an eclectic style of decorating but if I had an endless flow of money I would probably end up with a much more Art Deco-centric theme in my house as we did when we lived in my favorite house of all time (the Beaver Street house). Over the last 9 years we have had to shed a lot of my deco furniture (our wonderful bedroom set literally wouldn’t fit in our first Oregon house – couldn’t get it through the hallway – stupid ranch style house).

I was so tired yesterday. I thought I would take a “mental health day” and do nothing. But I ended up dusting and rearranging and pulling things off my living room surfaces and shelves. It felt so good that I decided to act on an idea I had the other day but was too tired to tackle: cleaning and rearranging the deco stag china cabinet. I even took out the glass doors and the glass shelf and cleaned them. It felt so good to do it. Once I got going I was able to scrape the energy to keep working because it felt so good to take care of my most treasured possession. That’s self care, my friends.

 

As a total side note completely unrelated to this post: I now know for certain that I much prefer Canon cameras above all. My Panasonic camera has a Leica lens and everything but it simply isn’t as good. My next camera will be a Canon.**

*Still total crap compared to antique pieces.

**I only use good quality point and shoots. I have a DSLR Canon but I dislike having to change lenses and I dislike the size. I will probably go for a Canon G-series.