12 Pieces of Life Advice For My 15 Year Old Son

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1.  Bathe often and with soap.

2.  Make brushing your teeth the first and last thing you do every day.

3.  Your penis can be the greatest source of pleasure and also the source of many shitty painful tedious STD’s. Enjoy it, but also protect it with condoms.

4.  You’re a warrior in spirit, so understanding, collecting, and learning to use weapons is a natural thing for you to do. There is no shame in enjoying a good weapon’s mechanisms and actions. You may be surprised to know that your mom is also a warrior spirit. Just know that the greatest weapon you possess is your mind and conscience working in tandem. Real bravery is being able to resolve conflicts with no weapons or shed blood.

5.  Always ask for help when you need it. There is no shame in asking for help. Everyone needs help sometimes. Most of us need help often. Anyone who says differently has rotting skeletons in their closets.

6.  Don’t kill people for any reason. I’ll still love you if you do, because being your mom is uncomplicated in that I will love you no matter what, but I won’t bake you cakes with metal files in them to help you escape prison and I won’t ever think it’s okay that you kill anyone for any reason. But I’ll still cherry pick the best lettuce leaves for your salads.

7.  Before you leave home be sure you know how to make your favorite foods. This is important for your survival.

8.  Keep your mind open to new ideas. The minute you close it you begin to calcify and grow stupid. You’ve got such a bright smart sharp brain, don’t waste it by shutting it off to new thought.

9.  Don’t pee on public transportation or you can never run for public office or look anyone in the eye ever again.

10.  Always share your change (or clothes, blankets, food) with homeless people. I only say this as a formality. It makes me proud that you always give your change to homeless people who ask for it, and you do it without judging them.

11.  Always know where the water and gas shut-offs are where you’re living.

12.  Never go anywhere without paper and a pen.

 

62 Things That Keep Me Up At Night

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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 Morning After Stage of Life: Unsolicited (but sound) Advice

hard partying Wendover

I’ve entered the harsh morning-after stage of my life and I’ve got some solid advice for those who haven’t crashed on the floor of their youth yet to wake up with worms in their mouths and strangers drinking from their sinks:

1.  If you don’t have a strong sense of curiosity, you better cultivate that shit before your brain mummifies in the arid desert of your disinterest.

2.  If you hate insects you but your dearest dream is to become an entomologist – you’ve got some crazy-ass wires not connecting in your head and it’s time to find a new dream.

3.  There is no situation in which giving up your autonomy of person to another person is going to pay off in empowerment and anyone who promises that if you give it up to them you’ll know true love/power/spirituality is lying their power-hungry asses off so they can take your light off of you. Walk away from those assholes and fight like fucking hell to hang onto yourself.

4.  If you’re allergic to shellfish, don’t eat shellfish motherfucker.

5.  Always trust your first instinct.

6.  Sometimes the people who reject you because you’re not perfect have herpes.

7.  The trick to motivating yourself to do things you don’t want to do is realizing that most of the things you don’t want to do aren’t as bad as being shot in the gut by a 9 mm bullet and left to bleed out in an alleyway full of human excrement and cockroaches.

8.  No matter what else is going on in your life or how much things are falling apart – ALWAYS BRUSH YOUR TEETH IN THE MORNING WHEN YOU GET UP AND AGAIN BEFORE YOU GO TO SLEEP.

9.  Fake mustaches fix nothing. NOTHING.

10.  Always be kind to homeless people. Even if they’re panhandling and you haven’t got any change to give them, look them in the eye, tell them you haven’t got anything and wish them good luck. Smile at them. Statistics can prove that that could be you one day.

11.  The most precious commodity you can possess is the ability to see beauty through people’s vast imperfections, both physical, mental, and spiritual. Walk through your day with the humility of a human who knows its own small shadow and be open to seeing gorgeousness in all the humans you pass. If you can’t see physical beauty in the unconventional faces and bodies, you’re fucked. You’ll never see the hearts and experience inside of them.

12.  Be kind to people who hate board games, they’ll be loyal to you for life if you never pressure them to play and you don’t own a gun.

13.  Everyone has to break at least one promise they’ve made. The human who hasn’t done so simply hasn’t gotten there yet. It’s healthy to feel remorse about it. It’s healthy to move on. Learn to give yourself a fucking break.

14.  If forgiveness isn’t part of your life ethos then you’re a fucking asshole to yourself more than anyone else. This isn’t my first harsh morning on earth and I can tell you that forgiveness is the greatest gift you can give to yourself and to others.

15.  Guilt is useless if you don’t learn from it and move on. It becomes a corrosive self indulgence if you let it take the wheel of your Mustang.

16.  Pretty sure even Jesus curses mosquitoes, so don’t sweat it if you find yourself cursing bankers, double standards, and weak beer.

17.  Always dress and undress in the proper order.

18.  STOP MAKING NOISES THAT MAKE ME FEEL HOMICIDAL.

19.  You feeling horny and no one wants to get funky with your body? MASTERBATE, DON’T RAPE!

20.  You like polka dots and stripes and plaid and you want to wear them all at the same time? YOU’RE PRETTY MUCH MY KIN AT THIS POINT AND IF THAT SCARES YOU – IT REALLY SHOULD!@!(*^&^e$&$#$%%*(&^(*

21.  If you’re in a city where a natural disaster has struck and you aren’t helping the older folks get supplies, I’m pretty much going to have to kill you.

22.  Develop your own yardstick for success. From scratch. Preferably from an organic 50 year old piece of drift wood you found on the beach.

23.  Don’t expect the people who love you to support your crime spree.

24.  If you know how to pirouette, don’t hold back! Do it in the rain, do it in the Walmart parking lot, do it for yourself when you’re alone in your room and in deep despair and your heart is breaking – pirouette your fucking toes off for all of us who can never stand that tall or spin like that.

25.  Write your own eulogy. If you don’t do it someone else will and they’ll find a way to mention gonads even if you don’t have any just because it’s all about them anyway and your spirit can’t rest with that bullshit floating around the pulpit.

25.5  Love. Just love everyone the best you know how, including and especially your absolutely wholly flawed self. You’re beautiful, you freak.

 

Thursday Thoughts: an unnumbered list of thoughts

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Every garden is full of vignettes. Tight little scenes that have a life of their own. This is my favorite one in my garden.

List of Thursday thoughts as they come into my head:

My head hasn’t felt this clear for months. Which is funny because it’s actually still congested with a cold.

I just found a black bic ballpoint pen and I have no idea how it got in my pen jar. I NEVER use black bics. Ever. Only blue. So that’s pretty weird.

I got a pound of lye in the mail yesterday and my first thought was how hard it must be to buy enough lye to dissolve a whole human body without being noticed. Unless you have a business that buys industrial amounts of it for seemingly legitimate reasons.

Scared to have to find a new job. I don’t want one. I want to make fabulous potions that people buy enough of that I can stay home and make them and write and my family will still be okay.

My tooth problems are one of the reasons we need me working or making a living. Even with dental insurance I can’t afford the crown I need nor the wisdom teeth pulling.

Max wants to drive up to Tahoe for a night to see the snow. He doesn’t have a coat or snow boots.

Max’s grades are dropping. Normal teen thing or is he in need of help? I don’t have a strong line to draw in the sand about when grades require intervention. I was mostly a C student and tons of pressure didn’t improve those grades. I’m not a believer in punishing kids for mediocre grades. I think I’ll talk with him about this though.

I just got really stressed out looking up hotels in Tahoe for an overnight trip to see snow on Spring Break. We can never seem to afford to take Max to the snow since we moved back to CA and we promised him we’d take him. A friend just suggested I check to make sure there’s actually snow in Tahoe right now. It didn’t occur to me that there wouldn’t be.

I hate how easily I can be sunk with anxiety. It qualifies as a superpower I think since my ability to go from totally happy and calm to anxious-ridden-worm-hole-brain super powerfully fast. Which I can and often do.

I had a perfect Wednesday with my friend Sharon. We looked at roses and had coffee together. I brought two clippings home of favorite roses, one of which is no longer commercially available. Today I’m going to put them in pots to root them.

Feeling better now. I’m going to try and convince my guys to take a little trip to Salt Lake City to visit friends instead of snow for spring break.

I don’t love dishes but I always feel better after I’ve done some.

I’m still not happy with my company label. I’m not quite sure what it is. It doesn’t quite grab my attention the way other product labels do. I need it to be compelling. Can’t afford a designer for this but need advice.

I’m going to go transplant a sick rose and start a few seeds.

See all you tomatoes later!

A Thanksgiving List: 2014 Edition

window view GJ

It’s Thanksgiving today, my very favorite holiday. I don’t like how it originated so I don’t celebrate its origins (celebrating the abundance the first illegal immigrants stole for themselves from the current citizens right before obliterating them all with firepower and disease, lies and savagery)

women in waders

Helloooooo Colorado, baby! What I wouldn’t give to see this calender full of men in waders and their underwear. Not because I like to see men in their underwear, I don’t, but because I’m a seeker of balance in the universe.

The reason I love Thanksgiving is because it’s a day previously set aside to gather with loved ones and be thankful for whatever it is you have, however little or much. Like all holidays, it comes with a sting to those with no food and no shelter and no family. Unlike other holidays, it’s easy to include the wanderers, the lonely, and those with less than yourself. It’s easy to gather people in and share. It’s secular, it’s classless, and if you embrace the spirit of it instead of the origins of it – it’s raceless too.

Naturally, the beauty of this day has been increasingly diminished and swallowed whole by the nasty materialistic voracious appetite of Christmas. Just another proof of the evil that happens when a country embraces its political structure as a religion. Capitalism destroys everything sacred eventually.

I will not let all that bullshit ruin my enjoyment of this day. Those of you who participate in shopping today and tomorrow are temporarily dead to me. I have no space for anyone who shits on something meant to be simple, peaceful, and un-materialistic.

Here, then, is my official list of things I’m thankful for right now.

An Exhaustive List of the Things I’m Thankful for Right Now:

Kitchen faucets. That’s right, a lot of people in the world do not have this simple luxury and when you don’t have one you discover just how awesome having a kitchen faucet is. It’s fucking brilliant to have running water in the same room you prepare your food.

Coffee, bitches! I’m thankful for coffee. Hurts fewer people than the dirty diamond trade does but is still a luxury I enjoy that’s very hard on the planet. If I had to choose between having diamonds (what?! I love diamonds! Just because I have very few of them and don’t mind having very few of them doesn’t mean I don’t “ooh” and “ahhhh” when I see a really fine piece of diamond jewelry) or keep drinking coffee, I would pick coffee every time.

My little family.  I like having a small family. Today it’s just me, Philip, Max, and my mom with a short visit from one of my closest friends, Chelsea. We rarely cook the traditional foods and we eat late. We do what we want. I love my little family so much!

My friends. I am rich with friends and that is something I never take for granted. I’m not always the best friend a person could ask for but I truly do my best to be there for mine when I’m not mired in my own crap. Thank you all who stick with me even through the thick black mud of chronic depression!

Wild turkeys. The appreciation is mutual as they can sense I don’t picture them in my oven slathered in butter roasting in their own juices. We have a lot of wild turkeys here in Santa Rosa and I love them. I look forward to seeing them and when I do I stop and chat. It’s nice not caring what other people think. Turkey’s are huge fascinating birds that could claw your eyes out with a single swipe. I mostly think none of you deserve to eat such majestic birds if you aren’t brave enough to look a wild one in the eye and catch it with your bare hands. They also make hilarious sounds. Seriously, any day I run into the wild ones is made infinitely better by them.

Having a job. I don’t want to have to have a job outside of my home and my writing. It’s okay if my bosses see this. It’s  natural to wish that I could spend all my time doing the things I most want to do. BUT – we were in a pretty bad way recently, trying to keep up with bills and necessities. I even went a few days without coffee just to save some money and getting work in this economy is really tough for old broads like me. I’m so thankful I got a job working with excellent coworkers.

My potato-doneness-checking fork. The thing about having OCD, even a mild case of it as I have, is that objects can become singularly important in your daily life without you meaning for it to happen. I have a potato-doneness-checking fork now. I didn’t before. It makes me laugh at myself, which is good. I tried using a different fork to test the doneness of my potatoes and couldn’t. That’s right: COULDN’T. A lot of aspects of having OCD aren’t funny, but this one is. I have a dedicated potato-doneness-checking fork, DO YOU?

The Daily Show. I’m really mad every time they go on vacation. Because I’m selfish and need them to help me laugh through the horrors of the world I live in. They take an unconscionable number of vacations.

Social Media. That’s right, I’m thankful for social media. Without it I wouldn’t have access to so many other points of view outside my own and those of my small community. I wouldn’t get to hear about the issues and struggles people experience in different parts of our country, from different cultural backgrounds, and to hear directly from people of different races and nationalities. My understanding of my fellow human beings is greater because of this direct access to other people’s personal stories. I have done a lot more listening in the last few years than ever before. My life is richer for it, my ignorance slightly less appalling.

Water. You all know I love beer almost more than life itself, but a little known fact is that I also drink a lot of water. A LOT. I love drinking water. I have a pitcher through which I filter it. So many people in this world do not have access to clean water. Many people have limited access to ANY water. It’s one of the most important life-giving resources and I recognize how lucky I am to have constant access to it even living in a state that’s in the middle of a major drought.

Television shows. I still don’t have cable but we have Hulu, Netflix, and Acorn. Between these three outlets we have access to a lot of television shows. I love television. You people who proudly claim to not watch or like TV, good for you.* These days most television shows are, in my opinion, better than most movies  being released. Right now I’m re-watching The Gilmore Girls. I’m about to be temporarily burnt out on it so I’ll probably start rewatching Fringe. I woke up thinking that the perfect show for Thanksgiving is the last season of Fringe. Post Apocalyptic fiction goes really well with a day of thanks.

My mums. My mom is a wild and rare person. She’s creative, loving, and has a generous spirit. She’s also really weird and to keep things real – she has been known to drive me a little nuts from time to time. I can tell you that I have also been known to drive her nuts from time to time as well. Today is her birthday. I am thankful to my mom for raising me with a broader sense of spirituality than most of my peers were raised with. I’m thankful that my mom accepts that I’m different from her and is gentle with me regarding my foibles and shortcomings. I’m thankful that my mom has embraced Max’s weirdness too. That she spends time with him on his terms and they laugh and enjoy each other. I’m thankful that my mom loves Philip so much. Sometimes it’s really irritating, but mostly it’s wonderful. I’m thankful that my mom helps us out in every way she can. I’m thankful that she’s one of the biggest fans of my novel. I’m so fucking lucky to have the mom I have. Happy birthday mom!!!! I love you!

Dental floss. BEST INVENTION EVER. Maybe better than electricity. I would rather live by gas lights and candles than live without dental floss. This is the number one modern product I intend to stock-pile if I ever get crazy enough to start stock-piling things against the possibility of an apocalypse.

Avocados. Perfect food. I miss them. I haven’t had one in weeks. I am having withdrawals now. I need some fucking avocado back in my life! WHY ARE THEY SO EXPENSIVE RIGHT NOW?

Beer. I wish it was the 12th century when people were sometimes paid in ale because water was so undrinkable (you know, because of all the dead bodies floating in it and such). I don’t really wish it was the 12th century. That was not a nice period of time. The architecture was pretty great. The clothing was pretty weirdly cool. One of the worst times to be a woman, though.

A still house. No, not a still. Oh, sorry, I’m stuck on the medieval theme now. People used to have still houses where they dried their herbs, brewed alcohol, made medicine. Cadfael had one. Fictional characters get all the best shit. I am kind of turning my office into a still house. Sort of. Maybe this coming year I’ll clear out more craft stuff to make more room for herbs and dried flowers and potions.

Books. One of my first loves in life. Books are still one of my very favorite things and I’m thankful that people still write them, all kinds of them. I’m thankful people still read them. Not just fiction but nonfiction. We need our histories and our instructional books. We need all the road-maps to our humanity that books preserve for us. Book burning is one of the most evil things humans can do. Snuffs out shared knowledge, stories, perspectives. I want more diversity in books, more of the whole world in books. Books are powerful. If they weren’t, people would never burn them.

And now it’s time for me to get dressed and clean the kitchen and make some food. This has been my meditation of thankfulness. I hope you all have a fantastic day, full of love, shelter, food, and friends.

*Also, stop being pretentious whores.

28 Semi-random Thoughts on a Thursday Night

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(This episode of #fieldnotes captures my week in emails perfectly.)

1. I’m thinking in list mode. Every thought is part of a list that’s part of a greater list that’s part of a series of lists that makes up the master-list of my life.

2. I smell like cedar and roses and contemplate my tombstone options: She Were Woodsy ‘n’ Shit, Fought the Good Word Fight and Lost, Saw Your Soul Through Your Underoos, Bitch-Slap Incarnate.

3. Settle on “Bitch-Slap Incarnate” and wonder what I should say in my own ghost eulogy.

4. Spent so much time writing emails to the high school on Max’s account. Constantly trying to find the justice between my wild child’s poor behavior and the poor behavior of his teachers and an institution so denuded of financial support there’s little room for individual thought or need. Here is my child hungry for learning, hungry for discussion, debate, hungry to fill his head with facts… and two of his teachers have raised my IRE by being pretty shitty in the communication and teaching department.

5. This week’s emails to Max’s school has inspired in me the desire to write a handbook for Max on how to not be an inadequate adult.

6. I have always enjoyed instructions on how not to be things. They strike me as being more honest than guides that promise BEING things. “How Not to be a Douche-Copter”. “How Not to Win at Life”. “How Not to Crush Other Human Spirits”. “How Not to Kill Your Enemies”.

7. My hands have been going numb a lot lately. It’s probably carpal tunnel syndrome.  Or stage 4 cancer of my hope.

8. It gets increasingly difficult to hope for anything in the face of war, guns, hatred, racism, general and other specific types of bigotry, hatred, bloodshed, firearms, greed, power-hungry fuckers, desecration of earth.

9. Watched a fierce documentary about tribes deep in the jungles of Papua New Guinea and was stunned with the gorgeousness of untouched humans. Then pissed as fuck because misogyny seems to have been the first bigotry humans ever cultivated.

10. And then I see the penises wearing sharp horns and for the first time in my life I understand the innate power of pasties.

11. How much cooler would strippers be if they replaced their pasties with horns!?

12. I can’t process people thinking that killing other people’s family members is a just price for their own freedoms. It’s nothing more than sanctioned murder. Murder or genocide, depending.

13. There are people in this country who wonder how a person without faith in God can possibly have a strong moral center. I want to punch them for being such ignorant fuckers, but I don’t because my moral code dictates that punching people is a violation of their personal safety and is wrong even if they’re confirmed ass-wipes. My moral code dictates that I behave in a manner that promotes peace and respect, or at least peace.

14. Forgiveness is both a decision and a process. Forgiveness is something you choose and then practice because it takes time to achieve. To not forgive is a determination made by an individual to hold onto resentments, anger, hurt, pain. It isn’t necessary. It’s a choice we make at so many points in our lives. To not forgive is to nurture toxic clusters of pain in a willful manner.

15. I’m pretty sure Max’s English teacher is choosing to hang onto the belief that he intentionally hurt her. From my communications with her it sounds a bit like a manifesto to hold him accountable for an old pain he didn’t even know existed. She won’t even fucking talk to him about how he hurt her feelings, like a fucking teenaged girl.

16. If she hangs on long enough she can become a nail-and-hammer carrying martyr.

17. When I was growing up my parents somehow managed to instill in me (against my will) some deeply Buddhist principles. I find this amusing. An ex-Catholic and an ex-Jew had us kids “Ohming” at their Buddhist alter in a family circle so many times and I rolled my eyes and railed against their “fake” religion and yet, and YET, it seeped deep under my skin so pervasively I could never actually disconnect myself from the basic principles of it.

18. Still, I am nothing. Nothing in particular. Nothing organized.

19. I will never align myself with dogma.

20. My biggest non-secret is that I despair for the human race every single day of my life but also harbor such unwarranted hope for humans and I resent it every time they disappoint me, show that my hope is misplaced, make me ashamed. Then I wake up and it’s there, like a buoy, this inextinguishable hope for us all. It’s what I try to crush after every disappointment. After every act of cruelty, every injustice, every crime against humanity. I try to crush it because it costs me too much. I can’t afford it.

21. I am a paradox of treasuring order, rules, morality AND acceptance of chaos, individuality, and circumstance.

22. I have forgiven my aunt for what she did to my mom. I won’t invite her back into my life, because I’m not masochistic or stupid, but when I search my heart I find zero resentment or bitterness there for her. I wish her no ill. I hope for all the best for her. Not the fake pretending to forgive version. I told her I would forgive her because I believe in forgiveness. But I also told her it might take a long time.

23. Forgiveness is a process. A process I constantly engage in and hope that others do too because I’m a deeply flawed human being and make mistakes and commit social gaffs on a pretty near constant basis.

24. Some people might say that I believe in idealistic hippie peace crap. I don’t believe in fairies, magic, or God. I believe, when pressed, in nonviolence, harmony, love, peace, but powered by the proof Gandhi provided that nonviolence can, in fact, topple a continent infected by oppression.

25. Okay, yeah, I’m hippie spawn. The world needs us, us children of the pot-smoking bone-fide protesters of the previous generation as the origin story of our super-powers.

25.5. That last sentence is one hell of a mess but I’ve decided to leave it as it is.

26. I have the thick, wide, iron-clad thighs of Black Panther, but I wear red lipstick when provoked.

27. If you don’t have the imagination for peace and forgiveness, you’ve let your river of pain take over your shores and it will suck your heart into darkness.

28. A big game hunter followed me on Twitter and I want to yell at him for being such an asshole of a human being. I hope the elephants and tigers and bears and rhinos hunt his game-ass down and share pictures of him on a plaque with their facebook friends.

 

100 Things About Me

bad intentions

100 Things You Probably Already Know About Me:

  1. I’m an atheist but if I didn’t think Jesus was a made up person I would probably have enjoyed drinking with him.
  1. I’m all the things you expect a liberal to be: pro-choice, pro-civil rights for ALL people, anti-war, anti-guns, anti-violence, anti-Rush Limbaugh.
  1. I’m a feminist who doesn’t hate all men, just the misogynist ones.
  1. Fringe and Firefly are my two favorite shows of all time.
  1. If you need a gun to make a point or resolve an argument you are the biggest fucking coward on earth. Fuck you.
  1. I think people who hunt animals should not be allowed to do it with guns. I think they should have to do it with bows and arrows and spears. It’s a lot more fair that way and really earns you your meat.
  1. I do not like the human race at all. I’m rooting for the earth to take itself back from us.
  1. But while we’re still here on earth I will not judge any individual  based on the following factors: race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, gender, or taste in music.
  1. I WILL judge you on your actions, for good or ill, how you treat me, how I see you treat others, but more than all of that: how you treat animals and insects.
  1. If I could have chosen my own race I would have chosen to be half black and half Asian.
  1. I’m not a kid person. I don’t like “kid friendly” things. I don’t like childish behavior. I hated being a child. This does not mean I hate children. I just don’t like spending time with them much and watching them smear themselves with food is one of the grossest things in the world.
  1.  I don’t like most things other people think are fun. Please refer to this list for a full explanation.
  1. Beer + Cheese + Potatoes = Trifecta of Holy Goodness
  1. I think Russians and their language are way sexier than the French and their language. Putin has put a damper on my love of Russians but some day he’ll put his shirt back on and let Russians discover a new despot.
  1. I want to tour the country to see all the abandoned mental hospitals and prisons I can find.
  1. I love hanging out in airports. I always make sure I get to airports with plenty of time to spare so I can sit around writing notes about other people and read trashy magazines. Sometimes I sit in the bars and drink beer and pretend to be Bukowski.
  1. I want cars to be outlawed. Cars and trucks. I want everyone to have to walk, ride a bicycle, or a scooter, or a motorcycle.
  1. I want the 2nd Amendment repealed.
  1. I hate warm weather. Sunshine makes me angry unless it’s also really cold out.
  1. I love growing food, herbs, and flowers. They love the heat and sunshine so I try all the time to make peace with this.
  1. I loathe guitar riffs in music.
  1. I have frequent nightmares and have been having them since I was a kid. I call them my “other life” since I spend so much time having them and not sleeping well.
  1. I am mentally ill. I have Major Depressive Disorder, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, and mild OCD.
  1. Do not tell me how I can fix my mental illness with whole foods and exercise. 20 years of whole foods (how I was raised) and lots of exercise did not prevent me from being suicidal or really sick in the head. Psyche meds are an important part of maintaining my mental health.
  1. Gluey muffins make me almost as angry as people evangelizing their pet diets.
  1. I have a favorite fork.
  1. I love processing large quantities of food for preserving. I find it both fun and it satisfies my OCD.
  1. If you really truly want to freak me the fuck out – drink a big glass of milk in front of me and then talk so I have to see the phlegmy spit tendrils in your mouth. (Oh god, just writing that makes me want to fucking hurl)
  1. I’m emetophobic.
  1. The quickest way to make me suspicious of something is to tell me how certain you are that I WILL LOVE IT.
  1. I love cats. I like dogs.
  1. If I could live anywhere besides where I do, I’d live in Scotland.
  1. My favorite author of all time is Mary Stewart.
  1. My missed calling is as an anthropologist.
  1. I once made a Chinese coworker named Bruce excessively angry insisting that humans aren’t superior to ants and that we do not have the ability to measure their intelligence so we can’t actually assume they don’t have any. It really fucking bothered him. I thought his head would explode.
  1. I think the Mormon religion is one of the most surreal of all religions. And there’s a lot of stiff competition in that field.
  1. My life will not be complete until I’ve looked at a live syphilis culture with dark field microscopy.
  1. If you ever trick me into going to any place where karaoke happens we sill stop being friends.
  1. I hate surprises.
  1. I LOVE spoilers.
  1. Serial killers fascinate me but thinking about them keeps me up at  night and then I have nightmares about them.
  1. I want to know EVERYTHING.
  1. I’m not a very sexually motivated person. I mean, sex is great, but it’s not everything.
  1. Tomatoes are one of my favorite things to grow and eat.
  1. I want 100% separation of church and state.
  1. I love taking photographs. I’m good enough to have gotten two professional gigs but don’t want to do any more.
  1. I consider myself a documentarian. It’s what writers, artists, musicians, and photographers do.
  1. I drink my coffee black with no sugar. I like drip coffee. Strong but not gritty.
  1. The smell of whiskey makes me sick to my stomach.
  1. I want to have a micro pig for a pet but I object to the kind of hybridization that makes animals into specialized pets for humans. Plus they’re super expensive.
  1. I want to have a regular pig but my family will never let that happen.
  1. I love cooking but I don’t like baking. Except for bread. I like baking bread.
  1. I need a tremendous amount of time by myself to recharge. I never get enough.
  1. I have social anxieties that I’m very skilled at hiding so as not to expose them to others.
  1. I love the word “whore”.
  1. I love wearing men’s shoes and clothes and before I got fat I looked really good in them.
  1. I do not have a sweet tooth.
  1. I haven’t smoked a cigarette in a decade but I still love the smell of fresh cigarette smoke. I still hate the smell of stale cigarette smoke.
  1. Poor mouth hygiene freaks me the fuck out. Brush and floss, people!
  1. I hate eating at busy restaurants. I hate drinking at busy bars. The noise level gives me anxiety.
  1. I love bagpipe music.
  1. I love accordions and I have one named John.
  1. I still think of myself as blond even though I haven’t been blond since my hair darkened when I was a teen.
  1. I hate my feet. I want to cut them off. But then I’d have shitty prosthetic foot problems.
  1. I have a love/hate relationship with sewing. I love designing and making my own clothes except for when I don’t.
  1. I do not eat at buffets.
  1. I don’t like eating flowers.
  1. I hate shopping for clothes and shoes.
  1. I love grocery shopping. Grocery shopping in foreign countries is one of my favorite things to do.
  1. I have more pet peeves than there are gun-hoarding Libertarians in Oregon.
  1. I’m a socialist (the Nordic model, to be specific).
  1. Blind patriotism and fervent flag waving is all empty of meaning unless you are willing to hold your country accountable for the treatment of all its citizens as well as its global activities.
  1. I’m obsessed with people’s height. It’s one of the first things I want to know about a person as if it can give me some kind of perspective – like how we’d look standing next to each other in a police line-up.
  1. Freaks me out when grown-ups smell like candy or bubblegum.
  1. I like diamonds and pearls and art deco settings.
  1. I hate inspirational sayings, memes, tweets. They make me want to punch things.
  1. I’m not a very sentimental person but I’m excessively empathetic.
  1. I love foraging for wild food like nettles and elderberries.
  1. I was raised from birth as a vegetarian but when I grew up and experimented with eating fish and meat I chose to continue being a vegetarian for many reasons – but the biggest one is that meat and fish make me want to throw up because the taste and texture is so awful.
  1. Kale is the antichrist. (I used to like it okay until it gained such a fervent and virulent following to the point where people massage it before eating it)
  1. I hate the Halloween and Christmas episodes of all shows. They are always selling the same sachrine bullshit moralistic miracle-farts masquerading as magic and wonderment. Fuck that shit.
  1. I also hate all holiday movies. ALL OF THEM. Okay, except for Love Actually.
  1. I hate puppets. Puppet shows make me angry and want to rip holes in felt things like puppets.
  1. My favorite smells are sandalwood, roses, and citrus.
  1. I haven’t got any interesting fetishes and I’m totally cool with that.
  1. I get along great with both men and women and have both as friends.
  1. I once was trapped in a van with two conservative Christian Republicans who bragged about shooting a bear led out on a fucking leash and tell loving stories about Rush Limbaugh. Never came so close to jumping out of a moving van.
  1. I was not a popular person in McMinnville Oregon.
  1. I’m a Saturday Night Live nerd. But only from season 25 to 37.
  1.   My biggest celebrity crush is on Jon Stewart.
  1. I don’t understand racist white people who are obsessed with tanning their skin.
  1. I hate it when women detectives or government agents on tv shows wear stiletto heels and do chase scenes in them. STUPID.
  1. I hate doing laundry. I hate folding it and putting it away too.
  1. A Frenchman once called me a socialist because I think cock fighting, dog fighting, and bull fighting are all evil. But he had a terrible hair cut, so I don’t care.
  1. I believe that the punishment for rape should be the same as the punishment for murder.
  1. I think any state that makes abortions illegal should have to pay for every child’s cost of living, health care, and education from the moment they are born until they reach adulthood.
  1. I think the punishment for crimes against animals should be the same as for crimes against people.
  1. You definitely want to be friends with me during an apocalypse.
  1. I never wanted to be a dancer.
  1. I drive a Vespa and I love it.

Their “Fun” Versus My Fun: 2 Lists

steel braid

I love taking photos of details. This was part of an overpass. This is my idea of fun, to go out and about looking for interesting things to photograph.

empty shells 1This picture represents two things I think are fun, photographing weird things and shelling fava beans. My kind of FUN.

Things Other People Think are Fun:

(things that make me super stabby)

  1. Balloons
  2. Al fresco dining
  3. “Amusement” parks
  4. Board games
  5. Vegas
  6. Card games
  7. Role Playing
  8. Karaoke
  9. Sports (all)
  10. Dancing (all)
  11. Dinner theater
  12. Kite flying
  13. Playing with children
  14. Parties
  15. Group activities
  16. Organized activities
  17. Piñatas
  18. Shopping for shoes
  19. Tea parties
  20. Concerts
  21. Performance art
  22. Parades
  23. Mime acts
  24. Caroling
  25. Pranks
  26. Madcap adventures
  27. Clubbing
  28. Themed things (parties, parks, events)
  29. Carnivals
  30. Parlor games
  31. Magic shows
  32. Circuses
  33. Trivia games
  34. Jokes with long setups
  35. Motor-boating

Things I Think are Fun

  1. Wearing black in summertime
  2. Getting caught in the rain
  3. Going out to lunch alone
  4. Bantering with people I don’t know
  5. Riding my Vespa fast on country roads
  6. Researching communicable diseases
  7. Drinking beer with friends
  8. Shelling favas
  9. Cracking walnuts during winter
  10. Hanging out with my family
  11. SNOW
  12. Traveling alone
  13. Writing notes about strangers in my notebook
  14. Watching shows with my family
  15. Geeking out with other geeks about the things we mutually geek out about
  16. Hand stitching
  17. Playing opera full blast when I’m alone
  18. Canning food
  19. Making herbal potions
  20. Hanging out in airports
  21. Planning for any kind of apocalypse
  22. Making lists
  23. Visiting plant nurseries
  24. Visiting U-pick farms
  25. Grocery shopping
  26. Hanging out in pubs
  27. Long vigorous walks
  28. Rowing boats in a thick drizzle
  29. Going to farmer’s markets
  30. Visiting feed stores with chickens
  31. Digging up potatoes
  32. Hanging out in coffee shops
  33. Photographing weird things
  34. Throwing punches (into punching pads, obvi)
  35. People watching

127 Things That Freak Me Out

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Things That Freak Me Out

A List

For Sharon Who Wants Me to Make This Into a Book

For the purposes of this list it is important to understand that what I mean when I say something “freaks me out” is that it causes an irrational panic, involuntary physical shudder or turn of the stomach, general distress, or in some selected cases an alarming bridge-jumping anxiety.  Most of the time you will never know I’m freaking out or diverting a panic attack.  In some cases it’s obvious why I might be anxious about something – like when people wear white saggy tube socks – and in other cases – such as standing on cliff edges – your guess is as good as mine. 

I have generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, as well as misophonia.  So if you don’t have any of these things and you wonder what it’s like – this will give you a little taste of how uncomfortable a lot of ordinary things are to people like me.  On the other hand, sometimes I have a lot more fun than other people because everything is SO FUCKING WEIRD.

  1. Muscular spiders
  1. People drinking water or other cold beverages out of mugs instead of glasses
  1. Cheap poorly designed metal forks – I will admit that they offend me as much as they bother me to touch and eat with.  What excuse is there for poorly designed silverware?
  1. Returning merchandise – even if it’s faulty and clear that it should be returned and obvious that no clerk will fistfight me for trying to get my money back
  1. The sounds of people eating
  1. The sound of cotton balls being squished
  1. Vibrato singing
  1. Grown women who sound like little girls
  1. Putting clothes on in the wrong order
  1. Dull pencils
  1. People in socks without pants on
  1. Tube socks
  1. Saggy socks
  1. Baseball caps worn very high on the crown – very hard to resist the urge to blow on them to see  if they fly away
  1. Getting food from buffet situations – it’s not the germ factor, it’s something I can’t even explain to myself
  1. Group activities of almost any kind where someone calls them “group activities” – I can become ornery and dangerous when pushed to participate
  1. Spittle collecting in the corners of people’s mouths when they talk
  1. People wearing shirts but nothing else
  1. Turtlenecks – I’m convinced they will choke me to death the second I let my guard down
  1. Putting my hands in gloves
  1. When my skin gets really dry – makes me want to crawl out of it, as do many things on this list
  1. Feeling breath on my skin – so blow on it at your own risk and remember that I’m good with my fists
  1. The sound of people breathing – loud breathing in particular but sometimes it’s any sound of breathing, a very hard anxiety to live with
  1. Grown ups drinking milk – this is a sick and wrong thing.  It makes me shudder.  It brings to mind phlegmy mouths which ALL people get when drinking milk.  If you drink milk in front of my and then try to carry on a conversation I will either leave immediately or plot my revenge on you
  1. Pranks of any kind – you’ll be sorry if you play a prank on me and I die of a heart attack, though probably not as sorry as I’ll be
  1. Cutting off pieces of carcasses – in cooking applications.  I have never tried cutting pieces off of human carcasses or wild animal carcasses but I almost passed out cutting the tip of a chicken wing off
  1. The thought of people eating meat – philosophically I’m okay with it but secretly I find it really distressing
  1. Meat breath – it’s a thing people who eat meat get that I imagine only a lifelong vegetarian could smell but it causes me to back away
  1. The smell of fish – yes, even fresh fish smells like fish if you hate the smell of fish
  1. Finding half a worm on my dinner plate
  1. Using a cutting board that meat has been on
  1. Floss breaking in my teeth
  1. Visible tooth rot
  1. fuzzy teeth
  1. loose teeth – mine, yours, everyone’s – if you show me or you talk about it I will claw the walls to get away
  1. dentures
  1. getting dental x-rays
  1. cotton tubes the dentist stuffs in your mouth during root canals
  1. Squeaky noises
  1. people mindlessly humming
  1. people mindlessly whistling
  1. Repetative noises
  1. Competing noises
  1. long nails on men – especially when just a couple are long
  1. really long nails on women – it’s hard for me to stop fantasizing about what it would feel like to rip them off which makes me uncomfortable because things like that are called “assault” according to the law
  1. plastic surgery
  1. being pregnant – I still have nightmares about it
  1. other people being pregnant – for god’s sake don’t be offended, I have a very visceral panic about people being pregnant
  1. women having babies – the whole topic distresses me for a number of reasons both rational and unhinged
  1. overpopulation
  1. people who love having babies – I can’t even talk about this it weirds me out so much and presents the big unsolvable mystery of how I came to have one on purpose
  1. people who love spending all their time with kids – WHY? I can’t even talk about this
  1. People chewing with their mouths open
  1. crunching noises
  1. slurping noises
  1. squelching noises
  1. the feel of the shower water on my boobs – fuck you for being normal!  It hurts but it also gives me the same sensation that a snagged nail does
  1. dishes washed with dishcloths
  1. using someone else’s towel
  1. Taking off a pair of socks and then putting them back on – I have a lot of socks so I never have to do this even if I fail to get my laundry done at the appropriate time.  I don’t like to give you too much power over me or anything, but let’s just say that if you ever need to torture me for information, this is the thing to start with for guaranteed results
  1. Using pillows others have slept on
  1. snagged nail
  1. people I don’t know standing too close
  1. mullets – I have used exposure therapy to work on this and have used CBT to learn to “appreciate” them in the wild
  1. pants that are too tight – and no this isn’t because I’m a prude or an old lady
  1. Crossing bridges
  1. standing on bridges – because some day I’m just going to jump off of one the compulsion is so strong and creepy
  1. cliff edges in any situation – (see #67)
  1. taking plane rides
  1. being underground in close spaces
  1. windows that can’t be opened
  1. disco pants
  1. competition of any kind – I can’t handle competitive behaviors or games or sports or – you know – LIFE – anxiety is a real sonofabitch
  1. the sound of football games
  1. wind chimes – makes a black hole of nothing open up inside me when I hear them
  1. being aware of the moment you slip from consciousness to unconsciousness
  1. vomiting
  1. all things relating to vomit including the thought of vomit – emetaphobia is what it’s called
  1. Escalators – convinced I will be caught and killed by one some day and have never told anyone that before
  1. any unidentifiable rash, ache, pain, or medical mystery
  1. people who are super gentle and calm and quiet and never ever swear – I get the irrepressible urge to BREAK THEM which is a terribly stressful compulsion
  1. religion
  1. people yelling – PTSD
  1. hospitals
  1. being touched unexpectedly – come up behind me and surprise me with a hug at your own risk
  1. doctor exams
  1. any carpet that is tacked down to the floor
  1. wearing slippers
  1. the smell, taste, and texture of cold butter
  1. watching people put cold butter on bread and eat it
  1. wearing socks to bed – other people wearing them to bed also freaks me out
  1. wearing anything to bed that you’ve been wearing all day – particularly if such garments were worn outside
  1. dizziness
  1. nausea
  1. mayonnaise
  1. pulling – (oil as toothpaste and please let’s never talk about this again)
  1. the word giggle – makes me feel violent
  1. the word chuckle – see above note
  1. clowns of ANY kind – are there truly people out there who love clowns besides people who ARE clowns?
  1. balloons
  1. games of ANY kind
  1. magic tricks/shows
  1. Las Vegas
  1. potato bugs
  1. ticks
  1. anything that burrows under your skin
  1. stickiness on hands
  1. [redacted] – you can’t handle knowing about this one
  1. super saggy pants
  1. grown men wearing baseball caps backwards
  1. camel toes
  1. moose nuts
  1. kids with colds
  1. people spitting phlegm on the ground
  1. old sponges (more than one week old is pretty old)
  1. collections of teeth lying around – my child saves all the teeth he loses (see image at top of page) and I will suddenly see them and I can’t describe how it makes me feel which is why I can’t account for why it gave me so much pleasure to photograph them even though the whole time I was having the FEELINGS
  1. tongues –  all of them.  Let’s not talk about them ever again.
  1. gristle  – biting down on it, which I had the misfortune of doing when a relative who shall remain nameless forced me to try a hamburger (knowing I was a vegetarian kid) over 30 years ago and I’m still haunted by that experience
  1. Styrofoam squeaking – makes me want to kill people
  1. threads or fibers you can’t shake or get off of you no matter what you do – panic inducing
  1. flannel sheets
  1. sitting with my back to the door of a public place
  1. parties
  1. tasting condiments by themselves – don’t ever ask me to taste a spoonful dressing or dip please
  1. washing stemware and glasses in general
  1. sinks full of dirty water
  1. carolers – one of my most well-known anxieties

*Milk as an ingredient in baking or in black tea is fine.  Milk for babies is pretty much the thing mammals DO.  So those milk applications don’t bother me.

List of Favorite Books

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Favorite Books:

Do not confuse this with a complete list of all the books I’ve read because my imaginary sense of decency demands that I not intimidate you with my humongous list.  This is just a list of books that I’ve loved.

Catcher in the Rye – J.D. Salinger

Ordinary People – Judith Guest

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep – Philip K. Dick

Rebecca – Daphne du Maurier

Madam Will You Talk – Mary Stewart

My Brother Michael – Mary Stewart

ALL of MARY STEWART’s BOOKS.  Except for The Stormy Petrol which was feeble and annoying.  I don’t know what happened there.  Drugs?

The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood

Busman’s Holiday – Dorothy L. Sayers (and the rest of this series)

At least 87 of Agatha Christie’s mysteries.  Hated the one where the narrator was the murderer.

The Toll Booth – Georgette Heyer (and most of her other books besides the really tedious ones and none of the detective ones)

Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte

Perfume – Patrick Suskind

The Botany of Desire – Michael Pollan

The Once and Future King – T.H. White

Franny and Zoe – J.D. Salinger

The Mill on the Floss – George Eliot

A Room With a View – E.M. Forrester

The Color Purple – Alice Walker

A Relative Stranger – Anne Stevenson (not the poet)

Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams

Bird by Bird – Anne Lamott

The Poisonwood Bible – Barbara Kingsolver

Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen (so predictable of me)

Innocents Abroad – Mark Twain

The Scarlet Letter – Nathanial Hawthorne (read against my will and with intent to hate but was profoundly surprised at how much I got out of it)

The Heart is a Lonely Hunter – Carson McCullers

Vanity Fair – William Makepeace Thackeray

Another Country – James Baldwin

Brideshead Revisited – Evelyn Waugh

The Mists of Avalon – Marion Zimmer Bradley

Island of the Blue Dolphins – Scott O’Dell

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn – Betty Smith

Angela’s Ashes – Frank McCourt

Possession – A.S. Byatt

Every Single Nancy Drew book – smart girl + boyfriend named Ned, of all things + stylish clothes = the life I wanted to lead.  Though looking back I kind of wish the crimes were really greusome instead of being gentle like Scooby Doo plots.

A Great Deliverance – Elizabeth George (and most of the Lynley series until I got too sick of Lynley and Helen’s stupid dysfunction and gave up on them)

Hieronymus Bosch series – Michael Connelly

North and South – Elizabeth Gaskell

Travels With Alice and Third Helpings – Calvin Trillin

Kurt Vonnegut.  (Here I am forced to admit that I did all my Vonnegut reading when very young and LOVE his work and I had a very favorite but no longer remember which it was.  And I’m not in the mood to reread them all yet.  His humor, his politics, his “advice” make him a writing hero of mine.)

The Eden Express – Mark Vonnegut (!!)

Bridget Jone’s Diary – Helen Fielding

Knots and Crosses – Ian Rankin (loved the whole Rebus series)

Those were the ones I could think of in an hour.