Tag: friends

My Place In Everything is Small, but Absolute


My step sister Stephanie took this picture of me and my brother Zeke and it’s one of my favorites of all time. That’s our dad in the background.

I have just turned 45 years old. I may not know that much, but I have a lot of thoughts about what I DO know:

People who are outwardly weird and unwholesome haven’t got as much to gain by hiding their darkness as outwardly wholesome people do. People intent on shining a light on their own wholesomeness nearly always have a dismembered body in a freezer in the basement.

My place in everything is small but absolute.

Even so, my hope that humans will delight and surprise me rises fresh every single morning no matter how hard I’ve sworn the night before that we should be lit on fire in a magnificent purifying funereal pyre.

Humans are highest on the food chain but also highest on the virus chain. We’re definitely not “ALL THAT”

My opinion of humans as a species has never been lower than it is today.

Balance in all things would be my religion if I had to claim one. So if I want to find enlightenment I must try to achieve balance. This presents many challenges to a person of exuberant opinion who shrinks inwardly at confrontation in spite of seeing the truth and the heart of things excruciatingly clearly and knowing my place in everything.

Your place in everything is small but absolute too.

Everything that happens was meant to happen or it wouldn’t have happened. I’m not saying there’s necessarily reasons for everything, just that if you think there’s such a thing as intention in the universe or God, AT ALL, then you can’t simultaneously believe that someone “wasn’t meant to die” or that someone “shouldn’t have struggled the way they did”. What you really mean is that you’re super fucking sad that something happened and you don’t want to accept the reality.

Swearing is a brilliant pressure valve. I will evolve my swearing as I age to take advantage of the most cutting edge way of blunting my rage and having a good time with it. I will also periodically plumb language history to dig up and use ridiculous ancient expressions of rage and coarseness.

The least lovable human trait is bigotry. The most lovable human trait is non-violent expressions of protest to stand up for what is honorable and empathetic.

WRONG. The most lovable human trait is love itself.

You are me and I am you. We are all of us inextricably linked together via mitochondrial DNA. Get the fuck over it already.

I can see worms in the hearts of humans, and where there are worms there is rot. I would like strew sweet herbs across us all to dry out the rot and heal the wound.

I am a person forged of wild contradictions of spirit. I believe in peace and nonviolence with all of my skin and bones yet I also see myself as a warrior.

The passion and rawness with which I might describe my wishes and feelings is not always the same force that dictates my actions. Give more weight to my actions than my words.

I’ve met people who act as flashlights on the darkest nights, though they rarely know it. People whose smile alone can make a room incandescent with hope and love, though they rarely know it because they aren’t smiling for themselves but for YOU. They’re smiling because they see your potential straight through your skin, right through your heart.

That’s the person I want to be, the one lighting the way through the dark for others.

I might be too soggy to provide fire for the shivering but I’d like to think I might have a warm enough blanket to wrap them in.

That is all.

Peace, my friends.

But more than that, LOVE.

Lemon Blossoms Quieter Than Me

lemon blossom

As a family we’ve started down a road of volunteering to help feral kittens become adoptable. I can’t speak for Philip but I can speak for Max and I: we care more for other animals than we do for our own species. We understand and empathize with other animals more than humans. Tomorrow we’re going to a foster training and may come home with a feral kitten to care for and socialize. I imagined I’d end up working a soup kitchen as my other deepest conviction is that my hands are made for feeding people. Yet this feels most right.

I don’t know how Chick, Penny, and Pippa will feel about it, but I think in some way this will work. If not, we’ll regroup.

My garden is in chaos. I have one whole bed of sprouted garlic and one that has yet to be planted. A month and a half late. I haven’t planted any favas yet. I find I can’t get that riled about it. My day job is draining, the way they are. I don’t know what I would have done if my mom’s surgery hadn’t gone so well as it did.

I have to stop and be thankful it went as smoothly as it did.

I don’t know what I would have done if I hadn’t gotten the job I did.

I have to stop and be thankful for that too.

I don’t have a hard time being thankful for the small things. There are so many.

I’m cleaning out my life. I spent this evening going through sewing crap. I’m at a point where I only want to have enough supplies on hand to make my immediate projects. I don’t want a life of sewing. I want a life of writing.

I’ve been trying to get myself to sit down here since the last time I did. When I sat down tonight I had two comments awaiting mediation on posts I wrote a while ago. Posts that have resonated with quite a few people. It reminded me why I started writing in the first place. People need truth-tellers. People who will sear themselves on the grill of life as examples. People who will throw themselves into the fray and report the pain, the pleasure, the weirdness, the resulting questions.

This time of year is MINE. I’m a winter bird. This is my season. This is my weather. This is the time of year I’m most alive, most alert, most happy. I haven’t been reporting much, haven’t written much, but I’ve been alive with possibilities.

I’ve been thinking a lot about coveting, about wanting, about bitterness. I’ve been thinking a lot about how much bitterness I sowed. That I used as my soap. I understand how easy it is to succumb to a path of regret, of envy, of darkness. I’ve been there. I was there for so long. I like to think I was constantly seeking light, but because I recorded it all in real-time, I don’t have the luxury of self-deceit. It’s all here in the archives.

But for all I have sunk so low, sunk to the turbid bottom, dwelt where the silt was thick and the air scarce, I tried shedding the psychic weight at every opportunity. It took a long time. But I did it myself.

I don’t believe in regret.

A belief that has been tested again and again.

Listening to bitter people reminds me of the fruitless tree that grows in that soil.

It doesn’t matter what other people have. What luck, what opportunities appear to drop in their laps. When you focus on other people you dilute your own power. Whatever that is.

My power may never turn to gold. I’m okay with this now. My life may constantly be filled with financial stress and struggle.

It’s okay. I’m going to meet it as best as I can every step of the way, as honestly as possible. Sometimes I’m crazy-tired but I won’t give up dreaming possibilities. No part of me is perfect.

Those experiences that brought the bitter to the surface enriched my life. I wouldn’t take them back if I could. I don’t want to go back to them, though. I’m still traumatized enough that I’m afraid of dreams that take me back. But I understand why I had to go through it all.

I’m not a quiet or complacent person but I want to be a person with peace in my heart. I’ve met someone so humble, so spiritually beautiful without actually seeing herself that I have been reaching harder and asking harder where my spirit dwells and what’s in my heart. She’s got no agenda, she’s got no evangelism in her at all. She’s Hindu and vegetarian and such a beacon of light to me. She shines. She’s a bright kindred spirit.

I’m not a quiet or a complacent person but I want to be a person with love in my heart above all other things. Love that comes not from blind observance but from empathy.

I have that much to give.

On a base level I know that the reason I got the job I did is so that I could be warmed by my new friend’s light. I needed to feel that from another person. A person praying to an unfamiliar deity for the same enlightenment I seek as an atheist. I needed to hear an intelligent woman, a rational yet empathetic woman shine herself through my uncertainty.

She wears no mantle of obligation to me. She has no idea the light she’s shining on my path and I think she’d be embarrassed if I told her, if I tried to explain to her her own light. She wants no glory, she wants no spotlight. So I keep her name to myself because I don’t feel I’ll ever have permission to throw it across this page.

Finding glory is nothing, it’s meaningless. Finding your spirit mostly whole in the rubble of your toppled house is everything.

ADDED THIS MORNING: I failed to mention that part of why I have been thinking about such things as coveting other people’s material things as well as their apparent good fortune is because of a few people I’ve had to listen to lately cultivating bitterness like it’s a righteous garden. Being jealous of other people’s cars and homes as though those things are every person’s right to have in life, and suggesting that the people who have the things you wish you had don’t deserve them as much as you do or thinking they didn’t struggle enough or work hard enough to have them – it’s an ugly and unproductive view. While listening to this covetous bitterness I was reminded of my own periods of bitterness and how hard I struggled against it.

I don’t want to be one of those people who is always looking at what others have and feeling envy. I’ve talked about how hard it is to see other authors get book deals and agents and to have actual careers writing. What I’m practicing doing is a) celebrating the successes and triumphs of the authors around me, and b) keeping my feet on my own path and asking myself what steps have I taken today to get closer to my own goals?

Lastly, I am focusing on recognizing my own good fortune when it happens. This month I sold 27 salves thanks to my bit of good fortune in being included in that post on The Kitchn. When Christmas is safely past me I need to properly thank the two people who made that happen for me. It’s been such a happy rush getting new batches of salve made and sent out. It has caused me to see my way forward more clearly. I took advantage of the fresh energy around my salve and came up with some inexpensive good ideas to increase my apothecary sales and grow this into a viable source of income that would allow me to also have time to write.

Maybe it won’t pan out, but that’s not the kind of thinking I’m investing my time into. Being me, the anxiety and self doubt is always close by pushing in at my edges but for the moment I’ve been managing to acknowledge that it’s there and yet as it pushes in, I step aside and let it pass.

It’s like being the water instead of the dam. It’s about using your adversary’s energy against them instead of your own. Apparently it’s a Kung Fu kind of morning.


In My Hands

pretty coverI can’t stop smiling right now.  You can’t see it because I just got it and haven’t photographed it yet, but I not only got the paperback edition of my book in the mail this weekend (as seen above), I also have the hardback in my hands.  This book represents 4 years of work.  Two for the writing and one for the rejected submissions to agents and this last one for Philip to edit and prepare all the files, Sharon to paint the cover, endless hours of research into the best self-publishing platform to use, and then Philip (again) laying the whole thing out.

I’m going to share something surprising with you.  I think I’m more proud of this book having self published it than I would be if a big publisher had taken it on.  I’m not saying I wouldn’t be superlatively thrilled to have had it taken on in the traditional way, but this is how I usually do things best – on my own.

(Except for the selling part.  fuuuuuuuuck.  I’m going to have to promote this book like my soul is on fire.)

If I had gone through a traditional publisher I wouldn’t have been able to have my friend Sharon paint the cover.  Authors don’t actually get to have a lot of say in their book cover design.  I can’t imagine my book having any other cover than the one Sharon Painted for it.  My dear and incredible artist friend of 23 years.

ma book in motion

Shut up.  You might have prettier thumbs than me but your toes are probably squat and foetid.

This is my book.  It’s not for everyone but I think it’s for a lot of people.  You definitely want to get to know Cricket and Grey.

I think you should know that I’m listening to “Only You” by Yaz because I haven’t been able to stop listening to it since hearing it during my Fringe-Binge.  This is adding to my happiness factor.

chapter four

I can smell figs splitting in the heat while sitting on our old wrap-around porch in Ashland Oregon reading books all summer in the moldy wicker chairs.  Those were the most delicious moments of my summers as a kid.  I did a lot of running around with friends, down in Lithia park and at friends’ houses, but my favorite thing was to read around the corner from the front door smelling the ripening figs and getting lost in books.

I don’t even like fresh figs.

And all of you old-time readers of my blog have helped me get here to this place.  You helped me navigate through hell and back, you encouraged me and held me up through such dark times.  Knowing you were there was sometimes what got me through the day, that I wasn’t shouting into an empty universe was such a buoy.  You listened to my every twisted thought, deviation of character, and told me my insecurities were bullshit.  You listened to me freak out about Safeway COUPONS and how they’re the fucking devil and I’d (apparently) rather starve to death than wrestle competing coupons for a living.

Thank you.

I want to list all the names of the people I know have been reading and supporting me but then that would sound like an Oscar speech and that’s not becoming to a completely unknown author.

But listen up: I believe my series will become a movie some day and I’m already designing the outfit I’m going to wear to the premier.  If you can imagine something you create a path to achievement.  My friend Sean Bonner said it best:

“It’s a mental scaffold”

Those of you who know me well must know that I’m already feeling spooked expressing such happiness and hope – what flying bricks of shit am I unleashing by allowing myself to feel so much confidence?

I’m going to shut up now.  Before I spoil the magic moment.

I want to give all of you this feeling for yourselves if you don’t already have it.


All of you.  Seriously, I’m not drunk, I’m just feeling a whole lot of love and gratitude tonight.  It will pass.  But before it does I think you need to understand how much your support has meant to me over the years.  When I was wishing I could go to sleep and wake up just before it’s time to die – you all made me get up and keep looking for the light.  When I was excited about things I was doing, I couldn’t wait to tell you.  When I was brutally honest you all gave me a net to catch my terrified spirit and then you thanked me for being raw.  When you told me something I shared hit you in the solar plexus, it gave me purpose and made me feel connected in all the ways that matter.  When you told me I was your lifeline I felt honored and useful on a molecular level.  So now I’m going to say your names real quiet-like.  I might be missing a few and if I am I’m going to feel dreadful when I realize it.  You know who you are, I think, but I need to say your names tonight.  I might never end up amounting to much in the world at large, but you all have amounted to a lot in my life:

(Taj, Jay, Emma, Robin, John, Jin, Pam, Melissa, Laura, Laurie, Angela, Diane, Lonnie, Jen, Aimee, Sarah, Tonia, Kathy, Riana, Nicole, Lucy, Skye, Ann, Renee, Alice, my other Sarah, Erin, Tarrant, Denise, Nicole, Kelly, Amy, Jess, and Monica.)

Twentieth Century Girl in Southern California

I start this post with Grace’s shoes because all posts about Southern California should start with a fine pair of strappy sandals.  Everyone knows I don’t do strappy sandals but I think Grace wears them very well.  I absolutely love the toenail polish!  If you want to see more of Grace’s style you should hop over to her blog What If No One’s Watching? (and she’s doing a giveaway right now too!).  Grace is everything I wished I was going to grow up to be: six feet tall (okay, I was aiming for 6’3″ and stopped a little shy of it at 5’7″), stylish, smart, funny, and completely down to earth.  Plus she has the best laugh EVER.

The panels I went to this year were great, as I expected them to be, especially the one about writing book pitches.  I have one tiny complaint and this goes out to all panel speakers: I would like to see your face when you’re talking to me please!  The whole time this panelist talked this was my view (though often I saw even less than this).  I do understand that sometimes they need their laptops to do their presentations but pushing it to the side would be helpful.  It has been suggested to me by more than one person that I am perhaps not appreciating the 21st century lifestyle that includes live-blogging, being connected online even while trying to connect with actual live people… I accept the criticism.  I think it’s true.  My expectations are very 20th century.  I’m not dissing anyone who hid behind their laptop, I’m not saying they didn’t still give plenty of value, but I’m sticking with my wish that when I go to see people talk I actually get to see them.  I traveled 900 miles to hear what all of them had to say.  I still think the quality of information and discussions was very high so please don’t hate me for having that one little complaint.

This picture is for Skye because she asked for it even though I told her it was not a good one.  Skye took a ride down the sidewalk in Liz’s wheelchair sitting on Liz’s lap.  If I’d known they were going to pull this very funny stunt I would have run to the bottom of the hill and got a much better snap of it.  Or caught it on video.  It was so funny!  Alas, once I saw what they were going to do it was all I could do to search my capacious bag for my camera and get this one.  So this is for you Skye!

When there are hundreds of people swarming all around you for two or three days and then suddenly they’re all gone it’s eerie.  I like ghostly spaces like empty theatres and empty stadiums.  Think of all the asses that sat on those seats.  Do asses have their own ghosts?

The Amtrack train station in San Diego is in this gorgeous old building.  I would like to live here.  The windows reminded me of the living room window of my old stucco early thirties house.  Which always gives me a little stab of pain but then I remind myself that everywhere beautiful I’ve been allowed to live is an experience to be celebrated.  I’ve been lucky in that way.

As is my usual habit I couldn’t help but watch the sides of the tracks for dead bodies.  I always do that on trains.  I was slightly distracted by the ticket-taker from hell who was mean to a little kid, sharp, impatient, and basically accused me of lying about moving seats at one point (I hadn’t).  It was a tense ride from San Diego to Los Angeles with all the passengers (adults) terrified of the blond terror, but I forgot all about her when we stopped for passengers in San Juan Capistrano.  This was my view out the window and it is eloquent of everything that is good in California.  The old mission style architecture, the bouganvilla spilling itself all over the state, and the light which, when it’s not making me angry, is beautiful.


My Glamorous Life and Friends

Croce’s restaurant.  Grace took us out and they showed a great deal of care in serving a table with severe allergies.  The food was great and I had such a great time eating with Grace, Skye, and Laura.  I had potato “lasagna” with heirloom tomatoes, ricotta, a wee bit of goat cheese (!!!), and a little tomato “coulis” which is fancy talk for a smooth tomato sauce.  I also had their Greek salad and both were excellent.

I love this picture of Skye and Grace.  She just arrived at our meeting corner (not doing tricks) and we were enjoying Grace’s glamor.  Plus there was fun talk about the obvious details Angelina doesn’t notice.

I kept trying to get a great shot of them walking because Grace, Skye, and Laura were all looking gorgeous and I wanted to catch star quality shots.  Sadly, my camera doesn’t catch action shots that well.  Still, don’t they look like movie stars?  Or very important people?  Or at the very least: people you want to know?

Can you believe that fabulous dress Grace is wearing?!  Best dress I saw at the whole conference.

Please observe Skye’s cute shoes!

The San Diego Convention Center is huge.  Colossal.  Very corporate feeling but I totally appreciated its design when looking out at this view.

Skye and Liz both have fantastic smiles.  If I had a fortune they could probably peel it from my fingers with those smiles.  I didn’t do them half justice.

Those glasses are so chic I couldn’t stop staring.  Luckily Grace knows me or she might have been tempted to clock me for being a creep.  Her whole style is enviable.

Laura is the lady that got me my job with Blogher but this week was the first time I’ve ever met her in person.  We’ve known each other through our blogs for about five years.  It was such a pleasure to finally meet her and get to hang out and eat amazing food with her.

I have more pictures and I will load more up as I process them.  Tonight is my last night of vacation so I’m going to sign off and watch some cable while I have a chance.  Time to come home to my regular life!

Gifts Come in Every Noise and Every Skin

Gifts come in all shapes and sizes.  They come in every noise and every skin.  They come with wine and they come with water.  They come in black and white and technicolor sunshine when you’re blind with sleep.  They wear the morning; words like dew on bitter tongue.  You can’t know what packages they will come in or what spice they will wear when they cross state borders and choppy oceans to reach you, battered and disfigured with the mystery of abuse.  They come saturated with the minutiae of love for you to open and be amazed.

Connectivity is a contradiction between a delicate reaching of mind and sweaty hands, grabbing dirty hands.  It is an endless chain of creation a million hands are grabbing and holding fast to through hurricane and mudslide.  A rope that chafes while it protects.  Connection ignites the the pile of tinder built in the center of our chests.  Connection is matter turning into other matter.  It’s a gift.  What connects is more than voice or note or convenience or weather or place or race or money or language.  What connects us also eludes us constantly.

The best you can ask of yourself is to offer pine-cones when they’re the most beautiful and available objects within reach.  The best you can ask of yourself is to see every object, every light, every voice, every rock, every thorn as a potential gift.  Sometimes for yourself when you’re crimped between the brambles and the quack-grass with the desperate tears of loss.  Sometimes for friends who’ve blossomed in the light of your happiness and broken under the weight of their own sorrow.  There is sugar in tiny mosses and twigs, fairies dreaming something to replace the tears.  And the gifts for strangers may seem the most impossible but it will come to you without thought or heavy head how to give the milky waxy gardenia in your hair to the rent boy passing you, seemingly impervious.

No one is truly impervious who has skin.

Perhaps fortune is thin on the ground these days.  Jobs are scarce.  Money is mean.  no one can afford to lose an inch but we’re all losing miles every minute anyway.  Still, there is something to wait for, something to wake for, something to drink for every single day.  There are always gifts, naked to expectation.  There are always gifts, climbing the graffiti up through the chain-link to open air.  There are always gifts, no matter how they’re wrapped or torn or broken or bruised or flecked or stamped or canceled.

Will you recognize them from your dampened morning pillow?  Will you see them from your window, looking up at you from the alley full of prostitutes and syringes?  Will you accept them with your grace, in any condition, and be thankful to have them at all?


Writing Crisis Management

It doesn’t look like an action shot, but it is.  See the tiara falling?

One thing I have learned in my life is that you need good friends.  Maybe you only need one, or two, but you need them.  This is universally true for everyone.  Even if you aren’t a crazy writer like myself prone to sudden evil bouts of self annihilation, you will at some point require a bit of Crisis Mangagement.  This is not something you can do yourself.  It requires that a very firm hand (not your own) comes in from left field with a smack worthy of Joan Crawford that lands in your face and shocks some sense into you.

Or possibly a less violent version of Crisis Management would do the trick, but it must be firm, swift, and merciless enough to freeze your rising hysteria.

I have such a person who happens to be only slightly less mad than myself, a stalwart friend and fellow writer who, from her gorgeous blog full of pretty things, you’d never imagine could execute such a tactical blow to one’s head.  Angela talked to me at great length on Sunday during the worst of my writing and personal crisis.  The crisis was not as sudden as it may have appeared but its force was pretty breathtaking.  Angela spent at least an hour IMing me (what a modernist I really am) and I knew that all she said was sensible and to anyone less intent on implosion, must have made me feel instantly better.

It didn’t.  Because I had to feel bad just a little longer.  However, all of Angela’s words, and the warm care she offered in friendship did get through to me and when I was much calmer I was left with some homing questions to answer and some reassurance that I’m not suited to a life as a grave digger or steel mill worker.  Once I stopped crying (I suppose this was my annual crying jag) all her words did their work.

Even better than that she read my last version of chapter one and the newest one to compare them and offer her own opinion, which is very trustworthy.  It turns out I was right.  The newest chapter is a piece of crap compared to the last version.  (She did NOT use such words, those are mine)  The outcome is that she thought all I needed was to add a very FEW more pieces of information to set the whole story up than I have now and might possibly benefit from a prologue.  In fact, her verdict was very encouraging.

Conclusion: trust my gut or I’ll rewrite the entire book into one huge festival of pulp.  She gave me some practical suggestions on how to achieve the goal and I have taken notes.

She also asked important questions:

  • Why do I feel it’s so important to finish this book right now instead of letting it rest and starting a new project?  (Hold the phone!  I have to write more than one book?!)

This was the most important question of all.  I have been pushing and pushing myself very hard.  What’s the rush?  Other than my middle age being upon me and knowing that getting anything published (unless you do it yourself) is a torturously long process, I need to have one finished book to be actively submitting to agents and publishers.  I need to write the kick-ass query and since it probably won’t be kick-ass going out of the gate, I need to practice.  I want to practice with a real finished project.  While working on the next book I need to have one to be actively pushing.  I can’t bear to have a string of unfinished books with nothing to show for the unbelievable amount of hours I’ve put into them.  If someone says “You wrote a book?  Can I read it?” I want to be able to let them read a manuscript that is good enough for an editor.*  Once I have an editor ready manuscript to work at selling I will be fine having several unfinished projects to work on.

  • Most authors don’t get their first or second book published but more likely their third or fourth (point is, it takes a lot of practice for most authors to write something good enough to get printed) so am I pinning all my hopes on this one getting published?

I am NOT.  This book will get published.  It will get published because I believe it needs to be in print and available for people to read.  If no publisher will take it on I will print it myself later on and make it available in very small numbers directly through me.  I don’t expect this book to be snatched up and if it is published by a publisher I don’t expect it to make me a fortune.  That would obviously be very helpful, what with my house and health care situation, but I have very low expectations as far as that is concerned.  But I’ll tell you what- I do think it will get published and I do think if it gets a chance and any publicity at all, it will do reasonably well.

  • Am I going to freak out like this every single time I have to write a third draft and if so, can I please provide chocolate for the event?

Yes, I absolutely anticipate freaking out every single time and I will try to be more thoughtful next time and provide chocolate.  I tried to be one of them new-fangled mellow authors who aren’t hair pulling mental cases with a strong taste for liquor, but I am, it turns out, quite traditional.  (Though beer is my poison of choice, not something more awesome like whiskey or gin)  Apparently I have a writing breakdown that makes me want to engage in very bad behavior like punching windows out with my bare hands or throwing my laptop from the roof about every sixth chapter.

My advice to you, if you are a writer in the classic style, is to have a writing friend with infinite patience and the calm good sense to talk you out of smashing your laptop with that hammer you keep swinging around.

*I don’t propose to get my manuscript to what I would call a “perfect” place because the second and editor gets their hands on it they will change things and force a clean up of the most minute details, there is no point in agonizing to that degree before it ever gets in the hands of an editor.

All Night Writing Jags: otherwise known as “the death of me”

Yesterday doesn’t exist for me.  I blot it out as the lost day.  Day of no brain.

Oh, except that when I woke up at 11:40am I hustled my butt out of the house in a completely unwashed state to get on my bicycle and meet two good friends for a brown bag lunch on the library benches.  I didn’t inform them that I was unwashed but I’m pretty sure I couldn’t have looked less dubious than if I’d just gotten in from 24 hours of travel with an unintended overnight layover at JFK with no where to sleep.  I looked that good yesterday!  I didn’t actually have time to make my own lunch which I had intended to do so, like a modern day moron, I stopped by the “health food” store downtown for a sandwich.

My sandwiches are so much better than theirs.

I had a lovely chat with Lucy and Nicole about dreaded symphylans (a terrible soil pest the Pacific Northwest is noted for) and how it has been recently discovered that potatoes are poisonous to symphylans but symphylans are as attracted to eating potatoes as diabetics are to buckets of sugar.  This is a completely useful discovery because now instead of having to not plant anything in your symphylan-rich ex-strawberry bed for years, you just plant potatoes.  The symphylans feast on your potatoes and die and the soil is cleaned up.  I forgot to ask Nicole if symphylans are tasty to eat.  Can I eat the potatoes or will they be rendered disgusting?

I wouldn’t want to blot out my great lunch.

The problem with yesterday is that I stayed up until 4:30am on Sunday because I’m a middle aged party animal.  There was a keg, underwear on the flagpole, and several Tom Cruise worship stations.

It would be so awful if anyone actually imagined that in their heads.

I have been experiencing a little writer’s block, apparently.  I have all the information I need to get moving with my third draft of Cricket and Grey* and yet I have not been able to begin the rewrite of chapter one.  The rest of the book needs polishing and cleaning but chapter one needed a complete rewrite.  So on Sunday I woke up and said to myself “I will not go to sleep until I have written 5,000 words into chapter one” and promptly got busy writing a post for Stitch and Boots instead.

One pm rolled around and I had to chain myself to my desk and shut down my blogs and just get to it.  And I did.  It took me at least 4 hours just to write a second paragraph which I ended up scratching because it sucked.

Truth be told, the whole rewrite of chapter one is pretty questionable.  The main thing is that I held myself accountable and I did not go to sleep until I had written 5,034 words.  I crashed into bed (full of beer too because I couldn’t keep the brain ticking without it) and didn’t wake up the next day until almost noon.

I went to bed at eleven last night with the idea that I’d get loads of good sleep and wake up early-ish to get my job done so I would have a little time to get right back into the novel writing.  I did not get good sleep.  I had nightmares in which I couldn’t breath while trying to catch very bad people doing very bad things.

I’m not exactly rested.  For some reason, I am feeling just fine anyway.

I already said this on facebook so some people have already heard me express concerns about this, but I want to say here that I don’t think it was a good idea for Prince William to give Kate his mother’s engagement ring.  I’m all for handing family jewels down and for not buying new diamonds when there are plenty of antique ones to buy on the market, but I think if you know a ring was given to a woman by a man who didn’t love her and who went on to have a long term affair with another woman, and if that recipient of the ring went on to divorce the man who gave it to her (after having her own affairs, incidentally, being far from innocent in the “marriage”) and then died in a car crash with a controversial lover, maybe that isn’t a ring with the best luck.

It seems that the royal wedding is getting a lot of people twitterpated.  That’s all I have to say about that.

Max’s school is working out really well.  We’re on week three and he hasn’t started the whole “I hate school” discussion we used to have every day.  He comes home pretty happy, tells me he isn’t getting in trouble, and goes to his room to work on his animation.  My boy is animating his violent stick figure cartoons!  It’s amazing!  So now he spends about half the time playing video games that he used to and spends that time MAKING little videos.  It is way too cool to see his passion, which many view as a negative soul destroying activity, be turned into a creative outlet for him as well.

I think there’s a bigger life lesson in here: whoever you are, whatever your passions may be, there are positive, neutral, and negative ways to channel and express them.  So instead of worrying about the interest or passion itself, find a healthy way to channel it.

Warriors can find ways to express their need for combat that don’t have to involve hurting actual people.  For the record- I am not one of those people who thinks video games are evil.

But I will say that if Philip sat around playing video games all the time I would not be very attracted to him because grown men who spend most of their free time playing video games are a serious turn-off to me.  It makes them seem adolescent and I’m not interested in feeling more like a parent to my spouse than a contemporary.

I am about to ride my bicycle to meet Max and Philip for a doctor’s appointment.  It’s gorgeously sunny but cool out.  My whole day has been elevated in status from pretty good to pretty fucking fantastic because a close friend of mine who I ADORE but don’t see often just randomly stopped by and brought me an enormous bowl of eggs from her mother’s chickens.  Most are the sweetest small banty eggs like we had growing up from our little Cochen banties Molly, Madeline, and George.  It’s not the eggs that truly elevated my day but my friend’s gorgeous smile and the surprise of seeing her.

Chick was beside herself with excitement because Laurie profoundly loves animals and Chick knows it.

I hope you all get the equivalent of a bright visit from a friend or a bowl of homegrown eggs or just a little dose of sun if that’s what it takes to make an okay day become something wonderful!

*Which is not what the actual title of the book will be.  That’s just what I call it now because I don’t have a title yet.  I’ll tell you what it WON’T be called: Moon Over Minneapolis.