Tag: life

A Brand New Chapter Begins

entering sf

Two days ago I was desperately sewing dinner napkins for my Etsy shop and starting to panic about paying bills.  Today I am a Lady of Leisure.  Philip’s current workplace made him a counter offer to get him to stay with them and they actually offered him what he asked for.  Which means that I can become a full time writer.


The relief I feel is incredible.  The stress I have been feeling for ages, that has felt bottomless and crushing, is lifted.

Life is so weird.  I’m not closing up my sweatshop operations because we still owe thousands to the IRS and it’s not like Philip is making so much that we’re on easy street.  In fact, he’s basically just made up for what I earned at my last job.  Which allowed us to be paying bills and go out to dinner once a week and buy shoes when needed.  Which is really all I ask for.  Also – our rent is going to go up significantly if what we’re trying to work out with the house situation really works out.  So in order to ever get ahead we need to pay off the IRS.

My plan is to do a bunch of sewing in the next couple of months, use up some of my stores of fabric, make cool stuff and hopefully sell it.  Once I reach my goal of paying off the IRS I will stop sewing.  But I will still do cards with my anonymous card service and I will make booklets and a few other things like that.  While doing this I will set aside time to work on the next Cricket and Grey but it will be part time until I stop sewing for the store.  Then I will set myself full time writing hours.

This is my dream.


Jesus!  I’m actually going to be able to devote myself to writing novels.

Seeing as how the universe has just handed me my dream – I guess I better take it off of probation.

As a side note – I think it’s funny how I always talk about “the universe” as though it is a being with feelings and opinions just like people talk about God.  But I don’t actually believe the universe is a being of any kind.  Honest, I don’t.  I truly don’t believe in higher powers.  But it does make it easier to deal with life’s vicissitudes if you can blame your whiplash on someone or something.  It makes it easier to talk about and definitely more fun.

Wouldn’t it be funny to write a novel about modern woman suddenly stuck in a historical romance novel?  It would be similar to Lost in Austen in concept but instead of getting trapped in a well written classic novel it would be a cheesy bodice ripper novel where men are menacing and mysterious and say stupid stuff and make sexy poses all the time.

Well, it’s time to get this day going and do some sewing and stay out of the heat and start my life as a full time writer.


Monday Blues

man shoes

Some days are made to remind you that ice picks have a long and infamous history of extra uses.

I’ve got a husband who stumbled home today at noon with extreme dizzy-ness with an improvised barf-can taken from work where he actually vomited up all his coffee and water.  Much speculation has ensued as to the cause while he has remained supine and intentionally blind.

It was hot.  A double sin in the Angelina book of good rules for the earth and people and sun to follow.  I live in an inferno – so this is to be expected about 8 months of the year.  Still, 82° is not my friend even though that’s so much less dire than, say, 115°.

It seems I am either having random hormone flushes consistent with peri-menopausal FUN or my meds aren’t working so well or I’m just a full time BITCH now because I want to strangle people today.  And yesterday.  But it’s impossible that I’m PMSing because I just finished my period last week.

My child hates his new gym teacher.  The honeymoon is over.  She made him feel bad and almost cry at his locker because he often needs people to repeat things and she has (allegedly) accused him of just not bothering to pay attention.  Apparently his math teacher hates him too (according to him).  His grade has dropped to a C- because I have been timing his homework sessions and she is not giving him full credit for the homework he finishes.  Which she’s perfectly in her rights to do.  But Max feels like crap that his grade has dropped.  Given a choice, though, he says he’d rather have the timed homework than not.  We are having irreconcilable issues between his needs and school rules.  There were tears.  There were fears.  Shit, sorry, I can’t help it if things rhyme and remind people of groups from the 80’s.

Then I compounded the sins of the day by informing my sweet son that it was shower night.

But none of this addressed my main gripe today which is that CVS is the most outrageously overpriced mecca of CRAP and I always manage to arrive during the shift of the slowest most manicured elderly lady I have ever met.  There was a four person conference in which I explained what was ailin’ Philip and explained that I wanted electrolyte tablets (back in the early afternoon when Philip still thought he was suffering adversely from an electrolyte imbalance brought on by a 189 extra miles bicycled last week) and the CVS pharmacist explained to the woman phoning him from the front of the store that even if they had the tablets (they didn’t) they were likely to irritate Philip’s stomach further which might cause more vomiting.  So the elderly manicure tries to convince me to buy their Pedialite suckers.

For a man who is 6’2″.  Fucking electrolyte lollipops for babies.  If he was indeed electrolyte deficient – how many lollypops would it take to right the balance of a robust tall man if the lollypops are made for people under 4′ tall and weighing less than 70 lbs?

There’s a math word problem in there for anyone who’s thirsty for some numbers.

I tried to explain politely that I don’t take medical advice from people with scary manicures who are trying to convince me to buy suckers for my middle aged husband.  My explanations were met with expressions of great pity and concern and also the opinion that if he was vomiting up his liquids then it was pretty churlish of me to reject the lollypop cure for more liquids which will almost certainly cause more vomiting and make me the WORST WIFE EVER.

When 3 or more people in any given store get involved in a discussion with me over what I’m looking for I can’t leave the store without buying something even if they don’t have what I’m looking for.  So I debated uncomfortably over the precious cost of 2 bottles of Gatorade that is cheaper to buy anywhere in town that isn’t a CVS.  I felt my intestines turn and bunch up because I really didn’t want to spend so much money on neon shite when I could be sending all that extra money to the IRS to get those pimps off my shoulders.  I could have just bought one Gatorade for $2.50 (a scandalous price) but I couldn’t fathom using my debit card for less than $5 so I lingered like a sociopathic ghost around the power-drink shelf until I decided to check out their sunscreens for Philip.  This caused me to have a minor stroke because they have only good prices on things if you have one of their cards – otherwise you have to pay through the teeth just for their store brands.

It’s a major racket.

All this milling about scrambled my already irritable nerves.  I finally decided on getting two Gatorades and then had to deal with the mournful discourse of the manicured lady.

I also bought a bunch of asparagus at Whole Foods for $7.88 because I was already undone from the anxiety and anger cocktail CVS dished up.  I better fucking like my precious asparagus.

I need a vacation from my life.

I need a vacation from myself.

The last few days I have not enjoyed being me.  I’m feeling itchy in my skin.  I’m not meshing with anyone around me – everything everyone is saying is making me feel wrong, like a freaky old Bukowski character with boobs (but less nude).  Why the fuck are so many people enchanted with*: babies, balloons, holidays, FUN, live concerts, music I hate, children, religion, parenthood, bacon, stupid diets, dogs, sunshine, fast cars, big cars, big houses, agapanthus, GAMES, Las Vegas, purebred anything, desserts, clowns, 6″ heels, sex, precious lifestyles, image, innocence, youth, porn –

Know what I’m interested in?  Okay, since you asked: what old women are wearing, roses, playing favorite songs on infinite repeat, tomatoes even though I suspect they are giving me heartburn, old people, middle aged people, vintage stoves, nettles, this question: where the fuck did Bukowski go when he died?, seeing my kid grow up, the “Thriftstore” song, watching ghostly mushrooms pop up in my herb pots, packing tape, chickens, crows, pigeons, swearing, people who never have kids, boots, life without charades, and card games that burst into flames.

Some days need to be icepicked in the cornea.

*The gist of this segment of this post is to express chagrin towards myself, not at others.  The question I’m fairly shouting is “WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH ME THAT I DON’T EVEN LIKE SUNSHINE?”  and not that you all shouldn’t like sunshine.  I feel grouchy and ogre-ish for not liking or being interested in what are obviously wonderful things to most of the other people I know.

These are Those Times

river reflection

There are times in life when you have to follow your instincts for the long haul.  When you have to eschew everyone’s anecdotes and calculate your own experience against the wall of human experience.  When you have to ask the hard questions and push when everyone else says to pull.  When you look in the mirror and see what you’ve become and don’t have time to be depressed because you’ve become exactly what your child needs.  When you have to believe your dreams even when no one else can see them with the clarity you do.  Or at all.

Ultimately I still believe that truth sets us all free.  Free to feel the pain we have a right to feel.  Free to behave badly when the ax brushes our throats.  Free to thumb for rides into a universe of danger and adventure.  Free to eat meager words of encouragement for sustenance.  Free to not die of heartache or fear.  Free to embrace our freak while simultaneously finding our tribe so we don’t feel so alone in the dark.

I know what I am.  I know who I am.  I see people with a painful clarity that I know is reflective of the truths they think no one can see.  The truths they need to believe that no one understands, and I always play along.  I cling to hopes for them I have no right to cling to.  I wrap wings around them that I burnt when I was thirteen years old that have become vaporous with memory and disuse.

I am the fattest person I know.  I’m wearing my shadow life on my bones.  I would apologize for my size if I wasn’t so busy holding so many people up.  If I wasn’t so busy trying to find the numb calm the knife used to give me.  I have had less to drink than I want and am coddling a hot cup of tea and telling myself it holds my burdens for me.

It doesn’t.  That’s just a lie I’m telling myself tonight.

Never mind the noise.

Never mind the ash.

Never mind.

There are times in life when you have to follow your instincts for the long haul.  When every aphorism is trying to fix you to the wall with industrial strength adhesive – pinning you to the Devil’s own inspiration board.  When everyone is trying to shill their religion because you are bent with pain and vulnerable to their promises of light.  Because they see your half-life and think they can outlive it.


Gather Such Crumbs As You May

burnt toaster crumbs bw

All the data on my laptop was mysteriously wiped clean and the computer tech guys have no clue what happened and couldn’t retrieve a scrap of data but my hardware is all in good shape and there are no viruses on my computer.  I have concluded that my laptop had a midlife crisis and went on a wild deleting spree.  Since I downloaded all my files onto my LaCie a month ago I haven’t permanently lost more than a month’s worth of data and pictures.  Which is a bummer since that includes all my notes on The Phlebotomists.  But considering how bad it could have been – I really have no right to complain and I am thanking myself for feeling guilty that I hadn’t backed anything up for months and so did it.

I think I’ve used this picture of crumbs before but I had limited access to my photos so this is what I found and it felt appropriate for my general mood which has been very dark.

I still have much to be worried about as big things remain unresolved and probably will for some time but I can’t live in a state of constant crisis-level stress so I’ve been trying to live more in the moment and appreciate the small things that are good in my life.

Max has been eating quite a bit better right now and this requires a lot of baking and efforts on my part.  He wanted gingerbread the other day and as my recipe doesn’t have dessert-level sugar in it and has a lot of blackstrap molasses – I am happy to have him eat lots of it.  I needed some Dutch processed cocoa and a lot of places don’t carry it but Pacific Market carries Drost and that’s the kind I like so I went to buy a box.  Pacific Market is a small fancy market where a lot of really rich people shop.  The rest of the clientele are non-rich locals buying just a few items here or there because it’s a wonderful market and convenient and locally owned.  Anyway – I used to shop there a lot more when we were doing pretty well when Max was still a baby.  It is within easy bicycling distance so when I needed something I would put Max on the bicycle and we’d pedal over to Pacific where everyone would gaze with amazement at Max’s platinum hair.  Often we’d get a treat at Village Bakery next door before pedaling ourselves home.

Monday was a really sunny warm day and I rode to the market on my scooter as I was in a hurry to get back to the kitchen.  I found the Drost cocoa and some milk (both priced quite dear) and back out into the sunshine I was hit with familiar smells and a barrage of happy memories.  The air was redolent of sweet blossoms, freshly baked bread, sunshine on pavement and a little wisp of eucalyptus – the smell of Santa Rosa and home.  In that moment my mood lifted and I remembered that a lot can (and will) go wrong with my life but being here is right.  We have laid down so many good times among the rough.  I have walked and ridden every inch of my neighborhood and some of the surrounding ones with my baby in tow living a pretty simple life back then in which I stayed home and gardened and cooked and wrote during Max’s naps.  My house then was (is) the best and prettiest house in the world and I loved every minute living in it even when we still had the fire engine red porcelain kitchen sink.

Even though we ended up having to sell our house and even though we moved away and had a somewhat wild and prickly adventure in Oregon, all the good memories are still here.  All around me.  Every day.  That’s what counts the most – all the good memories we generated between the tough times.

That’s what I’m telling myself right now as I try to force a panic attack back down my throat.

Clawing Through the Rubble Heap

cauldron of steam

My laptop is in the hospital.  I’m using Max’s for now.  Yesterday I turned on my computer and it announced that the computer had been shut down improperly and when it uploaded windows all my data and programs were wiped and the settings were returned to something I’ve never had.  It was super spooky.  Please don’t let this be the end of my laptop.  I can’t handle anything else right now.

Yesterday my right foot got really jealous of my left foot and the skin at the base of one of my toes cracked again.  The one that cracked the worst last time.  Apparently my skin can simply crack open at will.  Meanwhile – all this limping around is hard on my calf muscles and my back.

I have renamed myself Gimpy-Sue.

This past couple of weeks has been awful with this past week taking the goddamn cake.  We did get our car fixed for $620 or so dollars.  We opted not to fix something that wasn’t dire yet so it’s limping along just like I am.  I can’t comment on the house sitch.  My mom is really lonely without Nadia.  I have ordered orthopedic inserts for my one pair of shoes and they should get here in the next few days so hopefully my left foot will be in less pain soon.  Max has a very expensive pair of athletic shoes that have adjusted his foot “pronation” to make running and walking in gym more comfortable and he says it’s helping.  He also reports that his new gym teacher is not as much like a “drill sergeant” as his other one was.  So that’s good.  I still haven’t heard from the counselor about the email I sent on Wednesday concerning my plan for homework.  So that’s a nice tense bit of fun coming my way this week.  And today we face our tax situation.  We obviously can’t afford to get them done this year.  Nothing but fun ahead around here.

I’m going to bind my feet with athletic tape.  Or I might just cut them off.

All my garden plans are on hold.

I’m definitely not catching any breaks lately.

I am thinking I might address my kitchen this weekend once I  clean up space for Philip to do the taxes and set him up with all the paperwork he needs (that I can find).  I have completely lost my cooking mojo and I am certain it’s because of a need to clean out and organize my  cupboards  better so I can SEE what the hell is in there.  I have a rack thingy to hang for spices so I think I’ll do that.  I certainly can’t write or work without my laptop and I need to do something to symbolically clean out my head by cleaning out something in my environment.  Since tough times are ahead I need to be eating better and not lose sight of that and to do that I need to have a more efficient and well organized kitchen.

I also need to stay in touch with my future dreams.  Do you all know that I don’t have any plans to become rich?  What I want is enough security to be able to take care of my mom and us.  I want a house that no one can take away.  I want an income that’s big enough to allow us to live modestly much like we are now but enough to buy shoes when we need them and take a vacation (it’s been 4 years since our last family vacation) and I want healthcare that’s good enough that when bad shit happens to us physically it can’t destroy our savings or bankrupt us.  I don’t want a bigger house.  I don’t want much more than we have now.  I want enough money to be able to buy another used (but good condition) car in the near future.  I want to write books that sell consistently.  I want to earn around $40,000 a year as an author.  I want Philip to get raises every year he works and not lose this job because he’s really happy with his work.

That’s what I want.  My dreams are modest.  Except for the part about making my living selling my novels which is always an impossible dream until it isn’t.  You know what I mean?  May as well shoot for the goddamn moon.  I have to find a way to keep that aim of mine steady and clear in spite of the heaps of rubble falling all around us all the time.  That’s life.  That’s what happens.  You have to decide not to be buried.  You have to decide you will keep  clawing your way out of it even if it makes your hands bleed.  So I have to decide this and keep deciding this every single day.

I have to decide that I will not be bullied by life.

Or the people in it.

Or my feet.

As I was writing this a brand new bucket of rubble fell on our heap.  At some point it just gets ridiculous to mention each new bit of bullshit being heaped on us.  So.  Until further notice, just assume that each day brings with it a new pile and know that I will continue to complain just as much as I continue to claw my way upwards and work hard to NOT LOSE.

I only give up once or twice a day.

So what’s being piled on you these days?  Please feel free to complain loudly here – just shout it out in the comments. I’m listening…

The Last Summer Weekend

I have been buried underneath all my stuff.  I spent months getting rid of stuff – (remember?) – thousands of pounds of stuff and Philip comes back from Oregon with a fresh crap-ton of it.  How is it possible?!  I’ve been trying to get it all put away (or thrown out) and it feels endless.  That’s probably because at the same time I’m dealing with the house chaos I have also had to scramble to get Max registered for school which has been a huge effort.  I had to find some files which obviously required that I go through ALL my files accumulated from the last 12 years and clean that shit out.  OUT.  I’ve gotten rid of 90% of my old files.  I did find a few of the documents I was actually looking for while doing that big clean-out.  It felt great going through that stuff and tossing it.

Except that I can’t really toss it.  Now it’s a new project – it must be shredded.  We have a wimpy paper shredder but to use that for this shred job would constitute a considerable commitment in time which I don’t have so much of what with needing to get a 504 set up for Max, school starting on Monday, cooking to do, work to do, book editing, and I actually have a social life again…

That all sounds like complaining.  I’m not complaining – I’m just TELLING.  It’s been a bit mad around here, that’s all.  But not the same awful way it was mad before the move.  It’s all madness with good outcomes, foreseeable benefits, and results.  I have my curtains hung!  Our living room (very cozy tiny affair) is set up in what used to be the dining room.  My office is almost all unpacked!

I do want to complain about the super deep crack in my skin on the bottom of my foot that has been causing me much pain for the last several days.  I apply comfrey salve to it and haven’t gone to the gym and am trying not to worry it – but it keeps busting open and bleeding.  Today I think I’ll seek out a butterfly bandaid for it if I can find a really small one.  I also want to complain about the fact that my scooter needs so much work right now.  Wait – but on the flip side – at least the place that fixes them is only three blocks away!  That’s totally convenient.

In other news – Philip really doesn’t want me to learn to drive a car.  In the way that I really don’t want him to eat meat.  I love that he doesn’t want me to ever drive a car in my life.  (No – it’s not that he thinks I’d be a danger to myself or others – he’ll tell you himself he knows I’d be an excellent driver of cars just as I am of scooters.)  Unfortunately I think, for the first time in my life, I really have need to drive a car.

This is the last weekend before school starts for Max and I’m not going to lie: I’m terrified of what this school year will be like for him.  And me.  He’s going to have homework again.  Which means not only torture for him – but for ME as well.  I’ve already met with the school counselor who seems like a really sharp and kind guy and the assistant principal was in on the meeting and he also seems really caring and smart.  So that’s encouraging.  We went to school orientation yesterday and I must say that I really love that his new school is a hundred times more diverse than his old one with regard to ethnicity.  Part of the assistant principal’s speech was in Spanish and I really loved that.  The school is also (literally) half a block from our house so there’s no school commute.

There are a few people reading Cricket and Grey online and it’s such a relief that it’s not falling into completely empty space.  Better than that – those same few people have said they’re enjoying it and looking forward to new chapters – this is the best thing in the world to me.  Thank you for telling me you’re enjoying it – knowing you’re looking forward to more makes publishing the chapters so much more enjoyable!

Take it easy this weekend folks!

Many Kinds of Thorns in My Skin

I’ve been noticing a lot of bloggers making comments about how their “real” lives are not perfect and they proceed to assure you that behind the gorgeous bucolic scenes on their blogs there is mad chaos and dirty dishes.  They offer this up like a gift – so that readers will not be annoyed by all the pretty they came to see in the first place.  I just have to laugh at myself.  I seem to have made a practice of constantly showing everyone the seamy side of my life, the dirty laundry.  I showed you a fucking mushroom I had growing in one of my bathrooms for God’s sake!

So I was thinking that sometime soon, (not now), I should try going for pretty and tranquil and gentle for a change.  It might not be easy to find a corner of pretty and tranquil in this house.  Most of it is liberally covered in pet fur which is only pretty when still on the pets.

I hate the expression “on the cheap”.  I can’t even say why.  There’s nothing intrinsically bad about it.

Lots and lots of nightmares lately.  Saw a head get blown off, had some usual classroom related anxiety dreams, almost becoming adulterous (these are as stressful as smoking dreams except that whereas I used to smoke, I have never been adulterous), dystopian landscapes in which people are trying to maintain some sense of culture.

I’ve only been up for an hour and a half and so far I’ve had to mop up: cat pee, coffee spills, and ice water.  Can I go back to bed now?  I can’t imagine anything good will come of the next sixteen hours.

I should mention that I have some barely hidden wishes for the human race to be obliterated completely.  These feelings rarely go completely away but are made more acute when something triggers them into renewed fury.  Such as the Penn State scandal.  I had to fight my blackberry bushes for two hours to tame my hatred for human beings.  We have done nothing worthy while living on this earth.  I am trying harder than you can imagine not to go off about this whole thing.  If it makes anyone feel better, my blackberry bushes fought back just as hard and my skin is full of tiny thorns my tweezers can’t remove.

Many animal species, when resources are scarce, stop breeding.  What do we do?  We just have more and more babies.  We hit 7 Billion people on earth last week.  That’s a fuck load of vermin.  I myself contributed one to this number so I don’t hold myself apart from anyone else.  I don’t even try because I’ve known my whole life I’m not better than other people.  I guess I can say that maybe I’ve contributed less to overpopulation than the Duggars who really, desperately, need to stop having children just because they can.  It is appalling and very much like gluttony which is a sin in their religion.  Gluttony is not just about food or drink.  Gluttony can be applied to anything you have a greed for.  Some people make a stupid amount of cakes but the Duggars make a stupid amount of people.

I wish I could see a clear way to changing things in this world.

In case not enough people realize this: it’s time to stuff your meat with more meat and whenever possible-wrap it all in bacon.  The backlash against the unpopular concept that a lot of meat isn’t healthy has reached ridiculous proportions.  I get the feeling that many meat lovers love meat so much they’d roll in it so they could smell it all day if it wouldn’t attract unwanted attention from other hungry carnivores.  I don’t mind people eating meat, but Jesus! people, take it easy.

I tried watching that show “The New Girl” and it was so bad there’s no amount of desperation that could make me watch it again.  I’d rather read a Barbara Cartland romance.  It’s supposedly a “hit” show, how is that possible with such bad acting and such a stupid plot and all that precious “cuteness” that Zooey attempts to convince us is unselfconscious?  In my experience, the girls who act like that in real life do not also look sleekly adorable in that semi-ironic ultra fashionable school-marm chic.

On the plus side of things I went on a great field trip on Saturday with my friend Nicole (which I will write more about on Stitch and Boots) to a “Fill Your Pantry” event in Shedd, Oregon.  This is the second year this event has been held.  A bunch of local grain and legume producers (with a few produce growers as well) get together and offer up locally grown and milled grains.  Best buy: I got a bag of organic locally grown hard red wheat flour – 20 lbs for $15!  As a bonus it came in an actual flour sack.  When you can get locally grown hard wheat at that price – there’s no excuse to use conventionally grown hard wheat from out of state.  There is nothing more fun than hanging out for hours with a friend who gets just as excited as I do about pantry stocking, local food, food, eating, preserving, gardening, and food.  Just thinking about it is making me less grumpy.

I should preserve this feeling by going to fetch another cup of coffee and looking at the small handsome bag of rye flour I bought as a treat.  Cheers to a cat-pee-free morning for all of you!

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?



Sometimes the right thing to do is to keep your own counsel and trust yourself above all others, to listen to yourself and know that though the answers might not have come to you yet, and they might take a lot longer than is comfortable, they will come.  Sometimes you have to trust that they will rise up from the cesspool of your brain where all dark shapes live.  You have to trust that they will rise and reveal the truth in thin vaporous ideas that you must not try to catch.  You have to wait.  You have to listen.  You have to watch.  With a quiet and patient heart that isn’t really quiet or patient at all but straining at weak seams to be set free.

Every answer I have ever gotten of value has come from myself.  There are a thousand glittery pearls of wisdom you may explore that others have to share and these pieces of the truth are good.  They are valuable but they’re not the whole answer.  Other people’s experiences can shore up your courage and help you feel less alone which gives you the strength to keep looking to yourself for what you really need.  Sometimes you need to gather the glitter and the hope around yourself to get to the next moment.  There is no shame in this.

There is no shame in asking for help either.  I say that sometimes you need others to hold your hand, either literally or spiritually.  We all need each other.  It was the thought of a friend at the second I was going to jump from a cliff that made me stand very very still at the edge.  I had nothing left to give myself or ask for from myself in life.  I was done with it all but for a friend who might turn to me for help and I couldn’t bear the thought of not being there should she ever need me?  We weren’t stable people.  We were like matchboxes in a perpetual dry hot summer sun threatening to ignite all our light at once so that we’d burn out and self-extinguish before we had a chance to meet real tinder.  We all need each other.

I am listening and watching for answers now.  I am holding a posture of acceptance and patience though my muscles are burning and trembling with the effort not to move across my own shadow to grab at the slurry in my head.  I am bending with the weight of my own spirit and looking for a coat hook to hang it on just to take a break from it pulling at my shoulders.  There’s no coat hook in here, just the suspension of everything as I wait for it all to be revealed; as I wait for my eyes to see what’s already there, my iris always ten steps ahead of my conscience is already breathing the dawn while I am walking through twilight to a promise of sleep.

Life is no perfect science.  Even when answers come there are so many ways to interpret them and use them and be shaped by them.  We have so many choices and opportunities to grow, to become something better than we were, to evolve, to heave the outmoded ideas for the new ones that will bring progress.

While I’m standing in this posture I’m distracting myself with thoughts about my actions in the world and my interactions with other people and wondering how I can temper myself.  Like chocolate.  I have a temperature at which I become more stable and flexible.  Recently I’ve become angered and frustrated by people and events and let myself loose like a wild arrow from a bow, hitting people with my sharp edges without thought or intention.  I’ve repented.  I’ve apologized.  But what I want to know is how to lower my temperature to where I can keep my arrows to myself and not throw rocks instead.  What keeps going through my head is the reminder that we’re all connected and when I hurt you I hurt myself.  No different than how hurting myself hurts others too.

As I think about this connectedness I am also watching others fight with each other.  Not just the bloody wars we’re all fighting right now both between countries and individuals, but the verbal sparring that gets ugly so fast you can’t even see it coming half the time what with everyone so desperate to  be heard, to protect the protectors, to defend the defenders.  Everyone around me is scrapping and throwing verbal punches.  When I step aside and don’t play I have the greatest urge to mediate, to make everyone talk to each other as though they were connected by threads.  I love a good debate but there’s such a poisonous atmosphere out there right now it seems that no one, not even people with great big gentle hearts, can keep their knives sheathed.  It feels like everyone is self destructing around me.  It isn’t just me anymore.  It never was.

I am not looking for answers.  I’m just waiting to understand the ones I already have.

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.