Category: Nerdgasm


Declare Independence

This is the first of what I hope to be weekly posts. I probably shouldn’t say that out loud, but I think I need to set aside the time weekly to process and plan, so I might as well do that here. In this space.

Today I signed the papers that both bind me further to the bank, yet release me from any debt or obligation owed to my ex-husband. Though we have one child yet to finish raising together, the other child will be going off to school and has not required much coordination between us anyway. Today, I signed the papers on a refinance that allowed me to finally buy him out, and claim this house as my own. I can stop pretending he will one day agree that he doesn’t actually deserve to be paid anything for the home he left in a shambles after forcing me to cohabitate with him for years after he exited the relationship – years he was unemployed and only wandering out from his room periodically to monitor my parenting, and caring for the children while I worked…as well as oh-so-generously “allowing” me to leave the house by myself at a set time every week. And I can reclaim this worn-out old house that I have recently fallen in love with for the first time. Because those memories don’t live here anymore. They visit every once in awhile. Like today, when I read an issue of “Blackout” zine in which the author recounted an abusive relationship and the emotional fallout she articulated was gutwrenchingly familiar.

But I don’t want to write about the past. It’s important to acknowledge that, yes. It’s a monumental day. For not only am I finally able to pay him off, I am also able to take a little money out to rejuvenate the house and to prepare it for it’s transition.

I ordered the cinder blocks first. Like, as soon as I had definitive word that we were closing, I ordered the cinder blocks. LOTS and LOTS of cinder blocks. I knew I wanted five beds, so I calculated and recalculated and oh my freaking god that’s a lot of cinder blocks. Cinder blocks and a ladder and a bag of sand.

And I spent my whole weekend constructing beds like I was playing with giant legos. I stacked one bed, then another…then stopped.

Right now, the yard is overgrown and lush. I have a lot of winter plants that are going to seed, and I intend to harvest the seeds, so I don’t want to disturb the beds right now. Also, I really just kind of like having jungle yard. I hope to always have a somewhat loosely-tamed wild yard. So, today I stopped and sat down on my mom-throne in my spot under the oak tree…and surveyed. And imagined. And decided to, instead of making the beds in the middle of the yard like they are now, build them on the perimeter-ish – a few feet in from fence line, garage, and walkway – in a u-shape. This would leave the very sunniest part of the middle of the yard open for other things.

Because, while I really like the practicality of the cinder blocks – they do look a little industrial. I know they will age and stain, but with the blocks in a u-shape, I can slope dirt down from the tops of the beds and plant flowers or herbs or…really anything. Covering the majority of the cinder and creating more space.

Also – it leaves more space for the dog to run.

Also – I have this grand idea of creating a seating area in the middle of the yard shaped like or with all of the colors of an artichoke – various shades of green along the border and pinks and purples and yellows in the center.

I also have this idea that I’m going to use appliances. I already have the toilet garden (which will likely become the two-toilet garden when I replace the other toilet. I’d love to use a bathtub or sink somehow as a water feature.

But those ideas are all for phase 2. Phase 1 is the cinder block border garden. Mulch around the edges and lawn in the center. Still working on getting the trees cut down and the fence replaced.

I’ve decided I want the laundry line to be visible from the fence, because yay clotheslines! But I might end up putting up a barrier that hides some of it. Ultimately – long term goal is to build a big porch on the back of the house and make a sliding door entry into the master bedroom, which will eventually be converted into a studio apartment (with said lovely porch.) But that, again, is phase 2…or 3…or actually 4 or 5.

So I am focused. Every day this weekend I woke up early and sore from the previous day’s work. It feels good. It feels real. It feels like declaring independence.

Now my work week begins. I’m not going to hold myself to these early wake-up times, but I am hoping to haul at least some blocks every day to continue to build beds. I want them all built by next Monday, when D will be coming over to magically convert a bunch of pallets and odds and ends into a chicken palace. At that point, I’ll be able to get more ladies and my goal of supplying all of my neighbors with fresh eggs on the regular can be achieved. As it is, I’m definitely not buying eggs in the grocery store for myself anymore. Or lettuce. I’m hoping to say that about a lot more vegetables this summer.

So, next weekend is that…and soil, as I’m ordering a truckload. I’m going to lay all of the twigs and mulchy leaves that are all over my yard in those beds first – mixed with a fair amount of compost and chicken poop – and pile fresh soil and more scraps over all of it. And then I can plant. I’ll be getting a later start than I had hoped, but I still have plenty of growing I can do and so many other things to maintain.

Advertisements

Birthday weekend is drawing to a rapid close here, and I’m sitting here. Reflecting.

I could describe the weekend in a linear way – things I did and saw. Or in a non-linear way – things I thought and felt. If I was at my best, I would manage to fold the non-linear into the linear and find a way to describe my inner world by relating external activities. Perhaps it’s easier than I’m making it seem in my head.

The weekend began with a lovely Sunday stroll with Lulu. We’ve been enjoying Walnut Creek Park for it’s wonderful forested trails and off-leash dog-friendliness. I continue to feel extreme joy and gratitude about the fact that I finally have a dog who is predictably other-dog-and-people friendly enough to trust off-leash, and it’s wonderful to leisurely stroll in the forest while she gambols in a loose orbit around me. I have loved all of my canine companions as fully as I was able at the time that I had them. Of course, Lulu benefits by being in my life at a time that I have relatively few constraints – I work from home, the kids pretty much take care of themselves, and really all I’m interested in lately is taking long walks and spending time in the garden – both activities that she is happy to enjoy with me. But also, Lulu has the exact right temperament for me almost all of the time. She still has her moments when I just don’t want to even deal with her, but those times are fewer and further between.

Also – would you look at that face? Who could possibly not be in love with that sweet face. I mean, srsly,

Apparently, chasing that small, speedy dog around a tree for 15 minutes straight and greeting every dog we met in a playful crouch was enough to sufficiently tire Lulu out, so I brought her home and went out on a quest for houseplants, which is what I decided to gift myself with this year. I’ve run out of electronic gadgets to buy and I’m going back to the basics. And because I posted this intention on Facebook, I came home from plant shopping to find several houseplants waiting for me on my front porch – left by a friend who is leaving town and needed to rehome them. I am both thankful to her and terrified that I will kill her very well-cared for babies. Hopefully this fear will cure me of my black thumb once and for all. It was wise of me to manifest house plants, though. My penchant for murdering creatures in the chlorophyllic class notwithstanding, I’ve always wanted for greenery. My desire these days is to grow things constantly. Buddha the Grouch is always, well, grouching about the fact that whenever we leave the house or return, the first thing i do is linger over all of the things that are growing between the porch and the yard.

Right now, I’m MOST excited about the artichokes lining my walkway. And now I’m getting even more psyched about otherworldly asparagus poking up in whimsical curlicues between and around the artichokes, and a possible pair of pomegranates lining my side walkway. But that has to wait until I can get some bare root starts next week. And the one small artichoke in the backyard that I managed to plant from seed and nurture into a fairly sturdy, healthy seedling. It grows so slow!

But back to my weekend – I realized I was late for a party after plant-shopping, so I headed out to enjoy the always gentle energy of dear friends M&K. I only intended to stay for a little while, but enjoyed the conversation so much…I stayed longer than I intended, and was late arriving home to once again firmly insist that The Tao of Bird PLEASE finish the dishes.

There is this pattern of behavior TOB has been getting into, where he will procrastinate a chore until it becomes a Herculean task. Like, if he just DID the damn dishes the first day he is scheduled to do them, it would be manageable. But he puts it off, in spite of my expressed misgivings, and suddenly it’s four days later and every fucking dish in the house is dirty and he is beside himself with not knowing where to begin. This happens weekly. We are working on it. It begins with suggestions – “Hey, um…it’s your day to do the dishes. Think you can get to them soon?” which quickly turn to more adamant suggestions – “So, you need to start doing the dishes now.” which is laced with a general desire, on my part, to not have to do this AGAIN. TOB usually responds to this by, at first, brushing me off – “I’ll do them.” And every week that we go through this pattern I get increasingly dubious from the beginning. Usually at some point in the process, ToB spends an inordinate amount of time in the bathroom, which I finally got him to ADMIT was a stalling tactic.

The thing is, I can FEEL him making the wrong decision. And I don’t like for him to do that. More than wanting him to get the dishes done, I want to not have the major proportion of our interactions be me telling him to get the thing done that he should have done 4 days ago when I first started telling him to get it done, and that still hasn’t gotten done even after the routine of handing over the mobile phone and eliminating screentime is dutifully and resignedly adhered to. I KNOW it’s overwhelming to have 4 days worth of dishes staring you down. Welcome to the first 8 years of your life. Part of me wants to tell him “If you think the process of doing 4 days’ worth of dishes is overwhelming, try doing them with a clingy 2 year-old pinching at your bicep fat.”

Eventually, though, there is a breakthrough. And then it’s just about me adhering to my standards in spite of the fact that I’m just grateful that I no longer have to nag someone. He ended up powering through it in the end, so I took him out to get a burger and fries so I could spend some time talking to him before his winter break reached an end.

I stayed up late into the night dancing and writing in my journal.

Woke up on my bday, made coffee, and met with a friend who has schemes for a chicken coop made out of pallettes. We talked gardens and strategies & I’m excited about learning to build things and coming out the other end with something practical. I also learned about cold frames, and now I’m determined to build a cold frame – if not this year, then next for sure.

D is a fabulous fount of knowledge about plants and things. She is the one who suggested the bare root starts for asparagus and pomegranates, and because of her, my growing flock will have a suitable abode. It was a good meeting, and I’m glad to be learning so much from so many people.

I’ve been thinking a lot about transience and permanence. I’m not sure if I’ve written about this in earlier posts, but something Wendell Berry wrote in -I think it was the introduction, even, of his book of essays The Art of the Commonplace- about a sense of place. About how people who live closer to the land – people in rural areas, or other areas where you don’t have the same services and conveniences people in the city have – have to consider the entire lifecycle of every purchase. When you buy something, and you can’t just throw it in a plastic bin and put it out on the curb, you have to think about how you will dispose of the husk of that which you consume. And, specifically in terms of sense of place, your relative transience impacts the choices you make about the spaces you inhabit. If you have a home, for instance, that you intend to hand down…you will make decisions about repairs and upkeep in a way that’s different from someone who intends to flip that home or rent it out. And with all of the people who have passed through this home, that becomes evident. Which is why I”m looking for ways to make this space more cherished.. I’m putting down roots. Literally. Finally. Whether I stay here 4 years more or 20 years more, I want to leave this space better than it was when I arrived. Not for resale value, but for me.

I guess that’s what all that reclaiming was about. Perhaps why I let things go for so long. If I claim this space, don’t I also claim these circumstances? Ironically, claiming the space only serves to brighten the circumstances. More and more, my home is my spa. The things I choose to do to beautify it are my meditation. And the things I leave a mess are their own form of beauty. Like my “new” stove – purchased a year ago – which currently shows the wear and tear and disarray of a much-loved and well-used appliance.

So, I spent much of the 45th anniversary of my birth reading in the backyard while attempting to get a fire going, listening to punk rock, writing in my journal. I got into a groove of recounting life in Chicago – perhaps inspired by Kerouac, as I’ve been listening to On The Road lately. I haven’t re-read it yet. I’m sure it needs editing. I might even still cut it up and make it vague. I go back and forth. But it’s ok. The zine will get done when it gets done.

I’ve been learning the art of editing. Clearly, not of the writing in this blog, but in life. Like corn. D made a remark about how I might get some good chicken feed out of a crop, but that corn is really difficult to grow & I realized that it’s silly for me to do something so difficult my second year of gardening. Why not, instead, build my confidence with some easy spring/summer crops? Corn can wait. This made me happy. As much as I would love the outcome of corn, I wasn’t exactly looking forward to the input of corn.

“It’s like kissing my kitten in the belly.” -Jack Kerouac

And dinner with S&B&C&Buddhathegrouch&Tao of Bird on my bday. Indian food. It was tasty, but I felt distracted by my words and queasy. It was nice to mix worlds. Friends meeting friends in parallel friend universes.

And then today. Today, I cooked. I cooked, and between bouts of cooking, I read zines. And played Cookie Jam. And listened to endless podcasts. And let the dog out and in and out and in again until I finally realized it’s a beautiful day and left the back door open while I cooked and listened to podcasts.

So…you know…I can’t complain. Forty-Five is mellow. Forty-five is wise. Forty-five balances movement and stillness. Forty-five is unflinching in the face of things that would have kept Thirty-Five up all night, worrying. Forty-five suits me well. There are going to be some exciting changes this year. I’m ready.

Shaunee.

I have a complicated relationship with my family. The kind of relationship that might one day transcribe well to an allegorical fictional novel filled with universal references to the hardships all families face, but which doesn’t translate well to a blog post. It is especially and even less well-able to be translated to an ongoing feud on Facebook that ended with a couple of family members terminating their relationship with me.

 

It could have ended differently, I suppose. I should have probably reached out privately at some point in the year-long argument about social justice…to get a temperature check and attempt to communicate in a less-charged context. I am, after all, the adult in the situation. I don’t really have an excuse for not doing so, aside from the aforementioned complicated family dynamic – which isn’t much of an excuse, but I allowed it to be, until it was too late.

Other than that, I’m satisfied with my behavior, if not the outcome. And who knows what the outcome is/will be anyway? And I can say that in the midst of discovering myself at odds with some members of my family, I strengthened my appreciation for others. And, in a way, some of the complications of the distant past were healed in the process.

And, so I find myself nearing another change of seasons. I feel like the summer is always a wasted season. I feel like I accomplished very little, and am quickly becoming charged with creative energy at the prospect of the end of summer…even though in Austin, summer won’t really be over until nearly the end of October. 

Dancing

Funny how I started writing about my family and I suddenly am feeling a wave of creative ideas about the garden. We’ve been thinking about the perfect centerpiece for the succulent garden. Considering a bird bath, which is still a possibility. And I’ve been going to thrift stores trying to find the perfect bowl for the bird bath…and it struck me that what really belongs there is the toilet that has been sitting back in the yard for years because I couldn’t part with that much of a functional porcelain bowl. I mean, really – it’s a giant, lovely, flowerpot. Sparkly and everything. So. That’s that.

Lulu in the twilight.

And my artichokes are sprouting. I’ve decided I’m going to dedicate myself to planting artichoke plants all over the property. I want several of them. I want them lining the walkway and bounding the seating area. Because I can. Ha. In fact, I have four little sprouts coming up right now, and a couple of packets of seeds due in the mail.

In the meantime, my brussels sprouts sprouts aren’t doing so well. I completely lost interest in them when the artichokes started sprouting. The artichokes seem to be such hearty little seedlings, and the brussels sprouts so delicate. 

I’m really excited about making an artichoke kingdom here. Hahaha.

And I have ideas for the zine, which I have really not worked on much except in theory. I’m thinking about backgrounds consisting of the same collaged pages I used to make, only the collage will be flyers from Chicago bands. And I’m thinking about rather than making a full color zine, I might make color postcards of some of the drawings. And I feel like I’m going to be writing the zine in a day…which isn’t necessarily a bad prospect. Just spending a day going from beginning to middle to end. Sounds like a lovely plan.

Catching up on some links…

The Supreme Court’s baffling tech illiteracy is becoming a problem

“Granted, the justices are behind the times. Twenty-first century technology has come to the Court, but the Court hasn’t come to the twenty-first century. Justices still communicate by handwritten notes instead of email. The courthouse got its first photocopying machine in 1969, six decades after the machine was invented. Oral arguments were first tape-recorded in 1955, nearly a hundred years after the first sound recording. At those arguments, blog reporters are denied press passes, tweeting is verboten, and justices thumb through hard copies of court documents. At the Supreme Court, every day is Throwback Thursday.

This might explain why the majority of Americans oppose life tenure for Supreme Court justices. Life tenure shields judicial independence and pays homage to the Founding Fathers’ vision. At the time the Constitution was written, however, the average life expectancy was about 40 years. (Or 60 years if controlled for infant mortality.) Today, it’s nearly twice as long. Clearly, life tenure meant something different for the founding generation.”

 

The Rise of the DIY Abortion in Texas

One woman I interviewed at a Mexican restaurant in Brownsville told me her good friend nearly died after taking pills that her husband bought in Mexico. Instead of ingesting four of the 12 pills every three hours, as is recommended by the World Health Organization, she took two pills under her tongue, then four pills vaginally, then two more under her tongue, then four more vaginally. She began to bleed profusely, doubled over in pain. But because she was undocumented, she was afraid to seek medical help at a nearby hospital or clinic. Instead, she crossed the border to Mexico with her five children—all the while hemorrhaging—in search of medical assistance. She has since recovered but is still in Mexico with her children because she can’t cross the border back into the United States.

Carreon says she sees many patients who have taken improper dosages. “A lot of patients said that they would take the whole bottle and they would tell me they took 28 pills,” she said. “They’re taking maybe four vaginally, two orally. Then an hour later, four more. I hear different ways of using these pills. It’s shocking each time.”

But strict internal clinic protocol bars Carreon and other employees at Whole Women’s Health from answering questions about miso and abortion. And the drug’s other distribution channels are similarly mum. Mexican pharmacists can’t provide information about the drug and abortion, since it’s only sold there as an ulcer medication, and many of the vendors selling miso at flea markets know very little about correct dosage.

 

Massachusetts SWAT Teams Claim They’re Private Corporations

Requests by the American Civil Liberties Union for open records on Massachusetts SWAT teams begat refusals to comply based on the premise that the forces are private corporations rather than government entities.

 

9 Facts Shatter the Biggest Stereotypes About Fat People

People are allowed to make their own decisions regarding their own bodies, but we need to start treating people of all sizes with respect. We can start by providing some actual information about being fat.

 

Lately, I’ve been watching The Wire, and I’m having to lean on episode guides to make sense of everything.

I never remember this stuff, so I’ll probably refer back to this video about different display connectors often.

Will Detroit’s Water be Privatized or Recognized as Commons?

“We are not saying that the services of running water should be free, we are saying it should be affordable and accessible by all, and we have put forth the Water Affordability Plan to that end, which was approved by our city council,” says Priscilla Dziubek, of the Peoples Water Board. This plan is self-funding and graduated much like the tax system where no one pays over a certain percentage of their income on water.

 

Nation editor destroys Bill Kristol: “You should enlist in the Iraqi army”

“If there are no regrets for the failed assumptions that have so grievously wounded this nation, or politics and media accountability,” vanden Huevel continued.” We need it Bill, because this country should not go back to war. We don’t need armchair warriors. And if you feel so strongly, you should, with all due respect, enlist in the Iraqi army.”

When the Tao of Bird comes home from his dad’s, we’re totally going to do this Texas Pie-Eating roadtrip

For your summer music list pleasures, NPR has listed the top 50 songs of 2014 (so far.)

For those of you trying to stay awake without heating up…a recipe for cold-pressed iced coffee.

(Transmissions from Summers past…)

Interpretive Interloper

a telescope transcendent.

***

Rain Journal

 

Witness

Gathering Clouds

No False Alarm, this

(much desired drenching)

This flammable

Wooden

Ocean

 

the doves go

silent

slowly

 

The ground

is FISSURED

 

In need of

soaking

 

Wind

chime

symphony

bliss

 

The garden cries “THIRSTY”

 

Ecstatic

Pattering

Drips 

 

the air is

ELECTRIC

 

slowly

building

 

and I am

on my front porch/parched

waiting

*patience patience patience*

 

Lay

back in 

the Rain

 

for the downpour.

 

photo (3)

***

My problem is that I find myself in a situation I never dreamed I would be in. A single parent. A professional. With a career. And kids. How did I end up here? And single. As in totally alone. As in no one with me. No support. No help. Or, at least, not an adequate enough amount to ease the burden. That’s where I find myself. And making a modest income. More than I ever have before. And yet, somehow, still struggling. Still working hard to catch up & stay caught up. Still – perhaps more now than ever – worried. Because once you’ve achieved a certain level of success, you are expected to perpetuate that success. And THAT is what frightens me. I was EXPECTED to be ambitious and to continue to accept advances in my career…and now I’m EXPECTED to continue to advance. If I don’t, I’m viewed as unambitious. If I don’t, I’m somehow flawed. But where are these expectations coming from? Are they internal or external expectations? Do I want to move up & am I just scared of the responsibility? Or is it true that I am doing exactly what I want to be doing? If anything, I would like to be able to move DOWN. And not out of laziness or fear. I don’t think. But while I’m doing what I love to do for a living & I truly love my job, if I’m honest there are aspects of my job that I don’t enjoy & that prevent me, I think, from achieving what I want to achieve.

***

…excerpt from an unwritten novel…

Last night, goofing, he says something. she says “Oh shut up” he says “I will not shut up. You always get your way and this time you will not get your way I will not shut up.” She says “If I always get my way you would have shut up a long time ago.”

In the restaurant, everyone was talking about weird stuff. Somewhere, someone was discussing a tapeworm – behind them, another person mentioned a medical condition…..they said they were lactose intolerant. She said “is this a restaurant or a gastroenterologist’s office.”

They proceeded to get buzzed on $3 margaritas which were unusually strong, paired with (intentionally) overly-salty Mexican food. They talked…meandered. Tried to say weird and interesting random things at a slightly higher volume, just to entertain their fellow eavesdroppers. There was a party breaking up in the party room of the restaurant. So many conversations. A guy caught his eye. Flirted with him. He looked away. Was not interested, but kept checking back to see if maybe it was his imagination, but he kept catching his eye & flirting, no matter how fleeting the glance.

They ate a lot of food, then stumbled home in the dark. The long way. Both of them needing to pee. She proposed stopping in at a bar along the way, but his usual anxious pessimism kicked in and after warding off 5-6 worst-case scenarios of the imagined ambiance of the place, after they had already walked past the bar, he said he would go if she would buy him a drink. She said “Nah – we’ve already passed the bar.

Back home, in bed. He’s having a hard time staying hard. Is it the alcohol or the fact that she has obviously been visibly exasperated with him since they initially discussed getting together. First, it was the argument about walking (too hot, too tired, too far) then, the give in. The argument about who would pay (a.k.a. the argument about who was more broke, which often ended in me pointing out that though she makes more money, she is raising two pre-teen girls, aka the human plague of locusts.

Then in the restaurant, amid the pleasant conversation…the argument about what denoted sucky taste, with the inevitable sighing and eyerolling on both sides of the table as one party was deemed overly critical and the other party overly emotional. Again.

So, he was having trouble keeping it hard, although clearly enjoying himself. She was battling mixed feelings & not wanting to be touched & STRUGGLING to stay present, but feeling somehow belittled by her inability to turn him on enough to keep him hard while he fucked her.

Eventually, he gave up & rolled off. She felt tired. Snuggled up to him. He reached over & touched her breast, but she was sensitive, asked him not to touch. A familiar boundary that had been violated by many men before him. And then the invalidating happened. Once something is deemed off-limits, even temporarily, at random intervals, the child fixates on That Thing and will not be deterred. So, “Please, don’t touch those right now” (while giggling & trying to deflect) becomes “Seriously, don’t touch them.” And then the conversation becomes entirely about how horrible and mean she is for limiting access to her body. His insecurity turns on her, tells her she needs to just “get over” whatever is making her fel like she doesn’t want to be touched. And she gets smaller and smaller, shrinking inside her skin until all that was her is now a smooth, hard, dense pellet inside the carapace of her skin.

***

OH in Clute, TX: “I need a wife.” (4 year old)

“You got something better – you got a mother.”

Outside of Clute, there was a street named This Way. Other than that, I saw not much of interest.

There’s a big family in here, having breakfast. Grandparents, parents, and 3 children.

There’s a heat warning in New Orleans. More reason to get there late in the day.

Lots of weird weather going on.

Leisurely morning. There’s no point in rushing. My amended amended plan includes visiting some nature preserves & rolling into New Orleans after dark. Then spending a few hours on Sunday walking around New Orleans before heading back to Austin.

Apple and banana and coffee. There is a rhythm of the road that I missed. And I drive and I drive and I drive.

***

That veggie chorizo gave me gas!

***

Goals for Chicago Trip:

Walk Daily

Swim regularly

Write frequently

Learn to draw

Watch Lost

Minimal scheduling

FREE CHILDREN!!!

***

photo (1)

Space is Love

The space between the leaves

 

Let me remind myself of the ways in which I am human. Besieged. You are impart. In full or in part.

angry, soul-throated. Off

Loaded.

***

Rain delays my morning swim. I am looking around my room and admiring my sloppiness. My computer desk cluttered with precariously leaning piles of ripped CDs (I finally got my entire collection on my computer) dirty clothes litter the floor. My bed disheveled – sheets need to be changed and I am sleeping with books & journals that are scattered all over – my own & the ones I have been reading to the children. Incense dust covers almost every surface. My laptop is on the floor, covered with clean clothes that I folded, sorted, then totally pushed off my bed while sleeping one night. Dirtbombs playing on the computer as a perfect complement to the grungy state of affairs & the thunder & lightning add ambiance. I roll up my shades so I could look out at the dripping grey world, cracking a window to catch a breeze.

There is an assortment of rhinestoned barrettes and hair pins on the window sill, left there before make out sessions and naps.

***

I pronounce you – unpronounceable. Confounded by your intrigue & intrigued by your con-foundation – alacrity – you lack, gritty. Seething yet gleaming – you spit into the hole you have created. It is sad, isn’t it, that freedom can leave you so imprisoned. Trapped in this prism. White light enters & only strands of colors escape. Leaving you – half in/half out. Drowned in drought. Twisting about & consumed by doubt while I sit and pout.

***

My tired heart and your bitter hands. Float dreamily – a lazed interpretation, crazed regurgitation of faith like a lizard, caught sleeping in the sun. A rock of consequence. Drear dread apparent. Negotiation – frittered forever an ever love lost lorn warn. I send a warning. You. Dopamine. Mine own Clementine. Clementine.

Sorrow is a gracious hostess. She invites us in and we lay back, relieved of our joyous burdens. She feeds us so we don’t realize she is feasting on us. We dream in soporific haze. A daze, glazed, amazed at the lack of feeling.

Sorrow is a row of sows. Incredible how quickly my house catches fire. Burns to the ground. How quickly I am reduced to ashes.

***

What Do I Want? There are many categories, and it’s a long list:

Here’s what I have in my life currently that is consistent with my desires:

-An excellent community

-lots of love

-opportunities for intellectual enrichment

-creative outlet

-time to play

-a nice place to live that is safe

-relative harmony in my immediate family

-food food & people to share it with

-a good job doing something fulfilling and where I am appreciated for my strengths

-strong, wise women in abundance

-a few good men.

***

The Tao of Bird, age 2.5, who is prone to bursting out into song, busted out today with “A-O – Let’s go!”

So – at least one of my kids has apparent good taste in music.

***

Excerpts from an unwritten novel, part 2

He’s having another of his extended retreats to adolescence. He’s storming about the house with that disgusted look on his face, and exclaiming dissatisfaction with everything. She is trying to ignore it and proceed with her own life, but he frequently goes out of his way to clash with her. She realizes that much of the bullshit he throws her way is projection, but she doesn’t think he realizes this.

So he can continue to live the life of a failed rockstar who gets drunk and stoned every night and comes to life during the day as wonderdad to protect his children from their conniving slut of a mother. He can continue to sit around on his ass & do nothing & then blame her for all of the negative shit he feels about himself. He’s going to do it whether she argues with him or not. He might stay in this mode for a day or a week or a year, until she decides that she has better things to do than worry about his fragile little imaginary world where she (and possibly all women) is some sort of weird, evil villain who seeks to destroy him by paying all of his bills, buying his cigarettes, feeding his children & living her life.

Lazy Sunday, Lainie Style:

IMG_0759

Asparagus, Pea, and Smoked Gouda Frittata…

First…I like to eat a good breakfast, and feed my mind. Sometimes that means fancy egg dishes and non-fiction…sometimes it means donuts and comic books…or any combination. Usually I cook breakfast for the kids when they’re both here. Sometimes I go out and get something.

It’s still mild enough to sit on the front porch and listen to the birdsong. They’re all going at it out there. It feels perverse to eavesdrop on their mating rituals, but it sure sounds pretty.

Usually one or more of the cats come to visit me while I’m on the porch. One of our cats likes to have her belly rubbed, so if she visits me, she’ll usually flop over on her back and wait for me to do my duty. Another cat likes to approach in friendliness or recline as though inviting you to scratch her belly, but she’s like the venus peopletrap of cats and will clamp down on you HARD if you take her up on her faux offer of belly rub-ness. The last cat…the male cat…just kind of meanders up like, as my son says, the guy whose just crashing on your couch, and says “‘sup?” Whenever that cat comes home, we all say “Cheezee is here!” like it’s some great celebration. Or like the folks at the bar on Cheers greeted Norm. We all kind of speculate Cheezee has another family who he lives with, though he’s been our cat since we rescued him from a foster situation, and is the brother of the tiny cat who loves belly rubs. He’s just that casual. But that’s another story…

Obligatory bluebonnet selfie

Obligatory bluebonnet selfie

On this particular Sunday, after breakfast, I drove my eldest son (aka buddha the grouch) up to a friend’s house in Round Rock and took myself out for a hike. I wanted to go to the Balcones Canyonland National Wildlife Preserve, but the GPS led me on some wild adventure through some backroad skirting the park, but not actually at a place where I could enter. Still, it was lovely. I saw hawks circling. It smelled awesome outside and, though hot, it was lush and green in a way I will be missing mid-summer. And I thought a lot about land “ownership” as I passed miles and miles of PRIVATE PROPERTY – NO TRESPASSING NO HIKING KEEP OUT signs in front of some of the most beautiful land in Texas. And it pisses me off that people can own property and disallow people from entering…not even to hike or just have a picnic…and yet we continue to also cede our public land to private use. In other words – it was really sad to me that I had to drive for over 20 minutes or so actively seeking somewhere that I could just walk around in nature without trespassing.

But I found a place. Meager though it was, it allowed me the exact experience I needed. I don’t even remember the name of the “Recreational Area” I ended up at, but it had a boat launch and a picnic area, and it was LCRA land right alongside the Colorado River. So, I parked, I threw on my backpack, I put on my headphones, and I started walking. Then I took off my headphones, because I realized it was absolutely silent, save for the birds and the chirruping grasshoppers. Also because it was really fucking hot and my ears were sweating.

I had no idea what to expect. I just wandered around until I found something that looked like it might possibly be a trail. Encouraged by a lack of “No Trespassing” signs, I meandered off for awhile until I found the shoreline and, surprise! Beautiful wildflowers everywhere.

I was vaguely amused by the fact that someone in one of the gigantic houses across the water was blasting Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” on their no doubt multi-thousands of dollar sound system loud enough for me to hear it crystal clear across the water. I never understood why people build such huge houses so close together. I would want to build a tiny house on a large plot of land.

I hope his neighbors like the devil rock!

I hope his neighbors like the devil rock!

About 3/4 of the way back in what I hoped would be a loop (I wasn’t even really sure if I could get all the way through the way I was going without encountering some impassable obstacle) I found a shady tree under which to sit and write a few things down and just catch my breath and enjoy the sounds and the stillnesses. But I knew if I sat too long, it would be difficult to get moving again. I made a mental note to bring a blanket next time. A nap would have been really nice there. Out in the open with air warm enough to feel like a hug from a good friend.

I decided to “traipse through the woods” to get back to my car the more direct way. So I picked my way through the underbrush, up and down a few little hills on either side of what was apparently once a pretty major waterway, judging from the abundance of shells.

Back to the car – and home. I picked up my younger son (aka The Tao of Bird) and took him out to dinner at his favorite chinese buffet place. I had to stop after one plate, but he ate an astonishing amount of food by any standards, even more by his…as he’s never had a very large appetite.

And home again, where I took a refreshing shockingly-cold shower & stretched out for a nap, feeling sated and pleasantly exhausted…

How was your Sunday?

 

IMG_0784

 

 

 

 

IMG_0785 IMG_0780

 

IMG_0778

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I just realized I never got around to writing about my return trip from Colorado. And, to me, that was almost the best part. I took the long way home, choosing to travel south through New Mexico, rather than angling southeast. My intention was to pop in on my friend Raymond before heading back to Austin. No big whoop, right?

IMG_0628

Well, I left Denver super early. It was gorgeous outside. I resumed my steady stream of “No fucking way” I had continually uttered at the sheer gorgeousness of everything in the universe. First, it was the moon that I began my journey beneath. I snuck out of the house before Pansy and Scott could wake up and drove south – hoping to drive as far up pike’s peak as possible. Unfortunately, Pike’s Peak tollway doesn’t open until after 9, and I got there well before.

IMG_9103

I took the opportunity to, instead, take a nice stroll through the garden of the gods. Excitedly trying to snap pictures of the (to me) pretty black and white birds I saw everywhere. I’m sure to people from Colorado, these birds are as interesting as grackels are to us Austinites, but I just adored them.

IMG_9110
IMG_9111 IMG_9118

 

 

 

 

 

 

IMG_9146 IMG_9147

20140316_07551620140316_075519

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Oh, and there were also some pretty rocks to look at.

IMG_9134

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After wandering around for a bit, I got back into the car and drove around the little town until I found a restaurant with the word Omelette in its name. Hoping to get a decent omelette, but ended up getting this monstrosity stuffed with canned jalapenos and nothing else. It was pretty gross. Thankfully, I apparently have a stomach made of steel, because I suffered no after-affects of that culinary atrocity on the journey.

I spent much of the day traveling along what I perceived to be the Pacific-Coast Highway of the Rio Grande…I THINK it was 285, but I’m having difficulty mapping it now, and it might have been a smaller road than that. Snaking through Taos and Santa Fe alongside the river. I love and fear traveling near water. I get the same kind of feeling I always get when I’m in a high place. That feeling that I might just be overly tempted to throw myself over the edge or drive right into the water, and not be able to stop myself from doing so. I felt the same delight traveling next to that river as I did when I found myself accidentally driving through Clearwater National Forest, as well as the multiple times I’ve driven up and/or down the actual PCH. An approximation of the feeling I’ve had standing on the shore of Lake Michigan…coastal Florida…The Pacific Ocean…This. Is. Where. The. Land. Ends. What lies beyond is made of the stuff of drowning. You can walk to the edge of me, but once you cross that line, you are altered physically.

20140316_140734

And it’s these little surprises that happen along the way that make me prefer road trip travel (particularly when I am able to be loose about schedules and therefore choose (or not choose, and let randomness choose) the path I take. I tried to take as many obscure routes as I possibly could (which isn’t difficult to do with my meandery GPS system that seems to be programmed to send me off on the least direct route possible.) And while I didn’t have enough time to actually stop and enjoy the water, I did take the time to pull off the road a view times and take pictures, or write, or just sit in silence and wonder.

I was listening to the last half of Nick Cave’s _The Death of Bunny Munro_ on CD, having heard the first half on my way up, and trying to decide if I liked it because it was by (and read by) Nick Cave, or if it was because it was actually a good book (I’m still not sure what the answer is to that.) The day was perfectly temperate, clear, sunny. There was more traffic on the way home than there had been on the way up to Colorado, where I barely encountered a single car the whole time I was driving on open roads. And it took me a very long time to get to Albuquerque.20140316_174214

But I got there, and got a tour of the gallery from Raymond, and stayed a little longer than I should have but not even a fraction of the time I wanted to stay, picked up a gigantic pizza to feed the boys when I got home, and left just before dusk, determined to somehow drive the remaining 10 hours straight through, all the way home – losing an hour at the border, and getting me home at around 4 in the morning. hahaha.

I’m nothing if not ambitious. Particularly when it comes to driving.

But I’m also practical. And, after once again marveling at a fucking gorgeous full moon slowly emerging first as a giant plasmatic orb peeking just over the tops of distant landscape, and inching slowly to the top of sky – beaming triumphantly. It hypnotized me, and I realized I was getting tired already at 11 AM, and this is my VACATION, damnit…so I decided to stop at a hotel near the border of NM/TX and get some rest and enjoy the rest of the journey daylight even though, like regrettable sex, the drive through Texas is almost always best done in the dark of night.

And with that…I’m going to end this section and write the last leg another time.

snippets of springtime from random journal entries:

There is a tiny baby in polka dots here in the waiting room at the eye doctor. We are waiting for Buddha the Grouch’s pupils to dilate. The baby cris, is picked up by her mom. She (the baby) makes a motor boat sound with her tiny lips. I tell Buddga the Grouch “That baby is cute. I want to squish her.” Buddha the Grouch says “That baby wants me to be able to play M-rated video games.

***

End of day I’m off my feet

This cultivated silence, background noise & candle & a cuppa joe. Resounding non-sound a temporary respite from day’s dull roar & I sit in silence, let word overtake me silence bringing onrush of joy to temporary standstill silence & my crickets still sound like birds after all these years humidity brings it back to me that bedroom window the only place to press my face for cooler air to embrace. People drifting in and out of my picture view, bumbling like enormous mountains the size of ships. The traffic shifts my focus.

***

Dear You,

What have I learned this week? That you can’t force a banana into a peanut jar? That I don’t know why I keep ending up in the middle of crazy-ass relationships. It’s like the reverse instinct. Like when we were at the zoo & the people all ran TOWARDS the lion when he roared.

***

What I mean to say is this – I am forming sentences in a vacuum. A grave mistake. A simple misdirection and a hollow expression. This magic can interact transgressively. Regress into an open can. Trying to believe I can be liberated. B.B. King is free from the spell.

***

I ate popcorn for dinner tonight – and other tales of misguided adulthood.

The dog is outside, whining. Right now, I’m playing Sims. Enjoying peace and housematelessness and guestlessness. Soon there will be more guests and new guests and before that kids and back to work.

But at least the house is mostly clean, and the laundry is mostly done, and I have mostly exercised mostly every day. Mostly.

From here on out, I get to do what I want to do. Wander around in my pajamas all day.

Mostly.

***

 

IMG_7660

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When did I allow my heart to get so fettered, not feathered,

Weathered. This is not love

by any approximation & yet

it is approximately the closest

I feel like I can get

 

One who gives me everything but

one who gives me nothing but

I divide myself into portions

Portions of me

Free

For the taking.

 

I should be satisfied

with

the dove in my hand, and

the hawk in my bush.

Instead,

I may go cold turkey.

***

20140208_073710

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I wonder what I am half paying attention to now?

What am I?

I stopped caring

the minute I stopped

defining.

Steadfastly refuse to call myself

a poet

Though…pictures

paint words

in my mind.

**

IMG_7766

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Walking in heat

Falling in love w/the you in everyone

& longing, which is the better part of love

The distance so tangible, it feels

like a touch

that keeps me from alone long not long alone. The

you in everyone I have never had had

never known no never. Will never know

& that’s ok b/c longing

is the better part

of love

***

IMG_8214

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Listening to wind chime & bird chatter and cars going by. It sure feels good to be alive.

In a minutes, I’m going to wrap this up & take the kids out for ice cream. Maybe come back out on the porch later & write some more.

Oh, and – I got the job.

***

IMG_8215

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chirping, I hope like a cricket – w/out wings. I can only fall. Hop. Skip. You say it is not the way you planned things. I say Fuck Your Plans.

***

The Tao of Bird argued about not wanting to take a shower for about 30 minutes this morning. Including yelling and name calling and tantrum throwing and many many many “I HATE YOU”‘s. Now he is in the shower. Has been for about 15 minutes. Singing away. Apparently never planning to come out.

Meanwhile, Buddha the grouch is still sleeping, I am listening to an Animal Collective song called Bees. The birds are singing. The sun is shining.

“Please Take Your Time…”

The song entreaties me. Entices me. Pleads with me.

 

I want to dance…I want to write…I need to dance…I need to write. I know! I’ll do the dance/write/dance ritual. Perhaps that will bring forth the words I’ve been meaning to write.

IMG_0625

I can’t think of a non-cliche way to start a blog post about road trips. Do I talk about how my family used to drive around in our big blue van, and I fell in love with the rubber-to-the-road endless airplane runway sound, and the dreamy haze of entire towns whisking by windows on either side? Do I mention the long-distance trips to visit friends across the country…road trips within road trips…about taking my young children on the road across country and seeing them begin to understand the vastness of the country, much less the world in which they live…the feelings of invincibility after my newly-single self traveled across the entire west/northwest/southwest in a gigantic loop that began in Texas, peaked in Portland, swooped through Los Angeles, and drifted through sleepy southwestern deserts with two young children in tow…over lonely railroad crossings blinking mutely in the middle of the night as I pass through yet another 1 stoplight city in the middle of a vast nameless field on either side of some forgotten highway?

IMG_0630

This particular journey began with this Radiolab broadcast – most notably, “Goo and  You.” Most MOST notably, this closing quote:

“It’s not just what of me carries forward into the future, it’s like – what of my future self is in me right now.”

Give yourself 14 straight hours of travel time, with no one else in the car or, really, on the highway, but you, to ponder that. As you drive through parched Texas/Eastern New Mexico flatland by day, and only approach the mountains as invisible barriers to your destination at night…then wake up to find yourself surrounded by them and the thin, nipping air that accompanies them. It was one hell of a way to kick off a road trip. Perfectly timed, and not timed at all.

Like conversations about giving too much and not giving at all, and about art and the art of paying attention. In my silences, I replayed these thoughts in this context. I have observed that all things transpire in context with the things that transpire adjacent, with a little help from throwback memories. I am interested in how things interplay to form a new thing out of the combined things and a dash of timing. Like two books you read at the same time that have nothing to do with each other, but somehow end up syncing up. Like seeing the same car at multiple gas stations along the journey, and never interacting. The lives of the people in both cars intersect at that moment, then continue on in meaningful meaninglessness. Unintentional intention.

20140312_111655

In the car, I play road games with the navigation system. First, I use both Google Maps on my phone, and the navigation system in the car. I sync them up as much as I can, and make decisions as I go. It keeps me awake, and leaves me open to adventure, or curtailment thereof…depending on my mood and/or level of energy. As I travel, I focus only on the next leg of the journey – only recalculating the total time of the journey and ETA when I embark on a new leg.

This keeps me alert.

Also, math.

(Not meth, you weirdo. Math.)

20140312_053514

Some road notes:

this charming man

tears of a clown
baby it’s you by the Beatles
Shanghai shuffle by fletcher Anderson
give it to you by Blackalicious

I believe in me by trenchmouth

radian by air

boil by the handsome family oil by the handsome familyI’ll buy the family

wagon wheel restaurant Red Bud inn and everything’s fucked by dirty 3

Christianity is not a religion it’s a relationship with God

20140312_090410

153 to 7o there’s like a 20 square-mile wind farm. I don’t even know how fucking huge is is, but it’s beautiful.

so beautiful

it’s so beautiful I burst into tears and had to pull over.

(…to be continued…)

Dispatches from old journals – various years and locations in the January New Year/Birthdayish time frame…

“To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting.” -e. e. cummings

***

Him: Are you still in love with the universe?

Me: Quite

Him: I think you are in love with ME.

Me: You ARE part of the universe

Last night, I dreamed about a zombie apocalypse. Lots of running & hiding. I found J in my dream, and we teamed up and found a way out.

I called J today to tell him. He thought it was funny. What I didn’t tell him is that we made out in the dream. Towards the end, I remember what his kisses felt like. They were hard and thin of lip.

Discuss, discuss, DIS-GUS. Discusting.

I’m living in an alternate reality. An alternating duality, fresh from free modality. Sensitive in its design, by nature. Designed. Maligned by creature comforted by none. Rewire. Rewire. Retire.

So chaos comes rolling in. Roiling. A haphazard retrofit toiling. Group gorilla going. Left hand albatross flowing. Supine supine never mind realign.

I am crossing over, crossing back. Redesigning, keeping slack. Semi-automatic, semiotic plague. Plaguing me. Reprobating me. <Sending Leave intimidating me.> I am rock, flowing, water. I am rock of disaster. I am missed opportunity. I am endless hegemony. Instituting harmony. Refill refine ignominy. Endless ever after.

This journey I have traveled. Will require. Will require. Will require…and equation. Forming mandibled collusion. Replace heaven with contusion. Inevitable confusion.

Pistachios in bed and Cherry Dr. Pepper. My hands are covered w/eggplant paint. I can’t figure out what’s wrong with my toilet. And it’s a new year. I hope it’s a good one.

“I’m in love with my walls” -Lester Bangs

He said one day all the walls will fall & it will be just us.

One day all the walls will fall & it will be justice.

~One day. Falling walls. Just us.~

One. Falling Us.

Just Us.

Justice.

Us.

The 1st hr of my

kid & housemate independence,

I made a plan to be productive

The 2nd hour was spent buying

“supplies”

Which began w/organizing

furniture and ended

in potato chips & soda pop

The 3rd hour was spent

laughing w/a friend

The 4th spent @ home

eating an extra cheesy

grilled chz sandwich

and watching yesterday’s

PBS News Hour,

and writing in my journal

in sharpie marker

w/out first having had to

tell anyone, “I’m writing in

my journal…please don’t

disturb me

for 30 minutes

and retreating to my

room

And locking the door

And flopping on the bed

And beginning to write

And…

KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK

*MOM!!!!*

(being interrupted.)

I scratch daily words on paper. How trite to describe my life the way I have. A million pages of reverie – just to see what sticks. Last year was the year of meta. The overarching. Sans details, nuances tell a story. This year will be the year of micro vs. macro. I will take small things. I will practice the art of magnification. I can’t be contained.

The thing is

that it is such a

long rope

and such a

velvet noose

You don’t even realize

you are choking

until you are

well, well, well, well

Hung.

****

I know what I want for my birthday and I will never get it and the worst thing is that it’s probably best that I not.

***

The way the world turns bokeh when I’m lying in bed staring at a sunlit tree until it breaks down to the smallest elements. Dots and lines and bark and vibrations.

***

My boyfriend knows the Dewey Decimal system. He tells me to stop watching television and go to the library. He says to go to the 811 section & find a random book of poetry. He recites to me with sweet voice and joy-brimmed eyes while his strong hands bring me to the edges of lucidity.

***

There’s something about the deconstruction and the reconstruction. The pulling things apart, re-mapping, and putting back together. My mind wants to hurry through process and get to product as quickly as possible. Counting minutes even still as the days linger into one another, leaning casually back into the day before as they tiptoe forward.

***

“Sociability is a big smile, and a big smile is nothing but teeth.” -Jack Kerouac