art, food, friends, language, pets, photography, technology, tv

how the light gets in . . .

Marcy and i, while talking half-asleep and witless on the phone late one nite this week invented a new word. it was an accidental slip on her part, where procrastination came out as . . .

procrasturbation (v.)

1. to carelessly postpone a trillion tasks under the feigned assumption that there is too much to be done in order to accomplish anything meaningful and instead occupy oneself in pleasurable tasks or hobbies.

2. to put off an innumerable and staggering amount of seemingly important tasks to the point at which even getting oneself off equates as simply another chore that cannot be accomplished out of general mental fatigue.

and that about sums it up for me :nod: and more, it opens the discussion for the balance between work and play and money and time and bigger than all of that combined – how do you choose to be defined in your most perfect expression?

Well – fuck . . . let’s see. What’s been going on?!?!

Since my last journal VERIZON fucked up and powered down for another four-day stretch, leaving me in the lurch and without the internet while my sister, Racheal visited me during the 16th-19th. She was in from West Hollywood, just here for a quick weekend jaunt and we had a great time. She is my BIG little sister. 30 – a green-eyed, blonder, taller version of me.

We ate a great dinner on the nite she arrived, slept in, watched some HBO and comedy, had Marcy and her new beau over for dinner on Sunday, and i took her out for Monday 1/2 off bottle of wine nite to meet a gaggle of my girlfriends, where we sat on a garden patio replete with a fountain and strands of Christmas lights in an Irish bar. We spent some time in Friendship Park stomping through the woods and around the lake, chasing butterflies and bugs and frightening mother ducks who are nesting (and hissing!)

Generally we just kept it easy-going and relaxed.

even Odin participated.

But getting back to the net and all its glory – question for anyone out there . . . i have made the Mozilla transition to Firefox, which i love and even downloaded a fun browser theme with little red cats on it. Has anyone tried Thunderbird, their email client? Let me know if you have and what you think.

And now – the drama, the sound and the fury . . .

A big hug and kiss to Anne-Marie for sending me some great new music to include, Chemical Brothers – Push The Button; Garbage – Bleed Like Me, Thievery Corporation – The Cosmic Game, and the last round of Zero 7 – Simpler Things, i also thank her deeply for being back around and for reading that BIG ASS scary bookish letter i sent her.

Despite that it’s on FOX, and i don’t typically dig hospital dramas, i have to make a plug for a television show i adore. If you aren’t watching House, M.D. – you need to see a doctor, and if you had to see one like Dr. Gregory House, you might get an actual dose of harsh, real-world advice. Hugh Laurie stars, and he is brilliant, biting, misanthropic, and in some strange way, dead sexy. There is something interesting about a contrary physician with an open drug addiction, a walking cane from an injury you don’t understand, and despite an inability to show direct compassion or love, an underlying deep depression and ornery disposition, he subtly reveals that he cares greatly about lives and saving the most difficult cases. Oh physician – heal thyself!

Ah – and then there’s Deadwood, where people die needlessly and inexplicably, every day. A perverse beauty, wrought with a highly-crafted language of filth and antiquity all its own where the players have recently taken to soliloquy with severed Indian heads and tombstones of dead gamblers. Indeed – it is not unlike vulgar Shakespearian verse, if you give it a listen . . .

You may see a theme here – i like the idea that ugliness can be a mask for beauty, and that practice and improvement in the face of almost certain hardship is imperative, but more – despite all the horror, we still have to strive for the pretty parts. We cannot succumb and be broken utterly. We must succeed and transcend. And that is where our ‘art’ or trade or practice of the thing we do best comes in . . .

My friend Megan, a dancer and singer by trade recently mused: “I have realized that I shouldn’t abuse my art, and use it as an avenue for my own personal therapy. I have been blessed with talents, and I should use them to bring joy to other people. Whether it’s dancing in a new piece, or singing in a smoky bar, if I bring a smile to one persons face, I’ve done my job.”

And it got me to think about when i was young, how music, drinking, painting, writing, even poor choices in partners and the lukewarm, plasticine, one-sided sex that came along with it, it was all therapy for me and i was afraid that if i wasn’t suffering, i wasn’t existing, therefore i wasn’t creating; i was unable to express myself unless i was hurting and only an open wound meant that i was alive and feeling the world move.

Now . . . well – i hope that my expression has a brighter tone, and maybe, it will be therapy for someone else. Perhaps this version could be the reverse, the negative model shot through with light to adhere to while still others are busying themselves with darkness and drudgery.

It’s not always about the personal gain, about what you get from yourself and what fortune (or misfortune) it produces, if that’s your aim, but it is more about what you bring to the table, what you produce and put out into the world as your purest expression with the most perfect intent, that of bringing joy, of sharing your joie de vivre, of sharing your vision, be it a bit cloudy, muted and difficult at times.

Everyone has a story, everyone has had their personal hell, and so much of music, so much of “artistic” expression now deals with challenging the psyche, insulting the sensibility, wearing our wounds as badges of pride, stripping down the emotional content to its horrible base so that people feel angry, upset and drained. So that they are reminded of what it is to suffer and to mistakenly claim, to their own damage, that it is pretty somehow. Suffering is apparent, pain is necessary, yes – but it is NOT the desired or correct state, purpose or constant in this life. And if it is – you’re doing it ALL WRONG.

Frankly, im exhausted by it. Limp Bizkit, photographers featuring dismembered animal parts as some supposed statement about how we use and abuse animals (though she commits the same crime and outrage by creating her “art” in a pantomime of challenging the double standard), painting that is so fucking clunky and graphically repetitious, unstylistic, having no form or worse, no personal intention or meaning, writing that is so cryptic and impenetrable, you have no idea who created the secret club or where the decoder ring is, but you are definitely not in the know or the cool or the hip or angsty enough. “Art arouses thoughts and poses questions that are necessary.” To be beautiful but frightening or repugnant does not always reveal to us that “beautiful things hide some sort of suffering.” it may just mean that it took some suffering to find beauty, or that beauty became whole and is showing its true face now. or that someone or something has always been sublime and just a bit divine and we should move ourselves with all of our energies to arrive at such a state.

i just cant relate to most of the aforementioned unprettyness, but i will strive to tolerate so i can understand where i have been and what it means to hurt in order to arrive at a bright place.

so again i ask the question – how do you choose to be defined in your most perfect expression? and i have learned that for me, it is not to be perfect, to instead be a little off, and to always be a whole lot of me.

it is my task to contemplate on what it is to constantly improve, what it is to allow for just the fracture line and not the gaping wound, to understand the balance.

i leave you with Leonard Cohen:

forget your perfect offering,
there is a crack in everything,
that’s how the light gets in.

~ Leonard Cohen

death, family, food, humor, pets, technology, work & employment

tiny transformations

this was a slightly long day – nothing too taxing, just a lot of little errands. i was so proud of myself for waking at 8am to get a jump on the day. yeah – i know, 8am is everyone else’s report time whereas this is a miraculous feat for me. i showered, pulled my hair into a wet knot and i was out the door.

i stopped at the gas station for fuel ( holy shit is diesel expensive now) i parted the waters, made up of men, waded past the farmers, truckers, mechanics all snickering, hitching their pants, and leaning around the coffee station smelling of burnt caramel, evaporated coffee and faintly like broken radiators. i got myself a vanilla iced coffee thing to go with my Raspberry NutriGrain bar and headed into a sunny day. i needed to get to the MVA to take care of my tags, title, and registration for my new car.

it was a relatively painless process, and luckily, both of the attendants i dealt with actually smiled and were pleasant. it was a quick wait, i even ran into one of my wine distributor representatives to sit next to. And – i will now readily admit, i ordered and will have vanity plates that read:


and why not!?!? the name and monicker has become so much of who i am and identify myself as that it’s only fitting.

my local radio station, 103.1 WRNR pulled the best and most entertaining April Fool’s joke by changing their call letters and format. They became 103.1, W-O-M-B “you’re inside the womb.” They had great one-liners like “we’ll leave the toilet seat down for you” and “testosterone free-radio” and “we don’t dick around” and my favorite “radio for the breast of us!” and the format ROCKED – ALL females DJs, ALL female artists, ALL day long!  it was brilliant! you wouldn’t believe the wide range of wonderful music i heard to float me through my day!

i went to work directly after the MVA and into a slammed lunch shift. busy enough for 3 servers to run around . . . i shot out of there for the 35 minute trip BACK HOME sometime after 2:30, so i could put the new tags on and drive the new car BACK into Annapolis to present to my insurance agency for photos and processing. i made it there with 5 minutes to spare before closing time.

then i went BACK TO WORK for round two, the dinner shift, but not before making a credit card payment in person for Tiffany, a work mate, also on a double shift with me. I did this so she could run her errands in the opposite direction during the lunch/dinner interim, she needed to deliver a catering order for the restaurant to make some extra cash, and i didn’t mind making the payment for her since i was going past Pier 1 Imports on my way back into town. i ended up bussing and hosting instead of waiting tables as it wasn’t too crazy busy. we sat around, the 3 of us, drinking chai tea (me) and cappuccinos (them) and doing a crossword until the first guests showed up well after 6pm.

during the nite a VERY big kitty came to the door of the restaurant. mind you – we are like a small house, in fact – people used to live there. this cat was like a Maine Coon: big, tabby/tiger like, fluffy with pointed ears. he was really sweet, rolling around on the porch, totally approachable, rubbing against the legs of all the guests entering and trying to slip past them to get inside. that’s all i needed was to chase a big cat through the dining room. we made friends and i petted him for awhile and he sat watching me through the door for a good 20 minutes before wandering on. he wasn’t starving, and i think he may actually belong to someone.

i hung around until 9, then stopped by a Ruth’s. she got a new computer and needed help setting up her email. we talked about the party she threw for her recently deceased mother . . . a big family gathering for remembrance that included a bonfire, good food, and spreading of her ashes on the California beach and into the ocean. Ruth is older than i am, i suppose i would put her near 60 or just beyond. Her mother had been missing out of her mind, Alzheimer’s for quite some time and was failing, and so her passing was a relief. i wish everyone dealt with death the way she does. when her mother died, she brought the box of ashes into the restaurant, as i was curious about the after-container. “Mom – meet the girls,” she said to Sally and i. “Hi, mom,” we chimed. “She always wanted to come here,”Ruth remarked. “And now she has,” i smiled. as i left Ruth to her newly established email and her headache owing to allergies, the light drizzle i had left before, suddenly became a good rainstorm.

in my infinite wisdom, i decided to go grocery shopping.

Everyone there near closing time ducked in to grab just one or a few things. margerine. a flat of strawberries. some milk and eggs. a frozen dinner. And you had the derelicts from the nearby laundromat hitting up the cashiers for rolls of quarters since the machines were out. Then my favorite – the randomly stoned Friday nite boys, the monkey pack, wandering around with Cheetos and Gatorade and Red Bull and Snickers bars, jumping on each others backs like horses, playing assgrab and leap frog and pull your pants down so everyone can see your balls. Some of them singing (more at howling) from the remote aisles, the lyrics to “End Of The Road: by Boyz II Men. fucking people . . .

Everyone had a few things, but me – i decided to do a big list right in the middle of things and everyone who queued up behind me saw my conveyer belt full, remarked things like “oh shit” and “nuh-uh” as they wandered over to the Self-Checkout lanes. This pleased the young, pretty cashier, who shared a devious smile with me and vowed to take her time, as i would be her last customer before the store closed.

i had been craving Szchezuan food, some spicy stirfry. (or so i thought . . .) i considered take-out, but then got ambitious. i had thawed some chicken in the fridge the nite before, came home with armfulls of plastic bags to the hungry cats climbing the walls, fed them, put things away and fired up the wok. i rinsed my perfumy jasmine rice, diced chicken, tossed the veggies and brown sauce, threw in the peanuts and by the time i was done, i was so tired, so uninspired that i scooped out a cup of rice, put a pat of butter and salt & pepper on it and called it dinner, wrapping up the rest and putting it into the fridge. have you ever cooked a meal and then decided not to eat it or have something else entirely?!?!? i just did . . .

i ate the rice and then opted for a salami sandwich with mustard and muenster cheese, sliced dill pickle and kettle chips. i began chinese and then went italian deli!

what the fuck is WRONG with me?!?!?

in other thoughts . . . after having this long hair for so many years, waking with it in my mouth sometimes, having the cat curled up in it (or me laying on it) so i can’t readily move, washing it, clarifying, deep conditioning, brushing, natural drying, babying it, fussing with color, loving it, hating it, having it stick to my face in the rain, tickle me under my bra strap, hang in his face, in my food, mostly tied back for work and wandering and cooking, i have decided . . .

to cut it.

probably chin length and then color it something bold and bright for Spring. i want easy, breezy and light. i used to wear a pixie, short as Sharon Stone – but i won’t be going THAT drastic this time around. so Tuesday. . . i lose the curtains. this may require a new ID, just for a bit of change, though i am not one to change things often. especially my personal decoration.

i have worn the same silver moonstone necklace since i bought it in Chicago 13 years ago. i take it off to polish it now and again. Same silver moonstone earrings for about 7 years, and the same silver rings with moonstone and labradorite for about 5 years, with exception to the latest ring addition brought back from the British Virgin Islands.

even this “new” car i just bought is just a more perfect rendition of my other car – just a far superior transmission and suspension (which i really feel when i drive, more power and comfort). jeez – i currently own and insure TWO Mercedes . . . how do i afford my rock-and-roll lifestyle?

like i said – i am not one to change things often, but lately, i can barely commit to a meal and having recently (finally) seen Super Size Me i am reminded again of the importance of good food, of healthy choices for change, of exercise, and how i need to rescue my Yoga mat from becoming an oversized cat toy and scratch post.

in the meantime, i believe an evil chocolate chip macadamia nut cookie will fix me up for bed.

after some well-needed, well deserved sleep – i’ll start the transformation tomorrow . . .

family, nature, pets, photography

snuggling in . . .

here kitty . . .

i’m just as proud as a new mommy
and quick with draw of the camera too . . .

forgive me if i innundate you with photos of Odin.

Right now, he is snuggling my butt, i am sitting on the front edge of my office chair and he is parked behind me. i don’t know what will happen when he becomes too big for this practice. My right hand is a bit shredded and full of miniscule scratches and bites. Odin thinks i am his litter mate and this is the hand i use to taunt him with. He also likes to pounce on my face in the morning, and push his paw into my eye to see if i am ready to rouse. Wicked little thing . . .

Pixel, my other Bengal spent the last week looking out the front door, waiting for Miles to return, howling a little sad song he reserves for the departing of one of us – Brooks or i on the way out for the day. Pixel still comes to bed quite late, but he is adjusting.

Odin has tried to nurse Pixel (who is a BOY cat) and Pixel has tried to drag Odin around by the scruff as if it were his own. It’s really great to see the cats getting along, and i love waking up with them all piled together and sleeping on me.

speaking of – i am sleeping better, dreaming more, and finally eating.

the sky looks strange today . . . it has been warm the last week, unseasonable for November. but today has the look of winter: lemon yellow & pale grey skies. i bought an overabundance of soup, bread, butter and tea at the grocery store yesterday.

i think i will start hibernating . . . i have plenty of furry snuggle buddies.


family, pets, photography

the breath of life (smells like a kitten)

nose 2 nosea new small creature . . .

Brooks is a very wise man . . . he told me we could be miserable for 6 months and then get a new kitten, or we could get one now, and i could affix my love to some beautiful new creature.

We chose the latter.

A new life does not replace the old, but instead, fills the gaping wound left by my sweet Miles.

May i introduce, Odin.


this is but a quick introduction – more soon . . .

friends, pets, photography, writing

Mr. Miles – Eulogy for a Cat

Swing with Miles

November 28th, 2001 – October 29th, 2004

Miles, my beloved cat, was struck and killed by a car on a warm Friday evening. He was a snow-spotted Bengal, a mix of an Asian Leopard and domestic short-haired Egyptian Mau. Miles was an incredibly soft, most beautiful and unusual cat who insisted on going outside – there was no keeping him in . . . or lots of howling would ensue. He was most happy frolicking through the woods and returning home to sleep next to my belly, nap on my desk as i worked in the day time, and generally, bring me great joy and laughter with his wonderful personality and affection. He always came when I called him; he even said his own name. “Miles!” i would call, high-pitched so it sounded like “mile” and he would call back “reee-err ” in a tone that sounded precisely the way i did. He kept calling all the way up as he trotted closer to home.

Miles was named for a character (Miles Naismith Vorkosigan) a character from science-fiction writer, Lois McMaster Bujold. Like the character, my Miles was smallish but hyperactive and brilliant. A funny, feisty, handsome little hellraiser.

Miles was my 2002 New Year’s Day Present to myself. i made a lot of money the night before and it was going towards this new little friend i desperately needed, as i lived mostly alone and missed my other cat, Pixel. I had picked Miles out from a litter of all females who were gold-spotted before he was old enough to be separated from his mother. Miles was the only white kitten in the litter and he seemed shy at first, a little skittish and ghostly. When i brought him home with me on the 20th of January, he hid under the bed for a few days and eventually came around. Once he did, he had a magnificent personality, became very social and very sweet.

Miles traveled extremely well. He was a fantastic co-pilot, sleeping in my lap when we went for car rides or on the passenger seat when he became too large for my lap. People would smile and wave at him when he looked out the window and drive-thru service was always entertained by the calm cat in the seat where a person should be.

When *OmarcyMe and i lived together, her cat Azul and Miles were fast friends. They played together, ate together, slept together and grew very close. Once i took Miles to see Brooks and Pixel for the week and Azul was so distraught and angry he peed all over my mattress. As soon as Miles returned – the urination problem stopped. Miles went through his heat cycle before he got fixed while we lived there and you wouldn’t believe the racket such a small cat could make. He was always incredibly vocal.

Miles always made the funniest noises as a kitten. He had a terrific vocabulary and you often knew what he was doing or what he wanted when he said things. He would eat his food and be so pleased he would talk with his mouth full. Rowr rowr rowr! Mew mew rowr! Once i picked him up when he was eating and he made this growling sound and so I whispered “growl growl growl” in his ear. From then on when anyone picked him up and asked him to growl or if he was actually content, he would make that noise. He meant nothing mean by it at all. Once i accidentally stepped on him, and instead of hissing or yelping, he made this little spitting, explosive sound that sounded part stunted meow, part like someone throwing a water balloon against the wall. SPRAK! Sprak, (pronounced ‘rack’ with an ‘sp’) became the word for Miles’ irritation. As in: “Where’s Miles?” “Oh – he’s out in the living room spraking around.”

Miles was a very tactile kitty and we had many names for all the games we played. He liked to be held like a baby and have the top of his head scratched in such a way that my fingers were like a little rake against his head. We called it “brain tickle.” We played a game where i’d point at him and he’d come up and rub his nose against my finger. This was called “noser noser noser.” When he’d rub against me i’d call him Mr. Nice and say “mmmmmmm.” * OmarcyMe taught him to crawl under the covers and get warm and snuggle in. Miles still nudged me in the morning, even after *OmarcyMe and i no longer lived together. i would lift the blankets up like a tent, tell him to “get into the cave” and he would crawl in and turn around, becoming a “purr-monster.”

Miles went by a few names of endearment: Mile, Mr. Miles, Tiny, Tiny Stench, Mr. Stink, Baby Kitty, Kittyhead, and he answered to all of them. i am deeply saddened that i will not be able to call out any of those names and have my dear cat answer.

When Brooks and i settled in for the night, Pixel always lay at his feet and Miles at mine. i will miss that little bit of habit and synchronicity, as i will miss seeing Miles’ little head show up late at night meowing silently at me from the outside of our front door glass, waiting to be let in. i will miss my little study buddy perched atop my office desk at home on a little grey blanket, covered in shimmery white fur; a place i had to create, moving two printers apart so he had somewhere to sleep and be near me. This was called “the spot,” and when Miles sat directly in front of the monitor, i would tell him, “get in your spot, Miles,” and he would jump up and lay down there, his tail hanging over the side sometimes. He would crawl up the wooden staircase to our loft and sit on the door ledge just over my closet, nearest to my side of the bed, looking over me as i fell asleep or was just waking up, high up surveying the area and me looking at his little silhouette. i will miss that small, pale silhouette.

i am thankful that Brooks’ brother, Jesse found Miles. He was just up the road from our mailbox, looking like he was heading to run out into the field to play. It would break my heart to NOT know where my cat was; hurt, stolen, suffering, lost, never to be recovered and having to bear that uncertain pain every day. Miles didn’t even look scathed: nothing broken, nothing inside turned outside, just his mouth, a little blood. Smaller, colder, heavier somehow. He must’ve been dashed, almost missed, hit his head and suffered little, which i can also be grateful for.

i spent some time holding Miles, smelling the top of his sweet head, stroking his small, golden nose and pink ears before i chose a place for him. Miles was gently wrapped in silver velveteen, shimmering and soft as he was, and as a final labor of love, we dug a large deep place for him near the house where i can look over the deck and see where he is. i chose a medium size triangular stone – heart-shaped, like his face as a grave marker.

The loss of a pet is so immediate and sharp. i wanted Miles to grow old and silly and crotchety with me some, but it seems our time was deemed so very short, cut off really, nearly three years. Was that time purposeful? Was this some horrible accident that could’ve been avoided? Could i have kept him in and not let him slide out the door past me with my arms full, stop and collect him, put him back inside? Would he have missed that passing car? Would time and fate have allowed him to come home again? This is where we are now in the awful, hurtful, surreal, unfair real, and i cannot torture myself with the what-ifs and could’ve beens and all the alternate endings. He was taken from me by some terrible, stupid accident that i could not have foreseen or prevented. At first i thought the world has something to punish me with, what have i done, what lesson am i supposed to be learning? But i know the world doesn’t quite work that way. i was just as blindsided by his death as i’m certain he was.

Miles followed me, trusted me, loved me, and i would’ve done anything to protect, love and endear myself to that darling animal. He was adored and cared for, more than some other creatures who get destroyed will ever know and i must take those thoughts to my heart as solace. This kind of loss serves to remind us all how important it is to love all the people and creatures close to us. To keep your anger, fear and argument to a minimum so that you can appreciate the joy that is brought by caring for some small thing unconditionally who returns your love in its own measure.

i have been wrecked for days now. My eyes swollen, my body tense and aching. Sleeping in excess and eating in small amounts. Writing this has made me think on things that were/are beautiful about coming to know such a unique creature. i feel the absolute need to reflect, to acknowledge all those memories and to share them in pictures and words so i can remember Miles in the best way i know how. As family, as companion, and as best friend.

i appreciate those of you who take the time to read this, who have pets that are dear to you, who know and understand through my photos how very deeply i feel for all things small and sentient and who take these reflections to your own place and remember above all – it is vitally important to love and be loved in return, at all costs.

For even as i am cleaved open, with this deep wound, i become ready to receive and to love again.

rainy day blues

Goodbye, Mr. Miles

pets, photography, writing

Kaete Girl Dog

Kaete on guard

my dog – well . . .
our dog, the family dog died.

Kaete (kay-ta) died and was buried
on our property.

We spent last nite with her, petting her,
holding her head, she looked at us and
we talked about her as if she were
already gone – a eulogy in progress.

we told her stories of all the reasons
and ways and times we loved and
appreciated her.

it was a beautiful nite on our deck, she
sat on a blanket and we covered her in
another, so she would be warm, as she
could not move.

but she heard us, and knew us, and watched us
and loved us as we loved her – chasing our cars
and putting the cat’s head in her mouth to lick
and moaning as if to speak and all those you forget
when someone, or some creature is no longer there
to fill the quiet space . . . .

i love you girl dog.

muddy rest