food, language, myth, relationships

ex nihilo

when i couldn’t speak
she drew me a circle
there were no words to communicate
the shape i didn’t understand
but her circle did not close
and it turned outward on itself
and i was sad to see it
stop.
she called it “spiral”
and i begged for her to complete it
until it reached the ends of the paper
and continued on to the table
and pooled onto the floor,
heavy like honey.
she pointed to pasta and said it again
she held up a loaf of bread and smiled
and the word spread across the face
of a warm round slice
like butter.
then to dessert and moved her mouth
as if to kiss
and motioned towards dessert and said “swirl”
to the red and yellow
giving spiral a surname
an “S” alias whisper with an “L” for a tail
that taps the roof with her tongue
and runs down the slick back of teeth
like a secret.
i learn her language
and the shapes move out to where
i can no longer see the edge of her world.

~ Andrea E. Janda

gardening, nature, relationships, tv, weather

it all takes more than a day to build

Well, now that Six Feet Under has wrapped up, it’s time for the next major HBO production, Rome. Apparently, if you read about the show you’ll discover it is monumental not only in scale and ambition but in dealings, “A co-production between HBO and the BBC, ROME is one of the largest co-production deals ever by the BBC for an American series, and marks the first series co-production of the two networks. HBO and the BBC previously partnered on the 2001 miniseries Band of Brothers, which won six Emmy® Awards, including “Outstanding Miniseries.

Needless to say – i am looking forward to it, and hope it’s sexy, bloody, gold, red and reveals “a place of vibrant cruelty” that parades in with as much grandeur as it appears to have stocked behind it.

i’ve been putting in a lot of hours at work and this has been keeping me ahead of the bills and my mind out of bad places. i really want to buy a color laser printer. For some reason, i have the urge to make some collages, printed art out of my photos. i don’t know what yet, but i want the proper equipment to do it with. Any suggestions in the way of printers would be gladly received, of course.

The weather has been cooling some, and i can smell just the hinting crush of Autumn to come, but this morning a little rainstorm brought back some humidity with it. And apparently there’s some nasty little bitch storm called Hurricane Katrina wending its way up the East coast which probably means some wicked thunderstorms here in the early part of the week. She’s already upgraded to a Category 5. Yeee-haww. Anyone seen her yet?

Tomorrow on my day off, i think i will go buy some gardening gloves and a spade and a few other tools and turn over the weed-ridden planter box / garden bed in the backyard. it really is a pretty place back there with crickets and birds and even a little bunny lives there. it just needs some love and attention. i was given a hardy orange mum plant today, i may put it in the ground back there and see if there are any bulbs i can plant now or what i can do about seeding in the Spring. i do have some great wildflower mixes for later . . .

i am eating chocolate hazelnut cookie twist thingies called Crème de Pirouline and boy are they tasty!  ok – just one more . . .

Speaking of tasty boys . . .

i met a nice new friend. we ate some food and drank some wine and finished with some evil chocolate dessert thing at a local place i like. yes – he is a boy. yes – we met online through a volley of emails and phone calls. yes – we had fun and it was laid back. no – i am not comfortable calling it a date. no – he did not pay – we went dutch. no – there was only a hug good nite and promise of more time spent. perhaps perhaps perhaps. all of it, with me most ginger on the approach.

This new infused hope i have for printing, for gardening, for dare i say “love” has prompted me to study myself for what i was missing in my relationship and for what i want from Mr. WhomEverTheHellYouAre. And i have asked for the following:

a clever boy with careful hands who will look me in the eye when he’s talking and when i’m talking to him. someone who will walk beside me, not charge ahead to lead, and hold my hand in public. i don’t mind a little mystery and intrigue, but don’t appreciate narcissism, ticket-punchers, people who treat sex and intimacy like an oil-change and the lies that accompany leading a double-life.

be with me whether i am present or not.

please be sociable, polite, humourous, thoughtful, affectionate, passionate, emotional but not too messy, domesticated but well-traveled, adventurous but not utterly reckless, endearing, inspired and inclined to create.

of course – i have not mentioned that if you look like Jeff Buckley or Jean-Marc Barr as he appeared in the movie The Big Blue circa 1988, then you’re definitely my flavor. but we cannot have everything, and i won’t find him by sitting in here.

and it all takes more than a day to build . . .

film, music, photography, relationships

muse(ic) and lighting

:::   :::   :::   :::

Lucky me
i guessed the kind of man
that you would turn out to be
Now i wish that i’d been
wrong and then
i could remember
to breathe
And all along the Watchtower
the night horses and
the black mares
ready themselves for the outcome
for the strange times
upon us

But what you didn’t count on
was another Mother of
a Mother Revolution
but what you didn’t count on
was another Mother of
a Mother Revolution
you could’ve had me
you could’ve had me
you could’ve had me
Right there beside you . . .

Mother Revolution ~ Tori Amos

:::   :::   :::   :::

amazing how everything you listen to informs you of your heart’s current state. at this very moment as i type this . . . Train In Vain by The Clash just came on the radio and is talking about:

Say you stand by your man
Tell me something I don’t understand
You said you love me and that’s a fact
Then you left me, said you felt trapped

Well some things you can explain away
But my heartache’s in me till this day

Did you stand by me
No, not at all
Did you stand by me
No way . . .

damn it’s exhausting when you can’t escape your own brain and even the radio won’t give you a fucking break.

but my friends have been great at keeping me distracted what with dinner invites and tea and wine and film and concerts and new music.

In local news . . . Sarah Jessica Parker and Matthew McConaughey filmed a movie on Maryland Avenue here in Annapolis a few days ago! It’s going to be called Failure to Launch. They went to a little local pet boutique that the film crew made look like a bookstore then on to Harry Browne’s for an outdoor café lunch scene. What’s really cool is my photos are on display just across the street at Alchemy Tea Trading Co! Who knows – maybe they saw me . . .

i went to a concert at the 9:30 club on Friday nite to see Ray Lamontagne, a very heartfelt show acoustically akin to say a Ben Harper meets Bob Dylan. folk-soul flavoured. he was opened by a pretty aussie called Sarah Blasko, who will make her tv debut on the series finalé of Six Feet Under next Sunday. She was very Björk blended with some Harriet Wheeler of The Sundays and a little Beth Gibbons of Portishead thrown in. it was a lovely show.

friends, myth, nature, relationships

shot down . stuck fast . dark flight

just when i think it’s too much to bear . . . when my life seems turned on its ear, snaking about on a twisted, circular track and i feel like curling in on myself . . . i go back to the beginning as i end again.

i have been absent. from everything (including here and my photography as well) except work, which i have been doing quite a bit of.

my eight-year relationship recently self-destructed. and i’m just going to make it plain for you and for me . . . mostly, i am profoundly heartbroken, numbed and utterly daunted by the idea of dating, taking meals, movies and sleeping alone, weary of having to explain myself and learn someone new, having to relearn myself, afraid of being disappointed, dreading the whole “this-is-what-i’m-about-how-’bout-you” exercise, farting in front of someone new, being naked, learning a new kiss. it all horrifies me and i don’t even want to begin. i had a man i love dearly, i had a house, i had two cats together. i planted my tree there, i buried my cat there. i planted my heart there in the woods and let it cover the ground like ivy.

Brooks, my long-term boyfriend broke up with me. and to tell you how it all went down, and on my 33rd birthday would read so utterly cliché and rife with melodrama that i wish were NOT my life to report. Well – i have entered my Jesus year – he was 33 when he was crucified.

damn if it isn’t always the worst timing, the wrong thing said, the poor choices, the little misunderstandings that just chip away at things, until you can no longer see the good and the way through something or someone. there are things he thinks he needs to do for himself, and sadly – he wants to do them alone.

i met him when i was 25, online and through email. i didn’t even know what he looked like before we started speaking and growing close. he sent me pictures a book and a bottle of wine. he took me places i have never seen. he taught me so much about so many things natural and mechanical. i moved my whole life from Detroit, Michigan to be here with him in Maryland. we went through his Crohn’s disease (which he still endures), dead pets, funerals, vacations, all the things you can imagine, and we weathered my leaving twice while we were building a house to get some sanity and space from living in close quarters with his parents, and then, a monstrously stupid wasteful affair on my part. there are some things a relationship cannot survive, i suppose. people suffer their self-esteem, people stop forgiving, people build walls.

i would like to chalk it up to an early mid-life crisis on his part or humanity’s new short-attention span with love and excitement, and a case for those who don’t know how to commit and invest in people when they have fear of death, fear of confrontation, fear of friendship, fear of settling for the not-quite best sex/lover/relationship/etc. (insert fictional mind meld illusory mental/emotional state here). clearly the compromises he felt he had to make in order to be with me were too great. this is simply it. i just wish it felt better to say to myself and not cry every time i think of his absence. there are not enough pillows on this bed or friends i can talk to that make up for the empty space.

and i will leave it all at that. as he has reminded me it was NOT all goodness and light, though the love and loss of it has changed me profoundly and the memories of how it all began, how many many things we shared as friends, how THAT friendship is perhaps the only salvageable part. there is so much i could write, and i have, but it is largely personal and i will not trouble anyone’s eyes or conscience with it here. i am spilling out over the edges as it is . . . even the camera i shoot with, a gift from him, serves as a reminder.

i am living in Annapolis, Maryland. right downtown in the Historic District. it’s a nice house on the water, i rent it with two male roommates one of whom is Jason. mostly – i have the house to myself as Jason visits his girlfriend Jean quite a bit and works a lot, and Andrew, well he’s a handsome young man of i think 22, and he is gone quite a bit also, for various jet-setting to Chicago and New York, early work hours and socializing. so it’s mostly me and Odin just hanging out at home, purring and snuggling in, trying to get some sleep, eating lightly only for sustenance and hoping to adjust. there is a nice pair of windows in my room on the 3rd floor, my ivy plant is happy here, new leaves have erupted where dead spiny limbs were and i am able to crawl out my window and get onto the slanted roof to a platform area where i can look out across the neighborhood. it’s nice for sunning and watching the people, birds, and gardens.

what i have come to see is that nature continues to frighten and amaze me though i am no longer in my beloved forest . . . where all good elves belong. still i learn things like the will to fight, resilience, the inevitability and impartiality of death and my persistent love for all things great and small.

my last batch of moth eggs collapsed – they never hatched, perhaps not the product of a successful mating, which seems a terrible metaphor for the course of things lately, but no matter. i may still find some other specimens to raise and get interested in.

i watched two blackbirds trounce a mouse with their needled talons on a gravel path as the mouse interrupted their feeding and scavenging. i intervened and they took flight.

i watched a small sparrow fly too low before the eyes of traffic only to be batted pitifully against headlights and fall to the side of the road like a stone.

i see countless butterflies flittering with all of their might to make it across the lanes of whooshing traffic, dashed and left flapping like shutters, tiny cyclone trapdoors on the hot pavement, stuck like confetti fallout after a New Year’s kiss delivered to a perfect stranger.

Eastern Box Turtle peeking out

but i picked up a Painted Box Turtle, burnt ochre shell with starburst splashed and neon orange scales and head, with cherry red eyes. he was walking in the middle of the road, certain to be crushed. he rode on the floor of my passenger seat until i released him into the woods – but not before taking his picture . . .

Eastern Box Turtle

on from turtles and NOT to the rabbit, but the mouse . . . i know – they are rodents and vermin and potentially carry disease and reproduce and ruin food storage and clothes, but i loathe the sticky supposedly non-toxic glue traps that catch mice – or more i should remark they don’t so much “catch” as mangle and rip a creature limb from limb as they try to escape losing fur and feet if they DO manage to escape. i don’t know – i prefer “SNAP!” you’re dead than starvation and thirst and drowning in your own feces and struggle as you get more and more bound and twisted.

so, i am a bad employee – i saved a mouse from one of these grotesque things. i was setting up an adjacent dining room when i thought “eww, i better stash that trap so the guests don’t see it.” and upon picking it up, it stirred wildly and fluttered out of my hand and i screamed a bit. i wondered about what kind of unholy fucking cockroach/insect/mothra/beast might be twitching inside with 60,000 legs and pincers and fangs. i kicked it a bit across the room in the direction of the trash, then finally got brave got down on the ground and looked inside.

it was a tiny grey mouse, stuck with its little nose down, its whiskers bleeding, its mouth stuck open, tail behind it on display, feet tangled awkwardly below it in unnatural positions, stuck fast by its furry side and not escaping but still very much alive. what was i supposed to do? put it in a corner and ignore it (denial), put it out of its misery by bludgeoning it (personal), or worse – throwing it away (neglectful). so i took it to the sink in the nearby bathroom and turned on a small trickle of warm water, which it greedily lapped, working its mouth and blinking up at me. this gave it the energy to start squirming more, but i tried to keep it still so it didn’t rip itself apart.

i began by peeling the tail away and trying to unstuck the feet and head so it could close its mouth. then i went about dampening the trap with water and soap to loosen the glue, tearing off bits and pieces of the trap rather than trying to peel the mouse away by its loose body parts, which i was afraid would damage organs and break legs.

this took a good 10 minutes or so near the end of which the mouse became more excited, realizing it was being helped and was better able to move. once i had it free, its front paw a bit favored, perhaps stiff or injured, it scrambled and spun in a circular track in the sink basin. it nipped me ever so slightly, but grew calm as i scooped it up in a pile of paper towel. it curled into a little crescent, breathed quickly and i cupped it in my hands, cooed at it a bit to be calm, which it did and grew very still as i carried it outside to the huge bush i had seen mice in and out of before.

i put it down in the mulch and it appeared as if that one leg may have been broken, but it looked around and scampered off inside, ducking down into a little hole. somehow – i felt such a deep sympathy for this creature, stuck against its will, wanting to be removed, wanting to move. i can only hope it will heal or at least, die on its own terms.

Two nites ago i was out in the backyard here, a wild tangled overgrowth of hastas and ivy and low hanging branches looking over into the soft lights in my neighbor’s garden. The neighbor is a bed and breakfast called The Charles Inn as we live on Charles Street. it also has the window where i shot this cat photo:

While looking over in the garden with its fountains and stones and wonderful flowers, i saw a little orange flicker – the glow of an eye, something in flight. It was 11 at nite and all i could think was BAT! But no – you wouldn’t believe it – it was a hummingbird of all things . . . at NITE! i thought they went into torpor to keep warm and still in the dark and only flew in the sunlight, but here it was, a ruby-throated hummingbird darting aimlessly about, trying to find its way into the nectar caves. Turns out, i read that they don’t have a sense of smell. But more interesting is their affinity for the color RED . . .

The Ruby Throated Hummingbird is Maryland’s native species. It weighs only a tenth of an ounce and is attracted to nectar supplied by native plants or attentive homeowners. The flowers hummingbirds use for nectar sources have evolved with them. To attract a hummingbird, a flower must be red, bloom in the daytime, be rich in nectar and lack any sort of landing pad thereby eliminating competition from other birds. They like red so much in fact that folks in Louisiana hang lots of red Christmas ribbon, red surveyor’s tape, and other red items around their yards to be sure hummingbirds won’t pass them by. Some believe the hummingbirds fly down pathways (like roads) and have trails of red leading from the road into their house which must be an incredible spectacle!

My nitetime sighting sent me on a journey to discover myths and faerie tales about the hummingbird of which i found a nice handful and all of them Native American . . .

A Mayan legend says the hummingbird is actually the sun in disguise, and he is trying to seduce a beautiful woman, who is the moon.

Another Mayan legend says the first two hummingbirds were created from the small feather scraps left over from the construction of other birds. The god who made them was so pleased he had an elaborate wedding ceremony for them. First butterflies marked out a room, then flower petals fell on the ground to make a carpet; spiders spun webs to make a bridal pathway, then the sun sent down rays which caused the tiny groom to glow with dazzling reds and greens. The wedding guests noticed that whenever he turned away from the sun, he became drab again like the original gray feathers from which he was made.

A third Mayan legend speaks of a hummingbird piercing the tongue of ancient kings. When the blood was poured on sacred scrolls and burned, divine ancestors appeared in the smoke.

There is a legend from the Jatibonicu Taino Tribal Nation of Puerto Rico about a young woman and a young man, who were from rival tribes. Like Romeo and Juliet, they fell in love, precipitating the intense criticism of their family and friends. Nevertheless, the two of them found a way to escape both time and culture. One became a hummingbird and the other a red flower.

To the Chayma people of Trinidad, hummers are dead ancestors, so there is a taboo against harming them. An extinct Caribbean tribe called the Arawacs thought it was Hummingbird who brought tobacco. They called him the Doctor Bird.

Hopi and Zuni legends tell of hummingbirds intervening on behalf of humans, convincing the gods to bring rain. Because of this, people from these tribes often paint hummingbirds on water jars.

There is a legend from Mexico about a Taroscan Indian woman who was taught how to weave beautiful baskets by a grateful hummingbird to whom she had given sugar water during a drought. These baskets are now used in Day of the Dead Festivals.

The Pueblo Indians have hummingbird dances and use hummingbird feathers in rituals to bring rain. Pueblo shamans use hummingbirds as couriers to send gifts to the Great Mother who lives beneath the earth. To many of the Pueblo, the hummingbird is a tobacco bird. In one myth Hummingbird gets smoke from Caterpillar, the guardian of the tobacco plant, which is a nice Alice In Wonderland segue!

Another Pueblo story tells of a demon who is blinded after losing a bet with the sun. In anger he spews out hot lava. The earth catches fire. A hummingbird then saves the beautiful land of people and animals by gathering clouds from the four directions. Hummingbird uses rain from these clouds to put out the flames. This legend says the bright colors on a hummingbird’s throat came after he fled through the rainbow in search of rain clouds.

A Mojave, and my most favorite legend tells of a primordial time when people lived in an underground world of darkness. They send a hummingbird up to look for light. High above them the little bird found a twisted path to the sunlit upper world where people now live.

It is a place i hope to arrive at soon myself . . .

food, friends, marriage, photography, relationships, writing

i can run on anything – or binding, releasing . . .

:::
the head is a crown
a trap with teeth when open,
abound when clamped,
asleep and all these tendrils
of light and ferns
bring inner life
as the outer one burns . . .
:::

Sometimes, it’s impossible to escape your own mind. constant flow of worries and random tasks and preoccupation, consternation, mental masturbation trying to make yourself feel good by arranging, stretching, reordering and so, if you’re like me, you must take it and remove it from the psychic plane, untie the lines, and move it to the physical plane . . . DO something to make it quiet in there with meditative motions. binding. release.

i’ve been spending a lot of nice time with Megan – afternoon lunches, wine drinking, music listening, all of this in preparation for her wedding. we’ve been attending hot hot hot Hot Yoga classes at a nice studio. This is where they heat the room from 90-103 degrees, you wear next to nothing and bend yourself, working slowly into poses in which sweat drips into your eyes from the bridge of your nose, off your fingertips as it rolls down your arms, and you appear to be boffing the invisible. it’s pretty sexy . . . with poses and binding that undo the bindings. release.

One evening, Megan, her friend Violet and i spent a few hours tying chopsticks together with red ribbons: a dragon on one, a phoenix on the other, and the bride and groom’s names on both. These chopsticks were intended as wedding favors for a Chinese Banquet (which i will get to later . . . ) we did this until our fingertips were red-pink like they get when you eat an entire bag of red-dyed pistachio nuts during a Sunday nite movie marathon. (not that i’ve ever done this) This ribbon-affixing job took two bottles of wine to complete . . . i often gauge the difficulty of a job by the number of wine bottles it takes to complete. binding. release.

In between, i brewed a pot of blood orange tea while the three of us sat, steeped, traded stories, broke out the tortilla chips and salsa and somewhere in there, marinated a salmon filet, steamed some spinach and yellow rice all the while, still tying the red ribbons around chopsticks. binding. release.

Megan’s then fiancé, now husband and i went for a late nite walk down to the water after the chopsticks were all tied. It began to rain and he, a gentleman offering his coat asked, “Would you like a hood?”

And me, Red Riding Hood in training quipped, “No thank you, i have hair.” That nite, the three of us sat on a bench by the water and made up one of the most ridiculous parodies sung to the tune of “They can’t take that away from me.” It was a strangely sinister diddy about living in an abusive relationship. And i think now, it was funny, because we laugh at the things we are most afraid of. We cracked ourselves up, though – and really, Michael and Megan are a wonderful couple.

Which leads me to the photos and Megan’s wedding day. It began innocently enough, except for some odd reason, i couldn’t get my car to start, which sent me into a minor panic. We keep a drum of biodiesel on our property which we fill at a station further out as all of our cars are diesel engines and it’s convenient to have and cleaner burning. The morning before the wedding i was running late to work and filled up a container and dumped it into my tank. All i could think was something was wrong with the biodiesel, water in it, too cold of an engine to get it gong. My car was running REALLY sludgy. i called Brooks’ brother at work.

“Hey Jesse, my car is having a hard time starting, cranking really hard and all that. Is something wrong that it won’t tolerate the fuel mix?”

“Oh – did you use the white drum in the garage corner, because that’s cooking oil.”

Jesse then explained he was doing a conversion to an old Mercedes so that installing something to preheat the oil would allow the car to run on it as a regular fuel. i didn’t quite have that luxury and so, just so you know and for fun future reference . . . Mercedes CAN run on fucking WESSON oil.

In any event i had allowed myself plenty of time, got on the road, refilled and evened out the mix and arrived before the bride returned from her hair and nail appointments, so all was good.

The wedding was lovely – FAST, but lovely. The bridal party wore red (my favorite) and all the trees glowed with that same burning . . . The ONLY hitch/drawback was that ever present threat and problem . . . MORE photographers than agreed on. The groom’s mother had asked two friends to shoot some photos for the family and so, there i was jockeying for position and competing with flash banks. It was a bit of a nitemare, but i still think i produced some decent shots. Particularly when we went on a walk and i had more control. And hey – if i didn’t get it all, i’m certain the rest of the family can provide some additional photos.

Goodnite Kiss

The wedding was on a Thursday and that Sunday, the Chinese side of Megan’s new family, the inlaws hosted a Chinese Banquet which Brooks and i attended. This was 10 courses of lazy-susaned passed food, some of it very palatable, some of it exotic and texturally offensive, but all of it VERY authentic. It was a nice event.

Megan and i had gone shopping the week before and i had fallen in love with a corset that i bought at her insistence. i finally found one that fit perfectly and when i came out of the dressing room, Megan declared, “i’m not letting you leave without that.” Of course, i realize now that i went shopping with her so she could make me buy things, or so we joked . . .

i’ve been preparing and eating a lot of stir fry lately, chopping fresh vegetables, sometimes adding chicken, but mostly brown and spicy with jasmine rice. call it a kick . . . and also oops i did it again, i cut my hair.

shorter.

it has some highlights and lowlights ranging in violet, cinnamon, copper, honey and some deep cherry reds. it’s a LOT of fun and feels terrific!

so the purpose of my opening little poem that occurred to me after seeing a pencil sketch (i hope i can find it again so i can share with you the visual inspiration . . .) my thoughts about undoing the bindings and releasing is my latest mantra – the only thing i can do to stay tethered to this world. this and feel connected to my friends and invest time in the people i love. those things and also, make use of the 3-month membership unlimited to the yoga studio that my mother bought me for my upcoming birthday . . .

i will be 33 June 19th, a very nice number. Getting involved in all of these wedding proceedings and pregnancies and births has been nice, to see and feel so much love and investment between people. in some ways too, though i doubt i will ever be married (both for the headache of the preparations and the grim possibility of the need for a clean break should anything go awry) i hate to think like that, but it’s the pragmatist in me that begs to keep my head on straight. i LIKE the idea of marriage, just as i LIKE children, but i don’t think either of those things will be a part of my life.

And i leave this last part to the women who read this . . . do you feel strange or awkward or pressured or sad, or more succinctly like a failure if you don’t find yourself engaged, married and or in the midst of planning a family?

And if you’re someone like me who understands that neither marriage nor children are guarantees that will bind you forever and lovingly to a mate, then – what is the alternative? What types of occupations or commitments or arrangements in your relationship makes you feel like you are safe in this world; that you will be with someone who loves you and reciprocates your loves, needs and desires? What makes you feel like you are doing fine and have no need to keep up with the staus quo?

how do you escape the trappings in your head and make your outer (public) life match the inner (private) life so that your parents will hush and your friends won’t ascribe you to the land of failed or incomplete womanhood?

me – i cut my hair, i go for catharsis, i steep til it’s hot, i change my image, my vision, i mutate my indecision, i sweat out the ills and forego the pills and stretch myself into new positions, walk in the rain, try different fuel sources, tie things with ribbons, put on the corset, cling tight to my friends and love . . .

undo the bindings. release.

food, friends, love, marriage, photography, relationships, technology, weather

it was all YELLOW

Mood: Very Happy sunny and warm
Listening to: Sunday by Sia
Reading: Mostly Harmless: Douglas Adams
Watching: Deadwood: HBO season finalé 5.29!

oh my god. it’s been almost a month since i scribbled down something in this little journal of mine.

i suppose getting out there and living and working sucks up quite a good stretch of time – and in this time some good things have been happening in my personal and creative life . . . where one thing closes it does sometimes, reopen.

Back in the day i used to be a rockstar.

That is to say, i fronted a band as a singer/songwriter and acoustic guitar when i lived in Detroit just before i met Brooks and moved to Maryland. One of my old band members, Jim phoned and emailed because he passed on our demo CD to a local podcaster.

In any event, this podcaster played two of my songs and it generated some positive feedback and so Jim and i are considering the prospect of me doing some more recording, first a bit of long distance track trading and PC to PC stuff via a lovely digital recording platform called SPIKE made by Mackie. This way we can trade files back and forth via the net, easy as you please so we can sketch out ideas until i can visit Detroit in August to lay down some studio tracks in the real. who knows what will become of all of this, but the music was something i never wanted to let go of completely and this is another chance to see what can happen.

The only rub is – i dislike my last name, and i need to figure on a name to record under. i rather like the idea of a single word name/idea like some of the female vocalists i’ve been into such as Esthero or Sia or Shivaree. i even like the idea of a phrase that is not quite associated, for instance a woman named Erin Moran records under A Girl Called Eddy. (this is probably so she is NOT mistaken for the actress who played Joanie Cunningham on Happy Days) SO – if any of you have any ideas, toss them out at me!

Also – flashing back to Detroit and to the time i met Brooks, i met another Andrea who just came out to visit me over Mother’s Day weekend through Thursday. We spent some nice time catching up, telling stories, shopping and eating . . . for Mother’s Day (since she is 8 months pregnant and we didn’t want to brave the restaurants) i decided to wait on her at home. i cooked scrambled eggs, 7-grain toast, cut some fresh brie, grapes, fresh strawberries in sugar, orange juice and a nice Moscato d’Asti dessert wine from Italy (only 5% alcohol and sweet as a mimosa). We had a banquet spread outside under an umbrella covered table on my deck and the weather was just perfect.

Then we took a 2-hour nap.

On Monday, we went to the most fabulous restaurant i have EVER dined at! Seriously – i am ruined for any other place . . . The Inn At Little Washington exceeded my every expectation, we asked for NOTHING the entire meal, the service was impeccable and like a synchronized ballet, the food was exquisite, the wine list was a novel you could never tackle including bottles aged from ’66 and priced everywhere from $25-$2000 and the cellar boasts 14,000 bottles. The garden terrace with fountain, pond and a wall of crawling ivy lit with a web of white lights was simply magical . . . The dessert was so sinful and delectable i couldn’t decide if i wanted to EAT it or crawl onto the table and fuck it! And all of this was a two hour drive into idyllic English-looking countryside in Washington, Virginia where the Inn resides in one of the few remaining actual “villages” in America. At my request – we were even allowed to tour the kitchen where all this incredible work happens.

These were my particular course selections:

1st course: Fire and Ice: Seared Tuna Sashimi with Daikon radish and Cucumber Sorbet
2nd course: A Fricassee of Maine Lobster with Potato Gnocchi and Curried Walnuts
main course: Prime Angus Tenderloin of Beef on Peanut Potatoes with a Pommery Mustard Vinaigrette
dessert: Seven Deadly Sins: A Sampling of Seven Decadent Desserts

The site describes the experience best with ” The Inn’s dining room is pure fantasy – a wondrous cocoon of luxury. Rose–colored, silk lampshades float above each table creating a private romantic world below. Under the watchful eye of Host Reinhardt Lynch, Patrick’s creations arrive at one of the 30 intimate tables as if served by invisible hands, course after course more dazzling than the last.”

oh daddy but do i ever appreciate food that rises to artform!

i also had the privilege of taking photos of Andrea and her beautiful pregnant belly, during our relaxing visit of eating and napping. i also managed to enter one into a contest for her, so she could win some prizes!

This is my favorite photo so far of the shots i have looked through:

glamourous mother

Oh yes – and i entered the Maryland Department of Natural Resources 2005 photo contest which calls for photos of Maryland’s “rich natural and recreational resources – water, wildlife, farms, fields, parks, forests and protected areas.” i certainly have plenty of those kinds of photos – my “wild” cats aside. Wish me luck on that!

i am 2 weeks out from my next wedding photo shoot for my friend Megan. It is a beautiful location that i recently attended a wedding at and so i am familiar with the surroundings and conditions. even so – Megan and i are going tomorrow afternoon to scout photo locations in the garden area for the formal/group shots. i am expecting a gorgeous June wedding and cooperative weather for her.

and silly joy of all joys – my vanity plates came in the mail!

In the midst of all this exciting creativity and reward . . . my dear friend Anne-Marie sent me a wonderful, heartfelt letter detailing her life and how she was so thrilled and fulfilled to tap back into her creative life after being unduly stunted from it by a (hopefully) soon to be removed poor partnership.

health, relationships

Driving While Under The Influenza

HO-lee-SHIT!

Apparently, the sickness that attacked during my last Wedding shoot was only ACT I. That was merely a prelude, the opening gig, the goddamned trailer. What followed last Wednesday was a sore throat and then … Thursday arrived with the full-blown flu. let me assure you – you DO NOT want this creature! i have never BEEN so sick. i woke up today feeling like lukewarm death, the 5-day monstrous headache persists, but is not as angry.

And the headache is due to the extreme dehydration and . . .

The sinuses – no amount of blowing or spraying or heat or cold or Vick’s or mint or menthol or hot sauce or weeping into the pillow or any other form of action short of drilling a small hole into my face has really worked. Perhaps we call it an infection now. Dunno. Fucking doctor is out ’til Thursday. She has it too.

The throat – small, but contained fire being constantly inflamed by the sinus drainage. Gingerale, while good for the belly acts a bit like gasoline in its carbonation, so best to let it go flat before drinking.

The ears, tongue – can’t hear can’t taste. Most of it tastes ‘wet’ and either ‘hot’ or ‘cold’ or ‘squishy’ or a combination thereof. my voice and all surrounding noises have been echoing out of the theatre that is my cranium for 5 days now. it is a concert of racket i never desire to attend again.

Then there’s the dry, hacking cough, the nausea, vomiting, EXTREME fatigue, and the complete non-desire to drink anymore Gatorade or water or eat popsicles for fear of technicolor vomit, though i desperately need the fluids.

Spring is arriving late this year, and so apparently, is the Flu season. And this one is what we call a “mother fucker.” That’s the technical term.

“Last time i had the flu, i was pissed,” Brooks said to me as he patted my head and brought me tomato soup. That about summed it up. Helpless, weary, sick, and pissed off.

“Honey, i either need soup, or a shotgun,” i whined. “Well – we have both here.” he mused. How very practical.

:::  :::  :::  :::

In other, slightly more useful news . . . i am getting a new car. It is not really the time for me to attempt to afford a new car, but it is in fact, only new to me. i currently drive a Mercedes 300D Turbo Diesel. Made in 1983, Metallic Blue. The car i am getting is a 1985, same make and model but better transmission, and i know that the mechanic (my father-in-law) has had his hands on it for most of its life and a good $10,000 worth of work into restoring it. New paint included. Which brings me to its color. A pretty Champagne metallic. The guy just wants to downsize his fleet of cars for tax purposes, he bought an BMW and has another Mercedes. This was his occasional car for himself and his kids if they needed to go somewhere. The grocery getter, if you will.

It is merely a great opportunity to get the same car, in better condition, in the event that say, my transmission goes (which is soft & sloppy right now and may go when it feels like it) – it would cost about as much as $3000 to fix it and this is what i am paying for the whole car. As it is, my current car sports a few minor irritations: vaccuum switch leaks in the door locks, clear kote and paint are kinda tired, probably need new tires again soon, and whatever major next fix it will require.

i wasn’t really ready to retire this car, and will probably sell it waaaaay cheap for someone who wants a project car – to do a bio-diesel conversion to it for a little over $1000. i mean, 384,000 miles and it still runs fine, but mileage is no way to gauge these cars. it still has the sticker on it from a trip to Disney World, when Brooks and his friend Dave, (now an Annapolis policeman and soon to be married) drove it down for Spring Break). Dave used to drive it and it had a slow oil leak that turned catastrophic – he blew the engine and i watched as a new one was rebuilt and put back in, fired back into life and there was my new car at the time to replace a dead Ford Escort 🙄 A mighty improvement.

And here . . . yet another.

Champagne toasts everyone. But i need the Vitamin C – so make mine a mimosa!

books, nature, psychology, relationships

DIVERSIFICATION

Reading: The Roaches Have No King Daniel Evan Weiss

I’m re-reading this again. it has much to say about love and survival of the human species, and is told through the eyes of a colony of cockroaches, if you can go with that Kafka-esque sentiment. it touches on literature, history, psychology, sexuality, biology. a dark erotic tale of the urban condition . . .

An excerpt from Numbers, the cockroach who grew up feeding on book paste between the pages of the bible:

“When I was released into the intimidating world of Homo Sapiens, it was their reactions to separation from their lovers that offered me first comfort. I would soon realize that man is only an eerie visitor to our ecosphere, like a jack-o-lantern on a windy night, frightening, but already flickering and certain to go out. The reason is simple: humans cannot adapt because they are not rewarded for diversifying their gene pool. Separation engenders not a sense of satisfaction at a job well done nor a heart-pounding anticipation of the next opportunity, but instead a black, debilitating insecurity. In fact, separation ignites human passions unmatched by those occasioned by consummation.”

And this excerpt talking about the concept of Thanatos, the death wish in humans:

“I’ve always thought so. Psychiatrists, neonatologists, transplant surgeons, social workers, Democrats – these humans are esteemed for maximizing the reproductive success of those who minimize the chance of survival of the species.”

Ao there is my recommendation for the day my dears:
DIVERSIFY—specialization is for insects . . .

food, friends, nature, relationships, technology

wonderful day

gaw – what a great day i had yesterday!
a really laid back warm and wonderful birthday …
i woke up late didn’t shower until 3pm
took a nature walk,

washed my car . . . which always consists of pulling snails off the hood
and shooing spiders so i don’t blast them with the hose
and looking out for passing butterflies.

at 8pm i met a friend Jennifer for dinner and had an incredible meal:

baked brie with mango, strawberries, grapes and oranges, filet mignon with chive mashed redskin potatoes and grilled asparagus, a bottle of champagne, and for dessert, a chocolate truffle in pecans with a glass of 6-grape port, and an awesome coffee drink with real whipped cream, the stiff kind, not the fluffy stuff.

We had a window view overlooking a mouth of the Chesapeake Bay and watched a light show of heat lightning until the rain crashed in. i went to the valet who i told didn’t need to go get my car as i could see it, so instead he followed me out with an umbrella over my head for a walk and closed my door for me. Hug

afterwards we went back to her place and shared a bottle of shiraz and an endearing two-hour conversation.

Jennifer bought me a flowering tree called a crepe myrtle which is currently potted at 3ft but will grow to be 25 feet.

i love plants as opposed to flowers. as my boyfriend says “giving flowers is like cutting off the sex parts and handing someone a bouquet of penises, it’s best to be alive and keep growing” and i agree live plants . . . it’s the gift that keeps on giving.

then the topper — i came home and my boyfriend had a really nice gift for me: a 10 GB iPod! we had a good laugh about my love of little gadgets and how different i am in that i don’t want clothing or jewelry or perfume and how that makes it easier to buy for. and that he sees my appreciation for music and technology.

and then — some wonderful lovemaking <3

food, friends, relationships

HAPPY EVERYTHING TO ME!

Have your cake and eat it too.
yup, it’s my Birthday.
well it is here on the East Coast
after midnite and so June 19th.
i’m 31.
Airborne
i plan on sleeping in
and having pancakes
with peanut butter AND maple syrup
some time with my darling
and some good wine with good friends . . .