death, dreams, psychology, technology

Post-apocalyptic war zone, somewhere other than Earth . . .

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i’ve been dreaming a lot of airplanes,
about falling into the ocean,
about the end of life as we know it.

about release.

this is a continuation on the previous blog theme . . .

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Post-apocalyptic war zone, somewhere other than Earth . . .

We are going into the stalls again,
It is testing time.
Will we live?
We have grown wise of protection.
We fare better now.
Chairs block the opening beneath the door
to guard against shrapnel.
Flack blankets.
Bathtombs.
Open arenas for concert events.
Now for animal corralling.
We are the soft-skinned animals
gone thick.

Children huddle around me.
Their eyes soak through my pants.
Blood-let cheeks, tearful, snotty,
earth-caked,
motherless,
afraid.
My skin is cold.
The siren sounds, the explosion comes.
The announcement is made
My name is squawked over gray horns — I win the lottery
and they begin biting my ankles and flesh to kill me.
They want what I will have.
I am the mother they could not kill
before they were born into death.

The lottery is random even here.
My ticket out for me and my friends,
family and traveling companions.
I can buy them passage out of this realm.
One always refuses to leave.
One is always numb from routine abuse.
We sit in a circle:
In our hands, gold cards like airplane tickets.
We bring up the silent song.
and our energies gather above our heads.
pulling up like luminous strands of cloud,
taut, gathered strings
without the tether of delicate balloons,
the blue-lit tendrils,
the stinging coattails of jellyfish

We go out into the world.

~ Andrea E. Janda

death, dreams, health, language, myth, nature, philosophy, psychology, technology

Exquisite Cognomen or “How to Name Our Pain”

i am not politically inclined to comment.
i am not so easily terrified by ‘terror.’
i avoid most news to maximize joy.

but i have some thoughts on these things,
in grand universal brush strokes . . .

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Exquisite Cognomen or “How to Name Our Pain”

In the world, there is forever fever:
We read the signs,
blazing in historic orange.
We straddle our majestic fates,
ride our caution horses up to the edge,
and prepare ourselves to be known,
We drop our weapons in the dust,
and unveil with the other prairie dogs—a global disrobal.

We read too much tar for no pleasure,
while we patch ourselves up with nicotine band-aids.
We let the talking heads scare us into the show,
We become cancerous clowns in the tumor circus.
We cannot duck and cover in the Alcoholocaust.
We cannot stay dry in the headswim of worry
and forward motion.

Compartmentalization leads to:
rubix cubicles,
paralyzed prizes,
spastic plastic,
and Tupperware death,

All the ever meanwhile,
Howling sweet exultations
and consuming quietly our consummations
so that we may die pure
and be saved by our cleverly patented,
widely acknowledged,
billions served,
guaranteed
one-hundred thousand mile drive chain
Luxury Christ.

When we hunker down
And cast our last breath under the elective curtain,
when they unearth our sterile bones,
will they say they truly understood what fine
encyclopedic creatures we were ?
Will we leave bones?
Bones for wolves to make soup,
for women to make breastplates,
and for men to make cages to keep their wolves
and women warriors in.

They may see the hinted drop stitchwork,
the soft, green loop to crochet the new world from,
but will they want such a pattern to follow?
We who all succumbed to communal self-butchery and burnings.
With the burden of our knowledge,
clinging to our near-death faces
though we wake in the night,
suffering insomniacs,
bloated and blue,
—information gorge syndrome—
well coax the current thickening lump and swallow,
and fall back against another chainlink, razorwire
skinless sleep.

Well, for now, caustic dreamers
of blameless, paranoid, age-defying landscapes,
let us multi-task our spiritual trash,
complicate the workable and fertile into fiscal orgasms,
and reduce our grand and beautiful ideas to slogans and acronyms
that suggest other equally unplugged words.

Let us muck around in newfound dark,
continue our acid intercourse,
bring our weary and our winded before our glittering
revolutionary hearth.
But we ask that you ask your loved ones to cover their nettles,
so we cannot trace the frightening highway back to the ocean,
or the forest,
or the desert,
so we do not name the extraneous scar across the trellis of a thousand nations,
so we will not offend our impressionable guests
at dinner date death,
so we cannot recognize our very same,
unrefined pain.

How do we not weep when we know our name is like a dirge,
strangled from threadbare angels.
The earth groans under our weight,
impregnated again and again with a stifling humanity,
eggs rolling off the edge of the earthen table
set by Columbus—
tiny, hopeful, rudiment vessels,
unpacking the cargo of the daunting future
while crushing the orange partitions of the past.

food, friends, gardening, music, nature, technology, travel, weather

Soil Soft as Summer

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The open palm of desire
Wants everything
It wants everything
It wants soil as soft as summer
And the strength to push like spring

~ Further To Fly by Paul Simon

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A few nites ago, a wicked rainstorm, which usually puts me to sleep or better – makes me feel lusty, instead put me in a most melancholy mood. Also – the lightning was wild and plentiful, flashing on and off like a constant power surge, as if someone were flicking the light switch in my room, keeping me half-awake for hours. i rose reluctant and weary, bleary-eyed, trying to recall twisted dreams.

It has been raining on and off now for 3 days and no sign of it letting up. the forecast for the next week reads like an incessant moody blue cloud of a poem:

Showers and thunderstorms.
Some thunderstorms may produce heavy rainfall.
Torrential rain will be possible with these showers.
Mostly cloudy with a chance of showers and thunderstorms.
Cloudy. A chance of showers and thunderstorms in the morning…
. . . then showers and thunderstorms likely in the afternoon.
Tonight – showers and thunderstorms likely.
Showers and thunderstorms likely in the morning…
Flash Flood Watch in effect through this evening…
Mostly cloudy with a chance of . . .
Partly cloudy with a chance  . . .
Mostly cloudy.
Mostly . . .
Likely.
Rain.

Along with the rumble in the sky, the neighbors have been building something. Again. Last time it was 5 days of clunking and knocking as they installed new flooring. The whole house reverberated with the swing and mark of two hammers hitting wood. His and hers. For the last three days, it’s been tentative tapping somewhere further off in the house. (maybe since the last time i banged on the wall at 8am when i found this to be an unreasonable hour to make so much fucking racket.) But i can hear it whether i’m in bed, at my desk or downstairs cooking eggs. i’m beginning to think they are elves and cobblers. Ruummmmble roll, crackle, tap tap tap tap tap tap. This beat of rain and thunder and punctuating hammerstrokes is droning on and on and on and maybe, just maybe i’ll go mad.

Two nites ago i drank, i think, too much wine (if that’s possible for me) in late celebration of my birthday (week) with a few friends. One bottle was sent to me from a friend, Drew, in California, a Pinot Noir from Willamette, Oregon. i had come home in the afternoon in between shifts on a 12-hour double and there was this package with Happy Birthday in black sharpie written on the outside. it reminded me of a flower box, long and deep, and then i unwrapped the label “Sass,” and had a good snicker to myself. how appropriate. His prelude message read: “You are the anthropomorphic embodiment of this Wine’s Color, Size, Disposition, and Flavor. Hope you like it.”

i liked it alright; it was ruby, dirty, fruity and chocolate goodness. And as always, good wine spurs good conversation and with three wise women, Nicole, Lesley and Jean it went on to waxing love’s philosophies until Nicole, in an emphatic discussion, toppled her wine glass and we shuffled about cleaning as Jean and Lesley (both of whom work too early to conscionably get loaded) took their leave. Nicole convinced her boyfriend Brian to make homemade biscuits and gravy and soon enough we had a slightly over-baked but warm and edible version of breakfast. i poured myself out the door at 4am and found myself weeping a bit openly and unexpectedly as i drove in the rain amidst my thoughts, thankful for at least, a talkative cat when i arrived home. it can get so lonely, even when you’re surrounded by friends, which is to say – i get lonely. And then, you know – i get it in my mind to initiate a bit of a drunk dial, only to find disconnections of not-oft dialed numbers and eventually a sleepy, but willing voice. Thank all good graces for my friends.

But i should move from this grim business of rain and drunkards and think about sunshine and music and poppies and light again on the goodness of friends  – even ones i don’t know in this disembodied, alternate state of conscious living, the online community. Some of these friends seem to know me and my tastes better than people i spend most of my direct and physical days with, and that’s fucking impressive.

i have known some of them for the better part of 8-10 years and only recently had the opportunity to meet a handful of them in the real. some people i only know through their writing or their photography or comedy or art or music or whatever it is they do to create and express. And some of these people have imparted on me inspiration, cheer, well-wishing, encouragement, down-right deep flattery, and the most apropos gifts at the most unexpected intervals.

i’m waiting for Monday – for a day off to sit around and package things i’ve meant to be packaging. i truly enjoy sending gifts to people when they don’t expect it. so much better than obvious holidays or birthdays. i take great care in accumulating little things and cards and glitter and confetti and stickers and specialty paper and then i put on music and think of them opening it and enjoy the whole process.

Most recently, me and 6 photographers on deviantART who have never met did a mix CD exchange where we picked 100 songs that somehow define, illustrate, or describe us in some way. Also a great way to acquire new or old music we may have forgotten about and to learn a little about each other.

i picked the number 111, as it has a mystic quality to it. i’ve always liked it better than 100 and also, i’m miserable at sticking to explicit directions. (Like the one where Drew included two books in with the wine and instructed me to choose one, finish it, then open the other.) Of course, i just ripped right through the tissue paper into both of them like a cat into a grocery bag, turning the titles over in my hand, reading the descriptions and accolades on the jackets. As it is, i have 6 books piled on my nite stand with bookmarks at various places and two audio books on my iPod i’ve been listening to in my car and in bed, plus two more audiobooks to rip on my computer desk.

i like visiting different spheres and stories as my mood calls for. i am in constant flux, a multi-tasking motherfucker of the highest degree, horrible at sticking to one idea or project and often finishing 3 or more at once as their immediacy and priority call for. Ask me to tell you my favorite anything and i’ll give you at least three choices. Tell me to compile a Top 10 list on any subject and i might just burn a hole in my brain. At dinner, i often consider two small meals out of liking both and not wanting to decide on one taste alone. Gemini nature? mayhaps . . . more that i don’t want to pick/play favorites in foods, color, pastimes, friends or anything really and i don’t like to issue hurt feelings or choose something final.

Well – unless it’s love, and boy howdy, having tasted a whole lot of that in drams and dumps in several mildy satisfying configurations and variety packs over the last year, it’s safe to say i’ve become a nit-picky connoisseur bitch about that category.

But we’ll come back to that . . .

June 6th through the 8th i convinced Meg, Megan and Michael, her brave husband (in a car with 3 women) to take a short jaunt out to Pittsburgh for the Three Rivers Art Festival, primarily to see Andrew Bird (here on MySpace and his official site). He is a Chicago-born classically-trained violinist borrowing sonic everythings including Swing, Appalachian folk, Gypsy music, Jazz, Brazilian sounds and the Blues. He is parts Beck, Jeff Buckley, Devandra Barnhart and Rufus Wainwright.  He plays violin, guitar and glockenspiel all the ever while looping, even live, to create textures and whistling, warbling like an eerie, otherwordly bird with a Theremin or a UFO for vocal chords. even so, the parts he plays are spare and atmospheric but densely textured and made all the more lovely, delicate and moody with his intelligent lyrics steeped in myth, brilliant observation, whimsy and word play. His music is penetrating, magical and haunting. i’ve known nothing like it. And i wasn’t about to miss it, so we trekked out to Pennsylvania to see him perform.

We started the day early with greasy biscuit bombs of eggs and bacon and cheese plus coffee (jet fuel). On the way up we listened to comics like Dane Cook go through their routines, laughing with tears in our eyes and taking photos of each other and the passing scenery until we couldn’t, that is to say i couldn’t allow us to pass this beautiful field of red poppies dotted with velvety shoots of royal purple flowers. Simply magnificent to behold and to photograph.

me in a sea of poppies

We stayed at a beautiful Bed and Breakfast, The Arbors on the North Side, five minutes over the 6th street (Roberto Clemente) bridge and we were right in the heart of the city and festival. Jim, our illustrious host upgraded us to the Timberline Suite with a bedroom and adjacent sitting room (which i offered to Megan and Mike for a little space and privacy) and Meg and i stayed in the Sunset room. The sun was peeking through here and there when we arrived and the place was so comforting and homey, we decided to take in a day of rest and make use of the kitchen, the sunroom, the garden, and the beds for a nice afternoon nap. We took a little walk with umbrellas when a light rain began through the quiet, steeply hilled neighborhood and found the whole area flanked by cemetery, making it quite peaceful.

We took a few meals of salads and sandwiches from the cooler Megan packed and had access to the fridge and pretty much, run of the house. Jim left in the afternoon after laying out continental breakfast and we turned the place into one long pajama party. Jim baked wonderful treats; mango muffins one morning, coffee angel food cake another, fresh fruit, cereal, juices, and good coffee and teas. We drank several bottles of good wine, ordered out food for delivery that was plentiful and cheap, soaked in the hot tub room, listened to music, had wonderful conversation and restful sleep.

The second day, we made it out to the Andy Wahol Museum (a 7-floor prolific extravaganza), and The Mattress Factory (a two-building art installment). From Wikipedia on the Warhol: “Opened on May 15, 1994, the Andy Warhol Museum is the largest museum in the world dedicated to one artist. The museum’s collection includes over 4,000 Warhol art works in all media – paintings, drawings, prints, photographs, sculptures, and installation; the entire Andy Warhol Video Collection, 228 four minute Screen Tests, and 45 other films by Warhol; and extensive archives, most notably Warhol’s Time Capsules. While dedicated to Andy Warhol, the museum also hosts many exhibits by artists who push the boundaries of art, just as Warhol did.”

And in the basement, a photo booth, which we spent some time goofing off in. i have decided i’d like one installed in my home, as a sort of guestbook. Something magic about the way they produce photos that everyone looks good in with perfect contrast of black and white.

4 in a photo booth

It was then on to the Wednesday nite main event, the main impetus for the trip (other than to celebrate Megan’s and my birthday in tandem) . . . to see Andrew Bird LIVE. We sat right up front near the stage in folding chairs provided by the venue and the mini-magical micro-climate allowed the weather to hold out, though it had been threatening rain all day. In short, so as to not gush – it was everything i imagined it would be. i shot 60 great photos of him, picked up a rare CD and a t-shirt, got to meet him, thank him for his beautiful music and hand deliver a piece of writing that his music inspired in me.

After a couple days of filling our eyes, ears and hearts with music and art, and our bellies with wine, baked goods & cheeses (my GOD the cheese we ate!) we decided to go a little low country. We picked up some 40 oz beers (MGD & Heineken, we stayed away from Malt Liquor and brown bags) and we ordered 3 large containers of various flavored hot wings and had a ghetto feast. Later, we all piled into one bed in the suite and for the second nite in a row, attempted to watch Midnight In The Garden of Good and Evil on the DVD we borrowed from our host Jim, but Meg and Megan crashed out both times, leaving Michael and i to declare bedtime for all us bonzos.

Wednesday, the last day of our trip, was full of activity and pleasant surprises. We ended up with a super-deep discount on the stay. We were to receive the weekend rate of a 2-nite stay for $195, so two rooms, 2 nites, 4 people, $100 per person for accommodations. Jim only charged us for double occupancy of the suite at $145 / nite, thus we collectively paid $300 for all of us! We left him a thank you / love note and tipped him $40 for his kindness, generosity and the time he spent sitting around talking to us, giving us directions and highlights of the local things to see and do. It was one of the most pleasant stays i have ever had, anywhere.

In the afternoon, we headed down to the actual Festival to walk around the city and take in all the local booths of jewelry, sculpture, art, crafts and food. After a couple hours and some lunch, it was time to take our rock show tour on the road. We drove back to Maryland, changed clothes and headed out to DC to the 9:30 club to see KT Tunstall. It was being filmed and it was a fantastic show with a wonderful crowd. All the people around us were fun and friendly, receptive, polite and out to have a good time.

And here’s the best part – the next morning, my friend Mike, a local guy who records sound for a number of local venues dropped a 2-disc recording of that very same show in my mailbox (as he’s also the local carrier!) what a treat to get to hear it all over again! Not only that but Michael, Megan’s husband called to see if i’d be home, dropped by my house and left me a bouquet of gorgeous flowers that included Stargazer lilies with a note thanking me for planning the perfect road trip (and declaring that i was “the poop.”) My friends are truly amazing and thoughtful people. i am gifted by graces and for lack of a better term, blessed.

3 friends, 3 days, 3 rivers, 3 bottles of wine . . . it was one of the best 3 days in memory.

By the next week when my real birthday rolled around, my friend Tiffany came in from Oregon to visit, i showed her the huge terracotta pot she had left me which i thought to be empty but was suddenly blooming blissfully orange Tiger Lilies against the “Love Lies Bleeding” Amaranth i had fertilized and planted. We put on swim suits, crawled up on my 3rd story roof, drank a bottle of wine, laid in the sun and talked about work and all things “boy.”

The day before, 12 of us went to an English High Tea at Reynold’s Tavern on a Sunday. i wore a beautiful white linen dress with gold and green floral and ivy accents, borrowed from Nicole (and breaking tradition of my usual black wardrobe.) And we picked through three tiers of scones, clotted cream, strawberry preserves, finger sandwiches, tarts and a variety of tea cakes and pastries. Everyone gave the perfect gifts! A moonstone toe ring, a book of Polaroid art photos, wine napkins, a book to log all the wine i taste, funny fridge magnets, cards with faeries and of course the gift of their attendance and company. It was so civilized compared to the next evening of debauchery . . .

Monday, i started out my day easy with sticky rice, coconut milk, fresh mango and Chicken Satay with peanut sauce and cucumber salad. Nothing like Thai to get your day jump-started. i went to get a manicure and pedicure, complete with salt scrub (a gift from my boss and his wife) and i drove home through a light patter of rain, laid down with my iPod and went down for a gorgeous disco nap.

When i woke up, it was still raining, but i was not to be deterrred . . . Jean, my roommate Andrew (who gave me a bouquet of flowers when i woke!), Nicole and the more than half the bar that i knew (including the Band, The Mike McHenry Tribe) celebrated in 5 rounds of shots and two beer style. Despite the rain, i donned another fabulous dress, a halter number with tangerine, red, browns and gold. i warmed up with a plate of potato skins to soak up the alcoholic gravy i was about to imbibe and the nite was underway. Nicole and i hung out for the long haul and danced until the lights came on. the band sang me happy birthday, played all my favorite songs with sweet wishes and dedications in between. Both my email and my cell phone were blowing up all day with calls and text messages! it was incredible to be so thought of; i felt so loved.

And so boys and girls, we arrive – skidding the car back into the topical station and everyone get the hell on board for the messy, dizzying, head-spinning, scream-inducing, laughter-lust, flights of fuck-fancy, hands-in-the-air and NOT safely-in-the-car-at-all-times rollercoaster of L-O-V-E.

i reflected on where i was last year how on my birthday i was unceremoniously dumped by my love of 8 years. it’s all fine now, really: his mother is still my friend and psychic (she even attended my tea party), his father, my mechanic, his brother, my concert buddy, and Brooks, still my friend after all the hurt subsided. i have said it before, and i will say it again, my life has opened up so much since then.

what i will say, as i am a pretty private sort and since this is a small fucking town i will put it simply; i have a heart-wrenching love affair in mind, a summer or beyond romance i seem to be hanging my hopes on. Those who know me will nod, as you’ve already been informed, those who know me peripherally, may simply wonder and offer unsolicited advice but trust me i know.

In a pre-birthday strangeness, while listening to Andrew Bird in Pittsburgh, one of the biggest fantasy-type, love hopefuls erupted back into my life with a barrage of “can i see you,” type text messages. We met for a drink and a talk and all the connection and fire was still there between us as it always has been despite the respective relationships we were in at the time we met several years ago. mine ended and his, is about to self-destruct and so, i suppose he found himself reaching out to me in possible hopes that i was still there, still available.

After than initial time spent, the details of which are mine to own, he’s either buried in moving out and hurting or gone the other direction into reconcilliation with her for all i fucking know, but he’s somewhere out there with his tail between his legs, licking his wounds and not at all interested in answering my syrupy, lustful, hopeful text messages. This, since the last thing i told him when he cancelled for the evening (again) and at 7am to thoughtfully allow me to alter plans for the day, that i recognize the potential for me to be seriously disappointed but that i wouldn’t hold back my emotions or reservations for fear of rejection from him.

i told him i was tired of being careful, and i meant this in general and in emotional terms, that i wanted to be his friend and his lover, eventually, whenever, but that i would protect myself until he gets things figured out. really – it’s nearly impossible to hum a dirge while singing a new love song. He should be noticing this right now. he has no real business tangling with me, since i am ready, willing and knowing but he has barely begun to land or recoil from the shocks.

it could all be so romantic – requited love long in the waiting, but then . . . fucking timing. always.

In the same theme of getting messy and misunderstanding or running away in fear . . . my friend who i know by his persona, “jesterday,” wrote to me recently on the difficulties of courting and pursuing love. he admired a girl on the city bus, wanted to express how beautiful he found her and so wrote her a poem:

. . . I had to spent several weeks to chase around, trying to come across her, while skipping busses that come and go when it was freezing outside. Finally, I managed to sit next to her, and try to talk, and hand her this handwritten piece. She got a little nervous, and asked if she could read later. Yes. It took me several weeks more to get “feedback.” “It’s nice”. She said she had a boyfriend, so end of story.

I am 25, living as an expatriate in cold Scandinavia. People are quite different here than what I am used to, even quite different compared to the US. For the better and for the worse, just different, the culture and relationships having been sort of shaped by the climate.

As they say for the nordic region, that ‘the seduction process is short here, it starts with liters of beer in the evening, then ‘your place or mine?’ at night, ‘who are you?’ in the morning and then they start dating.’ I think it was quite unusual and uncalculated what I have done. I’m still proud of myself for that, for being a romantic in these ages and in this geography; however, it hurts that this girl whom I called as the nordic elf, Majbritt (/my-brit/), does not even look at my face when I come across occasionally. And I just walk away, trying not to bother. Would you believe that I have no idea how her body looks like, i.e., in common terms, I never ‘checked her out,’ as I couldn’t move my eyes from her face, eyes, and hair, which looks like a little bird’s nest.”

He had sent me the poem he gave to her to read, to critique really, and it was near my birthday, so i took it as such, but then, having “elf” in the title, i also misconstrued as being intended for me, an accidental if not bold assumption. We were both a little embarrassed, but as i am never one to kick love in the teeth, no matter where it comes from, i am kind enough to entertain any affections until it seems incongruous – a bad match.

i am never misled – only slightly confused sometimes, but it never stops me from acting accordingly or expressing thanks. and the beauty in the language is this: it could be taken to heart by anyone. and if it does what it is good at doing, a poem makes you think deeply on things and perhaps, even wish you had written it yourself or that it was intended for you.

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Nicole called a little while ago. She wanted a recommendation for a wine that pairs well with ham.

“Riesling or Beaujolais,” i suggested.

“Oh,” she asked suddenly, changing the subject, “do you like carrot cake?”

“It’s my favorite,” i chirped excitedly, thinking of moist orangey cake with cream cheese frosting.

She giggled in such a way that it sounded like she had chosen wisely and had a good secret or a pleasant surprise.

“It’s the one thing i do really well,” she said offhandedly, “and i’ve already shaved the carrots so i’m going to bake three: one for my mom, since she’s coming to dinner, one for Brad’s family, and one to split between you and Genna.”
My friends are so good – i finally get my birthday cake . . .

To tie Pennsylvania, love and friendship, food and the quality of life into one neat package, again, i give you what jesterday had given to me:

“Andrea, you know I like squirrels very much from my days in Pennsylvania, that you even posted the Berry Squirrelly for me. So here’s a quote from translation of a poem from my favourite Turkish poet:”

Living is no laughing matter:
you must live with great seriousness
like a squirrel, for example-
I mean without looking for something beyond and above living,
I mean living must be your whole occupation . . .

~ Nazim Hikmet

Please take the time to read the poem, On Living, in its entirety HERE.

It ends this way:

This earth will grow cold,
a star among stars
and one of the smallest,
a gilded mote on blue velvet-
I mean this, our great earth.
This earth will grow cold one day,
not like a block of ice
or a dead cloud even
but like an empty walnut it will roll along
in pitch-black space …
You must grieve for this right now
-you have to feel this sorrow now-
for the world must be loved this much
if you’re going to say “I lived” …

now you’ve been properly instructed,
get out there, and do some living. . .

dreams, family, food, gardening, music, nature, technology, travel

my garden kicks ass

What would it take for you to see
What i have got?
i’ve got more than you know
Open your eyes, i cannot be – what i am not

i’m not what i used to be, i’m not what
i’m not what i used to be, and i
i don’t know myself – from anybody else
i’m not what i used to be, i’m not what
i’m not what i used to be, and i
You don’t know what you have done
My frame is here but the mind is gone – gone away

So stay awhile longer
sweet tongue of  fur and feather
Don’t cut the white breast
i’ve been waiting for you here

i’m not who i used to be
Bigger and better and faster and wetter
And bigger and better and faster and better . . .

Superheroes ~ esthero

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The last week of dreams have been dark, light, moody, and marked with memories and prophecies. in one, i dreamed i was a child, though in my mind i was an adult. i was small with pale arms like strands of pearls that hung around the neck of my grandfather, Andrew, who i was named after and who held me like a little monkey slung at his hip. i was naked and clung to him as he walked through a garden that was in the backyard where the crabapples used to fall from the tree and scatter – tart, green bombs for greedy birds.

He pointed here and there at flowers and i named them, remembering specifically, a bright orange blossom which i called, nasturtium, because it was and he nodded approvingly.

Yes – you all know how much i love nature and appreciate all things growing and alive, but pardon me while i geek out over the next few paragraphs about my newest adventures. Some strange thing in me has had the urge to garden. With all that space in the woods where i used to live, some things simply wouldn’t survive under all that cover – i would have to trek to the top of the hill where there might be some incidental sun, carve out an area in the tall grasses and cut away, deep into the ground until i made something suitable to plant in. A sanctioned area where things could grow. Now that i live here in this new house where the boy roommates are so busy and mostly MIA (one even works for the most beautiful & profitable garden center around which is fortunate), i took one look at that tangled back yard and overgrown garden box and felt the need to create something.

Yes – i know, the last years have been bug chasing and moth rearing but, now i am building a habitat for my little creatures to come to me, which is a far more exhausting, but rewarding an endeavor.

Over the last 2 weeks, three times i have come home, changed into some gardening clothes, pulled weeds, hoed the garden box for fall down to a good 12″ plus, which is rather like hacking at the ground with an axe, then i tore the ivy away from the strangled hostas and ferns and out from the cracks in the brickwork, mowed the lawn with an old-fashioned pushmower borrowed from the neighbor (how environmental!) raked the area, and wore far more Deep Woods OFF insect repellant (chock full of DEET) than is probably recommended by any medical professional. It was that or wear the big red bumps on my cheek, neck, and legs as i swatted furiously and futilely. We have a water view just down the path and thus, the mosquitoes are utterly vicious! West Nile Virus is probably just the tip of what these blood-letting bastards are armed with!

i bought seeds for Spring to include some plants that will attract butterflies and ladybugs. Van Gogh sunflower mix, Amaranth (Love Lies Bleeding), Mahogany Nasturtium, Pink & White Swan Echinacea, Cornflower (Black Magic Bachelor Button), Cosmos, Baby’s Breath, Coreopsis, Gaillardia, Siberian Wallflower, Forget Me Not, Bergamot, Rocky Mountain Bee Plant, New England Aster, Black Eyed Susan, Sapphire Blue Flax, Oriental (red) and Shirley Poppies, Rockcress, Royal Scarlet Sweet Pea, Kniphofia (aka Red Hot Poker, Tritoma, or Torch Lily), Yarrow, and Chinese Lantern.

tulip center purple crocus nasturtium

Of course, to look at the seed packs you will note i bought a healthy dose of RED but i have mixed in white, golds, oranges, violets, blues and many other lovely things i plan to rake through so i have a proper selection of wild flowers. And i really didn’t know much about Fall planting other than bulbs, so i did some reading and some research and bought some burgundy and orange and yellow pansies and mums and installed them, or rather, gave them some ground to eat which seems more organic in language than say, software put into the earth. Before i did any of this, there was the aforementioned hoeing (hacking) that went on plus adding a good 4″ of some fresh soil, fertilizers and compost. i also planted bulbs, added bulb food, tilled in some mulch for cover and protection and now, i wait for Spring when they come up: first the purple crocus, then Apeldoorn Elite Tulips, which are red with a defined yellow edge and some lovely things called Anemone ‘De Caen’.

Under a heap of cut branches and trimmings from the trees against our back fence (which i plan on bundling and removing), i found a pile of brown and grey flagstones, presumably left overs forgotten from the neighbors patio project. As deep as they were buried beneath the thorny branches, i am assume they will not be missed as they are now lining a newly-created crescent-shaped garden patch next to the box as well as circling the line of ferns and hostas across the way.

i installed a sturdy black wrought iron plant hook next to this crescent space, buried in ivy which now holds a large green watering can but i can imagine it holding a birdfeeder instead someday soon, so i can watch some winter birds . . .

There is a rabbit that hops through the yard occasionally, and i am hoping he/she will not unearth my bulbs and make Autumn snacks out of them before they have time to meet Spring. Oh – and did i also mention my two new plant friends who have joined my ivy? One is called a Polka-Dot plant, which comes in white, pink or in this case, red splotches on bright green leaves, honestly – looking rather like something has bled onto it. i planted it in a bright metallic red pot and adding to the red, i also pot-planted a big Amaryllis bulb called a Red Lion. i can’t wait until it starts to grow and bloom, which should be in time for the Holidays and it does perfectly well indoors in the Winter!

The strangest thing is now that i have been working so hard out there, and the season is cooling ever so slightly, the window AC is out, the adjustable screens are in, i can hear crickets as i sleep and oddly enough, the ladybugs HAVE indeed come . . . there have been three or four of them trundling along the walls and ceiling in my room and it drives my kitty Odin wild! He bats at them lightly and they just crawl back up. The other nite i reached over to pull the chain on my nite table lamp and a little red ladybug was hanging from the end of the silver ball! What do these little visitors mean?!?!

Now that i think of all this – i should’ve taken before and after shots of the yard before i went out guerilla gardening, but for now, i will venture out and document the semi-fresh, partially naked ground and keep a photo diary of my garden’s progress. And i found a really fun website with an accompanying book that has really inspired me despite the silly title of You Grow Girl. My mother always had the best luck with plants and the most beautiful garden on the block with honestly, minimal effort and fuss besides planting, watering, fertilizing 3 times a year and waiting for growth and beautiful blossoms. i will say that i have some monstrous plants on my porch that i have had now for several years, carried around, re-potted several times in progressively larger containers, some of them more than four years old with tiny beginnings, one i inherited from Marcy which has gone wild and lovely. These include: Golden Pothos (Devil’s Ivy), Nepthytis or Arrowhead vine, a Heart Leaf Philodrendron, and two coleus, one dark red, one red-green and both, oddly enough, plucked from the sidewalk and rescued from a dying arrangement now flourishing.

And then there’s this bushy and resilient white petunia that Megan gave me just before i moved, which has somehow managed to survive having all of its leaves being chewed down to stems by invisible green caterpillars. i say invisible because i saw their frass (little black dust specks of bug poo) and then, once they got big enough, i plucked them off and put them elsewhere in the wild and off my precious plant. it’s even started sprouting new leaves so it can collect the sun and feed itself again. what can i say – caterpillars are not pests to me after having seen them sprout eventual wings. maybe if i had tomatoes, but even then – i don’t know. everything in its place in the cycle . . .

it had been a long time – a few years since i visited the Maryland Renaissance Festival and it was SO much fun and the weather was perfect for it. i bought some Thistle honey, while my friend, Andreas bought Killer Bee honey. i took in some scheduled shows featuring jugglers, contortionists, aerial dancers, sword swallowers as well as some non-scheduled public displays featuring general drunker merry makers. i also went on a mission to find some new silver jewelry. i never know what it is, but it always turns out to be something magically suited and in this case, something fae – an ear cuff with a faerie on it which now clings to my left ear and quite honestly, i was in the market for a new moonstone and something to go on that naked ring finger on my left hand which i constantly twist for the missing pear-shaped diamond when i wash my hands, dismayed and saddened to no longer see it. i did, however, find a dainty little ring with a blue-coloured rainbow moonstone with two silver balls, one dropped to each side, small as period punctuations and the stone is delicate, tiny, reflective and shaped like a teardrop. i am now married to myself and i stand to NOT be disappointed.

i’ve been listening to a lot of internet radio and stumbled across a wonderful place run out of the basement of a nice man named Michael near my home town in Michigan. It’s called auralgasms, and i encourage you to LISTEN! (top left you will see “Listen” then click “Launch Radio Player” and select your connection speed, keep the main page open along with your player as it will update, or refresh if you like and you can see what you’re listening to)

Speaking of music, i am making a road trip out to Detroit to see my family for the Fall, drink some apple cider, eat some fresh fried donuts, crunch my boots in the leaves and ok, also primarily – to take in a concert at one of my all-time favorite places, St. Andrew’s Hall. There, in an intimate concert venue that holds a mere thousand, i will see Imogen Heap, Butch Walker, Cary Brothers, Peter Searcy, Jim Bianco, and all of these collectively under a show called The Hotel Café Tour. i am supposed to be accompanied by my friend Shane, but i am starting to worry . . . he’s been so busy he hasn’t really confirmed with me, so i may be flying solo.

This is of course, all fine and well. A 10-hr drive consisting of me, my iPod, some foggy radio stations, a packed cooler of goodies and some alone time should do me some good. As i have driven it, navigated it, watched it out the window or slept through the trip more times than i care to count, i should arrive safe and sound to the mothership of Destroyit, (to quote my friend and former bandmate Jim Flynn) a new coined term for the city of Detroit. He has promised me dinner at my pick of restaurants and i am sure to host a barbeque of some sorts to gather my friends close to me at my old house one of those fine nites.

Speaking of eating and thinking of bounty . . . lately, i have been eating the spectrum of simple foods that bring me comfort like pierogies with sour cream and applesauce then ranging into the rich, gourmet and elaborate like fried tofu, sushi and lobster, duck with blackberry sauce . . . On one occasion i was invited to a benefit dinner at O’Leary’s Seafood where half the proceeds of food and beverage sales went to New Orleans for relief from Katrina. It was good to simultaneously eat, indulge and allow someone else, perhaps to eat, rebuild and possibly enjoy the same things i am so grateful for lately – good food, good wine, good books, good music, good friends, good times, and a garden that kicks ass.

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.

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

marriage, technology, tv, weather

kick it up a notch

My internet was down since Saturday, which made things REALLY irritating, especially since i have 2 online courses to keep up with. Where i’m at out here in the sticks means that there is NO cable internet, and even DSL won’t happen as i don’t have a clear shot of the sky what with all these trees. So for now, until they figure out how to bring hi-speed into the house via the phone or power lines or someone from Comcast comes out to develop the area, i am stuck with dual-channel (64K per) old school ISDN, which peaks at 128K and usually hangs out at around 97-98K.

For those of you who don’t know what the hell ISDN is (because it’s THAT fucking OLD) it was developed around 1984 and it stands for Integrated Services Digital Network or as i like to call it (ISDN) “It Still Does Nothing”. Lest i mention we pay just over $200 a month for it since it’s SO old school and it’s considered a metered line and a premium digital service as offered by the phone company, even though it was designed to go over fiber lines and it just comes through the copper ones, slowing it down considerably.

In any event, the reason ours was down is that the phone line had been severed somehow. It hadn’t been properly buried and was all chopped up, thus nothing could dial in. VERIZON (the cocksuckers) came out and ran a temporary line (which works) until they can run a proper one sometime soon. In the next month, maybe longer. Whatever.

weeee.

Well – i DID get my hair cut and boy is it awesome!  Think Agent Dana Scully (actress Gillian Anderson). i brought my hairdresser a bottle of my favorite nail polish and said, “can you do this color?” he smiled and said, “i got that.” The girl in the chair next to me gasped as he cut the first 6 inches off dry – WHACK! Even before i hit the shampoo bowl. Then i came back, he finished the cut by snipping at the last 4 inches and did the color. We went short and choppy with black lowlights, copper/caramel highlights, and candy apple red all over. It’s an exciting Spring change . . . short and vibrant.

new elf do.

The weather has been incredible for two days now – 78-80 degress and sunny. Hell – i even shaved my legs and put on a skirt!  i also realize that my car’s AC needs recharging. Luckily, the rain and cool temps are heading in for the weekend so i get a little reprieve. i am officially driving my happy new car now and we are making friends … i even put a sexy raspberry air freshener in it. It has a little devil cat on it with flames and some Nag Champa incense to make it smell like “me” and my house.

So far, i have run out of fuel AND been pulled over in my new car! And all in the same day! GO ME! My car stalled in a traffic circle, i pulled into the gas station 20 feet from me and died RIGHT IN FRONT OF THE PUMP! Later i went to see some jazz, had some wine and a nite cap of some Southern Comfort, went tearing down the road at 3am singing Sadé at the top of my lungs NOT looking at the speedometer and got stopped doing 70 in a 50. i told the cop i was “opening it up” and wasn’t used to the better transmission in this Mercedes vs my old one. Holy crap – i sounded like a little twat! “How’s your record?” he asked. “Great,” i replied. “It’s a long winding stretch of road here, people don’t pay attention. You’re not the fastest i’ve seen,” he smiled. And lucky ducky me – i got off with a warning.

How am i going to get this all done?!?!? Social and school obligations are kicking my ass! My friends Dave and Amy are getting married this Saturday afternoon, then i work that evening, on Sunday i am attending an aerial dance performance that Megan (the woman who’s wedding i am photographing in June) is showcased in, and i have homework up to my tits, chin, eyeballs? i dunno, i’m feeling kinda vulgar lately.

Must be all the Deadwood i’m watching . . .

See you after the weekend.

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:

RED ELF

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.
short.
again.

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 . . .

friends, technology

30 who?

Today. i am 32. i don’t feel any different, i still think i look young. but this has been an extremely long week . . .

Zoey arrived here Sunday with her father, a Ryder truck and all of her belongings. she and Brooks and i have spent the week moving into our new house, with her living space in the loft, setting up the areas, drinking quite a good spell, watching movies, trying to adjust and relax which has been nearly impossible what with all the work and storage facilities and pianos to move and well . . . the rest of it as you can only imagine and would be a crashing bore to read.

last weekend i installed the best processor my motherboard would accept and upgraded my memory. i have 2 60GB harddrives: one with the OS on it and the other simply to store a series of drag and drop folders containing things such as documents, email, music, folders, programs, drivers, web site backups, etc. because i refreshed my speed, i decided to install a fresh, reformatted copy of XP. took the time to establish that the back up was done and the folders were intact. unplugged the backup drive so as not acccidentally overwrite it, reformatted, re-installed, plugged the drive back in, the BIOS saw them both but then – the drive wouldn’t access, it made a noise that sounded to me, not as catastrophic as a head crash, but more like a mechanical failure, like the arm couldn’t go across and read even though the disc was spinning, but perhaps not fast enough.

Well – i spent the whole night crying and flipping out, woke up with swollen eyes, skipped work and overnighted the drive to Drive Savers who are the best in the business in Data Recovery. i can only hope it’s all still intact and the estimate ($500-$2700) is based on the completeness and complexity. these guys take the plates apart in an anti-static lab environment and rebuild the data, transfer it to a new disc or burn it to the media of your choice (in my case DVDs.) these guys have dealt with discs that have endured fire damage, been tossed out car windows while encased in a laptop, submerged underwater, even shot. i can only hope mine is straighforward, uncorrupted retrieval.

losing that amount of important data is devastating. i feel like someone has erased 7 years of my life, or gave me a frontal lobotomy, or my house has burned down. the moral of the story is backup. keep a backup of your backup. and bakup your secondary backup to media that is not only different but stored elsewhere.

even so, there is also and exchange when things go wrong, things also go well in transition . . .

while some die, others are born and live . . . the Polyphemus moth’s egss that i wrote about previously have hatched. 20 egss, 18 caterpillars hatched, 5 now have survived to their second instar and are still eating and growing and dropping much frass (poop) i have also successfully mated two other species and contained their eggs and am waiting for them to hatch. soon i’ll have to build them a proper house for rearing as well.

today is my birthday, i have to go to work, my office is a tower of boxes around me, my moths are fluttering in a glass enclosure nearby, and i will let them go today since they have given me their gifts.

more sweetness to come later, but for now, i find myself green again, crawling the length of a leaf and eating slowly all Summer, waiting to spin some silk and to sleep in the Autumn.

family, food, gardening, humor, music, technology, weather

Beyond the Harvest

“Now the woods will never tell
What sleeps beneath the trees
Or what’s buried ‘neath a rock
Or hiding in the leaves
‘Cause road kill has its seasons
Just like anything
It’s possums in the autumn
And it’s farm cats in the spring

Now a lady can’t do nothin’
Without folks’ tongues waggin’
Is this blood on the tree
Or is it autumn’s red blaze
When the ground’s soft for diggin’
And the rain will bring all this gloom
There’s nothing wrong with a lady
Drinking alone in her room.”

~ Murder in the Red Barn by Tom Waits

i’ve been thinking. And when i think like this – i go far out beyond fatalistic borders. It’s not a cruel darkness, just one that avoids phonecalls and voicemail and email and fax machines and blenders and microwaves – most forms of digital output and noise.

It’s the kind of thinking that makes you sit in front of sci-fi films for half the afternoon with a bottle of wine, contemplating alternate futures and ultimately deciding there’s no blindingly beautiful promise, no achieved perfection, no immortality, no homogenized version of gender, no egalitarian, peaceful rule meant to blanket the world, no disembodied intelligence – only the regression to a base understanding of what makes one truly human and sentient and in it’s crude but lovely way . . . alive. For a spell.

Never do you grapple with what a production this whole thing is until you do something as simple as say, cooking a small breakfast for yourself. Or more eating and appreciating food. You get out a pan. Not clay, not tin, but some poly-cluster creation with a gleaming handle and Teflon coating bearing a brand name recognizing a long-dead, strong sounding Norse god. A pat of butter to grease it with. No. Not butter, not taken from a cow, churned for hours in wood cut from a pine or hickory tree. Well, not even butter – margarine. And from an evenly sprayed dispenser. You turn on the fire. No. The stovetop. No, not even that – an electrified flat black surface with the pan placed over the approximate round etched size of your pan. It’s hot because water skitters off the surface so you add your egg. From a carton, from some far away chicken you never fed or robbed of its children from under the warm straw nest while it protested. It whitens, sunny side up you cover it to steam and cook faster. And while you wait . . . you get two slices of bread.  Oat Nut. Two things. Several really. Yeast you didn’t produce, oat flour you never milled, nuts you never grew or shelled or chopped. And you turn them into toast in the four-slotted drawer that pulls out of a recess in the wall. And while you wait . . . you’re out of orange juice,  a fruit which you definitely did not grow in this northern climate but you do have apple cider, in a plastic container from a towering orchard you never walked. Somewhere before all of this, you started a pot of coffee.  Not on a kettle nor pressed, but all orchestrated by one machine whose compartments allow for whole beans you never grew under a hot sun or carried by donkey pack up a steep ravine and no need for paper or filters, the mesh basket strains the ground coffee and the receptacle purifies the water of all the chemicals you added to kill the previous undesirable batch you added before which you did not take from the riverbank or pump from underground. And so onto the glass plate you never saw baked with the margarined egg and the oatnut toast and into the deep mug  with the coffee and so to add sugar you never knew as brown cane once harvested by slaves now white and bleached into angelic recognition and something to cream it with . . . some milk.  You’re out of milk.  No cow for that i’m afraid but never you worry, powdered milk to add filtered water to in a cup with measured lines and the unused rest – down the drain because it’s not palatable enough and you’ll never use it in cereal with a glossy protective varnish or cookies with chocolate which is another story altogether. And this is 10 minute preparation. Just breakfast of 2 foods and two beverages, plus condiment. Nothing farmed, all stored in various airtight and plastic refrigeration.

And what’s this to do with the season of harvest and the impending winter? Everything, had you need of preserves and jellies and canning and warm storage and feed for animals. But don’t fret –there’s a 24-hour mega-store when you run out of toilet paper and sundries. Even some carrots for the horses. Hunting season consists for some of avoiding the sprinting deer across the four-lane highway – and you never thought you’d see them here. Possums are as plentiful as pets and just as many wasted, lost and flattened. And all that processed specialty cat chow they’re missing out on.

No. i’m not really disgusted. Not entirely sarcastic. Just incredibly appreciative (and occasionally fearful) of the labor and death that comes from bounty.

And please . . .

don’t ask me about my plans for Thanksgiving.