dreams, drinking, food, love, myth, nature, philosophy, photography, psychology

Factoid of 10

so . . . i was tagged. more, i was asked to write a blog with 10 random things, facts, goals, or habits about mys(elf).

this longish little labor of love is dedicated to Virtual Angel and Laura, (thanks for waiting pretty ladies) though i will break the trend by NOT tagging anyone directly for obligatory response and instead invite anyone to tell me one random thing, fact or goal about themselves here as an optional comment.

i will start big and descriptive and then i will try to scale down to some simple trivia.

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1 i am a nature nut. I have a profound respect for all things furry, things with leaves, scales, fins, feather and especially wings. And not just the pretty things like moths and butterflies, but birds and even bats. I have picked up butterflies dashed by car radiators flapping at the roadside. i’ve hand fed a dazed hummingbird after thudding pitifully into a window and was amazed to have it fly directly out of my hand. i have carefully pulled a baby mouse from a glue trap. Out of sheer interest, i took great pride in planting and cultivating a small but beautiful garden and i raised giant silkmoths (Saturniidae) for a year. i have photo documented nearly all of the above in great detail.

This all adds up to the fact that i wish i were a National Geographic level photographer (though i did finish in the 3rd annual Smithsonian contest in the category of Altered Images for a photo of a red tree.) my photos have also been featured in a Maryland Department of Natural Resources Calendar and on a species sign at the Calgary Zoo (for a HUGE bat called a Malayan Flying Fox.)

To remind me of the fragility of the natural worlds (humans included) i keep a little wooden box on my bookshelf. Some would consider it a bug sarcophagus but it has several wings, some full bodies of, and some single panels of glittering, scaly, colorful butterflies, moths and a fully intact dragonfly. I’m not a pinner and framer or a freezer or a killer. None of this Silence of The Lambs nonsense . . . i would just find these and collect them in the field as is. Creepy to you maybe, but delicate treasures to me.

2 i move slow on Sundays. Meditatively so. Or more at, sometimes, i don’t like getting up in the morning. Correction. i do NOT get up in the morning, i typically rise in the early afternoon. Morning for me is 10am to 11am. 9am is really pushing it. Anything prior to that and i am either sleeping, or some kind soul is cooking up a mean breakfast in the kitchen that has roused me and my hunger. Or –  i wake voracious and i am found making a tall stack of pancakes, towering like fluffy beige clouds or a big mess of cheesy scrambled eggs. My Sunday ritual is this . . . Rise late. Drink tea. Eat breakfast for lunch. Stay comfortable. Snuggle with Joe. Read or write of fill my mind and heart with music and art. I am not religious (unless you count nature) but i understand why people go to church, why they don’t want to work, why they choose forced respite on Sunday. as midnight approaches on a Saturday, bringing to close a full day, a full week lived and loved, greeted and embraced, photographed and written about, drunk down and eaten full, documented, cherished and learned from, i see the world as my church and the amazing places, people and things in it, all beautiful, meaningful and deserving of reverence in their own godlike ways. So i need time to digest my universe. And i refuse to work on Sundays. For at least the past 10 years . . . ultimately, i try to live my life as if it were a string of neverending Sundays: i eat when i am hungry, i sleep when i am tired, i work when i need the money, i rest when my mind or my body calls for it.

3 i am guilty of magical thinking. This is because i believe i lead a charmed life. Truly. In a world of random bullshit and utter chaos, i find myself wildly lucky. this works for me in a positive way not a paranoiac way. Many, many positive things, people and opportunities have filled my life. The places i’ve traveled to and seen, the wine i’ve consumed, the food i’ve eaten, the music i’ve absorbed, the people i’ve met, the true friends and the necessary lovers over the years and now, the perfect husband i now cherish. Where does the magic come in? i believe these things have been delivered to me from sheer wishing, from dreams, from asking the universe out right, from applying my mind and my will to them and invariably, from making the good decisions that put me in the places where the magic indeed happens. Oh yeah – and i think faerie folklore has a good bit of truth and i don’t care what you think that means. The boon of art and writing inspired is plenty. i look for signs in everything from placement in time and numbers on coins, to colors worn for effect, from license plates to billboards, from overheard conversations to the small, pinched flower mouths of children. Myths are made daily. i live like that . . .

4 i prefer to eat with my hands. I can even been seen eating a salad like this. Sure – i’ve worked in fine dining for the better part of 16 years and i know how to set a proper table. Even so, i use my right hand like a little claw or a prong, gathering three fingers and a thumb into a quadrant, leaving the pinkie out. i like gently tearing off hunks of cake or gathering a bundle of French fries and bringing the whole of it to pursed lips. i often taste sauces on plates with my fingers first before going in. it doesn’t matter how fancy or how low country the food is, though i will often employ the proper tool at the proper time, i still prefer the direct tactile sensation of bringing food to my mouth with my hands. and as for beverages, i’ll drink wine out of anything, including a bowl.

5 i’ve tried my hand at every artistic arena minus sports. i’ve attacked and completed most ventures with moderate success and still continue to grow in the ones i’ve decided to hold onto. No one told me i couldn’t or explained that i might fail so i tried everything to see what i was good at with joyful abandon. i play acoustic guitar and a smattering of piano, i even tried flute and saxophone. i sing mostly as i discovered it was my best instrument and used it to front a band. i’ve been recorded. i’ve sketched, painted and sculpted. i took jazz for a few months and performed in precisely one dance recital in a hideous pink and black polka-dotted bodysuit with crinoline skirt when i was 15. i still write quite a bit and have been published in small collections that i have entered and/or was editor-in-chief for and won minor educational scholarship contests for writing when i began my college career. Then there’s the photography bit too . . . as previously mentioned.

6 secretly – or maybe not so secretly, i want to sift through my writing and author a book. Poetic prose, nothing too confessional, something probably more at short-story/essay-type of writing. If there were a way to amalgamize the astute natural observation of Annie Dillard, the humor of David Sedaris, Douglas Adams or Christopher Moore, and the delightfully dense prose of Tom Robbins, fluid and delivered in equal parts, then this is the book i want to write. i mean – aren’t we all very busy writing the Great American Novel?

7 Socks. i love them. Especially knee-highs. The longer, more silly, more sexy, more striped, more full of cats and flowers and polka-dots and eyeballs and stars, the better.

8 Being naked. This is my preferred state. And i don’t say that to be provocative. i like senseless nudity. Like, i prefer to be naked cleaning the tub and bathroom tiles (so i can shower after!) or fresh out of the shower composing email naked in front of the computer with a towel on my head. i like doing the dishes naked or dusting the bookshelves on a chair naked or my favorite, stripping down in front of the washer and loading the clothes into the basin naked. Also combine this with 7 and you get naked plus socks – another common state of mine.  Because i dress according to mood and function, it takes me awhile to decide what i’m wearing for the day so if i don’t have to go anywhere on the immediate, i’ll just wander the house naked until i get inspired.

9 Oregon. This is where i want to live. I want to see mountains and water, to hike to camp, to breathe and eat healthy and sleep soundly to the rain. All of this with my husband Joe, in a home with a fireplace and a wall stuffed with books (or a proper library), with a couple (or few cats) and a big porch to watch the birds from, a backyard without a fence to hold back the garden of flowers, herbs, vegetables and lavender, a few comfortable chairs, a bright window to look out while i write and read, and a nicely stocked kitchen and pantry with plenty of cupboard space for us to feed ourselves and entertain the people we adore. There is a plan in place for this eventual utopian move . . .

And last for 10 i give you . . ..

10  My Top 10 List of Tiny Zen

  1. the top of my cat’s head (where smooches go)
  2. Mango flesh – if you want to learn to kiss, eat one, with both hands
  3. the smell of onions frying in butter
  4. the crisp of autumn experienced through an open window
  5. blood orange hot tea
  6. an afternoon nap in a cool, dark place
  7. lavender – in any form, mixture, balm or concoction
  8. a sexy, luscious, viscous red wine
  9. Jasmine Rice steaming
  10. cold champagne in a hot bath

and the invitation is now yours, should you choose . . .

friends

cat mornings, friendship, orange

Sometimes, I don’t like getting up in the morning. Correction. I do NOT get up in the morning, I rise in the early afternoon. Morning for me is 10am to 11am. Anything prior to that and I am either sleeping, or some kind soul is cooking up a mean breakfast in the kitchen that has roused me and my hunger. Or—if especially cunning . . . someone has appealed to my joy of cooking nature by conjuring act, seduction, or sweetness and I am making a tall stack of pancakes, towering like fluffy beige clouds.

Pixel and Odin have taken to waking me up the morning now at 8am, like clockwork every day. But let me back up first. When we all go to bed at night, Pixel curled up in between Brooks’ legs and I, resting on the crook of his arm as he reads and i listen to my iPod, Odin curls around the top of my head, his paws kneading my head and ponytail softly, purring, making my pillow a delight to lay on (though he can be a little hog) and all is pleasant and right with the world. We fall asleep like this, the four of us.

Then I wake up to different creatures in the morning.

First with Pixel scratching at the towering pile of books on Brooks’ nitestand, pulling them down with intermittent ruffle-thumps, while Odin dives under the blanket to get a better bite on our toes. Then Pixel takes to my side of the bed, leaps up onto my nightstand and sits directly on my alarm clock, tap-dancing on buttons until the correct one turns on my radio and it blares the morning music, which means I have to re-set my alarm clock. If this proves to be ineffectual, a crashing sound comes when he returns a few minutes later and pushes the alarm clock off the back of the nightstand. Meanwhile Odin is soft-paw scratching at the back of my bare arm which lies exposed outside of the blanket. If this doesn’t rouse me, it’s straight for the aerial tactics – he pounces directly onto my face and lands with both paws onto my closed eyelids, for added effect.

Sometimes I flail and yell a bit. More often than not, Icurse about interrupted sleep and the general nastiness of all things kitty. Occasionally cats fly like Peter Pan out the bedroom door get slammed out. This doesn’t deter them for long . . . the loft space above us is open and so they dangle from our closet and peek around from above and over the bed. Then the howling starts and paper chewing for the silly person who left bills or magazines or instruction manuals or cardboard boxes out—anywhere. Desperate measures call for cat sky-diving which will really scare the shit out of you, four eagle-talon spread claw-foots coming down to knock your wind clear out.

Then, whoever is more or less irritated, you HAVE TO get up and FEED THE CATS. And perhaps, if you are lucky, you can return to a couple more hours of blissful sleep until you have to be where you have to be.

But it was an especially nice night and a particularly eventful morning of cat acrobatics and i woke to some fresh yellow and white in the garden. Snow drops and some yellow crocus things. But they are calling for 5″ of snow late nite through mid-afternoon.

Spring is such a tawdry tease.

Well—that’s ok . . . some very nice things have been happening. Me and an old friend, Anne-Marie have reconnected and I am so glad to have her back.

When I lived in Detroit many years ago, had first met Brooks (online, which is yet another story) I also met Anne-Marie. It was a randomly created room called SSH (Stop Say Hello) on Yahoo! Chat, when that stuff was just getting started. She lived in Canada at the time and she was the first friend i met on the internet who i actually met in person. She drove a long way to see me so we could stomp around at some kitschy cool club in Detroit where the dance floor was like a train wreck—you didn’t necessarily like what you were seeing, but you couldn’t tear your eyes away either. Seems we played pool that nite, but my memory is such a blur from those days. Now that she has children and I am living on the coast, perhaps she can help fill those missing bits/years in.

writing

Stillness

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“Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?” asked Alice.
“That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,” said the Cat.
“I don’t much care where,” said Alice.
“Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,” said the Cat.
“–so long as I get SOMEWHERE,” Alice added as an explanation.
“Oh, you’re sure to do that,” said the Cat, “if you only walk long enough.”

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there is a stillness in contemplation
of the next motion.
there is this silence, for pain for rapture
overlapping hush and wonder.

all of it all of it tumbling smooth
like stones in the water
strange circular sickness
sugar-drugged apathy
for sameness
and hurt
for
1.

and what delectable pain . . .
and all of it from a curious picture
and a linen kiss.

i am still inventing something
for the morning.

i am hoping to re-invent morning.

i am wrapping the last threads
off immeasurable dreams
around my wrists
so i float
to where
you
may
be.

when you feel a tug
it is a (t)ether
you should tie it tightly
about your waist
and pulsepoints will lead
where they may.

and i will come nearer
to your ground.

and i pray you will wake up.
and the last silvered tail
of whisper will ask:
are we there
yet?

~ Andrea E. Janda