Tuesday, April 29, 2008

What Time is It?


Finally--we are in the house. Love it and love it.

A few weeks ago I was with some friends and the question was asked, "what one word describes you?" Of course, like an idiot, I said "art". I don't think I can say one word. Ever. And so what I meant by art was not that I paint and sculpt and blah and blah, but that everything I see or do affects me positively or negatively. I could have said "beauty", but that would have been really pretentious.

I can't tell you what a difference being in the house means to me. There is something about the wood trim and the creek outside and the whole dishevelled appearance that makes me feel grounded. That is what I meant by art. I like to look at things I think are pretty--how's that? But, I know my idea of pretty is not what 98% of this country views as pretty.

Then, to be more of an artiste, I must say that I feel uninspired when I am surrounded by ugly (go ahead and take offense if I yawn around you). For the last while I have felt cluttered and preoccupied. School and moving has taken up most of my mental energy. Colin doesn't understand how my mind decorates and rearranges furniture a hundred times a day.

This summer I am planning on nothing but:
watching the girls play in the creek
writing and reading (not in that order, nor to scale)
staring at my new wallpaper and my old wood panelling.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Devil in blue jeans

Whoa. Saw my first really gay advertisement the other night. Not the Ikea ones where the men sit at a table across from each other--inferring that they are gay. But a real, can't be interpreted any other way-gay one. And it was Levi.

I was watching Project Runway, where, of course, the only straight designer was auffed. Then that damn Levi commercial comes on where the guy pulls up his pants--it seems like his hands are delicate, with a tremor, but we learn it is the force of pulling them up that makes his hands shake. He pulls them up an inch and the earth starts to shake. For some reason this makes him feel secure--and curious--so he pulls them up a little more. Ceiling tiles fall and still he has no objection to causing the Armageddon, or that he will be caught with his pants down. He finally jerks them all the way up and a phone booth (who needs to use a phone booth these days?) pops up through the debris.

There she is--a stringy haired, skinny girl who also wears Levis and who is also not worried that the ground just tore apart. They walk off together, sharing one of those coy smiles that confuses me. And this is where the the "gay version" steps in so casually. While ABC and NBC are playing that commercial, Bravo is playing one that is exactly the same, except in the phantom tollbooth is a man--decidedly gay. He has that smoothed hair and that scrubbed look of a man who knows his facial products.
They, in their Levis, walk off into the misty street, the same one he once traveled with the girl on another channel.
So it brings me to the dude. I never thought he was attractive. In fact, he has this primative, monkey look to him, but not the attractive type like Matthew McConaughey or Clive Owen who have that testosterone-laden look, but just plain monkey. I thought they had done a bad casting, as if I wanted some jeans, I would not have been taken with this guy--pants on or off. But when I saw him with the gay man I realized that the casting was brilliant. He is a single-sex gender bender. His primal look can take him either way. His smile was now, not non-committal--but mysterious. His facial features were not an acquired taste, but so neutral that it took talent.
I believed the stringy-haired girl was into him and I believed the slick Liza was too. Bravo(a).

Monday, September 03, 2007

Best Invention Eva

Best Invention Eva

I am culinary challenged. Though I have a deep creative streak, when faced with making something new out of those things in the food pyramid, I always end up with some sort of tacos--sans a major ingredient (like flavor packet)--and tell the family, "just eat it."
Whether I am missing a gene or the education system failed me (home-ec was no longer required by the time 80s feminists entered high school), I don't know. And it was never much of a problem. When I tried to make brownies out of a box for my college boyfriend and then ruined them, I just smooshed them down into a pretty glass and stuck cool whip on top. Kept the relationship going for another few months.
In my years of experience, I find cheese or bacon, draped across the top, will wake up a tired burger, chicken fillet or just other pieces of cheese and bacon.
My vegetarian years were actually more fruitful (love my unintentional puns). I had to look up what to make. I bought cookbooks and made intricate grocery lists or else I would starve. Being a vegetarian is not as easy as taking out a piece of fat back to defrost and then opening a can of corn. The can of corn ends up being the central ingredient, and if you want to keep any muscle on your bones (bad Courtney Love), you've got to have some protein in there. So I got into the habit of thinking ahead. And it totally stressed me out. Cooking is not a pleasure for me. I get really pissed while doing it. I leave a mess. Something is always missing that needs to be the focus of the meal and if one of my family even blinks an eye when I place the plates on the table I go ballistic.
Then, God invents Dinner A'Fare. Not only is the name adorable, but so is the idea. I've been twice, and like crack, now I can no longer function without it. You pick from a menu of meals and go to this very well-stocked kitchen, put on a cap and apron and let rip. They have the recipe right there in front of you, plus all the ingredients. It is like putting together Mouse Trap. The board is the meat, then the instructions tell you what to put in little bags for marinade or sides, until you have it all set up and you just go home, crank that little gear and let the plastic boot kick the bucket, releasing the ball and the whole thing works like magic until the mouse is trapped. That was a gross metaphor, but both the game and the Dinner A'Fare make me happy.
I have this Idea of wanting to be a good cook. And I have this Idea of being organized. It just has never naturally occurred. Now, I go with friends, spend two hours putting together 12 meals, that I would never be able to think of, and come home and stuff the freezer. Last month Colin took some of the pork tenderloin over to the neighbors to try. The neighbor called and said, "I've never seen your husband happier."
I saw that same look last night as I had him pack the freezer with my prey. He caressed each air-tight package. I felt a little proud of myself, despite the lack of talent it took to accomplish it.
While in that polished kitchen with food and clean workspaces, I feel like I am on Top Chef. Not nose-sweat Howie, but perhaps a female Sam Talbot (the cute diabetic). However, in reality, I know it is the crack-like delusion that makes things seem grander. I am actually more of a cafeteria lady, following directions and making sure my hair doesn’t get in the marinade.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Liam Rector 1949-2007


Now I see it: a few years
To play around while being
Bossed around

By the taller ones, the ones
With the money
And more muscle, however

Tender or indifferent
They might be at being
Parents; then off to school

And the years of struggle
With authority while learning
Violent gobs of things one didn't

Want to know, with a few tender
And tough teachers thrown in
Who taught what one wanted

And needed to know; then time
To go out and make one's own
Money (on the day or in

The night-shift), playing around
A little longer ("Seed-time,"
"Salad days") with some

Young "discretionary income"
Before procreation (which
Brings one quickly, too quickly,

Into play with some variation
Of settling down); then,
Most often for most, the despised

Job (though some work their way
Around this with work of real
Delight, life's work, with the deepest

Pleasures of mastery); then years
Spent, forgotten, in the middle decades
Of repair, creation, money

Gathered and spent making the family
Happen, as one's own children busily
Work their way into and through

The cycle themselves,
Comic and tragic to see, with some
Fine moments playing with them;

Then, through no inherent virtue
Of one's own, but only because
The oldest ones are busy falling

Off the edge of the planet,
The years of governing,
Of being the dreaded authority

One's self; then the recognition
(Often requiring a stiff drink) that it
Will all soon be ending for one's self,

But not before Alzheimer's comes
For some, as Alzheimer's comes
For my father-in-law now (who

Has forgotten not only who
Shakespeare is but that he taught
Shakespeare for thirty years,

And who sings and dances amidst
The forgotten in the place
To which he's been taken); then

An ever-deepening sense of time
And how the end might really happen,
To really submit, bend, and go

(Raging against that night is really
An adolescent's idiot game).
Time soon to take my place

In the long line of my ancestors
(Whose names I mostly never knew
Or have recently forgotten)

Who took their place, spirit poised
In mature humility (or as jackasses
Braying against the inevitable)

Before me, having been moved
By time through time, having done
The time and their times.

"Nearer my god to thee" I sing
On the deck of my personal Titanic,
An agnostic vessel in the mind.

Born alone, die alone—and sad, though
Vastly accompanied, to see
The sadness in the loved ones

To be left behind, and one more
Moment of wondering what,
If anything, comes next . . .

Never to have been completely
Certain what I was doing
Alive, but having stayed aloft

Amidst an almost sinister doubt.
I say to my children
Don't be afraid, be buoyed

—In its void the world is always
Falling apart, entropy its law
—I tell them those who build

And master are the ones invariably
Merry: Give and take quarter,
Create good meals within the slaughter,

A place for repose and laughter
In the consoling beds of being tender,
I tell them now, my son, my daughter.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Global Warning

I am one who is interested in causes. I can put in the right energy-saving light bulb; I can turn off the water when I brush my pearly whites, etc. But the thing about me and causes is that I am nothing or all the way.
I remember when I was an argumentative teenager my mother, during one of our thrashings, asked me if I would rather have peace or be right. "Be right,” I said--like it was a no-brainer. Justice has always outweighed peace to me in that I think Justice leads to peace. At least in my demented mind.
So I've been interested in this whole Co2 thing. What are these people talking about (no, I didn’t see Al's film)? I heard a good explanation on NPR. Seems we are always putting out carbon--when we drive a car, turn on a light and chew our food. This got me to thinking of ways that we can all cut down on our carbon emissions. But it has to be a new way, not just telling people to drive smaller cars or use less toilet tissue. It has to be something that will benefit more than the earth, but humankind as well.
So I have come up with this equation. T-r2=silence.
If chewing a carrot gives off carbon that binds with oxygen and then heats up our planet, well then talking also releases carbon. So I conclude that there should be a ban on repeating things.
I think half the things I hear everyday are things I have heard before whether it is my kid calling my name fifty times or the news repeating that we are in a war in Iraq.

1) There is the incidental repeating such as "paper or plastic." We know it is coming, maybe the bagger can just give a little eye contact, where then the customer points to the kind of bag he/she wants.
2) Greetings. When we pass people we know, instead of saying "how are you," we will have to come up with new things to learn about each other such as,"when does you period start?"
3) Blah, blah conversations. There will be no more talk of diets, exercise, cholesterol, or anything we know we need to work on.

Only the first person you see on your birthday is allowed to wish you “Happy Birthday,” the others have to just nod.

4) Foreigners. People must stop asking Colin about The Crocodile Hunter, Crocodile Dundee, kangaroos and if “Fosters is really Australian for beer.” The poor guy is exhausted from doing his polite laugh and then having to explain it all.

It’s going to be a hard road for all of us. How am I going to resist when I meet someone who says their last name is Buttafuco not to ask the question that is on the tip of my tongue? But lord knows that person has been asked to the point that ice caps are melting in the arctic.

The burden weighs on me because I repeat stories to people, forgetting that I have already told them. I watch their eyes glaze over and let me politely go on. It could be my fault that whales are washing up on the California coast.

In sixth grade I won an essay contest about baby harp seals. They were really into clubbing them at the time and I had my award winning letter sent to Ronald Reagan. I know it was my catchy S.O.S. that made the cut (Save our seals). Reagan wrote my school back, sending a pic of himself happy as can be. They put it on our stucco wall, unframed, letting the edges curl. But everyday I looked up at it and thought he was smiling at me and remembering the S.O.S. girl, working in his office late to stop the manufacturing of these seal- battering clubs (always pictured them like what cavemen would use).

My goal is to have a picture of Bush on my office wall—that crooked smile looking down on me while I do my work. He will have written me a thank you note and will think of me every day as the woman who stopped global warming and got every one to shut up.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Don't Mess With Mama

Violet has been our sweet, little kitty for over a year now. She’s a small cat. Very affectionate—almost annoyingly so.

She is so friendly that she got knocked up a while before Christmas. Colin is the one who found out…by saying her nipples felt bigger. Whatever.

So out pop the kitties. In the second picture they are pretty fresh. The first one is more recent. They are 3 and a half weeks now. One boy (the black) and two girls. Or so I think. I have looked at more pictures of kitten genitalia on the internet than I am willing to admit.

For those who I haven’t told about the birth, I found her holed up in Tassy’s bathroom, under the sink, in the cabinet. “What you doing in there, Sweetie?” I pulled her out, her claws scratching against the sides of the cupboard. And then a splat. A little squirmy thing the color of a grocery bag with a sack of blood attached fell on the linoleum floor. I panicked, ran and got on my gloves, as I had read all about helping in the delivery. Over the next three hours she squeaked out two more—all sans my help. Then she stood up and went to the back door and scratched frantically as if she wanted to find the guy who impregnated her and scratch the shit out of him.

She has been a good mama, feeding and taking care of them. But when too many little kids come petting the kitties she starts to freak out and hides them. This AM, Tassy’s friend, AnnaLevi was here and “Joke-alina” was missing. This is what the girls named the grey one since they think she is funny. So I go hunting and find her in a closet. Violet was trying to hide them but I caught her—yet again. I put her back in her comfy basket lined with towels that I lovingly put together weeks prior to the delivery.

Yesterday was the shocker though. She has wanted to get outside badly since the birthing. Of course she isn’t fixed yet, so we don’t want her to get out. She slips by our feet and lunges into the yard and the girls go shrieking and lecturing her, picking her up and hauling her back each time. Yesterday she got out and the three girls were in the back playing when I heard louder-than-usual girl shrieks. Violet had caught a bird and dragged it under the deck. I guess birthing her little ones had brought out some animalistic, hunt and gather-gene in her. The girls were screaming and the neighbor boy rushed over. Death, death, glorious death.

She then dragged the bird out, sat down beside it all proud and puffed up. AnnaLevi squirted Violet with the hose and we tried to get her away from her prey, which was still moving around, it’s beak open and ready to snip, but woefully unable to fly. Once again, I went into rescue mode, but this time I knew that euthanasia was necessary. But I just couldn’t do it. I still have flashbacks of my mother and I trying to kill a rat with a tennis racket.

I went next door to Jim’s house. He does something in the forest for his day job and his work truck says “Wildlife Resources” on the side. Perfect, I thought. Alas, no. Not at home. So I call John—he’s in insurance—but he’d have to do. He didn’t sound enthusiastic, nor experienced in what I thought most southern men were—twisting chicken heads off and such. He came over—supplying his own shovel, though I had a shovel, a saw and a leaf blower handy. The bird was scuttling across the yard at this point, not flying, but sort of twisting itself around and running in a zig zag. I corralled the girls into the front yard while John communed with the bird in the back. AnnaLevi’s dad happened to drive by just then and I called in his support, but John had done the deed and scooped the bird up and put it in our trash can.

I went to the front yard to see how the girls were handling all the blood and gore and found them happy as can be, spotting and picking four leaf clovers. They never mentioned it again. In the meantime my hands were shaking and I sprouted four new grey hairs.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Sharing my Wisdom

Since finishing my degree, I have spent a lot of time in "leisure therapy." This consists of television shows like Top Model (both American and Aussie), any true crime show and Lost; shopping (though I never seem to actually purchase anything); reading (The Glass Castle, The Miss America Family) and reading tmz.com hourly.
Within this busy schedule I have found time to obsess on certain things--such as cleaning the house, organizing, finding new hair products and exercising. I feel I've learned more about the world in the last two months since graduating, than I have in a long time. Since I can't encapsulate what I learned during my masters, I will tell you what I have l discovered post-op.

Hair--Pave shampoos and conditioners. Put out by Jessica Simpson's hairdresser friend who is in every pic with her until she hooked up with J. May. These products are at Walgreen's, made with no sulfates and donate to a charity. Most important--my hair is too fabulous since I've used it.

Lips--Physician's Formula Lip Palettes. You get four colors that plump and color for under five dollars! And doctor approved.

Drink--OceanSpray Pomegranate/Blueberry. Tasty and cancer-fighting.

Swiffer Wet Mop--Battery run to squirt out product on the floor. So fun to hear that little motor squirting the cleanser out. Makes me feel like something is really getting done. I've cleaned the floor twice in one week!

OxyClean Scrub-free bathroom cleanser--Just like Scrubbing Bubbles, but I assume better because of the "oxy" which brings me back to Oxy10 acne pads in high school that would burn the zits right off you.

Monkey King Green Jasmine tea--Bought loose with little tea bags to fill each time. Makes me feel loved by myself.

Christina Aguilera tunes--Uploaded into my MP3 player. I imagine that I am back in high school and am performing the songs in the gym in front of all my classmates. Their expressions are priceless, of course.

Old discoveries that still feel new: Annie's All Natural Godess Dressing and Tampax Pearl tampons. These have both changed my life.