Thursday, February 26, 2009

Today is my, ahem, birthday and there was effing SNOW all around when I woke up. Enough already. I go out and garden, I should be putting in lettuce and spinach, but no, school gets cancelled again and we are faced with yet another dilemma, footwear during inclement weather. I want inflatable wooden waterproof shoes. I have nervous feet and this would help them. 

Monday I go into silence for a month. 

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

I just ate an entire bag of "veggie chips". The back says there are 8 servings of 150 calories each so...I just had enough calories for the rest of the day, yeah! I don't feel guilty because I swam a mile today and had virtuous oatmeal and soymilk for breakfast. I think they shouldn't put the calories per serving on the backs of things. I know I am eating a lot of oil, salt and carbs. Don't flog me with calories. We need calories. They made Columbus convince Queen Isabella to give him some ships to find the spice route. Without calories, his presentation would have lacked pizazz. I do wish I could have been around for the arguments about round versus flat. I mean, you sail off into the pretty sunset and then----poof, you fall off the edge of the earth. Just like that. 

Here is a synopsis of my life as a midwife.

1. Wake up with a pounding heart because the pager has gone off and scared the crap out of you. Go to the birth. You never know when you will be home again. Could take hours, days, minutes. 
2. Lose a lot of sleep. Hang with the family cat/dog and your students. Eat whatever is around. Some families have their births catered, fercripesake. However, with my dietary restrictions, I can eat, oh, bread and bananas and peanut butter. 
3. Take naps in your clothes. Wake up and wonder where you are. Brush your teeth because your breath is dreadful.
4. Finally, the birth is nie (a scrabble word) and the babe is born. Then there is clean-up, suturing, more clean-up and a fair well goodbye. You drive home in a semi-awake stupor, veering back into your lane whenever you hit the yellow turtles. 
5. At home, the cats have had several fights so there are tufts of fur everywhere. Also, someone has pooped behind the big ficus. No one takes any credit for this. You clean up some more, feed the little darlings and eat a bowl of cold cereal. Then, depending on the time of day, you crawl to your bed under the skylight or you crash on the couch where it is a tad darker.
6. You wake up again, wondering where you are, what time is it, is it morning or night, is there any soy ice cream. Then you realize you have clinic in an hour. And you adrenals are broken. 

I am behaving like this retreat is PRISON and I have to watch all the movies, eat all the chocolate and stay up late NOW because there is serious depravation ahead. Voluntary, I know. You don't have to remind me. 

My friend Ruby told me about a teacher who runs retreats for 10 days and you just sit, you don't even do walking meditation. My legs would seriously fall off. I'd have to hop around on the stumps and look sadly at my former legs. Just lying there. All because I tried sitting for  10 hours straight. 

Saturday, February 21, 2009

I am leaving for a month-long retreat a week from today. No cell phones, no internet, no books, no writing. I'll be in northern California, in the country with Jack Kornfield and my beloved teacher, Adrienne Ross. I have never been in silence for a month before. Perhaps I will forget how to talk. 

Silence is difficult, by the way, and beautiful. Daily dharma talks, interviews with the teachers and sitting with anger, fear, doubt, etc. Voluntarily. 

Friday, February 20, 2009

In the locker room at the pool, there were two ladies in the shower. At first they were talking about camelbacks and the lovely camelbacks at the camelback sale. After a while they switched to camelback RUGS, an item I can't explain. One of the ladies just had to buy two, one for the hallway, you should come over and see it, such pretty colors. The other lady laughed in that fakey way, har, har, har and went to dry her hair. They were both large ladies with beautiful thick haunches, substantial and smooth. I was hoping to use the word haunches in a sentence and I have.

Now the world is coated in a film, blurry and gray. The house is cold because I don't turn on the heat unless I'm desperate. The furnace goes on by itself as if it is trying to protect me. Lola gets under the covers with me and drools on the pillow. 

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Tonight is a workshop and again, I have nothing to wear...and I might miss out because there is someone in early labor. My job certainly gets in the way of my life. 

In the new ear, all artists will be supported by everybody, like monastics in the East. We are sorta the same. We keep odd hours, we talk to ourselves (or not at all), we like our own kind and we are vehemently kind to animals. 

Monday, February 16, 2009

I went to a park with J in Portland (land of really polite people) and there were WOOD DUCKS. No, not Ed Wood ducks, the pretty, multicolored kind with about a thousand colors and red maroony breasts all stippled with light dots. They were beautiful and I wanted to marry all of them. Their wives/girlfriends/friends with benefits were not half so dreamy. The boys have purple, red, blue and stripes and flavors, o, who thought to make them that way? And there were a dozen or so. The Canada geese were behaving rudely, sticking out their pink tongues and gakking and chasing one another. It was just jealousy. Wood ducks are movie stars.

J and I went skiing by Mount Hood on one of those perfect days with sun and the right temperature and great snow. *sigh* Of course, I headed right off and fell halfway down a pretty big hill and could. not. get. up. So embarrassing. It's cross-country skiing, fer cripes sake. I floundered around, making pathetic little circles while looking up the hill to see if anyone was going to come barreling down and ski right over me, probably killing me. I had to take my skis off and flop over to the side of the track to put them back on AFTER getting to my feet. I was swearing and sweating. Then J showed up after missing the whole thing. I couldn't even get any sympathy. No one saw my humiliation. Maybe I wasn't humiliated. Naw, I was.

I am getting the hang of the vegan thing.

Tofu "strips" modified from the Brietenbush cookbook.

one block of extra-firm tofu, cut very thin
1/4 cup tamari
1/4 cup oil
1 tsp poultry seasoning
1 tsp onion powder ( or more of these)
1 tsp garlic powder
some curry powder
some cayenne powder
a bunch of brewers yeast

smear the bottom of a pan with the stuff

lay all the strips down, no over lap

brush with the goop, liberally

bake in 425 oven for 20-30 minutes, until slightly crispy.


Thursday, February 12, 2009

Oh-oh, all those people leaving Starbucks with a cardboard box. I can't be laid off because I work for myself. 

The wind blew through the rafters all night and in the morning we were covered with stars.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

I want to write about things I shouldn't. My mother taught me to be polite, certainly death to creativity and freedom. Polite is quaint, like a potato masher or darning eggs. There are some items that are not going well, My divorce is not going well (I have a headache), the economy is not going well, there is an amorphous sense of dread.

We went to an open mic last night in an effing snowfall. We got there way too early but scoped the joint. We came back later and a mic had been set up and there were a few musicians, not too bad. Then a few poems and we learned to barge in, so we did, one after the other. Josh and I fell into a giggling fit when he showed me a poem about a dead goose. We should have been escorted out. We weren't being rude exactly, just not polite.

I'm drinking a hot toddy tonight. Brandy, hot water, a bit of agave, a squeeze of lemon and the rind, and a smidge of cinnamon. I don't think there is anything wrong with sleeping on the couch in my clothes without brushing my teeth. I can if I want.

Mostly, I miss J so much my bones hurt.

What will happen to all of us?

Monday, February 09, 2009

Snow again? It's almost gone from the skylight. Wishbone came in and got muddy footprints all over my white robe, which was on the floor, admittedly. I'm going to an open mic tonight with Kelly and Josh. I used to go to an open mic every month with my friend Maryanne. She taught me the ground rules. Sign up, but don't be the first or too far down the list. If you're first, you have to suffer through the whole night of other readers. If you're too close to the end, people have a) left b) gotten drunk or c) aren't listening because they've already read and they don't care anymore.. Other rules: be polite (totally impossible), don't leave until everyone else has read (also impossible) and don't BORE the audience with long-winded explanations of the genesis of your work. If it is funny and short, you can get away with it. I like the Rebecca Loudon suggestion: get up, punch them with a few great pieces and then sit down. It helps if you have some great poems, of course.

So I went to a Red Sky open mic once and there was a guy who got up and sat at the piano. Uh-oh, I thought. He had a crumpled and folded notebook which he propped on the stand and he started in. He proceeded to BANG on the keys with no apparent intention except to make a lot of noise while shouting his poem from the notebook which kept slipping from the stand and landing on the keyboard. It was deafening and alarming. And I couldn't understand him at all. We sat in the audience, pinned like moths to a board, with glazed and gaping expressions. You know the look. You could see the little bubbles over people's can I get outa here, omigod, this is excruciating, when will he stop, I gotta pee, etc. Mercifully, Paul Hunter the emcee, thanked him about 5 minutes in and signaled the end of the night.

I still get scared when I read but once I have read one poem, I feel better. Someone once said, know your audience. And how do you do that? Read a zombie poem and see how they react. Oh, and watch out for zombies ahead when you're driving. They make pesky speed bumps.

The snow is actively melting now and I have gardening to do.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

The moon is slashing through the skylight. I can't sleep. The black tea didn't help. I bought my plane ticket for California. I'm going on retreat (again). This time for a month in silence. Silence, no talking, no phones, pagers, computers, books, etc etc. In the country. With the deer and some dharma teachers.

My 15 pound cat is sitting on my altar. He looks like Shiva. All he needs is a crown. The city glitters and the radio towers are winking their red eyes.

Tonight I watched the first part of Angels in America. I miss James, Jim, Richard, Alison and Tommy. Good night, my darlings.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

How to write poems-by Beth Coyote

1. Prepare ye the way.
2. Have a bath.
3. Rummage.
4. Look for your mother's pearl necklace (which has been missing for 3 years)again.
5. Eat a few cookies.
6. Flex.
7. Clean out the garage.
8. Re-read a batch of old poems. Congratulate yourself for your (obvious) brilliance.
9. Sneak up to your computer and pound out a plethora of words.
10. Have a glass of good wine.
11. Have another.
12. Revise.
13. Pare.
14. Fall asleep on the couch.
15. Wake up in your clothes with wine stains on your chin and crumbs in your bra.
16. Repeat.

Monday, February 02, 2009

There is a space, o about 1/2 hour, when the mom in labor stops fighting what is happening inside her and she spaces out and becomes angelic, surrendered and floaty. It is my favorite place. Then I know everything is going to be ok.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

J was lying in bed and I said, wait-I want to read this to you.

Then I read Cadaver Dogs by Rebecca Loudon.

When I was done, she said, wow, soft-like.

Uh-uh, I said.