Friday, December 31, 2010

I have a smart house. I turn off the heat at night and the furnace ignores me. It says, 'Nuh-huh, idiot, your pipes will freeze." Oh. Everything is creaking.

And then there's the cats. They are acting very mentally ill, even for them. They run around, smacking into walls and careening off the rugs, which end up bunched and askew. Then there's the stalking thing they do, arching and puffing up and behaving all menacing with each other, as if they have never seen each other before (except for the last seven years). If humans behaved this way when it was cold outside, well, the work environment would be difficult.

"Stop stalking me, I'm trying to work here!"

"Don't you puff up your fur at me, young lady!"

(during a trip to HR)

"And then she slid all the way across the room, banging into the filing cabinets and knocking all the xmas cookies to the floor. She made the crazy eyes at me and ran out of the room sideways. I think she needs professional help."

It's New Year's Eve. I bet you already knew that.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Just realized I am exhausted. Clinic today and the new birth center ready to move into. Sheesh, I haven't even seen the finished product.

Working is incompatible with my artistic life and my love life. I need to be two or three people.

I think I'll sleep on the couch. It's freezing out there.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Because my manuscript wasn't published in 2010, it will be published in 2011.

And that is all I know.

Meanwhile, I will continue to write many unbreakable poems.

Back from Cal again, this time with the family in a wee house and even wee-er kitchen. We ate mass quantities, laughed and played and, in general, had a merry xmas. Yesterday we went to the SF MOMA and viewed marvelous photos: Warhol, Maplethorpe, Cartier-Bresson, and many others. The exhibit was voyeurism, all kinds. Over the shoulder, above, hidden cameras, from far away; lovers, hookers, children, war criminals.

I bought one of my daughter's photos in the gift shop. A polaroid.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

My neighbor gave me her annual plateful of cookies. And I went over with a bottle of local port because no grape jelly this year. None. The grapes were small and sour and nasty because we had no summer at all. A tragedy. Didn't stop the raccoons.

My clerk at the pet store where I buy very expensive cat food told me why cats bring in dead, dying or still kicking creatures, mostly smaller and mostly with feathers. Are you ready for this? Apparently, they are trying to teach us how to kill. They never see us drag in a dead deer so how can we possibly know how to procure food. We can open cans and shake out bags of kibble into their bowls. But we are woefully inadequate in the killing department. So they're showing us how, like they show their kittens.

Aw, wasn't that heartwarming?

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Delicata squash are the best squash in the world today. Eat the skins. They're good for you. I promise.
Returned from a retreat in rainy windy Northern California, land of wild turkeys, deer, bunnies and birdies.

My bank called to tell me I haven't yet paid my mortgage. Huh? I'm sure I did, even though love has thoroughly scrambled my few remaining brains. So I apparently sent the mortgage payment to my zero balance CREDIT CARD. Duh, what a dope. But the bank guy was very grumpy, having to tell people all day their mortgage payments are late and they're facing collections. To no avail did I protest that THEIR BANK had my money, cashed and all. And the nice credit card people won't have a check to me for 10 days. Great.

Merry X-mas and good will toward (ahem) men. Even though I've been a good customer for, count 'em, 15 years. Off to collections for you. Off with her head. And while you're at it, paint those roses red, little missy.

Glad I got that out of my system. Back to being a Buddhist. Where I'm kind to everyone, even the poor suckers whose job it is to threaten people they've never even met.

Can't harsh my bliss, nothing can. I'm getting to know my paramour and I like her even more now. This is a very good sign. We played in her studio and made presents and listened to Nirvana real loud.

The divine abodes: Metta, karuna, mudita and uppeka. Lovingkindness, compassion, sympathetic joy and equanimity. A beauty. I might get used to being happy, after all.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

I have a terrible problem. I haven't read last week's NYT and now there's another one, fresh from it's blue plastic bag, oh and the book review and magazine section from 2 weeks ago. Even when I weed out the sports, financial and travel sections, there is still a towering pile of unread NYT. And I'm leaving tomorrow for silence and next week there will be ANOTHER NYT to read next Sunday. More than any other backsliding, not keeping up with the paper is a dread sin. Because I hardly know what is going on in the big world, the NYT is my source, my family friend who comes over to tell me I really must get out more and stop wearing those awful baggy pants in the yard and why o why do you insist on not bathing. I mean really, why bathe if all you plan to do that day is muck about in the garden, getting mud inside your gloves and sweating all over the mashed leaves and dead morning glory while trying to wrassle them into those stupid paper bags just for the purpose of 'green' waste.


It's the new lover. Besides being all confused during the day and not knowing what day or time it is or if you're supposed to go to work or not, there's the issue of non-sleep and having someone else beside you when you wake up, stealing the covers and making you laugh so hard you fall out of bed. All the cats come up and want some of the mirth. All three of them. They feel neglected and you know what. I don't give a shit. I deserve this. We all do.

Besides, the NYT has the most ridiculous ads in the world. An article about starving Haitians next to an ad for a 5 zillion dollar fur coat draped over an anorexic 16 year old. It's a perfect mind fuck.
I'm off to yet another retreat, this time in northern California where they have polite rain and sun. The deer graze on the hills and wild turkeys wander about acting ridiculous. They, of course, don't think they're ridiculous. They think they're handsome and fine. If I had a face with bright red wattles hanging off it, I'd wear a bag on my head. Just saying...

I have to pack, something I loathe. Whenever I get to where I'm going, my packing seems so inferior compared to others. On retreat, I want to wear stained sweats and floppy shirts. I think in Northern Cal this type of dress is illegal. We're not supposed to compare but I can't help it. Especially when the persons sitting all around me in the beautiful dharma hall look so put together and calm. I'm a seething mass. I bet there are snakes and beetles and popinjays swirling around my cushion. (I always wanted to use 'popinjays' in a sentence).

Six days of silence and a lot of vegetables. Live oaks on the hills. I'll visit them every day. They are womanly trees. They are massive and ruggy and they lay their huge limbs on the ground. I always miss them.

I start teaching in January. I approach teaching with caution. It's a lot of effort and students tend to text, email and behave distractedly. We didn't have multiple devices when I was in school. We had pens and notebooks. I got there on horseback. Or I walked 10 miles in the snow. And I was grateful.

That last bit was all lies.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

I had a 1954 dinner with some of my favorite people last night. I laughed so hard my stomach hurt. What is a 1954 dinner? What you'd expect: baked potato, peas, iceberg lettuce quarters with Thousand Island dressing, salmon and an amazing relish contraption-actually a red cabbage stuck with toothpicks on which were impaled olives, cheese, leetle onions and radishes. AND rice krispie treats, gack.

It was beautiful. I love you, James and Richard and Deb. Let's grow old(er) together. You are my people, you know. In so many ways. You're irreverent, queer, tender and deviant. Blessedly deviant. Thank g-d.

Monday, December 06, 2010

I just made a gingerbread for my love. I put in too much baking soda and had to scoop some of it out and I added a wee bit of sugar and walnuts which weren't called for. But.

I'd do anything for her, my darling. Because she won't ask me, I can say that. She offered me her house. I offered her mine but hers is a better deal cuz it's paid for. I still owe about a hundred million dollars on mine.

She'll eat my fallen gingerbread and declare it the best she's ever tasted. I can't worry about when this will wear off. Maybe it won't though I can't imagine that. I've been depressed for so long, the snake keeps talking in my ear.

Fuck you, snake and your hissing. Fuck you.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Watching Nirvana at Redding. Jumping and twitching. An antidote to the Christmas ships down the street. There's a guy on the stage who's only job is to thrash around on the stage and dislocate his entire body. That's me.

Kurt, effing genius.

Saturday, December 04, 2010

The bright sun in the bright sky. One of my katz has taken to peeing by the back door because I am in love right now and my head/heart are in the treetops floating down the Skagit walking through walls seeing into beauty everywhere. So.

We've spoken, Lola and I. Because she is my favorite, she needs to understand that I need this time to be untethered from the real world, whatever that is. Poking daisies into gun barrels and lyiing on the grass watching stars move across the sky singing o singing. Happiness.

Here. There's enough for everyone. Even you. Especially you.

Beth, eternal love muffin zippety-do-dah, Coyote

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Back from retreat. I'm moving to Canada. People are nicer there and so are the dogs. Plus they have health insurance for everyone. Even their road signs make sense. The only thing is the kilometer issue. And centigrade. It was 15 degrees centigrade. Whatever does that mean?

This morning I saw a pileated woodpecker. And snow geese. And an eagle. In the beautiful Canadian woods. Where I will be moving, if they let me and if this country doesn't stop misbehaving.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thanksgiving is not a happy day for turkeys.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

I just made chocolate vegan cheesecake from heaven. Heaven and the angelic choir. And I restrained myself to licking the bowl, spatulas, countertops, etc. Now the Queen of Glory cake sits in the fridge waiting for the actual Thanksgiving day where there will be a drizzle of raspberry syrup.

I also made an African peanut stew, also divine and blessed by the finger of the baby Jesus. I did add additional peanut butter because, well, it needed it. My tenant brought me cookies so I'm gonna pay her back with a bowl of stew. We might as well get fat together. She's in love too so there's a lot of loud music at certain times so we won't, um, hear each other. TMI, probably.

Cold and crunchy on the back stairs. The cats haven't ventured out because they are essentially weenies.

My yard

Monday, November 22, 2010

Today at Firestone tires I learned these things:

1. On Days of Our Lives you can get married and keep the children, even the autistic one.
2. The older people in DOOL wear earphone things which probably are giving them line prompts.
3. Fools rush in where angels fear to tread when snow hits the highways and the fools have 4 wheel drive and think they can go REAL FAST and they and their big-ass cars flip over causing massive back-ups for all the other cars, especially the ones running out of gas with little kids in the back.
4. Sheesh.
5. The nice man at Firestone showed me how easy it is to install chains on my car except that when I am actually installing chains on my car, it will be 23 below zero and dark and I'll be kneeling in the slush while semis thunder by, making my little car vibrate and my hands are frozen blocks of ice and I'm cursing a long string of expletives and wondering why, o lord, why.
6. My brain is permanently in angelic time, time where laughter and chocolate and music and art live.
7. Howl is one of the most heavenly poems ever written. I read it when I was 15 and had no idea what I was holding in my hands. Bless you, Allen.
---I'm with you in Rockland
in my dreams you walk dripping from a sea-
journey on the highway across America in tears
to the door of my cottage in the Western night

Allen Ginsberg

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Because I am mad flattened with love sickness, my car has had ANOTHER flat tire. No more am I going to try to appease the car gods. Fuck the car gods. I'm gonna go over to Brenda and Pete's house, eat chips and salsa and watch purloined Dexter, my darling avenging angel.

It SNOWED in my yard. The cats came in sparkling with flakes on their fur.

Speaking of cats, my three (count 'em) love bundles ate through a bag of cat food I foolishly left out. They then drank all the water in the house, toilets, yard etc. and their bellies were huge balloon-y fur pockets. Serves them right. I have no sympathy. I feed them precise amounts of very expensive food and this is how they repay me. They act like such...animals sometimes. It's appalling.

Meanwhile, I'm unsafe at any speed. I can't walk or think or pay bills. My brain is bathed in oxytocin and endorphins and I'm stoopid. I don't care that my house is a mess or my hair or the food in the fridge is growing organisms. My thoughts are x-rated. Actually, I have no thoughts. None. I think all my brain cells have exploded. Now my head is a super nova.

Thursday, November 18, 2010


O Winter! bar thine adamantine doors: The north is thine; there hast thou build thy dark, Deep-founded habitation. Shake not thy roofs, Nor bend thy pillars with thine iron car. 
William Blake

fast you approach
my heartsore
for this to bewilder
scrambled scatter
we huddle at the fences
you drag us under
wet slap
tongue swaggle
I wait for your talent
your long finger
while lights flicker and shush
where else can we pursue realms of virtue
when the herald carouses
amber and bend
time for a brimful stranger
a portion to harken
an amulet
pale cross stitch
pricked palm crease

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

So this time when I heard how much my car was going to cost to repair, I didn't do a perfect Scarlett O'Hara imitation and fling my hand over my eyes and succumb to the vapors. I had a moment of clarity because I didn't do it. I didn't cause the smash. I was PARKED. The other person has to pay. For everything. And it's going to cost about five hundred thousand million more that my back window.

AND. I am driving a decent rental. It's red. I understand the dashboard. It's Japanese.

By the way, the adjuster guy and the repair guy and I are now best friends. He did suggest that I could be t-boned next but I think that's a bad idea all round. My car doesn't need to be repaired on every side. Really, it doesn't.

The dark season has come again. An anniversary I despair of. It doesn't get easier or better. We don't 'get over it'. When someone you love takes his life, the wound never heals. You forget it's there until the dark wakes up, this time of year when old wounds ache. And bleed. Again.

Geoffrey, I fear you are a hungry ghost.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Off to the collision shop ***again***. Just say no to Impalas. Impalas suck eggs. Ford, Chevy, Pontiac? Whatever. I'm insisting on a reasonable rental car. Is there such a thing? As a veteran of multiple car smash-ups, I want a red carpet, a driver and champagne in a silver bucket!

Her Highness, The Queen

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Dear car gods,

As you know, I recently had a bit of a run-in with a school bus. I picked up my car from the collision place Friday afternoon, all washed, shiny and smelling like new car smell. It was wonderful to be reunited.

Then today I was parked in front of the house where we had a baby (you know, the midwife thing). One of the friends invited smashed into the FRONT of my car. Her foot slipped and she hit the accelerator. Oh, and I apparently parked under the thousand pigeon power lines so my car was also covered in pigeon shit when I came out to go home.

Have I done something to displease you? Do you want offerings of cracked corn (no, wait, that's for pigeons). Ok, offerings of motor oil, wax jobs, uh, high test gas? If you could let me know, I'd be eternally grateful.

Your faithful servant,


Saturday, November 13, 2010

Waiting for another baby. Tonight in the Thai restaurant I saw a young family with a wee baby with no hat and bare feet. The grandma took them to dinner. They're exhausted and dazed. I almost got up to tell them to go back to their warm house with their babe and go to sleep, in a cave of blankets. Sometimes we're not intuitive. That's where I come in, all bossy and scold-y.

Sweet dreams, all you babies and your parents who have no idea what they're doing. No idea. And that's just the beginning.

Off to my bed where I'll pass out until the pager goes off again.

Friday, November 12, 2010

I will not blather about my new love interest. I'm just here to let you know that we have changed the weather. The sun and clear days are because of us. The sunrise the other morning-us. So when you think Seattle has gone mad with brilliant beautiful fall days, you have us to thank.

You're welcome.

Love, Beth

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Chris Pureka-my obsession

While backing out of my driveway this AM, I apparently ran my back window into the big black mirror thingy sticking out at right angles from the front of a BIG YELLOW SCHOOL BUS which I didn't see????? WTF? My whole back window collapsed in an explosion of glass and crashing. At least I didn't run over any school children. Then I would have been on the evening news with my coat over my head. I wasn't even going that fast. And I was humming away, being all smug that I would arrive at clinic on time or even a wee bit early. Nope, a trip to the body shop, a rental car (an Antelope or Cheetah or some animal). A Cougar? The seat is electric. You can push a button and it goes ((brrrrrrr)) up and down and back and forwards. I still couldn't reach the gas pedal very easily.

Then they called to tell me about the bill. I almost fainted. Actually, my mouth formed a perfect 0 and I was rendered speechless. Even now I can't tell you how much a new window is going to cost. It's between 50 and a million dollars. Closer to a million. At least I can feel good that I am employing more people to work for me.

All because I am, ahem, falling for someone, a person. A human person. And I'm in a daze. I feel happy, which is a very weird feeling for me. And my evil twin is chattering that I'm delusional and it won't last and I'm just mental. So, anyway, I back my car into busses. What next, a building? Hey, I have an idea. I'll drive into an elementary school. After the kids have gone home, of course. So. I hope this new thang doesn't lead to any more property damage.


Tuesday, November 09, 2010

It's a raw day, an unfinished day, a day of possible tribulation. Pumpkins rot on the porches, their faces folding in on themselves. I insist on a walk because I need to see what the geese and mallards are doing, rocking about in the lake. No turtles today. They line up on the logs and sun. So November is not promising for them.

I sat at my writing desk where I don't actually write. I prefer to sit on the couch hunched over my laptop to write. Then I wonder why I have a backache. But. I'm up here and noticed that the window was open a smidge. In order to close it, I had to kneel on the desk and push/pull in opposite directions while brushing away spider detritus. Obviously I don't spend much time in here.

I loathe turning on the heat. Loathe it. Heat should be free. So should water and garbage. My NYT told me this morning that the top 1% own 24% of the wealth. I don't really understand this in real numbers but I do understand that greed has no limitations, my little greed and some really huge greed. Greed=suffering. I have the great good fortune to employ several people in my midwifery practice. We don't make a lot but we do make enough. The business makes enough to support us, more or less. I still want free heat for everyone, however.

Tonight I'm going to a concert where I'm sure I'll be the oldest person there. I don't care. I have been listening to this artist obsessively since I discovered her. Tonight I get to see her move and sing. I might get her autograph. Gawd.

Monday, November 08, 2010

I'm learning to spit off the porch. The boys all learned it long ago. Not me. So I have some catching up to do. I'm gonna try peas, holding one in my mouth just so and ping! See how that works.

Took my shattered shirt to the cleaners. They said they could get the stains out. My peacock shirt. Please reincarnate.

If this is love, I want some more. Please.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

I might be a hopeless shill. I read 'accessible ' poetry last night as a way to 'win them over' and 'please them' so I could slip in a few renegades, my darlings. Gag. Sometimes I don't know how to behave so I fake it. The wine and cheese table. The soft lighting. My writing partners. I'm an impostor in a gorilla suit.

Today is long walk in the sun day. Windy, leaves still falling. I made breakfast for James, my gay husband. We talked about the end of the world. Today, I'm not afraid to die. I think this is a good development considering that we will all die.

By the way, the best part of last night was that I put on my brand new shirt, accidentally splattered perfume all over it, had to go to #2 wardrobe selection but wore my new boots. I imagined myself fashion poetry queen. In my boots. With a swagger.

D-your response was perfect.

-little tomato

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Tonight's the poetry reading and between my clogged wi snot head, my intermittent hearing problem and the omnipresent codeine cough syrup, I don't feel mentally well enough to face the public. And then there's the issue of what to read-accessible or 'other'. Maybe I'll mix it up. I have my horse poem.

My cough is IMPRESSIVE. When do you know you've moved on from a cold to bronchitis or pneumonia? Do I have to break a rib coughing?

Finally, there is the question of what to wear tonight...because I could be a credible tubercular Chopin, what with my symptoms and all. I'm pale and anorexic-there's that. So I could go with the white shirt with big cuffs and black everything else. I could waft up to the podium with a hanky, stained red, and cast my soulful glances about while I read. Then I could slide slowly to the floor, artistically crumpled while my pages float off.

Then there are the new boots. I could build my ensemble using them as the base. So many decisions.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

It was freakishly warm here today in maroonland. I insisted on gardening while coughing and snorting. Now I sound like Linda Blair with many devils inside. I made Deb laugh. I had the good sense to return to the Group Health Constabulatory for codeine cough syrup. The label clearly says: Do not operate heavy machinery while taking this medicine. I asked the lady who gave me the bottle in an plain brown bag what heavy machinery they could mean. She said, "A car."

Oh, I replied, and got in my car and drove away.

I made it home safely too. Sheesh.

Lola is lying on my arm making typing impossible. Well, difficult.

I married a couple today and they gave me a bottle of special brandy made from apples. It's delicious, especially on top of the cough syrup.

Without night, we' d have no illicit activities. Illicit activities are just not as illicit in the daytime.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Yes, I'm a Buddhist. So?

While walking around Seward Park in the sunny sun, I'm smiling at babies, petting dogs and listening to this:
It's the day after our National Nightmare before Christmas elections. The sky and sea and leaves and grass are brilliant in the sun and I intend to go for a walk. And not think about politics and big business and corruption and greed and hatred. And lunacy. Peace reigns on my tiny patch of terra firma. Well, except for the usual cat battles. At least I didn't find any vomit on the furniture this morning although Lola climbed in with me at dawn and drooled on my arm. Drool I can deal with. Dino Rossi being a Senator I can't.

Even though I still have a dramatic cough that people back away from, I might walk for miles, with kleenix. I always wonder what 'resumption of normal activities' means. I usually overdo it and extend my illness for another week. I still can't hear out my left ear, except for a few minutes upon waking.

This Saturday is our reading. My writing group. I'm not sure I can find the location because it's a studio space on the water in Ballard, which from my house is about 437 miles from here. Not as the crows fly, but over train and light rail tracks, by the sporting arenas, and over the hills and through the woods to grandmother's house we go. So. And then there is the ticklish cough that signals the end of a cold when you try to suppress it and your eyes water and you eventually have to leave the room to hawk and spit. Not pretty but there it is. I'll be sucking lozenges and reading, attempting to be intelligible with a candy in my mouth. Although I have NEW BOOTS. From Ross. They were very cheap and they're not made of animal hide. My mother used to tell me I looked 'cheap' so I've been going for it ever since. Reverse psychology, right?

I figure no one will be able to understand what I'm saying while I read but they'll be looking at my boots and thinking, 'How does she pull it off, that classy look?' Shoes really do make the woman and I'm not saying that because I have purple Danskos with French writing all over them. It's just simply true.

Monday, November 01, 2010

I made nutloaf and mango salad with avocados and grapefruit and baked gingersnaps today. I couldn't taste any of it. I'm sure it was good. I remember liking all of it. I ate many cookies to try to find the flavor. I have a friend who has no taste buds. A tragedy.

My head is full of fuzz, the kind of fuzz when your ears are ringing and your nose is disconnected and you've been lying on the couch with a large ring of used kleenix around you. My left ear is aching which makes me worried since my right ear is already damaged. I hear in mono anyway. Which means that I don't have directional hearing anymore. I hear a sound and don't know where it's coming from. ***coyote howl*** Is it in the living room or in the garage? Is that my smoke detector or someone across the street? Then there are the ghosts. And they could be anywhere.

Plugged up, fuzzy, under water, phased out. It's darker now so I think it's night. You can't tell during the rainy season.
We. Live. In. A. Rain forest. So if you expected sun, ha! No, it rains here 4535 days a year. It doesn't get light out. You wake up from a nap and you don't know if it's 7PM or 7AM. That's how it is here, Your fur is always damp. So grow a thick coat. And bring lozenges to suck on. For comfort.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

I feel like absolute doo-doo. The cold is heading for my lungs where it will sit for a week as I hack into a hanky. Some people get polite little colds where they sniffle and emit tiny sneezes. Not me. I prefer to be alone with my volcanic eruptions and ratty bathrobe.

I always contemplate wellness during this time. My personal wellness is not presently in the room. It's out for a walk, scuffing up the leaves and having a grand time while I sit here moldering away with pills and potions, none of which actually works. And the chills are coming back. We each have our allotment of sick time. Some people are sick a lot, some not so much. I don't know how that gets decided. Maybe there are beings we can't see (((organ music here))) who fly around dinging people at random for colds, flu, broken arms and the like. Then depending on the reactions of the afflicted, there is a cooling-off period before the next smiting. SO. Perhaps I could adjust my orientation to my current plight, for example, at least I have cough drops and cats to sit all over me to warm me and soup and grapefruit. Does this sound too angel fairy dust-y. Yeah, OK, but because I'm delirious, I get to have this fantasy. At least no one has dropped a house on me lately.

((I promise I'll be good, really. Forever or at least for a few weeks.)))

Saturday, October 30, 2010

I'm listening to the music of West Side Story. It's so beautiful I want to cry. I think I'm going soft in the head. Leonard Bernstein used to host a music program for children which I watched religiously. I loved him. He was my Jesus. With a baton and a orchestra. And big swingy hair.

By the way, I want to own the movie West Side Story too. Singing, dancing and swell music. I saw it with my father when it came out. I cried buckets. I also cried buckets when he took me to see Bambi. A movie critic I'm not.

But hey, poor orphan Bambi. Come on.
Instead of sleeping last night, I rolled from one side to the other, with frequent trips to gargle with salt water. My throat was killing me. Crap o crap, I don't get to go to a Halloween party dressed as a jellyfish, surely one of my most inspired costumes. Whaaaaaa. I DO get to have hot brandy with lemon and Kleenix with 'moisturizer' in it, a most ingenious invention so you don't wipe your nose entirely off when you're blowing it every 15 minutes.

Movies I have in my house: 1) Angels in America, all 6 hours. 2) Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. 3) The entire episodes of AbFab (say no more) 4) 3 old Sherlock Holmes with Basil Rathbone-what a name. 5) The Philadelphia Story. 6) The Maltese Falcon. 7) a bootleg Avatar. Clearly, I don't collect movies. I had to have AbFabs-the Brits are my people.

What I wish I had: 1) Cocteau's Beauty and the Beast. 2) On the Waterfront. 3) The Wizard of Oz. 4) The Nightmare Before Christmas. 5) All of Prime Suspect with Helen Mirren. 6) Edward Scissorhands. 7 White Palace (Susan Sarandon and a luscious young James Spader). 8) all Kurosowa films, esp. with Toshiro Mafune. I know there are more but I can't think of them now. And anyway, none of these films are in my possession so I can re-watch Patsy and Eddie make fools of themselves in that special British self-deprecating way. I only hope I'm well enough to catch the next episode of Dexter tomorrow night. I think it's a bit pathological, this concern for fictional characters, especially serial killers with hearts of (sic) gold. No matter.

KEXP has moved from reggae to rap. Ug. Just say no to rap.

I can modestly say I have a green thumb. Consequently, my house plants are ENORMOUS. I have been slowly moving them on, to larger venues as it were. When they start scraping the ceiling, it's time for the foyer of an office building. The garden is another matter. Richard says I have to prune, cut back. What is it with me anyway? But it's growing, I can't cut it, it'll hurt!! Except for wisteria. Wisteria = raccoons of the plant world. It wants to reign. It will come in your house to see what you're having for dinner. Then it will strangle you as you sleep. Raccoons want to sit on your couch with a bowl of popcorn and the remote. Making that churring noise all the time. Getting on your nerves.

(((((Chills))))) maybe time for a bath. Perhaps I will take this time to finish a quilt.


Friday, October 29, 2010

Instead of frolicking in the leaves on such a random sunny day, I slept on the couch this afternoon. Lola has left a handsome scratch on my right cheek too. (I'm sure it's a love scratch but now I'm rethinking my Halloween costume to match). I needed a nap after a rather awful work week. Sometimes I make women cry and I have to make tough decisions and I DON'T LIKE IT. I feel helpless and mothery and sad too but I can't fix their problems. I can't. Mostly I love to go to work because I work with amazing people and we all love the clients and the babies and the happiness. But of course, it isn't always that way. Sometimes women get sick, really sick and sometimes they are scared or sad or depressed. And because I'm so mentally healthy, I don't come home and get numb in the variety of ways our culture has to offer. So I just feel terrible and tired and alone.

So this morning I had 1) therapy, always a good time to dig around in the muck and 2) a massage, which will loosen up anything that therapy hasn't. I DID retail shop at Cosco so now I'm stocked for Armageddon with enough toilet paper and cans of garbanzo beans. And I shared with my neighbors because I can't eat 5 avocados at once.

Then it was time to have a wee cry and a lie down on the couch where I still am. I only wish a catered meal company was coming over with a delicious vegan dinner, piping hot under a silver cover and a rose in a bud vase, like a Fred Astair movie when they ordered room service and I was sitting in a slidey long gown with satin mules on my feet, with tufts. And someone else (oh the servants) had fed the cats and the whole house was spanking clean and so on.

Sometimes I get tired taking care of myself.

I believe that's all I want to share right now. Perhaps it was a bit too much. Avert your eyes if you must.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

I heard the most wondrous Patti Smith wail about Bagdad with drums and clashy music I had to sit in my car VERY LOUD until it was done then Sky Cries Mary I think I have to sleep in my car after a 12 hour work day and another tomorrow so I can fill up on noisy rustley heaven music even while I snooze. I give thanks for poetry rhythm guitars drums banging in my skull o yes o yes.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Sheesh, I'm one pooped midwife. And I left the heat on in my house all day. Grand. The cats were cozy. I wish they'd get busy and pay the bill.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Sunday, October 24, 2010

All my clothes feel too tight. I think I woke up in someone else's body. Tonight I get to go over to my neighbors and watch Dexter. Dexter is an obsession. You want him on your side, believe me. Otherwise it's portions of you in garbage bags. In the ocean.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Haiti, May, 2010

I ask you, why bother

when you’ve seen the smoldering slag

the numberless sorrows their faces in shadow

you know they will never count the bodies

widows pull themselves through with thin fingers

children kiss your hands as if you could reach them through the bars

all you have are empty pockets

your heart a walled cage

your eyes blinded by the sunlight

illuminating everything

I sent out a manuscript today. There it goes, on email wings. They want a hard copy too. This comforts me. Then I spent a long time at 3rd Place Books. Just to be around them. The smell. The feel of books in my hands. The lovely pages. I bought Ginsburg's Howl which I owned in aught '68. It was only 7.98. Just right. In the rain.

Friday, October 22, 2010

I was never this young.

I just finished reading Mystic River. After reading Gargoyles. Dark and scary and the things we do to get by. My new bathroom is sparkly and white. I don't know why I put those two things together but it makes sense to me. I can always go into my new sparkly bathroom and DISAPPEAR.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Our handsome brown president is coming to Seattle. I wish we would become sane in the US. Unfortunately, I don't think that will be happening any time soon. There are too many loonies in high places. Loonies.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

I ALWAYS go out into the garden and pull weeds bare handed. Then I spend 10 minutes scrubbing off the dirt under my nails, ground into my skin, etc. I then put on gloves but there's dirt inside them. Why is that? And I have twelve pairs of gloves, in various stages of decomposition. My favorites have holes at the end of every finger.

I bought a Japanese gardening tool. You could kill a person with it. It's the only tool I will ever use again. I feel like a samurai in the garden now. Take that, you weed!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

The room is freezing, there are three hot air balloons outside and we are four in this room. We're remarkably polite to each other. My bedmate snores but I'm sworn to secrecy about her identity. Besides, her snores are so cute and as my mother would say, lady-like. Very Southern, actually. Little snorts and sighs. I'm no longer interested in food. We went Italian last night. There were several bottles of wine and mountains of pasta. Mountains. We ate 'family style' so the platters kept coming. I can only eat so much.

It was all midwives, eleven of us. First we told the story of our name, then we went around and told the story of our birth. Then we told jokes, mostly dirty. We were making so much noise I'm sure it was a good thing that we were in a separate room far away from the main dining room. Besides being midwives we are an ocean of talent. We're writers, actors, musicians, painters and flower arrangers. This is important because we might have to retire and then we'll have something else to do.

And that's all for now.

Instead of sitting in the freezing room and listening to another speech, I'm going for a walk. There's a mall, a retirement village and a business park. Fortunately, there are birds and more crickets and sun.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

I'm in Nashville, well somewhere outside Nashville in a Marriott, uck, where the conference is being held. There is bad food, nice beds, a weeny swimming pool and air conditioning. The outside is mostly concrete with small patches of grass. I went outside last night in the dark. I had to find some food I could actually eat. Like a bean burrito. The hotel gave us 'vegetarian lasagna', a gloppy hunk of carbos and a few whittled carrots. Today I tried a pretzel under a warmer thingy with squeeze bottles of mustard. Mustard, I thought, I like mustard. I got a pretzel and squished a whole bunch of mustard on top. One big bite and I entered a deep dark sad feeling of disappointment. It wasn't mustard, it was 'liquid cheese food'. Bletch. The South is grand and creepy, especially when trying to be meat free. If I liked barbeque, I'd be fine, I think.

BUT. There are crickets. All day, all night. I saw a few on the sidewalk. In spite of the food. Crickets cheered me up and helped to me live another day.

It sucks to be a food snob. It's stupid, actually. My friend Tommy had a theory. In the end times, if you couldn't eat garbage food, you'd die faster cuz you couldn't get vegetables and o, fruit. I don't care. I'd rather not eat than eat mashed potatoes mixed with bits of ham and dyed yellow. Under some flattened green beans. Ish.

Tonight we're gonna go into downtown Nashville and go to a restaurant. Maybe I can convince everyone to try a vegetarian restaurant. Otherwise I'll be reduced to the salad and some salted peanuts from the vending machine. Maybe I'll just drink heavily so I won't mind.


Love from Your Travel Hostess

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

My eyes hurt and I'm not even on the red eye flight yet. It's an anticipatory scratchiness. Like flying to Hong Kong which is a circle of hell. Even if they give you a toothbrush and lettle white socks. At some point, you just want to start screaming. And punching your neighbors who are SLEEPING, ferfucksake. They let you watch a hundred bad movies though. It's a cosmic experience to watch Jackass while flying over the Pacific. I think the Pacific is about a hundred million and seven miles wide.

I'm hoping to take Nashville by storm, whatever the hex that means.

Monday, October 11, 2010

I discovered a CD my kids made for my big b'day party last February. It's amazing. I don't know hardly any of the artists. Except for Kimya Dawson. And a week later, J broke up with me.


Um, maybe I'm not done with my anger. What do you think?
Yesterday I called an ambulance for a bleeding man. He whacked his head on a cut branch while running in the Arboretum. He had blood dripping off his sunglasses. After the aid car guys got there, he had a dramatic bandage on his head. Today I passed an elderly Asian woman as I walked along Lake Washington. She was digging mushrooms at the base of the pin oaks. She had a garbage bag full. She rejected the ones with the red bumpy tops. I trusted her on that. I passed a bunch of gardeners eating their lunches in the their trucks.

My dad used to bring wild mushrooms home. He'd fry them in butter and garlic, the ONLY WAY to eat mushrooms. And fresh caught trout.

Now I'm preparing to write a talk on grief and loss for the conference I'm going to. In Nashville, land of iceberg lettuce and country music.

Everything I just told you is true.

Friday, October 08, 2010

What do you do at night? I go out and hose the raccoons, why? Varmints.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Last night I saw a taxi driver kneeling and bowing on his prayer rug in front of the elementary school. His trunk was open. He was facing North. Isn't Mecca West or East, depending on your orientation? Maybe you can get to Mecca over the Polar Cap.

We don't see public prayer often in America. I felt tenderness for him. I wondered what his prayer consisted of.

The last time I prayed, I was involved in a medical emergency. Midwives sometimes have those. I was saying under my breath two mantras. One was fuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuck. The other was Holy Mary, Mother of G-d. Many times. Swearing was theraputic. Calling on the mother of the baby Jesus seemed appropriate at the time. Fortunately for all, no one was harmed.

I meditate but that's different. An emptying out, an emptiness. Praying feels full, noise and cymbals and flashing lights. Maybe that was the ambulance.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

what I saw Saturday night

I saw this couple dance on Saturday night. In SoDo. They were AWESOME.

Monday, October 04, 2010

Speaking of turtles. There was an article in the NYT yesterday about loggerhead turtles in the Gulf and the legions of volunteers who have identified nests and have shipped them very carefully to the Atlantic side so the baby turtles hit clean un-oiled water after they hatch. I wept on the paper reading the story. Baby turtles with their little flippers, turtles with wings. Mother turtles don't lay eggs until they're 30 years old. The volunteers listen to the nests with stethoscopes so they can tell when the eggs are getting ready to hatch. Then the turtles dig out of the sand and blast off to the water like wind-up toys.

I would totally be a volunteer if I lived there. I'd be a turtle midwife.
There's an angry man walking up and down outside my house yelling into his cellphone that he's 'gonna come and beat your effing ass...' Yesterday he left in his car, stared me down as he passed, did a u-turn and came back to his driveway. He'd driven a block. I think some people wake up angry and stay that way. Asleep--angry are their two modes. Or maybe there are three. Asleep, angry and drunk.

He better be careful. I have attack cats and they'll mess him up. They're patrolling the perimeter right now. In their little kitty flak jackets and wee sabers.

Friday, October 01, 2010

The wild kingdom and Christians

Part I. I went to the dentist this week. My dentist retired and sold her practice to a new guy. If I could take a helicopter to his office, I might be able to get there within a reasonable time. As it is, I'm usually held up by bridges, passing trains, earthquakes and the like. I mean, the dentist is a good time but I'm always late.

However, I went to the new guy. I had an appointment. I have a fear that if I don't regularly get my teeth cleaned, I will find all of them on my pillow one morning and then no one will ever date me again. Although the thought of dating makes me nauseous. Regardless.

I was waiting in the little office area after checking in with the receptionist (ahem) who was wearing a lot of make-up and many types of jewelry, especially a large ring in the shape of a blue bow. I sat with my Newsweek and it slowly dawned on me that I was listening to a Christian rock station. I just used Christian and rock in the same sentence. My old dentist listened to NPR. I debated. Should I just get up and walk out? Maybe it was just her radio and the (sic) music was not piped into the whole office. Will I be supporting a rabid whacked family man with sixteen children?

I allowed him to clean my teeth. He was a nice young man. And yes, the music was throughout the office (gag). I have a dentist within walking distance of my house. I'm thinking of switching. I might ask about their musical taste first.

Part II. I came home late the other night after a long difficult birth. I was pacing and muttering in the back yard under the quarter moon when I began to notice a crunching and smacking sound coming from the grape arbor over the hot tub. Then a raccoon head popped up among the leaves. I grabbed the hose and chased him/her out of the yard. Foe vanquished.

However. I went inside and found the big cat cavorting in the living room, that thing they do when they've got something to 'show' you. My foot touched a soft object in the dark and when I turned on the light I found a headless squirrel. This takes effort. Hugo had to drag the squirrel through TWO cat doors to get to the living room. I told the squirrel I was sorry and dropped it into the garbage.

Cats keeping the yard safe for democracy. Life and death under the big top.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Medgar Evers Pool has underwater lights that change colors, from blue to green to purple. The first time I swam there, I thought I was having a stroke. Now I'm used to it. I imagine that I'm swimming the jade green river that runs through Glacier National Park, then I'm in Crater Lake, then I'm in the Pacific off Maui, all within 5 minutes.

I wish they'd add some turtles.

I'm performing a wedding in Maui in March so I'll be able to swim with turtles. They're dreamy with front flippers and beautiful eyes. The signs say not to touch them but one morning I was the only one in the water and there were 6 turtles all around me. I touched one, just a little. They're my real family, my water family. I heart sea turtles.

That's it for squishy posts. I won't do it again. Sorry.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

The acupuncturists say that the turning wheel of the year brings unbalanced chi (ie. moving from Summer into Fall). Because we had no appreciable summer here AT ALL, not that I'm bitter, I think it entirely unfair that I feel sick-ish with a sniffly nose and a slight cough. All because it is officially Fall, what with the menace of pumpkins carved into grotesques and evil candy for children, which makes them insane and twitchy in school.


Otherwise, I'm quite chipper, despite my off kilter chi.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

I'm still at work because I am lame. Or because I like to stay here. At home is the torn-up bathroom and the prospects of some kind of weird dinner.

I am mostly a good citizen. I recycle, I don't eat animals and I feed my cats extremely expensive food. I exercise most days and I have work that is, for the most part, non-harming. Welcoming babies into the world safely is work that has a decent reputation where I live. However, it is sometimes hard as hell and scary and exhausting. And lonely. When I get together with my midwife buddies, we talk non-stop about births that scared us. There aren't many births that fall into that category but we don't have other outlets. I mean, normal people don't want to hear about gore and such. I wouldn't.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Not one but two babies, one before midnight, the other after. Beautiful, healthy, pink babies. They wanted to come out because the rain was soft and dreamy. And warm, like a warm shower from the sky. I walked around in my yard after I got home in the early dawn. I admit I was muttering but in a nice way.

Then my tenant woke me up with rap music coming through the floor. I detest rap music. Blech. I know, I'm not hip. Sorry. Rap music=dreck.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

I'm waiting for a baby. One of my colleagues wrote a book about her career as a midwife, her very long career. I looked up the publisher of her book because, well, I admit, I was jealous. The publisher publishes Christian books because we aren't saved unless we've been washed in blood, something I wasn't aware of. I'm apparently a terrible sinner and completely unredeemable. And I don't want to bathe in blood. It just doesn't interest me. Besides, it's gross. I don't think it's what JC had in mind.

I'll probably be struck by lightening and my hair will ignite. But I'll be in good company. You know who you are. All because of my publishing jealousy.


Friday, September 17, 2010

I'm contemplating eating a wee slice of vegan cheesecake I made 2 weeks ago. What could happen? I believe in the healing power of microbes, something my daughter and I disagree about. She comes to visit and she stands at my fridge with the garbage pail. She asks (in an accusatory tone) how old things are. Then she chucks the offending item in the garbage. I am usually meek while this is going on, occasionally lying about the relative age of the lasagna or fruit salad. You can cut mold off cheese, right? I mean, cheese IS mold. And certain things taste better the longer they 'marry'. Like spagetti sauce. I think she thinks I'm trying to poison her. But I'm not.

I got my eyebrows dyed today and now I look like Groucho Marx.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Oh, by the way. I'm writing a bunch of new poems. I have to keep lighted candles by them. They're afraid of the dark.

I read/partially read a Nick Cave book over the weekend. It was about a man named Bunny. It sucked so bad I put it in recycling. I NEVER recycle books except for the stupid phonebook. This book did not deserve to be published. He used 'or something' on EVERY PAGE. Lazy. And awful. It gave me a stomach ache. Sorry, NIck Cave. I like your music. Maybe you should stick to that.

I was here over the weekend. I didn't want to come back. Ever.

Monday, September 06, 2010

Saturday night I went dancing and a bunch of goth people came in dressed in lingerie and fangs. Very small lingerie. Fancy hairdos and lots of makeup. But mostly cleavage. I was distinctly out of place in my sensible dancing shoes. The women were very thin. Very. Thin. At times I think I'm just visiting from another planet and observing the behaviors of the earthlings. Here is a group of people who dress up as undead in fishnets and pointy teeth Two days before that I stood at the bedside of a friend as she stopped breathing. We laid out her body. We bathed her. We sang to her and wished her well. I went dancing because I still could. As a living person. Mostly I'm thinking about what makes us happy. For some it's social activism. For others it's Victoria's Secret.

As I left the hospital after Margo died, I wanted to get on a motorcycle and ride, anywhere. The next day, Morgan showed up on her bike. I dusted off my leathers and we went out for about four hours. It was beautiful. Morgan wants to go to Mount Rainier next. Oh hell yes.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Margo Adair--------------------- 2/26/1950--9/2/2010

Sweetheart, now you're free.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

I'm listening to Rene Fleming sing from La Traviata, complete with a dress that is half falling off her shoulders. I could do the dress falling off part but not the singing. She's in St Petersburg too and I am in my living room in Seattle. There aren't any onion shaped domes out the window or canals full of water. There, you see, another difference. Plus the high C. Oh, they're in a Russian palace.

I just made a cheese-less cheesecake all vegan and raw and so divine. (and costing $$$$$ for ingredients)

Crust: 2 cups macadamia nuts, 1/2 cup dates-grind in a cuisinart and press into a spring form pan. Dust with coconut flakes first.

Filling: 3 cups cashews, soaked for 2 hours, 3/4 cup lemon juice, 3/4 cup agave or maple syrup, 3/4 cup coconut oil, 1/2 cup water, 1 tsp vanilla and 1/2 tsp salt-puree in cuisinart and pour over crust.

Freeze until firm. Take out an hour before, loosen from the pan sides, garnish with raspberries and yummmmmm !!!!

After my dinner guests are done, I'm taking all leftovers to my neighbors so I'm not temped to eat the rest and gain 20 pounds.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

O to wake up to the sound of rain. Because the bathroom is torn up, I thought the stairwell was leaking but no. Lovely lovely rain. It hasn't rained for many days, not real rain. Unusual for Seattle and according to my utility bill costly. Slowly I recover from torn broken etc.

Shall I go to Bhutan next year? Instead of a month long retreat. These are very different. Some of my friends are very sick right now. Very. Sick.

When I was by the Tahuya River, I heard voices. Some would say it was a branch moving with the current but I heard two voices, a woman and a girl. It was my mother before she lost her hearing. I don't know who the woman was.

Monday, August 30, 2010

[[[[[[ I swear to g-d, the house is breathing and it's not the refrigerator. ]]]]]]
I sank down into the couch and came out today. I went swimming and while in the locker room, I contemplated the other women and their bodies, all in various stages of disrepair. I can still walk. I can still swim. I'm not a mass of scars. (Well, not yet anyway). Richard came over and walked around my yard with me. As I am unable to actually bend over, gardening has become an interesting type of problem. Richard and his crew are going to 'clean out' my garden and mulch.

I fear I am becoming eccentric. Or maybe I should be proud. Eccentrics unite! I'm thinking about learning to play the cello. A lot easier to move than the piano.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

James and I went to visit a 9 foot tall jade Buddha at a Vietnamese temple near my house. The Buddha is traveling around the country. The temple was having quite a party, with flower and incense offerings and singing, very loud singing. There were lots of people on folding chairs or bowing and kneeling. The statue is carved from one piece of jade and has a golden face. The inscription over the Buddha says, "Jade Buddha for World Peace."

A young woman gave us little cups of vitamin water. Maybe we looked depleted. There was a man singing karaoke too. And many children running around. Behind the temple there were cooking fires and big pots filled with food. We crossed over into another country.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Oh, I'm on bedrest for a week. Gawd.
I watched 10 episodes of Dexter today. I am deeply into Dexter. I feel slightly feverish. Enforced idleness is troublesome.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

I love Larry Yang

Back from a retreat by the Tahuya river, beautiful valley and the usual flora and fauna. As I was leaving, I pulled a hamstring (don't ask) so now I am quite a crip, lying on ice and feeling very sorry for myself. I feel kinda drunk but without any medication. Weird. Plus I look so hot with a big ice pack in my pants. Oh baby.

At least the cats didn't pee and poo all over the house like they do when they are displeased with the odd person feeding them. They also tend to protest the lack of a human around to break up fights and keep the wacko Lupine in line. I am having fantasies about taking her to the shelter and 'relinquishing' her. But no one would adopt her because she is psycho. *guilt guilt* Sigh.

The writers are once again rescheduling, a grateful thing because I have nothing to critique. Nothing. What I'm writing lately is bizarre, even for me. And Pat always wants my poems to make sense. I'm in my squirrel nutkin phase.

Off to see the chiropractor now. Maybe she can help me walk again. With her magic wand. In the library.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

An unusual day. I celebrated Annual Ironing Day by ironing three shirts. And that's it for another year. Tomorrow I leave for a retreat. I though I'd be sleeping in a tent but instead I get a garret room. As long as I don't fall down the stairs and lie until morning with a concussion and smashed teeth.

My child left for Portland. She's on tour with a band; their official photographer.

I want to go to Bhutan. Next year. I want to wear a headdress with ribbons and hair and a mask and dance in the town square and play a bone whistle and fly.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

I was on Bainbridge yesterday with my daughter. She was a professional photographer yesterday which is what she does. We went to vineyards and wine tastings so we were slightly drunk by noon, something I never am. Then we tried to find a park, Williams Olsen Park, which is a park that is really someone's yard, someone's idea of a joke. We drove there and said, " Nah, this can't be it, there's a foot of waterfront and we are in a yard, fer crissakes. So we asked many Bainbridgeans where the WO Park was. We even asked a women who was tending a small burning pole by the road. I didn't want to stop because I thought she wanted to bewitch us but my daughter insisted. She sent us to the wrong park. Many people sent us to various parks. Bainbridge has many parks. My daughter took many pictures of food on plates and people eating food and a guy standing in his garage among wine barrels. And sunsets and trees and water. I was supposed to be her assistant but I sucked. Her girlfriend was much better. After walking for miles in a vineyard, I wanted to lie down and drift in and out while inebriated. In the heat.

In the lake, I'm no longer a human. I'm a selkie.

Saturday, August 07, 2010

Last night I watched a documentary of Henri Cartier-Bresson. An old man in front of piles of photos. Occasionally he would hold one in front of his face and talk about it. All you would see is the top of his head. He has photographed Arthur Miller and Marilyn Monroe and Samuel Beckett and a very young and beautiful Truman Capote. Over and over, he caught people kissing and lying about, in cemeteries, on bridges, in alleys. He talked about the mystery, the mysteries of light and shadow and the rhythm of repeating designs-nuns, fences, bridge struts, stairways. He wasn't taking photographs anymore. He was drawing, nudes and landscapes. He had a slight smile on his face while he talked and paged through a book of his photos, cover by Matisse. His archives are enormous, a huge room of sliding files.

I went back and looked at my daughter's work. A brilliant photo necessitates timing and alert attention, to the moment when everything falls into place; the light, the dark and the borders in between.

Henri said, "Oh, I love this one. I love the people."

Tonight Susan Sontag, still having terrible trouble with debt. At risk of losing her rights to her work. Egad.

Friday, August 06, 2010

Spiders have bitten my legs all up. The skin doctor blistered the spot on my face. In response to this, I just finished making a flourless chocolate cake with raspberry sauce. It's for James tomorrow so I can't even have one leetle piece. And good heavens, it has 7 eggs, a cup and a 1/2 of butter and a butt load of chocolate, not to mention sugar. Heart attack food.

It does look good, doesn't it.

Thursday, August 05, 2010

I cried today. A lot. I got bad news. I went outside my clinic and cried and made noise. There were clients coming and going. Bev let me lean on her shoulder while I cried. She was there the day my brother died and she held me up then too. I think she is not altogether human. She might be part deva. With human arms.

We're just too fragile, especially little kids. The type of work we do, we see it, know it, the fragile, insubstantial, breathtaking new baby work. We come in and go out. Little flames. Poof, we're gone. Just like that. Staying takes courage. Leaving takes courage.

Going to see Angelina Jolie in her stupid summer movie did not help. Neither did smoking a cigarette. Nothing whatever helps with the pain, nothing. I used to perform many diversions to avoid the pain. Now there's no escape.

Thank you Rebecca.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Light fades from the sky.

The cats are flat on the floor. Flat cat mode.

I have a giant piece of chocolate cake to eat for dinner.

Oh yeah.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

We're having a weird kind of summer, like San Francisco. Foggy til midday then the sun. Atmospheric. Mysterious.

After a very long birth, came home to discover that the cats had locked themselves in the house. At least the cat door was locked. Maybe it was raccoons. Anyway, they peed/pooped on a few area rugs. Grand.

My ex FED EX'd me my kayak bilge pump. Why, thank you. I sure was missing it. (?) I think she is trying to appear normal and kind. I, however, am not fooled. Not. Fooled.

It is the middle of the effing night. I must go to bed before another baby decides to be born.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

I love to be unhappy
I love to be in pain
When it's sunny
I can't wait for it to rain.

(tap dancing here)

And even when I'm tapping
And moving to the beat
I'm gonna get thick ankles
And ugly muscles in my feet.

----Gilda Radner

Friday, July 30, 2010

We swam in a man made lake, a nude lake, a shallow lake, a lake with no fish. And there were those stupid jet skis which I'm always afraid will run me over if I swim far out without a pink cap.

We tried to put together a jigsaw puzzle which was inexplicably splattered with gold. Sheesh, it was a view of a lighthouse with crashy waves and flowers and clouds and cheesy gold all over everything.

Other than that, there was much laughing, especially the baby. Baby laughter is the best laughter of all.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Because I planted Mutant Tomatoes From Venus a few years ago, I now have volunteer tomatoes growing across the yard. They sprout in every direction and grow enormous feathery arms. The tomatoes are small yellow ones that are super sweet. However this year because we have no summer to speak of, there are no tomatoes, not a single one. Just giant tomato plants climbing all over the place. Maybe I could train them to climb vertically and I could shinny up to the giant's house like Jack and The Bean Stalk. Eventually I'd have to tell my mother I squandered the money I got for the cow I sold but she'd be entranced by my giant/tomato plant/bag o' gold story and all would be forgiven.

We all leave today for Cle Elum, surely a dream vacation spot. Tracy's baby is too little for actual camping so we're gonna go to a 'cabin', actually a nice house with a kitchen and a bathroom and a fridge and a porch. We will still play charades and Scrabble and cook great messes o' food while the kids run around in the trees. A few days away from computers, pagers, phones etc will be heavenly. I might bring Scott Turow's book, Presumed Innocent, a book I have read many times. Don't see the lame movie with Harrison Ford. Read the book. It's trashy and wonderful, in the way of dark and inappropriate desires. And the damage they do.

And I'll add Cider House Rules. For ballast. And Cadaver Dogs by Rebecca Loudon. Her book glows in the dark.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Burned out car in fancy neighborhood near me.

I walk through a fancy neighborhood near my not-so-fancy neighborhood. The houses are huge and quiet, like no one lives there except the help. All the lawns are manicured and perfect. There are no toys or dog poo or weeds in the yards.

But there was this car. Must have been spectacular burning. I wonder if anyone came out to look. Maybe no one lives in any of the houses after all. Maybe the street is a movie set. Maybe I step into another dimension when I cross onto the street. Maybe it's all done with mirrors.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Saturday is "Get out your power tools and make some noise!" day. Why is that?
I just sat up on the couch. I've been sleeping all morning, another birth last night. Very pretty birth with the older siblings watching. I went down to the kitchen for tea and I saw a bunny on the lawn. The family was happy with their girl.

I officiated at a wedding yesterday with a very pregnant woman and her man. Didn't know either of them. I get asked sometimes. It's fun and feels like birth with happy, crying people and love everywhere. However it was south of here by about an hour and a half. Even tho I thought I gave myself plenty of time, it took forever with stupid traffic. So I got into a fine mood, thinking I was an idiot for agreeing to officiate when I could be drinking iced tea and pondering the imponderables. Then I got there, grew up a little and shared in love and celebration.

What a life I have.

In a few days my family will be here and the house will be overrun with noise and food and trips to Goodwill. My children are veteran thrift shoppers. We'll go camping and play Scrabble and eat together. The annual tradition.

Right now I'm going to get up and go outside because there is a large golden ball in the sky and everything is illuminated. Most peculiar.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Tonight my writing group met and we drank wine and ate much food and cookies and fruits and cheeses (well, no cheeses for this vegan). Ad we yucked it up. As usual. We missed Josh. He had to work. I think that was a ruse. He fears the maniacally laughing women.

Good night, Pat, Kelly, Kiara and Martha. Thanks for everything.

Monday, July 19, 2010

I slept ALL NIGHT last night. I woke up and wondered why I was in bed. My pager went off but it was because it was LO BAT. Rummaging around in the fridge for triple As. At 3 in the morning.

Yesterday, after I had 3 hours of sleep, my neighbor fired up his belt sander. His project for the last 4 years is to paint his house that faces my kitchen window. He sands a piece, primes and paints it. It looks like a patchwork quilt. The sander is incredibly loud. His house is blue. He's a nice guy but yesterday I wanted to kill him. I thought of some ways. I won't write them because if one of them came true, I'd feel awful.

Sleep was futile so I went to breakfast with my gay boy buddies. Richard had a birthday party for himself in some of the gardens he designed. He posted poems all over and had food. We went from garden to garden. The last garden was fictional. There was a huge red cedar in the center and terraces and water features and flowering plants and daphne that blooms all year. In Wallingford. From the front of the house, you couldn't even tell there was such fabulousness in the back. Oh, there were no weeds. None. My garden has weeds. I hum along and then I notice that there is a monstrous weed right in the middle of a bed. It feels good to pull it out. Satisfying. So a weedless garden is interesting but impossible. He wants to have dinner at my house. Between what I'll cook for him and what he'll think of my garden, I'm a bit worried.

I have gay men in my life right now. I like it. They treat me with deference. I'm not sure why. Is it the breasts or because I sit down to pee?

I went to see baby Alice yesterday. She lives across the street. I attended her birth. I love her family. Brenda had a girl. I love knowing there is a brand new baby in close proximity. I'm going to get her some frilly girl clothes. Can't help it.
I don't even remember writing that last post. Uh oh.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Godawful tired. I have convinced the cats to move off the couch so I can nap. Up all night at a birth. Sometimes my work is dangerous, lunging and plunging all over the highway from fatigue. Phone/pager beside me. Still not off call.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Things That Could Be True

I saw several people with artificial legs walking at Seward Park. One lady almost fell in the ditch but then she saw her friend so she righted herself. Her friend was hugging a tree and talking to it. Then I saw two people walking their goats. In the park. In Seattle.

Then I found my glasses I lost two years ago while running.

Then my back miraculously stopped hurting the entire way home. It forgot it was supposed to hurt.

I think everyone should see goats on leashes. It seemed so normal.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

I have the cure for a bulging disc and resultant leg pain. A lot of ibuprofen and a few glasses of wine. It helps if you haven't had wine in a while and you have NO TOLERANCE.

I feel perfectly fine right now.

Nothing can hurt me.

My lips are numb.

Friday, July 09, 2010

I think someone came during the night, removed my leg and screwed it back on sideways. It's very painful and I'm going to get an adjustment and a massage. This cannot be. My ankle is healed and now I can't run half a block because my leg is at right angles to my hip. Looks peculiar too.

I bought a new fan from the Mormons. I refuse to ever set foot inside a Walmart's, the richest family ON EARTH with their disgusting labor practices. Instead it's Fred Myers, owned by Mormons. Who are Mormons, what are they, what do they believe? I don't know. I've know lovely Mormon people. It's just the revelation in upstate New York (land of my people) that kinda scares me. Whenever I have revelations, I read my prescription bottle and go have a nap. And wait for it to wear off.

My new fan is fanning away, the cats are spread out to twice their size, which they mysteriously do in the heat and the sun is shining.

I feel better when the sun comes out. I love the rain and cold but when the sun is out, I think about gardening and painting and art and beauty and little animals underground and sparkly mountains and unicorns (well maybe not that last bit). Anyway, sun is a sometimes thing in the NW so we get so happy. So grateful. Because it's warm and there is fruit. All kinds.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

PS-I put my fan in the window and it made a HORRIBLE NOISE so I had to turn it off. Oh oh. This might become a crisis. I can always sleep in the cellar.
A bird flew *SMAK* into the French door window, landed on the deck. Of course the cats were very interested. I shooed them away and picked up the bird. It came to, shat on my hand, realized it was in close contact with a large human person and it flew away. There's still a feather splat on the glass.

My dentist is retiring. I will never retire. How do people retire? What does it mean. Sleeping in, reading the whole paper at one sitting, spending the day eating raspberries in the garden and getting scratched, what?

The second of the trilogy is opening this Friday, the Norwegian version. The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest. Hollywood is talking about a remake with Angelina Jolie. Bletch.

Sunday, July 04, 2010

My downstairs tenant has a new BF so I get to listen to them, ahem, having it off. And then there's the fireworks. Gawd. And no one had a baby today. I have delivered several July 4th babies. It's kinda like driving through a war zone on an urgent mission. And after the birth, driving back under cover of darkness to the safety of my home. All the while, bombs explode overhead. Kapow! Kablam!

Saturday, July 03, 2010

Last night I made peach blueberry cobbler for a friend. When I came home tonight, there it was, sitting on the counter waiting for me. Last night it was warm. Tonight it was cold. I forget every year about seasonal fruit. Every year I scheme ways to mix blueberries with apples/peaches/nectarines/mango etc. because blueberries remind me of childhood when we picked them and the adults made pancakes with them. Bears love blueberries and huckleberries. You see purple scat on the hiking trails. Blueberries are modest and unassuming. And you can eat a whole pint on the way home from the store.

Then there are raspberries and salmonberries...

Tomorrow is the horrid 4th of July. The cats hide under the couch. The only good part is for several years, a baby is born on the 4th so I end up at a birth. I think the babies are curious about the noise and the 'ahhhh' sounds coming from their parents so they come out to see.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

In my attempt to not write my syllabus, I went for a truly pathetic run in my neighborhood. I paused on the hills. I took shortcuts. I was a running slacker. And I think I'm going to run the half-marathon in Portland this fall. Gawd. I need a trainer, some vitamins and a younger body.

Then I came home, still determined not to write any blankety-blank syllabus and weeded a bit, actually large frightening plants that had mysteriously appeared all over my yard. Like a poppy higher than my head. And those fricken ivy plants that go viral everywhere. I pulled them off my raspberries ferociously until I realized I had RIPE RASPBERRIES just waiting for me to eat them. So I did. And I ate one little strawberry I planted this year and it was so good I began to cry. It was the essence of strawberry before the beginning of the world when g-d was thinking about making shit and g-d the great voidness said, "I'll create a berry that grows on the ground so the creatures will have to bend over (knees hadn't been invented yet) and pluck the soft red berry covered with wee seeds. And the taste will be a combination of sweet and perfume and delight and great sex. Then the creatures will swoon and praise existence and peace will reign and someone will bake little cakes and someone else will figure out the whipped cream thing and all will be right on the planet."

However, I didn't need shortcake or whipped cream. My little strawberry, my symphony.

Monday, June 28, 2010

I have to write a syllabus and I don't want to. I want to sit on my deck and eat raspberries and read the NYT. That's the trouble with being a putative adult. You agree to a) go to work on time or b) keep the neighbors from knowing you are a hoarder by at least clearing a path on the front porch or c) let your children know that you're living in the cellar again because the house is haunted and talking to you incessantly. You just want the mail to stop coming. You avoid answering the phone. And when you agree to teach a class, you have to produce a syllabus and a reading list and you have to think about the structure of the classes (sigh) even though you've taught the class for a hundred years and basically, nothing is different. Oh, and you have to not swear in class because an occasional student is offended by swearing. Sheesh, swearing is good, is necessary. In my house growing up, you never swore. Never. As soon as I could, I took up the habit. I mean, I don't smoke, do drugs, or drink (well, sometimes, but not much). I'm a vegan, for cripes sakes.

"...your head is full of liquor and perfume." Chris Pureka. She swears in her songs. And she's mournful. I love her. If she weren't half my age, I 'd attempt to have sex with her. I mean, after dinner and tea and finding out what her sign was.

My writing group is meeting this week. EEEEEEEEE!!!!! Whatever will I bring? Maybe if I bring some chocolate dipped strawberries, they won't notice that I've brought a poem from 1998. Plus I got a rejection from Arsenic Lobster. Nope, but send more. Just publish a poem, dammit. How hard could it be?
Form is emptiness, emptiness is form. This is an eternal law.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Off on another retreat, this time in Nanaimo, BC. Back in a week. James and I dug in the dirt today, became regular mud balls. After visiting the plant nursery, we retired to eat lentil soup and drink tea. Because it is effing freezing and wet and cold, I even turned on the heat. In June. Sometimes Seattle weather defies description. Nasty. Miserable. Intolerable. I turned the heat on June 20th. Gawd. It doesn't rain for 24 hours and I think I have to water. Because the plants are ALWAYS WET. We have a type of madness in the Northwest. It has no name. We know when we are afflicted. It involves muttering and substance abuse and/or an unusual preoccupation with food. Notice next when you are in the bank and the person in front of you is mumbling and snarling. If they also have secreted away bulky groceries under their raincoat, you know you are in the presence of lunacy caused by perma-sodden shoes, coats, hair etc. It's very sad.

Oh, I go to Victoria tomorrow on the ferry. I might stop for high tea, food of my people. Bitty sandwiches with the crusts cut off and wee cakes. And pots of tea. With a tea cosy. See what I mean about the food thing?

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Once again, I'm leaving for a week into silence which I tried to do today to no avail. So I'll go to Nanaimo BC where the cell gods can't find me and I'll turn off all electronic devices which fuck with the navigational instruments so we get to NeverNeverLand on time and speaking of MJ, surely one of the great freak shows of all time, I recently watched This Is It, a film of his doomed final show/extravaganza with all singing/dancing/acrobats/fireworks etc and it was magnificent I would have gone to see it/him sing and dance so I went back and watched the old videos from Thriller and Billie Jean and Michael was beautiful and sleek and altogether a brilliant and messed up human. Even if his nose at the end looked like a small horn.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Here in Seattle it is so cold the ice cream truck playing Turkey In The Straw is ironic or merely annoying because you were previously in your yard in your fur coat and mittens and you were shocked to see that your roses were blooming surely a freakish mistake and even 5000 iu's of vitamin D won't scare away the inevitable blues that accompany the sunless and frigid clime wherein you live and you can't convince your children to move back (why the hell would they, from California where they have what they call "nice weather" which means, I believe, warmth and sun which is why their brains go all soft and they elect an Austrian actor to play governor for them during a terrible fiscal season really I'm wandering far off the topic where was I oh yeah) anyway the lack of sun/warmth is very fine for lettuce and spinach the roses are just being foolish blooming as they are trying to get attention I suppose but actually I would like to silence the ice cream truck in a clever and deceitful way like teleportation or I could slip the driver a wee bit of mescaline which as I remember was a very entertaining experience and he would have to cease playing that damn tune and instead toss ice cream cups cones and redwhiteblue popcicles onto the ground and he'd be temped to take the first ferry to Victoria to see his only love before the illusions wore off and he wouldn't mind mortality or natural disasters or even his true love's snaggletooth or liniments made of rue.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

the tragedy

what about the girl who threw herself down the stairs

to get the baby out

she’s been bleeding for 2 weeks

a long time to bleed in a poor country where there isn’t enough food

only rice and everyone is living in plastic tarps

hurricane season is coming

so the baby is a real inconvenience

I mean the baby can’t be a real person

it’s to be got rid of

it’s already hungry and it can’t be born hungry

the girl is tall and graceful

in the way island women are graceful

they have air under their feet

even in the lacerated streets

they float

they glide in their golden shoes

babies are a nuisance

they need milk and fish and mangos

there is no milk

no fish

no mangos

at least not for free

all the girl has is for free

she has one dress and three brothers and the dead

all around her

buried under the mountains made of concrete

they once called it Port au Prince

now they call it a graveyard

the death city

where the dead walk

looking for their bones

waiting for their bones to be found

liberated from what has crushed them

dumb bones

waiting for the dump trucks and the street crews

with their shovels to move the mountains


where everyone lives now



the dead are thick with their demands

still the girl bleeds

quick choose what to save

here in the charnel grounds

there is no time to sleep