Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year, dearies. Holly and I are going to Paradise on Mt Rainier tomorrow to ski. The snow might be crap, I don't care. It's the most beautiful place to ski; jagged range of mountains and Rainier's peak. The lodge is buried in snow all winter. They erect a quonset structure to get to the bathrooms.

The last time I went there I saw a Cascade fox running through the snow near the parking lot. It was a moment of disbelief.



Mt Rainier is my spiritual home. And I'm going there tomorrow. Eden gave me a flask for Christmas. Maybe I'll put some Oban in it. Scotch is my drug of choice.



Saturday, December 29, 2012

Dina explains it all

Hello dear ones. Back from the beautiful city by the Bay. Maya and I tore it up. We went to The Book of Mormon at the Curran Theatre on Geary, a small old gorgeous venue. As we were in the balcony, we had an excellent view of the ceiling, a spectacular carved roseate wonder you only see in old places anymore. The women's rooms had one toilet (ha!). I guess in the olden days, ladies didn't ever pee.

The musical was terrific. Imagine: young Mormons on their 'mission' in Uganda, complete with much profanity and the unique Mormon story. Singing and dancing. I was most enlightened. Joseph Smith and Brigham Young and the golden tablets. Mormons get to live on their own planets after they die, if they were good, that is. And no one has ever SEEN the golden tablets but God says so. So Mormons believe in golden tablets. O, and Jews brought Jesus to the New World. Really. We bought the CD and listened to it for the rest of my trip.

Then we ate sushi with her dad and told her the story of her birth, again. Steve didn't have the details down but I did, you bet I did. Women never forget their births. Maya thanked me for being so supportive when she was in labor. I don't think I've ever gotten a better compliment.

THEN. We went dancing until 11, hippie dance church. For three hours. In a huge room with loud trance-y music.

It was hard to return to Kansas. Back to work and laundry and rainy cold.

I return to Esalen in two weeks. Big Sur. Woo boy howdy. For a training/dance. Hot tubs. Organic gardens. The Pacific.


Yep, this is where I'll be. 



Sunday, December 23, 2012

I just semi-watched the Seahawks (go Seahawks!) cream the San Francisco Wolverines (or Broncs or Spatulas). I made that all up. I have no idea what San Francisco's mascot is and frankly, I don't care. Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn. Those boys all have mommas who watch their sons get thrashed; knees, shoulders, concussions, etc, etc. for a lotta money. And they're wrecked at the end of the day. A stupid game. Sorry if I've offended any football fans. I'd rather watch soccer or basketball or almost anything else. Well, not boxing. Ug, what is the deal with boxing? Hit hard enough to knock someone unconscious?

I'd rather be hiking or swimming. Or reading the NYT. I haven't read the front page yet. I'm saving it. They are a bit stuffy so maybe there won't be any mention of the end of the world. Which didn't happen. That's the trouble with predictions. They don't come true.

There is always a guy near the beginning of the gay pride march with a giant sign, painted flames on the bottom that reminds us that we're all gonna fry in hell because Jesus loves us or some random logic.  I bet he's wrong. I do think he's misguided. He also has a bullhorn so he can yell stuff. The drag queens in their gowns and heels and impossible makeup are having way more fun than he it.

But it's baby Jesus time in Christendom. I've always wanted to use that word. I only have a few things to say. As a midwife, the baby Jesus was conceived when sperm invaded the zona pellucida and tada! cell division which eventually produced a new human. And that probably meant hanky-panky. AI wasn't around yet. Likewise, to be fair. The baby Buddha did not, I repeat, did not come forth from his mother's armpit (ouch) while she was leaning on a tree. (PS, she died two days later, wouldn't you?). He walked immediately and wherever his feet touched the earth, a lotus flower appeared.

As humans, wer love to make shit up. We love stories. We do. And when a remarkable person comes along, Nelson Mandela for example, we want to think that we're not like him, we couldn't do what he did,  befriend his jailers but. He is an ordinary person. We can do what he did. We can be Jesus or Buddha or Dorothy Day. We can. We can forgive the unforgivable. We can endure great suffering without taking everyone around us down too. Therefore. I bow to the musicians and writers and artists who turn dross into beauty. Vincent Van Gogh, Beethoven, Chopin, Audrey Lorde, Allen Ginsberg, Louis Malle, Brian Eno, Picasso, everyone has their lists. Not saints, humans like us.

Onwards, into the year of the snake, my dears.


Saturday, December 22, 2012

Because the world didn't end, we can have this beauty.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/12/22/top-transgender-moments-stories-2012_n_2347346.html?ref=topbar#slide=1804940
There are several grammatical errors in my last post and I don't care. I'm not even going to fix them.

Friday, December 21, 2012

The world didn't end, for cripes sake

Felix got a haircut today and he looks WHITE and poodle-y with a round soft fluffy head and ears.  I got my eyebrows dyed and 'shaped'. We both look like we're ready to party and mess up our looks.

I've made my way through a Danish series called 'Why They Kill' or something. I bet the translation sucks. Once again, I dare not turn away because my Danish isn't perfect. In fact, I know one word-tak-which means thanks. Now I'm working through Unit 1, another Danish series with a lady commissioner and a weird crew that do illegal wiretaps and beat up the suspects. O, and the Danes have a lot of nudity in their series, even penises.

I figured out why I love detective series so much. They are called out in the middle of the night, their hours are awful and nobody gets what they do. Pretty much like midwives. Of course, we hang out with babies and mommas and they go look at DBs (dead bodies).

I baked pears with a bit of pear juice and maple syrup. I stuck a few cloves into the pears. They were divine. The only problem were the stems which smoldered and smoked and set off the smoke detector which makes the dawg howl.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

I stole this from Marylinn Kelly's blog:

A Brief for the Defense

Sorrow everywhere. Slaughter everywhere. If babies
are not starving someplace, they are starving
somewhere else. With flies in their nostrils.
But we enjoy our lives because that's what God wants.
Otherwise the mornings before summer dawn would not
be made so fine. The Bengal tiger would not
be fashioned so miraculously well. The poor women
at the fountain are laughing together between
the suffering they have known and the awfulness
in their future, smiling and laughing while somebody
in the village is very sick. There is laughter
every day in the terrible streets of Calcutta,
and the women laugh in the cages of Bombay.
If we deny our happiness, resist our satisfaction,
we lessen the importance of their deprivation.
We must risk delight. We can do without pleasure,
but not delight. Not enjoyment. We must have
the stubbornness to accept our gladness in the ruthless
furnace of this world. To make injustice the only 
measure of our attention is to praise the Devil.
If the locomotive of the Lord runs us down,
we should give thanks that the end had magnitude.
We must admit there will be music despite everything.
We stand at the prow again of a small ship
anchored late at night in the tiny port
looking over to the sleeping island: the waterfront 
is three shuttered cafes and one naked light burning.
To hear the faint sound of oars in the silence as a rowboat
comes slowly out and then goes back is truly worth
all the years of sorrow that are to come.

from Refusing Heaven by Jack Gilbert 
I learned today that a young gay friend killed himself a few weeks ago. Tolerance is not what I'm talking about. Acceptance isn't either. Eyes wide open. We're here for a brief time. We're all different. Queer is a spectrum. It's not a choice. It's how we're built.

Dear sweet Kyle. Beautiful boy. I'm so fucking sorry.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The baby Jesus without enough clothes on (again). Maybe that's why Santa is praying.


Monday, December 17, 2012

I'm in bed with a cold, there's a rat in the downstairs bathroom and Deb's gone to get me some brandy and lemonade. Oh, and a rat trap.

Lola is keeping watch over the rat situation. She's outside the door, waiting expectantly. I think she thinks we'll open the door so she and the rat can run around the house. Squeak! Squeak!

I tried, in vain, to capture the rat. I failed.

I think we should have more animals. Some ponies maybe or a few iguanas. And a tortoise. At least they're not easy to misplace. A big one can't go under the bathtub.


I'm not sure what the humane act is in Ratland. My exterminator Johan said, 'No rat dies a good death.' A live trap and then what? Escort the rat to the park? Feed him/her to the neighborhood python? Put him in a cage and raise him to giant rat size?

I'm feverish and snotty. At least I have a new bathrobe. The old green one was perfectly awful, only in the way a bathrobe can be. My new bathrobe has satin ribbons on it.

Ugly Christmas sweaters are hip, apparently. Wear yours with pride.




Saturday, December 15, 2012

Thursday, December 13, 2012

In these dark days, I only have two questions.

1. Why, when the weather is bad, do drivers take more chances? Two drivers sped out in front of me. When I beeped my horn, one woman held her hands out of the window in a praying attitude. Huh? It's better than the finger gesture, I guess. Is she praying for me? Or the gods of weather? Or random bad driving?

2. Why do home owners paint their large rocks in their yard white? Or aqua? This is, I think, one of the great mysteries.

Tonight, while driving home, I stopped rather suddenly for three mallards who were crossing the road. They seemed unconcerned. Maybe they're like careless drivers, tempting fate.

Ravi Shankar died recently. His daughter will carry on.

Sunday, December 09, 2012

My dog became a damn mud puddle today at the park so I washed him and now he looks like this:


You know I'm lying. That's way too much work and silly besides. Felix is no longer dirt colored and that's the best we're gonna get. Besides, he hates getting a bath. He'll jump in the freezing cold lake, he'll hike happily in the rain for hours but a bath! Warm water! Soap! The evil dryer that sounds like ten thousand tornadoes! He stands in the tub quivering. On the list of dog torture is the bath.

Then there is the hair brush. Poodle hair is very curly. I'm sure Felix would be delighted to get completely gross; matted, stinky and unrecognizable as a show dog. Not that he's a show dog. His parents are show dogs. And If you've ever seen Best in Show, it's not far off the mark, as owners/breeders go. Breeders are different, if you know what I mean. Look at that haircut above. Who would do that to a dog? That haircut takes hours.

Tonight my neighbors and I will watch Dexter. If you don't know what I'm talking about, I won't encourage you. Unless you're fond of serial killers with a 'conscience' or code of ethics (only kill the bad guys). And Deb, the sister, has a terrific potty mouth.



See what I mean?

Saturday, December 08, 2012

Friday, December 07, 2012

Thrown back into work after my wee hiatus in California where I lay about, eating bonbons in my fluffy mules.

The grand finale this week was a birth I attended with my practice partner that ended in a hospital transfer. All is well but, holy mother of the baby Jesus, what an exciting and hair-raising birth. I tell you. Birth is not for the squeamish. Or faint of heart. I finished Call The Midwife this morning after sleeping for 14 hours and it does me good, o yes it does, to read a book about real midwives going about their crazy-ass lives just as we do 60 years later. I can't give you details, dear blogsters, but we witnessed a complication that rarely happens.

Sheesh. I think the birth guardians are making sure I see EVERYTHING before I shuffle off this mortal coil.

Tonight Deb and I traveled down to Renton, the equivalent of crossing the border into Canada. We heard about a veg restaurant called Blossom where the head chef is a Buddhist nun so what the hell. Vietnamese food, mostly average except for a 'pumpkin soup' that was divine. Chunks of sweet winter squash, lotus seeds and tofu. When was the last time you ate lotus seeds?

The best parts were the giant Quan Yin statues; one by the door and one that looked over our table. She held a willow branch, said to bestow healing and a vase containing the waters of compassion.

In Renton.

The chickens are so filthy. They run about in the rain and mud. They do not care about personal hygiene apparently. And they have (or their coop has) attracted rats. Ug. Very healthy and plump rats. Deb bought a trap that supposedly zaps them. We'll see. Between the apples, the grapes and now chicken feed, we have a veritable paradise of rat heaven-ness. Great. O, and dog shit. They love dog shit too.

Rats are gross.  Johan, the rat man, got rid of the resident rats that were living in my bouse when I bought it. I may have to invite him back. And I quote, 'No rat dies a good death.'

My glasses are now fixed. They were under warranty, who knew, so they were fixed for free. Plus, she made new lenses for the antique round silver frames I bought at Goodwill. Ha! so now I have two new pairs of glasses. I did, um, fall down while in California and really busted my all purpose heavily scratched standby glasses so I feel abundant in eyewear at the moment. This is, I'm sure, a fleeting experience. If I could not wear glasses anymore, I'd be so pleased. That development has yet to happen.

Tomorrow I plan to be indolent. Or else I'll take the pup to the mountains where we will hike in massive amounts of mud and rain and the wet December forest. Glory.


Monday, December 03, 2012

The most best wonderful news, besides Rebecca being nominated for a Pushcart-Call the Midwife is a book, a re-issue from England.

And Chummy is there and Jenny and the crazy, Keats-spouting nun who talks in riddles about planetary influences.

I read half of it on the plane and apparently there is a second book too.

As good as the Sunday times.


Sunday, December 02, 2012

Sunday morning in San Rafael. We're eating gluten free popovers with jam. And we're drinking tea, of course. I woke to find Milo watching Sherlock with Benedict Cumberbach. Ah, a child after my own heart. My mother never made popovers but she did make Yorkshire pudding with steak and kidney pie.

The sun has appeared here, albeit briefly. We went to the movies last night and to a restaurant named Fish, a sustainably sourced restaurant in Sausalito. California is insufferably groovy. Of course, I enjoy the heck out of it while I'm here.

Maya and I attended the hippy dance church again yesterday morning. We danced for two hours. It was lovely and sweaty. Ah (yes, that's his name) was there, this time in lavender yoga pants and no shirt. There was a younger hippy guy, also with no shirt. Transport me back to the imaginary days of my youth. As a youth, I didn't get to go to hippy dance church or anything else because I was a mom by the time I was 22. I did the bread making, vegetable growing, vegetarian hippy thing.

Now I watch my daughter with her son. He was doing homework and now they're cleaning the house. Vacuuming and laundry and shaking out rugs. Getting ready for the coming week. I'll be on my way this afternoon but back for Maya's birthday on Christmas. It's odd to pop in and out of their lives. I saw my parents rarely after I moved away. Perhaps being disowned has something to do with it. We never talked about 'the incident' after I was let back in, two years later. We never talked about anything, actually. Not anything important. From the time I was eighteen, we were estranged. Even when I was sitting across from them in their living room.

I swore I'd never throw out a child of mine. What kind of mother does that?

Friday, November 30, 2012

Pouring rain her in San Rafael. We lost power last night and Mel kept saying, 'Downton Abbey, we're in Downton Abbey' as we walked around with candles.

Now a quiet house. Milo is at school across the street. Maya's at work and Eden and Mel have left for LA. Eden has a catering job tomorrow night.

We drove to Point Reyes yesterday. There are a lot of small towns beyond San Rafael along the peninsula and the water. Beautiful wintery hills. We passed Spirit Rock, a retreat center where I have spent many days and months in the dharma hall,  with the horses in the lower fields. I imagined I could live in Fairfax, a hippie town-lette or Bolinas, an unincorporated town of diehards, hippies and anti-government types who have resisted wealthy Californians from swallowing and building and altering their beautiful bit of wilderness and ocean. It always comes back to working, how would i support myself. I could get a California midwifery license and hang a shingle but it takes so long to build a clientele and so forth.

I keep leaning into retirement, more time to write, paint, hike the hills with the dog. And dance, of course.

More joy. Tomorrow Maya and I will dance again. Maybe Ah will be there. Gawd.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

I know I'm in California when...

Last night Maya and I went dancing. Hippie dance church, Clark calls it. And because it's Marin County, there were, um, some interesting people there. One guy, about my age, who said his name was Ah. That's right. Ah. He was wearing purple velour pants with a bulge.

And a gal dressed as a Tibetan nun with a 'service dog'. Maya said she is 'interesting'. Only in California.

Today we're planning a Point Reyes drive and it is, of course, raining. I don't care. I honestly don't. I'm with my daughters so I don't care what we do.

Tonight, Eden, as our resident chef, is making a feast. My ex-husband, the current wife, their kids, Maya, Shaun and Milo, Eden and Mel, and me will be here. Should be interesting. I won't speak ill of anyone but, whew. Feathers may fly. Or plates. Or words. It's complicated, all those personalities.

I'll report back.


Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Tomorrow I leave for California to visit my kids. Eden has plans. While Maya is at work, Eden and Mel will escort me to museums and galleries and art and the great outdoors of the Bay area. I lived there once many eons ago and so a visit is rather like a time machine. A lot is the same, a lot is different. I was there just before AIDS decimated the population and we lived in the Castro neighborhood, the heart of gay boy city and the location for the best Halloween outdoor party ever. Much creative nakedness.

Maya is in San Rafael now and Eden is in LA but they were children there, playing in Dolores park and tromping through Golden Gate Park, surely one of the biggest and most diverse public parks in the US.

Still. I was grateful to move to Seattle. San Francisco was not a kid town. Not if you're living on minimum wages and in funky apartments. I sent them to an alternative school I had to pay for (with all my child support money) because the public schools were horrid. Seattle was so benign in the 80's, before everyone became millionaires.

Anyway. I love to visit. Eden always finds the most interesting cul-de-sacs to explore; artist house boats and warehouses, back alleys and cafes. And Maya and I will go dancing together. Milo will wake me in the morning and I can hug his sweet boy self.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Dina:Queen of the Cabaret Universe

Last night we saw/heard/experienced:


at the Rebar with a very enthusiastic crowd of Thanksgiving weekend revelers. I was crying I was laughing so much.  I can't explain why she is is so fucking funny. It's her sincerity and her awful singing and her murderous pronunciations. And the worst outfits in the world. The red Christmas sweater with gold woven-in ornaments over pantyhose that aren't quite covered up by the sweater, oh dear. 

Dina Martina rules.

Friday, November 23, 2012

As I have posted on facebook, but I will tell the tale again. In bed this am, I heard the garbage trucks, shit, yesterday is the usual garbage day but there was a holiday yesterday, uh oh,  so I race down in my pajamas in the pouring rain to take out the garbage. While I'm out there, I decide to fill up the hot tub for my honey. She has so many aches and pains all the time, she uses the hot tub every day and we decided to clean it out. So I'm on my knees to turn the wee nob so the water won't drain out and I begin filling it. However, the nob doesn't want to turn all the way and the water is running out again. I run back and forth, with additional tools, rain dripping off my raincoat and glasses.

I realize I've locked myself out, hahahahahahahahahahahaha! The dog is standing on the other side of the glass door looking at me. Duh.

I go across the street and bang on Brenda and Pete's door. Nothing. A few more times and Pete comes to the door in his jammies. I explain that I'm locked out. He walks back into the kitchen. I notice that Alice, the 2 year old, is standing by the couch watching an ipad movie. She's naked, of course, with a fine smear of poop on her butt. I offer to wipe her but she refused. Instead she shows me where she's pooped on the floor.

About that time, I remind Pete that the garbage trucks are outside. He moves into high gear, throwing on shoes and racing outside. I run out too, in time to see him do a rather fantastic twirling side spin onto the pavement, blammo. I get the garbage can to the curb, Pete staggers back to the house and we begin cleaning up poop footprints while Brenda is hosing Alice off in the tub.

It was beautiful.

Eventually Pete drives me to Deb's store for a house key. I fuss with the hot tub a few more times and give up.

I take the dog out in the downpour and kee-rist, he's a total mudball when I bring him home. My socks and pants are soaked. I'm frozen.

I took a bath, made tea and I'm watching the last two Harry Potters. I want a magic wand for Christmas.

Tonight we're going to see Dina Martina. I'll probably drink. A lot.

http://menacinghedge.com/events/frigginsmokinhedge/ if you wanna hear my last reading.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy thanksgiving to all and to all a good night.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Don't try this at home

So OK. On these very pages, I've explained the incident of the treadmill and my glorious but ill-advised attempt to do a 4 minute mile. In front of college students who IGNORED me as I lay on the floor.

This morning I had no audience but with grace and style, I smashed my head on the garage door and broke my glasses. How, you may inquire?

Easy.

I have a garage door that only opens with a button inside the garage. So. If my car is in the garage (where it has been lately because my hiking boots, stainless water bottle and GPS were recently stolen), I go in the side door, hit the button, the garage door opens, I back my car out and, with the engine running, go back into the garage, hit the button again and stride purposefully to the door as it comes down and duck underneath. Got that?

So which part did I forget to do? Well, it was dark-thirty when I left the house today. I was wearing my raincoat because we are having a monsoon and (here is the critical part), I had the raincoat hood up.

If you guessed that I forgot to duck, you'd be right. I slammed right into the door with my head as it came down, whacking me in the face and (sob) breaking off the stem of my glasses. I thought my glasses were ok until I was driving away and adjusted my glasses to discover that the left stem had broken off and was in my hair.

These are my everyday I look like Penelope Cruz while wearing them glasses. I have another pair that are too heavy and hurt my ears (don't ask). I bought my glasses down the street and they are purple and I love them and they were expensive, wha, wha, wha!!! Maybe they can fix them.

Otherwise, it is very dark out and it's only 4:30. Jeez.

I'm gonna watch a Harry Potter or three. Witches and wizards love this weather. And the dark.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Oh my gawd.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

I did fuck-all today. Tonight I'm gonna take a bath and watch Avatar again. My favorite part is when they're flying on the beautiful lizards.

Hugo the cat is snoring. He's been dipping into the dog food as well as his own food so he currently looks like a furry Mt Rainier with his stomach arching over all the land. And he has a bit of trouble getting through the cat door.

Milo is turning 10 in two days. Just a minute ago, he was a huge newborn baby (10# 1oz) and now he's a grown boy with manners and everything.

November 26th also approaches. Ug. When I think about Geoffrey's death (or try not to think about Geoffrey's death) I want to crawl into bed and sleep until next Spring. Suicide is a worm of regret and despair. Suicide is suffering made visible.

Friday, November 16, 2012

I read poems last night. We started incredibly late because the traffic SUCKED. I don't know what has happened to Seattle traffic. Tonight people were running red lights, cutting each other off, etc etc. No civility. I gotta go live somewhere quieter. Really.

You know, poetry readings, a mixed bag, right? Some good stuff. And dare I say this, one gay boy read FOUR poems about fisting. One poem about fisting is quite enough, but four? Ewwww. I mean, I'm an open minded kinda gal. Sexual activity is, well varied and interesting. I keep up with Savage Love pretty faithfully. But at a reading??? Fisting???? "I'm inside you with my fist..".and so my visuals start up and well, yuck.

Maybe I'm an old fuddy-duddy. I probably am. My mother said we girls should leave certain things to the imagination. Maybe I'm turning into my mother. Lord.

And besides, is this poetry? I once sat through a workshop many years ago and listened to a guy recite a poem about shitting. Honestly, I did. Gross, right?

Ok, I'm done with this topic. Deb's already in bed and I'm headed there. Tomorrow I'm tackling the giant pile of newspapers, poems and opened books on the floor. I can't take it anymore.

Here's my new rule: Certain bodily functions are off-limits as poetic subjects. Please review.

Thank you and good night.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Tonight is the reading and I got back into bed after clattering through the kitchen, cleaning out drawers and cupboards and making a pile for Good Will. I washed the windows with vinegar. I put a huge plant on the table so I won't forget to take it to the office tomorrow. My plants become huge. Very large. They take over the room.

I think I'm supposed to live in an enormous house with 20 foot ceilings. My plants would look normal there.

Ten minutes to read is an ETERNITY.

I haven't read since Rebecca and I read at the Seattle Center, outside. We read to a few people and to the grass. And the trees. I enjoyed it. But tonight there will be several other poets and their friends and I'm unaccountably nervous.

Gawd.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

I performed a wedding today and it was beautiful and the bride was radiant in her poofy dress and red roses and her wee veil over her face.

I met her mother and father and sister and friends. I stood in front of the room and said some things about marriage and I read poems about marriage and they repeat after me said their vows and cried. It's cheesy in the best way that public vows are, intense and revealing. And I stood between them and watched. Like Glinda, the good witch.

Her mother, from the Southwest, gave me a giant baggie of ground hot pepper, air dried. I'm sure a wee bit would render me insensible. It's the English mother I had and boiled dinner.

So now I await the Comcast guy who will tell me my internet is FINE even though it's been hinky for two weeks but working now (natch).

And I found out that I have 10 minutes to read poetry at the reading, egad. 10 minutes is a long time to read. Brief, wow them, and then step down. Sigh. But 10 minutes. I hope they don't glaze over. They'll be mostly friends, fellow writers so they understand. And they understand poetry, how to listen and make the connections. I think I'll read the Terrible Babies poem. It's my anthem for babies everywhere who are troublesome. As I'm sure I once was.

Tomorrow I have a day off. Thank thee lawd in heaven and the BVM and her teeny baby who grew up to be troublesome. I'll prep for my reading ie: shuffle through piles of poems, get distracted frequently, do a few rewrites, doodle in the margins, behave as I usually do with poetry. And then I'll whittle down the selection and with a timer, read aloud while marching about the living room in my slippers, dog at my heel. The evening of the reading, I'll be a wreck, trying to decide what to wear that doesn't look pretentious and thinking that what I've chosen is all wrong. A beret maybe?

When I stand before a mic, I fill into the space, make eye contact and read. my. own. words. Terrible Babies and all. I think it ironic that Beth the midwife has a Terrible Baby poem. But I do. And it's a good poem. I just hope someone laughs because it's funny. Poetry is funny so dear audience, you dan't have to sit there furrowing your brow and being all serious. Really.

Like meditation. Also a funny activity. Dancing, I smile and laugh. And today, my dear Clark was there and we danced together because we were happy to see each other and because we can get married. He can marry Andy and I can marry Deb. As I live and breathe. While smoking pot. With Obama in the White House. (white house?)

Where is the Comcast guy? I gotta go get flowers, a card and replacement chocolate covered currents for Deb because I ate all hers. And she deserves an apology from me because I behaved abominably yesterday. That's another story about being bitchy and incomprehensible and goading her until she gets angry. Sheesh. I act like such a jerk sometimes. Babbling now.

Peace out.

Friday, November 09, 2012

I'm on the couch in my ole nasty bathrobe with a can of coconut water and gall bladder enzymes. I tell you, I know how to have fun.

Two births, two full clinic days, a conference, peer review tomorrow and a wedding on Sunday.

I crawled into bed last night and didn't move until the alarm went off.

Now I'm watching a Norwegian (I think) detective series which I once again can't turn away from cuz I miss the subtitles. And the main character is Icelandic so he sometimes lapses in to Icelandic. And occasionally English. It's very confusing.

The lawyer guy is sleazy. Certain things don't change.

I think I would have been fine in Scandinavia. It looks cold there. And they put double dots over some of their letters. Plus they have fjords and icebergs and cod liver oil. All of which appeals to me. I'm not sure why. Maybe because they have midwives and socialized medicine.

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

THANK GAWD


This morning I got one of those recorded voices telling me my signature didn't match the signature they have on file on my absentee ballot. I get one of these every year even though I try to write in my nice legible handwriting (as if I know how I signed my name before).

See, I'm gonna be one of those people who holds up the entire country from having Obama steer us for another four years and for us to have another Democrat at governor, not the stupid Republican. Until I correct my ballot.

I'm sorry. I'm really sorry.

And I'm scared for us, for all of us.

Right now, I'm taking the dawg for a long walk to try and get the bounce out of him. My laboring momma still is laboring, poor thing. So I'm ready for her too. I have chocolate. I have Canadian friends who've offered to adopt me.

Peace out.

Monday, November 05, 2012

I've been sitting all day in my scrubs waiting for a lady to go into active labor. Sigh. It's taking a while. My clerk at PCC, Remy, is expecting twin boys. Rather, his wife is. I told him I was waiting for a momma in labor and he gave me a chocolate bar to give to the mom. He wrote SAMPLE on it. So if you go to your local coop and write SAMPLE on some grapes or a bottle of wine or some dish soap, you can just walk out without paying. At least, I think you can.

Our Felix had his, uh, surgery. The vet said we had to keep him quiet for 10 DAYS. He is still a puppy and bored out of his head. No stairs? Right. No chasing the katz? YOU keep him from chasing the katz. So he is crazy with inactivity. I can't really explain how wild he is. He throws toys in the air all by himself if we won't. He doesn't run down the stairs, it's a sort of controlled fall/slide thing.

Only four more days to go. Until he can run after a ball. Or run across the grass. He's a toddler in a cage. On uppers.

Tomorrow is the day. Except for absentee ballots. And the Eastern seaboard. And other acts of the Lawd.

Surrender Dorothy.


Saturday, November 03, 2012

This weekend is devoted to DANCING. Last night I danced til I had to lie down on the sweat floor. In sweat. A puddle of sweat. I danced with my darlings. My dance community is so grand and lovely and I love them even though I don't always know their names.

The best song of the night was Patti Smith covering Nevermind, the Nirvana song.



 I know, I know. Hippy dancing. But the music is loud and nobody cares how you move. And I dance today and tomorrow.

Yesterday three boys from next door came and raked my leaves. They passed out a flier asking if we needed 'releaf'? They were so cute. They came with their mom. And they raked the whole yard and brought a leaf bin. All for $15. And their mom came to collect them when it started to rain.

Felix is recovering from being neutered. We're supposed to keep him quiet. Ha! We barricade the stairs so he doesn't hurtle up and down. He has more energy than a pile of puppies.

I read poetry in public on the 15th. Gawd. What shall I read? What shall I wear? I'm gonna aim for elegant and aloof. All black? A ski mask? My jellyfish costume?


Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Please watch this. I laughed so hard I was crying. We're going to her Christmas show.

for the midwives, mothers and babes everywhere


My dears,

Back from the beauty of Vancouver Island, way up there in Canada. Country that has a leaf on their national flag. A red leaf. A country that goes crazy for ice hockey. And stop lights on their interstate highways.

I drove the Malahat highway, their version of Highway 1 in California. Cars parked for the salmon run. Deep mountains and massive lakes. Gold and burgundy leaves.


Oh, and kilometers instead of miles. And the Queen on their money.

I snuck off on Friday between the week and the weekend to go swimming in their new aquatic center.

I wasn't prepared for the splendor. No, really. They had a SWIM SHOP where you could buy a new suit and some earplugs if you needed. A massive locker room, no cement floors for them.

And then there was the pool 'area'. Where should I begin? The kiddy area was sculpted with life-sized dolphins and sea lions spouting water. There was a 'wave' that turned on every half hour and carried the swimmers around on a watery track. The adult pool was olympic-sized with huge lanes, mostly empty.

Um, then we come to the after-swim leisure area replete with sauna, steam AND hot tub. Sheesh. Truth to tell, that part of the building was overrun with men of the guy persuasion, guffawing and eyeing the lassies. They didn't spend half a minute with me because I'm way past the bikini stage. Way.

But, holy fuck. Seattle pools have a pool and a bare-bones locker room. And we're grateful. I just wasn't expecting a Disneyland pool experience in Naniamo, no less.

http://www.nanaimo.ca/UploadedFilesPath/VirtualTours/NAC_2009/VT_NAC_04_2009.html
 (in case you wanna see what knocked my socks off)

Politics and the hurricane, o lordy.

Please vote. Please.





Thursday, October 18, 2012

On Saturday, I leave for a week. I'm going to Nanaimo land of the Bethlehem Retreat Centre where I'll be with my teachers and the wee lake and the forest. We'll get up early and be fed delicious food and we'll be in silence and we'll go to bed early. No talking, no eye contact. For eight days. No email. No internet.

Watching Uncle Vanya on 42nd Street, directed by Louis Malle. People talking in a room. Much suffering. All the men in the play in love with Julianne Moore (why?)

The dog is chewing on a dried bull penis. It is his favorite thing in the world. Besides swimming and running and barking and eating and messing around with other dogs.

It's getting cold. We've hardly had enough rain. Many fall hikes to contemplate. Today Mt Rainier shone like a heavenly snow country, a place where the devas live.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Autumn beauty today, clear and warm and brilliant leaves. Felix thinks life is great, especially when there are two squirrels, chasing one another. One of these days, my arm will be yanked clean out with a lease on the end.



Jim the handyman came over today and we discussed the issue of the back door. It scrapes against the floor which is now deeply scratched and the whole back door area needs to be weather proofed, or whatever you call it. The weatherstripping is gone and the sill is flaking and peeling. It is the door we use the most so it gets beat up.

it's always something. I used to think I could fix anything but that is, ah, not true. When I accidentally pulled the tub out of the floor, there was no way I could fix that. Besides the tub weighs about 4,800 pounds. SO.

Jim the handyman is a wonderful thing.

I read recently an account of a vagina. The author called it her 'lady garden'.  From now on, that's what I'm calling it.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

It's  RAINING, o joy o rapture. The dog and I got soaked. He's an interesting shade of beige.
Today at the Good Will I saw a car with a 'My Son is a Marine' bumper sticker and a HUGE handwritten sign in the back window supporting Referendum 74, the gay marriage bill.

I was flabbergasted.

Maybe his/her Marine son is gay.

And there you are. Just had to share.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

I'm unashamedly watching Downton Abbey. I LOVE the Brits. They are so ridiculous. And they are my people. Heaven help us. Upper class twits in the 20's with all the intrigue below stairs. And this season, o my lord, Shirley McLaine is the American grandma. And she looks, well, whoa.

"There's something Johnny Foreigner about the Catholics".

I plan to drink brandy from a crystal decanter. And I do need a new footman. Oh, and I'd like to be called my lady from now on.

Ooooh, I think the new footman is gay. He's certainly got a lovely six pack. "He looks like a footman in a musical review." Indeed.

I'm the one in the hat and white suit.



Yesterday, while down in Pioneer Square to see my therapist, I got out a few bills for TJ, the homeless man who sits under the wrought iron and glass awning. Yesterday there were two happy birthday balloons and a big pink opened cake box with a message on top--Happy Birthday to Tj and Ben. Ben, a non-homeless man was standing beside TJ and handing out pieces of cake on paper plates. At eight in the morning.

I promptly dropped my piece of cake on my therapist's carpet but that's another story.

I cleaned out my studio today. It took me three hours. I always think I'll throw out a bunch of stuff but I end up on the floor going through old photos and notes and cards from my kids. Stacks of old photos. People who are now dead. A whole box of James' writings and his photos. Old lovers. I managed to wrassel a box of stuff for Good Will. And I felt virtuous besides. I moved art supplies around and dusted. I threw open the windows too. I didn't start a painting. That's tomorrow.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Tis the season

He's not like other guys, thats for sure.

Ye dog and I amidst the falling leaves


Always wanted to use the word 'amidst'.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

My head feels like it has been underwater for a few weeks with seaweed hanging out my ears and a buzzing of the air world around me.

I've been sick with a cold and my 'gut ache' which has been a problem since I was about 15. It's been diagnosed variously as an ulcer, gall bladder 'problems' and sludgey gall bladder. I've been on an ulcer diet (which did absolutely nothing), I've visited the ER a few times when the pain was too severe- for demerol shots (heaven-addict tendencies) and fasts for two or three days with a chiropractic adjustment thrown in. Now I have a stash of vicodin from 2011 which I dole out to myself so I can sleep. Sleep, that precious thing. I wake at night with a knife in my belly. If I sit up and move around, it gets a little better. I try sleeping sitting up. Sometimes that works. For the last few nights, I've succumbed to drugs.

What causes it? Well, I wish I knew. Sometimes, I haven't eaten and food on an empty stomach will trigger it. Sometimes fatty foods. Stress, o that is a pretty good trigger. But who doesn't have stress?

I might try a cleanse. Sounds awful. Although I don't know what that entails. Probably vile herbs and green blendered drinks that taste like pond scum. And look like pond scum.


And then I 'll be healed. For good.

Monday, October 08, 2012

More jelly is made, I have a wee cold and it is another damn sunny day in the NW, land that the weather forgot to drop gallons of water on.

Waiting for a baby and sucking down elderberry syrup. I hear it's good for you.

The poodle sleeps on the stairs.

The guys next door have fired up the power tools. The neighbors are building a new kitchen. FOR FOUR MONTHS. Gawd. No one is more sorrowful about this than my tenant, who can hear everything. At least they aren't there on the weekends. The chickens don't mind. In fact, as long as they get to eat mealy bugs, they are pretty tip-top most of the time. I'm not sure what mealy bugs are and frankly, I don't care to know.

I'm gonna try for a nap. I might be up all night so I better get it now.

First, I'll finish the NYT. As long as I read the Book Review, I can pretend I've read 15 books, all at once.

Saturday, October 06, 2012

I picked more grapes because I'm a fool. So tomorrow, the jelly making machine rolls out again.






But.

I climbed to the top of the arbor with a ladder and let me tell you, the grapes there were purple and delicious. No wonder the raccoons and the rats (ew) go up there.

I've seen so many squashed raccoons this year and I'm afraid to say this but, good. I hate them, they're fuckers. They kill chickens and they attack katz and they creep me out. Ok, the babies are cute but they grow up to be adults.

I'm eating an entire bunch of kale that I've toasted in the oven--kale chips. And I'm gonna sprinkle 'em with brewer' yeast and salt.

I'm so healthy, I disgust even myself.

Friday, October 05, 2012

La-de-da.

Yesterday and today, I saw a hummingbird in the back yard, at the "lipstick" plant. I saved a hummingbird a few weeks ago, after wrassling it from Lola's mouth. I'd like to think my hummingbird today was the same one.

Maybe it was. It could be. It could.

Can I speak about pilling katz. Lola needed a vet visit because she was licking and scratching obsessively, even with flea treatment. And she seemed skinny.

So the vet said she thought Lola was allergic to fleas, or rather allergic to flea spit. Really, flea spit? So she gave me fish oil to squirt on Lola's food. Ok, that's easy. And then there was a big pill for just once. And little yellow pills for twice a day, yeah right.

Giving a cat a pill  is like putting your hand into a garbage disposal when it's on. Or putting your hand under the house where you last saw the badger.

I got the big pill into Lola while she chomped down so hard on my right index finger (a very important finger as a midwife), that I shrieked and yelped and proceeded to bleed profusely all over the floor. For a while. Finally, I got the bleeding to stop with a giant bandaid. Then I went to work. Drawing blood with a giant bandaid, very reassuring to my clients, I can tell you.

So what about the little yellow pills? We exchanged them for liquid and so we're supposed to squirt a ml into the side of her mouth.

You wrap the cat in a towel so she/he can't claw your face off. Then you somehow get the medicine beyond her teeth. When we did this to Lola, she foamed at the mouth. GAWD. I thought I killed her. And the look she gave me. I'm sure she'll never forgive me.

I think the vet should give her the little yellow pills. I'm not kidding.

Thursday, October 04, 2012

I raced home last night to watch the debate. I wanted to see them together in a room (gawd, Jim Lehrer is getting old) performing.

I was reminded of Reagan, pink-cheeked and wrong-headed in the most confident way. Although I think Romney knows he's lying and I was never sure about the Gipper. Romney doesn't care about me or my Somali neighbors with all the hungry kids or the guy across the street in the wheelchair in Section 8 housing. Romney's world and heart is so far removed from real people's lives that he doesn't understand us at all. All his children have healthcare. And orthodontia. And all the best schools. And nice vacations. The wealthy look better because they have less stress and they can get exfoliated for $200 a pop. And they can buy expensive vitamins and massages and organic food. And they can care or not care. Some wealthy people care about their fellows. But the tendency for greed is, well, vast. The wealthy are wealthy because they hang on tight. Their 'charities' are tax shelters. Very cynical.

And they carry on in plain sight. Well, I think the truly wealthy we never see. They live on exclusive islands and behind locked gates on enormous tracts of land. The only ones who see them are the servants.

Then there's our guy, the skinny black guy who's gotten quite gray over the last four years. His job is stressful. Living under the burden of so much hatred from the Right (sic) hasn't been good for his health. He's done the best he could under the circumstances. Last night he looked fragile compared to the bluff heartiness of Mitt.

I dimly followed what they said and I'll wait for the NYT to break it down for me. I can tell you one thing. Barack would blend in just fine on my street in Columbia City, the most diverse neighborhood in the country. Mitt wouldn't come here, except gladhand for votes. He wouldn't be comfortable here. We're too poor, too many and too foreign.

And I don't want him in the oval office. And I sure as hell hope there are enough of us who feel the same way and fucking vote.

Now back to your regular programming.

Monday, October 01, 2012

Gawd, I hope everyone is watching 'Half the Sky' on PBS. It's effing amazing. I am not kidding. And it's on tomorrow too.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Tonight my living room was full of friends and midwifery clients and one rambunctious dog. We ate cheese and crackers and chocolate and brand new grape jelly and grapes and gluten free banana bread. We had one real baby here: Ivy who's seven weeks.

Why, you may ask.

Well, tonight was the premier of Call the Midwife from the UK on PBS so we all had to watch it together. And we had an ad at the very beginning. Ha!!! We screamed so much when the ad came on, we couldn't hear it.
video


My grape jelly is beautiful this year. You'll be getting a shipment, Radish dear. Because we had such a dry, sunny summer, the grapes got dark red and very sweet. We had rosemary crackers with Vermont cheddar and a dollop of jelly. Ambrosia.  

Friday, September 28, 2012

It is now grape jelly making season. That's right, folks. Time to pick, wash, pluck, squish, boil, strain (let sit overnight), then measure, add sugar and pectin and pour into jars freshly pulled from boiling water, caps on and ta-da, the sweet 'ping' of the caps sealing. Then we pile them up in a wee pyramid where they filter the sunlight through their (this year) rosy deliciousness.

Because of all the sunlight and warmth this summer, the grapes are actually pink-purple so the jelly will be so pretty.

For the rest, there will be massive sticky counters, floors, bowls, stovetop, etc. And burned fingers. And I hope to heaven the jelly jells the first time around. Otherwise, there is the sadness of decanting all the jelly and starting over. It'll all be fine this year.

O, a bit of the extracted juice is the best grape juice I've ever tasted. Ever.

I"m watching the Wallandar series again. If you turn away, you don't understand a thing. Unless you know Swedish, which I don't. It does make the spit fly when they're being emphatic. And Wallander is always eating sandwiches, a kind of torture if you don't eat any gluten. I'd give someone my car for a slice of crunchy bread dipped in olive oil. But then I'd eat the whole loaf.

And I bought Halloween candy today. I buy the worst stuff so I'm not tempted to eat any. This year it's sweet-tarts, yuck. No chocolate. And Halloween is my clinic day this year. I need a costume. Something that won't scare toddlers.


Tuesday, September 25, 2012

We're at the top of Mt Washington, me and Felix and Holly. It was one hell of a hike. Loose rock almost all the way with steep switchbacks. Coming back down sucked. And we passed a bunch of mountain rescue people going up as we neared the parking lot. Uh-oh. Someone rock climbing fell and broke his ankle.

Therefore.

I am mighty glad to be in one piece. Holly fell twice. When I got home, I took an epsom salt bath and lay on the couch while my legs twitched and my feet made small yelping noises. My feet hurt all night.

Still.

I love hiking. I want to hike until I no longer can. We saw no one while we were hiking. The popular hikes are a) easier b) shorter c) less steep. The peaks are so great and this time we decided to go all the way to the top because we were stopped by snow so many times this year. Since I'm no longer a runner (sob), I can have my painful, exciting and possibly dangerous adventures in the wild. Just say no to bear encounters.

Felix slept all day yesterday. He was pooped too. Today he had a bath and a haircut. He looks like a real poodle.

Monday, September 24, 2012

I'm watching Giselle with The Incomparable Rudolph Nureyev, o he of the cheekbones and impossible leaps. In my birth splattered scrubs. The biohazard look. On the couch. I swept, did dishes and fed the creatures. And that's about it for today. Another fine babe in the world. She cried a lot and had some dandy clear lungs.



Saturday, September 22, 2012

We went to the Pulalup Fair. Silly really to be delighted in a barn full of chickens. But they're so pretty. O the roosters are so glorious. I know they're not allowed in Seattle but just one, maybe. The neighbors would not approve.

And the piglets.  And the gorgeous draft horses. Gorgeous. We avoided the (er) food. We found salad and deviled eggs. No cotton candy or curly fries or caramel apples.

We rode the Ferris Wheel. Tame. The Rocket would have made us throw up. At least. I think all my clothes would have come off too. There were a lot of elderly folks with walkers and wheelchairs. We can still walk unaided.

O and we watched a dog obedience trials. The 4-H kids with their goldens and beagles and blue heelers. Felix needs some work, clearly.

Last night I went to Rebecca's reading. She was splendid all in black with black slippers. She read Henry poems. I don't think I breathed while she read. I didn't want to miss any words. The women poets were mostly good. The men, well, there is craft and then there is...uh, do I dare. It is uncivil to be critical. However, I can't help it. The old boy's club. Sigh.

Meanwhile, I'm still in my bathrobe with a towering pile of poems next to me. My task: enter them into my new(ish) computer and throw them onto the external hard drive so I'll have them even if this computer dies/gets stolen/blows up. Can't send them out if they're on bits of paper. All the years of workshopped poems and others.

Hey, I put all my music on the hard drive. I can do this with poems too. Besides, I'm in the mood. Inspired by last night. I rite good, I do. All I have to do is go to a reading to know this.

Rebecca, thank you. For everything.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

There's a plumber in the basement, replacing the toilet in my MIL. He has no teeth. Or maybe he left them home. When I saw the footage from Katrina and all the folks with no teeth, I knew that was real poverty. When you're poor, you can't get your teeth fixed. You can't even afford dentures.

This beautiful morning, I'm mad at our greedy CEOs and politicians and other 1%ers. They aren't any happier but they sure cause suffering for so many people. Too many to count. Their mommas didn't love them. So they're gonna live on vast tracts of exclusive land in giant houses and be separated from the ordinary folks who struggle and scrape to feed their kids and pay the rent.

I don't feed equanimity for them. Ort kindness. Sometimes I do.

But not today. Nope.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Since my, ah, fall yesterday (see previous post), I feel like someone has been beating me all over my body with a stout, wide board. If the dog needs a walk, we're going to be very slow.

On the positive side, if we were still in the mountains facing another day of backpacking, I'd be having arnica and ibuprofen for breakfast.

Actually, that's a good idea. And some ice.

And you know I'd do it again.

Hey, I didn't break anything. I MADE IT OUT.

And Cheryl Strayed, in her book Wild, walked, what, 1500 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail in boots that were too small.  (are there too many commas in that last sentence?) By herself. Her pack was so heavy, she couldn't walk upright. She called her pack 'Beast'. Granted, she was a mite younger than me. But she was coming off heroin.

Another beautiful cloudless day in Arizona, formerly known as Seattle. It's unnerving to have one nice day after the other. We're not used to it. It makes us anxious. It's not right. We have umbrellas and raincoats and boots at the ready. We're hearty and resigned. So this is damned weird. LA is like this.  Not the NW. Here, we're proud of our weather induced depression.

Sheesh.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

So me and Holly backpacked to Ollalie Lake and Pratt Lake and all around.



And my elderly bladder got me up from my Thermarest so I could stand under the night sky o stars o stars o stars.

We heard an owl after dark. We saw a river otter in the lake and rolling around on a log. We ate dehydrated eggs for dinner. And some carrots. In the morning, I held pumpkin seeds in my palm and a jay sat on my finger and had breakfast. Her legs were shiny and black, like her beak.


Coming back, I tripped over a root and landed on my left side, wham! I raised a lump on my left shin the size of a grapefruit. When you have 40 pounds on your back and you're going over, there's no help for it, you go over like a tree in a wind storm. I lay there for a while, feeling sorry for myself. Nobody is gonna come along and offer to carry my pack and airlift me out. Nope. I got up and kept going. And it's one of those times when crying doesn't work either. I did cry about my mother for a while. I blew my nose on my sleeve. And every switchback was possibly the last one and we would be at the car and we could sit down and take off the hated hiking boots and go to Triple X Root Beer joint in Issaquah for fries.

You can tell who the day trippers are. They smell nice. They're wearing brightly colored shorts and sneakers. They may be carrying a bottle of water. Or not. The true backpackers are nasty. They're dirt streaked and have bandanas tied to their tangled hair. O, and injuries. And bug bites. They have survived and can now go somewhere for junk food. Deservedly.

I still have the smell of dry forest path in my nose. It's a combination of pine needles, dust and sweet high air. And the vine maples are beginning to turn red and gold. It was worth it. Always.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

A musical interlude

All this glorious summer long I've wanted to put on a backpack and sleep out under the stars. So Saturday Holly and I will do just that. I dragged my knapsack, tent, flashlight, cookstove etc out of the garage where it all sits on the back deck, soaking up the sun and killing all mold spores. We can't figure out what to eat because the freeze dried stuff is icky. Usually I've eaten it half cooked and crunchy. Half cooked crunchy lasagne in a bag, yuck. So maybe cuz it's just an overnight, I'll bring real food, some veggies and humous. And plenty of water. And no dog.

Speaking of Felix, the dog. He was attacked yesterday by two vislas. One bit him on the butt and I didn't notice he was bleeding until he went in the lake. One perk for having a white dog; you can see blood. If he were black I would have missed it.

The lady who owns the dogs was trying ineffectually to get them away from him. Fancy house, Maserati in the garage, big empty rooms with furniture just so. As soon as I realized he was hurt I marched back to her house and got her number. Today I taped a bill from the vet on her door. Humph!

Let's see if I get a check in the mail.

I eliminated all grains from my diet and I've gained weight. Whatever. Today I'm going dancing and I don't care. As long as I can get off the floor without help, I'm ok.

Seattle is showing Stop Making Sense, the Talking Heads music video, on the big screen. I'm going. I saw it with my friend James back in the day. We were so excited we bounced around in our seats like four year olds.  I loved James. He was from the Big South and he loved pecan pie so I made it for him even though I thought it was gross. Karo syrup, what the hell is that? My girlfriend at the time was from  New Orleans so they were in pecan pie heaven. They'd sit outside and smoke dope and I could hear their slow drawls from the kitchen. We'd cook dirty rice and beignets and when she would go home, she'd bring back pralines. Now those were delicious. Homemade and stuck to wax paper. She also sat at the dinner table one night and sucked crawdad heads while the children and I watched in horror.

James died of AIDS before the cures came around and the country (read Reagan) got it's head out of it's ass. Those days were so horrible and frightening. I lost a lot of friends then. And we marched and protested and wept and took care of our own.

So James, wherever you are now, my sweet man, I'm gonna go see Stop Making Sense and bounce around in my seat like a four year old. I'll enjoy myself for both of us.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Today it is that day, that awful day.

And we had a birth, a lovely birth with a gorgeous Brazilian mother and her goofus husband. She labored so quietly I wasn't sure she was doing anything except that with her third baby, she should know. And indeed she did. With contractions, she would make a little face, barely noticeable. She asked that we not 'stare' at her because she was shy. So we didn't. We moved over to the other side of the room. I closed the blinds. We whispered. She was so quiet. Her husband put on some latin jazz. When she had pushed in the tub for a while, I suggested that she try the birth stool. With two pushes, she had her daughter.

She had blue painted finger and toenails. She was wearing blue and white beaded bracelets. After the birth, she put on a brilliantly colored dress and wound her hair and fastened it with a shiny clip.

We helped them get ready to go home. She wanted her own bed. With the baby tucked into the car seat, off they went in the late afternoon.

While NYC mourns and remembers, as we all do, in Seattle there is a wee babe named Clementine with her mother's eyes and her father's mouth.

Sweet dreams, dear families.

Everywhere.

Sunday, September 09, 2012

Stevie Ray Vaughn and Albert  King.      Holy shit.

Saturday, September 08, 2012

graphic post-enter at your peril

Ok, so we had four babies yesterday. I came home with vomit in my hair. A total biohazard. I fell asleep on the couch and went to my real bed at 8:30 and I don't think I moved for eight hours.

This morning, I gardened like a fiend. The dog needs his walk and then there are some babies to visit.

The life of a midwife.

O, I did take a shower. Actually I took three showers, between births. And then there was the vomit. I've been peed and pooped on. Of course there's blood and amniotic fluid. But vomit? it was a new one for me.

I'm well acquainted with body fluids. I figured out with my student that I haven't had spinal fluid on me. Or bile. Snot, sure.  But no bilious humors.

So I guess I haven't experienced EVERYTHING yet.

Thursday, September 06, 2012

I'm already tired. I watched a docu of Dame Margot Fonteyn last night, falling asleep and waking up. She married a ner-do-well from Panama, she ran guns, her Panama husband got shot and was paralyzed forever but she took care of him, she danced until she was very old, much older than any dancer ever could and she fell in love with the impossibly beautiful cheekbones of Nureyev. He was 23, she was 42. She never had any money and was buried as a pauper in Panama.

But what a life.


And Lynn called at eight this morning to tell me there are two ladies in labor so I better get ready for anything today. We have SO MANY women in dates at the moment. We could have a major pile-up. And I'd prefer to lie in the hammock today, sipping margaritas and listening to Beethoven's 5th. I better go get my equipment from the clinic and walk the dawg. If Margot danced on bloody feet, I can be up all night for a few nights with a laboring woman.

Sheesh, what a whiney baby I am.

Monday, September 03, 2012

Today I went to the spa and got scrubbed within an inch of my life (as my mother would say) and now my skin is as soft as a baby's bottom.

What my skin looked like before the spa:



And I embarrassed myself by crying on the table in fromt of the nice Korean lady who was scraping off my dead skin. All the sadness and misery of August caught me up. I was so adult and available and everyone wanted to talk to me and I'm the 'boss' so I guess I felt like I had to keep it together. And I did. Until today. I didn't weep and wail, just let the tears ooze out while I lay face down. Now I feel hollow and empty. Emptied out.

But my skin is creamy. The ladies at the spa make you stay in the 104 degree tub for way too long so your nasty skin will be easier to get off. Man, I was woozy when I got out. I lay on the plastic lounge chair and had hallucinations. The skylights kept crossing and winking.

I have no idea how I drove home.

Sunday, September 02, 2012

This morning, Lola, as usual, was meowing and meowing. When I called her to my bed, she didn't hop up but stayed on the floor. I peered over and thought she had a rodent in her mouth, but no. She had a bird. Not just any bird but a hummingbird.

Hummingbirds are magic. Their heartbeats are over a 1000 per minute Look them up here and fall to your knees in wonder.

So I extracted the wee thing from Lola's mouth, cursing cat nature and it's nastiness. The bird's wings were flattened out and a few green feathers stuck to my  hand. Her heart felt like an electric vibration in my palm. I thought, what to do? I kept muttering 'sorry, sorry' and 'better luck next life' while watching her for any perkiness. I folded her wings down against her body and her body was moving with her heartbeat. I held her in my hand and went to Deb so she could help me. She didn't have any ideas so I went back upstairs continuing my hummingbird prayer. She continued to live. I thought, maybe she'll die in my hand and I can be her witness, so much coming and going all the time. She was about 5 inches long with white and green feathers and the tiniest needle beak. Then she turned her head and looked at me. Hummingbirds have very small faces. I decided to hold my hand out the window so if she were recovered enough she could fly away. Then she looked away and back again and whoosh---she whirred away to the oak tree.

Later in the back yard, a hummingbird flew low over the deck with a flash of white.

With all the heartache of August, I took this as a sign that September would be better. Not that I believe in such things. But today I feel blessed by hummingbird medicine.


Saturday, September 01, 2012

This morning, fall is in the air. A fire somewhere in the neighborhood; smoke smell lingers. The sirens yesterday made the dog howl. The chickens mumble and cawk. The cat across the alley is out yowling.    If I leave the back door open, Felix stands on the back porch and barks. At nothing.

Today, Holly and I will go to Annette Lake. Roughly 8 miles in and out. A pretty lake to swim in. Not too much elevation gain and way up the pass. Until you penetrate the tree line, you can still hear traffic.
In a few weeks, we're planning a backpacking overnight.  Maybe to Rainier, the most wondrous of mountains. Sometimes all the mountains are out; the Cascades, the Olympics, Baker to the north and Rainier to the south. Today might be such a day.



I'm grateful I can still hike. Grateful to this older body. Two types of hikers I see; young fit people with dogs, kids, inadequate footwear and no water and older retired folks, all decked out in small backpacks, water, walking poles and expensive hiking boots. The youngsters are careless. Their bones are strong, their muscles and ligaments flexible. They're the ones who trail run. The older folks are more careful and deliberate. They're wearing hats and sunscreen. They walk slowly. They're looking through binoculars at the distant snowfields. We nod at each other as we pass.

Maybe today we'll see some wildlife. Or not. Maybe I'll go swimming and yelp as I hit the cold water.



Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Instead of listening/watching the Republican convention, you should rent this movie:




It's effing hilarious. Really.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

My neighbor told me over the weekend that their kitchen remodel will take about 4 months. That's fantastic. So above the noise of the chickens, the dog barking, will be banging and the buzzing and whining of power  tools.

I don't begrudge them a new kitchen. Their old one was long overdue for a make-over. However.

I'm either intolerant of noise because I'm getting old or I'm simply a curmudgeon and grumpy anyway. I long for a quieter environment.

On my favored Tiger Mountain trail, the first 200 feet or so, you can hear the steady rumble of traffic. Then you cross a clearing and enter the proper forest and the sounds disappear. I know when my hike is at an end because I hear the traffic again. There are researchers who look for places on earth without manmade noises. There aren't many any more. At least every 5 minutes you can hear a plane or chain saw or train most places on the planet. In Nepal and India the noise is unrelenting; constant blare of car horns and diesel engines. And when I say unrelenting, I mean constant.

Olympia is my imaginary destination. I imagine retiring. I imagine buying a house/cabin on 2 acres with  big trees and a wee bit of water (pond, stream, large puddle). There will be a clearing for vegetables with a deer fence around it. I'll swim in Evergreen College's huge pool as an alum. I'll dance with the local 5 rhythms community. I'll sit with the local Buddhists.

And it will be so quiet. I'll go out into my back yard and sit in the hammock and listen to the sparrows, jays and wrens. The dog will have learned by then not to bark at every damn thing. I'll finish my book and on alternate Wednesdays I'll meet with the local poets to read and hang out.

The End

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Tonight is the memorial for a babe. We're going to the lake and read and cry and release lanterns that float and dissolve in the air.

I volunteered to read what the parents wrote. I just practiced in my living room. The katz scored me (4.5) and the dog licked my hand. Then he jumped up and barked. I think her was alerting me to the aliens landing in the back yard. Now he's on the deck barking.  I feel safe with him around.

Babies don't all make it. In my work, the grief is sometimes unbearable. But bear it we must.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Brilliant bright sun today. Reading Stephen Batchelor's book, "Buddhism without Beliefs". Beyond how-to books about meditation, he deconstructs religion as a system of followers who subscribe to 'experts' who prescribe exercises; how to breathe, how to reorganize thoughts (on the way to extinguishing them), how to chant properly, etc. Including Buddhism. I've reached a crossroads in my practice and I'm seriously questioning the various ways I've practiced over these 16 years. Sitting practice is important for me. What is more compelling is the ways I move toward or more away from pleasant experiences and painful ones.

What is meditation? What is it for? These last few weeks have been intensely painful. Rather than shrinking from what hurts, I've moved toward the pain; to investigate it and examine it. Does it have inherent worth? What can I learn? And I've been approached by others for comfort, how do I respond?

Pain can help us open. Or it can shut us down. Acknowledging my broken heart in the face of loss and feeling the sadness and grief of us all seems to be my daily work. And noticing the systole and diastole of emotion, noticing the moments of insight as well as the utter cruelty inherent in our lives here brings me to a kind of peace. It is what it is. Equanimity or Upekka in the Pali language. Being able to be with ourselves in the face of our overwhelming sorrow. Or joy. Or love.

It's not about transcendence. It is about immersion without hooks. Like waves in the ocean.

Courage, dear pilgrims.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

This:


showed up yesterday. Wondrous and wondrous. 'Do you want to be King of the First Brutal Memory?' Wonderful, terrifying poems in a lovely hand-bound book.

Rebecca binds the thrashing reader. And you keep reading, going back and forth. I read a page. Then I read it again. And it's all new. What I read yesterday is not what I read today. Trism is even better read aloud. Try it.