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.