Friday, September 28, 2012

Spirit Animals

If I have a spirit animal I think it's a small nervous rodent.

Yet years ago when I consulted psychics at the Tremont Tea Room in Boston, I was told my spirit animal is a hawk. Every card I chose, I turned it over and there was a hawk. I really was jonesing at the time for my spirit animal to be a dolphin, so I was bummed.

It's strange that my spirit animals are mortal enemies.  It's like that symbol Ouroboros, the snake eating it's own tail. Creation and destruction: hawk-like vision, and scrambling rodent-like fear. Ying and yang.

The cool thing is there is a chipmunk living in a hole under our patio, and a hawk that preens itself in the afternoons on our silver maple tree, so I get to see aspects of myself several times a day.

Thursday, September 27, 2012


So I just got back from a woo clinic in Western Massachusetts. It was a pilgrimage of sorts, seven hours in a car is kind of like walking the Santiago de Compostela except less beautiful, although 87 through New York state is beautiful. I drove with the sun setting. Everyone who has sick has done this.

I am a pilgrim. I am late in realizing this. Typical. Late bloomer. Bonehead. Novice. I'm always looking for a guru, or a mountaintop to ascend at the the top of which there will be The Answer. Maybe it will be A Pill.  Giving Up Gluten. Trumpets. The light of illumination.

The doctor at the woo clinic was beardless, New Englandy in his khaki pants, very un-lama, half of my session he typed into his computer, sternly. At the end of this he said: There is no cure for what you have. But, he said, it's not going to kill you. You're going to have to learn how take care of yourself. 

At this I saw a cartoon tumbleweed blowing through the desert. Take care of myself? Me? In my imagination there was a cow skull like in a Georgia O'Keefe painting. I'm in no position to to that!

Then I thought, godamnit, that 70s TV show was right. I could have just stayed home. But I had to travel to find out that, Grasshopper, the mountain is within. 

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Song Birds

Small pleasures. In this world of transience, I knew about chocolate, coffee, cheese. The benefits thereof are  being found out by science: polyphenols and such. But producing music using one's own epiglottis and uvula? I'm convinced it's medicinal.

Holding forth like a canary or, operatically, like a lady with a helmet on, I sing to my children. Snippets, scraps from the American songbook, showtunes, specifically from my 8th grade operetta South Pacific in which I played the non-speaking role of Sailor No. 5 which I nailed. "Some Enchanted Evening."

Some Ella, the Fireside Book of Folksongs including "What Shall We Do With The Drunken Sailor," a cautionary tale of drink and pirates. I have no pitch and no talent save enthusiasm.

It's whistling in the dark, giving the finger to the eventual end, and I'm going to keep on doing it. Covering my ears and singing la la la, canary in the coal mine,
Oh My Darlin,' Clementine."

Wednesday, September 19, 2012


I wish chronic illness could be gussied up with a fine French accent, and made appealing with the addition of a petit scarf and a box of chocolat, but let's be real. I want to talk about how to parent when you're-- and I'm just going to lay out my symptoms for you, since we're being honest -- having "intestinal issues," fainting, facial muscle spasm and pain, blurred vision, panic, and generally want to crack your skull with a rock.

How does one go to a PTA meeting with an orthodontic bite plate in and fit in?

Does one read the kindergarden class Pills, or, The Surprising Things I've Learned Late Nights Researching PubMed?

There is no box on the volunteer sign up that says check here if you want to talk about a) mortality or b) the complete fucktardness of the American medical system. It's really exhausting to me to appear to be in the pink of health, as I drag myself through the carpool lane like an old female Galapagos tortoise.

Those of you who do this with grace, please, how do you do it? How honest are you with your children's teachers, other parents, your own children, yourself.

I Am Templeton, But Aspire to Be Charlotte

Charlotte’s Web: Radiant, Terrific, Some Book

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Raising Chickens for Dummies

White Rock X White Cornish

White rocks have dominated
the meat market
in fact. Almost every chicken 
you buy 
is a strain

of the previously mentioned cross. 
The advantage is they grow twice the size
on far

Friday, September 14, 2012

Chicken Stream of Consciousness

When I think about chickens this is what I think about: chicken, the pejorative, cowardly, lily-livered, milquetoast, Brave Brave Sir Robin from Monty Python who "quickly turned his tail and fled."
But don't let chickens fool you. They're biological cousins to the T. rex Sue. You know, Sue, the largest hen who ever roamed the earth?

I'm working on being more assertive. Not "more assertive" hell, I'm working on being just the slightest smidgen of assert. Ever so slightly having a point and standing(ish) for something. Maybe. I'm passive-aggressive as jellyfish.

But I think of my kids, those dear little wide-eyed sponges watching me and I want to model something for them besides drifting cantankerously and becoming really really repressed. So chickens! Wandering about, pecking, expressing their world views. 

Living out loud in the yard, clucking. They can't fly. Brave. I have much to learn from them; I already have names for them: Athena, Demeter, Bad-Ass, and Take No Shit. 

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Comb Jellies, They Do Not Sting

Measurements are maximum
umbrella diameters. Scale varies.
in Beroe species,
measurements are maximum.
Body flattened, sac-like, see text
For individual species. See individual plates
Venus Girdle,
page 32. Leidy's
Comb Jelly. Common.
Common Northern Jelly. Northern.  Some are flattened, sac-like
Take the gooseberry -- it's oceanic. It has lobes
that are are maxi-
mally longer than its body.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012


I've been reading about fitness and interval training as a way of anthropologically investigating how it is that other people live, the people are are fit. The people who might not only buy but also use hand weights. The people wearing Lutherville-Timonium 5K Turkey Trot t-shirts.

Channeling Margaret Meade, I decided to try out some  of this "interval training" so I went to "the track" and tied up my "running shoes" and began "to run."

Well, as the scientists say, fuck that.

Not a quarter mile in, I wanted to just absolutely die, my hip bones were crawling up into my ear canals, my calves, and Achilles tendon, the molten core of the earth. I figure the reason why is that my body is not meant to run.  I am not designed for it.

There is no shame in it, this is what Darwinism tells us: there are certain ecological niches, certain designs. My niche is smooth grassy slightly rolling surfaces - sometimes called lawns -- where I can loll -- I am designed for lolling -- in the the partial shade, eating whatever fruit is in season.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Atlantic Horseshoe Crab

Into shallow water in late spring 
adults migrate and lay greenish 

eggs in the upper intertidal zone. Sand colored.
Young move into deeper water gradually where they grow older and 

darker, horseshoe crabs can swim, but awkwardly 
and most of their time is spent rummaging
in the muck. Their main food: 
the mollusks and worms. 

They were once harvested, 
and some are still taken to be chopped up for lobster bait despite their armament of spines,

sharp tail spike, and wriggling clawed feet 
horseshoe crabs are harmless.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Ode To My 70s-Yellow Dutch Oven

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness...and soup, Keats might have said. The seasons are changing, it's time to bring out my 70s-yellow Dutch oven, he might have said.

Except you can't just bring it out, the thing is heavy, it is the weight of a neutron star, and requires that I say to my husband, Piss Boy! Fetch me that Dutch oven. (I've watched Mel Brooks' History of The World altogether too many times and -- of course -- The Producers, a seminal work of art, "I'm cold, I'm wet, and I'm hysterical" is how I frequently feel.)

My 70s-yellow Dutch oven is heavy, that helps to keep me grounded. With lighter pans, like fry pans, I am want to drift away like a balloon.

My Dutch oven is heavy and filled with delicious stew. I am good at chopping things up like vegetables, and my confidence, into leeetle tiny pieces, very very small and warm vegetable stew is ancient Ayurvedic goodness, restorative for Kappa-Pitta types like moi-self, and the modern world.

Thursday, September 6, 2012



The species common to our area
riddled with holes
it's blade is oarlike, unruffled in winter.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012


I was in a tube last week. And no, I was not going to be mailed, or born, or mummified or sent down Ol Man River though it felt like all three. I was scanned by very fast very loud magnets spinning around my braincase and my genre foreverafter is Star Trek because I carried home films of my brain and eyeballs, and optic nerves, and they look just like stalks, good God, Captain! like the eyestalks of a lobster!

Afterwards I should have been offered a cigarette, or a mint or something like maybe at the very least a piece of pie and a moist towelette because I was reamed, bored, sliced, cored. I now have images of my brain in side view, in slices, like a loaf of bread, all blessedly normal.

It's not my brain that's toute fucke as they say in French-speaking Canada although it is fucked up to look at your brain, it's very meta, very Hamlet-esque, there's you looking at your brain, who do that voodoo? You do, darlin' I am so ready for Halloween. In life we are in death. If you know me, you know I'm making my brain MRI films into fabulous window clings.