Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Day Of The Dead

In the midst of life in our bodies on this earth, we are in death. Under your plump crimson lips, there are teeth. 

Like zombies, we the living. Like zombies, like the caterpillar that a parasitic wasp has laid its eggs in. You are still alive; you still have carpool duty

I think about, aging, illness and death and I think about Dia de los Muertos and how much more potent it is spiritually, making a dead loved one's favorite meal and having lunch in a graveyard for hours than giving candy to cute kids wearing superhero costumes or ninjas. That's child's play. American do. We can beat this thing!  

Look at this animated meat, me tapping away at this circa 2005 keyboard, surrounded by my supplements and something like hope; it's obvious I am a nest for death. Les jeux sont fait, buddy. All you can do is dance to the horn section while you've got on the dancing shoes.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Ghost Story

I listened to @TTBOOK1's Ghost Stories about how we're all  haunted. By what who we've been. By what we've turned in to. It was the creepiest thing to walk through the mist-riven woods this morning thinking there's about a hundred of me crunching these leaves. Me at eleven was really spooked.

Look at that hawk. Maybe it's my dead Aunt E accompanying me.

Or maybe it's nothing, just the usual, sharing the same space time contiuum with raptor. Happens all the time. It would fly ahead of me, and wait on a branch until I caught up with it. And isn't that exactly what the dead do?

It's that maybe it's something, that keeps me singing "Stay Awake" in my head this time of year when  it does feel as if there is some thinning of the skin between the here and the there, that creepy lullaby from the otherwise lovable Mary Poppins. "Stay awake, don't rest your head. Don't lie down upon your bed. You're not sleepy as you seem, stay awake don't rest and dream."

My mother says she saw a ghost. A white embellishment, like embroidery at the edge of a Victorian handkerchief, hovering in the moonlight over the graveyard behind my grandparents farm house. I begged her to tell me about it again, and again, until in my mind's eye I saw it too. A little girl. Significantly, about eleven. My age. I imagined we would wave to each other and I'd say, Hey! I'd say, Hey! Do you collected model horses like I do?

But I've never really seen a ghost.

Thursday, October 25, 2012


I tested positive for mutated compound heterozygosity on the MTHFR gene. The MTHFR gene, which stands for methylenetetrahydrofolatewhateverthehell will from now on be referred to as motherfucker. What it means, basically, is that you've screwed the pooch. 

You can't process stress hormones and they build up in your tissues like a Woody Allen movie. It explains so much. The pamphlet (a silly word) that accompanied the test results said this mutation causes disregulation of cortisol and haywire inflammation (my word, haywire), and increases risks for rheumatoid arthritis, neuropsychiatric disorders, heart disease, diabetes, neural tube defects, alcoholism, among others. Among others. What else? Global climate change.

Then I defy you stars! is what I shouted at the pamphlet. Quoting Shakespeare in moments of stress is, more likely than not, something we with the genetic mutation motherfucker do.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012


I'm no runner (though I've tried.) I'm a walker, and ambler. Like Thoreau! is what I tell myself.

On my ambles across the fields I encounter mostly flatness and feldspar. When I encounter a terrain that is not flat, my heart races. I could be in Colorado. Look at this thing. A hill. It's like I'm in the Rockies. A grade! An obstacle! Something to surmount! Yes! Then, I begin to pant.

Chapel Hill, by my house, in the Western Shore Upland Region/Piedmont Plateau Province, is an intrusion of some kind. Volcanic. Weirdness, among the sedimentary flatness. I like to mow my way up it, pummeling the dandelions' heads off. Pow. Pow-pow and the seeds disperse into the air.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Incident But Not Accomplishment

E.B. White said of his dog, Daisy, "Her life was full of incident but not of accomplishment." That's Zen if you ask me.

It's exactly what I'm working toward. To be less end-results-driven, and more dog-like. In the process, sniffing and nosing, and establishing the perimeters. More chasing the mailman, like my dog used to do. Every particle of her otherwise sweet soul hated the mailman. "Take it as it comes," my mother always says, of life.

I can feel the stump of my tail wanting to wag.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Water Spirit

I've had a marine turn of mind, as happens to me periodically, as you know. The octopus inspires me.  I like the sinuous way it moves and that its mouth is in the middle of its body, which is where it seems to me it should be, not like ours is, at the top of a stalk of celery.

It has no bones. I respect that it gets the job done, despite. I respect those suckers, too. How weird it must be me to suction cup around a mollusk and muscle it open. How weird to it that I use a fork. I like  these juxtapositons, an octopus at the dining table, me, under sea, these tense questions, where we meet our fellow creatures and fail to feel superior.

What with my bellyaching, and meal planning, I would make a really awful octopus. But it, I think, can get itself out of complicated mazes and makes a decent human.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

And The Oscar Goes To...

It's Oscar Wilde's birthday today. I might wear a boutonniere to swim class. I hope people will ask me why I'm wearing a top hat and tails, too, and am filled to frothy overflow with light, bright, bubbly, wicked conversation. It is because I like to spread the Gospel of Oscar. Large swaths of The Importance of Being Earnest are lodged in the portion of my brain that houses executive function. I will pull ropes and pulleys, absolutely engineer a reason to have to say, "Cucumber sandwiches."

I think about Oscar a lot, and the craft of living, stage crafting a life as he did, even on days when it's not his birthday, like last week I was at a PTA meeting and I was wondering what he might have to say about yoga pants. "There are terrible temptations that it requires strength, strength and courage to yield to."

The Importance of Being Earnest is subtitled, "a trivial play for serious people" and I think, with a rose in my teeth, couldn't that also be the subtitle of life.

Monday, October 15, 2012

A Conversation With Oscar Wilde About My Clothes

Oscar Wilde:  "One should either be a work of art, or wear a work of art." What are you wearing?

Me: Organic bamboo fiber yoga pants.

O.W. How laughable you moderns are with your constant need for comfortable stretchy waistbands! It's like you are infants. Listen, dear,  "a well-tied tie is the first serious step in life."

Me: I'm kind of going through a thing right now that makes that hard.

O.W. "A mask tells us more than a face."

Me: Well, I don't believe in it.

O.W. That, my dear, is deadly. One ought to have something sensational. "With an evening coat and a white tie, anybody, can gain reputation for being civilized."

Me: You think so?

O.W.: Yes. "A really well made button hole is the only link between Art and Nature."

Me: You think I should embrace artifice?

O.W.: Indeed it is the only thing that keeps us real. "If a man treats life artistically, his brain is in his heart."

Thursday, October 11, 2012


My FSH level is high. My estradiol is low. Meaning that I'm entering into that period of not having any periods and becoming a fire-breathing gonzo loon, which I always knew I was behind closed doors, except now I have the lab tests to back it up and can emboss "Absurd, But Friendly" on my calling card.

Now, the big question: to HRT or not to HRT? a question Hamlet never had the ovaries to pose. The bastard. HRT if you don't know (and if you didn't know I'm not sure anymore that we can be friends, or even in the same county) stands for Hormone Replacement Therapy.

Estrogen is what was making me the gimlet-eyed Little Miss Helpful that I've always been, and now that that's plummeted to the bottom of the pickle barrel, I'm salty, what I want to do is dance around a cauldron of boiling bats and turpentine, and cackle.

I'm drying herbs on my windowsill, and reading herbaria, and The Wisdom of Menopause; how quickly I'm passing from maiden, through mother, to crone where most of us -- if we're lucky -- spend the majority of our lives.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Rough Old Broad

If I have a Muse she's a rough old broad. Her breath smells like candy-colored fennel seeds you scoop at the end of an Indian meal. Her wears her hair in a big bun. I like to imagine she has wings, little transparent ones, like an overweight fairy godmother.

She might have been a diner waitress, because she says things like, "Hon. You call that a sentence?" She likes to dance. I think she's no bigger than a thimble, but has a big Napoleonic complex, and suffers from delusions of grandeur when she says, "You should make that more Keats-y, hon."

No leftover apple pie is safe around her. She prefers things a la mode. When it comes to jewelry and especially to ropes of pearls the answer is always "Pourquoi non?" She loves a good time. I think she might live in a yurt. She keeps pigs. She has a cauldron. She's some esoteric form of Wiccan, and has a Celtic bent.

"A smidge" is how she refers to me. "C'mon, smidge, get crackin'" she says, and, "Stop describing me as if I were Queen Mab out of Mercutio's speech in Romeo and Juliet. I'm, like, her daddy."

Friday, October 5, 2012

Bat House

Like everyone else, I use Halloween as a chance to get my woodland nymph on. I've been a woodland nymph for 10 years in row, except in 2009 when I had swine flu, and was a sniffly feverish sunken-eyed couch nymph. That sucked.

This year I want something different - related, but different. I'm researching my unicorn options.

But, by Jove, and brownies and wee harmless tree sprites! By all things holy to me, mermaids and Ariel! Type "women's unicorn costumes" in to the Internet, and suddenly you're a sex addicted woodland freak. I've seen things. Unicorn horns of red latex, hooves that you can put on over your shoes, sparkle LED manes, and loads of prancing, prancing postures in bustieres that in no way resemble the splendid art historic unicorn tapestries located at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

I'm so not made to put on rainbow fur leg warmers. So screw unicorns, and woodland nymphs. What was I thinking? I'm in my 40s. I'm going as a bat house.

Thursday, October 4, 2012


I've been dabbling in Jung. Result: I have an interest in dreams. Thinking it was going to be very revealing,  I asked my kids "What did you dream last night?" What it revealed is that, in kids, there is a thin film, like just a cobweb, between the subconscious and the conscious, but for us adults there is a defensive wall of brick, like the Great Wall of China.

My son, 7, who had been pretending to be a cheetah all afternoon after school, said, "I dreamed I was a cheetah."

My daughter, 5, who had been drawing pictures of fairies said, "I was sleeping in a buttercup."

"What about you, Mom?" They asked, "What did you dream?" I didn't want to say a wolf and a madman and a faucet that was constantly dripping. So I said, "Oh, you know, sweeties,  a little of this, a little of that."

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Interior Decorating Ideas

One of the first things they cheerily (oh the unanimous, anonymous, famous, cheery "they" of the medical world) tell you to do is to "keep a pain journal."

I have one that I have named Fuck This Shit. Seriously, that's how I refer to my pain journal. "Hey, has any one seen Fuck This Shit? I know I left Fuck This Shit around here somewhere. Like, maybe, under the couch?"

It is interesting to keep a log of symptoms, but is it truly healing? I have my doubts. Fuck This Shit's first few chapters were a litany of miseries. Take this, from 9/1: Feel like my face is going to fall off. Iced it. Is life worth living?  Had a cookie. Etc. It goes on. So now I don't write in it anymore. Because frankly I don't want to know how much vitriol and despair I have, and who in this modern fast world of bananas doesn't?

I want to accentuate the positive, even if it is just at the moment the size of a flea. Smaller than a flea. An amoeba in a drop of pond water. So I scratched Fuck This Shit off the cover of my journal, and markered in a new name:  Interior Decorating Ideas. Paint swatches, and pretty vases, and such.

Monday, October 1, 2012


The Platonic ideal of a banana is banana bread.

Ideal banana bread consists of butter, flour, sugar, bananas (of course) walnuts (there is division among the ranks over this, but to the naysayers I say walnuts!) and dried shredded coconut. I got the idea of dried shredded coconut from Mark Bittman, on whom I have a crush, as I do on all rounded, balding men.

Anyhoo. Banana bread. Lush land, verdant, like the bosom of the New World, this island of quick bread cooling on my counter. A slice of warm banana bread is proof that the universe is breathing. There is life worth living. And it's in my kitchen.