Saturday, January 21, 2006

Adventures of a middle aged housewife

A few years ago I used to range out a lot further on my own. Looking back, (particularly after the story I'm about to relate) I can see that I was a murder statistic waiting to happen; at least somethings' dinner. But at the time I was still in a recovery mode (clinical depression; they finally got the medication right and it was like the lights came on again all over the world, as the song says) and I guess I was sort of going through a postponed idiot teenagerhood where you take stupid risks because it never occurrs to you that you'll die. See, I always thought I was going to die back in those days. Then I stopped thinking that in my thirties and so what do I do? Damn near drive my car off the side of a mountain.
Nobody ever knew where I was. It never occurred to me to tell anyone. I'd just load the idiot dogs up in the car and pick a direction. My husband still looks at me in surprise when I tell him about some place I went hiking or just visited for the day.
This one day I decided to take a trip up past Nooksack Falls. The falls themselves are just beautiful, and theres a nice park there for camping and hiking, but theres a road that goes over a bridge and up into the wilderness from that point. It's closed most of the year because of snow. Only for a few weeks can you take a car up it, and this was one of the weeks, so I went. The car I was driving was peculiarly suited for this kind of trek; a front wheel drive Toyota Corolla. A bitty tin box on wheels; yet I regularly went places in it that 4wheelers couldn't go because it was so light and had better traction.
Which made me cocky.
So I drove back, back, back into the hills, through clearcuts, over giant heaps of elk crap, past bobcats and bicyclists and deer and huge boulders bigger than a house....just merrily driving along. Stopping now and then to hike a bit, or take a splash in the creek, let the dogs play, pick some berries, having a good old time.
Went past the furthest point I'd ever been; just kept on going, checked the gas gauge, fine....went uphill, fine.....
waaaaaaaaaaaaay uphill, fine....
I finally noticed that for some time the landscape had begun to resemble a severely trimmed Japanese garden. Utterly beautiful....moss with tall threads of orange around artfully gnarled evergreens, wierd trippy rocks, that kind of thing. I rounded one corner and had to stop my car. It was too beautiful. There was a distant white mountain framed by the center of the valley I was in, capped by a huge sheet of white, a glacier cloud, that slowly lifted and fell in the wind over the peak like the worlds hugest sheet billowing. I have never seen anything like it.
All around me is this amazing biome, picked out in perfect diamond detail. There are eagles flying beneath me down in the valley thermals. The hillside next to me was full of little whistlepigs, and they were all whistlepigging around in complete indifference to me, making the dogs nuts...
Finally I get in the car and start the drive back down.
All it took was one glance away from the road and I drove my car off the side.
I hit the brakes and kept going for a few inches, then the undercarriage met some rocks and stopped.
My car had two wheels off the side of the mountain. The passenger side of the car was hanging off in space.
Now I sat there for what felt like a good twenty minutes trying to get my shit together. I wasn't panicked; you couldn't really say I was afraid either; I was just thinking at 100 mph.
Finally I very carefully got out, climbed down the hillside under my car, and built a ramp back up to the road surface with rocks. It's probably still there. I had all the time in the world and I sure in the fuck was not going anywhere. Then I jacked the front wheel up and put some extra traction rocks under it, same to the back wheel, got in, and drove away.
It only occurred to me several months later that nobody would have ever found me if something had happened. I had filed a movie of the terrain in my brain someplace I couldn't get to right away. Then all at once, several months later it all played back, and I just sat there and shook.
I was up in the alpine regions of some unnamed foothill of the Cascades. My car would have rolled down and fallen into some huge crevice in the rock field and never been seen again. The END. Two well-fed black dogs would have been found back at the bridge and been adopted by someone nice on vacation and that would have been it.
But it didn't happen, and here I sit sucking down a Miller, so thats 'ku.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Work is for people who can't garden.

So I'm sitting here by myself for the first time in days, enjoying the fact that I don't have to answer to another living soul. I may even watch the news later. Buy a six and put on some Howlin' Wolf, even. A sybarite; simply an unabashed, decadent kicks-vixen. Thats me.
When I get like this even the telephone is a rude intrusion so you're going to have to leave a message. Should I begin to feel lonely I'll go to the store or the library, or maybe garage sale-ing. Thats about the level of socializing I need to keep me happy. We went out to dinner last night with friends, and four people, even friendly people I like, was too much.
People in general are a complete mystery to me.I have no clue what goes on in other peoples minds. Making it not one whit better is the fact that, while I do very well on the phone, in person I have little tolerance for dipping around, and most people dip around. Thats standing in doorways as you're leaving and suddenly breaking into a huge conversation with the door hanging open and the cold getting in, or feigning a kind of conversational indecision that just drives me up the fucking WALL ('Do you want the salad?' 'No,.....well, I dont know...what are you having? I'll have whatever you're having.' ' I'm having the shrimp.' 'Well...I dont know. Maybe. Why don't you have the salad too? Or maybe I will have the shrimp. How much is the salad?')
Obviously this makes me the worlds worst employee. I do NOT work well in groups. Period. I do NOT learn quickly, unless it's just me and you and things aren't busy. I am NO GOOD WHATSOEVER in a panicked situation. Deer in the headlights. I do NOT tolerate the public and they are not always right.
Understandably, then, I do not work in restaurants. My vision of hell is the kitchen of a struggling one-star dinner house on Saturday night. But since I already had this job once, no matter what I've done in life from then 'til death, I can still hold my head up to St. Peter and say' Sweetheart, I worked for NENDELS', and he'll apologize and make me a cocktail while I wait for my limo. The one Brad Pitt is driving. Naked.
By the way, in this day and age there is absolutely no excuse for the kind of fitlhy, unsafe, abusive working conditions you find in most kitchens, but sadly the staff will collude with management to keep it from changing because they think they're this special breed, see, they can take it, they're tough and cool and all hard and shit. No, they're most often skag losers who couldnt find work any where else because theyre vile, and don't think management isn't taking full advantage of that fact...and don't think the health inspectors aren't taking full advantage of THAT. We used to shift the inspector cases of booze for our 'A' card. Left them outside the delivery door; he never set foot inside the place. Fucking disgusting.
I had my own business for awhile cleaning rental properties, and I'd probably still have it if my health had held out. When I work on my own I have to live up to my own expections, and they're really high ones. You would have been proud to live in a property after I'd gotten done with it. Theres places I drive past to this day with happy families living in them that make me think "Geeze, if you only knew what I took outta there...." I would be driving down the road with a full load of garbage, going to the dump, and I would pass some real estate babe in her Nissan with her hair all done and her dress and I'l feel so fortunate!
I had a deal going with the guys who ran the dump-they could scavenge my load before I took it up top, and once I was up top I could scavenge without getting shot at. Doesn't that sound skeezy? And Joad? Maybe it is. But I've helped furnish lots of college kids houses with what I found up there and I earned a nice piece of change doing it, too. Remember, this is the 21st century. People in America toss things because theres a new model out. For example, I cannnot tell you the number of times I picked up brand new bridal shower gifts that the newlyweds hadn't seen fit to donate for some reason...probably because charity resale is for icky poor people. So they put it (new cuisinarts, full sets of towels.....etc.) in the garbage bag with all the wrapping paper and ribbons and took it to the landfill, so that nobody icky and poor could ever get their hands on their unwanted stuff EVER. Or something. Who knows?
I sure didn't end up icky or poor out of it. Cha-ching! I had a set of muscles on me like a swimmer, too. But since I have asthma I also had a neverending case of crud which finally blossomed into bronchitis and from there, finally, pneumonia; which feels like getting better from bronchitis, so I was walking around there dying for awhile and had no idea.
Went back to college, got a two-year in admin. ABSOLUTELY HATED IT. I'm good at the skills, just not at the lunchroom aspects of it. Office culture, is the term. The most bland, safe, beige, television watching bunch of people I have ever met. You cannot go outdoors; you cannot wear anything comfortable (if you're female) and you are not allowed to be anything other than a paper cutout. I think I was a pleasant person to work with, on the main, but it ate away at me from the inside to where I'd drive home and just cry, feeling like an empty shell. I slept11 hours a night; just exhausted, although all I really did was make copies and tot up numbers.
So I don't do that any more.
You oughtta SEE my garden.

Did you happen to see in the news where they've genetically engineered pigs that glow in the dark? This is no shit; luminous pigs. Just regular pig-type piggies that glow green. You know what I want? A Luminous Wrinkle Dog. Or a bunch of them. I would take them for a run at night through the field behind our house, and it would look like I was being chased by a Blob family. Or I'd make a little howdah and put the Gooneybird on one's back and let them waddle around. Oh my God, the Blobs have taken my grandson! They've made him their King!
Going on a beer run now. Do ya latah.

Babies are good.

Being a grandparent is SOOO much better than being a parent; you can't even begin to imagine. I get to mind my grandson during the weekdays and on the main he is a sunny little person. Right now the Goonybird (my grandson) is happily eating Ritz crackers and watching kids tv.
I have no problem with letting the Gooneybird watch tv; I've watched all the shows with him and we picked out ones we liked. I'm pretty impressed with a lot of what they have these days for the little-littles, actually. I just make sure its the channels without commercials. I've got so that I can tell what time it is by the sound of the show coming from the next room; Go, Diego, Go! means it's 1/2 hour til naptime.
Diego and Dora are the shoutiest damn kids, though.
Diego-Hi! I'm Diego. I help ANIMALS. Oh oh, do YOU hear THAT? What animal makes THAT noise? Do YOU know what ANIMAL makes a noise like THAT?
Dora- help BOOTS find his WAY to the ICE CREEEEM STAND! say, ICE CREEEEM! Saaaaaay ICE CREAM! Say ICE CREAM! Good! You helped BOOTS find the ICE cream!
Indoor voices, for Gods sake!
We have a weird show here called The Doodlebopps, which is-and don't quote me because I'm not sure I've understand it-three aliens who are related somehow, in a band, who are little kids but tower over everyone else on the set. DiDi, Rooney and Moe Doodlebopp, they're called. I have no idea what the point of this show is, unless it's to indoctrinate children early into attending live rock concerts or something.
The actors who play these alien rockers are actually quite talented people. I know one of them is queer as fuck in real life, and I wonder if he gets a lot of play ('Oh man, you'll never guess who I just blew in the men's room-Rooney Doodle!')I hope they go on to have fabulous careers because, you want to talk about paying your dues. They have to wear a metric ton of makeup and total bodysuit costumes with just their faces sticking out, AND sing AND follow choreography that often includes huge casts of kids AND memorize lines- 'Oh Moe! Don't worry; you'll get big someday!' 'Aw, but I wanna be big NOW!" At the very least they deserve a raise. I hope they get craft service because they have to be losing a lot of weight jumping around like that in those foam rubber nightmares.
Another strange one is Breakfast With Bear. This is Bear from the Big Blue House, which he leaves at intervals to roam at large and visit children and have breakfast with them; and this merits a program of its own.
Bear has the patience of a saint. Some of these kids are just total tumors; so utterly gobsmacked by having this giant carnivore in their homes that they have no idea what to do other than stare at the camera and mumble.
The person inside that costume is another unsung hero of television. He manages to project this cuddly, kind, loving personality from inside a seven-foot costume with one arm stuck straight up over his head and the other one hampered by a four fingered glove covered in layers of foam and dynel, and then only allowed about 12 inches for his inseam so he has to swing himself along as though he were wearing a ball and chain. And that bear suit is grubby. You can date the programmes by the darkening mats in poor Bear's fur along the motile side. Folks, give the guy a break for the love of God, WASH THE COSTUME.
Another puzzler is the Backyardigans. There seems to be no message whatsoever. That's not altogether a bad thing, but you gotta wonder why Nick picked it up. They're supposed to be jousting with Disney for the hearts and minds of toddlers, meaning mommies and daddies, so you think there'd be something, like 'be kind to animals' or 'don't pick up crap off the sidewalk and put it in your mouth' or something. But no. Its just a happy little show with the best music, and little dinosaury-moosey kid things that play make believe games in their back yards.
We had to stop watching Blues Clues last summer while Grandpa was on the couch. Grandpa memorized Blues voice and started imitating it to make the baby laugh...which was funny, but then grandpa started doing it all the time. And that was still kind of funny; a 275 lb biker with full sleeves toting a hysterically laughing infant and going 'Oo oo oo OOOOOO!' in the middle of Wal-Mart. But then it became a kind of verbal tic. You'd hear him drop a wrench out in the garage and go 'Oo OOOO!" when the baby was in the house, a couple hundred feet away, taking a nap. So we turned Blue off for awhile.

The Stainless Steel Amazon

see her blog here:
Theres naked stuff. naked, naked, naked. Boy, is it naked. I tell ya. Such nakedness.
Parenting is a tough issue to try and write about. I know exactly what I'm supposed to say so that I sound like 'hip mom, been there, dealt with that', which you can go to any motherhood site on the freakin web and read; and arent they interesting? (Where are all these caring, baby-first mommies? Out on the sidewalk in front of my house with baby in a stroller at 11 at night taking a ramble down the block to go pick up a deck. Swear to God. They go by every night at 10:30, and return all jolly and fuck by 11, raucously discussing attached parenting issues. Or something.) I suppose I could go the route of 'cute things the kid did' type stories, *yawn*. As you may well imagine, those type of stories take on a somewhat Dadaist shading when taken out of context, given THIS family.
So I'll just brag.
The Stainless Steel Amazon came into the world in the attic of a house in Seattle, and the first thing she did was take a steaming evil black babyshit on her father. We had to trade that one in and get a new one. She shit on him, too, but luckily he was brought up in Alaska, eating whale blubber, riding harleys naked through the blizzards to carry serum to smallpox villages cut off by the weather, and killing small animals with his teeth; so he was made of sterner stuff, and we kept that one.
She went to public school, got good grades, was nominated for the gifted students program and eventually finished her 12th year on the honor roll, despite which she managed to obtain an education. Puberty was evil, evil; she survived that. Boys ran the gamut of sweet darling throw pillows to sweet darling abusive disgusting sick pervy wads of fuck that need to die before they can reproduce. She survived them quite nicely. She survived the parents of these boys too, which was no mean feat; a couple of these folks were total turd casseroles. She purely refused to be cowed down by anything or anyone. She had no problem telling adults to go take a flying leap when they were trying to run that 'you have to respect me; I'm older than you' bullshit on her...she called a fool a fool. AND SHE WAS RIGHT EVERY SINGLE TIME.
She never stopped talking to me.
She is a fantastic mother. She gave me the honor of helping deliver her son, and she had him right here in my front room ( the carpet's been cleaned). She had a midwife who took care of all the 'southern hemisphere' stuff while I mainly tried to stay out of the way and be useful and not tweak. And she was a goddess. She was the image of God. It was amazing. Her son was born a little buddha, quiet and cerulean with a little caput indicating divinity, and when he woke up, he looked as though he already knew everything in the world. I cut the cord. It was ooky.
She and her son live in a cool little house in the woods adorned with tibetan flags. When she isn't there she is either attending college or working.
She is a drop dead gorgeous blonde bombshell with a non-traditional job and a kid. She can do incomprehensible mathematical equations pages and pages long; she put together her own computer, she votes and she isnt drug addicted, on welfare, or a furry.
I'm happy with her.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

I have a headache; so you get a list.

...The motherfucker refuses to go away, too. This headache feels like all the initial agony of snorting crosstops without the subsequent blood and itching.
I feel cheated.
Did you ever wonder who invented the idea of snorting things, just as a passing thought?
So you get a bunch of teenage cave guys sitting around bored and one says something like 'You know, man, you ever think how a good sneeze is like, you know, blowing wad, almost?' (there are people who think this, too. gaaah.)
So after the other teenage cave guys get done telling him what a fag he is they all start trying to sneeze and they agree out of teenage cave peer anxiety. 5000 years later someone says 'Dude. If it's this good when you use your finger, maybe it's better when you use a stick.' And the rest of them all tell him he's a fag, and then go out looking for sticks. Sticks, rocks, pinecones, all leads to refined heroin. Evolution has been set in motion; its' course is inevitable.
Although by the time I was in my partying prime, it was
'Dude, check it; Pats' out.'
'No way. Wait, he is. Fuckin Pat, you're bagged, dude.'
'Piss on him! Piss on him!'
'No wait, stick this up under his nose, dude! Make him sneeze!'
'No, fuck, geeze! He pissed himself, man...oh nasty!'

That works, by the way.

Thinking about this lead me to an interesting realization: lots of fabrics have this effect on me. What the hell is my problem; I swear...
and so 1. TOILLE DE JOIE
Jesus Christ I hate this shit. It's little vignettes of happy peasants and rural scenes in one color on a contrasting background. And it just looks like a dogs ass. People seem to lose all sense of dignity when confronted with this fabric; you see entire rooms done in the shit and it's supposed to look very 'FRONSHHH' and chic. Red toille is popular now; an entire room done in red toille looks like an abbatoir. Hows that for french?
2. Wool. This was the nasty stuff they made our school uniforms out of. It smelt like dog and it felt like wearing burlap. What a fucked up thing to do to a little kid.
3. Heavy upholstery orlon weave with a shine. GEAHHHHHHHH! BLEAAAH! EEEEGH! I can't even touch the stuff. Its hot and slidey and rippy and pilly. GAAAAAAH.
4. Early American furniture from the 1940's. It was brown. and yellow. Everything wood was turned; everything upholstered had a little skirt and a bow. Including the lampshade, perched atop a rusty milk can turned into a lamp. Along with a braided rug and a coffee table made to resemble a cobblers bench-rendering it unuseable for coffee or anything else since they had a downward slope of about 40 degrees- you have the charming, Early American ambience of a room full of squatty Native American Michelin men in frumpy dresses looking for a place to set down their coffee. Add to this the fact that in the 1940's most people didn't have upholstery vacs and DID smoke, and you have a fatal attack of asthma waiting to happen. By the time I came along in the 1960's this stuff, no matter whos' home it was in, was uniformly god-horrid; reeking of stale cooking, cigarette smoke and crusted with filth. gheeeegh.
5. Plastic clothes. I mean real clothes made out of plastic, like nylon and ban-lon and polyester. When they came back into fashion in the 90's I predicted a national outbreak of yeast infections; and I was right.
6. Trashed up homes and yards with kids. I hate this. You want to live like this; fine, don't inflict it on children. And don't live near me unless you want, say, a ten-pound bag of ancient freezerburnt halibut in your foundation vent. Or my cat box contents dumped underneath your bedroom window in the deep weeds where I know you'll never find it because you haven't put blade to grass since 1967. (Neither of these people had children, by the way. Why should I add to some poor kids' problems?)
7. Chronic lateness. These fice always know exactly what they're doing and they invariably think it's one of their endearing little quirks. it makes me want to go out with a baseball bat and bash out all the windows on their car.
8. Art where the peoples eyes lOOk out right at you. I'm sure the artist thinks this gives the image a lot of impact. No, its just creepy. I was brought up in a home filled with pictures of Jesus and the Pope and Mary and they were all watching you as you sat on the pot or put on your underpants. And most of them were inviting you to explore the inner workings of their chestal parts by holding open their ribcages to show you their hearts STUCK FULL OF THORNS AND ON FIRE WITH THE BLOOD DRIPPING ALL DOWN AND SHIT. See, thats just unneccessary. The eyeballs were more than enough, thanks.
9. Those phony graveyards with all the little white crosses and a sign saying 'Cemetary of the Innocent'. Every year some dutch fuck puts one of these up on the main road leading into the United States from Canada. Welcome to America! We're a bunch of ignorant shitholes! Have a nice stay!
I apologize, Canada.
10. Long descriptions of the layout of someones' house in the middle of a story. It never matters a fuck to the story and it's boring. One hauntings site I visit has a bad case of this; whenever the person submitting starts one of these long architectural digressions I just move the fuck along because the main incident is always going to be something utterly horrifying like 'and so I saw a shadow move across the hall into the bathroom.' ( Otherwise a great site you should go visit if you like getting so scared you feel like you're going to pee yourself.)
11. People who claim to be vampires. This is not about clothes; I kind of like the clothes, actually. No, I mean the lame dips who claim to be actual supernatural vampires.
There is no such thing as vampires. Not energy vampires, not psychic vampires, not blood drinkers, not any kind of vampires.
You are not a vampire.
Do these people hold jobs? Yes. They are the people you see in the background when you drive up to the take out window, there behind the fryer thinking "Yes, you see me now in my paper hat, but in actuality I am Demonicus the Dark and I thirst for your blood! Muahahahaaa!"
Your mother must be so proud.
12. Certain people. And I don't know what it is about these people either, but something about them makes me want to go up and grab them by the front of the shirt and slap them till they bleed. One is that bald dude who plays the asshole cop (IIIII hurt my self, todaaaayyy.... to see if I still feeeeel.....) Just looking at him pisses me off.
13. This guy my husband knows named George. Ho, the things oy've done! The ploices oy've been! I live in my car and never bathe! But I party with ( ) and sell drugs to ( ) and I used to own ( ), ( ), and I've blah blah blah blah yeah, right, ok, fine, bye.
14. Packrat people. Specifically their houses full up to the tits with CRAP. And dead newborn kittens you have to chip off the floor and empty jars and plastic butter tubs and old clothes and FILTH. I cleaned rental properties and I saw a lot of this. You had to wait 30 days or something before you could shift the stuff because of abandonment laws as I recall, and so I'd come to these shitheaps 30 days after the health department had posted them and the tennant had been evicted, after having had all the time in the world to move it and there it'd be, festering. I emptied out truckloads and truckloads of shit from these places-and sometimes there they'd be, the former tenants, parked in their car across the street looking at you. Not one thing was of any real use or value, ever. It was all crap. Garbage bags full of rolled up plastic bags. Bread heels. Shoes, baseball caps, golf balls... 25 pound sacks of potatoes that had turned into LIQUID...broken bicycles; oh, if I had a nickel for every one of those...and Jesus, the clothes, boxes and boxes of clothes smelling like stale people, stuck together in bricks with mold and cat piss, closets stuffed so full the doors had been forced open and the striker plate was torn out of the jamb........this still makes me so angry I get sick to my stomach. Grew up with a hoarder. Nuff said.

more later? its probably inevitable.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Little girl likes her brain

Gentle reader, the time has come to admit something.
I like my life.
As lives go it's not 24, certainly. Living out here in my rural idyll has not made me go all 'Pilgrim at Tinker Creek' (bleugh) either. Still, its a mighty good life.
Do you know many people who can say that with a straight face?
I think mainly I like my life so much because I spend little time worrying about other peoples opinions about it. So I do as I fucking please, and what fucking pleases me is, well, lots and lots and lots of things.
The thing I am proudest of is that I have a very well stocked mind. I worked hard at it too. If you ever have to be trapped in a submarine with me, I will be the one you can count on to go batshit and start eating people and screaming and banging my head.
No! That is a joking, ha ha! Oh, is so to my humor lip!
Actually you can safely count on me to be the last person who takes that route. I'll be the one writing graffitti on the bulkheads with a burnt match while all the weeping tweakers trip over me as they scramble around in their own urine and vomit. I know how to keep myself amused.
The key to having a well stocked mind is READING.
If you have a library card, you are wealthy. The American public library system is the gem and envy of the rest of the world (except for maybe Great Britain. But did you know you can access their system using ours? Hooooooo, yes. Dig the fuck outta that.)
Once you have a well stocked mind the rest of the world falls into perspective. Really, you become freed from lots of greed and envy and coveting of things simply by being well informed. You stop making quite so many bad decisions for the same reason...with nothing moral, nothing that takes great will involved, just by simply having taken in the information. You have to agree, thats a likeable thing right there. Really. You HAVE to agree. It's my blog.
I also like my life in large part because I finally chose the right person to spend it with. Ladies and gentlemen, this was due to nothing on my part at all. It was pure luck. (Thats all I'm going to say on the subject because I don't want you theiving, man-hungry vipers bothering him at work. now that ive made that comment, watch; i claim to be a feminist a few more lines down.)
I am a homemaker-type person, as it turns out. Someone has to be, and lo and behold it was me...the last person I ever expected, and the last person probably LOTS of people ever expected. I really like it. I really do. I'm good at it, too. And so thats what I do, and when it comes to what I do I am serious as a mass fucking grave full of heart attack victims.
That makes me just about a minority of one, until I go through this Rod Serling warp in space and wake up in the same boat as the christian separatist moms (and they all squish over to one side in horror). Nobody else takes us seriously except Martha Stewart.
Let me digress . Well, no; screw ya- you have no choice in the matter.
The womens movement sure did JACK SHIT to raise the average persons level of respect for the diaper changer and the goer-to of school programs in the middle of the day. They say 'every mother is a working mother' but in reality the general feeling is, if you don't work outside the home it's probably because you're stupid.
You know what? Fuck'em.
I'm a feminist; I raised the Stainless Steel Amazon to be a feminist; I daresay having lived the courage of my convictions every goddamn day for the last 21 years makes me more truly a feminist than nine-tenths of the broads out there with NOW stickers on their cars. Refusing to put up with second place no matter where you're planted is what makes you free...although you don't spend as much time wafting through daisy filled meadows wearing tulle as the douche commercials would leave you to believe.
Although my present life kind of does resemble a douche commercial, now that I stop and think. And don't you wish you could say the same thing? No, really. I have a garden here that I waft through quite frequently, a real one full of plants, and tourists stop and take pictures of it. It's kind of strange thinking that I'm in some strangers vacation memory book wearing a holey 'Speed Racer' t-shirt with my bra full of compost. But it is truly glorious in the spring and summer, and maybe its pretty enough so that people mistake me for a yard gnome.
It's the second major garden I've ever done and it is quite frankly fabulously beautiful. If there is anything femmy-girly about me, this is where it gets fully expressed. Right smack out on the main road through town with a big hippie standing in the middle of it.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

everything painted after 1519 is a footnote.

Leonardo DaVinci was born in 1452 and died in 1519. By the time his light is extinguished America is discovered, old works of science are re-discovered and translated so that learning can proceed, and Roderigo Borgia has shit all over the face of Christendom.
But what a time to have been alive! And what a time to have had the quality of mind able to appreciate it!
The idea I get of Renaissance Florence is a mixture of Chicago during Prohibition and Enlightenment England. But all on a very intimate scale. All the major players knew each other in Florence and the surrounding area. Undoubtably most of the minor ones too. As in any city at any time in history, human society was a perpetual event, 24 hours a day, slaves out killing rats talking to washerwomen dodging the half-feral pigs and dogs that swarmed around eating the garbage, pimps talking to drovers, women and children carting in in produce before sunrise, everyones conversation overheard by everyone else and gossiped about from window to window across the streets, written on the alley walls of the church where people went to shit and repeated in the kitchens and on the stairs and finally at the tables of the great. Everyone knew everyone else, at least by sight, and every other person lived in on the same land their first Etruscan ancestor broke with his plow.

But for some reason-and I'll spare you my musings on that-the general feeling was no longer as conservative as it had been. This is not to say they all turned into rampaging hippies, because after all even Leonardo was a devout Catholic. But there was just a very subtle shift on the part of the average person away from the rigid fire and brimstone side of religion. Into that moment comes the greatest creative mind and the greatest visual artist the world has ever seen.

You'll just have to swallow that sweeping assertion.

DaVinci's work has been called the apotheosis of the art of the middle ages, and I think that's very apt. He mentions Giotto with great respect. He worshipped in churches painted with the art of the past and the past before that, learned his craft at the knee of a man very much bound by the conservative tastes of the rich. Although he pissed off a lot of people, it wasn't because of the quality of his work, it was because he was an asshole and a prima donna. DaVinci painted nothing you could call iconoclastic. What he did was paint what everyone else painted, but better, far better, and with unbearable truth.

Now, I am nobodies new age goofball. Honest, I'm not. Feel free to feel just as weirded out by the following passage as I still am, but I swear to you this is how it was. Bear in mind that what I am describing is an object well over 400 years old. It is generally a pretty thing but I wouldn't want it in my house to live with, though it was a painting I had always admired and so when the Leonardo DaVinci exhibit came to Vancouver I was there to see it.

I've been to a lot of museums; I've seen The Raft of the Medusa, I've stood in front of Picassos' Guernica, which is huge and powerful and everything its reputation says it is. But when I confronted one of DaVinci's paintings for the first time in person it went through me like a knife through the chest. Like I didn't exist.

I felt overawed. I felt like I was in the presence of nature instead of art. I still can't describe what I felt but it was bigger than me.

The painting was his Virgin and Child with St. Anne. Mary is seated on St. Anne's lap. She reaches down to pick up the infant Jesus, who plays with a lamb. I can take it apart into ingredients.

The subject of the painting is pretty standard; it's already been done hundreds and hundreds of times before Leonardo. The image of Mary the woman is taken from life, the studies he made of this woman and her child still exist though we don't know their names. The actual sitter, the one modelling the drapery and the pose was a young man. He probably sat for every adult figure. Marys' hands are the hands of DaVinci, which are the hands of his terracotta Lady with Primroses and his final St. John the Baptist too.

So those different elements come together in crafting this picture, pretty basic stuff. These follow after having met the demands of buying pigments and grinding them, and selecting a ground and preparing that, transferring the drawing using tissue pierced with a pin and a bag of soot, only being able to paint in details for minutes a day, carefully protecting the unfinished work from dust and smudging over weeks in a rural environment not terribly kind to delicate things, letting the painted areas cure, picking out hairs and dust with a needle and then having to patch up over that and match the tints, and always being a slave to the temperature and humidity and the angle of the sun and the time of day.

Let's step back a bit further yet. There was no electricity. Water was taken by hand and used and re-used until it was black. If you happened to let a minor abrasion become septic you could die from it. There was little or nothing that separated a person from the perils of the natural world.

That there was anyone with the leisure and inclination to paint, or to perfect the craft of portrayal is extraordinary, and that the same person was able to expand their genius into that goes past extraordinary no matter what the era. And yet there was this man who infinitely surpassed those boundaries, who took on a subject ridiculously beyond the grasp of anyone human and succeeded, who captured and revealed the image of perfect love.

And yes, everything after that is anticlimactic.

Wherein I extoll the virtues of rural life

I'm sitting here looking out my window wondering to myself, 'self, why is the sky a funny color?' It has stopped raining, thats why. So for the moment, voila-it's 50 and the pussywillows are budding! Yet at a moments notice a vicious, dry northeaster could sweep through and freeze everything down to the ground in a matter of hours. Standard winter bullshit.
Weather notwithstanding, government helicopters and planes continue to fly over regularly so that I will feel safe. Thank you, America. I think.
See, I live close to an international border, and GW. likes to keep an eye on our strategic sileage stockpiles. Meanwhile, on a nearby road which parallels the boundary (which for some reason the DEA hasn't discovered yet), suitcases filled with ganja and money go flying back and forth like tennis volleys in the night. Every so often a farmer on our side* lucks out when one of them busts open, provided he gets there before the rightful owners or the livestock do (cows will eat bud. Got milk?)
You know how in crime neighborhoods the quickie marts sell shit like roses in glass tubes and butane cans? Well around here, what they sell is mini maglites. TONS of them. No streetlights out in the middle of a pasture. Hard to see. And so, on any given summer night, on one side of the road theres a bunch of people named Vanderveen and Buizenhoffer tiptoeing through the cow flops in the darkness with their little flashlights harvesting unwanted samsonite bags, while on the-we'll call it 'Rabbitsford'- side of the road, (and you can see this clearly from my backyard) there'll be huge police chases taking place with gunfire and the whole shizzmafuck. Later on you can go inside and watch the same incident on To Serve and Protect. Thats Cheese COPS, for those of you unwise in the ways of the wily Canadien.
I won't be moving in the forseeable future, though. Well, fuck; it'd take more than that, for sure. ..I have a great house sitting on four city lots that I have filled with beautiful flowering plants. Out my bedroom window I can watch eagles add limbs to the nest they've been building in the same tree for the past five years. This thing is half the size of a Volkswagen by now. They fledge at least two eaglets out of it every year. Theres a creek two blocks from my front door. It runs through the center of town (or the handful of business that we refer to as town, anyway.) In the gloaming you can watch coyotes slinking along the waterside using the creekbed as their highway. Trumpeter swans and great blue herons feed there. In the spring huge salmon come schooling up from the ocean. I mean, right through the center of town, two blocks from my front door.
This isn't wilderness,'s dairy country. My neibors still live on small farms and raise chickens and sell weaner pigs and butcher their own beef in the field. You see rural France touted as this giant paradise for foodies, but this is the middle of heaven. Homemade cheeses made in real homes, for the love of God. Duck eggs. Quail. Game. Organic everything. Everything.
In August, nearly every road is a jungle pathway through huge fields of feed corn. One year for a surprise I took my daughter out in the middle of the night to watch the Perseiid meteor shower. We sat on the trunk of the car and watched streaks of stars falling for hours. Coming back late one night we even saw Northern Lights. I pulled over and turned off the car, and we could hear them. Imagine that.

*On their side, they luck out even better. They get beautiful, green, untraceable cash that buys 1/3 more baby wipes at Zellers. Although theirs is prettier.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Wherein I decide this blogging thing is so much fun, I'll go for two.

Can you tell I have cabin fever?
It's been raining for 27 days straight. Actually its been raining here for thirty days straight; but the national news, in its wisdom, has declared that if it doesn't happen in a major city then it simply doesn't happen. So anyway, what with watching a one-year-old and living out in the ass slap of nowhere I get out of the house on the average of once a week during the winter months. This sucks.
On the other hand, it leaves me with lots of spare time on my hands as long as nobody needs a diaper. I have wallpapered my dining room and part of a bedroom with sheet music, which looks pretty snazzy, I have made some nice abstract collages, I have read some books and I have spent some time on the internet. I have also had a lot of time to think about things. And you, gentle reader, reap the benefit.
Comes article the second:

I see that lately 'bacon' has become something of a trend reference, and I have nothing but good feelings towards bacon boosters. Bacon is particularly good. After all, its a food. And food is good.
Many people, mainly female ones, fear bacon. Probably because of a. the fat, b. the salt c. the nitrates d. it's made of pig and pigs are icky. I don't. I fear no fat, including my own. There exists not one calorie or carbohydrate that I eschew. This is not to say that I have an athletes metabolism-just that I've stopped caring, and it stopped being a problem, weirdly enough. I have only been on one serious diet in my life and after losing 10 pounds I said 'fuck this, I want a goddamn ice cream cone.' Am I built like Kate Moss? Oh Christ no. Never have been. But the point is that when I fianlly decided that I liked to eat more than I wanted to look like Kate Moss, I didn't automatically start shovelling pasta unstoppably into myself like a salmon conveyor. I weigh something like 185, and I look fine.
Heres the deal. I'm not a six year old boy. I am a middle aged woman. Period. And while other women are weighing cod filets, all the world is open to me, the whole good world of food. I eat precisely what I want; when I'm full I stop and if I want more I get more. Sometimes I even cook using that most dreaded of all substances... chicken fat, y'all-the 'fattiest of all the fats' according to Richard Simmons.
Have some broccoli, Richard. No really. You can eat all the broccoli you want.
I remember the very first morbidly obese person I ever saw; I was 12 and we were at Disneyland. Remember 'Pearl' from the first Blade movie? Yeah. So there we were waiting in line to go on the submarine ride....her chins spread out onto her shoulders and rested on her boobs, her boobs hung to her stomach, one down either side of it like a pair of rubber bota bags, and her stomach hung to her knees and daddled about out from under her blouse like a big, red, flubby scrotum.
I didn't see another one (a morbidly obese person, geeze) until I was in my 20's. And then suddenly, they were everywhere. I don't mean people with glandular disorders or people taking cortisone or people who are just built big-I mean people who have invested serious time and money into doing this to themselves and who now look like a pile of ambulatory tits.
Tell me why. What is the attraction in stuffing oneself like a dog at the dump, as though next week the entire world was going to STOP PRODUCING GROCERIES? For fucks sakes; eating too much hurts.
Yeah, I'm a heartless cunt, right? Thats aside the point.
See, according to the literature on the subject, I grew up with all the psychological issues that morbidly obese people have, minus the avoirdupois. And it came to pass that those issues finally landed me in group therapy with five other women, all of whom had stated issues with overeating and weight. And yet during the entire year I was there not one of them brought up the subject. Yet they were the first ones to take offense; we would go out for lunch and they were cutting their eyes around and imagining insults everywhere, going on at great length about how ashamed it all made them feel. But God HELP you if you finished your meal; they'd blush and look down and titter and smirk. I had no idea what their problem was for the longest time, but apparently in their eyes, my not leaving half a sandwich on my plate equalled being a rude, obnoxious, gluttonous pig. I was the only one who never went home with a doggy bag. I was also the only one who a. wasn't morbidly obese, and b. didnt have a BACK SEAT FULL OF CRUMPLED DOGGIE BAGS. Now tell me, what the fuck is that??
See, now I'm hungry. More later.

Wherein I finally join the 21st century

With the beginning of this blog I officially enter the 21st century. You see, I thought I'd wait awhile and see if I liked it or not and if I didn't, I wasnt going to buy in. You know.
I spend the weekdays watching my grandson, who, as you might imagine is perfect and can do no wrong in my book. During the weekends my husband and I spend equal amounts of time avoiding my grandson (and his mom, the Stainless Steel Amazon) and responsibility in general. I am not otherwise employed because I don't have to and you can't make me.
I live in a tiny little town in the middle of East Buttfuck. Here, amidst the blossoming republicans, conservative middle management nobodies and christian nutbags ( for which there seems to be no known pesticide) I finally decided that if I didn't have my full, unedited say for a change I was going to have a BIG ol' cow. I assure you nobody wants that.
So, why should you care, gentle reader? Now theres a very good seem to have a place to post comments; thats nice, I forewarned, though-theres a reason I live out here in the middle of East Buttfuck; and it's because I'm not terribly SOCIAL.
What follows is my first article:
Born just after the cut-off date to be a regulation Boomer (which is fine because geeze; what a dorky name) I fall into the lost demographic. We were the younger brothers and sisters of the boomers. We are the kids who watched our older, hippified sibs get arrested for protesting whatever the issue happened to be that week, we saw Vietnam on the news and were old enough to understand what was going on, we lived through the first gas crisis, Nixon, Kent State and all the rest.
Despite which most of you turned into your parents anyway.
Not good parents either. Crappy parents who 'can't stand what kids these days are wearing.' Who 'can't stand the stupid n-bomb* music kids nowdays listen to.' People who actually say 'In my day we never did things like THAT.' To which I reply :
NOTE: To any kids who are reading this right now, if your parents are piously asserting the aforementioned, your parents are full of SHIT. The only exceptions are those of you whose parents were raised in remote caverns on the MOON.
Yes, my daughter knows, and no, it didnt cause her to 'lose respect' for me. Being a teenager caused her to lose respect for me.
What happened? I'll tell you what happened; y'all talked big before you had any responsibilities, but that first kid or that first big debt came along and you caved the fuck IN because it was the path of least resistance.
1. People my age who vote republican make me sick. I know you remember Nixon, dumbasses. Not to mention Reagan. Yet you do it anyway. Now our kids are dying in another Vietnam. Morons.
2. People who automatically hate anything that people younger than themselves like make me sick.
3. People my age who listen EXCLUSIVELY to the same music they listened to their senior year make me sick. Honestly, how many times can you listen to 'Cat Scratch Fever' before it causes some kind of brain damage?
4. People my age who bought suv's like they thought gasoline sprang from a magic fountain in the front yard of the White House, as if there wasn't ever going to be another gas crisis make me sick AND they make my ass bleed. Remember waiting for three hours in gas lines and then having to help your dad push the car to the pumps to fill up? On alternate days? And only ten gallons, then? Duh? Smoking all that dope DID fry your memory.
5. People who flatly deny they ever tried drugs, had premarital sex or drank underage make me violently, violently sick. This is just beyond lame; please don't. Nothing says 'I am a sad, lying sack of shit' more clearly to your kids than this. Remember: you were a teenager in the 'Seventies. No one believes you anyway.
6. People my age who buy into fundamentalist religion not only make me sick and make my ass bleed, they just need to go die. In my book that not only makes you a retard, if you insist on inflicting it on your kids it qualifies you as a child abuser.
All hating your kids taste is going to do is make them feel like shit and hide things from you. Then one day there they'll be with a shaved head selling carnations in an airport in Germany and you'll be wondering 'how did this happen?' like a giant clueless wad of fuck.
Refusing to admit to yourself and others and Time has, in fact, marched on and that Ted Nugent really wasn't much of a songwriter (except he DID have a fine, ass, didn't he?) cuts you off from a whole two-thirds of a lifetime of new things to explore and enjoy. I mean, come on. Most of you are only 45, like me, yet already you have become bitter old farts. Remember? Just like the ones that YOU always hated to see show up at family things...the ones who sit on the side with their mouths all twisted up like buttholes, complaining about the boy's haircuts, the parents lack of supervision, the music, the food, and how slutty all the girls look.
So anyway, theres that. Hasta la bye-bye!
*(please pardon the epithet, and feel free to call me a salmon crunchin muk)