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Nutcracker [22 Dec 2012|12:36am]
For the last four months, I've been involved with a production of the Nutcracker here in Maine. It is put on by a group that touts itself as a community dance company - fairly inclusive of all dance levels, body types, etc. What attracted me to the group, besides the opportunity to dance more than the annual ballet class recital, was their mission to provide opportunities to perform to people from the community. I auditioned for their spring show and was cast as a member of the corps, assisted with the summer show and danced in a modern improvisational piece, and then this year I was asked to produce the annual holiday Nutcracker. Fool that I am, I said yes.

What followed were four months of a thankless volunteer position, untold hours of extremely stressful situations, lost work, and no small sum of personal money spent all of which culminated in this evening, the seventh and final show. I left the theater tonight feeling utterly lonely and unappreciated and in excruciating pain from a hip flexor sprain that happened halfway through the run. I'm not entirely sure that I can briefly and accurately chronicle the misadventure, tempted though I am. I won't try but the maudlin, self-pitying feeling of my last post has characterized the entire experience. I spent a solid half hour sobbing in my car feeling like a complete outcast, feeling unliked and taken for granted.

I am so thankful that the experience is over but I'm fearful that the pain and rejection that I feel will eventually become bitterness and that bitterness will overshadow any positive memories I may have been able to take away from the show. I can't say that I've felt so low in many years and, though Remy insists that my treatment is no reflection on me but, rather, a reflection on the group both individually and as a whole, I can't find it in my heart at the moment to like myself very much. What a horrible, terrible way to feel.
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[16 Dec 2012|03:21am]
We all have our moments, right? Those dark and lonely hours when our demons take over and they fill our minds with dark, dark thoughts. Those moments when we're never good enough, never beautiful enough, never the right person for the circumstances. That's my present moment. Again, I am the loner, the outcast, the teenager eating lunch alone, wanting desperately to be welcomed into any group. Even the gamer geeks and nerds spurn my company. These are dark hours, those found in the middle of the night, rationale blurred by booze and the savagery of collective thought.

Here's the deal. I've never been the one that people want, clinging to the walls and the outskirts. The one for whom loins burn and companionship yearns. Even my conversation is isolating. I'm an unusual bird. I may be beautiful in my own unusual way but mine is the kind of beauty admired by few. No one reaches out for me, wraps their arms around my waist and pulls me to them with longing, even with the limited inhibitions of alcohol. Even when I was young, loveliness was not my friend. I was never what anyone would call a beauty. Cruel and sobering is the realization that I will always be the second stringer.
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The People Who Drive 45 [08 Dec 2010|11:33pm]
My daily commute consists of a 30 minute drive along a winding two lane road from my village through three towns and into a larger town where I pick up the turnpike to Portland. On a perfect morning where no one else is on the road, this drive takes me about 20 minutes but, more often than not, I wind up in a line of cars that meander through the Maine countryside at or below the speed limit. One of the greatest lessons I've learned in my morning commute is that it is absolutely futile to pass. Sure, in the beginning, I would get so fired up that I would curse and spit and make wild gestures at an apparently inept driver and then peel around them as soon as the opportunity opened up before me. I'd scowl emphatically at the typically oblivious driver as I passed and would just begin to settle down when I'd approach another slow driver and be stuck for the remainder of my trip with the car I'd just so furiously passed behind me, trapped by the cruel conspiracy between heavy oncoming traffic and that spiteful double yellow line.

These days, I just sit back, turn the stereo up, get the lead out when the road is clear, and blissfully resign myself to an average of 30 minutes from point A to point B. I estimate that, since moving to Maine, I've spent about 1000 hours driving and in that time, I've had the chance to observe a lot of different driving styles but the style that is most pronounced on the rural leg of the commute are the People Who Drive 45.

The journey consists largely of long stretches of road with a speed limit of 55mph/88kph broken up by shorter sections inside the towns of speed limits ranging from 25mph/40kph to 45/72. The average driver goes 5 above the speed limit, 10 if they're feeling lucky or they're on a straight-away. I'm a 5-Over Driver myself, almost without fail regardless of the setting: interstate, country road, city street, driveway. Occasionally, I see the Hell Spawn, which is someone who is either drunk, high, angry or just doesn't give a fuck about anyone else on the road. They blow past everyone, even the moderate speeders, and are never to be seen again (unless they're like this one guy who passed me on a snowy interstate and wound up in a ditch a mile later). Every now and again are the Grandmas, people of different ages who drive 5 below the speed limit and are overly cautious at every turn.

More often than not, however, I see the People Who Drive 45; this difficult to define group of people who, for reasons that are a complete mystery to me, drive a consistent 45mph regardless of the posted speed limit. These drivers, when on the interstate, go a wild variety of speeds but usually follow the 65 rule. On a winding two lane road where the posted speed limit changes every few miles, they just stick the needle on 45 and ride in complete oblivion? disregard? willful foolishness? for the 18 miles home.

These drivers make me utterly insane and I can't tell you why. Perhaps it's because they aren't easy to typify. They're comprised of young, old, male, female, nice cars, junk heaps, cat owners, dog owners, people with children, people without, liberals, conservatives. They occur in daylight, darkness, morning, evening, even in the dead of night, weekdays, weekends. There's simply no rhyme or reason to them and I'm beginning to feel like it might possibly be at the center of the question of what it means to be human, that's how much it troubles me. Obviously, it must be an important philosophical question for all of mankind if it's bothered me this much because anything else would suggest that I'm slightly obsessive.

Of course, because I have learned the Zen-of-not-passing I stay behind them for the half hour from the turnpike to my home, trying to get a glimpse at them in the hopes that this one new 45er will hold the key to the mystery of them all. Inevitably, I wind up frustrated, up way past my bedtime, writing a snarky blog post about them. If only they could see how furiously I type these hurtful words about them, that would show them for being so horribly consistent that they don't even vary their speed for the LAW! TAKE THAT PEOPLE THAT DRIVE 45!
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[02 Dec 2010|09:14pm]
Last night, I dreamed that I was standing in line for some kind of event and I was crowded into an anteroom, the kind that are in malls or department stores, with a number of other people. An older, distinguished couple in front of me noticed that I had a cotton ball taped to the inside of my elbow and asked me if I had just given blood. I explained that I had, because I'm O- and I feel like it's my duty. The man behind me chimed in and said that everyone should donate blood if they are physically able to.

Immediately, the line started to move and we entered a large auditorium full of folded chairs arranged in rows. I was directed to my seat by Siamese twins, two large brunette women in a mustard yellow dress with a garish red print all over it. They lumbered through the crowd seating people for a little while before heading toward the side of the space where there were a number of smaller rooms. A reporter was conducting an interview with a renowned doctor in one of the back rooms. The women entered the room and some time later they emerged as separate people, both of whom had psychic abilities. One of the twins openly made her way around the hall conducting readings for the people who were milling around. The other woman moved through the audience slowly and would gently touch her hand to someone's back without their knowledge, bow her head, and presumably read their minds.

I was desperate to see the doctor because I had a pet monkey that was very ill with a congenital illness that prevented the skin over its spine from closing. My monkey was extremely mange-y and the area around her wound was bald and looked like a Cronenberg concoction, weeping with puss and blood, puckered around the edges. I pushed my way to the back room and interrupted the doctor and reporter, insisting that the doctor see me. She refused and I woke up, feeling extremely distraught and panicked.
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[24 Nov 2010|02:05am]
I thought of you, old livejournal, today while I toiled away at work, feeling uncomfortable with my life at the moment, resentful of my family, and wishing so very very much that I had someone to talk to. I thought to myself, as I slipped what felt like a never-ending supply of caps over freshly poured blackberry lip balm, "I really miss journaling." And next thing I knew, I was here at 2am looking for some kind of a community again.

Life has been fierce and too big for words but maybe I'm finally able to get my mouth around it again.
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Who am I? [01 Oct 2009|01:52pm]

I've taken the steps, after years of deliberation and nail-biting, to legally change my name. I don't mean "change my name" in the sense that brides in our culture mean it, wherein they assume their husband's last name so as to announce ownership or to establish a new family unit (which ever reason suits). No, I mean "change my name" in that I am changing it entirely. Well, not entirely. I'm kind of sandwiching parts of my given name between my chosen name.

As one could probably imagine, this change is stirring up a great deal of emotion. My reasons for doing it are manifold and some are deeply personal, others are entirely calculated. Despite the fact that I feel like this is the right decision for me, I can't help but explore all of the issues of identity that this change inevitably provokes.

The aspect of the transition that I fear the most is telling my family. In fact, I'm inclined to not tell my family at all. I keep everything a secret from them so one more secret won't be any more difficult to bear. I know that they will be hurt, that they will not understand, that this could potentially cause greater tension between us and I don't want to do that to them. However, it is because so much of my identity and my desire to change it stems from them that I have always fantasized about changing my name so any threat of disapproval isn't cause enough for me to divert my plans.

I am still working out how I'll let people know whom I have known for a long time. People in my life already think I'm crazy (or "eccentric," as they all so diplomatically put it) and this will certainly solidify those thoughts in their minds. But who cares? When I die, I certainly don't want to be on my death bed saying, "Thank the universe that I listened to all those closed up people in the world and did everything as normally as possible." No, I'm going to be thankful that I lived my life the way that I have, as truly to my own spirit as possible, uncompromisingly and with a defiant finger in the face of conformity. For me, the pain and struggle of trying to live a "normal" life is far greater than any inconvenience my own drummer has ever caused me. So there.
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[29 Sep 2009|01:29pm]
Call me kooky. Go ahead, everyone else does.

Last year about this time (read: shortly before my birthday), I started writing letters to people that might feel incomplete should I die. You know, people with whom things were left hanging, people who once meant a great deal to me and I to them but have since wandered (or stormed) away. I did it because I'm OBSESSED with death, for starters, and because, when my friend Preston killed himself, I struggled with additional pain over the fact that he didn't think of me in his final days. At least in any way that I could know. You have no idea how difficult it is to write letters to everyone that ever touched you in some way. Just remembering everyone is a challenge!

Anyway, fast forward to now. The other day, I got a similar hankering to deal with my inevitable demise and I thought that taking care of this business before my birthday made for a nice ritual. I'm generally also always thinking about death around my birthday, not out of some fear of aging, but because Preston killed himself on October 6th, close enough to it that I will forever associate that day with my day. I didn't realize it at the time that it happened but inevitably, as my birthday approaches, I think about him and the day he died. My first inclination is to say that that sucks but perhaps it's actually a gift because it brings the reality of death to my most conscious mind, forces me to deal with it regularly so that, when the time comes, I can go peacefully and with acceptance. Going through my arrangements, making funeral and burial plans, adjusting the budget, and everything else that comes with it allows me to take that step into tomorrow without burden. I'm taking stock, in a way, so that I can start my next year with purpose, renewed vigor, and a healthy respect for what that year can bring.

I think everyone should go ahead and plan (and pay for) their funeral. I know (or, at least, hope) that Remy will be too upset to take care of all of it and I don't want him to suffer through any more than he has to. Not only that, it gives you a really fascinating picture of your life, almost as though you were on your death bed and given another opportunity to address any regrets you might have.

Like I said, call me kooky.
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[24 Sep 2009|04:28pm]
I'm procrastinating on this Bag From Hell that some very particular person ordered and am desperately looking for things to do instead. I should have turned it down but it's not as though I'm swimming in orders so I could use the dosh. The things we do for money.

Anyway, Monday, I hosted a photographer, 2 models, a hair stylist and a make-up artist in my humble little studio to photograph some of the new stuff I've been making out of the recycled rubber. First, a finished photo from the endeavor and then more pics behind the jump.

8 more!Collapse )
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the tale of the nearly severed toe [22 Sep 2009|09:23am]
I feel like my journal needs more photos. No one wants to read a wall of textual brain droppings and I think that this is at the root of my internet unpopularity. So, I have photos to post but I'll have to do it in bits because I'm a busy woman and because I can't blow my wad all at once.

So, for starters, I had an interesting weekend wherein I spent a portion of it at the hospital. This was a painful experience if only for the fact that I don't have any insurance. What brought me to the hospital was stupidity in its purest and simplest form. I am convinced that I am going to die stupidly because my most heinous injuries are always the result of idiocy. Take for example, the dislocated shoulder from "airplaning" a man that outweighed me by 50 lbs (you know, where you lie on your back and they put their palms in yours and then lay their stomach on your feet). Or the time I fell out of a hot tub into a drainage pipe that was lined with jagged rocks, ripping the skin off of my entire bicep and thigh. Or the time...well, you get the idea.

Saturday, I was busy making a combination cat-box tower/scratching post/giant cat toy (see, stupid already) in the barn. My parents had just left for Portland to get a visitor they'd be hosting for the week and Remy decided to visit me before scuttling off to his underground lair to work on the phat beats. I was wearing flip-flops, wielding a dull utility knife and had triple-thickness cardboard draped over a recycling bin (make-shift sawhorse) when he said to me, "You are making me really nervous the way you're throwing that knife around." I scoffed and asked him if he had a sharper knife. He feigned ignorance, told me to be careful, and went in the basement to work. Immediately after his departure, I found a sharper knife. And immediately after that, I dropped the knife, blade down, into my big toe.

Now, I knew I'd cut myself but I didn't know how badly until I bent down to pick up the knife and found my flip-flop swimming in a pool of REALLY bright red blood. Like, I always thought that the blood in movies looked really fake because they made it bright red but there it was, all over my foot and the floor looking like a harlot who had melted in the fierce judgment of a vengeful God. I felt like I needed help so I started screaming, "OUCH OUCH OUCH OUCH OUCH OUCH...!!!" whilst running into the house, leaving behind me a trail of scarlet (thank you, Wayne Hussey). My brother met me, looking distraught. I instructed him to get me a towel, which he did. Meanwhile, Remy came running upstairs. I kept trying to look at the wound but IT WOULDN'T STOP BLEEDING and, I admit, I panicked. Actually, I thought, "Oh shit, I've cut off my toe." I had never in my life seen so much blood, it was everywhere and I mean EVERYWHERE. So, I did what I thought one should do in that instance and went to the hospital. Strangely enough, my toe didn't hurt, which it should have but I suspect that it has something to do missing a major nerve right there (abscess, ballet injury).

Once there, I found that the cut was pretty manageable. I mean, it went most of the way through my toe and halfway around it but it had stopped bleeding and I sat there with the triage nurse saying, "You know, I think that thing is fine. Never you mind." Because the terror of what this little cut would cost me had started to overshadow any panic I felt at the thought of losing my toe and I really would have rather taken my chances than be sodomized by the medical system. I know that I'm a just a blubbery mass of pinko trash who must not be a viable member of society because I can't afford health insurance even though I work 60 hours per week. So, obviously, I deserve to lose my toe. I WILL SACRIFICE MY TOE FOR YOUR RIGHT TO KEEP ALL YOUR FILTHY LUCRE. You know, lest we descend as a nation into the lascivious depths of depravity that them thar European nations have sunk by having A FUCKING PUBLIC OPTION in our little health reform bill. I mean, really. And I'm not even going to apologize for that.

I'm sitting there in the hospital, after the doctor peeks his head in to tell me that, no, I absolutely MUST have stitches because he cannot tolerate a flapping toe in his town, and I keep thinking THIS is the health care problem, RIGHT FUCKING HERE, and why the fuck do people not get it? I know I never grew up, I still have all these naive ideas about the universe and how everything should be fair and equal and lovey dovey and that I should just get over it already, shave my balls and join the big boy's club but I shouldn't have to spend an entire month's income on FOUR FUCKING STICHES because I HAD to go to the emergency room because I don't have insurance and no other doctors would see me. WHY DOESN'T EVERYONE SEE THE INHERENT WRONGNESS OF THAT SITUATION?! Head explodey.

Oh my god, how did that become a health care rant when all I wanted to do was show you a photo of my toe? I hope you aren't eating lunch when you see this:

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[06 Sep 2009|04:13pm]
I feel constantly conflicted and I often wonder if that is what it truly means to be balanced. To be fair, median, to consider all things, to strive to give all things equal weight is a substantial source of turmoil. Ironically.

True equanimity is not a natural human state.

I think it's very strange how we keep people in our lives who cause us pain. I had an acquaintance whose very existence troubled me, mostly due to a flowering jealousy on my part which was fanned by feelings of neglect and disrespect. Even though she stole ideas from me, even snatched up my own protege, she seemed as though not to notice me, treated me as a ghost, a shadow, an interloper, an amateur and an artless Emulatress. And, still, I sought out her friendship. The only time that she reached out to me was when access to my expertise or innovation was not readily available to her and she wanted me to teach her my secrets. When I refused, she simply purchased something from me made in the way she wanted to understand so that she could copy it. I hated her for all that she was: a thief, a liar, a self-absorbed beggar-my-neighbor strategist while simultaneously wishing she would let me in to her charmed and high profile world.

Why would I do such a thing to myself? Today, I found my self respect, tucked beneath last year's woolen sweaters and mittens and it felt warm and inviting to the touch.
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[26 Aug 2009|12:16am]
I should be in bed. More importantly, if I'm not in bed, I should be writing. I haven't found myself trolling the internet, restless and bitter for quite some time.

I should use this opportunity to chronicle my most recent adventures like the afternoon sail on a 74 foot, 1924 schooner which was glorious and refreshing and so extremely decadent that I thought I might dissolve. Or, I could write about my infiltration of the still beating heart of darkness, the outdoorsman's supply mecca Cabela's. Or I could write about my four hour round trip solitary journey to mow an unruly lawn. I could recount the hike to this fantastic and perilous formation called "Indian's Last Leap," complete with detailed description of the biting bugs that make that place their home. I could write about how I've lost an entire crop of tomatoes to an epidemic of late blight fungus and how I valiantly tried to save them. I could always write about how band or business or novel progresses. I could even write about our upcoming weekend camping trip on the beach of Casco Bay.

Instead, now that I have the time to sit here and put something down, the inclination has passed. I think I'll actually go to bed.
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[09 Aug 2009|02:09pm]
There is a Smithsonian magazine in our bathroom that was given to my parents by a member of their church, a crazy young man who calls himself "a eunuch for Christ." Actually, there are several of those magazines, though my mind boggles at why he of all people would have that as subscription. Seems a little too forward thinking and urbane for someone so fundamentally inclined.

The magazine I've been reading lately during my numerous trips to the bathroom (between eating at the hospital cafeteria and accidentally ingesting a crouton, I've been all kinds of jacked up) is their October 2007 issue of "37 Under 36," a list of wunderkind who they think are helping to shape the world. Suffice it to say, I am simultaneously fascinated and humbled by their stories.

I just read an article about Daniel Alcaron, a Peruvian-born young writer upon whom has been lavished heaps of praise. He has written short stories for New Yorker after being noticed by someone important at the famed Iowa Writers Workshop, then published two books: first, a collection of short stories and, second, a novel. The person writing the article had no dearth of fawning accolades reserved for Alcaron. I couldn't help but feel a little hopeless in the face of it.

The world, at times like these, feels extremely complicated and I feel very much like the outsider. I am writing my second novel, putting in a thousand or so words per day when I can steal the time, my head brimming with ideas for my third and fourth books while I struggle to finish the current one. When I think about the next steps, I realize just how anonymous I am, without any industry contacts, not having met the "right" people (or the "write" people), just a lonesome voice in the chattering mass of literary hopefuls and inevitable failures.

After reading the article on Alcaron, I can't help but wonder if I should be trying harder, attending workshops, trying to meet other writers and publishers. The thought of networking makes me nauseous. I just want to tell stories, stories that resonate with people, stories that make people feel something, stories that aren't formulaic or contrived but that represent a world that other people rarely get the opportunity to see. Unless I win over the right people, it seems, I'll just wind up unpublished or, perhaps worse, relegated to the discount bins.

It is not enough to write a great novel. Or to paint a great picture. Or to write a great piece of music. This is one of the universal tragedies of living.
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[06 Aug 2009|12:27pm]
I am writing from the hospital where my father is having a stent put in his Circumflex artery. He was having chest pain on Monday and was admitted to the hospital after seeing his regular physician. After a series of tests, they determined he has a pretty serious blockage in his Circ and smaller, non-imperitive narrowing in his other major arteries.

Strangely enough, he's loving the hospital experience, with all of the people (predominantly women) fawning over him. Yesterday, at lunch in the cafeteria, Mom said that he keeps lying to his doctors. As a for instance, she said that he told his doctor he quit smoking in 2005 but she knows that he's still smoking.

Wait. What?!

I thought he had quit when I was a teenager. You know, when he went through that whole hitting bottom alcoholism/depression thing. Absolutely astounding how well my father can hide a typically telling addiction. I was floored and, honestly, haven't quite gotten over it. Also, in that same conversation, I learned that my grandfather smoked until he had his heartattack about 15 years ago and hid it from everyone in the family. My uncle hid his divorce and remarriage from my entire family for years. My other uncle has hidden his homosexuality his entire life. My mother hides her medical problems. My brother hides his drug use. My other brother hides the food he eats. Obviously, I come from a family of sneaks and liars!

People are so fucking bizarre.
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[31 Jul 2009|11:26pm]
I used to be very good about recording my every dream, at least those that were particularly unusual brain dumps. I've gotten away from it over the last year but I had one that tickled me so much I felt like I had to write it down.

In this dream, I was approached by a woman who was researching artifacts related to a man and a woman who had simply disappeared a lifetime ago while looking for a lost city buried deep under ground. I was working for a historical museum in South or Central America, cataloging Pre-Colombian anthropological finds, so I was in a position to help her. Together, she and I dug through all manner of dusty bins looking for anything that might suggest the couple had visited the area. Finally, she found an unusual glass ring that she thought was the wedding ring the woman wore. She pulled out a cylindrical stone, slipped it in the ring, and somehow determined that that was, in fact, the ring.

We continued to search with incredible zeal. Finally, I opened a closet, the back wall of which was made of gold bricks. We cleaned out the closet and noticed light breaking through the mortar between the bricks and the floor. Using our fingers, we pulled at the wall, finally bringing it down and revealing a doorway to another dimension. People were assembled in elaborate dress in what was certainly this lost city. They had been waiting for this precise moment as it had been foretold by their prophets, a man and woman from another world who had shaped their civilization. A green and gold painted man slowly crept through the doorway on his hands and knees and then everyone else followed but, when they crossed the threshold, they turned into gilded peacocks.

Once assembled in our world, they formed ranks and it became clear that they meant to overthrow us and take over our world. Suddenly, I was clutching a fist full of strange feathers from various animals. Some of them were wolf feathers and were colored like wolves' coats and they allowed me to be on time for everything, no matter how late I was. Another was a skunk feather which allowed me not to give off any odor.

Unfortunately, I don't remember any other feathers or their magical properties. If I were a fantasy writer, I might turn the other world of my dream into a story but, alas, that's not my thing. Instead, I spent the day sweating and stinking and wishing very much I had a skunk feather of my very own so that I could walk through the store and not worry that everyone downwind of me was falling over dead in my wake.
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[23 Jul 2009|02:40pm]
Man, rereading my last post, I sound like a teenager all over again.

Does anyone out there in LJ-land know of any literary agents? I need to start sending a manuscript out and would like to do so with an agent's assistance. You know, to potentially shrink the number of rejections.
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I Only Sprayed A Little Bit! [23 Jul 2009|12:25pm]
Living with my family this last year has been extremely challenging. Perhaps more challenging for Remy than for me because at least I'm used to them and their unique brand of insanity. I could spend a lifetime chronicling all of the AMAZING, stupid things they do and say, but I'm saving that for my biographer (Which is just such a strange concept. Hemingway, for instance, had his biographer chosen long before he died...that seems extremely vain.).

Today's sordid chapter of ineptitude is entitled "I Only Sprayed A Little Bit!"

When we first arrived up here, my mother hatched a grand scheme to plant all kinds of vegetables to offset their grocery bill. The fact that they eat ABSOLUTELY NO FRESH VEGETABLES didn't seem to enter in to her calculations. Before the first snow, I put in two compost bins, made from discarded wooden pallets. One was for kitchen waste, one for yard waste (the latter breaks down slower), both of which we have filled up. Now, we do produce a lot of scraps for the bins, particularly in the form of coffee grounds since my autistic, bat-shit insane brother drinks several pots per day and banana peels since my autistic, bat-shit insane father eats several of them a day. Our solution when we lived in Detroit to the kitchen compost container dilemma was to get a ceramic covered canister. This prevented flies from getting in it and kept the rotting juices from leaking all over the counter. My mother's solution is an enormous ice cream container, the lid long since lost. One can imagine that flies quickly found the kitchen compost as soon as the weather turned warm.

One day at dinner, a month or two ago, my mom mentioned something about the flies and offhandedly said that she sprays the compost with RAID in order to kill them. Remy and I nearly choked on our food and I quickly launched in to a lecture about how that is POISON and that any vegetables grown in that compost will absorb the chemicals. I should note that my mother doesn't quite understand the concepts of sustainability or organic or even the basic concept of composting. Remy caught her one day emptying the vacuum cleaner dust into the compost bin, as just one illustration. In my arm-flailing, mouth-foaming lecture, I explained to her that she had to get a bin that had a lid in order to keep the flies out and that the compost was absolutely ruined. She laughed it off, said that we eat food with insecticides on it all the time and we're all just fine. Let's just forget how horribly mutated my family's genes are and go for the THAT'S WHY WE WASH OUR VEGETABLES BEFORE EATING THEM argument. Or, at least, normal people do because I don't expect my family wastes its precious time and water with the washing of veggies. Her final defense of the spraying of the RAID was that she "Only sprayed a little bit" and that it was hardly enough to poison the scraps.

Anyway, I thought that I had made my point, despite her protests. Fast forward to the other night when I was peeling potatoes and realized that the fruit flies I'd seen in the bin the day before were no longer there. I have to space out my dissatisfaction with my mother or she'll pout and sulk for weeks and act childish and vengeful, and yesterday's terse words were reserved for yelling about how she constantly locks my cat with CANCER out on the front porch overnight, so I waited until this morning to ask her about the RAID. When I asked, she artfully dodged the question. See, my mother insists that she "never lies, ever." And she gets truly offended if you suggest that she does, or if you catch her in a lie. What she does, instead, is simply omits things, chooses NOT to tell you something that would help you understand the truth of a situation, or outright avoids answering something she cannot otherwise disguise. So, I asked her again and her answer was, "But I only sprayed a little bit!"

Absolutely infuriating. Her "only spraying a little bit" over the course of a summer has no doubt had a disastrous cumulative effect on the health of our compost bin. At the very least, it's killed all of the earth worms and other bugs that break the compost down. At the very worst, everything that that compost is put on will be poisoned for human consumption. I feel pretty heart-sick over the fact that we can't use the compost in our vegetable garden, something desperately needed because of our sandy, poor soil. Our corn and onions and tomatoes are just sickly looking and I have to super feed them with plant food (something I LOATHE HAVING TO DO) every week or two just to keep them growing at all.

I want to lecture her about it but obviously reasoning doesn't work with her. This is the same woman who believes that cats steal people's breath and that moths poop in your ears while you sleep so I can't imagine that I'll ever be able to appeal to her logic. How she ever managed to survive this long is a mystery that keeps me up at night. Of course, the universe has a way of protecting the soft-minded from themselves. More troubling still is that the apple can't have fallen far from the tree. I must be a touch above imbecile in the archaic classification of mental defects.
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the old dog and the sea [21 Jul 2009|10:41am]
I can't imagine that this will take the wind out of Remy's sails (ha! a pun! right off the bat!) since he is as neglectful of LJ as I am these days, but I have to share the story of Sunday at the beach. The thing about Facebook (and I tried this for a little while there so I know the awful truth of it) is that the Facebook machine does not appreciate writing. Not one bit. There are these things called "Notes" and I thought, foolishly, that I would just continue my journaling habits over there in a place where I have 140 friends instead of 33. I was quickly cured of my delusions. It's all about the single sentence over there! Notes are for the old persons! And shame be upon you if you don't get all of the little reference jokes that everyone so cleverly makes in their single sentences!

I've remedied my harsh immersion into this culture of brevity by starting a MILLION blogs. Why I didn't just come back to LJ is a mystery to me but, I suspect, has something to do with the fact that no one reads my posts on here. Of course, no one reads my million other blogs either because I FAIL AT INTERNET POPULARITY. Also, somewhere along the way, I learned how to type in all caps for comic emphasis. I am forever changed by youth culture.

Anyway, on to the story. So, Sunday we went to the beach. Twice. The first trip was mostly uneventful and full of frustration because everyone else in New England decided that that day would be great for going to the beach in Maine. We went through three beaches and, on the verge of giving up and going home, just happened upon a small, mostly uninhabited (by comparison) beach where we frolicked in the waves all afternoon. When we moved up here, we entertained fantasies of spending every summer weekend at the beach, and possibly every evening as well. We live only 20 minutes from the water so it was totally within the realm of possibility to imagine ourselves as surfing beach bums. Mother Nature, however, or Global Warming (which ever deity you choose to believe in), had other plans and has made it rain for two months straight. TWO MONTHS. And it has been in the 50s and 60s the entire time. Until Sunday, that is.

Dogs, unfortunately, are not allowed on the beach during business hours in the summer months. This makes us sad because our lives would be complete if only our large-headed beagle could sleep next to us on the sand. We decided to go home and get him after 5 and then take him to the beach so he, too, could enjoy the sun and surf. So we did just that, hurried home to get him and then took him to the closest beach, confident in the belief that it would be far less crowded than it was five hours before.

By the time we got there, the tide was in and, at this particular beach, it comes right up to the rock retaining wall. When you walk down the stairs to the beach, you step right into the water and, were it not for the waves pulling back periodically, you would have no idea how deep that water is. We marched down the stairs, dog trotting beside us on the stairs, until he caught sight of the water. He did everything in his power to keep us from going any farther, locking his legs, doing somersaults, threatening to poop in our shoes when we weren't looking. Remy picked him up to carry him through the water to a small portion of beach that was exempt from the high tide and, as he did so, the dog air-paddled with his paws the entire way. You know, just in case the water touched him and he suddenly had to swim for his life, he'd have a running start. Once on solid ground, Argos (the dog) did his damnedest to stay as far from the water as possible. In an effort to help acclimate him to the water, I picked him up and carried him out until I was waist deep. Somehow, a silent call was made that only little children can hear because I was beset on all sides by kids wanting to pet him which, under the circumstances, just made him more anxious (And what were they doing that far out in the water?! Where were their parents?!). A wave dared to leap up and touch the tip of his tail and he FLIPPED THE FUCK OUT, scaring the kids and me, as well. Thus ended our water adventure.

Finally, dejected and depressed that our dreams of playing in the ocean with our dog were destroyed, we went to the observation deck and took a seat on the benches looking out on the water. The dog refused to come near the edge out of fear that one of the waves crashing against the deck would reach out a cold, clammy arm and grab him. We tucked him between us but he jumped as each wave broke and trembled between and so, eventually, we gave up completely and went home.

Remy is of the opinion that, if we force him into the water every chance we get, he'll eventually get used to it. I'm of the opinion that, if we do that, we'll be paying for doggie therapy for the rest of his life.
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[20 Jul 2009|07:44pm]
Wowsa...I've been away for a long time, haven't I? Livejournal, I've missed you. Facebook just isn't the same.
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[16 May 2009|06:57pm]
I've been cheating on LJ with Facebook. I never thought such a thing would happen but, here it is, nearly a month since the last time that I've updated.

One of the biggest developments in the last month has been the procurement of my studio in Biddeford. I picked up the keys last week and am now in the dizzying stage of trying to determine where I'll put all of my equipment and how I'll store all of my inner tubes and fabric. I took photos, too!

One of the other big developments this year is the staggering number of plants I've been putting in the yard. I started a ton of seeds in March for all manner of vegetables and flowers, most of which survived the several frosts between then and now. Over the last month or two, I've put in six beds and, in the next two weeks, will put in at least seven more. Of flowers and decorative plants, I've put in tulips, daffodils, rudbeckia, daisies, peonies, petunias, impatiens, gladiolus, sunflowers, black-eyed susans, geraniums, pansies, primrose, salvia, coleus, dusty miller, forsythia, goldylocks, hostas and ferns. Of vegetables, fruit and herbs, I put in lavender, spearmint, and anise today. I'll soon be planting the corn, dill, cilantro, oregano, sage, snow peas, beans, tomatoes, onions, carrots, lettuce, squash, eggplant, broccoli, cauliflower, and cucumbers that we've been growing in pots these last two months. I have a considerable number of seeds that haven't been started yet or that failed early on, as well, so I'll probably be sowing those tomorrow, which include moon flowers, zinnias and money tree plants.

My neighbor asked me today if I was going to be digging up the entire yard because, most certainly, that's precisely what I'm doing. I've just got one photo of the yard so far but I'll take more when everything is planted and thriving.
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[27 Apr 2009|03:35pm]
Today, Remy and I stopped into the grocery store by his work to get lunches for him for the week when I spotted little dollar totes on an end cap touting its environmental-saving capabilities. Is that really helping the environment? I am pretty tired of the green-washing of products because, most of the time, they aren't really good for the environment or for humans. And I'm even more annoyed with token observances like Earth Day that don't adequately address the gross over-consumption of the first world (and the quickly developing third world). I just want to scream when I hear a commercial claiming their product is "green" because, chances are, it's brown, the color of bullshit.

Clorox Greenworks? It's still poisonous to humans and animals, still uses petroleum-based products, still has non-biodegradable, harmful components and is only different insomuch as they changed their packaging, which was no doubt wasteful on a multitude of levels.

Esurance's claim that online billing helps the environment by not using paper? Computer use, globally, accounts for the same amount of carbon emissions (that's just USING them, mind you) as airplane travel. That doesn't account for the emissions from the plants manufacturing the components, the pollution from the manufacturing of plastics, the depletion of mineral resources, and the contamination of water and soil from the lead, cadmium, mercury and brominated flame retardants. Trees, on the other hand, are sustainable. Granted, paper plants have terrible run-off and are at the very least stinky, and billing uses fuel-based transportation. But which is worse? I'd lay my money on computers.

Flexfuel/hybrid vehicles? Ethanol? That's a post for another day.

And that bag on the end cap? Probably made with hugely chemically treated (if not entirely synthetic) materials in a plant where there are little environmental checks in place. I highly doubt that that bag is any better for the environment than the plastic bags are. And the plastic bags last longer.

I realize that I'm becoming a little obsessive about sustainability. I watched The Ballad of Jack and Rose not too long ago and found myself lapsing into daydreams about living on an island, completely off the grid. I even considered the other day, halfway seriously, ceasing all use of the internet.
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