Road to Recovery vs. Some Things You Never Get Over

I miss knowing every inch of his face, its bone structure and the thinness of his skin. 

I miss his funny walk and the surprising strength of his core. I miss the smell of leather and Head-and-Shoulders in his long, thick hair which he somehow could tuck up into a baseball hat.

I miss the way his eyes darted to each side before that inevitable barb rolled off his tongue. He was a master of subtle timing; even he didn't understand that. 

His nature erupted into everything he did, from playing guitar to tenderly nursing marijuana cuttings. Chicks called him for his meatloaf recipe, but his signature dish was the chocolate eclair. My kids refused to eat them, and he retired devastated to the neighbor room. 

So, you see, it's okay to say no. Nobody should ever say yes until they are comfortable knowing there is no competition.

Business Tattoos vs. Deb-utante Ball aka My Coming-Out Party

Last night I worked out some business card designs, because I realise I need them. I've come to that point in the conversation a few times recently, and I had no business card to hand over. So.

My waking thought this morning was that business cards are actually a huge deal. HUGE. They signify that I'm willing to BE IDENTIFIED, not just in the moment, but also later. That I am willing to let select individuals be able to locate me and ask me to do things for them, that I will consider their proposals. I am not only admitting but committing to the Universe and to myself that I will do things. Envoys take what is offered, Takashi. 
I have to brand myself, like a tattoo. Unlike a tattoo, I can change my brand later (well, sort of like a tattoo - even there, we have options.)  And that's always been one of my pet neuroses:  avoiding a label. 
I can't stand it when someone asks me, "Are you a ________________?" Writer, artist, poet, chef, dancer was once floated a…

*POETRY WARNING* Spontaneous Afternoon Tanka

Behold thee, Redbud:
Blooms erupting from thy skin
Break my heart for joy.

These droplets don't come from me
But Spring cries for both of us. 

Then vs. Now - When an Ex Husband Calls

January 29, 2017:

The five stages of grief are denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. I keep vacillating between the latter two, with anger flaring up again here and there. Denial is complete, and the bargaining is now, too.

There shouldn't have been anything wrong with him.
I should never have come here.
I feel like the Wrong Alice.

We are clear, though, on the why:

I am leaving because he makes me really, really crazy and I can't choose that any more.  I need my brain back, please and thank you. And he needs, I need, to start with a foundation which is true. Nothing is sacred which is founded on a lie.

As I sort my belongings from his (there are no "ours") I am briefly angry when I find the false starts: the Turkish coffee pots, half-finished canvases, a reclaimed wooden window with glass panels intact, for example.  I threw the Panama hat out into the alley, along with the rubber balls he uses to play cricket in the house. This is valid; they were …

Getting Myself vs. Getting Over Myself

Image I've been crying, quietly or not, for at least 20 minutes now, which is no big deal because it's what girls do, right? Why is that, exactly? Why do guys not do it? Does crying make me girly? Go ahead and cry, guys. I give you permission.

It makes me human. It makes me hurt and unresolved. I seriously dislike lack of resolution - this is why I watch detective stories. There's a neat wrap-up at the end.

Also, it is a big deal. It's a big deal when anybody hurts enough, for whatever reason, to sit and cry alone in a room. When you do it, give yourself a hug and also a pat on the back for allowing yourself to feel. You don't need to suck it up. You need to listen to your body, and do what you need to do. In all things.

I feel like I have a hole and it's the source of the crying - a void with raw edges that I manage to patch up on most days, so that nothing falls into it and nothing leaks out. It has a voice and it wants something I can't identify. Unsate…

Godzilla vs. Moe - This is what my Panic looks like

Sometimes I know exactly what's real, and it terrifies me.

I've been up since dawn's early crack, having followed my own advice and having been asleep since n*PM last night. Asleep is a relative term - these days it means that several times I woke up enough to tell Netflix yes, I was still watching, and roll over again. I blame years of shift work for being unable to relax in a dark and silent room. My brain is too loud without external noise to mitigate it.

I'm rarely awake to see the sun come up, but it's one of my favorite things. I turn off the TV and listen to the birds.  Ideally I have coffee and go back to bed, but today is a work-day, a heavy one. I'm going to try and tell you what my panic attack is like. I use the familiar term, but it doesn't mean the same thing for everyone.

My work-space faces a window that looks out into the woods across the landlords' back patio. I can see the rooftop of the house over the hill, and I know that between m…

Purging vs. Growing - A Story of Date Rape

Image you may remember my banyan tree. I grew it from seed, killed it three times, and vowed to never kill it again.

I have a simple gauge of a person's nature: tell me something you have maintained for at least ten years. My answer is this: I have a pile of unfinished projects, furniture I've shucked from state to state, and I had this tree since my second year of marriage. In a way it represented the marriage: it kept reviving itself after near-death experiences. I moved it with pride to Annandale from DC. I was excited about moving forward.

And then I got distracted and left it outside to freeze.

I developed an interesting bundle of emotions this weekend and decided to burn the stump in a sort of cleansing ceremony. I even folded the pages of a book - Urdu for Beginners - to use as firestarter. The landlords are away and I wouldn't have to explain the blaze in the driveway. And then I realised I don't care. I don't require a ceremony to absolve myself of this f…

The Other vs. Stigma, aka Acceptance vs. Support

Man, what a day for etymology. I really liked this one - thanks, Linda and Paul.

If you have read more than two of my posts, you know that #equality is a huge topic for me. I was raised by my momma to know that all people are equal in value. We have a baseline of not-despicable and our worth is what we make it from there. Let me go off on a tangent before addressing the connotations of words.

It's likely that I feel strongly about #equality because I was taught to accept each person as a person, and then I went to kindergarten. Kindergartners can be horrible people. I was mocked for my clothes, for not being able to read, for speaking my mind. I quickly learned how to read, because I could control that. I couldn't choose my own clothes and I couldn't shut up. Still can't.

My bestie in Kindergarten came from a Baptist family, and my parents were Catholic. This meant that on any weekend I could go to church up to 5 times, depending how we chose to arrange our social sch…

Organic Life vs. Plasticity - Hipster or Nah?

I like real things, organic things. Sculpting in porcelain, digging in dirt, touching the smooth surface of a marble wall erected centuries ago.

Real things break more easily than synthetics - stoneware vs. plastic - but they feel more genuine in your hands and they sound more valid when they bump up against each other. That which is contrived by human machinations feels insufficient.

Sometimes you need superficiality, though, like a Band-Aid. Sometimes a bit of fake stuff is useful to hold everything together, like a trash bag. Plasticity is a term that doesn't always apply to synthetics, and it's something you would be wise to grok.  Thank you, Robert A. Heinlein.

Don't be mad at yourself - it is good to be flexible.

Plastic is better than stone for floating. Try not to get comfortable in it. Try to remember that you're working toward actual brick-and-mortar. Have goals. Float while you must, but aim for the shore and start collecting rocks.

Creating: Submission & Rejection vs. Lottery Tickets

It is hard to dress your kids, send them out the door, put them on the bus, especially when they are your stories and poems. People are going to look at how they're dressed and judge your parental skills. You want to keep them home safe.

Don't do it, though - find a new metaphor.  I  use Lottery Tickets - it's a gamble.

At some point I had to give myself the credit I want so desperately from others (and sometimes receive.) I am good at things. I can string words together. Ask my daughter - I can tell a story. Her friends still drop into a conversation: "So what's your mom been up to...does she have any stories?" Remind me to tell you about the laundry room some time.  That's Alia's favorite.

But submissions, though...this is something you have to do for yourself.  You have to do it because once you've sent out that story or painting you bled, sweat, and cried over - once the kid is on the bus - you get to relive all the thrill and trepidation of…

5/27 - The day of Toilets vs. 4/7 The day of Mildew

Something about tiny cottage makes it very high in humidity. Probably the concrete floor is not sealed.  I run a dehumidifier since some time in the fall, but before that I suffered  unknowingly. I should have realised sooner, seriously - condensation on all the windows like a pool-house.

I just bought a replacement copy of my favorite National Geographic, because the one I've had forever was destroyed by mildew. So was a notebook given me by my friend, the Meg, when we went to Istanbul. The outer cover of the notebook is horrific in its new mildew-coat, but the innards are still legible. Before I throw it away, I submit for your perusal and mine (because I remain my own best source of entertainment):

5/27 - the day of Toilets.

We ate our late afternoon meal @ Lahmacun Salonu. Meg went to find the bathroom - the waiter said, "all the way up."

However, Meg says, all the way up, the stairs turn into boards nailed together and land on a floor that looks like it's under…

When somebody tells you No good party story starts with, "First, we put on name tags. "...

...well, when that happens, you have to try. So I went in and had a few conversations over Bushmill's. Turns out he was right - these people were unshenanigable. after leaving the pool hall wearing the t-shirt I was given and a  name tag reading HELLO I'M Gonna Shank You, I went to my favorite local Chinese joint for Cashew Chicken, white meat. I haven't been there since the night I talked culture and politics with the owner, Yen, whilst I drank tequila. That night I also rode my bike into a bush because I couldn't stop laughing. Neither I nor the bush were hurt .

Tonight I brought in my book  to prep for tomorrow's book club discussion while I ate. Yen recognised me, and was possibly overly polite and professional, making me wonder if he would have preferred to have another excellent conversation.

"It's good you have a book," he smiled. "Everybody reads their phones." It didn't seem right to ask him to sit with me in the booth, …

5 Reasons Why IEPs Are Important (but without the stupid numbering thing)

I just found out someone I know is amazing. It's so great when that happens, and you should give people more opportunity to show you what they've got.

We hide ourselves because society is quick to throw rocks at anything they don't understand. Quick to try and put the Other outside  the wall. This is a defence on the part of people who don't get you, and everyone has mechanisms, but you know what? You are not responsible for their defences. You need to worry about your own. Let those defences work for you, not against you.

Don't try to do everything at once. You will quickly discover that you can't.

People who study such things are finding that "learning disabilities" are sometimes inherited thought patterns which were ingrained when a person's ancestors were hunter/gatherers, or whatever they were. For generations, anyone who doesn't fit the norm is labeled inefficient, wrong, disabled, broken. If your ancestors were nomads, it sucks to be yo…

Not-So-Travelling Blues vs. Adulting

My inner child is throwing a tantrum. She wants to adventure, dammit, and there isn't one imminent.

I outsided for lunch, and the weather was nice enough - overcast, humid, mildly windy, Michigan springlike here in Virginia. I used to feel this restlessness in the spring as a kid. While I sat quietly in class, or in front of the TV, or up a tree somewhere, I was fighting an exasperating urge to fly away. I flew in dreams, seated but not with wings, hovering over my neighborhood streets.

I want to skip class right now.

I can't fly away at this time. My day job is busy; I have assignments to complete. My cat is huggy ever since I came home from Dogville, and she'll be devastated if I leave her again so soon. She still doesn't want me to pick her up, but if I'm prone she lies on my back and snuggles me with her head and one paw.

I need to change something, and I am not sure whether I mean a temporary change or permanent. I feel so itchy on the inside. I recognise tha…

Not-Dying vs. Connecting aka Coffee Bean Epiphanies

I went to my book club this weekend, with the big-ass book and all my sketch-tools with me. The illustrations got trotted out and discussed. Afterward I took a booth at a restaurant so I could eat and keep working. People stopped intermittently to compliment my work, and I said, "Thank you!"

And I meant it, and I didn't get all awkward, even when someone wanted to discuss further. I Advanced the Discussion. Gimme a patch for that.

Sunday morning, after feeding the cats, I checked into Beanetics for a French Press and a table to work. This is where the magic happened.

The little Barista-chick who has discussed my illustrations with me before is leaving; next Saturday is her last day making our coffee. We - she, I, and the other regulars - joked about getting matching coffee bean tattoos on our wrists.

The Scottish Guy doing genealogy work at the neighbor table was uninterested or polite, but a dancer named Heidi really liked my pictures. Her mom appeared later and asked …

Single-Parent Homes vs. What Makes America Great

Last week at my home-bar (read: pool hall), I got lectured on what it means to be American - by a guy who is a native of New Zealand, lived in London for a decade, and married a Colombian American with a loving extended family.  In his opinion, the thing that makes America great is the 1st Amendment: Freedom Of Speech. Having lived in several countries, he assures me that this is not an option in most places on the globe.

He also told me his Colombian family has been Democratic for decades, and decided at the last minute to vote for Trump - 30 votes - because someone they knew personally told them that Trump is not racist and "will pick up a golf club with anybody." They hated Hillary that much. 
I've never played golf with anybody, and I have interacted with a lot of non-golf players.  I can't say for sure that playing golf is a fair measure of one's racist tendencies.  I harbor doubt.
I was able to reciprocate insight by lecturing him on the difference I have …

'cos I'm Sneaky Like That aka Hold My Haiku and Watch This ;)


Awkwardly assess: Valuate each one of us, Misconstrue the worth.
You weren't offered service But a place at the table.
Accept equal space But be willing to receive What you didn't know.
Here's an obvious Easter Egg -  Yours for the discovery.

Getting Over Myself vs. Man of the House

I'm in a funny place these days, mentally. Physically, maybe, since Annandale is fascinating. But mentally I'm in  uncharted territory.

I have lived a lot of lives - I count ten. I've surpassed Cat Status.  Having been divorced and living in my Tiny Cottage for just over a year now, I am feeling something new: comfortable in my own skin. Comfortable with the ramifications of whatever comes out of my mouth, because I am certain that when the  words came out I meant them. Comfortable with completely changing tack if the origin of my words no longer suits the situation. I can learn. There is nobody else but me, and I am still afloat. I am unrepentant.

I didn't do this by myself. I have the support of people who believe in me when they have no reason to believe, other than they see me from outside of me.  They see my efforts and failures, and they never question whether I am going to get back up. Sometimes I wasn't sure I'd get back up, but people whose perspectiv…

Defining the USA vs. Mass Shootings

The United States of America currently has an unfiltered babyman in the Oval Office, one who repeatedly uses petty insults in attempts to discredit his opponents ( "a very low IQ individual, ever see her?"  - I'm sure he misplaces commas.)

Here is a perfect example of what we're talking about when we say White Patriarchy. Who else would think it's okay to talk like this??

The narrative was never meant for all white people. It got leaked when the tiny Kings realised their white servants and black slaves were getting chummy. Divide and Oppress. Now several other theories are floated to explain how the War Between the States wasn't about Slavery. 

Typical Narcissist ploy: I never said that. You're taking it all wrong.  Thankfully there is a movement to properly educate those who value education.  If you apply honest political and economic theory to the facts of the Civil War, you will see it...unless you are a Narcissist. Someone with NPD is incapable of i…

Creative Circles vs. When Is It Done?

I have half an art degree. This means that about the time someone tried to teach me how to come up with a logo even if I wasn't in the mood, I switched my major to Communications. There isn't a degree for Oracle at any reputable institution I can find.  You do what you gotta do.

I like to wait for inspiration to create art.  I may be coming to the end of a dry season, thanks to a pile of awesome and creative people I know, people who know how to tap the Universe and dispense it to the rest of us in seemingly innocuous ways.  Mari Sloan is one.

Mari takes pictures of her world and shares it - her world - with us. I want some Mari Glasses, because I swear everything is joy for her. I don't need Mari Glasses as long as she keeps sharing.  She took a great portrait of turnips.

This turned into one of those moments where I say something, and somebody says Make It Happen, and my muse says, "Yeah. This is how you're gonna do that."

So last weekend I started paintin…

Clarity vs. The Ewing Way

Today is a good day.

In the middle of a discussion about how a clear mind and a high-functioning network reinforce each other, evidence was delivered on exactly how that works. Message well-received.

I have been so much more productive in the last six months than I have in the past six years. Thirteen years.  Not every minute of the last six months has been productive, but enough has happened that I am learning to stop measuring in minutes and I can now measure days. I have a decent overview and can foresee measuring in months very soon.

One path to a clear mind is a clear work-space. Clutter is representative of many things:  you are too busy, you are too receptive, you are hiding from something. Building a fort. I'm no hoarder, but I do tend toward hanging on to things that may prove useful later, in the belief that I won't have to waste resources going out to buy a whatever once I figure out what I need. I think my Scots-Irish Ewing genes have handed down this pragmatism w…

Editor: "You obviously have a complicated relationship with this person" Me:

because you exist
things should be considered, though
better left absurd.

I like my dreams impossible
but you crack the door open.

Not A Movie Review: Black Panther vs. #YPIPOtho?

I haven't seen the movie Black Panther yet, but I will.  I love movies based on comic books. Comic books were our escape from reality as kids; they were promises of possible brighter tomorrows. Comic books taught us to think outside the box, to believe. The Fantastic Four was my favorite. Dood was rocks.

My Uncle John introduced me to comic books, most notably MAD Magazine. He played folk songs on his acoustic guitar and taught my brother to flip olives over Grammie's chandelier. John was my Godfather in the old Catholic way; he was a Viet Nam veteran and a great father when he finally had kids of his own. He died young, seven years ago. I think today was his birthday.

We were oblivious to any insidious racism in comic books. We were kids, and took things literally. Some of those characters were blue, for God's sake. The adults in my young life never addressed the issue of racism at all, because it didn't affect us. People are people to us. This did not prepare me for…



fighting to let go dispersing attachments rehoming my regrets
giving is selfish - said it over and again like a mantra
it's best to disarm let the stories speak for themselves without talismans
let the metal and stone recoup their identities, and yet
they fight back.

Rumplestiltskin vs. Dragonflies - Just Recharge

"...I think I just want to sleep for a year or two to get my energy back," says my friend, the Annoying One.

I totally get that. Since moving to Annandale, since divorcing, that is pretty much what I've been doing. It's more difficult than I thought it would be, recharging, but I'm sort of getting the hang of it. There are still bouts of anger and frustration over time wasted, and mourning over that which was lost and will probably be unrecoverable. I'm sure you know this one.

Fresh starts aren't really fresh, and they aren't really starts, either - more like picking up a knitting project and trying to remember where you wanted to go with it. Remembering how to knit, even.  Deciding that some of those dropped stitches can just stay dropped and unravel later, because I'm old and no longer care about the competition.

Let there be holes in my armor. I don't believe anything can kill me any more.

One of the books I'm currently waffling includ…

Happy Valentine's Day - Hope It Goes Well For You :)


Late Night with Miles - Hotel Stories aka That Time I was Called a Beacon of Sanity

Peter was one of the Scottish Golf Group, not to be confused with the Irish Golf Group who’d stayed at the hotel the month before. While the Irishmen went out to the bar every night promptly at 6 PM, the Scots brought their own beer and sat around the pool drinking, singing, and calling my name whenever any hotel staff member  passed through.

"They're calling you," Lindsey grumbled.

"What do they want?"

"Dunno. Every time they can see me they start yelling DEBRRRRA! DEBRRRRA!" She huffled into the back office, letting the door slam.

One night, though, I found several of the Scots at the pub on my way home from work. I can’t remember whether I was drinking, but I want to say I wasn’t, because that happened - I often went to the bar and didn’t drink. I also found my friend Phyllis, who wanted a ride to see her boyfriend working the graveyard shift at the Adult Bookstore. Peter the Scottish Golfer was not content to go back to the hotel at closing tim…