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Teef vs. Why I Can't Take a Nap Right Now

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I'm fresh back from the dentist, and dying because I want to take a nap but my written instructions say:

DO NOT LIE DOWN.

I so much want to lie down. Here I am with y'all for another 1.5 hours, so it's story-time.

I started this trouble when I was 18. After a weekend of nothing but Coors' Light on the beach at Port Aransas, I decided to go home and fix a hot dog. I woke up the next morning still at the neighbors' house. I went to the bathroom and cleaned the blood off my face and shrapnel out of my mouth; everyone playing cards in the kitchen could say only that I'd fallen on my face.

One of my front teeth was broken. I went around like that for a while and even survived a spectacular abcess. That's what you do in this country if you're too poor for proper medical treatment, what you do if your family structure is such that you can't support each other.  My grandma finally footed the bill for a flipper - removable artificial tooth. A lot of people h…

The Bringer of Good News

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I saw this tank with wings patrolling my tiny cottage a couple days ago, and then it was gone.

And then it was back last night.

I enjoy all the beasties that find their way into my home, and I enjoy putting them the fuck back outside. I've liberated many spiders, including an adorable teenage Orb Weaver, moths, a butterfly, a skink, two baby snakes and a mole. Not the ants.

I thought at first it was a variety of bumblebee who'd bumbled in from the mint out front. I couldn't find a picture online of a bee like this -- but wait...shoot.

I'd forgotten all about yellowjackets.

One of the first things we learned as wild kids in Michigan is that bees don't want to hurt you, because they will lose their stinger and die; wasps and hornets can sting you over and over, unrepentantly. While I flipped through pictures of things that will stab me, the hovertank disappeared again. I thought maybe it had gone to bed, so I would do same. And then the cat yelled for dinner (which …

...and That's What I Did This Weekend.

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The tall guy turned around and came back to my art station - he was wearing a Bell's Brewery shirt and had trouble finding his words.

"I never do this, I'm from Michigan, but could you draw a skitty sk...shitty sketch of my best friend and I at the bar there, like a Hemingway feel, you know...a well-lit room..."

 I was stationed between the bar and the side-door at Palette 22 as an Artist-in-Residence. Heavy humid air bustled in with every turn of the revolving door. Outside, two young women with elaborately-braided hair nestled together as they perused the menu taped to the window above my table. The young man was in front of me, unsure whether he'd made his request clear.

"I hate Hemingway," I grinned. "Also I dislike Kalamazoo very much."

My daughter's voice giggled in the recesses of my brain:  "You're the one who taught me, if it isn't worth doing for the story it isn't worth doing at all." I looked around at …

The Battle of the Laundromat

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@RageMichelle and I were talking about writing funny. I thought about how my daughter's friends think I'm hilarious and always ask for stories, but there isn't much humor on this blog. I'm gonna try it - here ya go.

@lia likes to tell people I got drunk and broke the laundry machine, but that's not how it went. I was staying with her in Michigan while she had knee surgery. Maybe it wasn't that visit - I think she left me unattended to go to her job. All I know is I got bored. I would be HELPFUL. I would do the laundry.

At my place in DC, we didn't have machines so I used the laundromat down the block. Across the street from the laundromat was Room 11, an excellent Foodie joint with talented mixologists (hi, Shaun.) I wisely developed a routine:  put my clothes in the washer, set an alarm on my phone to signal the end of the wash cycle, cross the street and order a drink. Before the alarm went off  I'd order food, which would be ready by the time I came…

The Hole vs. Maybe a Gap in the Smoothie

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I was terrified of the hole, and did whatever I thought would keep it from manifesting.

...the empty feeling when a loved one is gone; when your relationship still feels empty; when you finally get the thing you always wanted but it doesn't feel like your dream.

These losses are each very different, but there's a unifying thread. I've felt "the hole" when there was absolutely nothing wrong or different in my life. That tells me it's not always situational. And it's not always gnawing. Psychological or biological, it's real and part of the sum total of Me.

Maybe I shouldn't think of it as something that needs fixing, a literal hole, but a space - and here's the thing:

Nothing is really empty. An empty room has things in it: sunlight, air, dust, energy. The University of Konstanz is home to ground-breaking science on what's really in a vacuum - they call it a Traffic Jam in Empty Space.

That empty space within us also contains things we are …

Random Emails I've Sent Myself - (n) in a Series...

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When in unsure territory, I reach out to people whose perspective I value because they've proven themselves. I can test their advice to see if it works for me and be comfortable putting it down if I don't get the results I'm after.

It wasn't always thus; I used to reach out to people whose opinions could impact my life. Emotional baggage weighed in on every decision. Those people proved treacherous. 

Scientists trust the data; if results don't match then your data isn't accurate. Maybe you're not measuring the right thing, or you've left out a variable. Data doesn't lie, but it doesn't check the weather outside or the atmosphere in the office. It may have been compiled by someone who didn't ask the right questions. 

If you aren't getting the results you want, reassess. Don't acquiesce to a person for who they are.

I Tried Hard to Write Ecolo-poetry, and This Is What Happened.

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You have a beautiful mind.
Thank you.
And we want you to use it.
Thank you. On what should I use it?
You can use it on anything you like.
Butterflies?
Well, yes, butterflies. But don't you want to use your mind productively?
What means productively?
Something that progresses the state of the world.
The world seems very big and moving due to gravitational collapse...
The citizens, then...mankind as a whole.
Just the mans, then? I am not a man.
No, silly...humans. All humans are equal. Okay. Am I a humans?
Yes.
I like butterflies. Are butterflies humans?

No, butterflies are not humans, but you can like them.
I want to use my beautiful mind to help them.  I can study what they need and they will always be and I will be happy. Will this progress the state of all humankinds?
Well, perhaps...butterflies need oxygen like we do...
And food. Butterfly foods are in flowers, and I like flowers. Do humankinds find that production of flowers helps to progress the world?
Maybe. That's an interesting cal…

Regurgitating Little Conversations

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You know this one, too - those loaded thoughts you can't. let. go. even though you've parsed them backward and forward and you know your official statement on the topic. Even when you're not sorry you responded the way you did. Even when you don't even like that whatever anymore.

This is not the same as the way I can remember the tan wood paneling in the house where we lived before I was 2 years old (I just confirmed it with my mom) or almost every word I've seen in print. I'm no Marilu Henner, but I astound and annoy even myself.

I'm talking about the the thoughts that push their way through the project on the table:  wondering what someone's doing whom you haven't seen in forever, or making you think it's time to put on pants and go because you need biscuits right now.

Minneapolis-based rap artist Dessa talked about the "inventory of feelings" she addressed when she used neurofeedback to finally get over a long-term relationship:

Lov…

Unencumbered

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Any sensation can trigger memory: a smell, a sound, a song. Tonight it's a specific temperature and humidity combined with sodium lighting and just the right curve of a very flat road under a full moon between green trees and black sky. I turn off the radio so I can try to remember what was playing then. I remember being happy.

I don't know where I was the first time - I think Texas or Oklahoma. I was carefree, cruising in someone else's car, nothing left to lose. Unencumbered. It was nice to transport back there for a moment, to know I'd felt this way before like I feel it now. That means I can feel it again in the future; it's not specific to a time or space. I own this happiness and this beautiful night. The sky is amazing and the moon looks so proud.

The freedom of fetters loosened comes after hardship and pain, like a mermaid losing her tail and gaining legs. Awkward, bumpy, gashes on the sole. I can do what I want without upsetting someone else's stabil…

A Hanging at High Noon - Does This Smile Make My Natural Bitchface Look Big?

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The deed is done; the art is hung. I'm officially live and public.

It's weird to see my ugly babies outside of home. I go to my usual weekend hangout and they're hanging out, among strangers and draped over tables, no looks of recognition toward me. Like teenagers. I wonder if they smoke and drink with their friends when I'm not around.

Pieces are numbered 1-14 from the front door to the back corner; Jennifer had me call out titles so she could write them down for pricecards. This was weird, too.  Titling is exceeding difficult for me. I had to take ownership of what I'd assigned to my babies, call them by their names. It gave me a feeling of...legitimacy, maybe?...something I haven't yet digested. Definitely I've done a real thing here, and I will do it again. It'll be easier next go-round.

In the meantime, I'm at the laundromat doing what's amassed while I made decisions and wrangled hardware for 3 weeks.  A lady here is wearing a shirt I th…

Mirroring vs. Reavers at High Tea

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The more we learn about psychology, and the more psychology learns about itself, the quicker we assess a person in whom we find challenges. Our pattern-extracting brains seek a path to agreement, in other words seek to eliminate discomfort. We want to connect; when we can't, we want to know why. This one sounds like a narcissist; that one over there clearly has control issues. Be wary of people who seem co-dependent. The easy thing is to assign labels for quick sorting. It feels like a safeguard.

At some point, society chooses how we should approach one another, and when, and how much. Kids learn by getting feedback from their parents, mirroring. I take cues from others when I communicate, looking for the way someone wants to receive information. Sometimes, though, I'm looking for something to mirror and I have no idea what I'm looking at. I don't get it right; things turn awkward, and suddenly there's a mess.

I've always been The Weird Kid. People often call …

Facades vs. Rejection, Art, and the Philosophy of Japanese Pottery

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Jason Horejs blogged about How to Deal With Rejection as You Seek Gallery Representation. He reminds us what we all know: a "no" is not a red mark on your overall brand. Sometimes it's a "not here" and sometimes it's a "not right now." He advises that it's good to review what you're putting out, but don't assume a full revision is required. "Force  yourself to keep going," he says. He's right.
There are many ways to increase your odds for success and reduce the likelihood of rejection (may I humbly suggest reading or rereading “Starving” to Successful), but some level of rejection is inevitable. All the same tenets hold true when connecting with actual humans. There's a formality involved that I can't always navigate. I'm a huge fan of politeness but also of transparency, and integrity above all else. If someone asks me a question, I default to "honest", no matter what protocol is expected. Maybe &qu…

Nostalgia for the Basement Days...How to Build An Art Exhibit

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Putting together an art show seems very much like putting together a music album.  Some of you-all may  not remember albums. They told stories and wore cool jackets, sometimes smoked. Dark and enigmatic, glistening in the dim light of somebody's basement while the needle danced over the grooves. God, I miss analog. 

An exhibit needs to tell a story. Our brains seek patterns but like surprises. We want the A-HA! Like the words I write, my paintings blurt images in quirky detail, narrative a little jumbled like that last dream before you wake up.  As I compile my varied works to hang on the walls of Beanetics Coffee Roasters, I may find a piece doesn't fit, quite, next to its compatriots. I can bend the narrative by reordering the pieces so one nuance leads gently to the next. This project wants editing like any other.

A good whisky and a good perfume are the same way. The first impression may be bold; you're not sure you want it to waft away, but here comes another too irresi…

Preserve Life, All of It - a Political Post

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Preserve life.  We all agree on this. We do.

Remember that tadpole you found as a kid? You brought it home and put it in a jar and it died. You bawled your eyes out and your mom threw jar and all into the trash bin.

Abortion laws are big news this week. So are floods along the Mississippi River (it's a really big river - check out a map.) Universal Healthcare and international trade tariffs have sort of taken a back seat. Government subsidies for farmers are barely making headlines. These things are all tied together.

If you can't take a shower, keep your clothes clean, and show up on time every day, you won't be able to keep a job. If your front teeth don't look nice, your job options are severely limited. If you can't have a job, you can't have a roof over your head. You see the circle yet?

Once you preserve life, it's alive. It has to eat, sleep, breathe. You have to take care of it.
Quality of life is not always rooted in personal decision-making. A…

From the Temple Floor: How Art and Math Are the Same Thing

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I've known for a long time that it's useless to force creativity:  often the work will have to be done over.  Thanks to discussions peripheral to Gödel, Escher, Bach - an Eternal Golden Braid, I've learned to use math terminology (imperfectly) to further identify aspects of the process.

According to me, the difference between one person's brain and the next is the degree of pixelation each can discern.  How fine a grain are you able to manage?

I can work with very, very, fine grains; I have challenges taking in the forest.  I see not only the trees but pebbles, lichen, the tiny little things that creep therein.  I can discern minute intervals with alarming (to myself) accuracy, even when I haven't figured out what they are, but I can get lost trying to drive across town. Also, I can see wisteria vines, bats, and birds in the grounds left at the bottom of my coffee, so I'm interpreting that vision in scratchboard.

There's a place in every creative work wh…

INFP-AF. (Hint: the F is for Forgiving.)

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I took somebody's online quiz (having no faith in online quizzes but needing entertainment.)  

The quiz proclaimed me INFP-T. As I read their breakdown I kept mumbling no...no...No...NO...THIS IS ALL WRONG.

It's an online quiz, for cripes' sake.  But the quiz-creators take themselves relatively seriously. The Briggs-Meyers test is considered reputable to some degree.  

Worse, a friend sent me a link of Quora discussions: 


https://www.quora.com/What-is-it-like-to-be-an-INFP https://www.quora.com/Is-anyone-an-INFP-They-seem-very-rare https://www.quora.com/What-frustrates-people-about-INFPs

 "I dunno about that infp stuff," Sharon said. "Google says infp types tend to be verbally unassertive. (I think you assert verbally, frequently)"

Sharon's met me. 

Jim adds: "Because you know how much more there is that you didn't assert." Yes, Jim, so much yes.  It is nice to be understood.
Let's just be clear on one thing:  I AM JUDG(E)MENTAL. I am measur…

No Pennies - me vs. Bathroom Floor

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The landlords have given me explicit permission to hack at any shrub I see fit, and then they went out of town. 
So I tore up the bathroom floor in my cottage.
The linoleum tile has been cracking and peeling since I moved in; also, I've noticed uncharacteristic water-collection during monsoon season (meaning not associated with the toilet.)  Since the back side of the cottage is about three feet underground, water may seeping in through the foundation somewhere.  That's something I'm not prepared to diagnose or handle.  However, it also seems the concrete floor wasn't sealed before the tile was laid; I can do that.
Being frugal, Scottish, both Sephardi and Ashkenazi, or influenced by my grandmother's depression-era conservation tactics, I went to Craigslist to look for someone getting rid of flooring.  I found a nearly-new gallon of KILZ for $10.  Bill, holder of the paint, said he worked literally down the street from my job, and we agreed to meet during lunch fo…