Showing posts from May, 2018

Me vs. Carl Sagans of Ants

A few days ago, I came home to find a weird convention of ants circling my kitchen light. It was weird because there are no food crumbs in my kitchen, especially in the light sticking out of the wall three inches from the ceiling. They seemed very intent, as ants usually do. I wiped down the entire area with bleach and soapy water, and those who weren't sopped up began to disperse.

*Psychepedantic Rob Coafman told me he has the foolproof method for ant killing:
You need water, sugar, and Borax.  It must be Borax.  Great success.  
Boil a couple cups of water and keep adding sugar until the water is supersaturated with sugar.  It should begin to appear more viscous even when boiling.  Once you can't get any more sugar between the water molecules add Borax.  I add a fair bit, maybe 2-4Tbsp per cup of water.  
Once that dissolves, take it off the heat.  
Put that shit out near where the ants are.  Once they find it they will lose their fucking minds over it.  
Now, here's the rub.…

We Use Jukeboxes now, Mr. Cassady vs. Radio I-Ching

I don't think John knows anything about Neal Cassady, but I could be wrong.

Neal Cassady was a major player in the Beatnik Generation and driver of the psychedelic counter-culture. In the pages of The Electric Koolaid Acid Test, author Tom Wolfe talked about Cassady and his Radio I-Ching. If I am remembering correctly, Cassady would carry a nonstop monologue whilst driving. As he drove and while he talked, he would occasionally reach over and turn the radio dial. Tom Wolfe said Cassady would magically stop the dial on a song that played off his commentary. Every time.  Radio I-Ching.

 Neal Cassady died in 1968.

In 1968, John wasn't even thought of yet. '80's kid - I bet John isn't as old as my last husband; maybe older than my daughter. John feeds money into the jukebox at his bar, and it seems like he knows the words to every song in the machine.

I'm sitting at the bar with iced tea and water, working on a series of illustrations which represent mood disorders…

Keep Your Options Open vs. Battle of the Spam

I got my current job when I wasn't looking for a job. I made a good move. It was also an example of me following my own advice (yeah, that happens sometimes): always follow up on opportunities; you can say no later, if you want to say no. Yeah, saying no is not always easy, but it is always an option.

As much as I enjoy my Tiny Cottage, I keep checking for other accommodations. I'd not have found the cottage if I hadn't been checking for opportunities, so.  Of course the ones that look too good to be true are just that, but sometimes I will send a query. Today's spammy response was especially creative, or possibly creepy:

 Also i will like you to know that the rent charges is not really the issue ,but your absolute maintenance of my townhome is most important thing.
One Mrs Yolanda price called me about the townhome ,I told her that I can't give her the townhome because she loves smoking,drinking and don't want her to get drunk and damaged my property one day …

Band of Moes Theory, and a Definition of Empathy

Humans are social animals, and we want to connect. We learn our patterns through our parents first. Then, through a series of trial and error, we collect people we like who also like us.

Or we learn to like that which we attract, and we let our collection define us. We learn to follow as a default.

Empaths feel what others feel literally, physically, not just have an understanding.  If I prick you, I will bleed.

The word empathy is used (perhaps incorrectly) to describe recognising unmet needs in others.  Do not assume that, in fulfilling what you perceive to be someone's need, the person will reciprocate by taking care of  yours.  Easy to define intellectually; not so easy to recognise in one's self.  Sometimes what we recognise is a pattern that should be retired.

If I don't meet the parameters in certain relationship models -  business, friend, family - I may take lack of acceptance as rejection, which is a model I learned: don't be a let-down. You remember that on…

Don't Be That Guy at the Party - Mitigating Toxic Relationships

I am seeing a potential negative to all this new-found awareness of self that's permeated the inter-verse. I say it like that because 1) I have several decades-long friendships that are maintained through electronic communications, and 2) I and many other people are putting our opinions on self-care and toxicity out on the internet, so they all look valid.

The awakening to acknowledgement of self is beautiful, and I am glad to see it taking hold in our society because I've been a life-long proponent. Like with any seemingly-new thing, there's the temptation to jump into the deep end of the pool and fully immerse. And the next temptation is to become the guy at the party who quit drinking and smoking but still wants to hang out. He has advice for everyone on the evils of alcohol. He's trying to be helpful.

There are thousands of articles on the internet about mental health, and now we have this blog post.

I am not a certified mental health professional. I am observant, …

We can't have nice things...

Tiny cottage is really tiny.  I can barely prep food or clean up after myself, and definitely not at the same time.  So when I knocked something off the counter, it smashed into this lime green vintage Anchor Hocking bowl which held my cat's water.  Don't judge - her food is on a china plate.

I got mad at myself for being so lazy, so wasteful, for spending so much on that bowl, chided myself for my materialistic ways.  I don't know whether my Catholic upbringing is really to blame, but admonishment is required any time something goes awry. And the cat was alarmed. Not only was this A Loud Thing, but now it was something different - broken - in the place where her water should be.

So I took a picture of  the crash, from a cat's view to be artsy and to acknowledge her chagrin, and I planned to email it to my friend Moe and say, "We can't have nice things...", but then I noticed a pink bit of fuzz in the middle of the picture.

I've spent the last week e…

*POETRY WARNING* Hand-me-downs

Slice the peach like Grammie always did - 

with sugar and milk in the same bowl with the same knife

with the same longing.

The Bread Crust Theory - A Story of Boundaries

When my daughter Alia was living with K's aunt, she was asked to mind K for an afternoon.

"K doesn't like bread crust," Alia was warned. "You'll need to cut it off her sandwich or she won't eat."  K was an adorable 4-year-old at the time. Things that seem trivial to adults are terribly important when you're 4. (The 4-year-olds probably have the best perspective, but that's a different blog post.)

"Okay," Alia said, and then she didn't do it.  She was a teenager - I don't need to explain this.

You will probably guess that K ate the sandwich with nary a peep. You would be correct; that isn't the point I'm making, though.

Alia explained to K's aunt that the sandwich was eaten, crust and all. Aunt was amazed, and K just smiled with her sweet little face.

The next time K's aunt was minding her, the sandwich was served with crust. And K refused to eat.

There's probably a legitimate psychological term for the …

My Keto Story - I (heart) Tuna

Here is why I don't buy groceries:  I spent $83 on things that need to be cooked, and then bought food out all week. Today I finally decide to "cook," which means opening a can and a jar. On the plus side, the $2.59 can of Yellowfin Tuna in Olive Oil really is better than the $.99 on sale Wild caught Albacore I usually eat, and the Goya artichokes are seasoned with comino, more Latin-style than Italian (like the Centa brand.) It's good to have options.I'm just lacking fresh leaves - I have mint in the yard but yuck.

I planted Lime Basil yesterday, and when that's grown it will be perfect for this combination. The leaves really taste like lime and basil. At $2.50 an envelope, it really doesn't hurt much if you throw  them on the ground and nothing grows - it's a lottery ticket.  I'm all for taking chance that won't leave you ill, incarcerated, or homeless.

This bowl of yumminess is keto-friendly because it's largely protein and fat. It doe…

Any Type of Relationship: Double Duty vs. Do Unto Others

Part of Adulting, New Age Model, is self-care. It's a huge part, intersecting with all other directives. Put On Your Own Oxygen Mask First.

This can be confusing. I was taught to be mindful of others: how would I feel if someone said that thing to me? I became very introspective. How would I actually feel? Taking the time to calculate scenarios may have made me somewhat prescient and somewhat slow. It also left me in a void when I learned, by trial and error, that not all persons were making the same calculations. In fact, there is a whole subset of humans who rate interactions on how well you consider their needs. You know; you've dated some of them. You end up doing double duty, caring for yourself and them, or just caring for them.

It is daunting to understand HOW to take care of yourself the way you take care of others. It isn't wrong to think how our actions will make other people feel. It's an important lesson because it mitigates our natural solipsistic tendenc…

Here is Your Rain - for Heather

My memories of Michigan are overcast and gloomy, punctuated by violent thunderstorms and mitigated by the mysterious wisdom of fog. Our neighborhood was situated between two lakes and a pharmaceutical factory; maybe the dismal ennui between foggy days makes them seem more frequent than they were.

I learned a completely different appreciation for rain in the desert. That song isn't joking - there's a week-long monsoon that every local celebrates. One of my favorite photographs which exists only in my mind is a view into the neighbors' screened-glass door: they held their four-month-old twins up to the window, showing them the rain pouring out of Heaven, faces aglow (well, the parents; the twins were just sort of staring.) I worked the overnight shift at the hotel in those days. I rode my bike 2.5 miles, gleefully, in the downpour every morning. Sometimes I was flat-out laughing by the time I got home.  There was never any thunder, though. I missed the thunder and lightnin…

On Being Part of a Venn Diagram vs. Being an Artist

Our accountant is a wonderful, naturally supportive person. My empathic sensors (and logic) tell me that she has her own set of problems but she doesn’t let them get the best of her. She asks me regularly whether I plan to ride my bike to work on Friday.  She shares pictures of her grandson and tells me about her quilting group. Last week, my Project Get Over Myself project was bringing some of my paintings into the office and letting people see them; now I’m flagged (read: outed) as a painter. She sent me a link to a fine arts festival happening over the weekend.

As usual, I have two points I have to digest. I dislike the bins people put me in, and I dislike art fairs.
I have to get over my knee-jerk when people stick a pin in me that has a label attached; it’s not as serious as all that for them, and it also means they find me interesting and are trying to connect. The thing I want the most is the thing that scares me the most. Accountant is awesome because she does not try to get me …

Weekend two-fer: Surprises for Moms

This weekend I was the official Unofficial photographer at a surprise birthday party. Let me tell you how that happened:

Facebook told me my co-worker Emily knows my cousin Jill, probably better than I do. I was invited to Emily's wedding in case Jill was going to be there, or in case she wasn't I could represent. Jill was unable to travel from Indiana, so I took a bunch of pictures for her. I was introduced as "Jill's cousin," which felt really weird since everybody at the wedding knew Jill, probably better than I do. I had tangential celebrity status.

A lot of those pictures came out really well, which always takes me by surprise. My coworker Roxanne asked if I could take pictures at her sister's wedding.

"How much do you charge?" asked Roxanne.  You know by now that everything I do is for the story. This was already a story. I said I'd be willing to trade services, but I didn't know what I wanted, maybe my car speakers fixed.  In the end…

Rules for Boundaries: Your Mom-lecture for the Day

Boundaries as a term is bordering on being the new catchprase, clickbait even.  You read it here first, kids.  However, the concept is crucial for healthy living. Let's get ahead of the curve and set some now, before hipsterdom catches the wave.

Realise that you have them.  You always have had them; your first set was probably handed to you by adults you trusted as a child.  This may or may not be problematic: the boundaries you were given may be inappropriate for you or you may have outgrown them. I'll give a personal example: I was taught that I should sit down, and if somebody wants me to have something they will give it to me. At some point, somebody who'd been handed different boundaries laughed at me and said, "If you want something, you have to ask for it," and was amazed that I didn't know this.  Now we arrive at the next rule. Do not weigh or judge the boundaries of others. It may be best to start thinking of boundaries as an invisible buffer zone. I…

UPdate on Things: Coyote the Trickster, aka Remember That Time I said I wasn't gonna blog today?

Only it didn't *just* happen. It's been marinating. It spoke to me some little time ago - not that long ago - in the middle of a conversation about somebody else's vision.  Visions are sneaky like that. They move like electricity, making leaps, and they can shape-shift. They don't necessarily mean the same thing to the same person, or the same thing at the end of their travel as they did when they started.  It doesn't matter.

My job as an artist is to convey messages which already exist in time-space, and try to do it as clearly as possible when you don't have access to the language which was the original conveyance.  It's my favorite game.

This is done now for the second time, and at the heart of the message is a feather given me by someone else who apparently received the message. Stay tuned, Etsy-friend...our story is leaving the ground.

Today I bought the Coyote a new suit, in the form of a $4.99 thrift store frame. I brought the painting in with me, t…

Tandoori Days, Bachata Nights, aka Why You Should Go Ahead and Do It.

I wasn't gonna blog today, but I have to explain to you how I live my life, and why Annandale may actually be perfect for me.

I feed my landlords' cats when they are away, and they pay me for this. It's fair, because I have to commit to showing up twice a day (whereas were I a horn player, I'd just noncommittally show up, or not.) So the landlord paid me today, and I've had biryani on my mind, so I thought I'd go get some.

There's a local restaurant called Tandoori Nights that makes amazing home-cooking-quality Nepalese/Indian cuisine. I usually go there when the sun is still shining.

Ah, but tonight there was club lighting and a police officer out front.  It could be argued that this was a warning sign, and that I should go elsewhere. If you've met me, you know I'm oblivious - warning-sign blind.

"Hello, ma'am," he nodded as he let me pass. I sat at the bar and waited for someone to realise they should speak to me. I asked if I could…