let us have tea and speak of absurdities

It's been two weeks since I launched myself into "being a writer." 

This has included many hours of reading over most of the fiction I've written in the past thirteen years, trying to figure out a piece of software I downloaded five years ago and never quite got the hang of, scribblings on notepaper and a large whiteboard, a few pages printed out, a few segments lightly edited, two different outlines partly finished...

And very little new writing. Yet I feel I've made tremendous progress, and so that is just fine. 

Because it feels different now; much more purposeful and much more possible. I can't say quite why that is, but I don't think it really matters. I wish I had more energy to apply to it; I'd work far more hours of the day if I could. For now, I'm doing all I can to get moving forward and keep going, and when I can do even more, I will. I don't want to burn out, of course, but that's not too likely.

Today I'm ready to tackle the first of three segments of writing that will make the story I'm working on feel like a real book. There's an online forum to revisit in which one character is secretly wooing another with haiku, a rehearsal of a children's Thanksgiving pageant, and probably something to do with the dog Chucho, because he'll want his say in things. 

Then I will refresh my outline and prepare for fill-in segment two. I've got this. 

Right? And so.




Starting out, starting over, 16 years on

A. This post is mostly about uninteresting things, but I needed to get it all down, and maybe it's good for something for you, as well. Mostly, future posts will be only about half this long, or less, and I have an idea that I should strive to make them entertaining.

I was organizing various files and computer elements in recognition that Google Plus is ending after nearly 8 years, because you were too lazy to use anything but Facebook or Tumblr by 2011, unless you’re one of my Google Plus friends, in which case you weren't, but know just what I’m saying, and anyway, I decided it was time to freshen the blogs.

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I used them less, and less as I wanted to because of G+, and that’s my only real negative point about it, other than how people treated it who weren’t there every day enjoying it. There are two blog sites, and each one has a subblog. (When I first got them, there were reasons for that, too dull to go into.)

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So I have the main blog which is currently just a link page, more on that in a sec, and the poetry/writing page. Then I have the actual main blog where I write this stuff, and this has a subpage for talking about cooking and sewing and such things, which I hope to update more going forward.

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The main blog had posts going back to 2003, from when I used Dreamweaver and uploaded everything to an FTP server. Then I had Live Journal, Blogger, Vox, and finally Typepad. So the older posts were not all formatted well, and some of the images were lost, but I kept it all as a sort of History of Ridiculous Me.


In 2015 I wanted a fresh start, so I moved over to the second main page, but kept the first one as an archive. 

It’s not fine literature. Some of it is rather stupid. But I like looking back at Younger Me and saying, aw, you. And some of it is rather good, though I do say so myself. Better still, sometimes I was even funny, before life got to weighing me down so much. At least, I amused me, and that was fine.


I tend to pick up on certain kinds of things before they become trendy, and the old blog was a chaotic catalog of some of that, as well. But now here I am, starting over, a far different person in some ways at 53 than 37. Gosh, being in your late 30s is grand. Don’t take that for granted. Anyway, so now I’m going to switch to a new scene for a few minutes and tell Angela about the fire dreams, since I can’t just send her a link to what I thought was a hilarious denouement of a lifelong mystery. Skip way down to C. if you just want this to end swiftly.


B. I dreamed of fire as a child, nearly every night sometimes, with occasional rests, from ages…3 or 4 or 5, to 17. Less frequently after that, but I still do, a few times a year. Fire that burns and burns, but never quite consumes, or of a fire-ravaged aftermath. No one is ever hurt, there is never much drama, but I would wake up hot and terrified and certain that the electric wiring in the walls was slowing burning its way to the outside, or that lightning had struck a tree outside one of my three bedroom windows, or that the fire in the fireplace downstairs hadn’t been extinguished properly.

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I was terrified to leave my bed, so I’d watch for smoke under the door, and sometimes, after an agonizing wait, carefully go over to see if the door was warm. I can picture it now; when I was in kindergarten, we took a trip to a place called something like Santa Claus Lane, and I got a little Santa sticker I slapped on the middle of the inside of my door. It could not be fully scraped away later, and was always the first thing I saw when I woke each morning. So there was the little Santa, and maybe there was fire behind it, but I couldn’t hear anyone, and I’d call quietly for Mom, Dad, both, and raise my voice a little at a time til they either heard me, or heard me too loudly to carry on ignoring.

When I was a little older, I’d make it out of my room into theirs, because I just could not go back to sleep in my own bed, not knowing what might happen. Even though I knew nothing would. 

You know, I sleep in a huge bed, and I always say I’ll never give it up because I like the heater in it, and also the sheer extravagance of spreading out my books and things all over it. But Mom and Dad’s bed was also very large, and so I did fit between them, probably not all that comfortably from their point of view, yet we were not crowded against each other. I would lie as perfectly still as I could, to not disturb them further, but I would worry for hours, falling asleep at dawn. 

I sleep very well now, or would if the schedule allowed for it. And I do like all this space. Maybe, though, it feels secure, like that part of childhood.

When the dreams didn’t haunt me every night, something would trigger one; smoke on the horizon, a thunderstorm, things like that. But I never feared actual fire; it fascinated me. Fire is awesome when it isn’t destroying something we’d like to still have around.

Sometime I’ll write again and describe the dreams themselves, but one of them I had so often when I was a child seemed like the starting point, and I wondered for many years why I dreamed it. I concluded at some point I’d seen a scene like it on TV or in a movie, as my parents were just the worst at censoring scary or violent material from my young eyes.

(The truth is, they never intended to have me after the third and fourth pregnancies ended sadly, and they were not doing all that well with each other, though they kept trying, and so I grew up being both adored and “spoiled,” and left to my own devices, kind of in the way of what all the older people wanted to do or enjoy or brood at each other about. It was odd being taken to see The French Connection, but also being told I couldn’t stay up after 9 to watch Carol Burnett. But that’s enough digression.)

No one could remember any event that might have started this dream problem, though there was some serendipity to it initially that I’ll also rewrite some other time. 

When I was 17, my mom and I lived in a townhouse and our old house was featured on the TV news as it burned to the ground because of poorly stored paint cans and an abysmal volunteer fire department. I’ve had a few dreams over the years of wandering through it in a half-burned state.

Four years ago, I looked for the dozenth time for clues on the web, thinking maybe it had to do with a Night Gallery episode featuring that guy who played John Boy being a sin eater, and licking butter off his fingers as he consumed a meal laid out on a dead guy. I bet you didn’t watch that when you were 7 or 8, did you? But I did. And I never forgot it, Mom.


You know, it’s a good thing I found it then, because the way Google searches (don't) work now, I think I never would. 

The main scary dream involved a girl laughing at her mom in a bed as flames rose up around her and she could not move. That’s all the detail you need, but I can picture it still. Because it is in this disaster of a movie that apparently re-aired on TV when I was about three years old. Yes, the mom in my dreams was Zsa Zsa freaking Gabor. Laugh as you wish. It’s okay. But anyway, now you know why I never watched Emergency! when I was a child. I self-censored; someone had to. I never saw Towering Inferno, either, until a few years ago. Funny how that movie played out like my dreams, fire just slowly, slowly taking over. Anyway. Here we are. Here is the entire movie, if you want to watch it, and certainly you do.

C. I turned the original blog into a link page to reach this one and the other two, and my Twitter account. But now that I want to use them all more, I want to be funny again, and silly, and also sometimes serious, and yes, much less long-winded, generally. I haven’t figured it out yet, though; I could go in any direction, or just back over all the same topics again. Your thoughts on that are welcome, and you don’t even need to sign in to leave them. I just gleefully delete stupid or mean ones, so it works out fine. 

PS: I found the original blog post about figuring out the fire dreams. But it's kind of long-winded, even for me. It's more complete and more visual and I think it's interesting, but then, I would, wouldn't I? Read it only if you're, uh, completionist about the naval-gazing things I sometimes write. 

Talking to myself onscreen, pressing pause, a grey midwinter day

There are so many levels to our personal realities. For me right now, right here, some of them are too difficult to speak about, or even to think very hard on. But whatever I do write or share online is fully real, whether beautiful or messy. I can never be disingenuous; it would be like slapping my own face.

This is a little long, so I've broken it up in easy-to-digest chunks.

1. I’m back on some 3:30 am drives to take my middle son to work. He can drive. But he never gets enough practice to take the license test with its odd maneuverability portion that must be passed, which replaces the parallel parking portion found in places where that comes up more regularly. When I took my test many years ago, I was not required to pass that portion, and in fact I did not. But experience made a better teacher than the pressure of test failure, and so I’ve made out all right since then. 
Screen Shot 2019-01-23 at 1.12.39 PMthese things are collector's items now, with their big engines. that amuses me more than I can say. click the pic for details.

It’s this whole annoying thing, anyway, getting up in the middle of the night to drive him. Probably I would like the drive itself if it didn’t destroy my brain’s longstanding idea of how days and nights should work, and if I didn’t have to feed the dog and cat by 8 am. But anyway, I couldn’t find my lighter jacket this morning, and took an unclaimed one from the closet. I was concerned initially about the irritating sensation of fleece against my skin, but instead it had a slippery lining which, whenever I moved, sounded just like the noises that reside in my head. 

2. I’ve sometimes mulled over whether I'd rather lose sight or hearing, and as much as I've immersed myself in music, and love to hear certain things, like the way my son describes a customer at work, or the cat telling me the dog wants in, or like how French people list things, plus all the Sinatra, the Cure, etc. I'd still miss seeing more, at least from an emotional standpoint. I could still hear all those things in my head, but I think colors would be harder to retain, and I wouldn't get to smear canvas with thick bright paint anymore, or watch the tomatoes ripen. It’s only recently occurred to me how important color is to me, how much it speaks to me in my quiet hermitage and brief ventures out into the noisy world. I'd greatly mourn the loss of that.
étoile bleu, sarcelle et vertAnd maybe the noises in my head would stop if I couldn’t hear anymore. It would be one tiny benefit to a very sad circumstance. Oh! Plus imagine not having to hear the drone of electricity anymore. But I expect it would also be somewhat claustrophobic. 

3. Today I read in a headline what my doctor told me in 1978, when I was 13 and diagnosed with reactive hypoglycemia. He said avoid all the simple fast-burning carbs and have only complex slow-burning ones. Then you’ll process things better and so forth.
not even onceThat's a no from here.

Now, according to NPR and others, “science” says so, too. Science always did, you know, at least as far back as I can remember. It’s to do with how your body uses and stores energy, and how it converts different types of foods into it, and what it does with what you don’t use. None of this is new. But it is good to be reminded now and then. Something you might not read this week is that you’re more likely to get beneficial fiber from slow-burning carbs, and that’s better for your blood sugar, your heart, and your colon. Nature already knew this and has been offering you a bounty to choose from right along. 
a super food that actually tastes goodSweet potatoes are our friends.

The part that I think is most different for everyone depending on age, schedule, activity level and so forth is how often to eat and how far apart each day. When I was growing up, and when I was supporting babies, it was a certainty I needed several small meals throughout the day. These days I’m pretty sure I do better to just have a couple, in late morning and early evening, with only a small early or late snack if the scope of the day dictates it. So I’m working on that.

4. Okay, the subject I meant to cover first but have avoided is Smirking Kid. You should know (because people online are exhausting) as a disclaimer that one of my favorite casual restaurants, Frida 602, is in Covington, which is roughly ten miles from my house, in a really neat area called MainStrasse.  I love going there and immersing myself in the atmosphere, which isn’t as atmospheric as it would like to be, but is earnest in the effort.

A few blocks south of there, or maybe I mean west, you'll find several bourbon bars, and there’s a sign in the median there telling us about a woman who tried to cross with her family from slave-holding Kentucky to freedom in Ohio.* 
-visit_to_Covington_Underg-20000000005320662-500x375click on the picture for the story

However, the Cincinnati area is much more segregated than the areas in which my kids grew up, so I suppose if you’re a kid here in one of the little towns outside the middle, and your parents are not of the exploring variety like my kids’ parents or my own, maybe you are easily led into wrong-headed ideas about other people. But I can’t speak authoritatively on that. 

What I can say is this, in a much more broad sense. Pause before you hit send. Always pause before you hit send. I have a few friends who might not like me to say this, but they want to believe things are how they want to believe they are. My friend who believes zygotes are people is sure these kids aren’t the jerks they seemed at first. My friends who take up liberal causes the way my cat chases a stink bug are pretty sure they are. 

And while I know them to be clever good people who have more formal education than me, and thus know more about things I didn’t know to know, I think they are at times slightly emotionally irrational about issues laid before them. If what you believe about people is first dictated about what you want to believe about some issue or other, please press pause and think, very carefully, before you press send. Be fully honest with yourself; are you painting what you truly see, or mostly what you believe to be there? My friends are awesome at wanting the truth and so I see the wheels turning in their heads as they try to work this out. But some of you have rusty wheels that you need to oil. We have a lot of stuff these days that needs fixing, and this requires a higher degree of unity, not endless arguing and nitpicking and purity testing and all the rest. 
dementia or malignant narcissism: por que no los dos?
5. *It just occurred to me though not for the first time, how often I’ve lived near state lines. Right now I’m ten minutes from Kentucky and about an hour from Indiana. I lived in New Jersey for awhile, and at one point was about twenty minutes from Pennsylvania. Before that, we could go up to the beach and look across a long bay to Manhattan. 

Our first home in Michigan was about a half hour from Indiana, and on extremely clear days, once in awhile, you could just about make out the distant shore of Chicago on the other side of Lake Michigan. And I grew up in the Kansas City area, which straddles the Missouri-Kansas line. 

I like that. I suppose it’s the closest I’ll get to the idea of hopping borders from one country to another in Europe. Our states are made of different flavors, even just over the bridge from each other, some subtle, some more profound. But we’re still mostly all the same, as well.
this is a good set of people
6. Also, I was just reminded that without ever meaning to, I go through a period at the beginning of the year when I listen to virtually no music at all. Which is super weird to realize, considering what a huge part of my life it's always been. But this has happened for at least three or four years, during which the most noise I apply to myself is having a marathon of some old detective or crime show that just runs in the background like gentle rain on the window on a Saturday afternoon, or a bit of news or comedy on the radio. Is it that I get overloaded and need to tune everything down for awhile? I cannot honestly say. It does seem to correspond with my musings over what life would be like if I could not hear at all. I have two current physical quirks to monitor; one can lead to profound hearing loss, one to sight loss. But the odds of either happening are very low. I think? Odds are funny things, anyhow

My eventful uneventful Sunday, unwinding down

I’m not as efficient at planning as I once was, so last night when I went to bed around 11, I never really went to sleep, going over the variables in my head for driving Son 2 to work at 4 am. BECAUSE OF THIS WHOLE THING WHEREIN HE STILL HAS NO DRIVER'S LICENSE. We’d leave ten minutes earlier, at 3:30. We’d take the route with only one downhill stretch and curve, or we’d take the slightly longer one with only one steeper but less curvy incline. I’d need ten minutes before that to clear the car. Etcetera. And then I got back out of bed around 3.
Fortunately, the ice that fell before the snow wasn’t there long enough to form a real layer, so I was just driving in snow. Newfallen snow, too, so I could forge my own path as needed. I enjoy that. I got him there just before 4, got home about 4:25, only five minutes longer than usual. And I fell asleep around 5.

I woke up shortly after 9 but thought, it’ll be okay to have a little more sleep. Only I slept for two more hours. This gave me only ten minutes to let the dog out, and pull myself together to drive back to pick up Son 2 so he could make the bank deposit for his store. The roads were much worse near our house, having been driven on but not fully plowed. But I still got there on time. 
Only no one had shown up to work at 9, because of heavy snow somewhere, I guess, so he was alone in the store and couldn’t leave. A substitute was called in to work four hours early, but he never got there because his tire popped and all manner of other things were wrong. Then no one arrived at 2 for the next shift. Also heavy snow? Please. Between these hours, I listened to a radio show, drank some coffee, ate some Doritos, followed a great Twitter thread about being Gen   X, and nodded along with customers who didn’t understand why the newspapers were already sold out. (those are two different Gen X links above that demonstrate no one fully knows who we are, not even ourselves.)
A little after 2 I left to go home to Son 1, who needed to be at work by 3. I had to drive him there rather than let him take the car, so I could go back to Son 2. I got gas, and a tire was quite low, so I worked with a really terrible air machine to get enough air in to make the warning light go off. And I got back to Son 2 at 3:15. Someone else had arrived to take the place of everyone else who had not, so we could leave. The bank deposit was locked in a safe to wait for tomorrow. 

Son 2 wanted to go straight to his girlfriend’s house to nap there, so I dropped him off; just a few blocks from here, and went home to tackle the next silly thing. The neighbor to my left had his stupid big pickup on the street all night, so the plow went around it and thus missed most of the area in front of our driveway. It’s cold as Kelvin out there so the snow was freezing, and I had to clear the street enough that Son 3 can get his car in the driveway later, and then I put down some ice melt, which I am forbidden from doing, but I think the landlord had an old timey terrible for cement kind in mind, or so I hope. 
Things I have not done today include the following: most all the daily grooming, eaten anything from known food groups, cleaned anything at all except some road and a brief tidy of the candy bar section of Son 2’s store, the weekly quilt block I looked forward to since last Sunday, or let Son 3 know he’s picking up Son 1 after he gets home from work. 

And now at 5 pm after spending half an hour on this silly bit of ephemera, I have to go clear away whatever the ice melt melted. And it’s nearly dark again? I just spent nearly all the useful daylight time I had inside a convenience store/ice cream shop without getting paid for it? 
But that was a really good Twitter thread. 

Still "fertile" after all these years

Unlike those women in 70s and 80s TV dramas who were crushed when they learned they were entering their crone years, I’m growing impatient to get there. My daughter says it’s taking awhile because I’m ridiculously fertile and Nature won’t let go of such a prize, but you know, I have the front yard and the garden areas and things grow like mad even when I don’t wish them to; this being the yang side of a green thumb, still, now and then when it’s been a few weeks I grow hopeful, only to realize it’s been about two weeks since I started contemplating how cyborgs share physical intimacy, and then I got a pimple, and this morning I spent half an hour lining up my sewing things with great precision, and this afternoon I baked six dozen chocolate chip cookies, and now I have cramps. Screen Shot 2016-08-15 at 12.29.50 PM
But I have a mild, completely illogical fear about it all, and I’ve been wondering if there is any possible way to psychologically prevent yourself from getting to menopause. I remember reading a girl will usually continue growing in height for two years after her cycle begins, and that’s how it was for me, and then you see, my mother got sick and then died two years after reaching menopause, and somehow it seems rather like a parallel; end of physical growth to end of new life growth. Darktubbies
On the other hand, it’s now been a little over forty years since I started having these cycles, and I’ve had perimenopause symptoms for nearly seven, so I am still quite ready to let it all go, even if some odd internal segment of my brain fears what might come next. 6a013486cbda64970c014e5f6ab7ef970c-800wi

Notes on a hundred things

The annual landlord visit came and went, rather painlessly. I always get super worked up about it, though, and then need a few days to decompress.

The pool is still leaking, but we can call for that and have done whatever needs doing. 20170704_211625

I’m on Day…24 of this 28 day eating plan. The purpose of it renders it no longer a necessity, but if I stopped, my family would be all, “ooh, you didn’t do it right.” Whatever. Here’s the thing. I wanted to reset my eating thinking, and I have largely done that. So that purpose has been met. At the same time, I have fouled up my enjoyment of simple pleasures in the kitchen, I have no more energy than before, am still sleepy after lunch, have lost no weight and have seen no skin improvement. The book assured me everyone sees all that happening, and it is true in most cases; a no sugar diet will cause you to gain or lose weight as needed. But it has not been true in my case, though I have eaten many fewer calories and exercised more. At the same time, I was supposed to have withdrawal symptoms, headaches, etc., and I had none of that. I was in a bad mood only in regard to having little to enjoy the first few days, and not from sugar deprivation itself.

Looked at that way, I think 24 days has been enough to move forward to “maintenance.” But I’m not going to just eat cake today or anything like that. I’m still going to eat an apple most days; I like their thinking there, though every single day might be too much apple for me. I’m still going to drink a pitcher of water every day, sometimes with a green tea bag in it. I’m still going to do better at snacking when I can, and I might retain their notion of eating a little dark chocolate every day, though I still don’t love it. I have rediscovered my taste for freshly-ground peanuts, however. The red wine recommendation, meh. I’ll try to remember to have some sometimes, and I’ll also think very carefully about what else I’ve eaten in my day before having dessert, which is something I already do before I decide whether it’s a cocktail evening or not. 20170626_120731

I never craved dessert these past few weeks except sort of once. I really wanted rice pudding the other day, for a reason I just cannot say. When do I ever eat rice pudding? And I can’t say I’ve craved bread, but I’ve missed it a lot. Like to have a little with my olives and ricotta, or to put bread crumbs on top of the baked eggplant. And to eat noodles with eggs for lunch now and then. A natural part of the day, not an overwhelming part. I want that back.

In other areas, I’ve been sewing lots of things. I made a baby quilt top a couple days ago, and yesterday I made this log cabin block with some of the scraps. 20170704_103538

The garden isn’t good at all this year, but is not fully hopeless. There will be a fair number of hot peppers, cherry tomatoes, and lemon cucumbers. A few pickling sized cucumbers, some amount of snap beans, three delicata squash, and a few other tomato varieties, including black prince and…I forget which golden variety. But the Brandywines, which I grew from seed, are sick, and I might have to pull them out later this week. Something ate my meatball eggplant plants, but the baby eggplants on the deck seem okay. I’ll have some carrots soon, and at least a few sweet peppers. I have about twenty garlic bulbs curing in my paint room. 20170704_091241

I’m so in love with Twin Peaks: The Return, I can’t always think about anything else.

The kitten staying here is doing very well. Blood tests next week when she’s old enough for them. 20170628_174341

Yesterday I took some accidentally-purchased "lightly sweetened" peach cups (who thinks peaches need sweetening? this is our problem, people,) and turned them into popsicles.
20170704_132539please to ignore background laundry, etc.

And I made frozen yogurt thusly: one large container Greek Gods plain yogurt into the food processor with an entire cup of sugar (this amount will be reconsidered later,) juice lazily squeezed from two lemons, 2 tbs amaretto, and a touch of salt. I whirred it and then put it into a large ziploc bag in the freezer. Later after it started to freeze, I squished it around every hour for a few, then put it into a container to enjoy…in a few days, I guess. Same with a popsicle. It can wait.
Finally, here is the pictorial saga of my frozen vegetable dumplings and the sauce that would never end. 20170704_144203
20170704_151011Enough apple already. Wouldn't a piece of flat bread have tasted good with that sauce?

Getting sidetracked by food irony. Plus pictures.

Q. Hamburger
I started this 31 day sugar detox two weeks ago. Right away I decided I’d do best if I made it four weeks, instead, but otherwise, I followed the plan in the book I got, strictly. I did the three day super detox, then began on week one. After a few days, though, I noticed I was growing paranoid about food, what I was eating, when I was eating it, and I spent a great deal more time thinking about food than felt healthy. Eyeball
I read the book carefully, a few pages each day, going back over pertinent sections and thinking about them. I have spent most of my life studying nutrition in food in a casual but dedicated sense, and know enough to say it is a good plan, healthful and carefully constructed. But it took me awhile to realize the writers’ goal was more about weight loss and improved skin appearance than anything else. And while I wanted to lose ten pounds, my main personal concern was that I’d been trading healthful calories for unhealthful ones, by putting off eating until I was too hungry, then eating too much of foods I know will ultimately drag me down, just to not feel hungry. Threshhold
I started the plan hoping to reset that problem, by constructing daily eating habits that included too much of the right food to bother with the wrong food. Well, avoiding the wrong food has been pretty easy. But eating enough of the right foods has been as difficult as ever, more so because I could have no starch or grain at first. Scream
And at first that seemed appropriate. A lot of what’s in those foods converts to sugar in our bodies. But now after two weeks, I have no more energy or drive to eat better than I did before; that is, I have the drive to continue to battle the problem simply because I know I must, and am a grownup about that, but I have gained nearly no ground. I’d still rather not eat than worry about food groups all day. I’m also a little annoyed that people tend to (I know this from extensive reading since 1978) drop a lot of weight right at first when eliminating sugar, and I have not done so. The three pounds I’ve lost has been more from calorie deprivation than sugar elimination. That's no good at all. Frustrated
But those other people tend to be breaking daily sweetened coffee and diet soda habits. I rarely sweeten my one daily mug of coffee and almost never drink soda of any kind. Mostly all I did in that problem area was have too many cookies in the afternoon or evening. I thought that was huge, and for me it was, but apparently it’s nothing compared to what a lot of other people get up to.
I don’t sweeten my salad dressings, I rarely eat french fries or bagels or mac and cheese, etc. I already knew the delightful sweetness of cooked onion. And I miss oatmeal, which I can enjoy readily without adding sugar or syrup, though that’s nice, too. If you think about it, oatmeal can be your buttered toast, to enjoy with an egg or a little fruit. That is, the porridgey kind that is freshly milled or steel cut. Those flakes need a lot of outside help. Pleasesir
Anyway, this is a long-winded monologue to say that I was following the letter of that plan, but losing the intent of having started it. Mostly, I just need to consistently eat breakfast, choose healthier snacks, and eat a lot more servings of fruits and vegetables. The fruit part will be the bigger challenge. For some reason, I love having fruit around, but don’t really enjoy eating it. Except cherries. Maybe because they are like olives, but fruit. Same with late summer plums. I don't know. Screen Shot 2015-11-20 at 9.24.56 AM
So I am continuing two more weeks of sugar detox, but I am going to skip ahead to the fourth week guidelines and do that for two weeks (minus a really irritating amount of red wine,) while working on my own daily eating plan that suits my tastes and needs better going forward. Screen Shot 2016-03-16 at 11.39.46 AM
More than anything else, I’ve got to mother myself through each day so I get all I need with much less of what I don’t need. I’m super terrible at forming habits; it’s an aversion borne of growing up with a delightful but alcoholic father. I used to even feel anything you do as a ritual might not be good for you, because you’re maybe relying on it. But in my mellower mid-years, I have come to understand and embrace personal ritual a little bit, and I can embrace breakfast in the same way.

A. 60


curating myself

Yesterday was the 14th anniversary of my blog(s.) There are 1460 posts here, but about 300 are archived, no longer live, and there are a couple hundred or so more at the other page, linked at the top here. I’ve been going through them and creating an Archive of Me, and while you will Not find all of it interesting, you Will find some of it interesting. The rest is just for me to easily access.

Over on the right, unless you’re on a mobile device in which case I think at the bottom? I’ll have a look later and be more precise, are the latest in that series of posts from over the years, minus a 6 month period which got corrupted a few years ago. And a couple of the links go to an entire month of posts, because I did that when I was adding 2005 here.

I’ve changed a lot over the past 14 years. I had a 4 year-old when I started this blog. And other fairly young offspring, of course. Now they’re all grown up. We moved 4 times since then, and there are 4 in the house instead of 8. I will be a grandmother soon. So I look back over all this and laugh or wonder at myself, but on the whole, I do see myself in all of it. Life is an ongoing process of growth and decay. :-)

Anyway. The complete-ish 161 post reminiscence set is here, starting in March, 2003. Only I guess you'd have to read it all in reverse to see it chronologically. Well, whatever.  Some of it is embarrassing, I don’t care; we all keep maturing, hopefully. I just wanted a condensed view I could look back at now and then, and maybe add to in the future. The only problem with having combined them all into this one blog is that the likes and plusses are gone from the old ones, and it was helpful to know which were actually popular, though it wasn’t a staggering number.

20 years, fickle April, birthday countdown thoughts, and Earth Day

This isn't going to be the post I had in mind when I began thinking it over yesterday. My heart is a bit overfull just now.

Two things to think over which spawn many other channels of thought. First, I will turn 51 in six weeks. I like being a prime number. But it is a scary age for me to be. Second, this is my twentieth year having some sort of garden, though it's 23 if you count the zinnias under the tree in Olathe. I'm counting from the glorious garden I built in Saginaw in 1997, though. 
I had little energy last year to give the garden a proper start, and so I have been happily and eagerly making up for it this year, only as we had no April to speak of, some of the vegetables which like April best are probably not going to produce really well before it turns hot. There is this thin window of time in which the ground is workable but not too cold, and the air is warming but is not yet hot. And this year, the window is even thinner than usual, because we reverted back to February at the end of March, then shot straight into May a few days ago. But such is gardening life along the 39th degree. 

My first garden, in Michigan, was kind of a thing of wonder. It became self-sustaining in two years' time, and was actually left alone to grow for at least a couple years more after I moved away. I didn't have all the internet advice I have now, and didn't even get much from the library. But I had towering tomato plants mixed in with all kinds of flowers and herbs, and just whatever I felt like growing. At first, gardening in New Jersey was something of a trial in comparison; the earth is very sandy there, especially where we lived, just three miles from the sea, and then five... Tintonfalls...and then more. Oh, I miss the sea. So I focused on the herbs, slowing adding in whatever I could when conditions allowed, and then for my last two years there, on the west side of the state, I had a 20x20 plot in a community garden. _DSC7794 - 2011-07-10 at 08-57-16 - Version 2 - 2011-07-10 at 08-57-16

That's where I really learned to garden, and where I learned to love gardeners. I will always treasure my brief time there, though I had a more difficult time finding some of the truly interesting plants there which were so easily available in Michigan. In NJ, anything which wasn't commonplace came at quite a premium. Well, everything just costs 30% more there. It makes people creative, though.
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I forgot I could be creative for awhile after moving here to Ohio into a neighborhood where a putting green lawn is valued far above the offerings of nature or my own "oldcountry" aesthetic desires. That is, I didn't forget, but I've been torn between worrying over lawn edgings and dandelions and needing to "express myself through the medium of growing interesting stuff in interesting configurations.” Doing it to satisfy both the neighbors and me would really just require throwing a lot of money around. You get more for your money here, but I can't justify it. 

So my back gardens in my rented space are semi-conservative little oases, and I treasure them as much as I can, while the front areas are more for public view, and no one knew what to think last year when I got the notion of growing middle eastern cucumbers on a trellis in front of the porch…if I told them that on the east coast, many people do not waste their front lawns on the cultivation of grass, they’d think it’s all just as awful as they believe they’re told by the news.

I never planned to have a garden, you know. This is because my mother had an enormous one for a couple of years, completely organic back when that was rather tougher to do in the post-mid-century living better through chemistry era, and I hated having to weed it. Well, I hardly weed my gardens at all. I just grow stuff between the stuff so I don’t have to. The carrots always need it, though.

I have repeated many aspects of my mother’s life, after being so certain I never would. I love gardening, I love old stuff. I have experienced some of the same pains and losses. And now I’m turning 51, the age my mother found a lump in her breast.

It is not 1987. I did not smoke as a teenager. I have not consumed huge quantities of Coke and Pepsi throughout my lifetime. I have eaten less processed food, though probably not much less. I cook with olive oil, I drink milk, I eat more fish, I breastfed my kids, and I’ve done a somewhat better job of keeping middle age weight at a reasonable place.

Still, and all. One can’t help but think about it and wonder. I have assigned all my belongings to various offspring, and I keep thinking they should not have too many drawers or boxes to sort through someday, because there’s only so much charm to be found in browsing through what other people won’t throw out.

I’m actually more likely to be felled by a heart condition because of my horrible teeth, but the fact is, from this point forward, the markers are not just, “Now I am older than Pushkin, Darin, Judy Holliday...*” but “I have been a mother longer than I had one,” “this is the age she got sick,” and two years, ten months older than I am now, “now I am older than my mother lived to be.”

So besides having my vitamins and checkups and thinking about doing a better job of making sugar calories matter, I’m working to be pleasant and giving and at peace with life, the universe and every little thing. Growing beautiful things and sewing gifts and making purple cocktails, helping tense cashiers calm down a bit, loving the dog and my kids and trying not to poison either the earth or other peoples’ hearts and minds keeps me pretty busy at that.

Here’s to Earth, to Mom, to Purple Rain, to all the Aprils you and I will live to see. Gardentools


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I have no ready explanation for this.

I started this yesterday evening. When I have the page filled sufficiently, I’m posting it.

1. This post brought to you through the auspices of Weyerbacher Brewery in Easton PA, my erratic luteal phase, and a fresh loaf of Italian bread, and is dedicated to Rumson, New Jersey, my friend Anna*, and everyone who portrayed Mr Knightley in a movie.

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I went to Kroger for some Italian sausage (thus, also some bread,) and because I needed a few minutes around some people; collective energy and so forth, and listened to my iPod there and back, noticing it has a remarkable understanding of just the sort of mood I’m in. So that’s what this is. Well, plus a few more songs that played while I was cooking sausage.
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Check it out: 20160405_161926That sign has been up at Tuesday Morning for at least a couple months, definitely before the news of Hancock’s new bankruptcy was announced, and waaaay before they announced they were closing ALL stores. Things that make you wonder…

I have On The Beach on while typing this. Wasn’t Tony Perkins just beautiful?

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And in 1959, as skinny as my beautiful sons. People seem to find this wrong now, or maybe they always did, I dunno. I remember being made fun of for it when very young, then later as a teen and young woman, the ugly sneers… But if it’s okay for people to weigh a whole lot, it’s also okay for them to weigh not very much at all. Life, you know. Diverse and all.

Hello. I’d like to talk with you about Gregory Peck’s jawline.

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2. Because of reasons to do with that unfortunate Lois Lane scene, no, not in the completely awesome exciting and thoughtful unless there is something seriously wrong with you new film, but the old outdated Superman movie, I have this Gordon Lightfoot song in my head.

I do like this song, but I always thought of it as some of the “grownup” music when I was a kid.

Speaking of which, Merle Haggard has died, and while I was not a fan, I mean, of course I remember him and he was a part of our youth and etc., and it occurs to me that all our childhood grownups are dying, and pretty soon we’ll be the only grownups who remember them, or something like that. I couldn’t quite hang onto the thread I was following. Our childhood is all ghosts, is maybe what I mean. I have a list of half a dozen people who, when they are gone, will have been the end of it all. Let us not speak their names just now. Not because of superstitions we need not have, but because we will rather continue to think of them as healthy and strong.

I was in a better mood earlier, and also yesterday when I began this exercise. It’s gloomy and raining now, which does a thing to my brain, I guess, though I never mean for it to. And so I am not going to finish this until I am in a better mood again. That’s what it’s meant to be about.

3. I’ve had a look at my “notes for later” document that I keep in my dock, and found some items to share:
    a. "Exquisite Timing: Perimenopause and the Bee Gees:" this is an essay I’m working on which I’ll probably post to Medium some time or other. But Medium has already changed a lot since it started. I’m not quite as keen on it as I was in the beginning. I’m that way, just always was, I guess. Nobody steal my title.

    b. My son said this a few weeks ago: Jesus was walking around the desert with chest damage, trying to build an arc reactor, Judas turned his back on him and betrayed him, trying to steal the technology.

    c. I copied this from somewhere, don’t remember who said it. You can Google it if you like. “What is tolerance? It is the consequence of humanity. We are all formed of frailty and error; let us pardon reciprocally each other's folly - that is the first law of nature.”

4. You know how people used to complain that their old out of touch parents would send them painful inspiring emails, or chain letter emails, or ridiculous urban legends? Here are examples of the things I text to my kids.

5. I saved this photo to share as well, but do not recall why. Something to do with his speech pattern.
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6. A little while back I made my hair lighter, and it's also shorter than it's been in awhile, but then I saw this brief stuttering video from a few years ago and got to missing it dark, never mind long, a person should be only so fickle.

So what do you think? A little darker than image a like it is now, or a little lighter than image b like it's sort of now meant to be?
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* For Anna, I was going to post a link to a Tumblr site devoted to red-haired men. But they turned out to all be gay porn. So, anyway...here's a song.