What if I didn't feel deeply enough? This is one of my greatest fears.
What if I didn't feel deeply enough? This is one of my greatest fears.
Once in awhile a day comes along that is so perfect in its simplicity that I feel as if I must be living someone else's life. I wonder too, how I so serendipitously crossed the line from mundane to simple. This may have been an ordinary and mundane Sunday to some: picking a few tomatoes, grocery shopping with the husband, an afternoon nap, etc. I think it was the accord I felt with Michael that made it feel so sweet and simple.
Last weekend we went to see the new Wes Anderson movie, Moonrise Kingdom. It's a movie of childhood love and and a fleeting utopian freedom under the stars alongside a calm cove. I feel like Michael and I are those kids grown up, living as adults with the curiosity of children. In the movie the boy is a painter, the girl, a reader. Both love quirky French music.
This afternoon, after my nap, I found Michael at the kitchen table with the sewing machine that I bought him last year for his birthday. I thought it was the gift that he'd look back on fondly, hailing it as the perfect gift of all time. But no, the trip to the Frank Lloyd Wright house in Oak Park holds that distinction. The sewing machine, even though he'd pined for one and regretted selling his old one, was met with mixed feelings. He promptly put it away, still in the box, never using it. Until today.
I was giddy to see the bobbin bobbing and filling with red thread and tried not to hover. In my attempt to give the man some breathing room I saw, out of the corner of my eye, out the window, the next best thing I could have seen all day.
I saw La Bête! Sweet La Bête was in the yard looking for water. I hobbled to the front porch and threw bread crumbs down to her. She was quick and able to hold her ground among the greedy hens. I knew she wouldn't stay long. This is the third visit since she left. She never stays long. She's gone in less than five minutes time but that was all the time I needed to snap her photo.
A humiliating little detail that I must share is that my claim to fame in this household is the ability to identify which poop belongs to which animal and acertain their general state of health. It's not entirely humiliating. I'm sure any mother of small children possesses this same super power.
La Bête left a most distinctive specimen. It was unlike any of her others but did not indicate poor health. I thought to myself, "That's unusual" and my mind began indexing all the poop information it had amassed over the years. Ding Ding Ding Ding! The bell went off and I remember reading about the poop of broody hens. Large and foul. La Bête's sample met the "large" criteria and I followed behind her at a comfortable distance.
Then I lost her. The bird disappears into thin air. I went to the back fence to see if I could see her walking off into the cemetery. I checked behind the little shed where we keep the lawn mower and there I discovered her very own Platform 9 3/4. This was the invisible door. Even looking straight at her I could not readily make her out.
La Betty has been here the entire time.
La Betty has been sitting broody on a nest, no doubt full of unfertile eggs, behind the little shed. There's no boy guinea for her, only Tiny. I don't know how long she'll sit. Out of respect to her I am going to pretend that I never saw anything.
I'm going to go back to the kitchen, peel some cucumbers for tzatziki while Michael sews. I'll make a little simple syrup with mint to go with iced tea for the upcoming week and try to calm my mind after the excitement of being made privy to the secret life of a guinea hen.
The knee, good people, is a poorly designed joint. That's right, I said it. I'm putting it out there. All those people revelling about what a perfect design the human body is, all of it's mystery and perfection, and blahbity blahbity blah – well, it's not.There's too much going on in there. You've got your cartilage, your ligaments, bands going this way and that, some of you've got plica. Did you know that? Have you heard of plica? Plica rhymes with Flicka only it's not your friend. It's leftovers from fetal development. It's a mess of vestigal cartilage or tissue or something that gets inflamed or pinched or both.
The Great Knee Designer (I'm not gonna name names here) got lazy on the job. I don't know if it was day one, two or when but let's just say somebody dropped the ball.
And let me say, too, that after you've exited your 30s that knob is no longer cute. You're lucky of it's still cute in your 20s but by your 30s it's days are done. The best you can hope for at that stage is that the thing has made it through unharmed and intact. If so, I doff my hat to you. In envy.
My first knee injury occurred in highschool gymnastics. I did a forward handspring and landed stiff legged, jamming my tibia into my femur. It was incredibly painful and I returned to school with crutches whereupon the boys football coach promptly ridiculed me. In stereotypical fashion he was teaching the drivers safety coarse. I felt like a fake, a fraud and lost the crutches much too early.
Three years later I injured the same knee again playing volleyball on the grass. My foot didn't pivot though my upper body did. Again, painful beyond belief. So now, nearly 30 years later, it felt good enough to take up some light running. It was fantastic the five days it lasted. Then it wasn't fantastic.
I'm feeling incredibly grumpy about the whole thing. Grumpy about the injury and shitty insurance. Where are the days of $30 copays for doctor visits? I had to pay $100 to visit mine last week and I'm afraid to know what my out of pocket expense will be for the MRI on Monday. I work as a receptionist. My people have never made it to the Fortune 500 list. We are not, oh, how shall I put it...top earners. $100 is a big deal to me.
I don't understand why so many people are so freaked out about making health insurance more accessible. Why would we want someone to be unable to get medical care? Why should we have to borrow against our homes (provided we're lucky enough to own a home) to have surgery?
That's all I have to say about my poorly designed knob. If yours are healthy, do a fancy yoga move and kiss 'em on the lips for me. Goodnight!
I have a little bit of bad news to share which is a bit awkward considering that I never shared the good news. So, maybe I should start there.
Not too long ago, at the beginning of the year, I was offered the opportunity to contribute to a local pet magazine in Los Angeles. I would contribute monthly fictional stories about Slip, my profoundly blind and very geriatric Italian Greyhound. This was thrilling for me. It would be my first writing job and it was a fun assignment. I wrote the first one and received very good feedback even though there were some rough spots. I wrote the second one and was even more pleased with the results. I felt like I was finding my rhythm, hitting my stride as it were. I've started the third story. I have a few paltry paragraphs and a handful of notes. I was waiting to receive the first magazine of Furry Times before announcing the news.
Sadly, I received word today that they will not be going forward with anymore issues. The first issue is out but I'm not even sure if a second issue will be forthcoming. My heart dropped for myself but mostly for the woman who's idea the magazine was. I like her so much although we've never met in person. I'm sure in this day and age many of us have friendships like that, friendships that have been established online.
I like Edyta for many reasons. She has a big heart, loves animals - all animals, she has an entrepreneurial spirit and challenges herself. I didn't even have to look at her shoes to know all of this. Her love for life and her kindness have shone through so brightly in all of her correspondence. I wish her well in all of her endeavors. She gave me a little boost in moral when she asked me to send her Slip's monthly adventure. It made me look at my writing in a way that wasn't so insular. It was a good feeling to know that someone out there thought it was enjoyable enough to share with others and I feel grateful for that.
Sometimes I call him Big Daddy Krim or KrimDaddy. I've made up all sorts of names for him since I discoverd him in the jungle of what were once two prim krim plants (ooo, that has a nice ring: 2 PrimKrim). Anyhow, he owns those tomatoes. He's even managed to weave his initials into his web. I'm happy to see him. It seems that nearly half of my tomatoes are being eaten by little beatle bugs so maybe he can keep the balance in order.
The cicada that was roosting on the cucmber cage was not as photogenic. I took a few photos of him with my regular camera and then switched to the phone camera when he leapt at me like a wild animal. It made me shriek a little bit. The wings flapping against the cucmber leaves made a racket. It sounded like 20 cicadas whorling around looking for the escape hatch.
We're overrun with cutworms over here. I've stopped spraying, I just can't keep up. Most of the plants are mature now so they aren't doing as much damage but I know they would if they could. The weather cooled off considerably yesteday afternoon. Temperatures fell from the 90s to 70s in a short period of time. The cooling trend is supposed to continue. Daytime temperatures should be in the low 90s by the weekend. This seemingly imperceptible drop in temperature is greatly appreciated by Austinites. Personaly, I wish it would drop into the 80s but I think those days are over until the fall or winter months.
I'm taking my cue from KrimDaddy and Mr. Cicada and staying in the shade.
I'm scared to go out to the garden anymore, the thought of it makes me shudder. The tomatoes have finally, completely taken over. It's like an angry mob back there, all of the vines heavy with fruit vying for a spot of sun, knocking each other over. Their cages are bent and leaning this way and that.
I don't know that I can do anything for them at this point. I try to straighten the cages but the vines are too heavy. They resist and are just heaps of dead weight which is the worst kind to have to heave around. The chickens gladly eat up any marred tomatoes and my compost pile is looking like a tomato graveyard.
I'm not even sure if I should be tossing the tomatoes with blossom end rot into the compost. My fear is that I will end up with tomato volunteers everywhere when I spread the compost months down the road but I don't know what else to do.
The garden looks like total wreckage. I told Michael that next year I would limit myself to three tomato plants: a Purple Cherokee, a Celebrity and one wild card. Now that I'm thinking about it maybe I'll just plant two Purple Cherokees and be done with it.
Right now the only bright spot is the watermelon and even that takes some wrestling to keep the vines on the ground instead of creeping up the netting that's nearby. I'd let it climb but I'm sure the netting wouldn't support a vine bearing watermelon so I untangle the little tendril fingers and run the vine where I'd like it to grow. It's pretty happy to try and please me and I like that in a plant. There's even a few little melons growing. But the seed package read 90 – 100 days to maturity so we have a ways to go. These will be my first ever homegrown watermelon. Last year I had great luck with the cantaloupe only to find out, after picking two and gloating about them for days, that Michael isn't a fan of the cantaloupe. I happen to know for a fact that he loves watermelon.
Let me take this moment to say that if blogging has taught me anything about myself as a writer it's that I'm really bad at wrapping my posts up. I'm really bad at endings. Ok. I guess that's it then. I'm done now. Goodbye.
Have you ever heard the theory that if your dog is running away from you, trotting merrily along with its nose in the weeds and refusing to come when called that you should drop to the ground and feign injury or a seizure? Supposedly, the dog will turn dutifully on it's little toes and return to you out of concern or comraderie or to illustrate to you a dog's oath of Semper Fi. I heard this from a client years ago. She swore by this technique leaving me to wonder why she would choose to have a mock seizure in public rather than train her dog to come when called. I always think that kind of extreme behavior comes from desperately needing attention. I felt sorry for her dog and understood its need to put distance between itself and the woman. I always thought that the dog returned because the woman had succeeded in embarrassing it to the core.
At any rate, I'm here to tell you that little trick proved useless to me today on the running trail. I'm a week into my mini-runs and thought what a nice outing it would be for Beagle. Beagle, by the way, is on a strict diet and has lost 3 pounds already (since March). What better way to lose that last pound or two than have her run with me? It sounded like a win-win plan. It wasn't.
I drove up to the park, latched the leash to the collar and set my pedometer to Go Time. We started right up. We hit the little rise and I started my lumbering run. I still feel so conspicuous. Beagle was very interested in all of the smells along the trail. She did that thing that dogs will do in which they instantaneously transform into a block of concrete and plant there feet with the nose inspecting who knows what. "Beagle, come!" She did. She's a good girl. We ran on. A few paces later she grew weary of the left side of the trail and darted in front of me for the right side of the trail. She's lithe and graceful like that and can change direction and swerve and weave at the end of her leash. I cannot. I shimmied and shortened my step and felt my knee wobble. It felt as if the upper part of my leg came down but not with the weight on the lower part of my leg. It felt like it was all misaligned at the knee.
With the next stride I could not hold my weight and down I went shrieking out in pain. I pulled my knee to my chest and rolled on my back. "No! No!" I rolled up into the sitting position.
"Beagle" I wimpered.
"Beagle...Lily...Beagle" That dog could not have cared less, I tell you. I called Michael at home.
He was there in no time. Beagle trotted right up to him with her leash trailing behind.
She's sitting with me now as I lie in bed with an ice pack on my knee. This is probably her forte, lazy companionship. I suspect she will stay by my side for hours provided I rub her belly from time to time. Semper fi, little dog. Semper fi.