Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Keeping a Resolution I Swore I Wouldn't Make

Judging from the grades I make in my math classes I'm not particularly good at Logic.  Common sense I think I've got in abundance, but that other stuff (flutter of hands, rueful face...)  You see, we went to visit some friends in Poughkeepsie this weekend past.  It was combination housewarming and observance of the death of a guru, complete with meditation and a shrine and communion.

I have what I'll delicately called a perverse relationship to the spiritual arts -- I avoid them.  In posts past I confessed to years ago in Brooklyn having a yoga teacher who loved me despite the fact that I Hate Yoga.  Hate.  It.  And yeah, don't tell me it's good for me.  I know that.  What with this colossally shortened hamstring I'm sporting these days I can barely get down a flight of stairs, but you'd have to put a gun to my head to do anything about it except a few stretches and making Cuthbert drive me everywhere.  But, as I've often written, I digress.  (Embarrassment will do make you do that.)  Anyway, Dear Reader, you'd be proud of me, I meditated.  Really.  I felt things I ordinarily would not have which while not always pleasant was interesting.  All good.  We drove to the hotel to sleep.  Just before climbing into bed I ate a few apricots.

And that's where my troubles began.  I woke up the following morning with a food processor dicing chicken bones in my gut.  Not enough to deter me from eating breakfast, mind you, but enough to know that I'd better get home.  So we called our friends just to say "so long and thanks for all the hospitality" and got invited over for tea.  About 1/2 hour after arriving at their home I was pleading to lie down.  I slept and slept and slept.  Awoke, drank some herbal medicine, rattled around a bit, slept some more on the couch and then shuffled through the apartment to throw up in the toilet bowl.  Spent an extra night in Poughkeepsie in case of encore.

Here's where the un-logic comes in:  Meditation = puking your guts up.  Oh oh.

Since Sunday I've barely eaten, mostly out of fear of which end and at what velocity will the food come out.  And slept of course.  I'm sticking to bland food and juice until then.  Usually when I'm as stressed out as I am these days I'll eat anything.  Just put a piece of wet sheetrock on a plate in front of me, and it's gone.  No problem at all.  But these days I'm giving food the side eye.  Which is fine since I dropped a couple pounds that I sure don't need.  Whether I'll continue when my stress = binge eating gene reactivates is unlikely, but for now it'll do.

All this to say that I am all kinds of tired.  And the great David Carr has died.  Namaste.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

In 1934 Stars Fell on Alabama

This will be short.  Last week's entry was full of typos (now corrected) and if I type more than a few lines today's post will be, too.  But I wanted to share the news that I had The Perfect Day™.

No work work or personal paperwork to do that would result in a fine or a shutoff if not submitted.
No math work (because I lost my nerve and didn't deign to find out what classes I needed until -- oh snap! -- it was too late to enroll).
No meetings.
No reason to leave the house because we had the 4 food groups:
1.  booze
2.  coffee
3.  carbohydrates and
4.  half 'n half
No visitors and no phone calls to make or receive.

But, as rare as All the Above are in my life what made it le jour juste was that I got to quilt all day and all night stopping only to eat and drink and check to see that Cuthbert hadn't electrocuted himself trying to change the light switch in his office (not that that, frankly, would have stopped me but I digress).  The day was perfect because I went into my office/studio at 9:30 in the am and didn't stop cutting, stitching and piecing until about 11 pm last night when I could neither see nor cut straight. (See Mihály Csíkszentmihályi and the concept of flow.)  Just had to share that and what, you may ask, does that have to do with stars and Alabama?

Nothing at all except at this age I'm waxing lyrical about all the wonderful things your kids do when they are young young and I am confusing my oldest with my proxy granddaughter and so for the umpteenth time I told Cuthbert about my early days of living in Brooklyn and taking the 9 year old to the library to do a social studies assignment and she, for reasons that eluded me then and now, chose the state of Alabama, and when I swept into the children's section to pick her up she was finished and wanted to read it to me and it began:  In 1934, stars fell on Alabama ....  And it is a moment like that makes your heart break and you remember why you love them so even though they cost you money and sanity and by their very existence prove that you are not invulnerable as long as there is at least one someone that you would die for.

And now I'll return to something that I gladly live for, quilting.  Adieu.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Skunk in Estrus

How I wish that the above title had the qualifier "Saturday Poetry:" in front of it.  But it doesn't, which means that what I am about to tell you has no redeeming literary value, that there are no inherent metaphors, no larger lessons to be learned.

I have a problematic relationship with animals -- those I babysit, those I eat, those I share a homestead with.  On my watch dogs and/or cats have died, gotten pregnant, become incontinent, and showed signs of severe neglect.  I've had fish burn to a crisp in my oven, baby possums walk into my kitchen, and now I am resigned to living atop of a skunk family.

This is not Pepé Le Pew and the missus I'm living with, folks.  These skunks burrowed in last year having realized that they'd found digs underneath my office, a 12' x 16' heated "cabin", not to mention that Mr. Softee next door puts tons of food out for the feral cats and so there you have it -- luxury digs and a 5-star eatery one yard over.  They hit the jackpot these skunks did, and now the female is in heat, the feral cats are getting on her nerves and about every other day, if I'm in my office long enough I hear the hiss-thunk-hiss of an interspecies battle to the death, count to 10 and then wait for that first whiff of mad skunk as it evaporates its way upward.  The office stinks.  I stink and b'leve me when I tell you that the stink sticks.

Cuthbert, lover of all things gun, has been sighting the skunks from our bedroom window which faces the back yard.  Only problem is that he's not certain the scope is set right, and I've told him not to do anything fancy, especially, particularly if I'm in the office, because godknows where the bullet will end up.  Even if he hits the skunks from 20 feet (a nice little trig problem), if he wounds and doesn't kill, well, imagine what the skunks will do.  So, then he decides to move the .22 down to the kitchen, and stand behind the curtains like he's in a skunk blind and wait for the little bastards to head out to Le Kibble, and then shoot them.  But, I suspect they just hauled a SubZero into their burrow and neither Cuthbert nor I have seen them make a nocturnal trip lately.  So, that plan's on hold.  Then someone else said, er, you should bait some fishline with meat and follow where they take it and then what?, put foam insulation or boiling water in the burrow?  Yeah, that sounds like fun -- as they drown or boil they spray like hell and then decompose underneath my office, and the next thing I know the UN Commission on Genocide is knocking on my door.  So, that plan's a non-starter.  It's time, we realized, to call in some pros.  The conversation will go something like this:

Cuthbert:  We need 2 skunks trapped before Valentine's Day which is when She Skunk starts to breed.

Skunk Trapper:  No problem.

Me:  Oh!  Do you release them in the wild so that they can live happily ever after?

Skunk Trapper:  Whatever you want, ma'am.

Cuthbert and Skunk Trapper exchange the whatevah look men exchange with each other whenever there is the opportunity to kill something.  A contract is signed.  I stipulate that it be done when I'm gone.  And as soon as these tenants are removed I'm putting barbed wire around my office.

Other than that, life's great.  Et toi?