n. infantile pattern of suckle-swallow movement in which the tongue is placed between incisor teeth or between alveolar ridges during initial stage of swallowing (if persistent can lead to various dental abnormalities) v. [content removed due to Bush campaign to clean up the internet] n. act of nyah-nyah v. pursuing with relentless abandon the need to masticate and thrust the world into every bodily incarnation in order to transform it, via the act of salivation, into nutritive agency

Sunday, December 28, 2008

n o place for war

Friday, December 26, 2008

undisclosed secrets #27: gift horses have very bad breath

So, for the first Christmas in, um... um... six or seven years I think, I have had a friend visiting. This - with 2.5 feet of snow, a hot tub, several games, my puppy, family, brolaw telling an excellent sheep joke via phone, sister describing the consistency of haggis, and dad hitch-hiking for the first time in his life (on my suggestion) in order to get out of his snowbound house - made the holiday for me.

You know, I try to usually block out how challenging it can be to always be a single within a larger unit of pairs, the bachelorette running and jumping on the couples in excitement over the stockings, the one often down a peg in any discussions or arguments, two to one. But having someone visit on a day that means so much to me (not because I'm religious, or want lots and lots of gifts, but because I'm a monger for tradition, for small rituals of community and affection), well, it made the icicles glisten and slide, the first Christmas snow since I was quite young, and me not spend a moment fretting about myself for the sheer pleasure of fretting about another. And Herald liked eating the ribbons.

I feel a little guilty because I got to have NM here at the last minute not because of long, happy plans, but because she had shittycrap going on with her family. However, I'm refusing to look too hard at how the reasons for my happy windfall also involved sad strife for her. Afterall, sometimes the ends do justify the means. Does that fit? It seems like a stretch. I don't care. No sir. (Well, I do...). Nevertheless.

Maybe one day I will have twenty bazillion friends lined down the table with me, at my place on Christmas (because I'll be financially able to have my own place), eating lots of amazing different foods, including foods that have been chosen simply because they sound pretty, like baklava and sashimi and paella, that I have provided (because I love to provide pretty-sounding food), with people who have traveled by choice with no life strife because I adore them and provide pretty food, and oh, they adore me too.


Gift horses actually have fine teeth, quite frequently.


Plus I've been doing some pretty freakish great Tarot readings. It still looks a bit pathetic because I have to look in the book for ten minutes before giving the reading, but in the end, I'm fairly good at this. Economic struggles this next year for us all, Temperance being primary for me in dealing with my Bville past, "The Drive to Create Something Brilliant and yet Honest" being the stumbling block for N's dissertation progress, etc. Maybe this is my real career?

Monday, December 22, 2008

two foot

Sunday, December 21, 2008

2008 snowmaphor

All men live enveloped in whale-lines. All are born with halters round their necks; but it is only when caught in the swift, sudden turn of death, that mortals realize the silent, subtle, ever-present perils of life.

(Melville 241)

another 'mouse,' still snowing

Rat at the Suet
Rat at the Suet
(it's approx. 20" now)

Thursday, December 18, 2008

sheer contentedness

We are up to at least 16" at my place. Work, parties, meetings (I need to go to Bville CC to figure out an office, an email, how to use the server, how to get my library card reactivated, etc) have all been canceled. We're going to put up the Christmas tree, and I'm going to madly read the books I'm supposed to be assigning essays out of.

It is so amazingly gorgeous out here. Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

your local library storytime (snow outside, hot chocolate in hand)

So, we've had a regular cold snap, I'd say.

First Snow, TreeSnow, Snow, Snow! Yeah! Snow everywhere, not enough to make sledding perfect, but enough to go down the slope a few times. Which I did. And for the first time this year, I have to say that I'm in the perfect Bville location: up in the hills out of town, so there's more snow, less funneled wind, and the snow tends to stick around pretty on the trees rather than get nasty and mucky.

First Snow, MeI'm not sure how many of you know this about me, or have read past entries on The Blog, and/or have guessed at this, or whatnot, but I'm totally in love with snow.

Everytime it happens I get a visceral thrill creeping my innards, and no matter what I was feeling, what I was thinking, what horrible wretched nuisance my brain has been making of my existence, I am suddenly, instantly happy. I get more energetic, I run and play, I get rosy and jolly, I think about everyone I've ever loved, and I feel that maybe I'll keep on loving.


Oh, that reminds me.

Don't make fun of me, and if you do, I simply stick my nose in the air and Sniff; but I've slowly been teaching myself Tarot, which is another activity I think I might adore in the end. If you're wondering whether I light incense and channel the spirits and do herkyjerky with the newage crystals, or pretend I'm a gypsy, then I'll say, not exactly. Close. But not exactly.

I actually like and believe in Tarot cards for some reason, how strange?! I think it's because Tarot is about story-telling. Each card not only has its own history - how that archetype came about, what it has meant in different cultures, what makes each character unique among all others, etc - but each card also tells stories about another (the person who is being read for). How's that for interrelation; what one means reflects upon the existence of an other. Anyhow, if you are a good reader, it is not considered 'cheating' to be perceptive and to apply what you know or glean about a person through observation prior to and during a reading. Actually, that is part of the story you are telling, and the more you know or guess about a person, the more accurately you are able to tell the story of that one particular card, whose meanings changes in direct relationship to three variables: what configuration the card is laid out in (the spread), what is going on in the life of the person being read for, and what question the querent is focused on.

All psychic intrigue aside, there are very compelling reasons to make these three variables the perfect conditions for a story. The audience needs and wants to hear a tale about who they are and where they might go from here, and the cards contain enough randomness and history to make the potential tales unique. Anyhow, I won't rhapsodize too much about how I think storytelling the very root of human existence, but I will say that I seem to have strange fun and sometimes luck with these cards. I accurately predicted the winner of a football game (ooooo!), and have also encouraged several folks to continue with particular projects and exams, or in just being themselves.

And I recently did a reading for myself, and I believe in it, and believing in it feels nice.

My reading suggested that (I won't say what my question was, etc), more than many other people, my fate is wedded to chance and struggle, and that I won't ever come to a clear endpoint of either failure or success. The worst of this will be the tendency to slip into wallowing and feeling sorry for myself; and an important challenge for me will be to not think of difficulty with bitterness, but to instead consider it an opportunity to learn and advance. As in, anger and bitterness could be my downfalls. Next, the cards suggested that I resist my own nature, both my personal nature and my career nature. My personal nature, according to the reading, is such that I will experience hardship in love for a long time and not find a balanced relationship until later in life; until then, however, it is for me to nurture those who need it, to be perceptive and intuitive in my relations with others, and to find happiness in communion with nature and animals. My calling, on the other hand, is spiritual; I am supposed to be a guide and seek to create balance in the world. But most important in this reading is that although these two aspects are my nature, I am currently resisting, fighting, and hating it.

So, strange though it may be, it made me feel better to read this. To understand that bitterness is part of this struggle, and that whether I want to or not, give baby give, and that I won't find love now. But even late: at least I'll find it, which is more than I've been thinking for a long time, and if I believe that what I have most wanted is to be found later, not now like all my friends with babies, babies, babies and beloved insanely-awesome sex-nymph perfect stable and wealthy partners who have saved them from their own despondency, wicked influences (such as me), and set them on the paths of righteousness, glory, and eternal happiness, that is, if I feel I might find something different later, and that this different thing (hopefully not something so ridiculous) is what I can look for, then I don't have to feel like a failure now for being "too intense" or "an episode of bad timing" or "too untrustworthy" or just not good enough in general to create what other people have managed to create. Instead, I can just turn away from what I used to want, and look to find success in unique, unknown me-ways.

And that is what I think Tarot can do. It's not about whether The Message is sent down from magical vibes radiating from the source of the universe, but about how the story that is told--with cunning--can heal, can open a path previously ignored or maybe even shunned.

Back to Snow

First Snow, FlamingoDid I mention I love it? I really do. I love how fluffy it is, how truly strange. It is truly, truly strange, right... am I alone in thinking this?

Water is strange too, but when it falls, it sinks in and moves downwards, gathers in pits or moves the slope; it is collected, and that is its task: tensile aggregation. Snow, on the other hand, stays where it falls and makes a whole new landscape. Perhaps it compacts via gravity, and frequently it warms and disappears, but until it does, snow manipulates and terraforms.

Perhaps this is partially why so many people fear snow. It is slippery, strange, and cold. It changes what we are used to. It is dangerous. But this is also why other people worship it. It is bright, slippery, strange, and cold; it, like god, is everywhere until it isn't.

One can slide quickly, far more quickly than on mud, along its surface, but one can also mold it, far more easily than even mud, into new forms. And yes, it is very very cold, but it is less cold than wind; it is also insulating. Isn't that amazing? Isn't this intensely amazing, that this cold substance can also heat; doesn't this alone describe our fascination with igloos? (I always wanted to know how they work. Is there a stove in the middle to cook things? If so, how does it not melt the igloo? Or why doesn't the snow sneak in at the stovepipe opening? Are there rugs, so babies can go barefoot, or is the floor the most pernicious surface? Does snowdust fall from the ceilings? Can one adhere posters and artwork to the walls? Are there special igloo hinges for the 'doors'? Etc).

First Snow, FlowersYep. I remember when I moved to Alaska, imagining the place. You know what I imagined? A flat snowy field, part airport (since my mum and sister flew there), part harbor (since my father and myself were driving there and catching a ferry in), and a ton of igloos spreading the surface between. Imagine my disappointment to find a very green, very wet, very hilly with no snow or igloos, very Pacific summertime island. But also imagine me finding solace in the intense fog.

Even before then; one of my happiest memories is of a winter in WA with snow. Burrowing under drifts with my sister (my mom imparting wisdom about the sis's inability to stay in the snow the whole day: "She wants to stay outside with you, J, but she's only two."), being pulled on a sled by my suddenly father (through the flat fields that likely fueled my image of Alaska), building immense forts with our next-door neighbor and his nephews, planting our Christmas tree after untangling it from bulbs and glistening metal materials.

Well, I could talk about snow. Let me tell you, I could talk about snow. Even after Chicago, it's still my favorite, and I really really like insufferably hot weather too. But I'll move on now.

First Snow, HeraldTo another marvelous thing I could talk about for hours. Heh.

First Snow, Herald-LookingIt's been awhile since I've actually written directly about this, so I'd like to think it's okay to be all cutesy and sweetsy about my velveteen puppy. My velveteen bat. My little snuzzly bear.

Okay, straight up, I'm totally smitten with Herald. Getting him was the best decision I've made, even if the circumstance of having him will likely cause difficulty in the future as I try to find an affordable place to relocate. I worry all the time about what happens with H when I move; he loves mum and CR, the other dogs here, and especially the "when he feels like it" wandering outside in the 5 acre yard. He likes the mountain 5 minutes to the west of us, and the lake 10 minutes to the south of us, and the hill with two lakes 5 minutes east of us. He's happy and adjusted, and I don't have to worry about what happens with him when I'm not around, only whether I can take him for walks regularly and feed his little porcine chubbiness in the long term (he turned 6.5 months as of yesterday, and he's about 80lbs so far). But well, I find having such concerns more compelling than feeding and sheltering myself, for some reason.

Every dream I've had for the past month involves H. Last night, we were snorkeling in a winter canal where schools of cheetah fish wyssshhhed past us, and underwater buses, trains, and taxis swam by. Herald was a fabulous swimmer, but didn't know how to use his snorkel, so like a whale with her baby, I bumped him to the surface so he'd know where it was.

First Snow, Lambert and HeraldThis weekend, H finally made buddies with Lambert, the polar bear, who is kinda my goddog (I found him in the paper, got CR to go look at him, named him, and then loved him through that 5-year 'difficult' period when he bit men's balls, destroyed everything and had to be tied to a car bumper to slow him down). Up to this point, Lambert and Herald have been so jealous of each other that growls, barks and lunges have been the story, but a few days ago they started romping, suddenly and surprisingly, with Herald getting all up and chewing on Lambert's 'off-limits' cotton-ball hairdo.

Likely it was the snow, and so, yep, Herald has experienced his first snow this week, and the power therein.

He seems to really revel in it. We went sledding together in local hill area, with a few sledding kids who were smoking pot and at first obviously fretting that I might ruin the mood or yell at them, but later decided I was okay and Herald was better, i.e. a bunch of stoned teenagers were rubbing their faces in Herald's fluffy adoring black mane and telling me how wonderful he was. In between this, Herald demonstrated his love of chasing every sled, regardless of contents until he was so exhausted I nearly had to carry him home. And today we went to the lake and he scared the bejeesus out of me by running out on the lake-ice, chasing after a bunch of little birds, and I thought he was going to fall through because the ice was very thin, but then he came back when I called and all was well and we ran in the snow together.

I can't get over how cute he is. Plus he graduated from Puppy Kindergarten and is now a fine, upstanding citizen although he is also so strong now that he can pull me over with his leash, an activity he prides himself in doing. My little velveteen puppy.

For the Birds

First Snow, Blue JayMan, it's been a long time since I've written here. Time's a winging, or a horrible parallel like that. So, a little game of my weekly up-down.

On the one hand, I'm teaching two classes next quarter and one is a new class, so I get to prep for an entirely different dealio, which I love, but am nervous about, and the books look good and I'm thrilled to death that I'm not going to be teaching 11 ghetto kids whose reading and writing levels are way beyond my current teaching ability. I think that last quarter maimed my understanding of my inherent teaching skills and taught me that either a) specific techniques on how to teach ESL students, or b) a structure that truly supports the students (and thus me as a teacher) are absolutely necessary. It was soooo hard wanting to help students whom I didn't know how to help. And now I have hopes that what I know will be what the students I'm teaching can use.

On the other hand, this is only for a quarter, and then I don't have a job besides tutoring and washing laundry again.

First Snow, ReflectionOn the one hand, I won't have to work for That Artist again.

On the other hand, this is because I finally quit, politely asked for my pay in an email and provided my address for her to send it to me. She said it would be in the mail, and then I waited for a month without it coming. When I finally contacted her via email about its whereabouts, she said she felt sure she'd sent it through the mail in August (I was asking for September and October pay). When I said this was the wrong time period, she asked for the details of my financial records, and I told her when I had deposited the only check she'd given me.

Then she said she was in Seattle and would get back to me when she was back home. Once home, she sent me an email saying she'd "misplaced my time card" and asked whether I 'recalled' how many hours I'd worked for her (from 1.5 months ago). At which point, I kicked my own ass up and down the street for not keeping a separate record aside from what I logged on the timecard I kept at her place. Finally I told her no, I didn't quite 'recollect' the exact hours, but that I knew it was over 12 hours and under 20 hours (part of why I quit, besides the fact that she was an utter condescending bitch who paid me nearly nothing per hour and treated me like shit). This was pretty accurate, I think, and I might even say gracious. But then that artist started forwarding me emails she had previously sent me to request my services - not all of them, and some from August even - to 'reconstruct' my actual hours.

Yeah, yeah, so I lost it and sent a pissed email telling her I found this inappropriate and immoral, considering she'd lost my time card and lied about sending a check, and I indicated that she should just send me a fucking check ASAP for what she thought I had 'actually' worked. To which she replied, as if I was waaaaay out of line, "woooahhhh."

She then asked for my address. Again.

And sent pay for the minimum of what I 'recalled'. As in, artists, perhaps especially-successful artists who work on their million dollar projects (I wrote proposals and edited her resume, so I know), suck ass. I really dislike people who have it made, who have an old outdated idealistic, liberal statement of purpose, and yet make their philosophies null later by turning into upper caste snots snubbing the plebes they see as merely those picking the strawberries from the fields.

On the other hand, that's not someone I will ever become.

First Snow, Seed on SnowOn the one hand, I'm actually pretty happy lately.

I'm working out on the elliptical regularly, and even made myself various work-out musics. Today I realized I enjoy this, listening and feeling good in my body, fighting my chronic unknown back problems, my weight gain, my freaked-outness. The music's been good, and H bites my heals sometimes.

On the other hand, I still don't know where to go next. I was walking the lake recently with SP and she said she'd spent the whole morning fantasizing about her fabulous future. She kinda grinned and ironically reveled in how pleasurable it had been for her to imagine this place, and I realized I don't daydream about the future anymore. I thought about it, and realized I don't know what I'd put into that daydream; it's not clear to me what I want. And it's all well and good to speak about writing or art-making but I've never written to be known (only because and whenever) and I also know I can't only teach forever because it's exhausting and without having something else to regenerate energy, it uses all the beautiful up (why I so admire those teachers who just seem filled by light). So I don't think that either of those are the material of daydreams, exactly. Sigh.

On the other hand, JW is coming to visit soon. And LB. And maybe I'll see NM too. And I promised LH I'd come visit within 6 months.
I also have my computer back.
But my car just crapped out and is in the shop.
But a friend offered to help me find a way to get ahold of Adobe.
But I need new computer, it's getting very old.
Yet, I just got my Exxon settlement from when I was a 15 year old commercial fisherman in AK (the lawyers fees amounted to 25% of the settlement, which they didn't originally tell us). And I was only 15 years old, which was over half of my life ago. This doesn't help the environment that suffered the worst blows.
And I worry about global warming daily.
But I know my family and some friends will stand by me.
And I'm taking my vitamins.
And snow is intensely amazing (snow boots!).
And my second Resolution is about volunteering, since I don't have money to donate.
And I like the people I work with, both tutoring and doing laundry.
And my mom is doing well.
Whala, and so are we.

First Snow, Needles
First Snow, Shed

wanna see something disgusting?

Stuck Rat*

Yeah, well, you said yes. Or at least you looked. Peeked, maybe. Through one eyelid, just a little slitted. Or maybe you just couldn't look away fast enough because I put the picture only one line down from the heading? Anyhow.

Remember when you were little and put your head into places it didn't belong?

And if you are wondering if this has anything to do with my D-Con "mouse" problem, you might be wondering correctly. This is the outside of the house I'm living in. Right behind where Herald sleeps. Right behind my bookshelf. Right behind my bedroom. I can't say I'm unhappy the "mouse" didn't make it in.

What happened, if I'm reading the crime scene correctly (I've been watching CSI, so I think this qualifies me as an expert), is that the "mouse" tried crawling into the small space just under the floor, which happens to not be fully sealed off, and got his head caught. And so, he just dangled there until he died.

Poor "mouse."

Sunday, December 14, 2008

my favorite

first snow 08
As B used to say in such moments: :' ' ":::"'::::: '" "' :: ' " :;

First snow. (First snow.)
Got my computer back yesterday.
Haven't written significantly since then, despite prayer promises.
Nevertheless, pretty happy.
Happy especially to be teaching next quarter.
Herald lets the snow collect on his back, doesn't seem to even notice it.
Walking in the snow with my mother.
Plans for sledding tomorrow.
More tree limbs for snow here than Chicago, but less urban contusion.
I could easily wander out about among 100 strangers every day.
I like the sound of sea-blown chimes at night in a new place; it makes me feel peaceful.

Monday, December 08, 2008

decisions, patience, irritation at the recession

To fix old computer = $200, but old computer (laptop) has, according to the repair store, already outlived its life expectancy by 2 years...

On the other hand,

Program software I really, really want in order to do some of my book-layout and twiddling designs and photo stuff (Adobe Creative Suite, Design Premium) = $1,800.

New computer I would need to run these programs off = $2,000 for a desk computer (PC), or $2,700 for a laptop (Mac), etc.

On the first foot,

Rent, Security and Pet Deposites I would need to accumulate in order live in town, minimum = $1,500

And on the other foot, things I should consider to help get me in a better financial and emotional place, plus maybe help me find local friends: My own place, in town (any town). Yoga class. E-learning class. Gym membership.


Well, all things to consider... the endless considering. I went ahead and had my old computer fixed up, but I feel like I have just entered that ticking timebomb stage with the timebomb being wired to imminently destroy my dearest Hardware Baby (Polyhymnia).


P.S. What's up with Obama and his 'change', but with all these old-time centrists in his cabinet? Where exactly are the changes??? He was probably just set up to disappoint and disillusion us... but we'll see. So far, I'm wondering what he's actually going to be about.