Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Do Not Trust Greeks Bearing Footwear

Had a great Memorial Day weekend—got out of the Salt River Valley and up to the White Mountains. Cool pines, aspen trees, wildflowers still blooming. Deer grazing practically up to the cabin, instinctively knowing that hunting season is months away, so it’s safe to taunt the monkeys.

Then I returned home to the Shoe of Damocles.

No, you read that right, the SHOE of Damocles. The sword will fall and kill you where you sit, the shoe, on the other hand, will leave a lump that will be weeks in going down. You will survive the experience, but the feasting and orgies lose their luster for a bit. My grandfather, you see, is dying.

He’s the last of that generation within our family, and would have been ninety-nine this July. (Will be ninety-nine? What is the tense to use when one speaks of one who is currently among the quick, but will soon not be?) He’s been talking to ghosts for the last four-five years, thus, this ending comes as no surprise. He’s going to join his companions now and take his place at their dumb supper.

Fortunately in this day and age, he’s been able to avoid that last trip to the hospital and is in the home and bed he’s lain in for the past fifteen-twenty years, ever since he and his wife broke up housekeeping and moved in close to family. (They’d been in that house since the 1940’s, stacks and stacks of Life magazine piled in closets dating back to the week they moved in.) I wonder sometimes at what we have lost sight of with modern medicine and the ability to preserve life (After a fashion.) (For a limited time.)

The family could have insisted that Pop be taken to the hospital, and loaded into the Intensive Care ward, where strangers would put IV lines in his arms and hands to keep him from dehydrating and in case further measures were required. Ah, but the boundaries between his Then and his Now are thin, thin, so they would have had to tie his hands to the rails to keep him from pulling out the IV’s. And visitors are restricted to visiting hours, and the dietician knows what nutriment would best become him, and he’s all but stone blind and post deaf and surrounded by strangers who don’t know who Walt is (the son who died as a teenager) and can’t tell him that of course the horse was tied up and Daddy will come and take him home soon.

We have nurses in the branch of the family out there, who are more than qualified to comfort him with ice chips and aspirin, to keep the bed clean, and to ease the pressure on his skin to avoid bedsores. And really, what else could be offered save comfort? We’re in the waiting period now.

And how I loathe waiting. Waiting especially for an outcome that you know each and every detail of—there’s no surprises here. It’s like reading a novel where you know each and every twist of the plot—not because you love it so that you’ve memorized it, but because it’s sooooo predictable, right down to the “surprise” wedding you’ve seen coming since the conflict was introduced. And yet, you can’t just put it down and walk away; you have some obligation to wade through this, each and every page, each and every paragraph.

I was very selfishly wishing that the funeral had been held some weeks ago so I could have the awful waiting part behind me, and get on with the healing. Like debridement or lancing a sore—the anticipation hurts more than simply getting it done and healing.

And yeah, at the moment it’s all about me—it IS Margaret I mourn for. “Read a POEM!” as Handy would say. (Handy? Who’s Handy???)

Sometimes I get flashes of empathy with a lemming who’s far enough back in the crush to see the cliff coming and realize what it means, but to have no choice to continue along in the mad rush. Perhaps there are strawberries along the way and perhaps they are amazing sweet as in the Zen parable, but the bottom line is that the moment will end. You’ve lost another talisman between you and the void.

And so one hears the whir of the Black Combine creeping closer and closer through the field.

Monday, May 23, 2005

I Say "Feh" a Lot, Lately.

Today tastes like cardamom, wormwood, and amber. Aromatic, yet bitter.

Still in state of high ambivalence about work. On the one hand, I'm finally getting some baby step valuable experience that could go on the resume and help find a better job where the bar (and the pay) are higher. On the other hand, I'm working 45-50 hours per week to try and get it all done, and I have a sneaking hunch that some animals are more equal than others when it comes to remuneration and workload, and especially the remuneration to workload ratio.

Have just about decided that it's time to begin looking--not frantically spamming each and every want ad with a resume in a frantic effort to get the hell out, but to watch for any good looking leads (and to make myself available for good looking leads) AFTER the trip to Italy in September. To put in the time to manufacture a position that is perfectly suited for me, and then to go find someone to pay me well to do it. If nothing else, the feeling of having options will ease my frustration with the high school environment.

And still highly ambivalent about the annual August Revelry coming up. Several good friends have been asking if they’ll see me there, since I’ve been staying away in droves from just about everything to do with Lynchpin and Hub since last fall. And this year’s August Revelry looks to be a history-making goodie much like the Millennial Party. Elaborate costuming, set decoration, three houses for the overflow, and big big LARP (Live Action Role Playing) all night long. Come as you aren’t, in other words.

Mischief has her shtick all laid out, from headdress to props, and is beading her beady little eyes out working on an Egyptian collar neckpiece/breastplate. Vincenza is googling images from the movie Legend so she can go as Dark Lily, complete with Tudor wirework collar. Me, I’m currently accepting bribes to finish a tunic (grommet the sleeves—that’s all that’s left). And still I say feh.

I say "feh" a lot, lately. I've been weeding out lists where I've just been whacking the delete key instead of reading posts; and soon the ones I just lurk in will be going as well. I dropped one that I thought I'd be going old and grey with. I thought I was going to miss them, but then I realized that the them I miss are the them from five-six years ago. We have all moved on.

I've been inching out of the local knitting guild, as well. Last fall, I sort of stopped attending meetings religiously, then I skipped the Christmas party, and I haven't been to a meeting save once this year. My knitting time is precious to me; I don't want to spend two hours of it twice a month to sit with people who belive you need to have a pattern to knit a dishrag or a scarf. I was working on a Linus blanket (Ostrich Plumes with a Basketweave edging) and was asked where I got the pattern (?) and then in hushed tones if I'd thought of putting those two patterns together myself.

Good lord 'n' butter! I love Ostrich Plumes--it's a lot of bang for your buck and is easy to read besides. I love Basketweave for the same reason. I needed something non-curling for the edging (and Basketweave doesn't curl) so there we were. If I hadn't loved it when I got going, I would have ripped it in the swatch--or just pulled back to the border and done a striped Basketweave. No more talent than making a pie crust and filling it with eggs, cream, cooked meat, cheese, and onions and peppers. Quiche isn't hard. Nor is knitting. No reason to need your hand held for the rest of your life with either one of them.


Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Antidote for Lousy Work

Today tastes like a fast-food cheeseburger. It smells really good, but then you take a big bite and it's a wafer-thin well done patty on mushy white bread that sticks to your teeth like nougat.

Antidote for lousy work? Awesome play with wild women.

I have desparately missed the circle I knew in Santa Fe. One of my buds was a jeweler who kept a studio/showroom in a converted garage. She was apt to keep funky hours--up for two-three days at a stretch, working while the vision was hot in her head, then crash for eight-ten hours and do it all over again.

She liked the energy of a houseful of folks, but didn't want the care and feeding of roommates, so she issued a standing invitation and directions to the spare key to her best buds. Come by anytime! Let yourself in if I'm sleeping and no one's around when you knock.

So I'd swing on up during the weekend with a project of my own, plop onto the couch and we'd chat during the easy bits, and simply sit companionably during the tough stuff, and I'd browse her eye candy, and sooner or later someone else would come by, and a party would accrete, one by one.

Creative folken all around, an artist drawing the person embroidering, the jeweler soldering and buffing and cutting, a scuptor at the kitchen table working on a Froudian sculpture using the artist as a model because he was poking his tongue out like a little child as he drew.

Egos checked at the door; nothing to prove to anyone, just the thought in your head taking shape under your hands and seeing how much of it you could get out into the world. Sometimes a chance comment would give you wings, or at the very least, let you put some feathers on (or around! For EMPHASIS!) the bald spot. (By heaven, this is a BALD SPOT!!!)

Sitting and wireworking a shawl pin at Vincenza's table with Mischief watching TV in the next room--well, I could have been back at Tuf's, wating for the water to boil for tea.

Goddess watch over you and keep you, dear Haviland. You and all the krewe.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

I Swore I'd Never Never Never Do This

but here it is, Thursday and I haven't touched the blog.

It's been busy here. Had company this weekend, so this week has been dedicated to doing all the things I would have done on the weekend.

And of course, had several epiphnies which must be 'splored, except I have to finish off the other projects I'm in the middle of so I can clean up, rather than pushing piles of half-finished art around and around.

So I'm really anxious to get back in the studio, which is wunnerful, but I gotta work, and o'course work is busy busy busy, so I'm working late, which means I have less time for everything I wanna.

And I guess this lameoid post is an attempt to get more original text than quiz result crappity posted so I don't feel bad when I flip the switch and run away again to make serendipity squares and scribble words normally seen only on vocabulary flashcards on 'em and call it art.

Tho' this particular quiz crappity is closer than most. Enjoy.

How to make a Spike

3 parts anger

3 parts courage

5 parts instinct
Add to a cocktail shaker and mix vigorously. Top it off with a sprinkle of caring and enjoy!

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Assmillinery 101

Today tastes like really good hummus topped with lamb and pine nuts. Gallons of the stuff, with bushels of pita bread and some olive oil, and oil cured olives. And feta. Oh baby.

Really, the only fly in the ointment is this one case I'm wrestling with. Boss2 is dealing with The Thing That Would Not Die (it is a BAD thing, a very very BAD thing when three days before trial starts (1) your client tells you that, well, actually there are some errors in the data you've presented as gospel; (2) promises to have the raw data right to you, by Friday at the latest; (3)delays until the night before trial).

Cabeza del Queso is undergoing meltdown. I had not understood how exceedingly well Boss2 kept everything in perspective until I really saw him in action. Henceforth Boss2 will be known by his superhero name of Perspective Man {fanfare}.


"Perspective Man!! Perspective Man!! It's a dire emergency! The City needs you!"

"Has the world ended?"

"No . . ."

"Is anyone bleeding? Any open head wounds, sucking chest wounds, babies crying?"

"No . . ."

"Well, then, it's nothing that can't be fixed." Perspective Man took his feet down off his desk, arose from his comfy leather chair, and took his cardigan off the hook on the back of the door on his way out to save his beloved City.


So anyway--about Assmillinery. There is a pithy and pungent phrase I really like--asshat. (I know, Rabbitch likes "asstrumpet"--for those speaking through the nether orifice, I assume) but being a fan of the chapeau, I like asshat. The person in question has not quite achieved full recto-cranial inversion, but good lord'n'butter, he's headed that way. Buttocks perched jauntily on his cranium, legs waving merrily like those springy deeliebobs that were soooo hot in the eighties. And if you're not old enough to remember the eighties, you probably aren't old enough for this blog.

And hey, if you're going to be an asshat, you might's well get some feathers and ribbons out of it. Hence assmillinery--a well-decorated asshat.

And then of course you get into ranking the asshats. You have the Magritte Bowlerasshats; The 500 Asshats of Bartholomew Cubbins; the 10-Gallon asshats; and then, at the very pinnacle, the Queen Mum asshats.

And that last, me dearios, is the type I wound up dealing with this afternoon. Boss 2 took on a simple personal injury case with property damage--a real bread and butter case. Client is a tich on the needy side. (Aren't they all.) But she's pleasant and reasonably articulate (which they all are most certainly NOT). Knowing Boss 2 is up to his li'l earlobes in the Case From the Pits, I put together a string of queries and suggested solutions, and ask his opinion, becuase, well, I can always get another job if'n I really screw the pooch. He can't get another license, so really, it's his dime and my time. S'a'right, I'm not the one working from 7:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. while the Vile Drama plays out. Boss2 says do everything you can.

Which means, do everything a lawyer would do, except square it with me first before you give legal advice, and pass the phone to me if there's advocating to be done.

Client calls, and mirable dictu she's been able to get to the towing yard, get her final personals out of the car, and has some bad news. It's been on the lot long enough that it can be deemed abandoned, and the title pass to the towing lot--so she'd be minus the car (totalled) and the cash-out (which we're haggling over).

Call the tow yard, and get into assmillinery.

Employee says company policy won't let her make the calls to Responsible Driver's Insurance, and no, she lacks the power and glory to hold off on acquiring the ttile to the "abandoned" car, but if I call her boss at 555-1234, there'll be no sweatsky. (This is after thirty minutes on hold.)

Dial 555-1234, ask for Mr. Gloriosky. Who? Not on the auto dial directory either.

Ok. Call Magritte Bowler asshat back (another thirty minutes of music from the 70's 80's and whatever we want) and she says, no, no, call Mr. Gloriosky at 555-2345. That's his direct mailbox number.

Try again. Get an automated system that wants an extension the first time, directs me to a full mailbox when I punch for the operator the second time, has no listing for Gloriosky the third time.

Decide to bypass the 485th asshat of B. Cubbins, dial the main line for the company, ask for Mr. Gloriosky, and am routed to Sandbagg's voice mail. Leave message for Sandbagg. Rather snarly sort of message, like a very polite 300 pound gorilla slowly losing patience.

Dial main line again,ask for Mr. Gloriosky, am transferred to first automated system, asking for non-existent extention.

Dial main line again, ask for Mr. Gloriosky (because each time I do this, I get a new operator, and eventually someone will screw up and actually connect me with who I'm looking for. Or so my logic runs.)and am transferred to the full mailbox.

Dial main line again, amusing self by putting all this in a cut and dried memo to the file. Get an operator who is busy and distracted, because he tells me I can reach Mr. Gloriosky at 555-3768. Hmmm. No relationship at all to what 10 Gallon asshat was telling me.

Leave message for Gloriosky. (The heavens open up, an angelic choir harmonizes, light shines down on my office--ok, that last happens pretty nearly every day. However, this is SPECIAL light, ok?)

O course, Gloriosky has not returned my call at all, at all. So I do a little research, and draft up a letter to the DMV asking them to put a hold on any title transfers for the next 30 days. And hey, if this goofs up Responsible Driver's Insurance's Plans, well, they COULD have agreed to cough up the bux to get the car out of the storage lot (not to mention doing thier inspection back before moving the title was an issue).

Cuz lemme tell you, the folks at R.D.'s Ins. Co are Queen Mum asshats. With feathers AND flowers AND ribbons.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Lhassi With a Mango

A forum I post in has a thread for do-overs. What did you do (ten minute, ten hours, ten years ago) that you’d take back and “do over” if you had a chance?

I posted that I wished I’d gotten into yoga sooner, then started to explain why—but then realized it made a better blog post. So if you’re here from Postcard X, welcome. Get a drink and put your feet up. May I suggest the mango lhassi? That’s what today tastes like, sweet without being cloying, and creamy without mush. And mango. Mmmmmmmmmango.

I hated hated hated gym because I am athletically declined. I never saw much point to running, jumping, being active simply for the sake of being active. I like to hike; the world is pretty. But to have to get on a pair of shorts and run around--then change quick quick quick and dash to your next class; or change and run around right after lunch--ick.

And stretching. Hated that even more. It seemed like all the girls I went to school with were made of rubber, with powerful core muscles, so they could flip upside down hanging on the parallel bars, do the front splits and put their chins on the floor, stand on one foot and lift their other leg up over their heads.

And now all two of the guys who read this blog are saying “Where the hell was I???” Trust me fellas, this was back in the days when girls had cooties.

So I hated to stretch—stretching hurt, dammit. None of this “you may feel a slightly intense sensation now” nonsense. I know pain when I feel it. And since I hated to do it, well, I didn’t. Not if I could avoid it.

And there’s a lot you can do to avoid doing something you don’t wanna do, after all. Feeding the dog your Brussels sprouts, pushing all your stuff under the bed, walking past the growing pile of laundry with your nose in a book—great avoidance techniques. Until the day when you have an ingrown toenail, and you can’t get to your feet to free the little monster.

Not in one session. No, in several tiny little increment sessions, gasping for breath at the end of each one because you can’t find room for your ribs and lungs and organs when you’re bent, seeing as you haven’t bent since they stood over you in grade school when your toes were much closer to your hands.

And close behind that came the day when I wanted a meditative practice—some time each day to set down my problems and clear my head for a bit so I could come at my “stuff” fresh.

And then the clincher—I’m a big Cirque de Soliel fan. Deeply envied the contortionists just as I envied those limber girls in grade school. Walking through Barnes & Noble, I saw a pose on a yoga calendar that struck a memory—and when I looked at the back and saw more that only needed the makeup and costume to be exactly what I had seen on stage, I realized that I could do this too. All it would take is practice.

I’d love to relate how one year later I can go from Mountain to Wheel (with one leg in the air and my elbows on the ground, thank you). I’d love to relate how I practice twice every single day for half an hour in the morning and evening. I’d love to say that all my emotional quirks have been smoothed and resolved, but well, I’d be lying. Like a cheap rug, one that you keep telling yourself will lie flat once it’s been used for a while, but no matter how many parties you hold, it still humps and bumps in avocado green and burnt orange swells.

I’ve made progress. I’m making progress. I’m working to get my afternoon routine back in place, and the morning routine is solid. It’s part of getting ready for work, and I’m more likely to forget to put on my rings than I am to forget to do my six stretch day-opener.

However, every time I get frustrated that I can’t get my hips on my heels and my head on the floor at the same time, I think of a yoga teacher I knew, who still couldn’t get her head to rest on her knees in the long classic hamstring stretch that was my grammar school nemesis. It’s as much acceptance of your limitations as it is the drive for progress at any cost; and that’s the lesson I wish I’d learned earlier.