Older favorites · Personal Entries

Lonely! Lonely in the fog!

This morning, like many mornings since Jake crunched his car, I drove the boy to school.

As we turn into the school driveway, the high school lies to our right, and the outdoor soccer fields where Ri and Matt play soccer lie to our left.  Every morning there is someone huddled on the far end of the aluminum bleachers, a solitary figure in dawn’s morning mist.  I’ve assumed it’s a student, and it makes me a bit sad.  What makes a teenager seek out such a lonely, uncomfortable place, day after day?  The fields aren’t school property; is it a smoker having a last cigarette before heading to school?  Are they looking for a moment of  peace which can’t be found at home?

This morning I notice another lonely figure on the bleachers on the opposite side of the field, and my heart breaks a little.  Two lonely kids with the same idea, the soccer field a world of space between them.  Maybe they are enjoying their morning quiet, but they seem so disconnected from everything else, and I wonder if they are alright;  if they are OK.

“Oh, that makes me sad,” I say to Jake.


“Those kids alone over there at the fields.  Why do you think they sit over there?  It’s so sad.   They must  be so cold.”

Jake squints at the fields, “I don’t see anyone…”

Right there, ”  I say, “at the end of the bleachers.  I guess it’s a student; they’re always there.  And today there’s another kid on the bleachers way across the field.”  Sad.

“On the bleachers?” Jake asks.

Yes. Right there, honey. Right there!”

“Mom. Those are trash cans.”

I squint for a better look, Jake’s observation prompting me to put together what I know from years of my boys playing soccer on those fields.  Attached to the far end of each set of bleachers is a metal trash can on a heavy wooden post.

My sudden burst of laughter comes out as a snort through my nose.

Jake seems to want to give me the benefit of the doubt.  I’m not sure why. Trash cans.  Maybe he’s just confounded by an observation so glaringly off-target?

“I guess… it could look like a person.” He squints again, closing one eye and tilting his head up and to the side.  He looks a bit like a happy one-eyed drunken eagle. “The aluminum can could be a body.”  Another tilt of the head.  “It’s foggy.  And the big wooden post looks sort of like a head…..maybe?”

This makes me laugh even harder, and tears stream from my eyes.  I shake my head from side to side, “No!” I squeak out. “No, it doesn’t!”

Now that I realize what I’ve been seeing, it looks nothing like a person. For months I’ve been worrying about lonely trash cans.

If I knew where my glasses were, I might consider wearing them.



Older favorites · Personal Entries

Vacuum packed

I’m working on dinner when,  from the living room,  I hear the vacuum cleaner being turned on and off, on and off, punctuated by raucous laughter.   Vacuuming should not be this much fun.  Huh.  Are they giving themselves hickies again?

No, they are not.  I walk into the living room to see Matt getting into a lawn and leaf bag, helped by his brothers.  Jake , the vacuum cleaner hose in hand,  issues directions.

“You have to get your whole body into the bag or it won’t work,”  Jake tells Matt, but Matt is laughing too hard to listen.  Which, I think, is good.

“No! No! No!  Wait!” I say,   “Whatareyoudoing?  WHAT. ARE. YOU. DOING?”

“It’s OK Mom, we did this in physics.”

“They put you in trash bags?”

“Not everyone, just a couple of the smaller kids.”  Jake says this as he continues to gently shove Matthew’s unwilling limbs into the bag.  It reminds me of trying to dress them as babies….but really, really not.

Then, he sticks the vacuum cleaner tube into the bag.

“Wait! Are you vacuum packing my child into a trash bag?”  I ask, ” Why are we doing this?”

And Jake calmly explains why he’s vacuum packing his brother into a lawn and leaf bag:

“We don’t feel the atmosphere’s pressure pressing down on us because it’s evenly distributed all over our bodies, but when you create a void by sucking the air out of the bag around your body, then you can feel it.”

“It’s science!” Matt shouts, his eyes insanely bright. “Vacuum pack me, Jake!”

“Mom, relax,” Riley reassures me, “if Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools says it’s ok, it must be ok.”

“Thank you Riley, that’s very reassuring.”

“You’re welcome.  I’m going next.”

“So you’re putting my child into a trash bag for science?”  I ask Jake.

“Yes, m’am!” And he turns back to Matt,  holds the top of the bag closed around Matt’s neck, and turns on the vacuum.  Nothing.

“You need to create more of a seal around his neck.”  I shout over the noise of the vacuum,  ” Here, I’ll hold the bag, and you do the vacuum.”

And so vacuum packing each other into lawn and leaf bags becomes the family activity for the night.   Blogosphere, you must try this.





Media and Art · Older favorites

Spit my flow

“Mom, I’m gonna download an explicit song on iTunes, is that ok?”

I appreciate Jake asking.  At eighteen, I’m not worried about the choices he makes in music, but we only have one computer and he knows that whatever he downloads is available to my two younger boys, too.

“What is it,” I ask, “is it really bad, or not that big a deal?”

“Well, it…..it’s not the lyrics I like, it’s the music.  It’s not that bad.  But I don’t really listen to the words.”

Ah, verbal shuffling and vagueness.  Now my curiosity is peaked. When Jake gets vague I can’t help but go digging for more information, because there is usually really good stuff right under the surface.

“Huh.  What is the song, honey?”

“It’s just a rap song.  I just like how it sounds.  I don’t even know the lyrics.”

“Well, why don’t you let me help you with that?  Here, let’s look them up, and then you’ll know!  Now what’s the song called?”

“It’s by Drake, and it’s on the soundtrack for the new LeBron James documentary.”

“And it’s called….?

“It’s actually a bunch of rappers.”


“Eminem, L’il Wayne, Kanye….”

“Oooh, this should be good,” I say, ” but what’s it called?”

He tells me the song is “Forever,” and I pull up the lyrics on a site called killerhiphop.com.   I start reading and nearly choke on the tea I’m drinking.

“Oh, these are goooood.  Wow.  You know what?  We should rap this out to get a better idea of how it goes.”

“No, ” says Jake, “please don’t.”

“No, no, really, honey.  It would be a shame to only appreciate the music and beat and miss the lyrics.”

And so I begin rapping every word below, even the lines that read, “lyrics courtesy of killerhiphop.com.”

What has come to be acceptable in lyrics is never quite as much so when your mother is spittin’  it.  When I rap ” i stuck my d-ck inside this life until that b-tch came,” it makes the boy cringe, and tips him over the edge into hilarity.   The comments I stop to make while I rap don’t help, and by the time I’m done Jake is collapsed on the floor, laughing.

I wait for him to catch his breath, and I ask him, “Seriously?  Seriously, dude?”

“Mom,” he says, “I just. Like. The music.”

“Jake honey, there are so many things I could say about this song, I don’t even know where to begin. ”

“So I’m gonna buy it, ok?”

“You may NOT buy this song, ” I say, and Jake looks shocked.  He hadn’t really been asking my permission to begin with.  I’ve never told him not to download a song before.

“It’s not that it’s explicit,” I say,  “I won’t let you buy this song because it’s the most STUPID-ASS thing I have ever heard.”

Mz. Stinz in the building, spitting her flow.

The lyrics (courtesy of killerhiphop.com).   My mid-rap asides to Jake are in blue, Jake’s comments in red.

Drake – Forever Lyrics (Feat Lil Wayne, Kanye West and Eminem)

It may not mean nothing to y’all,
but understand nothing was done for me,
so i don’t plan on stopping at all,
I want this sh-t forever man, ever man, ever man, Please stop. You’re really bad.
I’m shutting sh-t down in the mall,
and telling every girl she the one for me,
and i aint even planning to call,  That is not nice, you know that right? Yes, Mom.
i want this sh-t forever man, ever man, ever man,

Last name ever,
first name greatest,
like a sprained ankle boy I ain’t nuttin to play with,
it started off local but thanks to all the haters,  You’re not saying it in the right rhythm.  I’m makin’ it my own, yo!
i know G4 pilots on a first name basis,
and your city faded off to brown, Nino,
she insists she got more class, we know!
swimming in the money come and find me, Nemo, Oh, come ONHe rhymed Nemo?
if i was at the club you know I ball’d, Kimo,
drop the mixtape that sh-t sounded like an album
who’d have thought a country wide tour would be the outcome
labels want my name beside the X like Malcolm Malcolm is rolling in his grave right now.  Malcolm would have said this was a stupid song.
everybody got a deal, I did it without one,
yeah n-gga i’m about my business,
killing all these rappers you would swear I had a hit list,
everyone who doubted me is asking for forgiveness,
if you aint been a part of it at least you got to witness,


[Kanye West]
Ever ever, Mr West is in the Building,  I’m totally announcing that  I’m in the building every time I talk from now on.
Aint no question who about to kill em,
I used to have hood dreams,
big fame, big chains,
i stuck my d-ck inside this life until that b-tch came,  (strangled cry from Jake)  Uh-huh, brother, I said it.

I went hard all fall like the ball teams,
just so I can make it rain all spring,
y’all seen my story my glory,
i had raped the game young,
you can call it statutory,
when a n-gga blow up they gon build statues for me
old money Benjamin Button, whaat, nuttin,
now superbad chicks giving me mcLovin,
you would think I ran the world like Michelle’s husband,
you would think these n-ggas would know me when they really doesn’t
like they was down with the old me no you f-cking wasn’t,
your’e such a f-cking loser,
he didn’t even go to class Bueller,
trade the Grammy plaques just to have my granny back,
lyrics courtesy of killerhiphop.com  Mom, that’s not part of the song.  It’s here. I rap it.
remember she had that bad hip like a fanny pack,  Like a fanny pack.
chasing that stardom would turn you into a maniac,
all the way in Hollywood and I can’t even act,
they pull their cameras out and God damn they snap,
I used to want this thing forever y’all can have it back,


[Lil Wayne]

Ok, hello its da martian,
space jam Jordan’s,
I want this sh-t forever wake up and smell the Garden,
fresher than the harvest
step up to the target,
if i had one guess than I guess im just New Orleans,
and I will never stop like i’m running from the cops,
hop up in my car and told my chauffeur “to the top”,
life is such a f-cking roller coaster then it drops,
but what should I scream for this is my theme park,
my minds shine even when my thoughts seem dark,
pistol on my side you don’t wanna hear that thing talk,  I think he went to the University of Houston.  Lotta gun play there, I guess.
let the king talk check the price and pay attention,
Lil Wayne thats what they got to say or mention,
lyrics courtesy of killerhiphop.com   Mom.
Im like Nevada in the middle of the summer,
i’m resting in the lead I need a pillow and a cover,
shhh, my foots sleeping on the gas,
no brake pads no such thing as last,   OK, that was the best one so far.  And L’il Wayne is kind of cute.  But he needs to learn to keep his pants on.  He had, like, 35 kids this year.



There they go packing stadiums
as Shady spits his flow,  I’m using that one, too.

nuts they go, macadamia they go so balistic whoa,  Macadamia.  Macadamia?
we can make them look like boso’s,
he’s wondering if he should spit this slow,
f-ck no go for broke,
his cup just runneth over oh no
he aint had a buzz like this since the last time that he overdosed,
they’ve been waiting patiently for Pinnochio to poke his nose,
back into the game and they know,
rap will never be the same as before,
bashing in the brains of these hoes,  That is not nice.
and establishing a name as he goes,
the passion and the flame is ignited,
you can’t put it out once we light it,
this sh-t is exactly what the f-ck that i’m talking about when we riot,
you dealin with a few true villians
who stand inside of the booth truth spillin,
lyrics courtesy of killerhiphop.com
and spit true feelings, til our tooth fillings come flying up out of our mouths who knew rapping was so hard on your dental work?  I spit my true feelings all the time, and my dental work is rarely damaged.
now rewind it
payback muthaf-cka for the way that you doubted me so how’s it taste?
when I slap the taste out your mouth with the bass so loud that it shakes the place,
i’m hannibal lecter so just in case your thinking of saving face,
you aint gonna have no face to save by the time Im through with this place,
so Drake….  OHhh!  Drake’s gonna be in the building now!


Older favorites · Personal Entries

The blind leading the blind

“I just bought things from blind people,”  I tell Jake when he comes into my studio.

“You bought things from blind people?”


“Just now?”  He’s perplexed.  He was only upstairs for a moment.

“Yeah.  Things made by blind people.”

“Why did you do that?”

“Because they’re BLIND!”  I say.  “They are blind.”

He tilts his head and looks at me sideways, waiting for the logic. “OK…?”

“They can’t SEE!”  I explain, “and that’s sad.”   As I was saying ‘yes’ to items crafted by the blind, this seemed reason enough.  Now it seems ridiculous and really kind of funny.

“OK.  So….um, what did you buy?”

“A broom, ” I say, ” A broom and some potholders.”

“There were blind people at the door?  Where was I?”  The look on his face only makes me laugh harder, and I can barely answer him.  He’s disappointed to have missed the blind.

“No, Jake.  The blind people were on the phone.  Well, they were calling for the blind people.  Blind people can call, but I don’t think he was blind.  My broom will be here next week.  It’s being delivered by a blind postal worker.”

“Really?!”  He asks, his eyes opening wide. A blind postal worker would make up for the blind not being at the door.

I shake my head and say, “No,” but it only comes out as a squeak, because the laughter is wrestling it for space, and winning.

“Well, how much did you spend?”

“SEVENTY DOLLARS!”   And now we’re both laughing, and tears are rolling down my cheeks.

“You spent seventy dollars on a broom and some potholders?  Why?”

“Because THEY’RE BLIND!  They’re BLIND!  And I’m not, and I feel so badly.”

“But…do you have an extra seventy dollars…for a broom?”

“No, not really,”  I admit, taking a deep breath and trying to stop laughing, “I have a month to send them the check, though.  They’re calling back in a minute to verify the address.  I just felt so bad that they’re blind.”  I straighten up and take another deep breath and blow it out.

“Yeah, but did you have to buy a seventy dollar broom?  Couldn’t you have given them a tour…..or guided them around or something?

“GUIDE them!  Guide the BLIND?  Honey,”  I say, laughing again,”the blind do not want me to guide them.”    That is the very last thing the blind need.

And then the phone rings, and Jake checks the caller ID.  “It’s Mobile Blind,” he says.

“Mo-beel blind?  Oh.  OHH!   Mo-beel Blind!”  That’s what it said for the previous call, but I thought it meant it was a blind mobile phone call.  A cell phone with the number blocked.  You know, a blind call.  Five minutes ago in my head, this made sense.  I tell Jake this, and he points out that Caller ID also shows the number. Not so blind now, huh?

I try to stop laughing as I take the call, because blindness is not funny.  But I can’t stop laughing, and the  nice lady who works for the blind gets a giggle in her voice.  She confirms my address and reviews the items I’ve ordered, and when she gets to the broom I start laughing so hard I can barely give confirmation that I have, yes, ordered these items from the blind.  Of Mobile.

Getting off the phone,  I turn to Jake who is bent over in laughter, holding his stomach.

“The Mobile Blind!”   I say.  Now I get it.

mobile blind2

Older favorites · Personal Entries

That’s not nice

Last night I had a call which unsettled me.

At 11:45 my cell rang several times, and then my house phone started to ring.  Late night phone calls are rarely good, and someone was really trying to get to me; caller ID told me it was a long-gone ex-boyfriend.  Knowing the nature of his calls I always let it go to voice mail, but last night I was annoyed and picked up, ready to read the riot act on the late night calls.   The call made me so sad.  He was almost incoherently drunk, in a state of drunkenness which one would think he’d have been unable to make the call.  Speed dial: the alcoholic’s friend.

He’s called and left drunken messages before, but I’d never heard him this drunk; he passed out while we were speaking.  As I was telling him he should call back sober and that he should go to sleep….he did.  I usually wait until I’m finished speaking on the phone to take my naps, but that’s just me.

His drinking isn’t my responsibility, but I was worried last night.  I was upset.  I didn’t know what to do.  He has serious sleep apnea, and drunken passing out and sleep apnea can’t go well together, can they?

While vague alarm bells went off when we dated I didn’t recognize what I was seeing.  He’s highly functioning in most ways, and when it came to light afterwards so many things made perfect sense.  We are loosely in touch but I’ve never spoken to him about my concerns about his drinking.  This morning I called and left a message telling him I was troubled by the phone call, concerned about the amount of drinking, asking him to please think about how much he was drinking, and to not call me drunk again.  That’s it, and for my own health that’s all I am willing to do.

The dichotomous personality of an alcoholic is deeply confusing because there is often so much to love and value (as there is in this case), and then those lovable parts are troublingly, sometimes horribly, gone.  Again and again.

Another person struggling grips at my heart, but growing up in an alcoholic family hardened me to substance abuse; alcoholism is bullying.  We all struggle, but when alcoholics ease their discomfort with drinking they’ve made a choice to inflict their destructive cure on others whose hands are tied by their bonds with the alcoholic. They are taking advantage of those in a weaker position, the sober ones staying quiet out of fear.  In my mind, the alcoholic has forfeited his right to my compassion because he’s hurting others, and that’s just not nice.  But another person in pain grips at my heart…..

I still feel panic when things seem to be slipping away from the perfectly safe zone, and it has everything to do with what alcohol abuse does to life.  There will always, always, always be a powerless little girl in me who doesn’t know what to do because the grown-up is drunk and it’s scary.  Life is out of control because the adult has ditched on his responsibilities, and even worse, his presence makes life frighteningly unpredictable.  Waiting everyday for it to happen, knowing it might.  How bad will it be this time?  Wondering what incarnation the alcoholic will take today: Happy?  Maudlin?  Mean?  Grotesquely loving? You never know!  How exciting.  An alcoholic is like a pinata because you don’t know what’s inside this time, and you’d really like to hit them with a stick. 

His call upset me, it makes me so sad, and this morning it makes me angry.  He should probably call a different ex-girlfriend next time, because I don’t play this game nicely.

Older favorites · Personal Entries

Misinformed Jamaican hippies

Because it was getting late last night, Jake very sweetly offered to accompany me on my greenway walk .

Nearing the end of the two and a half mile walk I was in a good groove and starting to tire, but Jake, the cross-country runner, was just loosening up.

First he started skipping next to me, a grin on his face as he waited to see what I’d say.

“Dude, I almost hope a small herd of cute girls comes around that corner.”

“That would be bad,” answers Jake, and immediately stops skipping. “It would be bad enough just being seen with my Mooom.”  He’s grinning from ear to ear, and I ignore the little creep.

Next, he matches his stride to mine, and continues this way for a few moments before announcing that we should tie our legs together and do the remainder of the  walk three-legged.

“A three-legged walk?”

“Yeah!  Good clean hippie fun!”

“The hippies like three-legged walks?

“Yeah mon! They love the three-legged walks, mon!”  For some inexplicable reason, he’s broken into a loud, bad, Jamaican accent.  “We can do the three-legged walk, mon, and smoke de ganges.”

“Smoke the Ganges?”

“Yeah mon!  We smokin’ de ganges in de bong, mon!  And havin’ a three-legged walk!”

“The Ganges.”

“Yeah!  Some tasty ganges!”

“It’s gonna be hard to smoke the Ganges,”  I tell Jake.

“No mon!  We be chillin’ smokin’ de ganges like de hippies!”

“The Ganges is a river in India, Jake.”


“Maybe the hippies should smoke some ganja instead.  Because it would be hard to get the Ganges into a bong.”

“Oh no mon, we been smokin’ de wrong ting?”

‘I don’t really have to worry about you and drugs, do I?”

“No, mon!”  And he’s laughing as hard as I am.

Three words. National. Honor. Society.



Older favorites · Studio

Puppy kickers!

Hey, look at this.  Are you looking?

Reversible Petal Pendant
Reversible Petal Pendant

I’ve been wanting to create a casual summer pendant;  the kind of thing you can throw on with a pair of shorts or a fluttery silk dress, and I think we’ve done it, Watson.

Blogosphere, meet the Reversible Petal Pendant.  Petal Pendant, blogosphere.

I’ve forged a piece of 14k into an organic circle and worked it until no part is left unrounded, almost like a rose petal.  One side is a soft matte finish, the other is a deep shine, and it will be offered on one of several different colors of silk cord.

While this design will be listed for sale by later this afternoon, I’m also donating one of these necklaces to the Independent Animal Rescue of Durham, NC, for their upcoming annual silent auction.

I receive many requests to donate items for fundraising auctions, and I rarely oblige; often the charity seems far-fetched, or a poor fit for me.  When asked to donate to help  “Struggling Working Women”  in an upscale Charlotte community, I felt it would be more effective to just give the item to myself.

But this request was a no-brainer.  My baby girl Kita and that Damn Cat are rescues, and so I was happy to be asked, and happier to help.   Kita is a joy and a wonderful friend who I wouldn’t have if it weren’t for an animal rescue, and that Damn Cat…..    well, he lives here.

If you are in the Durham area and need a good reason to justify buying a piece of jewelry,  here’s your chance.  It would be altruistic to go bid on this or another item.  You’d have to be a real bastard to not go to that auction if you could.  Not participating in the auction would like kicking a puppy, or torturing bunnies.   Not criticising,  just observing.  For Heaven’s sake,  at least give them a ten dollar donation if you don’t want to attend the auction, would you?  Would ten dollars kill you?  No.  I didn’t think so.

Puppy kickers, I can’t even look at you.

Kita the Dog and Jake
Kita the Dawg and Jake

Independent Animal Rescue of Durham

Older favorites · Personal Entries

Jake changed everything

This boy was inducted into the National Honor Society on Thursday night.


When I found out I was pregnant with Jake, I was a senior at Penn State.  I had never babysat or held a baby, and I certainly never planned to have children or even marry.  Maybe someday I’d adopt an older child.

My plans for post-college were to join the Peace Corps, and afterwards travel around the world in glamorous artistic poverty, a man in every city who’s soul would light up at my arrival because I was that damn magnificent.  Our inevitable partings would be poignant, but the men would all understand that I couldn’t be tied down and confined like a normal woman.  My enigmatic spirit was part of my beauty, a beauty which both captivated them and broke their hearts!  Eventually I’d come back to the states, older and sexier, where I would earn an MFA, and continue to leave men pining for me from coast to coast.

In retrospect, I realize my plans amounted to being an internationally slutty vagrant, and there are probably laws against that.  At twenty-two I knew everything about all the things I had yet to experience, and was an expert on hardships and struggles I had never endured.

Jake changed all that.

It could have been worse, and I know I was fortunate that Mike’s first words when I emerged from the bathroom nodding “yes,”  were, “Good.  Now you have to marry me sooner.”  Mike had never endorsed the Peace Corps/ internationally slutty vagrant plans.  I might have failed to articulate the slutty post- Peace Corps part.

After considering all the options, I chose the one I believed I could live with.  I accepted Mike’s proposal, and worried terribly that although we loved each other, we were simply not a good match.  I knew in my heart we were entering into a marriage which was going to be a struggle, and I was, sadly, right.  We did really well in many ways–we still do–and I’m proud of us for that.  One of the ways we’ve done well is Jake.

Jake made us adults.   I thought about what kind of man I hoped to raise, and set about trying to shape myself so I could raise that man, and there aren’t many days when I don’t feel I’ve failed in some small way.  I hope he and his brothers can forgive me, although they assure me there is nothing to forgive.

Jake changed everything.  He put me on a path much harder, much richer, much healthier, and much less internationally slutty than the one I would have chosen.

Jake has had my best and my fullest attention, and I’ve said a lot of “I’m sorry’s” for the mistakes I’ve made on the child who is the test pancake.  He’s watched me fall apart during the divorce, and he’s watched me learn to run a life for all of us, on my own.  He’s seen me screw up a lot. We’ve worked really, really hard, and we’ve had an awful lot of fun. I don’t know a family who laughs as much as we do, and one of my greatest joys is making Jake laugh until he throws up or falls over.  Another is hearing him ask his younger brothers, every single day, how their days were.  He calls me “Darlin’,” and lately he’s started calling me “Dollface, ” and I wonder if I’ve raised Jimmy Cagney by mistake.

He’s a much better, wiser person than I am,  and I’m amazed to tears that this incredible young man came from me.   He’s one of my favorite people in the world.

Jake is cool, in the very best ways.



Older favorites · Personal Entries

Killer Tai Chi

I picked Jake up early from school to take him to his orthodontist appointment, and on the way we stopped by the soccer fields to find a sweatshirt Matt had left there the night before.

The fields were deserted except for one man doing….something.   He was running, bent at the waist into a ninety degree angle and slaloming through a line of orange cones, every step bringing his knees up to his chest. I’ll wait while you go try this.

Huh.  I’m not sure what this exercise would do.

“OK,” I said to Jake, ” that’s weirder than the tai-chi-in-the-park people.”

“Oh come on!  Tai chi is cool!  What about those people up the street?”

“The older, Chinese couple who do tai chi in their driveway?”  I ask.

“Yeah, they’re cool.”

When they do it is cool, because they aren’t pretentious gits doing tai chi in the park.   I point out to Jake that this couple has moved here quite recently from China, and for them maybe tai chi in their driveway is the equivalent of jogging to an American.

“But, it’s a martial art,”  Jake says, ” they could kill you.”

“The nice elderly Chinese couple up the street could kill me with their evening tai chi?”

“Yeah, it originated as a  training regimen in the Chinese Army.”   Beside me, Jake moves slowly into a pseudo-tai chi position, and glares at me fiercely.

“Honey, they could only kill me if I moved veeeerrryy slowly.”

“But if they sped it up, they’d be deadly.”  He speeds up the faux-tai chi, and looks a bit like a crazed monkey.

“Like tai chi with cocaine thrown in, is what you’re saying?”   I ask.


“I just can’t see the older Chinese couple snorting cocaine, honey.  I think I’m safe.”


Older favorites · Personal Entries · Studio

A coyote ate my head

Mark Harmon: Not as helpful as I'd hoped.
Mark Harmon: Not as helpful as I'd hoped.

My head is busy at the best of times.  For years I’ve used exercise to slow down the energy coursing through my brain, and meditation to help clear the collisions from the tracks of my mind so that all my trains of thought can be righted from where they’ve spectacularly derailed.

Throw in a wonderful-but-slightly-overwhelming amount of jewelry orders, a problematic ex-boyfriend turning up like a gorgeous gem coated thickly with ebola virus, the usual single parent chaos, and then top it back off with the jewelry orders, because I’m obsessing about them….. and my brain is overloaded.

I’m usually careful about what I watch and read: add a disturbing image to my busy ADHD brain, and I can obsess and worry that image to death.  It’s not worth watching violent or upsetting movies and shows, because they stick with me for ages, taking up space in my mind and popping up where I least want them.

But lately I’ve been watching NCIS reruns with Jake, because Mark Harmon is a beautiful man, and because my head has been overflowing and I just need to shut it down.  And Mark Harmon is a beautiful man.  On the visual input plus list:  Mark Harmon.  On the visual input minus list: a show about violent crime in the Navy.  Mark Harmon wins!

Recently in reruns, Mark Harmon solved the murder of a Marine killed in a state park, parts of his corpse carried away by coyotes.  He also solved the murder of a Naval officer killed in a state park, his body devoured by a bear.  You didn’t know there was so much eating of our military personel in our state parks did you?  Luckily, Mark Harmon is there to figure out what happened, after the fact.  So if you are murdered and left to be eaten by a large carnivore in a state park?  Rest assured, after you are consumed, Mark Harmon will find your killer.

I went to bed not realizing Mark and his hi-jinx were still swirling through my brain, and I dreamed complicated, strange dreams.  Mark was solving my state park-murder,  and I was a bit put out that he hadn’t gotten there sooner.  Maybe before the murder?  But definitely before the coyote chewed off my head and carried it away.

In my dream it didn’t hurt to have my head chewed off.  As the coyote carried my head away and I felt his jaws clamped on my skull, I looked back upon Mark Harmon examining my body.   Mark and his team bobbed up and down in my line of vision, my head jolting with the motion of the animal’s stride as he ran.

“Well, this is JUST. GREAT,”  my head thought in my dream, ” how am I going to tell my customers their jewelry is going to be late because a coyote ate my head?”