Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Inspiration by photo with a CBD update

So, I'm sitting here at my desk (yeah, I know, I'm sitting) staring at this photo of Sophie and then this photo of a tree that looked exactly like a stooped woman in a long dress:

and since I'm often inspired by photos, place them in front of me before I begin to write, I stare at these two and empty myself of all thought, place these fingers on the keys and

just go.

Sophie, despite having several days of a terrible head cold and the accompaniment of a full moon (which ordinarily causes mucho seizure activity) has had no seizures to speak of in weeks. We raised the CBD dosage, and I do believe we've found the right amount. Other than an occasional weird tonic thing in her sleep or napping that is momentary, we haven't seen a single thing.

Holy moley. Holy crapola. Holy shit. Allelujah. Praise Jesus. Praise Allah. The universe is abundant.

And that tree. Now that I think about it, I might resemble it. A bit stooped and perhaps sagging under the stress of the last couple of decades. Obdurate and long-faced, my roots deep. Still here. Silent, knobby, folded in upon myself. Hunkered down. It'd be hard to get an ax through my trunk to cut me down.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

DIY Stand Up Desk

Have ya'll heard that it's bad for you to sit down for any length of time even if you exercise regularly? Those who know me know that I sit down a lot -- writing, driving in my luxury vehicle through the streets of the metropolis, etc. -- and those who don't know me probably don't realize that while righteous, my fanny is a prime one for spreading. I really don't want to order one of those hipster stand-up desks, so I thought I'd kill the proverbial two birds and gather up a number of books that lie -- well -- everywhere in this house. Then I built myself a stand-up desk -- a place where my righteous fanny can stand free and taut in front of The Borrowers Aloft and back issues of Poetry, The Teenage Liberation Handbook, a couple of shoe boxes and the Kate Atkinson novel that I haven't gotten round to reading, yet.

What do you think?

The consensus from the Peanut Gallery and The Teenage Gallery was:  that's just dumb, Mom.

Blood Moon

I had hoped for some sort of illumination when I sat outside last night, late, watching the moon's radiance slowly eclipsed. The moon was a perfect golden disc overhead, and then, quite suddenly, it looked as if a bite had been taken from it. Darkness crept slowly over its surface until finally only a sliver remained and then that, too, was extinguished. A moment or so later, the disc was a ball, a perfect sphere, glowing reddish. A blood moon? It seemed more impervious -- more elemental, even, than blood, more obdurate than passionate. I sat in my metal chair, a speck underneath this gold turned black turned red, felt only the moon's inscrutability, the only illumination, my own insignificance.

String of Pearls

The pearls my mother gave me as a bride
rotted inside.
Well, not the pearls, but the string.
One day I was putting
them on, about thirty years on,
and they rattled onto the floor, one by one . . .
I'm still not sure I found them all.

As it happened, I kept a white seashell
on my vanity table. It could serve as a cup
where, after I'd scooped the lost pearls up,
I'd save them, a many-sister 
haven in one oyster.
A female's born with all her eggs,
unfolds her legs,

then does her dance, is lovely, is the past -
is old news as the last
crinkle-foil-wrapped sweet
in the grass of the Easter basket.
True? Who was I? Had I unfairly classed
myself as a has-been? In the cloister
of the ovary, when

released by an extra dose of estrogen,
my chances for love dwindled, one by one.

Mary Jo Salter

Monday, April 14, 2014

Astonish and Admonish

I'm supposed to make up my bed with the clean sheets, but it's nearly 6:00 and I haven't gotten round to it. Don't lie on those! I admonish my son who has flung himself over the billows. I meant that word: billows. Decidedly not pillows. I am lying on the pillows reading a book, and he is bothering me.

I take a photo of myself while waiting for my son to finish up his sax lesson. I want to figure out what, exactly, it is that I feel, and I wonder if I might capture it in the self-portrait. Sophie is in the backseat of the car, a tendril of hair caught in the last of the snot that has been dripping out of her nose. She is getting over a virus before which and during which she had no seizures. I am astonished by this yet admonish myself for self-absorption, for not climbing back there to wipe her face. I am tired.

I read nothing in that photo, use no filter, dare myself to put it up here. (Tell me what to do). Admonish me.

Astonish and admonish. I am reading a wonderful novel called Astonish Me by Maggie Shipstead. I don't often use the word astonish, and I often use the word admonish. In fact, there's little in my life right now that would astonish, and certainly as a mother I too much admonish. Or maybe it should be the other way round: There is much to astonish and not enough to admonish.

Admonish me.
Astonish me.

Monday Morning

Stay tuned.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Weekend Wrap-up

Despite being vaguely sick with a sore throat, a tingly head and weary heart, the show must go on. I traveled with Henry and Sophie out to Thousand Oaks in the Simi -- or was it Conejo -- Valley so that Henry could try out for a summer lacrosse league. I think it was Ronald Reagan country. After dropping him off at an enormous high school, I drove up and down long stretches of road, looking for a place to eat, and finally had to succumb to a McDonald's that was camouflaged like every other building in Thousand Oaks to look beige and at-one-with-the-environment even though the environment was vast tracts of stucco mansions and neighborhoods with names like Windsor Circle and Heather on the Moor with nary a flower out of place or even an iota of the urban grime that we're generally subject to in the city.  However, there was a truck in the parking lot of Mickey D's with a Confederate flag flying on the back, and while I don't want a repeat of the last time I noted a Confederate Flag flying from the back of a truck, I wondered if the same people who'd been to the beach at Santa Monica last month flying their rebellion were actually sitting inside on this Sunday, eating their Big Macs and being all American as you please. Because, you know, I want to pretend that it was a grand coincidence that I've seen this truck and this flag twice now in less than a month -- that People Who Love the Confederate Flag Yet Live in California are a rare breed and hopefully dying out. Yes, I'm perfectly aware that California is home to far worse types than those who fly Confederate flags on the back of their pick-ups, but humor me. How does the song go? From the mountains, to the prairies, to the oceans, white with foam... God bless America, land that I love? 

To tell you the truth, I'm not sure which is more American -- the flying of the flag in the anesthetized burbs or the growing legion of homeless people camping out around the corner from my home in the middle of the city.


I am, as I told you, sick with a sore throat, a tingly head and a weary heart.

What have ya'll been up to?

What we see

If this beautiful corner with the red gate weren't my own home, I'd stop while walking by and take its picture. The bougainvillea has self-seeded there and reaches for the sun. The oak hydrangea is chartreuse and about to bloom. The asparagus fern has recovered from the digging last winter and reaches up beyond the lens of the shot. Some would say it was onanistic (not me). But if it weren't my own home, I wouldn't know this, perhaps wouldn't even see it. The gate would invite me in to somewhere cozy and enclosed, a secret garden of twittering birds and laughing children, an easy chair, a beloved book. Would that I had new eyes to see and be grateful.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Saturday Poetry When You're Sick

One Dandelion
Atwater Village, April

To Some Buckets
Waiting to fill you, buckets,
One morning it was afternoon
Then evening, all the same except
One time when I filled you
And carried you to the apartment
In which a dog was sitting
I forget its name. He drank thirstily
And well I brought you
To other places too with always
A strain, hurting my arms
For you are heavy you
Are heavy with water filled
Whether it was on Leyte
That I carried you 
To fellow soldiers
Or up to the blankets, from the sea,
To some who were too hot. It makes
For giddiness to
Concentrate on you
Concentric buckets - senseless -
You lend your sides to the soul.

Kenneth Koch
via The Borzoi Reader

Friday, April 11, 2014

The Unbearable Lightness of Being***

to Sandra

So, in lieu of elaborating on just why I'm in the glummest of all glum moods (Sophie is sick and I'm at home, the constant sound of construction on my street as people build mega-mansions and apparently dig for oil because the ruckus is outrageous, and the unbloggable), I'm going to cut and paste an email I got today, one of many that I get nearly every day pertaining to -- well -- see for yourself.


We have an article about balancing pregnancy and a healthy sex life. Is that something you would consider for your site?

There is also an upcoming adult sex education event that focuses on a 50 Shades of Grey lifestyle.




Reader, would you like it if I hosted this article here at a moon, worn as if it had been a shell? Could this be the universe responding to my intentions? Yours?

Responses welcome.

***One of my dear friends asked me what the source of my glum mood was today or whether it was just the unbearable lightness of being. That question made me laugh, then remember my beloved Daniel Day Lewis as Tomas in the movie version of Kundera's novel and then inspired this goofy post. And I'm a little less glum. So thank you, S.

Mitzvah Mobiles

Yesterday, I sat at this stoplight on Wilshire Blvd and La Brea waiting for a convoy of recreational vehicles to pass, a so-called Mitzvah Tank Parade. The orthodox Jewish people inside the eleven vehicles happily waved at all of us.  I supposed their intentions were good -- spreading their message of  Passover to the people of Los Angeles. Ah, religion. Someone recently told me that I was doing God's work with this medical marijuana activism. An old friend whom I haven't spoken with nor seen in more than a decade sent me a religious book, a lovely memoir with admonitions to get closer to God. I haven't spoken to another relative in years because of her entreaty to me to lighten up and get closer to Jesus. A long time ago I went to a stadium filled with tens of thousands of evangelicals, their arms raised, palms open, receiving the light of Christ who apparently was channeled through a slick-haired slender man, a tiny dot on the stage below us. The woman who had brought me there took Sophie down and waited in a long line of thousands snaking toward this man who might perform a miracle. I waited in my seat, Henry a baby strapped to my chest. I had never felt so alone in that moment, surrounded by believers. I don't feel angry when I see the tanks of the Lord cross in front of me nor do I when I open packages whose contents are like confetti after the celebration. I won't push away admonition, will only watch it turn its back. I'll go down into the grass and lie on my back under the sun, close my eyes, wait for a sorcerer to lift my dress, brush flowers over my body, feel the dirt beneath me, know what it is to be alive.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Me and My Seesters

Happy National Sibling's Day, Jennifer and Melissa!

(gotta love the shoulder pads and the pearls, right?)

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Lorrie Moore, again

Lorrie Moore has a new collection of short stories out called Bark, and I headed down to the Los Angeles Central Library to hear her read tonight. You might remember the last time I went to hear her, when her novel came out ten years after I had discovered her in the New Yorker and how I had a wonderful encounter with her when I asked her a simple question after she read and then conversed with Michael Silverblatt -- but just now I searched and searched and couldn't find the post, so now I'm thinking that I never wrote about it. Oh. I don't feel like doing so right now-- just take my word that we had an encounter. That she spoke to me, directly, and blew me away. I did write a post last August called Group Therapy that does a reasonable job explaining just how much this writer means to me, so you can read that if you'd like.

So, it's been fifteen years since Moore published a collection of short stories, and I've just begun delving in. I'm a reader who keeps an anticipated book sitting by my bedside for weeks as a sort of tantalizing confection that I need to put off before devouring.  Bark is like that, so I read one story at a time and then put it down. It's a ritual.Tonight she read one of the new short stories in her beautiful, melodious voice and then conversed a bit with the playwright Brighde Mullins. It was an amazing short story, filled with her mordant wit and keen observation and then the tenderest of endings. God, I love a good short story. The conversation between the two writers was a bit slow, but I didn't care. Like David Sedaris, Lorrie Moore is someone who I honestly believe would be my friend if she only knew me.

The Tyranny of the Present

I walked along the LA River this morning, the sky still a tad overcast and the air cool. The cacti looked like surfboards lined up against a rusty chain-link fence. I passed ducks basking on concrete, green poking up through stone, the water shining and moving past the banks. A smiling cyclist flew past me, and when I crossed the bridge in the middle and walked back on the other side, I heard the rush of cars on the freeway just through the fence, silver glinting through green. Plastic bags were caught in the branches, cups and trash littered the bushes, yet there was beauty in all of it -- this pulsing river, the lizard that skittered over my foot, a tit pulling at a patch of clover, a hawk circling overhead. I was thinking about happiness, and I was thinking about sorrow. I was mulling the tyranny of the present moment. Once we entertain that present, allow it the head place at the table, there seems to be no going back despite the body's urge for the past and the heart's hope for the future.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

For Your Amusement or What I Wore to The Seventeenth IEP

I'm plumb out of inspiration here at a moon, worn as if it had been a shell. In lieu of regaling you with a report of The Seventeenth IEP, I'll list here the very funny, very inspired suggestions from you, my most clever, irreverent readers, for how I should have dressed or what I should have worn to the meeting. I guess I should report that the new SPED director is very efficient and intelligent and looked suitably miffed that not a single therapist (physical, occupational and speech/language as well as adaaptive physical education) showed up at the meeting. Our beloved teacher was there as was Sophie's aide and a very nice school representative who expressed interest in the medical marijuana thingamajig. Because of the absences, though, after talking for an hour or so, we decided to recess and have another IEP in early June. That's enough reason to keep reading the following comments. These are all exact quotes from Facebook and comments on the previous post, except that I changed the yous to I and the yours to my. I added anything I wrote in parenthesis.

  1. A joint, given what I've been up to lately and tying in the theme of Sophie's increased awareness and need for creative solutions in her education
  2. Leopard-print stretch pants and a mis-matched leopard print tank top which shows off my impressive cleavage to its best advantage. Also, a flask in my purse that I drink from frequently to help wash down the pot brownies I bring in to share with everyone.
  3. Full on battle camo, Green Beret field hat, crossed machetes, and a necklace of teeth and ears. Let them know I've kicked ass and taken names in the past, and I'm not afraid to do it again. Then demand a cookie on the way out.
  4. My prancercize outfit. (If you've been living in a cave, you might have to click here to understand.)
  5. Go bare
  6. A long blond wig and go as Gwyneth Paltro. Then they'll think that whatever comes out of my mouth is gospel and bow to accommodate my every whim.
  7. Nurse Ratchet from One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. And act accordingly. That bitch got things done. (in case you're really, really young, Nurse Ratchet was the scary, scary nurse in the mental asylum that Jack Nicholson's character was subjected to in the movie One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest)
  8. Beetlejuice
  9. Corset and fishnet stockings
  10. Jennifer Beales in Flashdance (again, if you're really young, this would call for a ripped necked sweatshirt that is suggestive of the incredibly lithe body underneath)
  11. This woman:

What would I do without ya'll?


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