truth: i almost killed what i love most

a little history:
my family has two yorkshire terriers, willow (aka stormfellow, aka stinkyboots, aka weezypup, aka babywookie) and franny (aka silverback, aka biscuit, aka chubs, aka skywalker).  in 2008, silverback had a stroke as a puppy after witnessing the abduction of our then-pup zoey by a bald eagle (it is illegal to shoot them, if you didn't know it).  silverback had a slow recovery and to this day cannot walk on hardwood floors or tile without her puppylegs giving out from under her.  she struggles to wag her tail and she is inexpressive and silent unless it is suppertime, then she flips out, licks her own face, and pats the ground with her forepaws.  i am in love with her.  she and i used to take long naps together.  i lift her to the dinner table each night and i let her eat from my plate like a real human.  i massage her legs and i tell her secrets about how i love her better than stinkyboots.  her temperament suits me, it's that simple.
4 hours ago

you'll notice that no matter how hard she is kissed, she remains unmoved.  she is a rock.  she is the surest thing.  she is my sunshine and my moonshine and my clearskies and my cloudyday.  jesus christ, she is my onetruelove.  and so when i was eating a carrots and raisins with peanut butter snack earlier this week, and silverback stood at my feet looking up at me all blankstare, i did not hesitate to drop some raisins onto the floor for her to eat.  she ate them and i could tell that she liked it because her breathing got heavy the way it does at suppertime.  i thought about how much i love raisins and how much i love silverback, and i thought about how unfair it is that she cannot choose her snacks like i can choose mine, and i thought about how deserving she is of everysnack, and i began placing the raisins in her mouth in little clumpfuls.  and then i took a nap.  when i woke up, my mom gave me some information.

a little information about raisin toxicity:
  • apparently, raisins and grapes are toxic to dogs and can cause vomiting, renal failure, abdominal pain, diarrhea, inability to urinate, depression, and death within 48 hours of ingestion.
  • 140 cases of grape and raisin toxicity were reported to the animal poison control center between 2003 and 2004 and 7 of those cases died.
  • renal failure occurs after ingesting 3 grams per kilogram of raisins or dry matter of grapes. dry matter is calculated as 20% of grape weight.  thanks, wikipedia.
  • if you suspect that your dog has ingested large quantities of raisins or grapes, call your veterinarian or the APCC's emergency hotline at 1-888-4-ANI-HELP.
my mom convinced me that silverback was surely going to die and my dad proclaimed that he had no intention of taking her to see the vet because that would be a waste of time and money.  he forced her to vomit instead, 3 times, by feeding her pretzels (which never cease to make silverback puke).  my mom sifted through the vomit for raisins.  i volunteered to take her to the vet the next day after work at the cafe.  but guess what, she has an iron stomach and she'll snack on whatever she wants and the only reason she threw up was because my dad forced her to.  she is fine and i feel terrible about my ignorance and so

i am not going to eat raisins for 60 days.  

and i would like to invite the whole world that knows about this secret blog to also abstain from that snack as a tribute to silverback's iron stomach, thank christ, and in remembrance of those fine puppies who have died of raisin or grape-induced renal failure in the past.  please don't eat raisins.  eat the grapes if you want.  but don't eat the raisins.  and don't leave them on the ground, for heaven's sake, because a dog might snack on them.


(sk)etches: 4

philosophia: reflections on krishnamurti

Jiddu Krishnamurti states, “There is no relationship where there is not contact.”  He refers to contact very literally.  He observes that we do not engage with the facts of our existence so much as we do with the ideas that stem from them and the images that they leave in our minds.  Often, our perception comes secondarily to our interpretation, not in sequence, but in consciousness.  This ordering is not inherently problematic, nor is it realistic to pursue pure perception.  Conflict does arise, however, when we mistake our interpretations for perceptions.  When we fail to meditate on the fact of our existence, when we transition from the act of observation to the analysis of the observer, When this occurs, experience is fragmented by thought.

Images are of the mind; they are abstractions from the perceived object.  What happens when we consider the image as both object and abstraction?  If the image is both object and abstraction, are we better able now to vacillate between the two, to see, perhaps, oneself as both object and image or idea simultaneously?  Do we forget our corporeality?  Do we understand the difference between perception and interpretation, and do we even believe any longer that there is a notable difference?  Or are all of these questions abstract abstractions, removed further still from the object in question?  Consider your body.  Are you aware of your body as an image more so than as a fact of your existence?  Do you observe yourself?  And the bodies of others, are they more than images to you?  I am not referring to your opinions of other people, but your experience of them as they exist in the present moment, as you relate to them.  Is there a difference?  And insofar as we are images unto ourselves, do we exist as abstractions when we come into contact?

Krishnamurti asks, "How can one image relate to another?"  He asks the question rhetorically.  There is no contact between images, so there is no relationship.  Consider our relationship, the relationship between you and I.  I am, in this moment, an image in your mind, and you, an image in mine.  How can one image relate to another?  Right now, are we relating?  Or are you and I surrendering to the images of ourselves, perhaps?  Will these images be resolved when we next meet?  Or will our interpretations of one another supercede our perceptions?  The “conflict” that Krishnamurti refers to is one that exists in consciousness.  It originates in consciousness and is then transferred or projected onto the world of experience.  Generally speaking, he refers to the effect of thought upon action and the effect of interpretation upon perception.  The “conflict” is the dissonance between what you remember (past) or imagine (future) and what you experience (present).  Does it have to be conflicting?


(sk)etches: 2


 I can lift the cup, but it will not fill itself.  I can empty it and go on lifting it as though it is full and it will not satisfy my thirst.  I can drink until I’m empty and I cannot be satisfied.  I can lift myself up over and over and the cup is still half-there, half-imagined.  I can imagine a thirst that fills itself, a fullness that is empty.  I can empty my cup and still be satisfied.  I am halfway there and I can keep at this until I am this.  I can thirst for the other half of what I have already imagined until I am full.

truth: not so hot / lukewarm.

on monday night at 7:30, i met R at sweeney's to take the edge off my test anxiety, since i had scheduled to take the GRE on tuesday morning.  she and i proceeded to take the edge off until 1:30 AM and we made a new best friend called Myron while we were at it.  Myron is the first new friend that i have made in minnesota since moving home with my parents.  Myron is a forty-some years old, recently divorced, computer technician who loves to cook.  Myron lamented that it is terribly difficult to make friends as a single middle-aged man living in the suburbs because every time he tries, men assume that he is gay and interested.  R and i sympathized with this.  R and new friend Myron convinced me that everyone takes the GRE at least twice and that the first time is all giggles and so i felt a warm and false sense of calm.  i just took a sudsy bath in that calm and felt real good about pretty much everything.  Myron, R, and i shared two baskets of cajun fries and then exchanged phone numbers, swearing that we would be true friends for all time.  and then i told R that i have always loved her and i combed her hair and asked her what it was made of, plastic?  she informed me that my hair is absolutely made of cobwebs, and then, since we were sauced up and combed, R and i decided to find out once and for all whether we are gay or not.  after an hour's worth of testing and no results, i drove home and crawled into my distraction/bed and slept a solid 5 hours.  and then:


i took some aspirin and drank a cup of tea before driving to woodbury (incidentally, where Myron resides) for my test.  i felt like two bucks.  and i was stuck on 694 behind a minivan with a HAVEFUN license plate.  really.  i didn't giggle once.  i didn't even smile.  i just took the test and when i finished, the volunteer test administrator asked me, "do you always type with one hand?" i do.  i can even do it without looking at the keyboard.  but that doesn't mean that i can test well.  in fact, i tested very averagely.  so this is why i take anxiety medication and why i am seeing a therapist about my self-defeating tendencies.  it's okay though, because Myron came into the cafe today just as my shift ended and we had a so very pleasant conversation about sushi and beer and seasonal affective disorder.  wowee.  it's also okay because boyfriend says being gaycurious is as permissible as i say it is.  he said that because he is a Good Support.  so obviously, i am doing a great job.  i am doing a shining job.  watch me shine.


truth: snow is not a nationally recognized holiday.

yesterday was green and today everything is covered in snow and all the cars have slid into the ditch.  and i woke up to the smoke alarm in my bedroom at 5:47 am, which sounded for about 2 minutes before the power went out.  i had to be at the cafe by 6:45, so i did that.  one of my co-baristas, was extremely happy about the weather and changed all the radios in the cafe to 102.something (whichever station plays non-stop christmas songs from mid november through december).  she was still excited after that, so she found a ceramic santa, a bunch of miniature christmas trees, strings of lights, and "snow" (it's cotton) stashed in the back room and decorated the entire cafe.  people really seemed to hate it.  one woman came in and exclaimed, "you're playing christmas music already?  i'm not coming back here til january!" a few people noted (accurately) that it's not even thanksgiving yet.  here's the best: one man and woman (regular customers) came in and when i asked them what they thought of the music, the man looked at me and to his wife's horror said, "if you keep playing it, i'll shoot you."  and then the man standing in line behind him corrected him by yelling, "no, don't shoot her.  shoot the new girl."  i love my badass regulars.  if they don't like your music or your service, bang, you're dead.

i'm interviewing for a an americorps position with MCA (multicultural communities in action) that would be a 45 hours per week commitment, plus the daily commute between lake elmo and st. paul, minus better pay, minus minnesotacare (which is the greatest thing that has happened to me in a long, long time).  i don't know which is more important to me: a sense of direction and personal fulfillment or $$$ and good health.  ideally, i wouldn't have to choose between those things.  a real great alternative, and one that i think i'm more likely to go with, is this organization right here.  look at that.  all bait, no hook.  straight up worms.  i can volunteer my ass off and i won't have to feel weird about getting paid for it, AND i can have a job so that i won't miss the money!?  plus, i'll still have time to go to the gay bar and get impromptu tattoos and plan trips with friends and drive to decorah to see my wife and my boyfriend.

and now, these are the best snow photos on the internet.  get in the mood.  stop complaining.  turn on 102.something and get out there and BUILD something.  snow is nothing but a big skytoy that falls gently into our lives and runs everything serious into the ditch and it is our job to give form to everything imaginative and playful because if we don't do that, it's just going to get very cold and very boring.


truth: it's been a -$25 day.

i had a rottenapple day and i am going to bed and i just now realized that i am wearing my shorts inside out and i am not even going to fix them because tomorrow is another day and i can put shorts on for the rest of my life, so be it.


why not: dj Ruth Flowers

 dj ruth flowers is a sixty-nine year old dj.  i'm really excited about this.  it reminds me of how excited i am about becoming an old lady, and about my option to become an old dj or an old badass if i don't much feel like being a lady when i'm older.  i can be an old anything-i-want.  because while i'm darn good at baking sweetbreads, i don't know how to knit and i don't like knickknacks and cats bother me 80% of the time and i'm terrible at remembering birthdays.  the good news is that she's not just old, she's also pretty good at what she does.  listen to dj ruth flowers aka "mamy rock."  i'm going to make dj ruth flowers my soundtrack for online job-searching (which i do a lot of) to remind myself not to be discouraged if i haven't made a name for myself by age sixty-eight because i can still don a pair of rhinestone-covered headphones and blow up at sixty-nine.


truth: R.I.P., 30 Pilot Whales

 all the information you need:
R.I.P. 30 Pilot Whales

i was dumped last night and so i drank a great deal of beer, bleached my friend's mohawk, and went to the gay 90s in minneapolis and i'm never dancing with straight people again.  unless they are straight people at a gay bar.  straight person on straight person dancing is the grimiest thing i know.  gay on gay dancing and gay on straight  dancing is 100% where it's at, so i'll meet you at the bar.  and guess what?  you can compete for the opportunity to dance in your underwear for money.  that's not boring.  i didn't do that last night, however, because women aren't much in demand on saturday nights.  apparently (i was informed by the bartender) women are for sundays.  my friend stole a decorative miniature pumpkin from the tranny at the coatcheck and put it in my purse, and i think a highlight of the night was being able to yell, "you know how much i care?" before throwing a small pumpkin out the window of my buick on hwy 94.   maybe coincidentally, maybe not coincidentally, 30 pilot whales died last night and washed up onto the shore of donegal beach, rutland island, ireland.  all i'm saying is, don't dump me.


truth: i am between things.

a good friend of mine was recently fired and is pressing charges on the grounds of racial discrimination.  i wrote a character reference letter and had it notarized this afternoon at the bank where my mother works.  the notary asked me, "which daughter are you, the one in school or the one moving?"  my younger sister is a sophomore in college and my older sister left for toulouse two days ago, so i told the woman, "i am the daughter between school and france."  the distance between school and france, for anyone who is curious to know, is turbulent and stressful and it doesn't pay very well and it causes tension headaches.  i am twenty-three years old and living with my parents and i am between things, trying to "stay positive" (whatever that means) by always pouring another glass when mine looks to be approaching the half-empty point and by laughing really hard at myself.  my father (story: works as a filer, goes through a series of promotions over a 15 year period, then quits and starts his own business, becomes his previous employer's competitor, and starts dabbling in the stock market for the good ol' fashioned heck of it) urges me to Get My Foot in the Door and to Climb the Ladder.  my mother (story: works as a secretary, quits due to sexual harassment gone too far, stays at home and raises 3 kids for 10 years, then works part-time in retail, now full-time at the bank) urges me to remember to make my bed after i roll out of it.  so, i am also between an unmade bed and being CEO of a fortune 500 company, which sounds like sexual harassment turned foot-in-the-door, but it's not.

If This Is A Woman is borrowed from the original title of Primo Levi's Survival in Auschwitz, which is If This Is A Man.  i read his memoir in 2006 as a freshman in college for a "philosophy of the holocaust" course taught by one of the most spectacular women i have ever known.  Levi writes, "Sooner or later in life everyone discovers that perfect happiness is unrealizable, but there are few who pause to consider the antithesis: that perfect unhappiness is equally unattainable.  The obstacles preventing the realization of both these extreme states are of the same nature: they derive from our human condition which is opposed to everything infinite" (SiA, p. 19).  Levi was a chemist prior to deportation and he documents his experience of the camps as though it were an involuntary study of the human condition, of what inhumanities a man can withstand before he is no longer a man as such.  he notes the inhumanity in humanity, bears witness to it.  he attributes his survival to chance rather than to a triumph of the human spirit.  i am certainly not comparing my current life to Primo Levi's experience, nor am i comparing a minnesotan suburb to a concentration camp.  i hardly know what i am doing.  i am between things, after all.   the link cited above is to an article published in the atlantic by mona simpson; she admires Levi for portraying a "normal man's view of hell" and for never narrating in heroic slant.  so, while i'm between things, this will be my memoir.  and perhaps i can portray a normal woman's view of hell.